Facebook’s Finest Captivating, Cool, Cover Photos

If you haven’t noticed I’ve been lacking inspiration (and time) on keeping up with my blog. But last week I came across Jeff Bullas’ blog post 20 Awesome Facebook Cover Photos which immediately inspired me to post one similar – except with my own personal favorites. After Facebook recently tumbled out their new Timeline, companies have had an opportunity to showcase their brand like never before – and what better way to do that than capturing a customer’s attention right away with an appealing photo across the top of your Facebook page?

Below are a few of my all-time favorites images that I think are the most unique and captivating (in no particular order):

Nikon does an amazing job posting the “Photo of the Month” as their cover photo, not only are they some amazing pictures taken by their Nikon cameras but they also engage their fans and allow them to gain exposure for a personal brand of their own.

If that doesn’t look like the perfect, crunchy bite – then please show me something that does… Great job inviting your consumers in to satisfy a small chocolate craving.

Love this photo – showcasing Chevy’s evolvement through the years. Oh and if you haven’t seen this commercial of Chevy’s check it out! It’s one of my favorites, they do a great job encompassing the meaning behind a car as well as their “Chevy Runs Deep” campaign.

Chevy does it again for me and I’m sure this Cruze was just easily edited into the image by their excellent photoshop team however, I’m a sucker for any photo with the City of Angels in the background – so with simply that, they’ve nabbed my attention for a split second.

Leave it to Facebook to have a fascinating cover photo…

Not playing favorites here at all… 😉 No, but really I do like the simplicity of the Detroit Lion’s cover photo. Then again it may have something to  do with the fact that I’m also a Spartan and I loved the look of our Nike Pro Combat gloves that rolled out last year when we played ‘dem Wolverines.

Not sure why I like this but I do! Seeing a sold out show from Jay-Z’s view is pretty awesome. Talk about an adrenaline rush!

Love the perspective Caterpillar takes on this!

I like how The North Face shows their customers at peace with the environment around them. Stunning but yet simple scenery.

I’m not even a huge fan of chocolate but yet Milano makes it look outstandingly delicious.

Saw this on Jeff Bullas’ blog post and had to share it. I love anything that depicts a natural and green environment.

Red, two-door coupe, speed… yep that’ll sell me. Now let me just count out a few hundred thousand for it…

Well hello there Blake.. what nice biceps you have 😉 But seriously, this is kind of cool.

Ahh, take me back to Spring Break 2010…. that is all. This doesn’t even look real.

And that is all! Do you have any brands that you’ve come across with a cool Facebook Cover photo? One that draws you in more than others? These cover photos are such a great way for companies and brands to show off their personality and creativity. Especially with Facebook now acquiring the current king of photography, Instagram – I can only imagine how clever and creative brands will get with this.

Lincredible, Linsanity, Linsane – What is the meaning of this?

I got an unexpected phone call from my step-dad this morning, and for the first few minutes I was incredibly confused, I had no idea where he was heading with the conversation. He kept muttering words like Linsanity, Knicks, Lin, Jeremy Lin, New York Knicks, Lincredible – all of which were completely unfamiliar with me. And just two weeks ago most of those words wouldn’t have any meaning to anyone else either, but today it’s different.

After looking into this further upon his phone call to me, I found it one of the most inspirational stories I’ve read in a while. “May the best man Lin,” “Lincredible,” “Linning,” “Linsanity,” “Linsane” – these headlines and names are now sweeping through not only the NBA, but through the entire nation. To any basketball fan this is an exciting new guy to be watching out for but to me it’s much more than just the points he’s putting on the board. It’s where he came from, what he’s gone through and the tremendous amount of faith and effort he’s put into something he never lost focus of.

For those that don’t know the story, here is how I summarize it best after reading through a few recent articles. Basically he’s an extremely smart 23-year-old, Asian-American who was ignored by scouts upon his graduation from Harvard in 2010. Lin played, or should I say ‘warmed the bench’ briefly for a few NBA teams before being cut from the Houston Rockets on CHRISTMAS EVE – and then he eventually got picked up by the New York Knicks. Just as he was about to be cut again, the coach gave him a chance to play and since then he’s become a super-star, he’s been defying critics for weeks now. I’ve read many articles on him and statement after statement that is made about this talented player, has continued to grab my attention.

“Lin is able to block out outside pressures to allow his athletic skills to shine.”  

“How we think about whether we are going to succeed or fail changes whether or not our brain supports our skills,” said Sian Beilock.

