Being a tourist in my own town

I’ve lived within 30 minutes of Washington D.C. for the majority of my life. It’s our nation’s capital and a city that millions of visitors pour into and out of every year. The history mixed with the plethora of museums for whatever topic strikes your fancy, and the frequent fairs, festivals and events that come through means that there is never a shortage of places to visit and things to do.

Despite all this, my family and I have relegated our visits into the city to, well, school field trips and hosting extended family. I’ve been to the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum and the Air & Space Museum more times than I can count. My favorite exhibit is the gemstones and minerals, my least favorite is the one where you go through the tiny spacecraft and feel very cluster-phobic.

Last week, one of my very good friends visited town and we decided to conquer the still-relatively-new Newseum. Updated and renovated in 2008, I distinctively remember reading The Washington Post the day it opened, the Style or Metro section I believe, about the huge reproduction of the First Amendment on the face of it’s multi-storied building. Since then, I’ve wanted to visit and dedicate the time that the stories within its halls deserve to explore it, but I simply never had the chance.

"Wait, we have to take a selfie."

“Wait, we have to take a selfie.”


Until Marama decided to visit.

Over the two and a half years we’ve been at Hypable together, Marama has grown to be one of my closest friends. She may live 14 hours ahead of me most of the time, but we make our time difference-friendship work. This is her second year what I have dubbed ‘The Australian takes on America’ tour. She jumps around major U.S. cities for the month of July before settling in with most of the Hypable team (sadly, not including me) in California for San Diego Comic-Con.

Knowing that she is a journalist and would probably appreciate the change of pace from the Smithsonian museums, I suggested we visit the Newseum. The day we went, it was relatively empty and we spent around two hours there but we could have spent much more time pouring over every detail that has gone into the curation of stories. Thinking now, it’s overwhelming to try and explain all that there is to see.

The horror and terror that has plagued our world is documented on 200 years-worth of newspapers, television segments and tweets. But there is also joy and triumph. Women breaking through the glass-ceiling of journalism particularly stood out to the two of us because of obvious reasons, and the pomp and circumstance of the Olympic games – uniting the world for brief blips in time.

Going through the 9/11 exhibit was hard. Going through the Berlin Wall exhibit was hard. It was overwhelming at times, but worth it in the end. Journalists and reporters have risked their lives for centuries trying to tell the truth and report the newsworthy stories we need to know. It makes me think about the current events of today – the Iraq war, and now with Palestine and Israel’s attacks mounting on each other, and Russia and the Ukraine. This is history in the making, every day. It makes me wonder what we will say in twenty years, or how these stories will be told to kids in their history classes.

Marama and I walked around for a little bit afterwards and said our goodbyes for another year. Then there was a train broken down on the Orange line three stops before mine, thus reminding me of the hassle that is dealing with D.C.

Don’t worry about finding the perfect time to blog – just start writing

I was looking back into my archives to see if I’ve done a post similar to this because it’s such a popular topic and realized that I am terrible at creating headlines. So, sorry about that. I’ll try to work on it.

Whenever I talk with friends and classmates about the work on my plate, inevitably this site and my position at Hypable come up. Writing online is a big part of my life. Some people have part-time jobs in fashion stores or restaurants, I have a virtual part-time job that requires just as much dedication.

I’m also a full-time student and a leader in the second-largest PRSSA chapter in the country. This summer I’m working 40-hour weeks. I’m not lolling around in a field of greens wondering what to do today. And yet, I still find time to blog.

“But Kristina,” friends will ask. “How do you find time to write blogs?”

(more…)

Suddenly, there’s a month left

While I was looking at my calendar today, as I often do (I live and die by it, pretty much) I realized that there is only four weeks left at my internship. I was so surprised that lots of thoughts went through my mind at once, such as: “August 7th is four weeks?!” and “I go back to school next month!”

Maryland might have some of the prettiest sunsets I've ever seen.

Maryland might have some of the prettiest sunsets I’ve ever seen.

As I think about what I have coming up in the next four weeks, I just get so excited. Then I reflect on the first half of this summer and I can’t imagine spending it any differently. I’ve been thinking lately how happy I am that I have spent my last summer as a college student at home. There’s plenty of time to live in New York City – or any place that doesn’t have a stocked fridge and free laundry – so why rush it?

