From Birthday Cakes to Press Box Views: A Lot to Love

Exactly two weeks ago, I was sitting at a PDX gate, waiting to board a JFK-bound red-eye.

Now, I am sitting in my Queens apartment, wondering why we didn’t position our futon closer to the air conditioner.

In the span of two weeks, I’ve basically changed everything about my life (at least the kind of stuff you change on your Facebook “About Me” section and Twitter profile; new city, new workplace, etc.). And while I still want to write about that change (but not in a sappy, emotional play-by-play style), what currently strikes me is how much there is to love about where I am right this second. Here’s my list of the moment:

I love…

…that it’s after midnight and I’m watching a Mariners game, live on MLB.com. (I love this for two reasons: 1) Late night baseball rocks and 2) I’m not geographically blacked out from watching the M’s via MLB.com At Bat apps.)

…that for my birthday on Sunday, my friend bought one of the most delicious cakes I’ve ever tasted:

…that I get to write a short piece for the next installment of Mets Magazine.

…that Newsweek published a special edition about the Beatles (and it only caused my love for Paul to grow).

…that I can sit on our fire escape and look out into a courtyard at the center of a few apartment buildings (inevitably leading me to dream up a Rear Window-type scenario in which I innocently spy on interesting neighbors, then realize that’s only endearing when Jimmy Stewart does it).

…that this is my standard view for New York Mets games:

…that sometimes it gets so hot, I find myself sprawled on the futon, moaning like George Bluth, Sr. when he installed a hot tub in his attic. (Okay, I don’t actually love the heat. But I do a pretty good “Mikey, my eyes!” impression. And this was mostly an excuse to insert an Arrested Development clip.)

…that my roommate and I share an “organized chaos” mindset when it comes to apartment cleanliness: Livable, but with a few dirty dishes in the sink.

…that my sister came to visit on Saturday before heading up to West Point for summer training.

…that earlier tonight, I became the Foursquare mayor of my favorite neighborhood Chinese takeout spot (after only two check-ins!).

…that I live so close to Starbucks, my computer thinks Starbucks’ Wi-Fi network is the default.

…that I get to live, work and play with awesome people who have helped ease my transition from one coast to another.

In New York, this list could be endless. Whether you’re in NYC or not, I’d love to know what’s making your day.

P.S. – You may notice my blog URL is now paigelandsem.com. That’s right: I graduated to the big kids’ world of legitimate domain names. You can still access the site via theopinionpaige.wordpress.com, but it’ll automatically redirect to https://paigelandsem.com/.

First Step into the Future

File under “sentences I never thought I’d actually write”: In a few days, I will be a college graduate living in New York City and interning for a Major League Baseball team.

For weeks, I’ve been afraid to talk about my post-college plans, in part because a) I still feel like I’m only old enough to be a high school freshman; b) there were so many pieces of the puzzle to fill at school (writing my thesis, preparing to graduate, etc.) before I could concentrate on the summer; and c) a handful of people needed to hear from me in person before I blabbed about it online.

All those issues are now taken care of, so I can officially say I’m heading to New York City immediately after graduation to intern in the New York Mets’ media relations department. (And I do mean immediately – my flight leaves mere hours after I graduate on Monday).

My diplomatic, restrained Internet voice tells me to discuss this in diplomatic, restrained terms such as “I’m extremely excited” and “I’m grateful for the opportunity.” Both statements are true, but to be honest, I’m WAAAAY more than excited and grateful. Really, I’m beside myself at the thought of spending my summer at a baseball stadium in New York City, and have to thank a million people who helped open this door for me.

This will only last through the regular season, so a whole new set of “what are you doing with your life?” questions will emerge in a few months. For now, I’m eager to graduate, get to the city, work hard, learn a ton and hopefully launch a career in sports PR. The future feels bright.

Pondering Life’s Big Questions. Or, My Last Night in NYC.

An email with this subject line just popped into my inbox: “Check in for your flight to Portland.”

That means my return flight from NYC to PDX is less than 24 hours away.

What?

When I booked the flight back in April, just leaving for New York in June seemed lightyears away. And now it’s August? What the heck?

Editor’s Note: I really don’t analyze my emotions as much as the next few paragraphs might suggest. Bear with me for one post that’s more on the “reflective” side.

But my final day in the city has arrived. And I’m not sure how to feel about it. Last year, I was legitimately homesick and ready to be back in Oregon. This year, it’s different; I’m excited because I’ll be reunited with family and friends (and Oregon football), but I’m also bummed because I’m worried that a lot of the growth I experienced this summer – personally and professionally – might be stunted once I’m back in my true comfort zone.

