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I’m good at ‘em. I’ve built a career on ‘em. This week demands ‘em.

Looks like we’ll have a grand total of 8 appointments this week. 💪🏼 We clocked a week of maternity leave, and now it’s time to charge head first into #momlife, that work #hustle, and #kbyecancer.

I hear you friends. I hear all of your concerns. I hear your worries. I hear your advice.

And I need you to hear me. Two Thursdays ago I took my shirt off in a doctors appointment and said I’m not leaving until you feel this. My voice did not shake. I was not scared. I was my own advocate.

I know my limits. I can do this. My team says I can. So y’all are going to have to let me. And cheer for me.

In return, I cross my heart and kiss my elbow I will tap out on the hard days. I will make time to rest. I will be intentional. And measured. And, most of all, strategic.

Because my intern made me promise.

p.s. @taysha_r giving me all the feels with Elsie’s new bows.

Let's Talk About Privilege

A few years ago at a SXSW panel, a female CEO shared (paraphrase) that women have been in the workforce long enough that a good ol’ women’s club should exist.

So where is it?

Good question, lady.

We’re building it. We’re building, tearing it down, building it, remodeling, repeat. Maybe we’re just too into HGTV? (who doesn’t love demo day?)

As women flex their first amendment rights, I’m not only in awe of their strength, but I’m also shocked at the pushback they receive from other women. Read as: it’s getting western out there.

I’m a proponent of quality humans. Those who are humble, compassionate, and, quite frankly, listen more than they speak. Equal opportunity, if you will.

And, to be completely transparent, I'm surrounded by more quality humans than I could possibly list right now. My girl tribe is fierce, humans. Fierce. 

I was raised with privilege I never understood or appreciated until recently.

While, yes, my skin is white and my family could put food on the table every night, even through seasons when assistance was warranted, this is another layer of privilege we need to address.

You see, not a single male in my life - dad, grandpas, uncles, cousins, pastor, teachers, FFA advisors, et al. - ever hinted at a male/female comparison. Meaning, during my most important developmental years, I never heard, “you can do anything a boy a can do.”

[Just like you don’t applaud a teenager for not sneaking out at night, these guys don’t need our applause. They simply operate like quality humans.]

Because of this, I never realized there was a difference.

That in itself is a privilege the majority of the female population will never know.

Lucky? Grateful? Privileged? Ringing affirmative.

I’m an overachiever by nature, which means there was not a leadership position, scholarship, or award I did not pursue … or achieve. Through my career, I have been diligent to actively become a passionate practitioner of my trade. Stack this on top of a foundation of quick wit, confidence, and an extroverted personality, and you have a strong case for a woman who is thriving in a male-dominated industry.

I’m not humble bragging here. Just like Drake didn’t really start at the bottom (hello, Degrassi), I’m saying I’m not working at the bottom here. I’m a white woman with two college degrees and a pretty solid career. Mostly, I’m too busy hustling to care or notice distractions.

However, there are times when inappropriate comments lobbed my way in professional situations are downright impressively disgusting.

While they roll off my shoulder, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Yes, I said they roll off my shoulder. I shudder, eye roll, and then let the comments roll off my shoulder.

It doesn’t mean that just because I’m a goal-oriented, overachiever, with hopefully a bright future that I’m immune - or deserving - of the ugliness of the world.

It means I’ve been more prepared for it to exist.

It means I have to consider how my response will affect my career.

It means these isolated instances give me pause when interacting will all individuals.

It means that while there are incredible men in this world - like my dad, my grandpas, my uncles, my first boss, my college professors - it means there are still humans in this world who are pretty terrible.

It means if you have not experienced an unwarranted inappropriate situation as a female, you are operating in a privilege that is so bubble-boy-esque it may be difficult to relate to those you interact with on a daily basis.

Practice kindness, open your ears, expand your horizons, and acknowledge the privilege in your life and use it to build the good ol’ women’s club.

 



 

 

I cannot be urban sans rural.

I cannot be urban sans rural roots.

Just as I cannot be me sans rural genes.

clayranch

I am only afforded opportunities to travel this world because my past gave me the blessing of an educational foundation in communications and international agricultural.

