Posts Archived From: 'December 2012'

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Pinterest Potluck Party

The idea struck me – like most good ideas tend to do – early one morning in the shower. While vigorously shampooing and deeply conditioning, the theme of an upcoming family get-together crystallized in a few brief seconds. Rather than hosting the standard potluck dinner with my mom, aunt, two cousins, and a good friend, I quickly decided to enhance the evening with the addition of a single word.




Yes, I would still host a Saturday night potluck dinner with a signature cocktail, appetizers, main entrée, side dishes, and dessert. However, my beloved guests had one stipulation: their recipes must be plucked from – and only from – Pinterest.


Awash in stunning photography, delicious foods, fashionable accessories, drool-worthy dresses, clever craft projects, and countless other DIY inspiration, within Pinterest are actual instructions. Guides to making our lives and our homes more peaceful and less chaotic. Recipes that make our pallets sing, forcing us to travel beyond our casual favorites for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.


Of course Pinterest is a stress-free website perfect for perusing on a lazy Saturday morning. But its value can only increase when we take action on the projects that tickle our collective fancies.


I set about planning my Pinterest Potluck Party with a simple email, requesting that my guests send me their menu choices based on new recipes from Pinterest. Based on each person’s pick, I could safely ensure we would not sit down to six variations of cheesy chicken pasta. I kept each dish a secret from the other guests until the night of our dinner. There was much excitement, a hum of “ooohs” and “aaahs” with each grand reveal, as warm serving platters covered in aluminum foil were unwrapped for the tasting.


>> Continue reading my latest essay “Pinterest Potluck Party” at COOP, an online lifestyle publication produced by Birdhouse Interior Design (@BirdhouseID).

BREAQTHROUGH by Antonio Neves

This week one of my most favorite motivators, Antonio Neves, returns to the Midwest to emcee a signature event, Thinc Iowa. Antonio’s humor, wit, energy, passion, and (dare I say) dapper wardrobe will grace the stage for this three-day conference.


It was at a similar event earlier this year – Big Omaha – where Antonio and I became fast friends. A journalist by trade, Antonio shares a hunger and vision that is simply infections. He doesn’t just wish well his friends and acquaintances. Hardly! Antonino wants each and every single one of them to succeed beyond their wildest dreams.


Sound crazy?


It doesn’t once you meet Antonio. Which I did and, as a result, had the opportunity to collaborate on an exciting project.


Following Big Omaha, Antiono and I exchanged emails and phone calls about his first e-book. The title was unknown at the time, but the manuscript required a second pair (or more) of (bespectacled) eyes.


Within the next few weeks, pages of Antonio’s copy were continually open on my MacBook Air. If writing is my first love, editing is a razor-thin second. Reviewing Antonio’s manuscript was not only a side project, but a genuinely gratifying experience.


Which is why, after a few weeks of work, I am pleased to share the finished product: BREAQTHROUGH: 5 Surefire Ways To Take Charge Of Your Career.


Antonio’s free e-book is a must-read for anyone looking to jumpstart their career, change their direction, or find the spark of motivation. It’s easy to digest, with chapters that not only share parts of Antonio’s personal story, but specific tasks to continually move forward.


Do yourself a favor and download BREAQTHROUGH todayBREAQTHROUGH is the ideal digital companion during lengthy commutes, road trips, those fleeting moments between meetings, and even with coffee on a Sunday morning.

To Antonio I say: Congratulations! Seeing the project of a good friend succeed is one of my personal joys. I wish Antonio the best of luck with BREAQUTHROUGH (although he won’t need much).


We Are Married!

What a wonderful, whirlwind wedding weekend!


It has been a truly memorable few days. My husband (I LOVE saying that!) Matt Tompkins and I want to thank each of you who joined us on Friday and Saturday, and the many more who wished us well via the web.


Matt and I couldn’t be happier, and this past weekend was a culmination of our past six years together.


The two of us will now commence a week of well deserved rest and relaxation, followed by a lifetime of happiness, laughter, love, and Frank Sinatra seranades.


P.S. More photos are forthcoming! We will certainly share our ceremony and reception photos by the talented Janine McClintock Studios, along with the fun snapshots from the Saturday night photo booth, courtesy of MAK Images Photography.



