Tag Archives: Honesty

Book Review: Normal Gets You Nowhere

Note: This post contains explicit language

While on vacation, I read Kelly Cutrone‘s Normal Gets You Nowhere. This is her second book after the wildly popular If You Have to Cry, Go Outside. I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while, so I’m glad the opportunity presented itself on vacation. I was not disappointed; I couldn’t put the book down and finished before the cruise was over.

Normal Gets You NowhereCutrone’s straightforward attitude shined in this book, as she offers insights on topics including religion, empowering young girls and death. She holds nothing back and provides a fresh perspective on ideas that aren’t frequently challenged. Below are my favorite de-normalizing thoughts from Cutrone with my opinion mixed in.

  • Cutrone starts by telling everyone to figure out how they are sacred, magical and special. This is an individual truth that all must nurture and develop. In her words, “I want you to fuck the Earth with your energy.” We are each responsible for the energy we put out to the universe so we might as well put positive energy out there.
  • Next, she discussed the media and how society is overstimulated with ridiculous distractions. We should be challenging what is fed to us via the media, whether it be through traditional, digital or social channels. People are programmed to not dig deeper; we should ignore that programming and push the envelope.
  • In speaking about empowering young women, Cutrone talks about sexual repression and how we teach young girls to be coy but not how to be honest. Amen! All women should be comfortable talking about sex and empowered to say what they feel versus doing the norm.
  • I LOVED the chapter about holidays: Why celebrate and spend money on days you don’t believe in? Tailor holidays to your personal belief system and only back ideas you firmly believe in.
  • She describes life as a bank account: random acts of kindness and telling truths are the deposits. Kelly CutroneBeing stupid and messing with others are withdrawals. If we give more than we take, we progress. I couldn’t agree more with this concept. It ties back to the energy we put out there – the more good we put out, the more good we shall receive.
  • Your “no matter what” club: The people who you would do anything for, not because they’d do it for but because you want to; because your life would not be the same without them. Sometimes, these people disappoint you and don’t progress as quickly as you do. That is not a reason to discard them. Do not let your ambition get in the way of this group of people.
  • Lastly, Cutrone approaches the topic of death with clarity and vulnerability, speaking about her grandparents’ and father’s passings. As someone who is still grieving, this chapter was hard but necessary to get through. You should plan your death, who’s there and how you want your life to be celebrated. That’s the key – death should be a celebration of someone’s life.

I could write another 500 words about Normal Gets You Nowhere and all of the examples Cutrone provides about why being normal isn’t the best way to live. To that end, I want to thank Kelly Cutrone for putting it out there and challenging the stereotypes. I also want to thank all of the women in my life: my mom, grandmothers, girlfriends and colleagues, who have embraced being different and have lived their lives on their terms versus others.

I highly recommend Normal Gets You Nowhere – you’ll feel inspired to think and live in a more authentic way. If you have read the book, please share your opinions in the comments section!

Cruising is a Girl’s Best Friend

I spent last week cruising the Caribbean with one of my best friends. I’m not sure what I was more excited about: my unlimited drink package or being able to lay in the sunlight for hours at end. I just couldn’t wait to get away and unwind.

Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman

One thing we didn’t plan for on the cruise was spring break. Being a bit removed from the college life, we completely forgot that the March is when most colleges have their spring break. Lucky us! Our ship was filled with college seniors letting loose and partying one more time before graduation. Most would be annoyed by this rowdy bunch but I was intrigued. I never went away on spring break during college. I wondered if I was ever as carefree as the group of girls we made friends with. Maybe..?

One thing about being on a cruise: If you’re remotely friendly or social, you will have an entourage following you by the end of the vacation. We literally had all sorts of people hanging out with us throughout the cruise. What can I say; we’re a good time!

At one point during the trip, I believe our new friends referred to me as Oprah. What an honor! I was talking to them about life after graduation. There’s advice people beat into your head, mostly around finding a job, being financially responsible and not burning bridges. What they don’t tell you is that the hardest part about graduating college and becoming adults is transitioning your friendships. In college, everyone has the same goal: to make it out alive (aka to graduate). After college, those goals and priorities shift and look different for each person. You’re going to have friends who get married right after college, choose to go to graduate school and some who might be a little lost. I said this to my new friends from UGA and the reaction I

Some of our friends from dinner

Some of our friends from dinner

got was priceless. No one had ever said that to them. Admittedly, they are worried about their friendships, people moving away and life changing. As I talked to them with one of my college best friends next to me, I was honest: it’s hard, you’ll argue, breakdown, freak out and cry..a lot. But just remember, not everyone grows up at the same time. No one’s dreams should look the same. Understanding and respecting that is the key to holding on to those friendships post college.