Which opened the door to a first job as a marketer for Oklahoma’s pork producers.

Which led to launching a social media presence showcasing Oklahoma’s tourism industry.

Which led to digital storytelling for global agricultural and animal health brands.

Which led to launching my own business working with passionate business owners.

Which led to spending more time with my family.
 

Which leads to standing in the “retirement pasture” gazing at Oklahoma’s tremendous sunset thanking God for the past that affords the opportunities for my future.

I haven't unpacked my suitcase.

As I mentally prepared for a week on the road (work-week in Hartland, Wisconsin; friend weekend on Grand Lake, Oklahoma) I told myself this was the week I would conquer suitcase living.  

If I mentally prepared, pinned all the right pins and planned accordingly I could still make it to yoga 3-4 times, run on the treadmill and make good food choices. Try as I might when I’m on the road it’s like I push pause on real life.

I can’t run errands, run to the grocery store or clean the bathroom, so I’m basically on vacation, right? 

Wrong.

I’m just really bad at living out of a suitcase. Just ask my yet-to-be-unpacked suitcase.

I suppose as long as you fill your week with adventures like visiting rural Wisconsin's The Kiltie, where you'll most definitely question the Steak Pizza, but devour a double cheeseburger you're doing okay. 

Because sometimes you begin your day knowing you need to sell working-from-home in Nashville to your boss and end your day by celebrating that your boss is completely okay with you working-from-home in Nashville

Surprisingly, I only needed one Spotted Cow for that celebration. 

And sometimes life brings you lemonade and you get to spend the week with your friend since sixth grade lockers on one of Oklahoma's most beautiful man-made creations. 

And sometimes you get to keep all the vodka to yourself because your friend is rockin' a baby bump. Which, by the way, makes you the skinniest person on the boat.

Turns out adulting is hard, but I'm really good at faking it. 

Small Town Virginia

Adventures are my thing; however, in recent months I’ve become jaded with work-related travel

I was in a travel-too-much slump. 

Granted, I don’t travel as much as some humans, but it’s difficult to navigate a new city and a new marriage while cultivating a community of friends and digging deep roots. Such a whiner, right? Girl you get to travel, suck it up!

A slump, for sure.

Thank the heavens for Mexico. Its delectable tacos and top shelf margaritas pulled me out of my slump like a one-sided tug-of-war. That’s a feat considering I was nothing more than dead weight.

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It’s when I drove into Smithfield, Virginia, the Ham Capitol of the World, my love for small town America washed over me like the first time I stumbled into a Chickasaw Country.

My heart found rhythm with the windshield wipers, the rain was falling like a Forrest Gump soliloquy – perfectly in tune with all of its surroundings, and the corners of my mouth turned up even though exhaustion was radiating through my body. 

After a quick stop at Smithfield’s headquarters (agency life, eff tee dub), my co-worker and I headed downtown to collect content assets. Read as: exploring with a camera. 

Businesses thriving on Main Street found success through antique stores,  ice-cream shops, confectioneries and boutiques. Oh, the boutiques.

SmithfieldVirginia
SmallTownVirginiaSmithfield

I nearly dropped $300 for a bag I didn't need. Then I remembered I didn't really have $300 to spend and I have way too many bags.

The lovely lady at Wharf Hill (photos above) was Lorelai Gilmore in the flesh - I'm sure of it.  She loved her job, her town and new little nook of Main Street and her secureness in self and contentment in life was evident. A bright spark on a rainy day. 

Taste_OF_Smithfield_Cuban.jpg

And because I love food, we stopped by Taste of Smithfield to swoon over the tourist trap the locals surely frequent. The cuban sandwich paired with tomato basil soup was just what I needed to get me through meeting prep. Speaking of, could something please make me a cuban and bowl of tomato basil soup. Please?

The thing about work-related travel is that you have to, in fact, work. When all three team members made it to Smithfield, it was time to buckle down and review presentations, reports and update each other on projects. Face time is valuable when you work in two different states. 

As we poured over details we did so surrounded by locals in Smithfield's newest (and only?) brewery. At exactly 5:05 locals poured through the front door ready to celebrate hump day with a glass (or two) of local, craft brews.

This girl, however, squealed at the sight of an Oregon Pinot. 