Why My Home is Sweeter Than Ever

It is Sunday morning, blissfully early. The home I have known for the past ten years is quiet. The kind of quiet I savor on mornings like this. I sit here with a mug of pumpkin spice coffee, wrapped in my plush purple robe, and take in my relatively new surroundings. Up until a few months ago, my living room/dining room space was awash in bland neutrals, boring pictures, and blasé furnishings.


When I bought my home ten years ago, I “designed” the space with Earth tones in mind: browns, greens, tans, a splash of dark red here and there. These colors were not among my favorites, you see; rather, they were easy.


“They were safe and easy to match” I told Jessica recently. “Do I love them? No. But I felt I could pair them with other hues somewhat effortlessly.”


It was not until taking a critical eye to this dual-purpose space that I realized my choices were only easy for one simple reason: they were all pretty awful. And what’s easier than matching awful with even more awful? (Although I am laying on the sarcasm thick like the Nutella on my whole wheat toast, there is some truth here.)


After landing a new job last year that yielded a nice bump in pay but also involved the responsibility of staying in a hotel out of town two nights every week, my space at home left me feeling trapped. The brown walls, the mass-produced “artwork,” the vague topiaries, the floral throw pillows, and dusty candles I never lit started to smother the creative side of my brain and my personality.


For years I have prided myself on adopting a personal style that was a little bit vintage, a little bit colorful, and a whole lot unexpected. After several talks with Jessica – typically over chilled mimosas and a creamy wedge of brie – I realized, with her keen observation and astute designer’s eye, that my living quarters never truly matched who I was; and, even more accurately, who I was continually becoming.


As a woman at 33 who will be married in less than three weeks, this space I shared with my future husband (another creative personality who has met my wit if ever anyone did) was no longer relevant, no longer reflective of who I was. This space demanded redecoration of the highest order. The heinously designed hotels where I laid my head two nights a week left me craving a space that was beautiful and welcoming the moment I arrived home on Thursdays.


So with some trepidation, a bit of excitement, and a general idea of my budget, I asked Jessica for her help. Let me tell you, it is a very scary thing to welcome a stranger – let alone a good friend – into your home and willingly listen to an honest critique of your taste. After Jessica first arrived and took in my surroundings, my butterflies slowly dissolved.


The reason?


>> Continue reading my latest essay “Why My Home is Sweeter Than Ever” at COOP, an online lifestyle publication produced by Birdhouse Interior Design (@BirdhouseID).



Write Now: Finding Inspiration at Sea

Finding Inspiration at Sea | By Becky Bohan Brown


All of us need inspiration in our daily lives, when you’re an athlete it is even more important. At the 2012 Olympics, the world has seen the fury of Olympic gold-medal swimmer Missy Franklin, who is also a resident of Colorado. She has been able to channel inspiration from a town where she trains and a movie theatre she has frequented in Aurora, Colo., the site of the recent Aurora movie theatre tragedy.


I am no different. I am by no means an Olympic athlete but this May I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried a new recreational sport. Similar to Missy, I was not alone in my endeavor. With my husband at my side and miles away from the states, I was channeling inspiration from a dear friend and breast cancer survivor, Cynthia Sturgeon.


My husband and I usually don’t exchange birthday gifts; however, he had a significant birthday coming up and I told him I’d buy him something. He thought on the proposition and told me he wanted to learn SCUBA diving. Not too surprising; since one of Brian’s best friends, Mark “Skippy” Sidwell, is a SCUBA instructor at DiVentures in Omaha.


I discussed his gift with one of my best friends and it was decided I would take lessons with him. I’m not a swimmer. All the sports I’ve ever excelled in were on the land. This is really out of my comfort zone. As I thought, Brian took to SCUBA quickly. He was on the swim and dive team in junior high.


I had several mishaps in class at DiVentures. First time in the pool under water I flashed the wrong sign making everyone from class have to surface. It was so embarrassing – I now know the “okay” sign versus the “to surface” signal. Also, I had issues equalizing my ears and contracted a sinus infection. Something you’ll learn quickly is not to dive if having any allergy or sinus related issues. I got medicine and bought vented earplugs from DiVentures, which I highly recommend. Finally, we passed our written test and would now be tested on our water disciplines. We were at the second to last discipline when I got a cramp in my leg. I surfaced with Skippy and he told me to hang out on the side of the pool. I worked the cramp out and in a solo check out session with Skippy passed.

