Just Me aghan

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Blogging Your Way to a New Career

My blog helped me get a new job. If it weren't for me sitting down and starting this blog 5 years ago I would have never cared about Twitter, optimizing Facebook for business, learning (a decent amount of) HTML, or upping my writing skills.

Luck and preparation quote by Seneca

This blog has not only given me a creative outlet, but it has led me to the career I have today. With a desire to work from home I picked the brains of fellow local bloggers, and it seemed that V.A. (Virtual Assistant) work would be a good place to start for me. I had previous experience with web copy, web design, and Facebook for business. That along with my own established (I use that loosely, I had about 1,000 at the time) Twitter following gave me a footing and the confidence to offer social media services.

Now I'm sure this was a total fluke, but the first Tweet I shared got a bite! I worked with Bernie Borges of Find and Convert for 3 months in a V.A. capacity handling the Twitter account for his main business and his podcast: Social Business Engine. As our business relationship progressed I took on more responsibilities including drafting up copy for his show notes pages and even doing some audience research.

I need to point out that I still had my 36 hour a week day job at this point. In order to leave time for myself each week I started to wake up an hour earlier every morning and invest about an hour after work too. For me, this was do-able. I was logging 50+ hours a week between the two jobs and I was happy. (Side note: I like to stay busy.)

Then I received the job offer. Again, I don't know how normal of a situation this was, it had only been 3 months but I clearly proved my worth. Now I am a Digital Marketing Associate for Find and Convert, a B2B marketing agency out of Tampa, Florida. I work fully remotely and am enjoying the opportunity to write every day as a part of my job. The knowledge I am gaining from the digital marketing world is amazing too. I have so much more to learn.

Now that I have given you my story... if you are interested in a new career in any field, go for it. If it's a digital career you are looking for — keep your blogging professional. Possible employers will look to it to see how seriously you handled everything.

Learn everything you can. I am a regular attendee of blogging/social media conferences and trainings. Not only did this allow for networking and growing my following, but I have been able to learn so much. People in the blogging community are very open with what has worked for them.  Many have no problem sharing social media tips and the common pitfalls they've encountered along the way. Your fellow attendees have a lot to offer at these events too, not just the speakers.

Going along with learning everything you can — READ! Of course you should be reading other blogs, but don't forget about those hard bound things with paper in them called books. There are plenty of niche style books about blogging (or content writing) and social media. Even successful fashion bloggers are dishing out their tips and tricks formulas for success.

Most obvious to me now is podcasts. I wish I had taken advantage of them sooner. I can listen to them when washing the dishes, walking the dog, even working out. The Social Business Engine show is a podcast and internet TV series of interviews with people and companies who have seen success in social business. There's plenty of other podcasts out there on virtually anything you may want to hear about. The social media podcasts on my list currently are:
  • Social Business Engine (duh!)
  • Social Media Zoom Factor with Pam Moore
  • Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield
  • The Social Media Examiner Show
  • Social Media Marketing Podcast with Michael Stelzner
  • Social Pros Podcast: Real People Doing Real Work in Social Media
If you are interested in social media you should be following these hosts on Twitter too.

It's going to take hard-work and extra hours but you can do it. Check out my Pinterest board for more techie/blog tips. There is so much good information there too!

If you have any questions or I can help you with anything let me know. I'm on Twitter @meaghanmae and I would be happy to assist. :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Grandma Love

Many people don't believe in writer's block, I do. If I have something I need to get off my chest I won't be able to freely write about anything else until I cover the thing that is upsetting me. This is that post. A lot has been going on in my life lately I need to write about, but this is most recent and most dear to my heart.

My Grandmother recently passed away. I'm not writing this for your pity, she was just such an amazing lady and I want to talk about her memory here. Her laugh, silly antics, and the love she emanated to everyone she knew, and even those she met in the grocery store line, will be missed. My Grandmother was the closest thing to a role model that I really looked up to in my life. She may have been a stay at home wife, but she was a busy lady with a heart of gold.

I have never seen one person with so much patience. She taught my sister and I how to cross stitch at a very young age. She was the cleaning fairy when my Mom was a single mother, and a miracle worker with anything broken. If you had a broken ornament in hundreds of pieces,  no problem, she would take her crazy glue and her crazy self and put that thing back together.

Oh you had a bad day? A good day? An okay day? You should go shopping. That was her answer to everything-- well that and dessert. As her first Grandchild we had a special connection (not to discredit my cousins). I hope I am like her and able to keep the great memories of her clear in my mind for years to come.