From our corner table with elevated pews for seating, we got to work. 

Consider the travel-too-much travel slump over. Just in time for a trip to Wisconsin. 


What to do and see in Smithfield, Virginia

Stay: Smithfield Inn, Smithfield Station
Both equally adorable and delightful. 

Eat: Taste of Smithfield 
Try the pork wings!

Drink: Wharf Hill Brewing Co.

Visit: Main Street

 

What's your kitchen personality?

My first full-time paid position post-graduation took me to downtown Oklahoma City where I promoted Oklahoma’s pork farmers. Although checkoff programs can be a hot button issues for some (looking at you non-internet using Grandpa Compton…), I was grateful promote the state as a whole instead of one specific farmer. The impact was greater.

Commodity research and promotion programs, also known as checkoff programs, are established under Federal law at the request of their industries. Checkoff programs are funded by the industries themselves, with the goal to increase the success of the businesses and farmers that produce and sell certain commodities.


These programs allow farmers, ranchers and other stakeholders to pool their funds and develop a coordinated program of research, promotion and consumer information to improve, maintain and develop markets for their products. They also yield many additional benefits for public health and nutrition, local and global economies, as well as humanitarian efforts.
— USDA Agricultural Marketing Service

In that first position I learned to lean in before leaning in was a buzzword. My boss[man] pushed me to do more by pretty much throwing me to the ocean and seeing if I was going to sink or swim.

I also learned to work with like-minded humans in similar positions in other states. Cue the most significant professional relationships of my career.

When I joined Charleston|Orwig I tapped those friendships and professional networks because promoting hog farmers is important to me. I’ve seen firsthand how they care for their animals and how their presence in rural America makes communities richer by their contributions to programs and initiatives.

Also, bacon. 

#PinkPork Pinterest Sweepstakes

How can you truly encompass all that is great about perfectly-cooked pork? By perfectly-cooked pork I mean pork that is cooked to 145° F before removed from heat and allowed to rest for three minutes before slicing. Cooking to 145° results in tender, juicy pork that has a blush of pink in the center. (After 5 years, I have this elevator speech on lock.)

Let's cut to the chase. Have you ever wondered what type of kitchen you would be if you were to be a kitchen? Sure you have! Well, you would if a quiz were to exist on site like Buzzfeed. 

It's simple. Take the quiz, pin your results and enter the sweepstakes. For every entry, Ohio's hog farmers are donating one meal of pork to a local food back (up to 25,000 meals!). 

Personality results

I'm a sucker for personality quizzes and assessments. I'm ENTP, Di, Orange and now a rustic kitchen. 

Rustic interiors have a sense of connection to the past that's hard to resist. Which is good, considering that heritage is important to you and you find unique ways to incorporate family heirlooms into your everyday life.
The aroma of Apricot-Glazed Ham radiates from your oven, bouncing from the exposed beams. This, of course, causes your heart palpitations. The love affair you carry on with dinner is evident in each and every serving, filled with love, passion and commitment.

recipe: apricot glazed ham (serves 20)

Not only do you help make a donation to a local food bank and learn about your personality you also receive a corresponding recipe. 

Ingredients
5 pounds full cooked whole boneless ham
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
2/3 cup apricot nectar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

How-to
Place ham on rack in a shallow roasting pan. Bake, uncovered, in a 325°F oven for 1-1/4 hours or until meat thermometer registers 140°F (about 15 - 18 minutes per pound). 

For the glaze, in a small saucepan combine brown sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg and cloves. Stir in apricot nectar and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, stirring constantly.

Brush ham with glaze. Continue baking 15 - 20 minutes more, brushing occasionally with glaze. 


Full Transparency

I worked with Ohio Pork Council on behalf of Charleston|Orwig for this project. I gave this project real-estate on Rural Gone Urban because of the impact the pork industry has made in my professional career. I was in no way encouraged or compensated for this blog post. Although, I wouldn't mind if someone sent me a gift card to buy a few pounds of bacon. 

You're My Superhero.

In a world where being busy earns a badge of honor, I’ve found myself striving to be the first person at the office, the last person to leave and the person sending emails on the weekend, which, by the way, is a Millennial’s way of saying, “look! I’m working on the weekend!”