All I could think of was Cynthia barreling down 14,000 feet through the air to celebrate her being cancer-free. So, I sunk to 30 feet in the Montego Sea with a bump and massive headache and did it.


I knew that night, I’d have to dig a little deeper to make it through my open water check out dives in Montego Bay, Jamaica. So, I thought of Cynthia. She is the founder of Project Pink’d, Inc. The day before leaving for Jamaica, all of us board members met and signed papers committing to serve on the Project Pink’d, Inc. board of directors. Cynthia, our founder, was also present. Immediately after, I watched Cynthia’s video on YouTube of her tandem sky diving adventure to celebrate being four years of cancer-free living.


Watching her hold up those four fingers, I was truly inspired by her enthusiasm and spirit.


While in Jamaica, Brian and I did a total of seven open water dives at different dive sites with the Ocheana crew of Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay. Of course as you could tell, my open water dives did not go without incident either. I had a myriad of mishaps: smacked my mask on a dingy which caused a bloody noise, cut a finger on corral, and almost got bumped to the surface by a fellow diver. Brian only encountered a huge blister due to having to wear full healed fins that did not fit.

However, the worst incident came at our final check out dive. I jumped off the back of the boat and a huge wave caused my tank to hit me in the back of the head. Immediately, it started hurting and a bump appeared. I swam over to Brian and our Dive Master David Hewitt. David had seen the whole thing. He asked if I was okay. At that the moment I could’ve given up. But I didn’t. All I could think of was Cynthia barreling down 14,000 feet through the air to celebrate her being cancer-free. So, I sunk to 30 feet in the Montego Sea with a bump and massive headache and did it. When we surfaced, I took my Pink’d ribbon hat out of the bag and posed for a picture to give Cynthia.


In the end we both passed our Scuba Schools International (SSI) and Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) open water and written tests. Brian and I love the sport so much we joined the Greater Omaha SCUBA Club and SCUBA right here in Omaha at area lakes.


Project Pink’d, Inc. and Cynthia were never too far from my thoughts while SCUBA diving in Jamaica with the Sandals Resorts crew. No one but Brian noticed on each dive I wore a pink ribbon on my wet suit. I dedicated my first-ever SCUBA Dive open water experience to all the Project Pink’d survivors and co-survivors: “Support the fighters, admire the survivors, honor the taken, and never ever ever give up HOPE.”


So, in less than a month, we will celebrate Project Pink’d, Inc. EXPOSED: Real Women for a Real Cure calendar unveil. If you’d like to find out about the excitement and enthusiasm of Project Pink’d, Inc., I invite you to attend our upcoming premiere fundraising event at Omaha’s Downtown Hilton on Aug. 23. Meet Cynthia in person and our other calendar girls who are local breast cancer survivors, as well as family, friends and significant others who bare it all as “calendar girls” (PG-13 of course). For event details, visit


In 2011, Cynthia took to the air to celebrate four years breast cancer-free. I conquered the sea in 2012 to celebrate her five years. So, this is a call-to-action to see who will conquer the land in 2013.


About Becky Bohan Brown

Becky Bohan Brown is a writer, life-long learner, health nut, former jock, SCUBA diver, and public relations professional. She is also a wife, sister, best friend, committee member, teammate, fan, foodie and dog companion. She launched her population-we™ blog to carry on the “Think We Before Me” movement. Bohan Brown can also be found on TwitterFacebook, and Google+.


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Learn more about the Write Now project and how you can submit works for publication.


Vintage Imagery by Fiona Richards

The written word is my first passion; doing so on pretty paper is a close second.


That’s why I have long been a fan of Cartolina, its stunning stationery (and greeting cards), and founder Fiona Richards. When word spread of Cartolina’s clever iPhone app featuring gorgeous designs as text messages, I quickly concluded I would be a Cartolina customer for life.


After following Fiona’s work and exchanging a tweet or two, I knew I wanted to know more about this creative lady and her approach to design.


