Think this is a post about sending a mini off to elementary school? Not so much. It’s me who is heading back to school!
This fall (as in, starting next week!), I’ll be back at NCSU to get my master’s degree in Global Luxury Management – it’s a full-time program, but I’ll be maintaining my consultancy, Raleighwood Media Group + Raleighwood Event Group, while pursuing this one-year degree. I’m so excited about being back on campus. It’s just a different place than the business world. There are great minds there gushing with creativity. Compared to some my class peers (42 students representing five different countries), I’ve got the benefit of having been on campus in undergrad, so I’m already very familiar with campus and NC State in general.
I thought about setting up yet another blog to chronicle my experience in the NCSU GLM program, but instead, I’m opting to pay more attention to this site instead and I’ll tag posts related to grad school with NCSU GLM and Everyday Luxe. I’ve also purchased the domain Everyday-Luxe.com that’ll take visitors directly to that content.
The iheartretail.com Shopping Guide is a labor or love that I’ve diligently compiled for the last six years running to direct shoppers’ deal-hungry dollars to local and indepdent retailers, rather than massive national chains – especially those that open on Thanksgiving and in the wee hours of the following Friday morning. In the borrowed words of my pal Mike G. – “ain’t nobody got time for that!” Aside from being a labor of love, it’s also the single most significant traffic driver to iheartretail.com all year long and also generates a significant amount of new email subscribers, so while it takes me days to compile, it’s worth every bit of benefit to the retailers featured and to the overall success of my website. If you’re a local retailer and want to make sure I have you included next year, drop me a line to join my retailer email list!
As also mentioned above, the Triangle Merry Mingle is an annual networking event hosted by TIMA, Triangle AMA, AdFed, and AIGA – all local professional organizations for those in advertising, marketing and design. The event is a great chance to see nearly everyone in the industry, and lots of former colleagues and dear friends, while supporting a great cause, the Triangle Spokes Group, which provides bicycles for needy children in the Triangle for Christmas.
Speaking of TIMA, we wrapped up our 2014 programming in events with a great networking event in Morrisville at the new Blackfinn Ameripub and will be ushering in a new volunteer board for 2015. I’m excited to remain on the board in the role of Events Director and can’t wait to share more from that early next year.
And when it comes to volunteer boards, more is always merrier right? I’m excited to be joining the Raleigh Public Relations Society for 2015 as their Sir Walter Raleigh Awards banquet chair. Not a huge commitment, but that’s plenty for this girl!
Things were relatively smooth sailing at WRAL.com in November, as we geared up for the launch of a newly redesigned mobile news app, as well as the 43rd annual HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational Basketball Tournament. Both require a tremendous amount of planning, pre-production and execution, so I’m personally thrilled to have had ample time to begin addressing each in advance. My team there also enjoyed some group learning at our annual visit to Internet Summit and with a Triangle AMA class, Mad Libs for Business.
On the Raleighwood Media Group side of things, I happily welcomed a new client to our growing client roster (thank you kindly for the referral, Evan Roberts!) and can’t wait to share some December success stories on their behalf in my next monthly wrap-up. I’m also negotiating a new office space on Glenwood South and can’t wait to get in and get a First Friday cocktail party on the calendar for 2015. There’s just something so exciting about having a real brick and mortar presence in Downtown Raleigh.
Adding another “first” to the list of things I’ve adventured into this year, I boarded an Amtrak train for a 7-8 hour ride to Delaware, along with Mom, Dad, and Johnnie Bud to visit Mandy and Joe in Delaware for their first Thanksgiving away from North Carolina. We had a great time kicking back, doing some shopping at Rehoboth Beach on Small Business Saturday, and taking a scenic drive through the massive (but completely abandoned this time of year) Ocean City, MD.
The first of many holiday parties kicks off this weekend, along with a great deal of “wrapping the year up with a bang” work, so I wish you all the best in this final month of 2014. Make it a great end to the year!
October flew by because it was packed with things to do, places to be, and people to see. My favorite ways to fill up a busy schedule!
Johnnie Bud and I spent the first weekend of October visiting my little sister Mandy and her other half Joe up in Delaware are their first house. We got a special tour of Dover Air Force Base where my sister is a veterinarian and the officer in charge at the Dover Air Force Base Veterinary Treatment Facility – check out this great Veteran’s Day article on her and the patients she sees daily: Base vet supports mission, your pets. It’s a long 6+ hour drive (about 2 hours north of D.C.), but always worth it to spend some quality downtime with family.
Johnnie’s brother got married the next weekend on a Sunday – congrats Christopher and Nikki! – and the very next morning was the WRAL TechWire Executive Exchange: Fiber Transforms the Triangle half-day conference held at SAS that I spent no less than three months working on. Every detail, from venue, down to nametags, was painstakingly planned for by my incredible team at WRAL.com and this high-caliber event went off without a hitch. It’s nice to occasionally have a nice, long planning and marketing timeline and a moderate budget to work with!
Just four short days after the Fiber event, Johnnie Bud and I hoped on a plane bound for Louisville and not only traveled to see NCSU play at Louisville (notice I didn’t say “win”… bummer), but we spent a few days checking out a “new to both of us” city and toured and tasted as many of the stops on the Urban Bourbon Trail as possible. Louisville’s got a great food and beverage culture, but their downtown foot traffic is surprisingly slow on the weekends compared to somewhere like Raleigh. I would love to visit again in 5-10 years to see if that has changed.
We wrapped up the month with more places to be at the UConn vs. ECU game in Greenville (thanks for the hospitality, Cory and Alison!), another lovely night of fundraising for the Rex Foundation at the Rex Gala, and as with every October, a quick visit to the NC State Fair!