I’m the girl using app after app to organize my life often requesting events be sent via GCal. Because heaven forbid something in life happens that isn’t planned and documented on a Google calendar. 

Try as I might, I can’t turn off work and turn on life when I leave the office. No such switch exists. There is only one 24-hour compartment: life that includes work. It’s blended – good or bad. 

After set work hours, I spend my evenings preparing for upcoming projects and staying on top of industry news and current events (thank the sweet stars for you, theSkimm). 

Those are in addition to attempting – unsuccessfully, I might add – to see the inside of the gym three to four times a week, talk to my parents, at least one aunt, my sister, friends comprising at least seven states, have real conversations with my husband, take the dog for a few walks and make new friends in Austin.

To be fair, for me – in this stage of life – working significant amounts is the only way I’ve been able to keep my to-do list from depriving me of oxygen. This is what you’re supposed to do in this stage of life, I tell myself. Pay your dues. 

Why?

Maybe I see the mom balancing work, leadership roles, her marriage and children Instagramming her perfect marketing-term-of-the-month dinners.

I see emerging career leaders knocking down walls, being overly-prepared for meetings and quoting scholarly articles and case studies released within the past 48 hours.  

Everything looks so perfect from the outside. I see you nodding your head, reader. It’s just smoke and mirrors, they must be struggling like the rest of us, but are they? 

While filling my soul with today’s sermon, my mind was anywhere else. I was creating to-do lists, referencing my short-term career goals and analyzing my current work performance.

In that moment I realized I am not a superhero. I cannot – and will not – be able to do it all. 

I want to be known as the woman who is deliberate with her time – not busy.
I want to be successful at work – and at home.
I want the moon.

Most of all, I want all women to know you don’t have to be a superhero. Superhero mom most likely has a village to help and support her. An incredible, selfless village. Emerging career leaders are making sacrifices and feel uncertain about their decisions – just like you. 

You’re good enough.
You’re making waves and changing lives.
You’re my superhero. 

a wild night with fried chickens

Last spring while in the midst of a video shoot for National Gypsum's Ask for PURPLE campaign, one of my favorite Charlotteanswine Wednesday advocate and all-around quality humangave me a sneak peek at one of his fun projects. After a long, quiet day on set this gave me all the giggles. 

Today, he shared the final product and I couldn't be more thrilled. 

If you're keeper of children, particularly of boys, you need to hit play. Regardless of your children keeper status, hit play.

When I was riding the struggle bus in a job that wasn't quite my cup of tea, Rob made going to work a little brighter because he's one of the most creative minds I've ever worked with.

Where most people see things in black and white, he sees them in ROYGBIV. For real. It's superhuman. 

ah-ha moment

This week I had one of those lightbulb, ah-ha moments while in the midst of a 10-day stint on the road.

I've spent my week chasing meetings with more meetings only to be late to the next meeting. I'm in meetings with team members of all levels discussing clients representing all commodities and disciplines. With so many meetings on the docket, I've found myself working in my hotel room late into the night and attempting to get to the office early just to stay on top of things. 

Bottom line: I'm mentally exhausted, y'all.

(insert ah-ha moment)

I love my job. 

I'm exhausted and love my job. 

Wait. Wha? That's not an ah-ha moment. Sure it is! 

 I've never felt more on the brink of something in my professional career. It's happening, you know. The I wishes are my right nows

Wisconsin_January

I think it happened when I stopped to take a photo of the Wisconsin snow. The ah-ha moment, I mean. 

I want everyone to have this moment. I think you can.

On Saturday while speaking at AgChat's Collegiate Conference someone asked me what I've done - as a girl - to get to where I am in a male-dominated industry (ag). 

That blew me away. 

I'm a girl? I've never really thought about it and I've never been treated as such. A girl, I mean.

My influencers have never told me I couldn't do something regardless of my gender. Looking back, I suppose this mindset started by fixing fence, mending water gaps, loading trailers and evolved as I loaded grills for promotional events

Girls, if you're reading this, you're not a girl! You're a human! A hard-working, goal-oriented human. Do you. Make it happen. Don't be your own obstacle. 