“Focusing on what you want to achieve rather than why you’ve failed in the past prepares you to perform at your best. When you are focused on failing, often times you try to control every aspect of what you are doing. You essentially screw yourself up.” – Sian Beilock

“His coach gave him a chance to play.”

“Lin credits God for his success. Whether or not God is responsible for Lin’s astounding point totals, his faith is another factor in keeping him stable.”

“He is able to pay attention to the right things at the right time,” says Christopher Janelle a director of the University of Florida’s performance psychology laboratory.

If only we as professionals could learn to do this in the world of business, whatever your career path may be – imagine the ‘super-star’ you could become. Blocking out any outside pressures, focusing on success and what you wish to achieve rather than failures, being given a chance and then being able to attribute and thank God for your current place in life; these are all things we can easily do. Just when you think you’re struggling – look at Lin – from getting constantly ignored by scouts, facing cut after cut including a devastating one on Christmas Eve, crashing on couches… to his current standing, an international super-star who is now wanted and admired by every coach and fan out there. All it took was for that one person to give him a chance – someone gave him the opportunity to let his true talents shine.

Moral of the story; I think my step-dad was helping me try and put things into perspective. Although I may be facing a few let downs and struggles now, at some point life will start happening for me. And maybe you are ‘warming the bench’ at your current job, but what you may not realize is that it’s just a simple stepping stone to where you could eventually be. Somewhere out there is an employer that is just waiting to give you your chance to shine within their company. You’re the diamond in the rough, the one they’ve been waiting for, the one that will help them stand out above the rest and the one that will give a lasting impression on their customers and community around them. If this story doesn’t urge you to strive for something more, I’m not sure what else will.

If you’re still curious about this young fella, check out these stats from an article I read earlier, The Jeremy Lin Phenomenon – the numbers are literally mind-blowing (even from my perspective – and I’m clueless when it comes to basketball stats, trust me)!

Striving for Something More

After coming across numerous Steve Jobs quotes since his death in October I’ve finally found ones that are most relatable to my passion for my current marketing and social media career path – and just because there are not enough blog posts out there listing his quotes already I decided to do one of my own 😉

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”  – Simple enough. Be who you choose to be.

“You’ve baked a really lovely cake, but then you’ve used dog **** for frosting.” – I love this one, it puts things in perspective. You spend all this time and energy into creating something great, but if you don’t add the finishing touch – what’s the point? All your time and effort is almost wasted if the presentation isn’t perfect. Side note – I feel like Apply is kind of guilty of this in a way, they’ve built ‘lovely gadgets,’ iPods specifically, but yet they accessorize it with very uncomfortable earbuds. Am I right?

“I was worth over $1,000,000 when I was 23, and over $10,000,000 when I was 24, and over $100,000,000 when I was 25 and it wasn’t that important because I never did it for the money.” – This one is perfect for me. I have a passion for social media and unfortunately it’s not one of the highest paying jobs. But like Jobs says, I’m not doing it for the money right now – I’m doing it because I’m passionate about it and I truly enjoy engaging and interacting with online communities the way I do, the money will come.

“I make 50 cents for showing up… and the other 50 cents is based on my performance.” – Point made, follow through! Your performance and true colors will begin to shine in the end. Do your job well.

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” – Depending on the type of person you are you may be perfectly happy following in someone else’s footsteps. However, there are those out there constantly striving for something more – those are the ones I’m trying to keep up with.

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.” – So true. Let your mind run free.

“I want to put a ding in the universe.” – Who doesn’t? I hope to start making an impact on those around me and then work on increasing the size of my “ding” from there. 😉

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.” – Focus and conquer one idea to the best of your ability – then you can begin directing focus to your other opportunities. Learn how to do it and then do it well.

“It’s not faith in technology. It’s faith in people.” – Just because you’re using 10 different social media platforms and reaching numerous audiences, doesn’t actually mean you’re effectively connecting with your communities. Make sure your people are communicating not only with you but with others about YOU! The people are the ones that will spread the word more powerfully, not the multiple forms of technology you’re using.

“Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” – Never lose sight of who you are. Don’t stop believing. 😉

“And one more thing…” – Never stop thinking, creating, building, engaging or connecting – just keep growing.

Clearly Steve Jobs was an extremely brilliant and unique individual, with very few like him. But for some reason I feel like he inspires many and really gives us something to strive for – he encourages you to keep dreaming. Do any of these quotes relate closely to you? Any others I may have missed?

