August 29, 2014

Coffee Talk: Three Month Milestone

Happy Friday ya'll!! I don't know about you, but this has been an insanely busy week. From visiting my sorority sisters and friends to working longer hours at Victoria's Secret, I am so grateful for this extended weekend.

This weekend also marks 3 full months since I chopped off my permed hair {for the full story on my big chop check out this post here}. Honestly the time has FLOWN and I am so excited about my progress thus far.

I thought I'd use todays post to share four things I've learned since going natural. I've also include some progress photos! Have a great weekend guys!

{big cop day}

{last week}

1. Maintaing hair will always be work. A lot of people will try and tell you that having natural hair is hard. Others will tell you that maintaining permed hair or weave is harder. So whats the truth? Maintaining the hair on your head, no matter what it's form, will ALWAYS be work. The only way it won't be is if you don't want it to grow. Bottom line. So attacking your hair with that frame of mind and  understanding why you will have to put in the time will make the process all worth it in the end.

2. I love my curl pattern. Everyone's hair has a natural state. After years of putting chemicals in my hair, I can honestly say that when I began this journey I had no clue what mine looked like. Now I would like to report that I have the tightest curls on the planet haha. But seriously they're so wound that it makes my hair look a lot shorter than it actually is. And let me tell you shrinkage is already a mother but my texture takes it to a whole other level. {shrinkage is what it sounds like. it means that at rest your hair looks short but if you were to pull on a strand it elongates}.

But I love it! I'm so glad that I'm finally learning how to work with what the good Lord gave me.

3. Accessorizing is key. Cutting off my hair forced me to step up my accessory and makeup game. I gladly accepted this challenge because what girl doesn't love an excuse to shop! This taught me how to play up my features and enhance my natural beauty. Plus its fun to kinda dress up my face everyday!

4. My confidence really can come from within. Prior to my chop I believe that I hid behind my weave in order to mask confidence issues I had with just being Morgan. But there's something about literally removing almost all of your hair that snaps you back into reality. You're forced to really see yourself. Without the "stuff" {in my case hair} that I thought I needed in order to be beautiful.

Now I see myself in a whole different light. I'm still a ways away from where I want to be confidence wise, but this journey has most definitely helped me grow in so many ways. I hold my head a little higher and I can't wait to see what happens next.


August 28, 2014

August BOTM

Believe it or not, August is almost over. Gracious where did the time go?!!

As you all know every month I pick one of my favorite bloggers to feature as my blog of the month,. This time around I picked Danielle from Olive Juice and S'mores and I am so glad I did. Ya'll this woman is so sweet and personable and it was truly a blessing to meet and develop a blogger friendship with her!

Below you will find our interview, my third of the week if you can believe it, and I'm sure by the end of it you'll adore Danielle as much as I do!


Where are you from, and where do you currently live?
I am originally from Greensboro, NC but I currently reside in the Giant Peach aka Georgia. I've been living in Atlanta for a little over three years now and I've been loving every minute of it!

Olive Juice and S'mores is such an interesting name! What's the story behind it?
It's a play on words. Olive Juive and S'mores translates to "I love you, and some more." My blog represents all of the things I have grown to love and enjoy in life, and some more!

How would you describe your blog to someone who hasn't visited your site before?
My blog can be described as a source of inspiration-whether it be food, fashion, or love, life and the pursuit of happiness. I tend to blog about the mood I'm currently in, but I always strive to leabe my readers feeling encouraged and uplifted.

I love your natural hair! What are some of your favorite products?
Thank you! Currently, my favorite beauty products include castor oil, Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, and Eco Styler gel. These are my staple items! 

The oil is great for deep conditioning, and the moisturizer and gel are great for bantu knots, twist-outs and wash n' go's. You really can't go wrong with these three in my opinion.

How would you describe your style? What are your favorite pieces for summer?
I don't really have one specific style- it's more of a hodgepodge of styles combined. Kind o like a shape-shifter, which I didn't think was really possible until now. I always dress how I feel, which could be casual, preppy, edgy, sassy or sophisticated.