Let me be your cheerleader. I'm serious. Send me a 140 or comment below and I'll fill your inbox/DMs/texts with so many random pep talks and inspirational GIFS your head will spin. 

</random pseudo inspirational post >

advocating away from the farm
My Grandpa Compton gave me a farm tour this week. The coolest moment for a granddaughter.&nbsp;

My Grandpa Compton gave me a farm tour this week. The coolest moment for a granddaughter. 

I've been invited to speak at AgChat's National Collegiate Congress tomorrow in Indianapolis. AgChat? AgChat is an organization created to empower farmers and ranchers to connect with communities through social media. 

I ventured to my first AgChat conference in 2011 and credit this organization to many of my professional contacts and dearest friends.

This organization has evolved past social media account tutorials and now focusses on storytelling and content. 

Tomorrow I will stand before a herd of college students and discuss advocating away from the farm. Known to me as livingCollege students are the most terrifying of species. They know everything. I know this because I was the most basic of college students. 

Because my genes are from Indiana, I ventured to the 317 early to spend a few days working remotely on the davenport while discussing soybean prices and checkoff programs with my grandpa. Meanwhile, my other grandpa started a new blog

Being here (literally, in Indiana) working on tomorrow's presentation has afforded the hamsters a significant about of time on the wheel. How did I get here? This path, man. I couldn't have planned this. 

the three one seven

I most definitely made my way to the National FFA Dairy Cattle Evaluation competition because of these genes.&nbsp;

I most definitely made my way to the National FFA Dairy Cattle Evaluation competition because of these genes. 

My genes are from Franklin, Indiana. My family has been farming in central Indiana for quite a few years. In fact, my great-grandpa was the Indiana Dairyman of the Year in 1957.

Agriculture is in my genetic makeup. 

In the late 90s, when today's college students were learning to walk and my parents decided a life in the west was their jam.

Talk about traumatic for this 5th grade graduate. My parents loaded up a pot belly of commercial cattle, a stock trailer full of our prized processions and drove to Oklahoma where dreams could be made. You know, unicorns, glitter, magic. 

Middle school. Dirt roads. Dirt roads.

Home became Perkins, Oklahoma. 
 

the four oh five

If there was ever a time to use this photo from the Johnson Co. Fair this is the time. I'm sure I lost.&nbsp;

If there was ever a time to use this photo from the Johnson Co. Fair this is the time. I'm sure I lost. 

Since the late 90s (when Nick TV was better than Disney), my family’s farm transitioned into more of a ranching operation. With a few thousand acres to run commercial cattle and purebred angus my family fell in love with Oklahoma.

I fell hard.

The life I became to know and love was so different that what I would have had in Indiana. 

Then I fell harder in college. The food system and agriculture's many facets became the thing that made sense to me. I traveled abroad with groups to Nicaragua, Argentina, Scotland, England and France and saw first-hand the different views of the vast agricultural industry. 

After two degrees, I moved the 100 miles to Oklahoma City where I became the pork girl. ( A post to be written by the sportswriter.) 

At OPC, was thrown directly into media buying and marketing promotions. I loved it. I loved telling stories. However, I became very intimate with the gap between agriculture and consumers. I needed something that, at the time, agriculture couldn't give me. I needed to know consumers. 

I mean, I liked consumers. Wasn't I one? To me, the line between the two didn't exist. I'm an equal opportunity human supporter.

My plan: Leave agriculture and return in five to seven years with mainstream media and advertising experience. 

I became the official travel writer and social media manager of Chickasaw Country, which is the south-central region of Oklahoma., and covered concerts, restaurants, stores. 

The. Best. Job. Ever.

Just me and my consumers. Chatting. Exploring. People really liked hearing my stories. They loved knowing I broke ice before school, how my show stock made its way into the herd, what “fixing a water gap” meant.

the seven oh four

In North Carolina, I joined a prominent advertising agency that worked with clients in tourism, banking, sports, consumer products, commerce, et al. and found myself on the consumer frontline.

Sure I managed social properties, but I also worked with consumers every day.  Until then, I had never been so intimate with a group of humans who were so completely removed from the family farm.

