2019, blog, blog post, blogpost, marketing, myblog, Uncategorized

Digital Marketing Tips for Wedding Vendors, from a Future Bride

So, I’m recently engaged and have been researching reception venues and attending wedding shows to get ideas. With my digital marketing knowledge, I can’t help but think that some of the vendors I’ve interacted with aren’t doing the best marketing they could. I want to take a moment to reflect on what I observe wedding vendors doing and what I think, from a digital marketing perspective, they ought to be doing.

 

  • Adjust your CTA for your audience

What they do: At wedding shows, most vendors seem to all have the call-to-action of “Buy Now!” For example, photo booth vendors told me how they were offering a discounted price, but only if I booked today. I was at the bridal show just to browse and to get ideas. I even told the photo booth vendor that I didn’t have a date yet, no venue, but he still gave me his brochure advertising his today-only-deal and wanted me to book him right then. No way, dude!

What they should do: Meet your customers where they are at. At wedding shows especially, switch your CTA to match brides who are in the awareness stage. Make your CTA “Subscribe to my email newsletter for wedding planning tips” or “follow me on Instagram to enter for a chance to win something” so you’re adding value to the bride, and you’re staying top of mind for when she’s ready to book. Maybe some brides are ready to book the photo booth that day, but you need to talk to her first and assume that every bride is in the awareness, not the decision-making stage of the marketing funnel. Measure the success of a bridal show by new website visitors, Instagram followers, and email subscribers, not by the amount of revenue made that day.

  • Meet in person as soon as possible

What they do: A lot of wedding vendors have a Contact Us page on their website and when someone fills that out, they email the bride back with more information and it becomes this back and forth email chain until eventually, someone stops responding.

What they should do: Immediately offer to meet the bride for coffee. Try to schedule an in-person meeting as soon as your schedules will allow. Vendors who I met in person, I felt a strong connection to and was extremely more likely to book with them. I felt loyal to them, I knew them, I trusted them and wanted to work with them.

For example, When I was looking for a wedding planner, I sent out several emails asking different planners for more information about their services.  One of the planners emailed me back the next day asking to meet up for coffee, another planner asked to schedule a phone call, and the third asked me to fill out an online questionnaire. Guess which planner I ended up booking? The one I met in-person. You can’t underestimate the power of a face to face real conversation. I’m reading Sherry Turkle’s “Reclaiming Conversation” right now and her thesis is that young people are losing the ability to hold a conversation and that no amount of technology can replace the power of a face-to-face conversation. I may be young but hell no, I’m not going to sign on a contract with someone I haven’t met face-to-face. I need to meet you in person and feel a connection if I’m going to work with you on my wedding day.

  • No response from her means don’t send her any more emails

What they do: A bride requests information so the vendor emails the info to the bride. She asks a question, they respond over email. She doesn’t respond again. The vendor then sends her emails with additional pictures of the venue, additional information, additional dates, etc. These emails continue, once a week, if not more. Eventually, the bride marks the emails as spam, hurting the vendor’s email domain reputation.

What they should do: Listen to your customer. Respect their wishes if they don’t want to hear from you. If they don’t ask you any follow-up questions or request a tour, assume this means they are thinking about it. They’ll let you know if they have questions! You risk damaging your reputation and coming off as difficult to work with if you badger brides with continuous emails. It’s a delicate balance between one follow up email a week or two after your first email and then no follow up. I’d lean toward no follow-up, because from my perspective, no follow up will change my mind.

  • Don’t use scare tactics

What they do: At bridal shows, I hear vendors ask questions designed to spark fear and insecurity. “Do you know what you’re going to do for your first dance?” “When’s the big day?” “Where are you getting married?” “How will your guests remember your big day?” “Have you booked this yet? Time’s running out!” “Have you thought of what you’ll do with your wedding dress after your big day?” “Did you know fall is the busiest wedding season?” “Good luck choosing 10.10.2020!”  Ack!

What they should do: Ask questions to get to know the bride, not scary questions that will only stress her out even more. Build a relationship with her. Don’t just talk to her like she’s a clueless pile of cash. I wanted to hear more vendors ask general simple questions like “Where are you with your wedding planning?” “How’s the wedding planning going?” This question allows me to volunteer the information I feel comfortable sharing and my answer doesn’t make me feel bad.