It’s not as though I can’t grow during the school year. I’ll be involved in a lot of different internships and activities that will undoubtedly challenge me, and I truly can’t wait for it all to begin. As much as I loved the city this summer, there were times I wished I was at home, where the pressure to be doing something all the time is lifted. But when you’re in New York for an extended period of time, you can’t imagine being anywhere else. What’s the point of living in another city when everything happens here?

Sure, that’s a slight exaggeration, but I’ve pondered the question. I think part of my nervousness stems from knowing that I only have one more year of school (and fun and wearing sweats all day and being home, if I do relocate after graduation) left before I’m tossed into the real world, and I’m scared that I won’t make the most of it.

But amidst all these larger-than-life questions, there’s real work to be done. When I get home, it’ll be time to roll up my sleeves and start preparing for the year at Allen Hall Public Relations, the student-run public relations agency at the University of Oregon, where I’ll be Firm Director. I’ve also started working with Baseball Prospectus as one of their social media interns, and my mom has informed me that I must deep-clean my room and my car before I head back to Eugene. It might not be New York, but all of the aforementioned tasks (except maybe cleaning the car) make for an exciting agenda upon my return.

Guess it’s time to print my boarding pass.

Anticipating, Doing, Ending.

No matter how long you anticipate something – a wedding, a birthday, a vacation – that thing always comes to an end. And the end always leaves you with a “where do I go from here?” feeling. Such is the case with my internship at Sports Illustrated, which ended yesterday.

My Oregon-centric cubicle decor (with special guest appearances by a Michael Pineda picture from a recent SI, and two photos of my sisters).

Working at SI had consumed my thoughts from the day I got the internship in mid-March. I remember receiving a call from a lady in Time Inc.’s Human Resources department. She told me that I had been accepted to Sports Illustrated’s internship program, and I think she laughed at how enthusiastic I was while accepting the offer.

When it’s mid-March, “August 5” sounds like lightyears away. It still felt lightyears away when I started work at SI on June 6. But now it’s just another “X” on my calendar (a figurative calendar; Oregon Ducks day-by-day calendars don’t have X’s). The day carried a surreal, last-day-of-school feeling, and leaving was bittersweet. As excited as I am to return home and get back to school, I absolutely loved working at SI. Every day was different, and I was able to diversify my public relations experience. I grew as a person and as a professional, and was lucky to work with a wonderful group of people who graciously offered their support in the future.

From a PR perspective, I learned more at SI than can fit here, so I’ll probably write a few posts over the coming weeks that dive deeper into my experience. I will say, however, that I learned a tremendous amount about social media (and took my first foray into the world of social media analytics) and have a fresh outlook on how to creatively approach media relations. More to come on those subjects and others, but I’m still processing everything.

My friends and I are also in denial about the fact that we only have one week left together in the city. (One of my friends, Chase, has already left. And he gave me a hard time about never actually calling any of my “New York friends” by name on my blog. So, Chase, I hope you’re happy.) Every day, we add five or ten items to our “to-do list” even though we inch closer and closer to our departures. We’ll leave with unfinished business, but it’s an excuse to come back.

Just as I have too many PR lessons to fit into one post, I also have too many good NYC photos/stories/recommendations. So expect a few posts on my favorite places/foods/sights/etc., too.

On that note, it has been two weeks since I last posted. I think pictures could tell the story better than I could (plus I’m feeling too lazy at the moment to write all those stories) so here are three glimpses into the past several days. (And yes, I know one of the pictures is the one of my cubicle, which is also posted earlier. When it comes to WordPress quirks, I pick my battles. And I didn’t pick that one.)

As always, thanks for reading. There’s a lot more to come as I continue processing all I’ve learned and accomplished this summer.

*Also, you should check out my cousin’s band, Brave Chandeliers.

Summer in New York, Take Two

This picture has nothing to do with anything in this post, but it's awesome so I threw it in just for kicks.

Tonight, I’ll hop on a plane and head for New York City. It’s the same flight I took a year ago en route to my internship in the corporate communications department at Rodale, but this year I’m heading to the Big Apple to work in the communications department at Sports Illustrated.

After an amazing year at the University of Oregon (how did it go by so quickly?), I’m stoked to begin this next adventure and have the chance to combine my passions for PR and sports while learning more about how PR is done in the real world. With one summer in New York under my belt, I feel more confident about living in the city (yeah, I can hail a cab all by myself) but know I still have a lot to learn.