My favorite summer pieces currently include anything that's sheer, light-weight and breathable. This goes for dresses, skirts, tops and anything else you can think of!

What's been your most rewarding moment as a blogger?
Hearing people say that something I posted inspired them.

What is your ultimate goal for Olive Juice and S’mores?
My ultimate goal for OJS is for it to continue to be a source of creativity, positivity and inspiration for my readers. Life is too short not to relish in all of the great things it has to offer us. It’s enough love to go around for everyone and I find that it comes back to me two-fold when I freely share it with others. So anyone interested in collaborating – I’m your girl!

Describe a time of Gorgeous Chaos in your own life?
I would say my most recent trip to Europe. It had been three years since my very first international trip to Vietnam. There were times of uncertainty and nervousness, but looking at everything in hindsight, it was a once in a lifetime experience I know I’ll never forget! I’m really grateful for the people I met and the memories I created with them.

What’s your favorite fashion accessory?
 Confidence – because you can make any outfit look great if you have the confidence to rock it in your own special way!

What’s your favorite meal?
Would it be unfair if I picked more than one? I’m a sucker for Southern, Italian and Mexican food. I can’t live without it!


August 26, 2014

Seventeen and the City

As promised, here is round two of my New York posts featuring two fabulous ladies and their journey's to the concrete jungle. Today I want all of you to meet Meaghan, whom I discovered randomly last week on LinkedIn (I'm telling ya'll I've met some amazing people via LinkedIn)! Her story is so inspirational and I know you'll enjoy learning about her as much as I did!

You'll find her interview below! Enjoy!

Think back to when you were a little girl…what did you want to be when you grew up and how did that dream evolve as you got older?
Tough question! I think at one point I wanted to be a teacher (I credit all of my AWESOME teachers for that!)…. And then in middle school I was convinced I wanted to be a lawyer (or just to emulate Elle Woods)… And then at some point in high school, my mom and I decided on magazine journalism. She noticed how much I enjoyed putting school projects together, bridging both the creative design and textual elements, and also that I was already obsessed with reading them! I’m pretty sure I remember the conversation we had in my bedroom when she first told me I’d work at Seventeen one day. (Crazy, right?!) It just seemed like the perfect fit. I already loved to write, and when I started to explore those interests during internships and at school, I instantly fell in love with the ability to tell important stories in such a visual way. Books, newspapers, blogs etc. are all great vehicles for storytelling (and I’ve always been a bookworm!), but magazines are really the only platform to tell a story in a way that’s just as powerful visually as it is editorially.

How were your college years? What did you major in?
Awesome, although cut too short! I finished undergrad in three years at the University of Michigan (GO BLUE!), but I loved every minute. I was a Communication Studies major but also took my fair share of English and Spanish courses. I was the ultra-involved girl… I joined the Alpha Chi Omega sorority during my freshman year, spent weekends hanging out with high school kids through my involvement with the non-profit, Young Life, and helped co-found a campus chapter of the national non-profit, She’s the First. And when I wasn’t doing those things, I was enjoying Ann Arbor or studying with friends in the library. I definitely miss it (especially football Saturdays!).

Okay what came first, Seventeen or the city?
I moved to New York City only a few days after graduation, without a formal job offer. Quite literally, I had just finished moving out, had been home for all of a few hours, and told my parents I wanted to book a one way ticket to New York. It was the scariest and most exhilarating few days of my entire life. I had been interviewing for my current job a few weeks before graduation, and my second round interview was actually the day I moved to the city (I went straight from the airport to the Hearst Tower!). After the interview, I grabbed my two suitcases from behind the security desk and moved into my first NYC apartment. Talk about a whirlwind day!

So I know tons of people probably ask this question, but what’s it like working at Seventeen; and for the Editor-In-Chief no less!
First off, it’s so much FUN! I really love the culture here. I love coming to work every day because I know the people around me are genuinely happy to be here and really enjoy their jobs. It makes such a difference to work with a team of people who feel so lucky to be here -- like they landed their dream job, just like me! We work really hard, and our deadlines are hard and fast, but we’re a smart and quick-witted group and work together to make things happen! Working for Ann is awesome – she’s so intelligent and really passionate about the Seventeen brand and GIRL POWER messaging. And she also really cares about our reader. It’s tough to keep up with her busy schedule and important meeting prep, but it helps that I’m obsessively organized and detail-oriented. She also really values mentorship, so it’s been great learning from her and just soaking everything up while I’m here.