For example, during my interview, an individual in a leadership position laughed as she told me her 6-year-old didn’t know what a cow was. To me, this was completely baffling, but it made sense. How could a child know what a cow was if she didn't venture far from an urban setting? 

My examples could go on for days, but it was like something clicked. I felt like Rocky. My whole life I’d been chasing chickens just I could compare consumers to Clubber Lang. 

That may be a bad example. No fighting necessary. 

the five one two

Only three and half years after leaving agriculture, I've rejoined the team. Go team ag! I serve as a liaison between agriculture and consumers in a vast lineup of commodities and have found a solid niche career in the digital space. 

I live in an urban jungle filled with food trucks, live music and really cool humans.

My life is advocating away from the farm. 

As a work on tomorrow's presentation and pull specific tips, examples and such I'm reminded it's really just about relationships.

  1. Listen more than you talk.
  2. See both sides of the story. (Even if you have to physically go see both sides of the story)
  3. And be you. No one knows (insert your industry/passion/project) better than you do.  

From the 317 to the 405 to the 704 to the 512 and back. 

Tomorrow I talk about sharing agriculture's story in the very place my life began developing its roots. Full circle, man. Full circle. 

 

 

So you want to be a social media manager

A college student recently posed questions about the journey to my current position for a class project, and until she asked it never occurred to me how random – yet planned – this journey has been.

On location at G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park&nbsp;as the  Chickasaw Country travel writer  and social media manager.&nbsp;

On location at G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park as the Chickasaw Country travel writer and social media manager. 

Isn’t it too early to ask me about how I got here? I’m not really anywhere, yet. I have, however, found a position I really, really love in an industry fueling my passion in agriculture and food. Hashtag blessed.

I just took the Drake approach, triple pound.

Huh?  A translation:

AUSTIN – Brooke Haney started from the bottom much like Canadian rapper, Aubrey Drake Graham.
###

If you want to be a social media manager, a few tips:

1) Build your own brand. 

Hiring managers want to know you’re interesting and capable enough to build a community from a brand lacking name recognition.

That’s what I want to know, at least. If I, for example, tasked you with building a voice and community around a drywall company, I’ll expect you can make it happen. I want to know you’re hard working, deeply creative and the perfect combination of abstract-random and OCD.

2) Seek clients, not agencies.

Use search engines to your advantage and find brands you want spend your nights and weekends with – because you will, in fact, work nights, weekends and holidays.

Disclaimer: Eventually you’ll want to find the Cinderella of all companies to return your glass slipper, but when you’re first starting wouldn’t you want to see the genius behind the Roaming Gnome or Taco Bell’s tweets.

3) Be a sponge.

Video shoot with National Gypsum's  Ask for PURPLE campaign  featuring DIY Network's Anitra Mecadon.&nbsp;

Video shoot with National Gypsum's Ask for PURPLE campaign featuring DIY Network's Anitra Mecadon. 

During the past 12 months, I’ve worked with teams pertaining the following topics: tourism, craft beer, drywall, college football, commerce, sustainable gardening, animal nutrition, animal care, food, soybeans, probiotics, animal genetics, vector control, crop science and advocacy.You never know when you may need life experience to help you in your day job.

4. Familiarize yourself with all forms of communication.

There’s a story about a professor who filled a jar full of rocks, then sand, then water. Go ahead, google it.

Rocks: PR, magazines, commercials, billboards, books...

Sand: websites, banner ads…

Water: social media…

Ensure your résumé (or LinkedIn profile) doesn’t categorize you before you’re ready to be categorized. For me, I followed opportunities in search of creative solutions, which is probably why I did well in that math functions course in college (also known as fun with numbers).

If you’re the type of human who considers “what if” or “why not” or is determined to figure it out. Well, you’re basically my favorite type of human.

If you’re interested in digital and social media, I’m here for you. If I can’t answer your questions, I can find someone who can.

 

Baby talk.

I fell in love with an otter. It's true. His name is Ottie. He likes to give high fives and he made my voice all high pitched. Some people call this "baby talk." I call it strange.

Hello, World!

Read about my adventures at Tiger Safari on Canvasing Chickasaw Country.

Monday recap.

Monday.Wake up. Shower. Remember it’s a day off. Watch inauguration.