Here, I’ve got an amazing internship with valuable experience (I learned how to separate pages of a pdf into different files today! Big things, people) in one of the best cities in the world, particularly for sailing, and I also have all the comforts of home for these last precious few weeks. I just feel so appreciative for my internship and all those I’ve met during it. It has been so hands-on, and I’ve really seen a project through from the ideas phase, to strategy, and next week: execution.

In about six weeks, I’ll return to my lovely State College apartment for 15 weeks. My last 15 weeks as a college student, my final 15 weeks before I become an Adult, however you want to label it, I am ready for it. And let me tell you, I absolutely do not regret my four-day weeks that I signed myself up for. No Friday classes right now feel like a luxury I know I’ll never have again.

Meanwhile, I’ve also had this nagging feeling I need to revisit my resume and update it soon… New (higher!) GPA, adding this internship, and giving making some minor design tweaks.

Spending July 4th on vacation… kinda

We tried the Ellen selfie while waiting for the fireworks.

We tried the Ellen selfie while waiting for the fireworks.


Who knew that visiting Penn State for a summer holiday weekend would feel like a vacation? I didn’t. But that is exactly how it felt when I spent three days with my closest friends lolling around State College this past week. We were together to celebrate the 21st birthday of one of our own, and also because it was, y’know, July 4th.

Penn State is known to have one of the best fireworks shows in the state – no surprise there – and because our apartments and hearts were empty, missing each other, this trip has been planned for months, if not years. All in all, it was an incredibly fun weekend. There was lots of food, fireworks, cupcakes and only some alcohol. We celebrated her actual birthday with a BuzzFeed-esque cupcake testing, a bottle of red, and a movie.

I woke up Saturday morning though in my apartment, still clean from when I moved out in May and the crystal clear blue sky outside my windows. I just lied there with no responsibilities. No stress to completely assignments or study or write or work, just complete relaxation. It was like being on vacation.

Saturday morning. Doesn't get much better than this. It really doesn't.

Saturday morning. Doesn’t get much better than this. It really doesn’t.

Even though that apartment acts has home base to the stress and anguish nine months out of the year, it was nice to remember that for these three summer months, I have no responsibility to do work for classes this fall. (Even though I am planning on getting a jump-start on my COMM 424 reading.)

I hope every one else enjoyed their holiday! Mine was definitely one for the books. And Facebook albums. At any rate, I feel a lot more organized than I have in the past few months (which is definitely saying something) because I’m back to writing across all my platforms, and I have a wickedly well-thought out editorial calendar. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go write about three more articles.

Six months down, six more to go…

Well, time has made fools of us once again. Somehow July 1 has snuck up on us and while people may see the rest of the year in just a long swath of space and time, to me, we’re now on the downhill, picking up speed.

Every year, I visualize time pretty much the same way. We’re on a roller coaster, and that roller coaster is only going up (nod to TFIOS) until July 1. And now, we’re on the way down.

See? I drew (kinda) a handy chart for you to understand exactly what I mean, in case the above wasn't clear.

See? I drew (kinda) a handy chart for you to understand exactly what I mean, in case the above wasn’t clear.

I’ve gotten quite a bit accomplished in the past six months. Sure the first three were a blur of school projects and dark, dark days (literally – remember the polar vortex? And winter?), but now we’re entering the heat of summer and it feels good. I got an internship, have made some incredible connections with people, and just continue to solidify friendships.

But the next six months, oh, the next six months are going to be something else. I’m busy every weekend of July – a birthday! a wedding! an out-of-town (more like, Australian) friend visiting! – and will be working full-time until the first week of August. Then I go out of town for a week and I head back to school for my last semester of college ever.

In October I’ll be another year older, and football season will swing into high gear when we play Ohio State one weekend and Maryland the next. November, I anticipate applying to full time jobs, there’s Thanksgiving, and finally, December. Along with the usual hustle-and-bustle of end of semester shenanigans and the dead of winter setting in once more, I’ll be walking across the stage to receive my diploma and another chapter will have closed on my life.

Then it all starts over again in January! But, Lord help me, I’ll be on that job hunt and apartment search grind (hello, possibly moving to New York City in January. I’m so terrified/delighted to meet you.)

In my aforementioned roller coaster scenario, you’d think that by beginning our decent in July, my year would slow down. But oh-ho ho, you’d be wrong.

We’re just getting started. (That sounded better in my head.)

Summer time on the Eastern Shore

I swear I mean to update this page more frequently than I currently do. Alas, life tends to get in the way. 