I’ll be blogging here about my experiences, from the fun to the embarrassing to the Liz Lemon-esque. If you feel so inclined, please feel free to follow along and read/comment if you’d like. (Also, if you feel so inclined, please send money. Kidding. Sort of.)

Thanks for reading my blog and – if you’re in Oregon – I’ll see you in August!

Goodbye, Best Summer Ever

Most college students have already purchased new books, started new classes and heck, maybe even taken a midterm. But because we’re on the quarter system (I’ll spare you the details), classes at the University of Oregon begin tomorrow. It didn’t even hit me until I was out for a run this afternoon that today is the last day of summer vacation.

I can say with certainty that this was the best summer of my life. Why? Because I…

  • Completed the most amazing internship in the most amazing city. I worked in New York City and interned at Rodale publishing, specifically with Bicycling magazine, one of Rodale’s titles. I had the chance to do so much fun work and apply my PR skills in a real work setting. (You can read more about my summer here and here.)
  • Met my baseball-announcing hero, Jon Miller, in a spontaneous encounter on the streets of Manhattan. Got his autograph.
  • Saw a game at Fenway Park with my family on a beautiful Boston evening.
  • Successfully learned how to navigate the New York City subway system.
  • Secured season tickets to Oregon Ducks football games.

Of course, a lot more happened than that, but those were the highlights.

It’s my goal to follow up the best summer ever with the best school year ever. Bright and early tomorrow, I’ll be settling into my new class schedule and starting a new routine. It’s going to busy, but I’m determined to not let anything slip through the cracks (including this blog).

ESPN’s College GameDay is actually helping me make this a great year, as they announced this morning that they’ll be broadcasting from Eugene on Saturday and featuring Oregon v. Stanford as their game of the week.

Duck fans try to get their signs shown TV during GameDay's trip to Eugene last year.

I’m already brainstorming poster ideas, and you can bet I’ll be there, decked out in my green and yellow. Can’t think of a better way to spend the first weekend of what I plan to make the best school year ever.

Wrapping It Up

It seems like every post I’ve made in the past few months has begun with some sort of reflection on how quickly time is moving and how I can’t believe my internship is half over or what have you.

Even though it’s unoriginal, I’m starting this post the same way. I cannot believe I’m no longer writing from New York City. Instead, I’m sitting in my bedroom in Portland, amidst half-unpacked suitcases, magazines, shoes or boxes that my family left in here while I was away.

It’s good to be home, but it’s been an interesting transition. At times, it seems like my ten weeks in the Big Apple were just a dream.

Obviously, though, they weren’t a dream. And while I am way behind on blogging about my trip, I’m using this post as a way to “wrap up.” Below are a few photos, with some description, that summarize my final few weeks in New York.

Before I get to the photos, though, I just have to give an ENORMOUS “thank you” to everyone I met and worked with in New York City, especially those at Rodale, Inc., the publishing firm where I interned. The people I worked with (the PR teams at Rodale’s corporate level, Bicycling magazine and Organic Gardening magazines) were nothing short of amazing: they were willing to give me real responsibility, constructive criticism, support and encouragement.

It sounds cheesy, but my ten weeks at Rodale (and in New York in general) taught me so much about the working world, the public relations and publishing industries and myself that I can honestly say I’m a much different person today than I was at the beginning of June. This experience forced me to seriously consider what I want out of my life and career, and where I plan on going (literally and figuratively) in the next two years and when I graduate. I don’t want to get too deep here, but you get the idea.

Anyway, sappiness aside, I have one more thing on my mind: It’s my goal to write a series of posts about what I learned at my internship (basically from a public relations perspective), and I’d also like to start taking my blog more seriously during the school year.

To do so, I’d like to move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org and my own domain name, along with a theme that’s a cut above the basic, generic themes.

If you have any knowledge in that area, I’d appreciate your advice, especially when it comes to purchasing a domain name, transferring a WP.com blog to WP.org and finding a good theme.

Thanks for sticking with me. Here are a few final photos from my New York adventure:

come fly away

I saw "Come Fly Away" on Broadway during my last weekend in NYC. It was a fantastic combination of Twyla Tharp choreography and Frank Sinatra music.

st patricks cathedral

The majestic inside of St. Patrick's Cathedral

liz lemon tshirts

Ridiculously awesome Liz Lemon quote t-shirts from the NBC Experience Store. "What the what?!"

wall street george washington statue

Not the best photo, but I love this statue of George Washington on Wall Street. This is where Washington was sworn in as the first president of the United States. It's a gorgeous building and statue with historical significance.

morningside park

The beautiful view from a lookout at Morningside Park, on the Upper West Side near Columbia University. In addition to my Park Slope, Brooklyn obsession, I also love the UWS.