Not a day will go by when I won't think of her. Knowing that she is now with my Grandfather in Heaven is re-assuring. Rest in Peace Grandma. I LOVE YOU!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Thriving Around Thirty: A Day in the Life of An Editor

An inspiration for young writers and aspiring magazine editors, today's Thriving Around Thirty feature is Virginia Chamlee, Managing Editor of Jacksonville Magazine and all of it's sister publications (904, Home, Bride, Taste, YourHealth  and two annual sports publications). I had been following Virginia's blog and seen her name around ever since I started Just Me aghan a few years back. We finally met at a blogger event at Fab'rik and recently coordinated our busy schedules for coffee. Jumping right into it here's our interview. I hope it allows you to gain some useful information on life as an editor.

In a few sentences please tell me about your journey to becoming an editor.
I have always loved to read and write so, when it came time to declaring my major (English), it was an easy decision. I interned at Jacksonville Magazine in college and began freelancing shortly after.

My first job out of college was as a staff reporter for a legal publication. I worked there for almost two years and, since the job was remote, it afforded me a lot of free time. So I decided to apply for a journalism fellowship. I was selected, along with three others in Florida, as a political journalism fellow through the American Independent News Network. Eventually, that turned into a full-time position, so I left the legal reporting to write about politics and the environment.

Eventually, the company I worked for was bought out by a large media company in DC and the Florida site was shut down, so I did a bit of PR work while I looked for something else in journalism. The job at Jax Mag opened up and I’ve been there ever since.

Virginia Chamlee, Jacksonville Magazine Managing Editor

What does an average day look like for an editor like you? 
An average day for me looks pretty much like anyone else’s—lots of sitting in front of a computer and typing. Of course, there are some days that are more exciting than others. Starting the day with exercise (I am really into Orange Theory at the moment) is imperative for me, as I tend to have a lot running through my head. 

On any given day, I might be working on four different magazines (other than Jacksonville Magazine, we also publish 904, YourHealth, Bride, Home and Taste) and twenty different stories, so it’s important for me to have an extracurricular activity that takes my mind off work for at least an hour a day.

What is the biggest perk of being an editor?
The fun events I get to attend—restaurant openings, parties, that sort of thing. Also, press trips (which I don’t go on that often) are amazing and usually packed with delicious dinners and really fun activities.

Virginia Chamlee, Jacksonville Magazine Managing Editor

Many of my readers are other bloggers/writers, what is your biggest pet peeve when dealing with writers?
My biggest pet peeve when dealing with other writers is the assumption that the reader wants to hear what you (the writer) have to say. As a writer, particularly for a lifestyle publication, your job is to tell a story—someone else’s story. When writers submit pieces that are essentially opinion pieces, with no quotes or outside sources, I can tell they don’t fully understand that.

Do you have any advice for aspiring editors?
My advice for aspiring editors is to read. A lot. I am a voracious reader—of books, of blogs, of magazines, of newspapers. You can’t grow as a writer or an editor if you think you are the best writer in the room. There’s always room to grow and reading the work of others is a great way to do that. 

Virginia Chamlee, Jacksonville Magazine Managing Editor

How can someone dress like an editor? Are you into statement pieces, do you go by the rule of three, what is your secret?
“Dress like an editor” is a funny concept to me, because most local editors aren’t necessarily into fashion. My daily uniform depends on what I’m doing that day, but I always have a jacket and a pair of heels in the car. That way, you’re always ready if an important interview or lunch meeting comes up.

Personally, I am very much intro statement pieces. I love jewelry, especially vintage pieces, but shoes are my weakness. Right now, I’m really into a pair of Elyse Walker python espadrille flats. They meld beach with professional and they look great with a skirt or a pair of slacks.

Virginia Chamlee
Magazine Editor of: Jacksonville Magazine, and all of its sister publications (904, Home, Bride, Taste, YourHealth  and two annual sports publications).

Virginia's do it all attitude is energizing, I hope you can see that from this interview. Her intelligence and keen sense of style (her shoes are always on point!) are admirable and make her a definite role model for anyone looking to follow a similar career path. 

I will continue to bring you interviews with successful individuals 
under (I'm getting old) around the age of thirty. If you or someone you know might 
be interested in being featured in a Thriving under Thirty piece please email meaghanmae@gmail.com. 
Northeast Florida Creatives I'm talking to you!!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Battling Frizz with Redken’s NEW Frizz Dismiss

Redken’s NEW Frizz Dismiss Haircare Collection is perfect for anyone living in Florida, or any other area prone to humidity. The smell is fresh and has a light scent that lasts a few hours after washing and styling your hair.

With my many fly-aways and everyday battles with frizz -- I love the assistance this product gives me. Frizz is the #1 complaint from women about their hair. Redken’s new Frizz Dismiss boasts 82% less frizz after one use of their Sufate-Free Shampoo, Conditioner and the Frizz Protection Factor (FPF) 30 Instant Deflate.