Tell me a bit about yourself: where you grew up and where you call home.

I grew up in Scotland in a village north of Edinburgh called Dollar. It was a wonderful place to be a kid. We lived with my grandparents who had been in India for many years, and so our house was chock a block full of weird and wonderful memorabilia from the Raj days of India. I was a very creative kid and was quite happy to spend all of my time on the back porch drawing, painting, and sewing. I am the middle of three sisters and my younger sister and I emigrated to Canada in the early 1980s.


What sparked your interest in stationery?

The stationery business is a natural for many artists who have an entrepreneurial nature. It’s a great way to get into business for yourself. I’ve always associated art with commerce, and since an early age I’ve always made product for sale. We have a huge collection of vintage ephemera at the studio. My husband and I have been collecting old images for years and I started experimenting with digital collage a few years ago. Stationery is a great way for me to take the vintage art that I love so much, interact with it, and share it with other people.


Tell me about the origin of the name Cartolina.

When I was thinking of launching a stationery line, we just got back from Italy and the English/Italian dictionary was sitting on the coffee table. I looked up the word “card” or “postcard,” and it turned out it is Cartolina in Italian. I loved the name as soon as I saw it. I think that some people believe my name is Fiona Cartolina because that’s my user name for so many online forums and social media. I have become known as Fiona Cartolina, which I’m absolutely fine with!


How has the web/social media/blogging changed the way you do business?

We live in a very remote area of British Columbia. We are an eight-hour drive to any major city. Social media and blogging makes the world a much smaller place. I have developed many good friends on my blog and Twitter, and in fact I have hired four people for Cartolina directly from Twitter. Facebook and Twitter are a great way to reach your market on a social level and an interesting way to develop strategic partners in a casual but professional way. Living in the “back of beyond” is much easier when you have a network of friends and associates just a tweet away.


Your iPhone and iPad apps are absolutely adorable! What prompted the development of each?

The apps have been super fun and I am thrilled at their success. I still can barely believe that we have been featured in The New York Times twice now for our apps. We decided to develop the apps simply because we are hooked on our own iPhones and saw an opportunity to produce a high-tech product with vintage appeal. The success of the apps has had a lot to do with the fact that, even though we are all grateful for the advance in modern communication technology, we crave honest, beautiful, and familiar imagery to send greetings to one another. It’s just a very basic, human emotion taken to a digital format. We are in the development stage right now of another Cartolina app which we will launch in September and I’m really excited with the potential of this one. Can’t wait to let the cat out of the bag!


What has been the customer response to your work?

We have been lucky to be able to produce a unique product in the stationery world for five years now. The customer response has been amazing and we sell our cards in some beautiful stores like Harrods and Libertys in London, the British Museum, and The V & A. I try and design imagery that takes you to another world: art that is intriguing and fantastical and includes imagery for all eras and cultures. I absolutely love designing new cards and I pour my heart into every design. Each design is many hours of work; it’s a culmination of painstakingly restored, vintage art combined with my own eclectic mix of influences, experiences, and skills. Perhaps that’s what buyers recognize: honest to goodness, authentic work.


What keeps you awake at night?

I worry about the authenticity of art being produced these days; not just in the stationery business, but in other commercial creative businesses. I firmly believe that people spend way too much time looking for inspiration on the Internet. Everyone is looking at everyone else’s stuff too much. Everyone is “pinning” the same stuff. And that’s why there is so much same-y work floating around the design world. Artists should try stepping away from the computer and finding inspiration in themselves, their environment, and their experiences. It feels like everyone is swimming in the same pool of design and being inspired/influenced by all the same things. The real world is far more inspiring than the Internet.

Nora Knew Best

Celebrity deaths never impacted me until the June 26 passing of beloved writer Nora Ephron. Most fans know Ephron from her female-focused film hits, including “Sleepless in Seattle,” “You’ve Got Mail,” “Julie and Julia,” and “When Harry Met Sally.”


And although I, too, covet those cinematic moments, it is Ephron’s writing that grabbed my heart and never quite let go.


