California Dreaming: Living in Los Angeles

Exactly one year ago today, during Easter weekend, I packed my bags and drove halfway across the country. I was following a dream and taking one of the biggest risks of my life. Would I make it in LA? Or would I come crawling back to Texas? I chose to leave my home, my family, and friends to pursue a career in entertainment journalism. I wanted to be the girl who interviewed celebrities at movie premieres. I knew that I needed to be in Hollywood.

It hasn’t been easy. AT ALL.

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The first day moving into our apartment.

James Cameron, the director of Avatar, lived out of his car when he moved to Los Angeles. Even though I haven’t had to rough it out like James, it’s still been tough. I don’t really like talking about it because I hate being a stereotype. I also don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me. However, if my year in review gives you the inspiration to follow your dreams, then I want to share my experience.

About two weeks before making the big move, my boyfriend and I didn’t know where we were going to live. I’m serious. We were almost homeless. No one in LA wanted to rent us a place because we hadn’t seen the apartment beforehand or because the landlords hadn’t met us. It was extremely stressful and I had so many breakouts (and breakdowns) during those two weeks. Luckily, we found an affordable apartment that was in a great area (by affordable I mean $1600 for a one bedroom/one bath. WELCOME TO LA!!!).

The night I interviewed Gina Rodriguez at the Chateau Marmont.

The night I interviewed Gina Rodriguez at the Chateau Marmont.

When I first arrived, I was really nervous. I don’t have any family in California. I only knew a handful of people, and most of them had already made their own friends and connections. It was a weird couple of months. Even after a year, I’m still not used to LA. To be honest, there are times when I don’t think I made the right decision. Sometimes I feel like I came to LA too early in my career. There are moments when I feel incompetent. Even worse, I still get insecure. However, I’ve learned that you can’t compare yourself to others. You just can’t. The more you focus on other people, the more you set yourself back.

The worst feeling in the world is thinking that you’re so great at what you do, and then you meet about 1,000 people who are just as great. I feel like Homer Simpson when he tells Bart, “No matter how good you are at something, there’s always about a million people better than you.” It can definitely feel like that when you live here. I have to remind myself that I’m just as good, if not better, as anyone else. My motto is – “Why not me?” If I don’t believe in myself, what makes me think someone else will? This is a tough business, so you have to give people a reason to take a chance on you.

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California Dreamin’

I’m not gonna lie, until Feb. 2016, money was tight. Thank the Lord for blessing me with an incredible job!!! But for a whole year, I was pretty much broke. I felt like a loser most of the time. I didn’t have the money to go out for brunch or hit up clubs with friends. If anything, when I did do those things, it was considered a luxury. People asked if I saw any “cool” places in LA, but the truth is I didn’t have the money to explore. Thank God my parents helped me. I don’t think I would’ve survived without their support. Money was so tight I had to prioritize my spending – Did I want to spend money on $8 drinks or did I need to use that money for tampons? I know people have it way worse, and again, I feel blessed that my parents helped me, but I definitely had to limit my spending. I wasn’t living a glamorous life AT ALL.

I learned so much about myself this past year. I appreciate the little things, and feel so blessed to have a job where I don’t have to worry as much. I’m not banking, but I’m definitely not penny pinching.

I’ll never forget that I was able to meet and interview Gina Rodriguez. I ran into Jamie Chung at my grocery store, and saw Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis at my UPS store. I also attended the same event as Kim Kardashian, and worked at several star-studded parties. I even got hit on by Jeremy Piven. Those are just a few cool experiences I’ve had, and I can’t wait to make more memories.

A year later, I’m feeling so blessed to work with incredibly talented and fearless people. My bosses seriously inspire me everyday. I’m proud to say that I’m actually an entertainment writer. I’m doing what I love and it makes me so happy. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my boyfriend, parents, best friend, and every person who kept encouraging me. I truly appreciate everything y’all have done for me.

At Pump Restaurant!

At Pump Restaurant!

Things I’ve Learned (and I’m still working on):

  1. Don’t compare yourself to anyone!
  2. Be confident in whatever you do.
  3. Help others because you will need help.
  4. Follow your dreams, no matter how challenging it can be.
  5. It’s okay to cry – but crying isn’t productive, so you have to make up for lost time.
  6. Always be kind.
  7. Keep challenging yourself.
  8. Keep working on your craft.
  9. Never stop looking for the perfect tacos.
  10. Dream big!

Despite facing several challenges my first year in LA, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

xoxo

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Looking Good and Feeling Good For Your Interview

After months of searching for a job, I am so excited to say that this recent graduate has her first full-time, grown up job! It’s been a long process of hunting down the right jobs and hearing back from potential employers. I probably applied to over 100 job postings, and I heard back from less than 5 people. Don’t be discouraged if you’re going through the same thing. This transition from college student to entering adulthood has been an interesting experience. With the encouragement and support of my family, friends and boyfriend I am one a step closer to my goals!