  • Acknowledge how you got my email address

What they do: After I attended my first wedding show, I suddenly got all these emails from vendors I had never heard of. No introduction, no explanation of how they got my email, just a cold hard sales pitch.

What they should do: Acknowledge that you got my email from the wedding show and tell me you’re adding me to your email newsletter. Give me the option to unsubscribe, front and center. In this age of increased data privacy and customers trusting brands and businesses less and less, be transparent with your customers about how you obtain your marketing data.

Capture
A good example of how you should first email your leads. This DJ emailed me and acknowledged how he got my contact information.

 

wendys bridal
I got this email from Wendy’s Bridal and appreciated how they explicitly said how they got my email and gave me the option to unsubscribe. Way to respect your brides!

 

  • Follow up by email or phone

What they do: I talk to a vendor in person, we connect, I ask for a follow-up, they say they will, and then I never hear from them.

What they should do: Stay true to your word. Follow-up with a bride you connected with by email the next day. Remind her what you talked about, give her additional details, and thank her for her time. Do what you told her you were going to do and follow up by email when you say you will.

If you really want to knock it out of the park, try answering her email with a phone call. Depending on the bride, she could be impressed by your dedication and appreciate the ease of a phone call rather than a long email. I experienced this where I emailed a vendor with questions, he called me 15 minutes later to answer my questions and we ended up talking for 30 minutes and of course, I booked a tour.

 

One more note is that I’m always impressed by businesses in the wedding industry who treat their customers like human beings. I think the venue, The Henry Manor, did this best with their plain-text follow-up email to attendees of a bridal show. Note how in the second paragraph they state how they want to earn my business. That was so refreshing to read because it contrasted all the other wedding emails I’d received. I appreciated this down to earth email:

Screen Shot 2019-11-18 at 9.12.45 PM
Down to earth follow up email to brides who attended a bridal show. Notice the casual tone of voice and how it’s just plain text, like a friend would write to you. 

 

I hope you found this informative and hey, if you know of any wedding vendors in Columbus, I’m in the market!

2019, About Me, blog, blog post, blogpost, myblog, personal

An unforgettable Valentine’s Day

Nate surprised me with an unforgettable Valentine’s Day. I feel so loved.

He picked me up after work and we drove to campus. The whole drive, I was trying to guess what we were doing and where we were going. We parked at Chadwick Arboretum, where we had a picnic on our second date. Nate told me he had an evening planned walking down memory lane. I started to tear up; it was just so thoughtful. We strolled around the pond at Chadwick, talking about who we were back then and how we were both so nervous and unsure where the relationship would go.

I remember that after the picnic, almost three years ago, we went to the Chocolate Café. So, on our walk down memory lane, that’s where we went next! Okay, we weren’t the only ones with the idea to go to the Chocolate Café on Valentine’s Day but the wait wasn’t that bad. I ordered the lobster bisque soup and a Dirty Girl Scout martini. Nate ordered a dirty martini, the special sandwich which was pulled pork, mango and habanero with a side of cream of mushroom soup. I never get tired of talking to Nate. We always find new things to learn about each other. We talked about our babysitters when we were little. I liked babysitters because they’d ask me what I wanted to do and Nate said he’d just walk over to a friend’s house and didn’t really have babysitters.

Nate warned me that the last thing on our itinerary had a set start time but it was okay if we were late. What could it be? He told me we’d been there before, there’d be food available, and it would probably end around 10pm. I had no clue. We drove back home and parked. That’s when I connected the dots that we were going to a Blue Jackets game. I’d get to see my other Valentine, Cam Atkinson! It was so sweet of Nate to surprise me with hockey tickets. We got there at the end of first period. The guy next to us had a thick British accent and kept yelling very British things like “rough ‘em up, lads!” and “Come on, lads.” I got a tub of popcorn at the end of the second period and ate about half of it. The Blue Jackets weren’t playing their best and lost 0-3 to the New York Islanders. Oh well.

I still had a memorable and romantic evening. We came home and watched some old Pixar shorts that I had on DVD.       