Five photos don’t even come close to summarizing everything I did in my final weeks, but hopefully it gives you a little taste. Since time was dwindling, I was fearless about exploring anything and everything in the city – from downtown to the Upper West Side, I tried to see it all.

Thank you for reading the posts about my trip; an especially big thanks to those who commented. I really appreciate the time you took to check in with my Big Apple adventures. I can’t promise that Portland and Eugene will be as exciting, but I’ll see what I can do. Thanks again!

NYC: The First Two Days

A week ago, I was cramming for finals. Now, I’m staring out at a bunch of tall buildings in New York.

The last few days have been crazy to say the least. On Friday morning, I officially finished my sophomore year of college. That was enough to make it a pretty cool day, but later that night my dad and I hopped on a redeye from PDX to JFK and arrived in New York City on Sunday morning.

Armed with coffee (thank you, Dunkin’ Donuts), we hopped in a cab and rode into the city. The New York skyline is breathtaking and I couldn’t wait to see it. Even thought I’ve seen it before, this was the best time; everything looked so HUGE. Well, obviously, it is huge, but you get the idea.

I took this picture from the back of our cab. The Empire State Building is in the distance.

As I stared at it, it began to sink in that I was actually going to be living there for ten weeks. Of course, I’ve known this since April, so you’d think it would have sunk in earlier, but seeing the city for the first time really made it seem real.

After some stealth backing-up-in-the-middle-of-the-street maneuvers by our cab driver, we arrived at the dorm where I’ll be staying this summer. We did a bit of unpacking and then headed out to test-run my walk to work and grab a few things at Bed, Bath and Beyond. To get a sense of a trip to BB&B in a big city, just imagine my father and I trekking up several blocks with massive plastic bags in our arms, hangers and small ironing boards poking out at all angles.

The view from my dorm room, on the 21st floor of the building.

We also had a delicious deli sandwiches for lunch from a small deli/grocery in Manhattan’s Murray Hill neighborhood. Those sandwiches totally validated Liz Lemon’s worldview: “All of humankind has one thing in common: the sandwich. I believe that all anybody really wants in this life is to sit in peace and eat a sandwich.”

And yes, it’s dorky, but I made my dad pose with the AWESOME cart escalator at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Because it has three floors and you can’t take a cart with you up the escalator, they had a little contraption that took your cart up on its own. These are probably commonplace for New Yorkers, but I was amazed.

My dad, on the human escalator, poses with our cart on the cart escalator.

That evening, we saw West Side Story at the Palace Theater on Broadway, which was fantastic. We also walked around the Rockefeller Plaza. And even though it’s not a great picture, this is me in front of the entrance to 30 Rock (aka, where Liz Lemon walks into work every morning).

This picture is a bit washed out, but this is where Liz Lemon goes to work! This is where Kenneth held his page strike! This is where the opening shots of 30 Rock are filmed!

Still with me? Thank you. I’m getting pretty excited.

This morning I began my internship at Rodale, Inc., a publishing firm that publishes health and wellness titles like Prevention, Men’s/Women’s Health and Runner’s World. I’m one of their corporate communications interns this summer, which will allow me to use and expand my public relations skills.

The very front of the Rodale office on 3rd Avenue. I'm on the 9th floor.

I was nervous about starting because I haven’t had much real-world PR experience and the work I’ve done is more agency based (if you don’t know anything about public relations, it’s alright. I appreciate that you’re still reading, 528 words in.) This summer, I’ll be working with the PR teams for three magazine titles: Bicycling, Runner’s World and Organic Gardening.

With the Tour de France starting soon, Bicycling will have a lot on their plates. I don’t know what I’m going to do every single day this summer, but so far I’ve been working on learning how to use Cision, a public relations tracking/monitoring software, getting acquainted with what topics those three titles typically cover and learning how they typically pitch media and organize their work.

The public relations staff worked with at Rodale has been supportive and helpful! It’s been a great environment and I’m excited for the coming days. One thing I discovered is that I won’t really be around the other interns. There are interns working in many different departments, so we’re spread out throughout the building. Another corporate communications intern will be starting next Monday, so I’m looking forward to having another PR person with me!