The memory for me is crystal clear, burned on my brain like a literary brand. For months I had struggled with what kind of book I should write. Fiction fell flat. Could simple stories suffice?, I thought to myself on countless occasions.


My newspaper background meant I was trained (and so very much loved) the art of storytelling. Collecting information. Observing my surroundings. Discovering meaning. And try as I might, the words simply would not come.


Then, on a weekday whim, I visited a used book store. Hungry for something new, I paced up and down the aisles, plucking titles that grabbed my attention or authors whom I recognized. Walking toward the front of the store, I stumbled upon a stack of books that were deeply discounted. The three-dollar sale sticker certainly made painless my purchase of Ephron’s 2006 collection of essays I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman. The book landed in my shopping bag along with a few other titles that, today, I am unable to recall.


A few days later – a Saturday afternoon – I found myself at home. Pawing through my recent literary purchases, I picked up Ephron’s book and sat down on my plush living room couch. Within the first few essays in this delicious book, I found myself rolling, literally rolling, with laughter. Multiple passages were so acutely precise in their telling, the feelings behind womanhood so strikingly spot-on. My giggles and belly laughs turned to tears of joy, I kid you not, as I moved through the book. In the few short hours that passed like seconds, I concluded two things.


1. Nora Ephron’s personal essays should be required reading for all women. Of course her films are largely blockbuster hits, and of course those titles will remain on best-of lists for years to come. But her writing? Her writing evokes an honesty: humor mixed with wit. Ephron brings you close with her hilarity, yet the tender tellings of her more emotional (and less funny) moments bring you even closer. It is through her sense of humor that Ephron has readers belly-laughing one minute, and quietly reflecting the next.


2. I have finally discovered the kind of book I am able to write. The tears I shed during the first reading of I Feel Bad About My Neck cannot be overstated. Truly, truly tears of joy. For, at last, I had stumbled upon an engaging and effervescent literary style which I not only enjoyed, but could also identify exact inspiration. Here was a book that I loved reading; which meant writing a similar book could be as enjoyable an experience (although not, of course, without hours and hours spent at my keyboard).


That hardbound copy of I Feel Bad About My Neck traveled with me everywhere in the days and weeks that followed. Dissecting Ephron’s essays became my life’s work. How did she tell her stories? What details did she include? At what point did her words take a turn to the serious? I paged through and paged through each line of copy, putting myself in dual roles of writer and editor. Poring over Ephron’s words made me love the woman and her work even more.


Ephron’s literary catalogue quickly became my second research project, and I found copies of her other works. Some fiction, some personal essays, others written for national publications. Each piece taught me something new: about the craft of writing, the art of storytelling, and Ephron herself. But not since I Feel Bad About My Neck had such an emotional reaction to a book taken hold.


Then, in 2010, Nerdy Thirty, my first book, was published. What a thrill it was to share my stories in a printed, lasting form. To honor Ephron and her inspiration, I sprinkled quotes from her throughout the book. It was indeed her work that helped shape my first book. For that, I am forever grateful to Ephron’s legacy as a writer.


When I learned of Ephron’s recent death at age 71, I cried again. Call me crazy, but radio and television reports celebrating and remembering Ephron were simply too much to digest. Written eulogies were all I could handle, all I can still handle.


My three-dollar hardbound edition of I Feel Bad About My Neck still sits among Ephron’s other titles on my bookshelf at home. Its spine is worn, multiple pages dog-eared here and there. Even when closed I can feel the energy and humor inside the pages, and will undoubtedly turn to them for inspiration, motivation, and education for years to come – and, possibly, when I start feeling bad about my own neck.


Ephron’s Epiphanies

Often hilarious and at times heartfelt, the late Nora Ephron crafted kernels of advice on life, love, growing old, and even cooking. Here are some of the most memorable from her 2006 collection of essays I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman.