Walk me through a day in the life of Meaghan?
Whew! No day is ever the same… but a typical day might go something like this:

Early AM wakeup (around 5:30am), because I like to squeeze a workout in before work, usually a run in Central Park or a quick cardio/weight combo at the gym. Then, I’m usually at work around 8am, drinking plenty of coffee and catching up on email or meeting prep. During the workday, I answer a ton of emails, solve staff problems, schedule and coordinate meetings, supervise our interns, and help other story editors with research and brainstorming. I’m usually out of work around 6:30 or 7pm, and will either grab dinner and/or drinks with a friend or co-worker, or head home to cook something myself. Then I spend time in bed reading or catching up on my favorite magazines before an early lights out (usually before 10pm). Then I do it all over again the next day!

What do you love most about living in New York?
 I love the fact that this city attracts BIG THINKERS and DREAMERS. If you’re going to do something BIG in the world, New York City is definitely the place to make it happen. It’s so inspiring to be surrounded by so many smart, dedicated, and driven people who not only want to be successful, but also want to make a difference in the world. And to top it off, you really can’t beat running through Central Park in the fall! J

Tell me about My Dreams Big City? What inspired you to start blogging?
I started blogging during my first summer in New York as an intern, and talked a lot about the culture shock of moving from the suburbs to a huge city and working for a huge company. When I wanted to make the move initially, I remember searching for bloggers and writers who made that same move, and really didn’t find much that was super helpful. So I started blogging because I wanted young girls to know that big dreams are possible, even if you live somewhere outside a huge city.

Since then, it’s kind of evolved from talking about that to talking about what it means to be a working professional in my early 20’s, from learning basic life skills such as budgeting and interviewing, etc. to figuring out my voice and place in a city that can seem so overwhelming and impersonal at times!

What advice do you have for girls like me who are still in search of that first big break?
 Find your voice, and find the right way to amplify it! Along with that, develop your own personal brand through social media and all of your professional materials (resume, personal website, portfolio, LinkedIn, etc.) and make it consistent. It should be clear to anyone you are interviewing with what makes your voice/personality/skills perfect for the job you’re interested in. And along with that, expand your professional network to include people in multiple professions, industries, etc. It always helps to have friends and acquaintances all over the career board, especially when you’re young and still figuring out what you’re really interested in! Request tons of informational interviews, kick-*** at your internships, and enjoy the moment you’re in now! You’ll be working soon enough J

Describe a time of gorgeous chaos in your life?
I feel like every day is gorgeous chaos… But especially the few months leading up to my first half marathon. I was still figuring out my job at that point, and on top of that, I was training and running 7-8 miles (on average) during the day. It was exhausting, but I felt so accomplished by the time my head hit the pillow at night. It was definitely a time where I was pushing myself to my mental and physical limits, but I learned so much about myself during that time, and what I was actually capable of, that I wouldn’t give it back for a minute!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Your voice is (and always will be) one of your most important possessions. Use it wisely and, most importantly, to do your share of good in the world.


August 25, 2014

One Way Ticket

Happy Monday ya'll! I hope everyone had a relaxing weekend; I know most of you will be returning to school soon, if you haven't already, so enjoy these last few precious moments of summer while you can :]

Over the next two days here on the blog, I will be sharing the stories of two girls just like me and you, who both picked up and moved to the big apple right after graduation.  Even with job prospects and a general plan, the idea of buying a one way ticket anywhere makes me nervous, but these ladies did it! Talk about brave and inspiring.

Up first is my friend Shiara. Her's is a story of ups and downs and NEVER giving up on yourself, or your dreams. I learned something from her and I know you will too!

Below is her open letter to all of you. Enjoy!

