9 Things I Learned at Her Conference 2013

I had the privilege of attending both days of Her Campus' 2013 Intercollegiette Conference in New York. If you ever get the opportunity to attend this annual summer event, I cannot recommend it enough. It if a great way to not only learn from some amazing experts, executives, and rolemodels in the media, marketing, and publishing industries, but to bond with other women (and a few men) who are passionate, ambitious, and willing to hold your hand as you grow together.

I've attended every day of this conference since its inception, which has it's roots in the local version I led my freshman year. I have never attended a Her Campus conference where I didn't grow nor where I didn't make wonderful new friends. It was so wonderful to get to finally meet in person women I loved so much through our internet friendships like Melanie Kirsch and Clara B.

I can't give you the amazing friendships-- you gotta do that yourself-- but i can give you a run down of some of my top takeaways from 2 days of amazing.

1 - In the grand scheme of things, the why is more important than the how. This is not one of those, "the ends justify the means" things. It means the fact that our dreams make us happy and fulfilled is more important than having an exact and itemized plan of how to do every single piece of it. Visualize. Introspect. Think of what you want, and then forge a path to get there. We often get bogged down in the how and forget the why. It is more important to know what success looks and feels like to you than it is to know all the details of how to get there. Once we solidify the goal, the path can come to us-- but shutting out those hopes by poking holes in an idea that hasn't fully developed kills it before it has a chance. The hows are little. The whys are the big picture.

2 - Complacence kills success. The minute you stop challenging yourself to improve is the minute you top moving forward. Everyone else has the good sense to keep going, and they'll leave you in the dust. Enjoy what you have, but never believe you have achieved perfection.

3 - Constantly reflect on who you are, what your boundaries are, and what is right for you. Caroline Rothstein laid out some great advice for freelance writers along these lines-- but it really applies to everything doesn't it? You're not living anyone's life but your own. Recognize that not every path is right for you, and take the time to figure out what is.

4 - Accept that you can experiment and fluctuate. Caroline discussed this also. Your boundaries are guidelines, not unbreakable laws. Have conscious negotiations with yourself about what you are or aren't willing to do. It's okay if you change your mind, as long as it was a conscious decision.

5 - Be independent first. You are more secure if you know how to do things yourself. Having people to depend on is a luxury-- and sometimes you'll find yourself without. Whether it's being able to edit your own video, or support yourself on your own income, it's good to be able to survive and keep putting out strong results even when you're in a tight spot. Learn to do it on your own first, and then you'll be in a good place to ask for help, and understand what you need to really excel. You'll also be in a better place to negotiate if someone asks you to compromise on something you're uncomfortable with if you aren't dependent on them.

6 - Don't let perfect get in the way of better. We sometimes feel like we've got to wait until things are just right-- save our effort for that elusive golden window of opportunity. The fact is, it rarely comes, and is easily missed. It takes a little more elbow grease, but it's worth the muddle and confusion to take a sledgehammer and bust a window through that solid wall before you. Recognize that it's easier to take a leap of faith when you're young and have less to lose. Realize that there are steps you can take right now to get on track to better, even if perfect is a long way off.

7 - Success looks different to most people. Whether it's a general what's your ideal picture of life at 60 or do you like to see GPAs or QR codes on resumes, people have very different answers. It often varies by industry and then in smaller ways over personal preferences. What does this mean? 1 - your idea of success doesn't have to look like anyone else's. 2 - everyone else's idea of success isn't going to look like yours. 3 - sometimes those differences are the difference between you getting hired or not, hitting it off or not-- that's okay, and it's not your fault. There's a lot you don't have to take as a personal failing, but a simple mismatch. Go with your gut, be respectful, and from there, accept when things don't work out.

8 - Turn every crisis into an opportunity. Mentally rephrase problems or complaints into questions. Stay calm and realize that there is a solution or a way forward. It might be hard, but there is one. Don't let panic prevent you from seeing the opportunity that lies in every deviation from the status quo.

9 - Don't underestimate your peers. "Pat yourself on the back, but pat others harder," say Be Your Own Best Publicist writers Jessica Kleiman and Meryl Weinsaft Cooper. It's good to kiss up, but it's better to kiss to your left and right. Peers will care about you. They have literally been exactly where you are. They will grow with you. Appreciate what the people around you do, and they will do the same for you.