15 Great Interview Questions to Ask Employers

Aside from answering the questions given to you from the employer, you should ALWAYS ALWAYS have a set of questions for them following the interview process. It proves to them that you are prepared and in fact did detailed research of the company prior to your interview, as well as showing a definite interest you have in the company. Although a majority of your questions may get answered,  having plenty more written down will never hurt you. It’ll only help to leave that true, positive impression of yourself with them. So here is a general list of 15 detailed questions I usually ask to help get a better overview of what the company has to offer me.

1. What does a typical day look like for someone like me in this position?

2. Describe your ideal employee for this position, what is the skill set needed in order for someone to succeed?

3. What kind of employees fit in well in your workplace environment?

4. How does your company value their employees (benefits, bonuses, perks etc.)?

5. How will I be measured as an employee? What criteria will I be evaluated on?

6. What would be the most challenging thing for someone like me in this position to get used to?

7. What are the company’s goals over the course of the next 5, 10 years?

8. What are your personal goals in the next 1, 3 and 5 years? (ask the person who is interviewing you, it’s nice to see where they see themselves with the company – and the possible growth for them – and potentially you)

9. Why did you choose to work for this company?

10. What do you enjoy most about working for this company?

11. What are the most enjoyable or gratifying aspects for someone in this position?

12. What does the opportunity for growth and advancement look like at this company?

13. Does the position work closely with upper management? (this may or may not be important to you. To me it is because I don’t want to get lost in the numbers of a large company – I want my voice to be heard, and working with upper management easily allows for that).

14. Has the company faced any challenges in the industry, if so, how have you worked to overcome them?

15. What is the most unique aspect about your company, perhaps something you are proud of?

With that, I wish you the best of luck in all your future interviewing endeavors. And if you have any other questions you feel employers are receptive to, please feel free to share!

My Love Hate Relationship with the Kardashian Empire

Once again, I find myself wasting my time watching the season finale of Kourtney and Kim Take New York and THEN blogging about my thoughts, I’m sure people could care less about. But for my own purpose, it’ll be interesting 10 years from now when I look back on this post and just laugh at myself… for getting so caught up in this stupid yet brilliant empire of a family.

Highlights from the Finale (just incase you didn’t waste your time watching it)

“I feel like a failure, I feel really bad. I just don’t know what to do.” – Kim about her relationship, if only you were just dating, you could just easily ‘break up.’

 “I feel dead inside…” – not the feeling you should expect after having a fairy tale wedding and marrying the man of your dreams.

 “I feel like I’m having to make an effort to hang out.” – it shouldn’t have to be an effort! You’re suppose to be happily married and in love!

“I’m never working out with you ever again.” – Kim to Kris after Kris calls her out for not showing any “emotion” and keeping a straight face after 5 crunches. ha.

 Side note: Most awkward couple date ever. – Kim even admits her self.

 Kim, you don’t feel comfortable about bringing all of Kris’ things to your house in LA? You’re married, why wouldn’t you feel comfortable?! And why wouldn’t you discuss living situation prior to marriage?

 Props to Kourtney for calling Kim out for being a bitch to Kris.

 “You’re not ready for someone in your life” – Kris to Kim. How did you guys date for 8 months and not figure this out about each other?

 Part of me feels bad for Kris having been “framed” for looking like the bad guy in this situation – when he’s actually just a normal, realistic (sometimes dumb), guy.

 “You do realize you’re married right?” – Scott to Kim after she tells him she thinks Kris is crazy for wanting to move in with her in LA. Right on Scott.

 You say you two shared something special? Please. Tell us what that was Kim?…

 It’s sad the script makes it sound like Kris believes he and Kim are going to make it, when on the other side Kim is weird and distant and clearly wanting a “break.”

After 8 months, you finally realize you don’t have the same interests, don’t have the same friends and don’t have a lot to talk about. Crazy how they even made it that long.

Peak of New York for Kim: “waking up and seeing Mason every day”… it wasn’t living with your husband or waking up next to him? How sad is that? 😦

Everything set aside, I congratulate momma Kris and producer’s for successfully marketing such a beautiful and entertaining family. Job well done. You get me hooked every season. And yes, I’m already looking forward to Khloe and Lamar!

For those of you that forgot some of the details from their wedding, I found this infographic to be very informative 🙂

Goals Will Get you Where you Want to Go

I’ve been writing goals for myself since I was 8 years old – when I first started riding and showing horses. I can’t even begin to express the importance of them. Goals are what took me from an inexperienced, amateur rider to a successful, polished and confident equestrian.

Now relate this to the “real world” and your goals can take you from a young, beginner marketing/PR person, to an educated, reputable and respectable person in the business. As much as I hated doing it, my mom would force me to write down what my goals were for winter training – it prepared me and pushed me to be ready for the show season starting in early spring. The key with goals is that they must be detailed and specific – so in the end you can attain exactly what you were striving for initially.