When I got my first email about a phone interview I was both ecstatic and overwhelmed! It felt like forever since I had an interview, and I didn’t want to mess this one up. The key to a great interview, at least from what I learned, is to be yourself. People will know when you’re being phony. Just be yourself, and prepare for as many questions you think they might ask like “tell me about yourself, what are your strengths/weaknesses, where do you get your news from?” Also, do plenty of research about the company you might be working with. How embarrassing would it be if you had no idea what the company was about? I mean, if you really want to work there, then you should have some interest in learning about their brand.

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You guys, I was so thrilled when I was told to do an in-person interview within a week from having my phone interview. I was extremely nervous and overly prepared myself for the second interview. I wanted to stand out, while also being the best version of myself. When I went in for my interview, the team was fantastic! They were all great, intelligent women who made me want to learn and work with them. I think that’s how you know the company is an awesome, inspiring place to be. I was just so happy to meet with the team and even more exhilarated when I got the job!

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I know that job hunting can be stressful, and I definitely know that preparing for an interview can be overwhelming. I want to share with you how I got ready the morning of my interview. Remember when you look good, you feel good and when you feel good, well, you can do just about anything you set your mind to!

Getting Ready:

1. Take Notes

Don’t forget to take notes when looking up information about the company or preparing for questions they may ask. It’s also best to take a look at your résumé and think of experiences you had that really helped you refine your skills or any mistakes you made that you learned from. Try to print out 2-3 copies for the day of the interview. They are busy people and who knows how many people they are interviewing that day! Always be ready.

2. Make-Up

I love putting on make-up, but I didn’t want to over do it, either. You aren’t going to a club, your face should look refreshed and polished. You want the interviewer(s) to focus on your personality, and what you can bring to the table. Having bold lipstick or too much eyeshadow can really be a distraction. The main focus should be on you, not your poor choice of glittery eye makeup. I went for a subtle look. Putting on a bit of mascara, using some concealer to hide my blemishes and using a lip-stained colored lipstick to give my lips a touch of pink.

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3. Hair

I usually don’t like to put on hairspray, but for an interview it’s a must. Don’t put too much. You don’t want to smell like a hair salon. Put enough to keep your hair in place and to keep the frizzy fly aways from going crazy. I lightly curled my hair and used the bobby pins to pin my bangs back, giving them a natural wave once I finished curling my hair.

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4. Finishing Touches

When you don’t have enough time to book a nail appointment the nail strips are a life saver. They are literally handy for fast and chic nail colors. I even received a compliment! I used a touch of pink nail polish for my toes, too. Don’t forget about your feet, especially if you plan on wearing open toed shoes. I added just a quick spray of perfume to finish my outfit. Again, you don’t want to put on too much perfume and scare away your interviewer.

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5. Ready to Impress

My blazer makes enough of a statement, that I went minimal with my white undershirt and jeans. My shoes added a touch of color, and were very comfy. Your interview outfit should make you feel great! Don’t wear something that makes you uncomfortable, it might show in your interview.

 

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I want to know how you prepare for an interview and what you do to prepare! Share your thoughts below. 

Girl Talk: What My Short Hair Made Me Realize

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Before

When I chose to cut my hair, for more important reasons than outer beauty, a.k.a looks, I did it because I thought it would lift my spirits. I assumed that cutting my hair would also cut away my inner demons, but it only created more. It created more insecurities, mostly because of what thought society would think of me. It made me question my femininity. It made me question my appearance to the opposite sex. And most of all, it made me question how I felt about myself.

These personal issues came all because I cut my hair. How silly and insane is that?! I realized that through this haircut, I had a new and different perspective on society, on life and on myself. I wasn’t going to allow myself to fall victim to my once impulsively thrilling haircut.

This idea that women are beautiful based on long hair is bullshit. It’s honestly sad that most women would ask me in their “overly concerned” tones and ask “why I cut my beautiful long hair?” As if my hair defined me. As if I were only beautiful with long hair, when ironically, I felt more sexy and mature with my short, high fashionable haircut. That’s when I realized my appearance to men hadn’t really changed. My appearance to women did. They judged me. They pitied me.

I believe that in order for someone, especially a woman, to truly find her inner voice and to truly understand who she is, they must do something extreme. Something beyond their comfort zone that allows them to adapt into something that once seemed impossible. I think as humans and as young, curious adults we should push the boundaries and enter something that feels uncomfortable in order to experience the transformation of our creation. That way when we experience something completely and entirely new it will remain a memory, an unforgettable one.

My short hair has taught me to take more risks. It has allowed me to grow along with it. It has given me the gift of seeing my transformation as it blossoms into a new shape than what it was before. It has taught me to focus on myself. Most of all, it has given me the experience of growing as I follow my path of understanding and transformation as a 20-year-old.

After

After