Ulta Beauty sent me 5 products from the line to try it out before it’s release this month. They also sent me a wheel to help pick which products to use based off of the humidity level each day.

Redken's Frizz Dismiss Haircare Collection

First off is their sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner; these are standard to the line. As I said before the scent is great, it smells like a day of pampering at the salon. I really liked the conditioner because it didn’t weigh down my hair and easily washed out while leaving my hair smoother.

Redken’s NEW Frizz Dismiss Haircare Collection
My hair is medium to coarse so I have been using the FPF 20 and FPF 30 the most. The FPF 20 is for lower humidity days and is in a spray bottle. While the FPF 30 is a serum, I only use 2-3 pumps in all of my hair paying most attention to the ends (from about my ears down).

Redken’s NEW Frizz Dismiss Haircare Collection
Redken’s NEW Frizz Dismiss Haircare Collection
I always have to dry the from first - my cow-licks and waves are crazy up there!
Redken’s NEW Frizz Dismiss Haircare Collection
Split up your hair to make it more manageable to dry.  
Redken’s NEW Frizz Dismiss Haircare Collection
The FPF 10 is a nice finisher or touch up. They look like fabric sheets don’t they?! ☺ A fun new way to get rid of frizz and I have no problem sticking a couple in my purse since I know they aren’t going to leak or anything.

Redken’s NEW Frizz Dismiss Haircare Collection
Fly aways first.

Redken’s NEW Frizz Dismiss Haircare Collection
 When I use the Frizz Dismiss line I can wait 3 days before washing it destroying it with more heat tools. Normally I can only go 2 days. I’m not really a fan of blow-drying my hair straight. It’s time consuming, damaging, and I haven’t mastered blowing it straight with a brush at this length so less washes is definitely a good thing.
Redken's Frizz Dismiss Haircare Before and After FPF10
Before & After using the FPF 10 sheets. 95% or more decrease in fly aways!

I like to wear my hair wavy/curly a lot and this product helps me fight the frizz when styled that way as well. I will use the shampoo, conditioner, and FPF 20 if I’m going wavy.

Disclosure: This product was supplied to me by Ulta Beauty in exchange for this post. I wouldn’t have blogged about it if I didn’t enjoy it, these are my true opinions on the product.

Have you found a product that helps you in the ongoing 
battle against frizz? Share with us in the comments below. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sweet Sundays: Carrot Chia Coconut Muffin Drops

I bet you thought I forgot about Sunday Sweets, didn't you? Well It has definitely fallen off for a while, my husband brought this to my attention earlier this week. I.E. he said to me something along the lines of "you don't make dessert anymore, you don't love me..." wah wah wah!!

He's right though, I haven't. I guess I haven't been making desserts since I started eating meat again because I am getting more calories from beef and pork and I'm trying to be a little more conscious of my sweets intake now. Honestly, it kind of sucks, and doesn't really seem to be working out. Just because I don't bake desserts, doesn't mean I can't be persuaded into a late night bowl of ice cream or that crazy amazing "fork required" Reese's doughnut from Publix.

So... on a search for a somewhat healthy "dessert" I spent some time concocting these Carrot Chia Coconut Muffin Drops. I call them drops because they don't really rise too much. The shape that you put them in the muffin tin is will be the shape you have when they come out of the oven.


  • 1 c. coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • scant 1/4 c. honey
  • 1 c. apple sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 2 t. cinnamon (less or more to taste)
  • 1/3 c. coconut oil (or vegetable oil, butter, or margarine)
  • 3 tbsp. coconut palm sugar
  • Juice & pulp from 3 medium sized carrots OR 2/3 c. carrot juice 2/3 c. finely grated carrots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together the coconut flour, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl whisk together honey, apple sauce, eggs, milk, oil, carrot juice, and vanilla.

Stir the above 2 mixtures together. Add in the sugar, chia seeds, cinnamon, and carrot pulp.

Scoop batter 3/4 full into greased or lined muffin tins.

Bake for 25 minutes for regular sized muffins, or 15 minutes for mini muffins.

Immediately remove from tin and move to cooling rack.

I'm kind of proud of myself with these, this is the first recipe I've really made on my own. I looked at 4 or 5 recipes for different types of muffins to see the wet to dry ratio and went from there. They came out really good too! The energy from the chia seeds and antioxidant nutrients in the carrots will be a nice kick-start to your Monday morning.

What have you baked lately? Do you like these kinds of posts? Should I bring this column back to Just Me aghan? Let me know in the comments below! :)