2018, myblog, personal, Uncategorized

Glamours of air travel

Doodles about my crazy morning trying to get to Houston.
You catch more bees with honey than vinegar.
You’re capable of more than you think, especially when you’re not afraid to ask for help.
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It started this morning at 6 am, when Nate drove me to the airport. I boarded my American Airlines flight at 8:30am, ready to head to Dallas where I’d have a one-hour layover then catch a connection to Houston. I was looking forward to seeing my Aunt Susan and the rest of my family. Then, I would drive to Dallas for a work conference.Sitting on the flight, about to take off, the pilot loudly announces that there’s an issue with one of the navigation instruments and that maintenance is looking into it. An hour goes by. The pilot comes back on to tell us they can’t fix it and we have to get off the plane. As we trudge off back into the terminal, a gate agent hands us pre printed postcards with a hotline to call and info about our options.

I’m naive about flying and honestly thought they would direct us to a new plane and the flight would leave immediately. I started to follow the people in front of me until I realized they didn’t know anything that I didn’t know at that moment. I’m such a follower. Instead of going to a new plane, we all stood in a long line waiting to speak to the gate agent to make other arrangements.
My first thought was panic. What do I do? I’m alone. I can’t do this. I don’t know. I can feel my breathing growing shallow and felt very aware of the other passengers all paired up, helping each other book new travel plans.
I texted my mom and dad to tell them what happened, looking to them for advice. My mom told me to talk to the gate agent. My dad told me to take a Southwest flight. He researched flights and told me about one that was leaving at noon. By now it was 9am.
I got a text message from American saying my flight to Dallas was delayed until 12:30pm. If I took that American flight, then I’d just be stranded in Dallas. I had a choice to stick with American, try to get rebooked somehow or switch to Southwest.

The guy behind me in the non-moving line to speak with a service agent, was talking about the 12:30pm flight and I asked if he knew anything more and he said he’d gotten rebooked by calling the 800 number. So, I put away my hesitation to call the 800 number and dialed. I politely gave the woman on the other end of the phone my record locator number. I think these phone reps have such a hard job and deal with so many jerks. The least I can do, is not be a jerk to them. Especially because I need them to help me. The representative told me there was a flight got Houston leaving at 3pm, laying over in North Carolina and arriving in Houston at 7pm. That itinerary sounded terrible. She said I could always cancel my reservation and book with another airline. So that was it. I called my dad and over the phone, we booked the Southwest flight. Scribbling on the back of my ticket I wrote down my confirmation number and my immediate to do list.

  • Cancel American flight. Only cancel inbound flight, not return flight.
  • Call Volunteers of America.
  • Call Aunt Susan.
  • Call Nate.
I ran through my list of people I needed to tell about this and then exited the American terminal. I could finally breathe easy, I’d overcome this hurdle.
Not yet. Dad texted me saying he’d booked the flight for tomorrow, not today. I stared at my phone in disbelief. This wasn’t happening.
My dad apologized and told me there was a similar flight available for today. I went to the Southwest Airlines gate and to my surprise, there wasn’t a line to speak with an agent. Instead of telling the representative the whole story of this morning, I said that I’d like to change my reservation. She pulled up my flight and I told her I’d like to be booked on Flight 38. I held my breath. I expected a firm “no, that flight is booked.” It would be too easy if this were to work. She looked up at me and said “yes, we can do that.” She printed my boarding pass and wished Ms.Gillum a nice flight.
And so, here I am, in the Southwest gate waiting for this new flight. Going thru airport security twice in one day seems like cruel and unusual punishment. I’m thankful for my smartphone, for decent strangers, for my dad helping me so much, for my Aunt Susan being flexible and for my work for being understanding.

56105620516__fa066004-d2f0-49ec-9573-eb6e656cc046
My “I’m tired, maybe I should’ve just driven” face

2018, blog, blog post, blogpost, myblog, Uncategorized

How to Answer Top 10 Interview Questions

pexels-photo-630839.jpeg

Interviewing for a job can be tough. You want to be honest but still show yourself in the best light. It’s a nerve-wracking process!  Learn about the best strategies to approach 10 common interview questions.

  1. Tell me about yourself.

This is where you can give your elevator speech. Make sure what you say aligns with how your qualifications match the job description. No need to give your life story from birth or go into personal matters. Focus on the meaningful job experience you’ve had. Bonus point if you throw in a fun fact that highlights your personality. I like to mention I was President of my college Quidditch team because that shows my leadership experience and shows I like Harry Potter. It usually causes the interviewer to ask what Quidditch is or gawk that it’s  real sport.

