Category Archives: About Me

Sydney Life: Chapter Two

A lot has changed after two years abroad living in Australia. I’m starting to say stuff like “fortnightly” instead of “bi-weekly” and I don’t struggle to understand other accents (most of the time anyway).

I loved Sydney the day from the day I first arrived, but now I can say that I know Sydney. It makes me love this place for a new layer of reasons. I’ve made close friends here. I’ve created memories here – from my first Christmas on the beach to my friends’ engagement party last month. I have a local café, and I’ve become a coffee snob. I can give people directions, catch public transport without getting stressed and even feel comfortable driving on the other side of the road. It seems like small things, but I think it’s a big step to feel completely comfortable with these tiny differences in everyday life.  What used to be “different” now becomes the usual or standard, and I forget that it was ever not the standard. It’s strange to think, but beautiful as well.

I said a sad farewell to my colleagues at Switched on Media last week. Work and my friends there have been a huge part of my life for the last two years. I remember asking my director Scot about the culture of the company during our phone interview. I was about to move to Sydney and not know anyone, I was anxious to meet my colleagues. I consider myself very lucky that not only did I meet some awesome people, but I made some of my closest friends in Sydney. It exceeded my expectations, and I’ll miss that crew.

I now feel that I’m staring chapter two of my life in Sydney. I started a new role this week with Rocketman Media (check them out). It’s a small agency that specialises in influencer outreach. I couldn’t be more excited. It’s an amazing opportunity and work that I’m incredibly passionate about.  I also feel that it’s an innovative company, and it’s great to feel like you’re at the start of something new. I’ll look forward to sharing more updates with you as I go.

I’m still working on The Fetch Sydney as the local curator. Kate founded the Fetch in Melbourne, followed by Sydney and now has launched it in 7 cities worldwide (and still growing). It’s been an inspiration, and pleasure to be a part of it and watch it grow. We recently introduced the Fetch Community Ambassador program to get more people involved. It was perfect timing with all of the industry events happening as part of Vivid Sydney Festival. I’ve been doing some blogging there too.

Lights on MCA for Vivid Sydney

My last bit of news is that I’ve accepted a committee role with Project Australia. They are not for profit with a mission of helping other NFPs and community projects in Australia. I’ve really missed the volunteer work that was a big part of my life before moving to Sydney. It was groups like HOBY and Circle K International that allowed me to make friends and meet like-minded people with shared values. I feel that working with Project Australia will help connect me back to that world, and allow me give back to the community in a hands-on way.

Looking forward to the second chapter.

What’s new with you friends?



Filed under About Me, Sydney

Moving Day

All packed and ready to go!

I’m moving to a new place today. I’m bummed to leave Surry Hills, but I won’t be far away. My new spot is just on the other side of Oxford Street, in the lovely suburb of Darlinghurst.

Packing up my things reminded me of my promise for this new year to consumes less. It’s shocking how much I’ve seem to have collected over the last year and a half while living in Sydney. When I moved here I brought four large suitcases (shoes and clothing mostly). I definitely couldn’t fit my belongings now into those same four suitcases. What’s even worse is that I have stuff back in Ohio still. Stuff I haven’t used in 2+ years, collecting dust.

I do think that it’s a physiological challenge to battle “owning” things. I’m not a crazy hoarder or obsessive compulsive shopper by any means, but I don’t think I have the mindset (right now) to own less. I don’t understand what it means to be a minimalist. It’s something I have to work on changing and it’s not as simple as “just getting rid of stuff.”

Do you feel like owning too much “stuff” weighs you down? Any advice you can share? 


Filed under About Me, Lifestyle

Some Thoughts on Getting Paid

cc license, timsnell I see a lot of blog posts about why you shouldn’t work for free, but I think that society undervalues the volunteer at times. This post isn’t meant to dismiss situations where you should be charging for your time, but rather speak up for the role of the volunteer.

My mum taught me the importance of giving back from an early age. I always joke that my first volunteer experiences were hardly “voluntary” because she was the one signing me up. Now I’m grateful. It used to disappoint her when someone signed up to volunteer and then wouldn’t show up because they felt their commitment wasn’t as binding due to the fact they were an unpaid volunteer. It’s the wrong mindset.

Sometimes getting paid to do something is not possible or not likely. This shouldn’t hold you back. If money isn’t your reason for doing something, it won’t hold you back from helping an important cause, mission or not-for-profit. We should value these chances to help.

Not getting paid extends to more than just charitable work in my mind. Some things we do in life won’t always be about making money. Sometimes, it’s about doing something you love, something you enjoy. The cliché saying we all know is, “there is more to life than money.” Yes, everyone needs to make a living but not everything we do has a dollar amount attached to it.

I’ve also found that getting paid to do something potentially changes expectations both for yourself and the person paying you. When you’re getting paid it can ruin the “fun” element. The person paying you might expect more than when you were a volunteer. Now that you’re suddenly getting paid you could also get fired.

When you’re not following your passion, helping someone who needs you, or feel that you’re being taken advantage of for some reason– then revaluate your situation and ask again if you should still be working for free.

What are your thoughts on getting paid? 

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Filed under About Me, Community Service

Hello 2012: Some New Year (sorta) Resolutions

I’m not big on New Year resolutions, but here are a few things I’d like to work on this year.