Brooke_Clay_Oklahoma_Farm_Bureau

Hang out with a few folks at Oklahoma Farm Bureau. Discuss social media, agriculture and Oklahoma. Reaffirm my love for social media.

FlowersFrom_Kelly_Rivard

Come home to flowers from the lovely Kelly Rivard. Gush about orange flowers to everyone. Watch the best episode of How I Met Your Mother. Window shop a new Macbook Pro computer on the interwebs.

Flowers_From_Kelly_Rivard

Write a Monday recap just to gush about orange roses. Remember this is the second post in one day. Turn computer off and hit the hay at 9 p.m. Monday over

Working from home has a lot of perks
Working with Bogart Cornett

With a title of travel writer and social media manager, I have the flexibility of working from home a few days a week. It’s quite lovely having the ability to stretch the creative capabilities of one’s mind in an atmosphere that is ever changing. Each week my office differs from my car, the couch, the office (I work with a wonderful group of social media managers) and sometimes a coworker’s couch. Yesterday, I had a meeting in Bricktown and while on my way home to finish a blog post, I decided I should swing by Marek’s and work from her couch. I mean, I was in her ‘hood and all.

From her couch, we were able to brainstorm social media strategies and catch a few episodes of Gilmore Girls.

The creativity of content creation and telling a brand’s story is something that makes my heart flutter like teenager at a middle school dance. Working with like-minded people who understand the importance of social media marketing, who thrive in a creative atmosphere, and have the ability to achieve results are exactly the people I want to surround myself with on a daily basis.

Of course, after a long morning of discussing social media strategy, Marek and I were off to lunch. Her lovely apartment is within walking distance of the Oklahoma City’s newest dining venue ─ Kitchen No. 324.

Holy bacon, Batman. Per my carnivore taste bud’s request, I ordered the Hand Carved BLT (McCabe’s small batch bacon, oven roasted tomatoes, lettuce, avocado mayonnaise, supermarket white.) To be fair there’s not a whole lot I can say about this bacon that won’t warrant the response, “that’s what she said.”

The atmosphere in Kitchen is urban, sophisticated and extremely trendy.  You can catch lunch with a colleague, brunch with the girls and coffee with your main squeeze. I mean, if squeezing is your thing.

The dining venues in Oklahoma City are becoming more spectacular by the season. Known for our unpredictable weather, friendly folks and cowboy kicks - I believe it's safe to assume we could add dining venues to that list.

Stop by Kitchen No. 324. Your stomach can thank me later.

Kitchen No. 324's BLT.

- - - - - - - - -

In non-related Rural Gone Urban news: While wearing my work hat, I discovered a new boutique in Purcell.  

This is real life.

Almost a year ago, I had a wonderful job. I worked with great people - but I was complacent. Also, I didn't use the word "I" as much as I am right now. Probably. I read somewhere (let's get real, I read it on Pinterest.) that you should do for the rest of your life what you do when you're procrastinating. Well, that was networking via Social Media, blogging, and seeking new adventures.

Naturally, upon reading such a statement and taking a few days to ponder what exactly that job could be I tabled it for another lifetime. Who in their right mind would ever pay me  to manage a social media community, travel and then write about my experiences - in my voice?

One day I found a listing for a travel writer and eCommunity manager. Honestly, I didn't think too much of it. With a B.S. in Agricultural Communications and an M.Ag. in International Agriculture I thought I would for sure be the laughing stock of the individual receiving my application.

So, going against every fiber of career seeking advice I'd ever received, I applied. Using that term loosely, I sent an email hyperlinking all my social media properties (including Rural Gone Urban).

Fast forward 8 months later.... I sort of have a job doing what I do when procrastinating. Except, I'm not procrastinating.

Folks, this is real life. Also, can we agree to never talk about how poor my punctuation is today? And, "folks"? What is this the Waltons?

Oh, for the life..

It went LIVE today.

This is not a test.

If you visit www.ChickasawCountry.com - there will be a website... and my face and voice in all of it's abstract randomness will be there.

Excuse me while I panic. It's like that moment when you send the last approval of a print project to the printer... you can't take it back. It's there. It's live.

Over.