2. Why are you leaving your current role?

Never bad mouth a former employer. Don’t talk smack about co-workers, the company, the role, anything. Keep it positive. If currently employed, you can say that you’re looking for career growth. No one can fault you for wanting to grow your career. I like to say I’m looking for a new challenge or a place where I can use my strengths.

3. Why should I hire you?

I’m always tempted to smart-ass this question and answer “Because.” Something tells me that answer would be frowned upon. When answering this interview question, mention your relevant skills. You should be prepared for this question because it’s honestly what the whole interview is about and everyone knows you should prepare before the interview. You can’t stammer or hesitate on this one. Think about what the company and the interviewer needs and show them YOU are the solution.

4. Why do you want to work at our company?

This question translates to “Do you know who we are? Have you done your research?” Try to invest an hour or so researching the company’s website and their LinkedIn profile. Try to read their annual report or latest news release. Every hour of an interview = 2 hours of research.  Bonus points for researching who will be interviewing you. Do you have anything in common with them? Subtly bring that up in the interview. “You went to Denison? I also went to Denison!”  or   “I couldn’t help but notice you used to work at Disney World. My family has gone there every year since I was born. What a magical place!”

5. Why have you been out of work for so long?

Ick, this question just plain sucks and feels rude to me but you gotta answer it.  Try and mention any volunteer experience you’ve done, any freelancing you done and frame caring for your family as the full-time demanding job that it is. Admit that you’re taking time to reflect on who you are and what job would be best for you. Talk about how you read the book What Color is Your Parachute or did some personality tests to better understand how you can best serve a company.

6. Tell me a situation when your work was criticized.

Tell a story. Paint them a picture that they will remember after the interview. Admit that you were at fault or failed somehow but give it a positive spin. Show the resolution and emphasize that you welcome criticism and how it helps you grow. (Pro tip: Avoid mentioning your tendency to cry every time you’re criticized).

7. Could you have done better in your last job?

Always. Point out hindsight is 20/20 and very carefully give an instance or tell a story of something you would’ve done differently or would’ve liked to have done. Mention you’re a lifelong learner and always improving yourself. This question could quickly turn south, so approach with caution.

8. What are your goals?

Mention 1-2 specific work-related or professional goals. Don’t say you have no goals or list vague goals. State a SMART goal that relates to your professional career. Or, you can talk about a personal goal.

9. How much money do you want?

Oh geez, I think people have written entire books about how to answer this question. There’s a lot of conflicting advice out there about this question too. I vote to ask “Do you have a budget or pay range in mind?” but then again I’ve heard that the first person to throw out a number wins. I don’t like to say my current salary because I’m not applying for my current role, I’m applying for a new role, so it should have a new salary.  Do you research and know what you’re worth and state your range from X to Y. Keep in mind the company’s benefits and what those are worth to you. If it’s an hourly job you’re looking at, take the hourly rate and multiply by 2080 to find your annual salary.

10. How old are you?

This is an illegal question that I’ve been asked before and answered. You certainly don’t have to answer illegal questions about how many kids you have, religion, sexual orientation, birth control use, citizenship and marriage. You can reply with “How is this relevant to the position?”

 

Interviewing is hard! It can be tough to brag about yourself or show that you are the best candidate for the role. With experience, you’ll get better and it will hopefully start to feel more like a friendly conversation than an interrogation.

2017, april, blog, classpass, fitness, may, myblog, review

ClassPass

I wanted to start exercising this spring. When I was researching gyms to possibly join in Columbus, I stumbled upon ClassPass. I’d seen their Facebook Ads and wanted to learn more about them. The trial offer was a good deal and I was excited about the idea of trying new studios to consider joining. 
From April 17- May 17 I did ten various fitness classes in Columbus. At first I thought ten classes a month wouldn’t be enough but I later found it tough to squeeze in all ten classes into my busy schedule.
I enjoyed ClassPass and would recommend it to those who like variety, new adventures and can afford it. 
There were times in classes when I just had to take a deep breath and laugh at myself. There’s always going to be people in a class who have done that routine or those moves for years and are way better than you. That’s okay. I liked trying new classes that I otherwise wouldn’t have booked. I also met some other nice girls, some of them also “ClassPass” like me. 