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Since I last posted, I have started my internship at the Weitzman Agency in Annapolis and summer has been flying at the speed of light. As I head into week four of my internship (already?!) I’m shocked and amazed at how similar, but how different, my internship has been compared to my time last summer at SJR. Editorial calendars and advertisements are still planned months in advance, but here, I’m really getting a feel for the advertising world, from start to finish.

We work with our clients – they’re mostly local so there are a lot of close relationships that are clearly valued on both sides – from start to finish on campaigns. We (the agency, as I haven’t actually done any of this) pitch to the client, win their business, then think of a concise strategy for their campaign, figure out what mediums are best: television, radio or print (or Internet – Facebook, email blasts, etc), then create the advertisement and put it out in the world. Full cycle. 

I’ve been helping the agency run their social media, and it’s been really insightful to be a fly on the wall, in some respects. I listen in on meetings, and learn how to deal with the day-to-day of being an ad agency. We’re in the heart of Annapolis so it’s a lot of fun to see both the business and touristy-side of the town (grabbing Starbucks at 3pm on a Friday? Be prepared to stand behind groups of tween girls and lots of families).

Meanwhile, I work for 40 hours a week and come home exhausted to work on anything else. I’m working on Hypable articles for a few hours a night, in the process of redesigning our chapters PRSSA’s site (majorly overdue for an overhaul) and plan on participating – and winning Camp NaNoWriMo this July. We’ll see how far I get.

Attending the NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Upfront presentation

To be honest, I don’t even know how to articulate my experience at the NBCU Cable upfront presentation this past Thursday. Saying something like “it was incredibly awesome” really doesn’t do it any justice. It was fun and entertaining and something I hope to attend for many years to come.

What you see before you enter the sea of seats.

What you see before you enter the sea of seats.

So, why was I there? I cover some USA Network shows/news for Hypable and for about a year, I’ve been in contact with a woman from the PR firm that handles some USA shows (Suits, Sirens). Upfronts are primarily a time for television networks to announce their new shows for the upcoming year, and for advertisers to figure out how much ad space to buy for specific networks – it’s a very big deal in the advertising world. But, it’s also a big media and press event – outlets such as Variety, Entertainment Weekly, and Vulture send their reporters to cover nearly every event during the week – it can get very exhausting.

Anyways – I was invited to attend NBCU Cable’s presentation because of USA Network, but they also own stations such as Bravo, Oxygen, E!, SyFy. I took the train up to New York City Thursday morning, came home that night, but boy was it a fun seven hours in the city (aside from losing one of my favorite earrings.)

Joel McHale closed out the presentation with some great laughs.

Joel McHale closed out the presentation with some great laughs.

The presentation itself was spectacular – Linda Yaccarino said a lot of stuff about ‘aggregating content’ and sounded very smart and looked very gorgeous. She, in conjunction with Bonnie Hammer, is honestly one of the most influential women in the entertainment industry at the moment. Both are truly influential women whom I aspire to be like one day. I sat 11 rows from the stage and the first seven or so were reserved for the celebrities by the likes of the cast of Suits, Royal Pains, Covert Affairs, and Graceland and talent like Giuliana Rancic, Joan Rivers, the Kardashians, the cast of Million Dollar Listing NY and Chrisley Knows Best. 

Clockwise from top left: Patrick J. Adams, Todd Chrisley, Linda Yaccarino and Andy Cohen.

Clockwise from top left: Patrick J. Adams, Todd Chrisley, Linda Yaccarino and Andy Cohen.

But then, once the presentation had concluded, we made our way to the after party and oh my gosh it was so much fun. I met a friend from Hypable, and managed to snap a few pictures with celebs and Linda Yaccarino herself. Bonus: she has a Penn State phone case.

The entire experience – from waiting in line for 30 minutes to be admitted into the Javits convention center, surrounded by other writers, reporters and journalists, to walking past TV personalities I watch daily (overheard: Padma Lakshmi of Top Chef asking a waiter what was in the dish she was holding. It was just really funny to me for some reason – like she was about to judge or critique the meal (not that she would here)) – was exhilarating.

Finally met John! Hypable buddies for life!

Finally met John! Hypable buddies for life!

It was tantalizingly fun – how do I go back to my ordinary life after this? I guess I just continue to work hard and hope to go back next year in a larger capacity. Or who knows – maybe I’ll be at an ad agency full-time and my job will be on the other side of the coin compared to this year.

Meanwhile: back to the real world: I actually did finally find an internship for this summer! I will be a social media intern with the Weitzman Agency in Annapolis! I am so excited to be working with this team and I think it will be a great experience.