Brainstorming 101

I never know what to blog about. I mean, what is the purpose of this blog? It's to tell you what I'm doing in my life from my abstract random perspective, right?

Well, I mean, I blog for a living... so the things I'm talking about on www.ChickasawCountry.com (to be published NEXT MONDAY) I can't really talk about on here... But, you can follow me over there on twitter, Facebook, and even Pinterest.

I've been working on embracing my urban life. By definition this means attending Oscars parties. I mean, why not? I did have a pair of shoes I purchased two years ago laying around... they needed to be worn.

And a really great friend to serve as my arm candy. (insert evil laughter...) Seriously, ladies, this guy is legit. The best "psuedo boyfriend" a girl could have. He doesn't even rub it in that he's smarter than I could even dream of being.

On occasion, I watch my little sister show her heifers. I can't let myself embrace the urban life too much.

Is this what you guys want? Or - do you want the I'm a serial first dater blog? Because, I'm that, too. Seriously.

Working from Home... is AWESOME.

Let's skip the part where I tell you how blessed I am that I have an incredible job that allows me to go to the office and collaborate with colleagues or stay at home and collaborate with my couch as much as I want. This post is a tutorial on how to successfully work at home and be productive.

To be honest, I'm still in the beginning stages of this whole deal - but I'll give it a go.

1. Set your alarm and get up. Mine {alarm} is set somewhere in the 6 o'clocks. I hit snooze once or twice then it's up and at 'em just like I was heading to the office. 

2. Make a list. This is extremely important for those of you who are like me and are not naturally type-A individuals. When I'm working at home, my list has two parts: my work list, and my home list. For some reason, taking my sharpie and completing something on my list is refreshing!

3. Turn the television off. This is simple for me considering I don't have cable! Yeah, you read that correctly - I don't have cable! Why is this important? Think about it! How many times have you sat down to watch just one episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians and the next thing you know it's time for bed? Point proven.

4. Have a work space. Ok - I'm still working on this. My work space is currently my couch. It works for me. It might not for you - try a desk. 

5. Use your lunch hour. Yes! I'm telling you to have a lunch hour! Personally, I use this time to watch shows on hulu. 

6. Use your noggin. Remember that you have an incredible job that offers flexibility and don't abuse your situation!

Whew, those are my top 6. I'm sure my list will grow. Although I'm not a stay-at-home-mom or stay-at-home-wife, I understand why people love working from home! I'm so productive and I'm happier! Honestly.

Molly loves that I work from home, too!

New adventures

In one week my life has completely changed. Not in a depressing-post-secret-app way, but in a my blessings are expanding by the second and my chipmunk cheeks are starting to hurt from smiling too much I'm a travel blogger.

Really. Hold on, I need to say it again, I'm a travel blogger.

I've been to Nicaragua, Argentina, Scotland, England, France - and now I get to explore my own home state as a job. Really, Oklahoma has some amazing adventures and it needs to start preparing itself for me.

Is it is a job if it's so much fun?

(also - I'm writing this from my new iPad - for someone who considers herself quite "techy" this wordpress isn't quite cutting it.)

I can't wait until the blog goes live so I cam share it with you!

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Look! It's my 'official' pic!

Employer: none. {For today.}

Today, I’m unemployed. Technically. For the first time in since I was 15, for an entire work day, I cannot list an employer.

Yesterday I had a job, Tuesday I will start a new one – but today, this weekend – I’m nothing by a lay-by-the pool, wear my orange to Stillwater, unemployed citizen.

It’s wonderful.

How I got my start in the earning-a-paycheck-world. I got my first job when my friend Mykie asked if I would cover her shift at our hometown diner. My dad dropped me off and I learned to take orders and make nice with the coffee crowd. When my boss made an appearance, I introduced myself and told him I was the “new girl.”

Only in a small town can you skip the application, interview and meeting your boss before you tackle the lunch crowd.

This is where I first learned to juggle life obligations.

School. Basketball practice. Homework. Caring for livestock. That boy who drove the orange muscle car.

So excuse me if I lay by the pool and soak up a few cancer rays before I tackle the land of glitter, tailgating and magic.

Today, I’m going to lay here and rationalize which of the 48 uni combinations my Cowboys will be wearing tomorrow.