Here’s the fitness classes in Columbus I did and how I reviewed them: 

Fit Jump

Tue, 05/16
6:00 – 7:00 pm
1645 Gateway Cir, Grove City, OH, 43123

Did not like this class. It was boring and repetitive.  The instructor was a high school freshmen who kept looking at a printed out sheet of notes. She never corrected anyone’s form or said anything motivational. I could hardly hear her. We’d bounce for a minute, do push ups for a minute, then repeat. I found myself zoning out and counting down the minutes til the class was over. The instructor seemed to be doing the same. At one point, we did exercises on the ground and I could’ve done those at home myself. I wanted to do exercises on the trampolines or in the ball pit. This class was disappointing.  

Intro to Aerial Silks

Mon, 05/15
6:00 – 7:30 pm
1411 W 3rd Ave, Columbus, OH, 43212

I thought I wouldn’t enjoy this class but I actually did. It was easier than pole dancing but still required upper body strength. I was challenged and the instructor was willing to help. She was so patient and kind. That made all the difference. I was amazed at what I was able to do. I wouldn’t mind taking this class again. I was a bit sore the next day. 

Barre in the Village

Mon, 5/8
6:00 – 7:00 pm
503 City Park Ave, Columbus, OH, 43215
This wasn’t my favorite class. I felt very cramped and close to my neighbor. I couldn’t extend my legs or arms all the way without hitting her. Throughout class, I wasn’t sure if I was doing any of the moves right. The instructor was loud and friendly. She introduced herself by asking me if I had any injuries. Um, no. If I did, I’d let you know. My arms felt sore the next day so I guess it was a good workout.

SpinFlex60

Sun, 5/7
5:15 – 6:15 pm
6367 Sawmill Rd, Dublin, OH, 43017
This was a great workout and I liked the variety and loved the instructor. She was really down-to-earth, motivational and offered modifications and corrections. It’s a very nice studio, right by Trader Joes. I would go back and definitely take classes from Sarah again. She was fantastic.

Barre7

Thu, 5/4
6:00 – 7:00 pm
275 S 3rd St, Columbus, OH, 43215
Julie is the best instructor I’ve ever had. It was a great workout. I wish I could give it six stars! She’s so inspirational and filled with knowledge. It was a challenging yet achievable workout. Highly recommend this class to everyone.

Fit Jump

Mon, 5/1
7:00 – 8:00 pm
3967 Presidential Pkwy, Powell, OH, 43065
It was a tough but fun workout. I couldn’t help but smile when we were bouncing on the trampoline but then that smile faded when we started doing suicides, frog legs, push ups, etc. I worked up quite a sweat. The instructor is tough but fair. I wish she had explained how exactly to do some of the more tricky moves. The class was small with just me and 5 “regulars”

Zumba

Fri, 4/28
6:30 – 7:15 pm
640 Lakeview Plaza Blvd, Suite A, Columbus, OH, 43085
Not super intense, but a great way to blow off some steam. Had a good time 

Beginner Pole

Wed, 4/26
7:45 – 8:45 pm
3408 Indianola Ave, Columbus, OH, 43214
I left class feeling frustrated. The class was labeled Beginner but the majority of the class had been dancing for years/ had their own pole in their basement/ could do spinning pole dancing. Everyone else in the class got the hang of it instantly. The instructor, Devon, gave up on me after awkwardly trying to help me twice. It wasn’t much of a workout and the pole was crazy slippery. Only take this class if you can do a few pull ups and have great upper body strength. And wear shorts. You can’t do the class in yoga capri pants. You have to wear shorts. Even though their website says you can wear yoga pants. Don’t.

Hydro Power Jam

Mon, 4/24
7:00 – 8:00 pm
3111 Hayden Rd, Columbus, OH, 43235
Laura is a really nice instructor. The workout wasn’t the most intense. I wanted it to be more challenging. There were a lot of older women in the group and some of them seem more focused on gossiping than doing the moves. Sawmill has a nice pool, locker room, hot tub and sauna.

Dance Mixx

Fri, 4/21
6:00 – 7:00 pm
1145 Kenny Centre Mall, Columbus, OH, 43220
The staff is really friendly and welcoming. The instructor came over and introduced herself and explained how the class would go. I liked the music and the dance moves. The instructor was so upbeat and motivating. It was a good workout.