One of my recent mentors encouraged me to set personal and work goals with a time frame of 3 months, 6 months, 1 year and 5 years. I’m so glad he had me do that because back when I set these in June: my number one goal for both personal and work was “finding a sense of stability and satisfaction.” As of December 1st, 6 months later, I felt as though I had not accomplished either of those which is why I am now making the necessary changes in my life and career path to help me get where I want to be.

Tips for Goal Setting:

  • First and foremost, write them down (I have mine in a simple Excel sheet).
  • Make a set of goals specific to both your personal life and work life.
  • Set them up in a timely order; 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 5 years etc (timeframe also depends on what you’re reaching for).
  • Set them within reach; don’t make them so outrageous that they’ll upset you when they’re not met. Goals are milestones, you’re suppose to feel a sense of gratification once they’re met – so make them realistic and attainable.
  • Once you reach a certain goal, reward yourself! Order your favorite take out, grab some drinks with a friend or buy yourself a new pair of shoes!

How do you set goals for yourself? What do you find works best?

“People with goals succeed because they know where they are going… It’s as simple as that.” – Earl Nightingale

The Importance of Twitter Chats

I recently started getting involved in Twitter chats about a month ago, and I pretty much dived in head first not really knowing what to expect. The first few I remember just sitting back and watching my Twitter feed (under specific chats) just flood in with multiple tweets per second. Didn’t say much but rather watched the process of it all, who was heading it, what kind of responses were coming in and the unique interactions that were taking place. It didn’t take long for me to learn a few of the specifics and eventually start getting invited to other chats taking place throughout the week. I’d still consider myself a newbie as I’m learning something new every chat I “attend” – but for all those others out there who have yet to get involved I’ll start you off with a few beginner tips. If you’re a twitter chat pro please feel free to comment and pass some tips on my way!

1. Use www.TweetChat.com – type in the chat you’re attending at the top, this is a constant feed of tweets from that specific chat only. You don’t even need to add the hashtag at the end of your tweet, it already does it for you!

2. Download the Classic Retweet if you haven’t done so already, makes retweeting a breeze (note: there are different ones for Chrome & Firefox, etc).

3. Follow the people you’re interacting with, a majority of them have great future insight to PR, Social Media and Marketing – things your interested in. And they usually always respond with a mention or a follow back. I gain about 10+ new followers from every chat – you’ll eventually start recognizing their faces from other chats too.

4. After engaging in conversation with these people, send them a personal mention or message outside of the chat asking if they want to connect on LinkedIn. I’ve had multiple people even offer me recommendations or suggestions for places looking to hire. Twitter chats are a GREAT place to connect with people in your area of business.

5. After the chat is complete, send out a Tweet expressing a note of thanks to the person(s) who headed the chat, asked all the questions and provided some great answers. Even a tweet of thanks mentioning 5 or 10 new connections you made always helps to put a smile on their face. People like to be recognized, there’s no doubting that.

6. Each chat is usually only an hour long, with an average of 6 questions – trust me it’s worth your time and the connections made. It’s even possible to participate while having the Bachelor on in the background. 😉

Here’s a list of different chats I’ve taken place in over the past few weeks on a nightly basis that you may be interested in (central time):

Monday: #InternPro at 8:00pm, #JobHuntChat at 9:00pm

Tuesday: #LeadershipChat at 7:00pm, #LinkedInChat at 7:00pm, #GetRealChat at 8:00pm and #SMManners at 9:00pm

Wednesday: #GenYChat at 8:00pm, #ToolsChat at 9:00pm

Thursday: #b2bchat at 7:00pm, #MediaChat at 8:00pm

Sunday: #BlogChat at 8:00pm

Gratitude Journal… yes I’m actually doing it.

This weekend’s reading in Simple Abundance suggests that I start a “gratitude journal.” At first I nearly skimmed over this day’s reading as this is not normally something I would consider doing. However, I continued reading and within 10 minutes I had found a blank notebook that a friend of mine had given me and began writing down things I was grateful for that day.

I know my previous post touched on this a little, but I never thought I’d actually take the time each day to write down a few things I was thankful for. It wasn’t until after reading this that I realized how many little things go unnoticed – that truly are important to me. For example yesterday I just jotted down how thankful I was to have my ‘other, better half of me,’ my best friend visit me in Chicago this weekend, and another new friendship that was in the making and the fact that my car finally sold this weekend after trying to sell it for the past 6 months. So as you can see it’s not the big things in life that matter the most, sometimes it’s the smallest things, things you are almost unaware of until you sit down and take time to reflect on the happenings around you.