“This (advice) is for women who in mid-July realize they still haven’t bought a summer purse or who in midwinter are still carrying around a straw bag.”
– From the essay “I Hate My Purse”


“There’s a reason why forty, fifty, and sixty don’t look the way they used to, and it’s not because of feminism, or better living through exercise. It’s because of hair dye. In the 1950s only 7 percent of American women dyed their hair; today there are parts of Manhattan and Los Angeles where there are no gray-haired women at all.”
– From the essay “On Maintenance”


“I can’t believe how real life never lets you down. I can’t understand why anyone would write fiction when what actually happens is so amazing.”
– From the essay “The Story of My Life in 3,500 Words or Less”


“I fly to New York to see my shrink. I walk into her office and burst into tears. I tell her what my husband has done to me. I tell her my heart is broken. I tell her I’m a total mess and will never be the same. I can’t stop crying. She looks at me and says, ‘You have to understand something: You were going to leave him eventually.’ ”
– From the essay “The Story of My Life in 3,500 Words or Less”


“Don’t cover a couch with anything that isn’t more or less beige.”
“You can’t be friends with people who call after 11 p.m.”
“The plane is not going to crash.”
“Anything you think is wrong with your body at the age of thirty-five you will be nostalgic for at the age of forty-five.”
“Write everything down.”
“You can’t own too many black turtleneck sweaters.”
“There’s no point in making piecrust from scratch.”
“The reason you’re waking up in the middle of the night is the second glass of wine.”
“If only one third of your clothes are mistakes, you’re ahead of the game.”
– From the essay “What I Wish I’d Known”


Editor’s note: “Nora Knew Best” was originally written for COOP, an online lifestyle publication produced by Birdhouse Interior Design.

Write Now

Write Now: Home

Home | By Shay Cook


Familiar smells, a sincere touch, and longings that I have so much are home.

A kiss of love, a sister’s smile and giggles from a tiny child are home.

A recipe and baking goods and ladies in the neighborhood are home.

Moments from so long ago, stories told and days of old are home.


A picture frame, the well-lit room, the smell of Nana’s sweet perfume are home.

A rocking chair, the four post bed, and all the words that wisdom said are home.

An evening walk, a growing tree, and those who often think of me, are home.

Loved ones and my friends of course, laughter and a gentle voice are home.


Apple pie, the butter churn, and foods I find I often yearn, are home.

The old yard dog, the front porch swing, memories of so many things are home.

Yesteryears and days gone by, lingering thoughts and questions why are home.


The stucco house, the wooden stove, biscuits that I l learned to love are home.

Mother’s warmth on winter nights and words that make my spirit right,

On Sunday morn’ the preacher’s prayer and lots of hugs when I get there are home sweet home.


About Shay Cook

Shay Cook has been writing professionally for over twenty years. Among her literary credits are non-fiction articles and poetry published in The Quill, Prominent Voices in Poetry, Writer’s World, Office Professional Magazine, Chips Off the Writer’s Block, Black Cat Poetry, Yesterday’s Magazette, Shadow Poetry, and numerous Poetry Anthologies. Cook is the recipient of the Tampa Tribune Letter of the Day Editorial Award, The Hillsborough County Library Cooperative Lit Wit Poetry Award, and the Circle of Poets Award. 


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Learn more about the Write Now project and how you can submit works for publication.



Antonio Neves

Three Tips to Stay Motivated

Back in May I went through a multi-day junket of tweeting about little else but Big Omaha. It’s that energizing, inspiring, thought-provoking conference in my fair city that recharges my creative batteries and allows me to meet new people. The experience can sometimes be hard to define, but the memories and take-aways are unforgettable, year after year.


Antonio Neves and I became fast friends: first on Twitter, then at Big Omaha. When I learned our emcee this year was a journalist, I leapt at the opportunity to connect with Antonio. And since that fateful week in May, I have devoured Antonio’s work sprinkled across the web and studied up on the young professionals he routinely profiles.


Because I love writing, it seemed only natural to ask Antonio (who also loves the written word) to pen a post for my blog.


And he did!


Read on for surefire suggestions from Antonio when searching for a job, during this economic climate or whatever comes next.





Three Tips to Stay Motivated | By Antonio Neves (@theantonioneves)


If you read the headlines and listen to the newscasts, you might as well not even get out of bed. The economy sucks and you don’t have a chance.


With that written, here are my thoughts on the economy for all the twenty-somethings out there.


Get over it. 


It’s not that I don’t accept that it’s tough out there. (It is.) It’s not that I don’t accept that you’ve busted your butt to earn a college degree and now there seems to be no jobs. (I do.) And it’s not that I don’t accept that it’s so tough out there that many of you moved back in with your parents. (I do, and it’s OK.)