This year I want to spend more time outside. I’m going to leave early so I can walk more places instead of taking the bus. I want to sit outside on sunny days. I’m going to have more beach days on the weekends. I want to walk home across the harbour bridge from work.

This year I want to practice more creativity. I miss crafting. I used to enjoy hobbies like making my own jewelry, sketching, ceramics and scrapbooking. Being creative doesn’t mean I have to buy a new scrapbook, but I want to go back to crafting and creating. It makes me really happy.

This year I want to read more. This is something else that used to make me really happy that I rarely do anymore. I want to read more books, and avoid TV all together. I want to read to learn, but mostly I want to read for fun again. I think I’ll start with Tina Fey’s Bossypants. I heard it was a good read.

This year I want consume less and save money. I want to stop buying things I don’t need and collecting “stuff.” I find it shocking how much stuff I seem to collect. I want to get rid of the clutter in my room, and free up some space in my life so I can free up some space in my soul… dude (seriously though).

What are your goals for this year? 


Filed under About Me

My 30 Day Challenge Blog Project

I’ve decided to take my blog in a new direction (no this isn’t an April Fools’ joke). I feel that I’ve been fairly professional up until this point. I’ve mentioned before that this blog is my online home. My CV and portfolio are here. I list this blog on my LinkedIn account. That professional part of my life is clearly important to me, both online and offline, but I’m ready to start blogging on a more personal level.

I want to start writing more for myself and less for an audience, because I know that in this approach, you find community.  That’s what I really want the goal of my blog to be, to connect with people. That’s why I love Twitter as a social networking platform. I love connecting and constantly meeting new friends. I know that I have to be willing to “put myself out there” to find what I’m looking for in blogging.

Starting this month I’m creating 30 day challenges for myself and writing about my experiences.  It’s one month to learn a new habit, walk in someone else’s shoes or perhaps learn something about myself.  Some of my challenges will be good for my physical health and others are meant to be good for the soul. There are no rules, expect for the rules I give myself. I don’t plan on blogging everyday but I would like to blog more often than my disgraceful once per month schedule I’ve been on.

My first challenge? I’m giving up coffee for 30 days. I love having my coffee every morning. I love the coffee culture here and I know this challenge is going to make me rather grouchy for the first week and a half. I do enjoy my morning coffee, but I don’t like the idea of “needing” caffeine to stay awake.  I’m spending a lot of money on coffee (maybe around $100 a month) just to stay awake and it’s feeling a bit routine lately. I’d rather drink it less often and really enjoy it when I do have it. I’m giving it up for 30 days so I can detox and not depend on the daily caffeine.

I’ll see where this project takes me, perhaps in future months I’ll take suggestions on 30 day challenges. For now, I have a decent list to last me through the next year and a half.

What blog project are you working on right now?


Filed under 30 Day Challenge, About Me

Welcome 2011: What’s Next?

cc license, Rob & Jules

I know that 2010 was a big year for me. I graduated university, moved away from home (far away from home) and started a new job in Sydney. It was a lot of life changes that seemed to happen rather quickly.  Now sitting here and reflecting on New Year’s Eve, I can’t get the question of “So, what’s next?” off my mind.

I’m not keen on New Year resolutions but I’m a huge fan of setting goals. The goals I’ve worked toward over the last part of my life were fairly structured; go to college, play on the university tennis team, volunteer 300 hours, graduate, etc.  School provided me the environment where I could succeed with a four year deadline.

Now my goal setting timeline seems far more open ended. There is no deadline (besides the ultimate deadline of life) or graduation day to time them. I know it’s time to create my own milestones, but I’m not sure what they look like yet.  Do people measure their time by accomplishments, places they’ve lived, lessons learned or something else?

I’ll be writing down my goals for the next year, 5 years and 10 years in this coming week. I don’t have all the answers of where life will take me, but I’m also not satisfied being swept along with the current. 2010 might have been a big year but I plan on 2011 being even better.

Happy New Year Friends!

What are your big plans for 2011?

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Filed under About Me

Lessons Learned from Playing in the Dirt

cc license, eyeliam

I worked a few hours for my Dad and Uncle this summer helping out at their business. They own a sand and gravel company that’s been in our family since 1979. While selling dirt to landscapers and homeowners doesn’t seem related to the world of online communications, I still felt that my time spent there was worthwhile.

Some people don’t recognize the value of working in non-related field, but I’ve seen that the themes of customer service and running a business can be universal. I took orders and answered questions on topics that I was learning for the first time. It reminded me to be patient, think quickly and smile often.

It also gave me valuable perspective on the relationships that help support a family run business. I appreciated getting to see how my dad and uncle interact with long-time customers and community members they’ve come to know well.

I have no idea if I’ll ever take over the family biz. It’s hard to say how I’ll feel in 10 or 20 years from now, but working there reminded me of how I would want to run any future business.  My father always taught me the value of hard work early in life from living by example. He has always been my role model, especially now as a recent college graduate ready to start a new job.

My advice to a friend would be never to dismiss an opportunity and get the most out of any role you take on. Having a strong work ethic is important at any job. Don’t let yourself slack off and use the excuse that your job is a waste or irrelevant to your career. Any experience can be made valuable if you have the right mindset.

What lessons have you learned from working in the dirt…or other jobs?

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Filed under About Me, Communications