The author states ‘the more you have and the more you are grateful for, the more you will be given. Two months from now you will be a different person after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life.’ – I couldn’t agree more. How this simple book, with just a few paragraphs of reading each morning is giving me so much inspiration, I have no idea – but so far I am loving it! If your inspired by this post, I recommend finding an unused notebook lying around in your house and accept the same challenge I’m taking on. Take just 5 minutes before you go to bed each night and jot down some of the things you are most grateful for from that day.

My notebook of choice 🙂

Friday the 13th

In my most recent post I mentioned that I had just started reading a “daily” book called Simple Abundance. I decided to write this post based off of last Friday the 13th’s reading because the message paralleled my current place in life so well, a perfect fit. It was titled “Gratitude: Awakening the Heart.”

In summary, the author reveals her constant desire and want for items that she could never afford, a sense of greed. The more she focused on these things the more depressed she became. It got to the point where she was physically and emotionally exhausted from concentrating on them. As soon as she came to the realization that she was torturing herself with these desires and unnecessary needs, she “surrendered her desire for security and sought serenity instead” and decided to give thanks to areas in her life where she was completely satisfied.

This is when I started relating it all to my life. The past few months have been a huge adjustment for any normal person my age – recent graduate, the move to a big city, searching for that ‘big girl’ job, leaving my best friends and family back home AND then to top it all off I hit the most stressful part 4 months after settling in Chicago – financial insecurity <– worst feeling in the world, might I add!! I struggled with the same issue the author spoke of; I focused all my attention on the negative things going on rather than being grateful and aware of all the positive things in my life.

My health, a wonderful loving mother and family, my amazing supportive friends, a great apartment in a thriving and beautiful city, cherishable and unique memories of my dad, my skills and talents and all the opportunities I’ve been given.. the list goes on with things that I am more than thankful for. It doesn’t matter how awareness comes about. All that matters is that you’re aware – and from there the author experienced an overwhelming amount of gratefulness. You begin to notice and appreciate the smallest gifts in life.

And she leaves off with a few things for you to think about: Be open to exchanging your need for emotional and financial security for your serenity. Open “the eyes of your eyes.” Are your basic needs met? Do you have a home, food, clothes, a paycheck, good health? Can you walk, talk and see the beautiful world around you? The list goes on… so with that I feel I have passed along her message as best as I could, hopefully it has the same positive impact on yourself as it did for me. What are you grateful for today?

“Destiny is made known silently.” – Agnes de Mille

Take Time to Get Inspired

In the frenzy of our everyday lives – it seems we never let 10 minutes go by without checking our phone or computers. Waiting for texts, emails, missed calls, Instagram and Word With Friends updates and countless hours browsing sites like Pinterest (my new obsession), all seem to have forced us to be so wrapped up in our work and social world that it’s really difficult to find time for yourself. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m half tempted to delete my Words With Friends just so I can enjoy the last 20 minutes of my day before I fall asleep collecting my thoughts. Instead, I’m making moves on the 10 games I’m currently playing with my friends, it’s pathetic.

So another habit I’m trying to make for myself – is to avoid engaging in some of these useless games and sites on my phone, in order to allow more “me time.” My mom bought me a few books for Christmas which after opening, were followed by the “oh sweet, thanks mom” thought process in my head – but I’m actually going to start devoting some time in the morning when I wake up and the last half hour before I go to sleep, reading them. I just recently finished reading Dave Ramsey’s: Entreleadership, a book that my mom and step dad gave to me. I have to admit, I thoroughly enjoyed it and walked into work everyday excited to share something new I had read about with my colleagues. Highly recommended! As of January 1st, I just started reading Simple Abundance, which has a short reading for each morning – so far, so good I’ve allotted 5 minutes after I wake up to read each day’s message. Another thing I’m doing with each’s day’s reading is jotting down anything important that happened that day. At the start of every year I plan to re-read this book, going through each day and looking back at what I accomplished the year prior or what things were happening – kind of a like a diary 🙂

I find that when I’m not distracted by TV, my phone or my computer, I come up with great thoughts and ideas – I become INSPIRED. Although, a lot of my thought processes and inspiration leads to things I eventually want to write a blog post about –  in the end takes me right back to my computer. However, I find that I can easily justify this because in all actuality it’s helping me to create a brand for myself and potentially my future. Do you have a certain time each day where you allot it to yourself and not work? If so, what do you spend it doing?