I love vacations because it gives me a chance to reflect about life. If I didn’t meet these girls, I don’t know if I would have thought about how graduating impacted my friendships. I might not have realized how blessed I am to have friends who respect each other’s decisions and understand one another’s journeys. It wasn’t a vacation of a lifetime, but I got to push pause on reality, let my thoughts unravel, dance until the sun rose and unplug from technology.

Tell me about your most recent vacation! Any big revelations or did you make any new friends?

My favorite picture of Haiti

My favorite picture of Haiti

It Started With An Email

“The most memorable people in your life will be the friends who loved you

when you weren’t very lovable”

bd3About two years ago in April, I sent an email that would change the course of my life more than I ever could have imagined. This live-changing email was accepting an executive board position with the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). I knew it would be a great resume booster and would be a position that challenged me. Little did I know what the next year and a half had in store for me.

I had been an active member of PRSSA for two years so I knew the members and the executive board. When I accepted the position as well as one with PRowl Public Relations, 95 percent of the rising EBOARD as well as the graduating seniors thought I was insane. They were probably right but one person knew I could handle it. And within the last year and a half, that person has become my person.

If you asked me to describe my friendship with Lauren, I honestly don’t think I could. We talk all day everyday, send the same message at the same time to each other at least once a week and have managed to see each other monthly despite working and living in two different cities. I guess it’s hard to put it into words because it just works. It started one day at Templefest and the rest is history. We’re on the same wavelength, we can anticipate each other’s reactions and value each other’s opinion no matter how honest they may be.

Ask anyone who knows us and they’ll tell you there’s no one quite like us. We’ve been known to call andIMG_0157 sing into the phone at all hours of the night, bicker over where to eat dinner and drop pretty much anything to watch Scandal. One day, Lauren will become Olivia Pope, I’m sure of it. More than anything, we keep it real. There’s no lying, no hiding emotions, no pretending everything is okay when it’s not. In the last year, this girl has seen me at my absolute worst and watched me take complete nervous breakdowns (ones that mostly weren’t necessary). Despite all of that, she still manages to be my friend and love me unconditionally. Same goes for her obviously, though her freakouts are fall less frequent.

It still amazes me to think one decision changed my life so dramatically. I often wonder what life would be like if I didn’t take that position and didn’t become such good friends with Lauren. Life would be a lot less entertaining, that is for sure. A part of me wishes this friendship was formed sooner. But I guess everything happens for a reason…maybe we just weren’t ready to leave our comfort zones yet. Whatever the reason, I am beyond grateful for this friendship and can’t wait to watch the rest unfold.

Sometimes the smallest decisions impact us in the biggest ways. 

In honor of Lauren’s birthday, allow me to introduce you to our theme song.

Introducing Family Fridays!

Anyone who knows me knows that my family (and friends) play a large role in my life. Collectively, they have molded me, challenged me and taught me invaluable life lessons. That’s why, from now on, each Friday will be dedicated to some story or lesson from the crazy bunch I call family.

For starters, you must realize how expansive my family is. I suppose the reason for that is I don’t consider just my blood relatives family. Of course they are my family, but I’m happy to say the title of family is extended to so many others who are in my life. You see, there is my mother’s family, my father’s family and my stepmother’s family as well as my best friends who have earned their spots within the crazy crew. For me, family isn’t defined by blood. It is defined by who consistently and happily shows up. Most of the time, that includes blood relatives but sometimes it doesn’t. I’m blessed and proud to say that in my world, my family grows and changes all the time.

Today is my grandmother’s 83rd birthday. Grandma Dee is the epitome of honesty. Gained a little weight? She’ll notice it. Accidentally burned dinner? She’ll let you know. The woman does not hold back and at 83, who would? It’s very easy for people to get offended by her honesty. Who really wants to be reminded that they gained weight?! But, I’ve learned to love her honesty. I go to her when I need a brutally honest opinion but prepare beforehand for the harsh truth. It is refreshing to have someone in my life who is upfront and does not sugarcoat things. Too often, people hold back and don’t share their true feelings at the risk of others being offended. While there is a time and place for bluntness, I’m glad Grandma holds nothing back and is straight with all of us. It takes some getting used to but she doesn’t mean any harm. I am so lucky to still have my grandparents are a constant part of my life especially my extremely honest grandmother!

Happy Birthday Grandma!!

Grandma Dee & Papa Buddy :)

Grandma Dee & Papa Buddy 🙂

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