I was excited to find out that I get my very own cubicle, complete with my own work e-mail and phone extension. I have thumbtacks, Post-It notes and filing cabinets. So far today, I walked past my own cube roughly five or six times, twice got lost trying to find the bathroom twice and came home with 13 magazines to peruse and learn more about.

I'm hoping to get a wider shot (wow, this is like the fifth picture where I apologize for my amateur photography skills), but this is my cubicle at Rodale!

Okay, I know that was long. Thank you for reading to the end. (Mom, I know that probably just means you.) I promise the rest of my posts won’t be so wordy…but hey, you probably only spend summer in New York once.

Thanks again for reading and feel free to leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you.

The Adventure Begins

After a two-month blogging hiatus, I’m back to bring you an update on what I’ll be doing this summer: working at Rodale, Inc. as a corporate communications intern in New York City. I start on June 7, so life will be a whirlwind until then, but I can’t wait to get started!

Here’s a little bit about Rodale, from its website:

“Rodale is the authoritative source for trusted content in health, fitness, and wellness around the world. Rodale reaches more than 70 million people around the world through its category-leading media properties, trade books, subscription online properties and integrated marketing solutions. The company is also a leader in direct response marketing and has more than 26 million active customers in its database. Rodale publishes some of the best-known health and wellness lifestyle magazines, including Men’s Health, Prevention, Women’s Health, Runner’s World, Bicycling, Running Times, Organic Gardening, and Mountain Bike.”

They also publish a variety of health and wellness books, like Eat This, Not That. I’m so excited to start working at Rodale, but I’m also nervous about moving to a big city and putting my PR skills to the test in a real corporate environment.

In the past, I’ve blogged mostly about public relations or social media topics and current events as they relate to PR. I still want to blog about those issues, but since I’ll be spending ten weeks in the greatest city on earth (in my opinion, at least) I want to share my experiences as a newbie New Yorker who’s also sharpening her public relations skills. I’ve always struggled with being a good, relevant and up-to-date blogger, so I hope to post here often with content that relates to my adventures in the city and what I’m learning in PR.

I’ve visited New York a few times, but since I haven’t spent long periods of time there, I’m seeking help from those who have. If you have any tips to share with someone new to the city, please let me know! The Rodale offices and my dorm are both in Midtown Manhattan, but I want to do some exploring all over the city.

Here are a few things I’ve been thinking about, but I’m open to suggestions from any area:

  • What’s the hardest adjustment to make when moving to NYC?
  • Where should I get my coffee in the morning?
  • What are some popular restaurants I should check out?
  • What should I do on the weekend? (Broad question, I know, but what are your favorite activities and places to go?)
  • What are some must-sees that the average person might not be aware of?
  • How would I go about meeting Tina Fey?

Of course, I have hundreds of other questions, but that’s an idea. Any input is greatly appreciated. And, if you’re in New York this summer, let me know because I’d love to connect with you!

Inspiration (Or, Why I Only Post on Mondays)

For you, what is the hardest part of blogging? Finding the time? Finding something to say? Writing?

I am interested in hearing your thoughts because for me, the hardest part is the intersection between finding inspiration and actually writing the post.

Often, I’ll find a cool article, insightful blog post or entertaining tweet that inspires me to write. But as soon as inspiration strikes, so do the feelings of “Oh, someone’s already written that” or “That will really create nothing of value” start to creep in.

There’s also the time factor. As much as I’d love to be a full-time blogger who just surfs the web and writes about general awesomeness five days a week, I have school and two internships that also fight for my time. I’ve found that the vast majority of my posts come on Monday or Tuesday, because I only find quality blog-writing time on the weekends.

I know everyone has similar time constraints. How do you deal with that? Do you write furiously on the weekends and then post throughout the week? Can you do that but still offer relevant content?

I am so impressed with bloggers who have successfully participated in the 28 Days of Blogging challenge that Scott Bishop started. Not only have I appreciated their commitment to blogging, but I’ve also been inspired by their ability to produce interesting, insightful posts day after day. After reading some excellent posts from Colby Gergen’s “College | Caffeinated” blog and Leia Ferrari’s “A Work in Progress,” I’ve decided to try for two posts a week (for now). If I want to make my blog a place where valuable content, opinions and thoughts are shared, I’ve got to start committing.

It’s not all about my commitment, though. I’d love to hear your thoughts on blogging inspiration. What inspires you? What keeps your blog posts fresh?