And that’s all I have to say about my experience with a one-month trial of ClassPass in Columbus. 
2017, Baking, blog, cookies, debbie, may, myblog, recipe

Cookie de Tacos

Happy Cinco de Mayo! 
I celebrated by creating these adorable cookie tacos for a surprise birthday party for one of Nate’s friends. 
Colorful Cookie Tacos
This type of plate helped the tacos stay upright 
Ingredients:
Golden Oreos
Sprinkles
Chocolate Frosting 
Food Coloring (green, yellow, red)
Coconut flakes (I used unsweetened) 
Instructions: 
  1. Using the food coloring, dye the coconut flakes a green (lettuce) or an orange-yellow color (cheese) I used shot glasses to stir the food coloring into the coconut flakes. 
  2. Remove the top part of the Oreo and remove the inner frosting (My frosting disappeared into my mouth…) 
  3. Carefully cut in half the Oreo cookie. Sometimes I just broke it apart and other times I used a knife in a sawing motion. 
  4. Put the two half pieces together in your hand and add a spoonful of chocolate frosting 
  5. Dip it into sprinkles and colored coconut toppings 
After the first couple, I had a nice assembly line going and it wasn’t too labor intensive. 
My work station 
I saw this on Pinterest and wanted to try to make it myself
2017, blog, debbie, may, myblog

It’s me, blog. Been a while.

I don’t know if I can even call myself a blogger anymore because this “blog” has been nothing but dust and tumbleweeds. Ugh, I hope this isn’t one of those “Heyyyy guys srry I fell off the face of the earth” blog posts.

I’ve been living IRL and leaving reviews of Columbus places I’ve been to on Yelp.  Most recently, I wrote about The Eagle and Tea Zone Bakery and Cafe.

My roommate and I got a cat. So that’s what I’ve been up to right meow. Get it?

Plumpkin’s Photo Booth session

I’ve been staying busy with my new job at Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio, which I love. I’m doing a lot of fun and impactful work that I sincerely enjoy.

I’m also helping Last Call Trivia with their marketing strategy and social media. I’ve been writing blog posts and social media strategy for them.

I’m volunteering as a Committee Member for the Activities Village for The Columbus Arts Festival in June. I volunteered last year and liked it so I thought I’d take the leap and join a committee.

I traveled to Michigan and Tennessee with my boyfriend Nate. Can you say fun? I love spending time with him and exploring new places together.

I joined ClassPass as a one month trial and have been going to fitness classes 2-3 times a week all over town. It’s been fun trying new styles of fitness classes like water aerobics, jazzercise, trampoline fitness, barre, and zumba.

I’m going to be a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding in September. I bought my dress and so now I’m looking for shoes.

On the weekends, I work at the Pet Wellness Vet clinic, filling out paperwork, restraining animals, as well as talking to customers about dog and cat vaccinations and medicine.  It can get pretty hectic sometimes and my background isn’t in veterinary medicine so people will often ask me questions I have to admit I don’t know the answer to and ask a co-worker for help. I also make Facebook posts and events for the clinic. It’s pretty fun to “research” cute dog videos to post.
Furthermore, I launched Pet Wellness Vet’s new website.  It’s based on WordPress so it’s easy to update.

TBH mostly I’ve been hanging out with Fiona. 

And that’s about all I have to say about that.

2017, blog, book, book review, debbie, debbie gillum, myblog

Sugar Book Review

Not as Sweet as Sugar 

I have mixed thoughts about the new novel Sugar by Kimberly Stuart. I liked the beginning but had issues with the middle and end. I liked the overall story but not the execution and would’ve liked for it to be more risk-taking. 

I appreciated the opening scenes when Charlie (the female protagonist) is a hard-working pastry chef, baking away her life in NYC. Those scenes caught my attention and drew me into the book. They were told with such authority and commanding details. Someone getting stabbed in the kitchen for misplacing a head chef’s knife is definitely attention grabbing. But alas, Charlie doesn’t stay at that restaurant or in NYC. 

Later on in the book, once she has moved to Seattle, I found myself skimming through the scenes with the dates Charlie had with Kai because they felt so cheesy and rehearsed. It was like watching a CW or ABC Family TV show. 
Also, Charlie is not the most likeable of characters. She’s so neurotic and controlling.
The chapters were short and choppy, not in a good way. A couple times I thought scenes needed to play out longer and that the author just didn’t want to write that scene. 