Right now, I ask you to take a deep breath and accept. Accept that this is the way that it is right now. Accept that these are the cards that you’ve been dealt. We know the problem. HOWEVER … what’s the opportunity?


Now, it’s time to get curious. Get curious about the opportunity before you and get ready to play the $hit out of your cards.


Here are three things you can do to stay motivated in your job search during this touch economic climate.


Build Relationships

This is a perfect time to build relationships and get your face out there. One surefire way to do all of this is through informational meetings. Further, when you’re not working, it can be an emotional drain. So, it’s important to build an awesome team that supports you. If you find yourself down, reach out for encouragement. When you need that extra push, that’s what your team is for. A solid team will get you through a rough patch.

• WATCH: Knodes CEO Ron J. Williams, one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People In Business, and I talk relationship building


Get A Job (Or 13 Of Them)

Unless you have a trust fund or substantial savings, you may have to take some short-term jobs that you don’t necessarily love. Why? To get by until the job that you do want arrives. During the many rough patches early in my career I sold cheese, held numerous temp jobs, was a caterer, worked at bars, and much more. What I didn’t do was take a staff job that was “good enough.” Those are the positions you can get stuck in and before you know it, three years have passed. Lastly – and a good way to build your resume – is to volunteer. Seek out local opportunities and check out organizations like Catchafire.

• WATCH: Author Jenny Blake discuss finding your passion and getting unstuck


Since You Have The Time, Finish Something

Like Outkast rhymed, “You got to get up/get out and do something/don’t let the days of your life pass you by.” Lucky you, you have a lot of free time on your hands. It won’t always be like this, so right now is the perfect time to finish stuff. Thinking about getting a personal website up? Do it. Wanting to write a business plan? Do it. Want to learn how to code? Start here. Want to produce a video for Funny or Die? What’s stopping you? Question: Would you bet on you accomplishing your goals?

• READ: Go from FOMO to JOMO

• WATCH: Colipera founder Bassam Tarazi and I discuss goal setting and accountability


Everything I suggest above, I’ve experienced myself. The key is taking action. Instead of problem solving, identify opportunities for yourself. And when that economy does turn around – and even if it doesn’t – you’ll be good to go.


About Antonio Neves

Antonio Neves is a career coach, speaker, and award-winning business journalist. He is the founder of THINQACTION where he works with young professionals to produce exceptional results in their careers. Via his blog posts, videos, and speaking engagements, Antonio’s goal is to empower young professionals to create their own luck. For more on Antonio, visit his website, Facebook, or Twitter.

Sweet as Honey, Straight from LA

Allow me to brag on my little sister for a moment.


I have always known that she had a knack for working in the kitchen. Growing up, she was never far from our grandmother’s apron, using her little hands to roll out dough or mix a simmering saucepan on the stove. Her fascination with food seemed unusually odd to me.


That was, until we were becoming young women with our own kitchens to keep. Younger than me by about five years, I quickly realized why Katie’s training proved valuable.


As I dined on frozen dinners and bland pasta, Katie would share with me photographs of Thanksgiving feasts for twelve, salads and casseroles that were simply “tossed together” with whatever filled her pantry.


And my goodness, was I envious.


Those cell phone photographs prompted me to get serious about my own culinary talents, amateur though they may be. It began with recipes swapped via email, and quickly followed with text messages (from me to her) about various ingredient questions while nervously pacing grocery store aisles.


We have both come a long way in our cooking, she a bit farther than me. But now, she’s turning her tiny Los Angeles kitchen into a side business.


The hostess with the mostess, Katie Townley, and Michael John Rocco (2010).


Allow me to introduce to you Single Bee Preserves. Katie now blogs from her kitchen and has begun sharing the story of her delicious snacks and meals.

Her food is so tasty that she was selected to participate in this year’s Patchwork Indie Art & Crafts Festival, happening Sunday, June 10, in Culver City, California. If you find yourself in Culver City, make plans to visit. Otherwise, please show your support by spreading the Single Bee buzz via Twitter (@thesinglebee) and on Facebook.

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