Shout out to all the amazing girls I got the chance to meet at the conference and the wonderful, inspiring speakers who took the time to speak to us.
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"Good Morning" - Catcalls Are Not Compliments

"Good morning!" a truck driver said to me, beaming with a smile, as I made my way to the office. Not, "Hey sexy." Not "Oh hey Kimora, what you doing later tonight?" Not "Nice ass!" Not "Damn, girl, let me holla!"

"Good morning."

See, this is how to get a woman's attention: You treat her as a person, not a slab of meat you could see yourself having sex with. Good morning, as in, I hope you have a good morning. And I said good morning back. I meant it. I've been living in New York City for 2 months now, and that truck driver is among the few men on the street or men I've met in passing that talked to me like a human despite my being a stranger. For many men who happen to see me on the street, I'm not a person. I am an object of vision intended for their consumption.

"Wow, it must be so hard to be told you're sexy." Eyerolls and annoyance.
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What's in my Lipwear Collection?

So you may have noticed that I am a big fan of lip color. I used to hate it actually. I have early memories of cranberry colored lipstick being smeared across my lips and prickly brushes coating my face with powders before walking a basket of flower petals down many a church aisle. I used to get teased for having such big lips in grade school. "Carp Face" was a common insult. Getting made fun of wasn't earth shattering to me because I recognized pretty early on that not everyone's opinion of me mattered in the long run, but it was still annoying and sad, like stepping into a puddle that's a lot deeper than you thought and getting your foot and jeans soaked.

 My love for lip color was reignited a year or so ago. I started wearing lipstick more because I felt like going bare-lipped to the office made me look less adult, and therefore less professional. I fell in love with it. It made me stand out and I loved having this bright pop of color on my face.

Currently in my lipwear collection I have (back to front, left to right)

  • SoftLips Honeydew lip care
  • Sephora Rouge Creme Lipstick in Mr. Lover
  • Sephora Rouge Creme Lipstick in 1st Night
  • Rimmel London Kate Moss Lasting Finish Lipstick in 11
  • Sephora Rouge Creme Lipstick in Love Test
  • Pop Beauty Lip Stain in Poppy Kiss
  • The Body Shop Lipstick in 61
  • NYX Lipstick in Iconic
  • Loreal Paris Infallible Never Fail Lipcolor in Target Red
  • Loreal Paris Riche Caress Aqua Lip Lacquer in Coral Tattoo
  • Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar in Anime

I like bold colors in sticks that hold in moisture and are high in pigment. Matte and gloss are my favorite sheens are shimmer seems excessive to me since my lips are already big. I'm thinking about eventually investing in a really dark color. I saw a gorgeous black girl in Greenwich Village sitting at an outdoor cafe with this deep blue lipstick and she was absolutely killing it. I'm tempted to try it, but I think that my skin tone wouldn't be as conducive to such daring color play as hers is-- still though, I want to go darker since most of my shades are bright and punchy. 

Do you wear lipstick? What are your preferences and why? Sheer? Shiny? Slick?

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HerConference - Learn from and Network With Amazing Women

You guys probably know about how I organized the first ever Her Campus Intercollegiette Conference on a regional level, and then that got blown up into an amazing national event and has grown since the first little one-panel + party in Virginia. (I also continue to work on the regional version: check out photos from this spring's event)

This summer, Her Campus has put together the second annual National version of the event in New York City. The sponsors are amazing-- Girl Rising, Chipotle, BCBG, and more are helping support the event (check out those amazing names on the image! The event will be full of speakers and panelists from magazines, marketing and ad agencies, and more. People from Ogilvy, Redbook, Random House, Huffington Post, Glamour, Country Living, Brides magazine, and The Knot will all be in attendance. I am so excited to be attending this event, and I'm bringing my lovely roommie Ariel along too! I had a great time at the event last year (and I won a new Intel Zenbook Laptop)! You can read more about the panels, guests, and programs on the Her Campus conference announcement.