To get straight to it I moved here as the result of the downside of a self-given ultimatum. Towards the end of my senior year I decided I wanted to go to grade school. I still had my eyes set on corporate marketing, Nike or Proctor & Gamble. So, of course I applied. After taking the GMAT and feeling more defeated than Lolo Jones during here Olympic Gold attempts, I issued an ultimatum: If I get into one of my top choices, preferably The University of Chicago, I will move and go to grad school, if I don’t get in, I will move to New York. On July 17, 2013 I hoped on a plane, face full of fear, and headed to New York.

Being the planner that I was, I already had an apartment and internship lined up.  My apartment in Lexington had been packed up and most of my belongings went back home to Ohio.  I left from Louisville, KY with two suitcases and a backpack. After landing in New York I took a long trip to my new apartment! First months rent, and security deposit down, I called the owner to let him know u was at the apartment…only to find out I was scammed! The apartment was fake. Not only were we scammed for money, I was in the middle of Brooklyn with two bags and nowhere to go.

Luckily my ex-boyfriend was interning in NY for the summer so he came and got me and let me stay with him for a couple of days. As if the apartment situation wasn’t sad enough, I now had to invade the space of someone I knew didn’t really want my company. Don’t worry, it gets worse. I finally started my internship; I quit after 3 days. The position turned out to be nothing what I expected. I felt as though I was being exploited and had already invested my thoughts and efforts prior to even moving. I had to come to terms with the fact that I couldn’t settle. So, I stayed at a hotel for two weeks, crashed with a fellow UK Athlete Alum, and then with my ex-boyfriend AGAIN, all the while searching for a job and apartment. For me, this was rock bottom. I had never not been able to attain a goal for the majority of my life, things were always much easier; insert enormous wake up call.

I felt down and started to doubt myself, my abilities, and my character. I was unwavering in what fact, I was not going to go back home. I finally found an newly renovated apartment in the hood out in BedStuy, and landed two jobs, one in retail and the other with an Event Production company. The latter thanks to an amazing friend of mine, Matt Frawley. I was turned down for at least 20 jobs (office, corporate, bartending, retail, hostessing) and denied for 2 apartments, but finally I was on the come up! I thought at the time. The ONLY things that got me through this time were prayer, and the amazing support system I have.

Over the next six months I struggled to make genuine friends. This was extremely hard for me because I had moved around all my life and making friends always came easy. I became very down, introvert, and honestly, borderline depressed. The insane winter we had didn’t help me becoming a homebody. All summer I had no problems going out and attending events by myself, but now, NO WAY. After spending my first Christmas ever away from my family, it seemed like my happiness was at an all time low. Where did Shiara go? I was stuck and had to get out of the unhappy place I found myself in. I wasn’t happy with my apartment, I literally went to work and did the bare minimum at my retail job, I stopped going into the office at the Event Production company and I was no longer putting myself out there.

I made a really good friend at work the couple of months leading up to that point and finally had someone I could trust. I started applying for various internships and jobs in the fashion industry and things started to turn around. I started reading the Bible, going to church, and taking back my happiness. I planned my first event on my own and got to see my work come to life. I also began PAing (Production Assistant) For a Creative Agency on fashion photo shoots. To make things even better, I was going home for the first time in almost a year!

Things were continuing to get better. I went home and was rejuvenated. Once I got back I was working jobs and having fun meeting new people. I had a completely new outlook on lie due to the last 11 months. I was grateful, but still starving. Between becoming a top choice for jobs, going to shows of my new found artist friends, launching my website/blog and finding a new apartment, I could genuinely say I was happy again.

To be honest it has not been easy. Making it in new york is hard as hell, and I’m no where near making it yet. I’ve always been my hardest critical and am so appreciative of that. My main and only focus right now is positioning myself to have a great 2nd year in New York. I am still working as a Production Assistant when requested for jobs, have started interning for a creative agency set to launch in 2015, and have my first wedding coming up next month. Not only do I want to be successful and look good doing it, I want give my parents all their hopes and dreams. I want to be bathed in Champagne and dressed in La Perla and Balmain. I want to be bigger and better than Van Wyck. I want a beautiful family. I want to exceed my dreams dreams. And then, I want to help another girl from suburbs make it....

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