Business-wise, I’m thrilled to say that several projects were completed for Raleighwood Media Group clients and I even had the opportunity to develop three proposals for new business (social media management and email marketing projects) which are all coming to fruition now that we’re in November… also known at #Movember. So #LetItGrowRDU and I’ll check in next month. Thanks for reading, y’all!
I can’t believe that July, August and September have flown by so fast, that I didn’t even get the chance to write monthly recaps. (Let’s write that off to beautiful NC weather keeping my weekends and evenings booked solid.)
Since we’re talking about the last three months as a whole, let’s just take a look at the high notes:
A few weddings and engagement parties (staples in North Carolina social calendars during the summer)
Interviewed Arif Denk, owner and chef of Troy Mezze Lounge in City Market, for the August Ethnosh event, in July… and sampled fantastic Turkish cuisine
Introduced hundreds of shoppers at the Shop Local Raleigh Boutique Blowout event to iHeartRetail.com with samples of low calorie Smirnoff cocktails – a perfect audience for both brands – on Aug. 8
Spent several weeks planning and a full day working at the HighSchoolOT.com Football Jamboree on Aug. 16
Volunteered at the first Memory Cafe on Aug. 19, as well as donated a website for the ongoing promotion of this great event
Supported local beer and a local museum at the Natural Selections Wake County Brewers Expo on Aug. 21 – the event sold out but promises to make a return, so be sure to check out the next installment
Had to change plans on the fly when the glue for the craft at the WRAL GoAskMom tent at the American Heart Association Heart Walk wouldn’t stick
Live tweeted the second #RIoT meetup at HQ Raleigh for WRAL TechWire
Speaking of WRAL TechWire, my WRAL.com marketing team won a Raleigh Public Relations Society Sir Walter Raleigh Award for our event, the Full Steam Ahead Awards!
So many smaller things happened in between and so much work to coordinate on behalf of Raleighwood Media Group clients and my day-to-day WRAL.com responsibilities, but it’s been a great three months, so here’s to closing out the last quarter of 2014 with just as much enthusiasm!
Truth be told, June wasn’t as professionally exciting as May was, but it was still one heck of a busy month. I can’t believe we’re already looking the 4th of July holiday smack in the face!
Started June with Charlotte and Jeff’s wedding, which meant quality time with a few Pi Phi sorority sisters I have gone inexcusably too long without seeing
Put together a month long Twitter campaign for a Raleighwood Media Group client to test out a new product/service offering I’m considering and to get their feedback along the way
Put in a few late evenings knocking out real estate licensing continuing education after the workday was over – a week before the annual deadline – gold star for that one…
Took a much-needed mini-vacation to Ocracoke with Johnnie Bud and friends… realized these trips are no longer “college” trips when everyone in the rental house spends the first hour of their day checking in on work while on vacation
On a semi-professional/all enjoyable weeknight, Johnnie Bud and I attended Chef Matt Thompson‘s first cooking club at The State Club – that’s a place I encourage all NCSU graduates to consider having a membership at for conducting business meals
Enjoyed a chill Amos Lee concert at Koka Booth Amphitheatre
Went to Pinehurst to attend my very first US Open with Johnnie Bud – many thanks to the Stricklands for the hospitality of letting us stay with y’all when hotels have been sold out for two years for this signature professional golf event.
On a professional note, I was in awe over the promotional tent for American Express at the US Open. They gave out free ear piece FM radio devices to cardholders so that attendees could hear the ESPN radio coverage of the event, had an interactive “improve your golf swing” demo set up, as well as generated custom rotating .gif images of attendees in front of a green screen with the scenes of Pinehurst imposed on the background… how very memorable for the audience!
Made some big strides with fellow TIMA board members to make our programming and value of membership more marketable and well… more valuable – and loved our Mobile Marketing Panel Event that was held in the American Underground at American Tobacco Campus
Spent a few hours sorting potatoes for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC with Rotaract, and was totally humbled by how many people in NC are at risk of hunger everyday and the work the food bank is doing to combat that
Attended the Movember Team RDU spring social with William Ammerman, Director of Sales and Marketing for WRAL.com, and Johnnie Bud – loved seeing the wheels turn in their heads as they got excited about raising critical awareness and much-needed funding men’s health and cancer research this upcoming fall
Worked with my super talented WRAL.com team to put together four Sir Walter Raleigh Award submissions for the Raleigh Public Relations Society. It’s our first year participating, so winning or not, I’m thrilled with the quality of our submissions.
Closed out the month hosting the Raleigh Beer Guide Volume 2 Release Party at Tribeca Tavern in Raleigh with Tara, Steph, and Jodi of WRAL Out & About… with guest appearance by Deanna who spent some time job shadowing the marketing suite at WRAL.com. Anyone looking for a stellar marketing coordinator, let me know! I’d love to connect you to this great job candidate…
Almost forgot: Dragged Lisa S., Joel-o-saurus, and Johnnie Bud to see Little Big Town, also at Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary… there’s always time for one more country music concert!
Hope your June was productive, successful and if you were lucky, even a little bit profitable. Cheers, y’all!
Wrapped up Band Together sponsorship deliverables for WRAL.com’s role in the annual fundraising concert and had a great time at the concert itself celebrating the second anniversary of when Johnnie Bud and I realized there were greater forces at work for us
On the same day my sister graduted, I signed a lease for a new office, just across from the NCSU Belltower, for Raleighwood Media Group. Once there’s a coat of fresh paint on the walls and some furniture moved in, we’ll invite everyone over for an office warming cocktail party!
Speaking of Raleigh Rotaract, I accepted the role of board president for the 2014-2015 service year with gratitude to the entire board I served alongside this past year… won’t you join us for some professional development and community service?