Several parts of the book felt cliche to me, especially Manda’s kids and Avery as a character. It wasn’t a shocker when Avery turned out not to have Charlie’s best interests in mind. I liked the reality TV show aspect of the book but even that felt cliche. Like it seemed as if the author just guessed at what a reality TV show is probably like or did research by watching reality TV. Ugh. 
The ending of the novel was a beautiful fairy tale one where all Charlie’s dreams come true. Life doesn’t work that way. What if Kai didn’t take her back? What if Charlie couldn’t get out of her contract? 

 It was an entertaining read but I don’t want to read it again. I’d recommend it to someone who likes baking or reading about high-stress upscale baking and wants an easy beachy read. 
2017, blog, book, book review, february, myblog

"How to Murder Your Life" Book Review

This weekend, I inhaled the memoir “How to Murder Your Life” by Cat Marnell
It’s all I talked about to my roommate and boyfriend. 
I first heard about this book when it was mentioned in a magazine page suggesting books to read (I think it was Glamour but the fact-checkers have not confirmed this yet).  Now, I think it’s a bit ironic that Cat’s career began and ended in magazines and then her tell-all, drug-infused memoir is promoted inside the pages of a magazine. 
I loved the book. I laughed out loud a few times and was both inspired and disgusted by her life. I burst out laughing when she described getting into a car with a guy who immediately shot up some drugs into his arm and she sarcastically said how turned on this made her. She admitted it was gross but that was her life at the time. I couldn’t help but be impressed by how she landed multiple positions at Conde Nast, by how much she partied and how little she slept. She’s an impressive woman but I wouldn’t recommend this book to any middle schoolers, that’s for sure. 
I enjoyed reading about the highs and lows of her life, that she so openly shared. She explained how she couldn’t focus in class in high school and so her psychiatrist dad then prescribed Adderall and how that changed her life. She was hooked. From then on, she needed the pills in order to function and was too energized to sleep so she needed to start taking sleeping pills, and you get the idea. The frenzied sentences, the repetition of phrases and self-loathing scenes seemed to capture what addiction feels like.  
The writing felt so fresh to me and like I was reading a friend’s blog. So casual and revealing. 
While reading the book, I had never heard of Cat Marnell and didn’t know that she looked like a real-life Barbie doll (No seriously, Google her.) 

Ultimately, I loved her writing. It was raw, relevant and real. I usually only read memoirs by comedians and so this was a refreshing memoir from someone who is glamorous, funny yet also very addicted to Adderall (even in the Afterword she acknowledged that she hasn’t stopped doing drugs.) She’s had a fascinating life and I can’t wait to see what she will do next. This is the best book I’ve read in a while. 
2017, blog, columbus, january, myblog, review, yelp

Cuts Off High review

Picture from Yelp


I went to Cuts Off High for the first time in January and it was a great but very unique experience. 

I needed a hair cut so I searched on Yelp for the best hair cuts in Columbus. This place was one of the top picks. Out of 41 reviews, he has almost 5 stars. Wow! 

To schedule an appointment, I called, left a voicemail, Ray texted me back with an available time, that same day and that was that. I’ve never been texted by a hair stylist before in a non-automated way so it was a refreshingly human change. 

Ray, the barber, is very friendly and listens to what you have to say. He is interesting to talk with and has a lot of opinions he will happily share with you. He takes great pride in his work and in educating his customers. I liked that he showed me how to care for and style my hair. My favorite part was that he didn’t try and sell me a bunch of hair products or things I didn’t want. I’d gone to a lot of other salons over the year and always felt pressured into buying their shampoo or hair products. 

Don’t expect any frills in this salon. With the $22 women’s haircut, there wasn’t a shampoo, he just misted my hair with water, and then blow dried it. The salon isn’t anything fancy, there’s no receptionist to get you coffee, etc.  I did read from other reviews that he has free beverages and fruit in the lobby. I was there at 6pm and didn’t see anything.

The service was good, the price was right and a month later, I’m still enjoying the layers in my hair cut, so I would go back here or recommend him to a friend.


Originally shared on Yelp

from Yelp