If you are in marketing, writing, publishing, retail, fashion, beauty, or design, and in the New York area, I encourage you to come out to the event. Lots of fun to be had, amazing speakers to learn from, and connections to be made. There will be swag bags, giveaways, a manicure bar, and more. Buy tickets for the Sunday, July 28th event here. Come say hi if you see me!
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Chronicle Your Adventures on a Memory Wall!

Whether you're abroad, at college, or just enjoying wherever it is you live, it's kind of fun to reminisce. This summer I'm in New York City working at an asset management firm and having a blast running around the city! I've been to so many great places and seen all kinds of great things! I wanted to have a way to display those memories so I decided to make a wall collage. I add to it as I visit more places, and it's been fun watching it grow!

All you need is scotch tape and some scraps of places you've been and things you did. I've taped up maps, programs, business cards, brochures, fliers, ticket stubs, plastic bags (see the big marigold Strand bag), and even a fabric sample from Mood Designer Fabrics. Commemorate your time abroad, or one year, or one season. Take everything down and save it and start all over when you move or when a new year begins!

This wall was super blank and I came to the city without any posters to make the space less bare and un-warm. This has been a really great solution, and afterward, I'll take all these home in a box marked New York City Memories 2013 :)

It's also kind of fun to take pictures as time goes on and see how it grows.

How do you store your memories? Do you have a cool wall collage? I wanna know! Hit me up in the comments, and don't forget to follow me on instagram @harperyi!

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15 Tips for Mastering Cabs and Public Transportation

The city is full of amazing places to go and things to do. My two main problems? Getting there, and affording it. Transportation is expensive and things really do add up over time, and if you're not used to living in a city, it can be intimidating. Whether you're in New York, DC, or San Francisco or any other public-transportation-centric city, you may want to read up on these tips.

  1. Take the subway. Sure, you could take a cab that would eliminate any need for navigational skills since they pull right up to the corner, but with a subway right being a few dollars and a cab ride being at minimum $10 and usually between $20 and $40 with tip, it really is worth it to grab a subway or metro card and end up walking a little more. Plus it's better for the environment to take masstrans.
  2. Buy the right subway card. Usually there are multiple types of subway cards and they don't all make sense for everyone. Get a prepaid card rather than a monthly pass if you don't use the train everyday. I reload my card in $40 increments as it runs out since I walk to work. If you commute to work everyday and even again to run your regular errands, get a card that will cost one lump sum for a month no matter how often you use it. 
  3. Sneakers. Wear dat. Walking places is a lot easier if your feet aren't killing you. It is much easier to either sit at home being a ball of goo or shell out for a ride when your blistered aching feet are screaming at you for wearing pumps to work. You know what else is not cool? Losing your balance on the subway in your stilettos and falling on a floor you know is no where near as clean as you'd pray for.
  4. Keep a pair of dressy shoes at the office. In a drawer, I have my black pumps. I wear my sneakers to the office, then switch upon arrival. Yay for happy feet.
  5. Do not take a cab at rush hour. It will take at least twice as long as you thought it would, and it will subsequently cost you twice as much fare. Just don't do it. It honestly is worth schlepping it through the crowded subway with the rest of us plebeians at <10% of the cost and half the time.
  6. Invest in a smart phone. Unless you've got a lot of great friends with an uncommon gift for giving clear directions or a photographic memory for maps, you're going to want a little help from some helpful map apps. Granted, maybe his isn't enough of a reason for you to make the leap, but you bet your buns you're going to want a smart phone when stumbling out of a party at 3am in an unfamiliar part of town and the person you came with is sleeping over with someone else. There are great apps like hopstop that will allow you to know where you are.
  7. Make it a point to familiarize yourself with the subway stops you are most likely to use. Know the general area, where they are in relation to other stops, etc. It saves you a lot of headache.
  8. Don't fall asleep on the subway. Just don't. Pay attention. A lot can happen on the subway, whether it's missing the last stop for the next 60 blocks (guilty) or criminal activities you could fall victim to or fail to witness.
  9. Don't get sucked into your iPhone games on the subway either. See the overshooting myself by 60 blocks story above. Damn you, Candy Crush.
  10. Plan to be early. Delays are not uncommon on mass transportation, and you might have to wait longer for a transfer than you expected. 
  11. Know exactly where you are going before getting into a cab. You would be surprised how many people think that "The East Village" is enough of a direction for a cabbie. Don't be a butthead. Have a specific location, hopefully a cross street or an address. Either the cabbie will take you for a ride (oh ho ho see what I did there?) and rack up your fare since obviously you wouldn't know any better or they'll try their best and you'll be that butthead forcing them to wander aimlessly since you have no idea where you're supposed to be. If your goal is to wander around and explore, find one specific location (restaurant, landmark, bookstore, whatever) whose address/cross streets you can direct your cabbie to and do your wandering on foot, or take a subway and wander starting from the station.
  12. Failing to tip is not an acceptable cost cutting method. Cabbies are trying to make a living and they definitely aren't living like rockstars. If you can't afford to tip, you can't afford to take a cab. 
  13. Have your subway card out as you approach the turnstyles. The people behind you have no patience for you and your fumbling fingers standing between them and their train.
  14. Carry hand sanitizer. Public transportation gets pretty nasty. You don't want to know where other peoples' hands have been and your body certainly doesn't need to be acquainted with that knowledge either. 
  15. Share cabs when possible. Have your friends meet up together and take a cab together. $25 is a lot less when split between two people.
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Inspiration - Take Risks

There are a lot of reasons why we settle. It's easier. It's safer. It means we avoid criticism and failure. But living without taking a leap is living a shadow of a life-- absent of the sunshine of pursuing our dreams. 

Now, there are great reasons to stop chasing something. Sometimes we re-prioritize and make sacrifices. Sometimes we discover something better. Sometimes we realize that our goals weren't just "reaches" but lightyears ahead of or behind the position we are in or are willing to put ourselves in. Sometimes we realize that it's just not right for us or good for us. 

Things change. But that doesn't mean we should downgrade. At 20, I know this is the time to take risks and make leaps. When I get older, there's going to be more to lose-- jobs and careers I'll have to hold down, kids to care for, probably a house. These are all great, amazing things to have, but they, like most wonderful things in life, come with obligations. When we are young, we are unattached. Now is the time to be bold! 

It's important to constantly self-evaluate to figure out what you want and what you need. Take risks whether it's to reach for something you've dreamed of, or to take a chance you never thought would be in front of you-- and probably won't come back again.
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GIVEAWAY - with That College Girl's Guide!

I'm co-hosting a giveaway with That College Girl's Guide!

The first winner will receive a “Love You Always" necklace from Urban Outfitters provided by That College Girl's Guide!


It's a super cute, sweet necklace. A simple, dainty statement that you can wear with a sweet charming outfit or use to soften one of your edgier looks.

The second winner will get a prize provided by yours truly, Stickr Pockets for your walls from Dormify! 


The winner's Stickr Pocket kit will come in their choice of Pink or Teal. It includes three 10.5 x 10.5 inch pockets, as well as three nameplates and a dry erase marker. They're easy to peel on and off, no-damage so they're great for dorm rooms and you don't have to stab or tape your ticket stubs and other ephemera to display them :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Happy July 4th with Alexander Hamilton

Maybe you're not familiar with Broadway fixture Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of In The Heights and Bring It On: The Musical; Actor, composer, singer, rapper and all around talent-- but he's going to make sure you know about his favorite Founding Father.

Alexander Hamilton.

Talk about fireworks, right?

Happy 4th of July ya'll.
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Things I Learned in New York: It Might Be Dog Pee...

One thing I have learned in New York is that a lot of people have dogs.

And a lot of dogs means a lot of dog pee.

I used to walk around and see weird puddles that didn't make sense to me and I'd try to figure out how they got there. Some I explained because of the rain or because of dripping scaffolding, but others, I couldn't easily wrap my head around.

And then I realized on my morning commute while people were giving their dogs their morning walks that it's dog pee.

I'm glad I haven't been wearing sandals around the city.

I made you guys this handy infographic, so that you, too, can know if it's dog pee. (I was feeling silly today)

Wow, aren't you glad I sorted that all out for you? I can't wait until it goes viral on pinterest (ha)!

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