Spreading The Love: Advice On Finding A Meaningful Career

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{The following is an interview I did with the help of the lovely team over at Vitamin Angels via 20Something that I wanted to share with you guys xo- please feel free to find my writing over there and share in 20Something’s journey!}

A couple weeks ago I was thinking about what a ‘career’ truly means.  We’re prompted pretty much from the time we can take our first steps to then begin our search for ‘what we want to be.’  I suppose I have probably sounded off close to twenty-three absurdly different paths of what I want to make of my life since I was seven years old.  And then, when you finally get to your 20s- some, big, overwhelming truth hits you for the first time.  It’s like that one day everything becomes somewhat silent and a little…dim.  I think it’s the Universe who decides at some random given moment, “Hey, today I’m going to let that kid know the truth about what it means to truly have that career they’ve been going on about”, a somewhat evil laughter brimming, “And they’ll never be the same.”

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You know what I’m talking about, the sudden day you realize that amazing ‘career path’ you have chosen– has simply become a rut, with no real destination- or journey for that matter.  So, what’s next?  I think for a while we run from it, getting odd jobs here and there, maybe even recklessly touring the country in a mini van and surviving off of food trucks planted about.  After the initial shock that hits, many of us realize the only way to truly get ahead is realizing it’s okay to say everything isn’t absolutely perfect.  Perfection isn’t what life is about.  You then begin looking for answers, and advice, and both eventually finds us along our way.  I suppose that’s exactly what I was looking for when I decided to get in touch with Vitamin Angels.  I wanted an answer.  An answer that could apparently only come from an amazing Non-Governmental Organization, that helps women and children around the world, and the very definition of being ameaningful career. Our generation is looking ahead to a lot of pressing issues- which got me to thinking- isn’t our real job to begin helping out through our careers?

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Recent Vitamin Angels trip to Haiti, 1 in 4 Haitian children under 5 are Vitamin A deficient 

 That’s when I was put in touch with Megan MacKay (i.e. the defining women of what is stated above), the Event Manager of the NGO, Vitamin Angels.  In a nutshell Megan is a beautiful, strong-willed, 30something, women, rockin’ out a seriously wonderful career- and having a great time balancing it all with her husband, five horses, two dogs, and her beloved cat.  I was told she was one of the most inspirational people found within their offices, and was hopelessly in love with her job.  All I could think was, can this please be me one day?  It was pretty evident when I began speaking with her that her co-workers were, indeed, very right.  She adored her job and knew she had found a career that held meaning- and a purpose.  When I first contacted her, she asked if she could get in touch with me after her (life-changing) trip to Malawi.  Do I even need to add you could also tell she had fulfilled the, ‘What I Want To Be When I Grow Up Award’– by far.  And who can blame her?  Vitamin Angels is one of the biggest NGOs helping the child mortality rate go down worldwide through providing simple vitamins and nutrients that saves lives- everyday.  I asked her a few questions about our generation according to her, what she thinks our generation is doing better, how she found her dream job, and what it’s like knowing you’re helping create a brighter future through your career:

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Megan MacKay on her recent trip to Malawi with Vitamin Angels

Q:  What do you honestly think of the future of Generation Y? Joel Stein of Time magazine just did a pretty nasty article on us this year, “Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation”, where we were called things like ‘lazy’, ‘narcissistic’, and ‘money hungry’. Nice, right?  For me, I’ve always wanted to think we were hard-working, knew our self-worth, and more worried about the greater good than some extra cash. What do you think?

A: I think it really depends on the individual. I know a lot of people in my generation that act like the “Me, Me, Me” type, but I also know plenty that really do care and even if they don’t have the funds to contribute to charities they recycle, compost, conserve, and more to try and make a difference (donating time, etc). I do feel that more people from my generation care about the environment, social issues, and trying to find ways to make a bigger impact on the world. I also believe that our generation has a stronger outcry for more organic and sustainable items than that of older generations.

Q: Okay, so for a little inspiration; What’s something that has changed your life, so far, with working at Vitamin Angels– and what is something that keeps ‘positive vibes’ flowing throughout your day?

A: I just got back from a life-altering trip to Malawi with our team that you’ll hear about, which was an incredible experience. That’s definitely changed my life greatly.  And I like to think of balance;  I strive to try and be the best person that I think I can be in life, love, and work. I have so many dreams it could only take a book to write them all down, but I am hopeful that I will be remembered for trying to make a difference and leading by example.

Q:  I think the book idea sounds brilliant. We’re all for it!  So, let’s be honest, in our 20s there is a lot of freaking out involved when it comes to our career choices.  I have to ask you this; Before you began working for VAs, did you ever feel “trapped” in a job that felt like it wasn’t going in the direction you thought it would? Even if you were making good money? If so, what gave?

A: I think just about everyone starting out in their 20’s after college has that feeling of being trapped in a completely meaningless job. As you attempt to work your way up the ladder, you think to yourself, it might get better. I certainly had that feeling of wanting something bigger, better, and doing something that actually had meaning behind it. I think my breaking point was just last year; I was making great money, working my tail off, but not really happy with myself- or who I was becoming.  I knew I had to make a change in my life so I started looking for something different.

Q: So, in that case, how did you find that change? Did you find Vitamin Angels– or did they find you?

A: I actually found the Vitamin Angel’s opening on Craigslist, when I read the ad I honestly thought, “Is this for real? Because if it is, I am the perfect fit!” Ironic how it all works out.

Q: So obviously you were right- it was the perfect fit. Was it always a dream of your’s to work for an NGO, or was it the ‘light of Craigslist’ that sparked that, “Aha!”, lightbulb? I think being in our 20s we feel this pressure to ‘have it all figured out’, so it’s nice to hear feedback from someone who has been there…

A: I have worked for some very large Fortune 500 corporations in my earlier career stages, which have provided so much to me in earnings, learning, and having some pretty amazing mentors. After graduating college, I have to be honest, my dream was to be an extremely successful Marketing Director (or something to that level), and I certainly wasn’t thinking about working for an NGO at that point of my life. After 10 years in the corporate world my ‘aha’ moment was actually at an Event Planner conference where an NGO called “Clean the World” did a presentation. There was a moment in a video from Haiti where they were giving the children soap, and the tears just started welling up in my eyes– all that crossed my mind was, “I wish I could do MORE, I wish I was doing something that made a difference.” A couple of months later I saw the Vitamin Angels ad in Craigslist for the Event Manager position and I just knew that it was the perfect fit for me. I could do something I love, and do it for an organization I truly believe in.

Q: Ah, I love it! I’m such a sap for ‘full-circle’ life happenings.  Tells us more about being Vitamin Angel’s Event Manager– I feel like it’s one of those jobs ‘that keeps rolling’, so to say. You get to have a great time, making sure everyone has a great time, having a great time creating the difference you guys make around the world.  Whew, that’s a pretty awesome job description if you ask me.  What’s a typical day in your shoes?

A: Vitamin Angels has several large events throughout the year. Mainly for fundraising, donor recognition, and to increase awareness– a day in the life with me is all about multitasking. I manage extensive budgets, track expenses, work closely with management on all levels, both at VA, with our board members, and with our partners to make sure the event is a success. I am constantly thinking about event design and marketing to make the events memorable and unique. I develop strategies to make sure our goals are being met, reach out to partners to help secure registrations and sponsorships, answer attendee and sponsor questions/concerns, develop reports to track progress, site research and then work with the vendors regarding the event logistics (food, promotional items, activities, etc.)

The best part of my day, though, is definitely the amazing friendships made and the camaraderie in the office. From the awesome VA rap that was done at our Christmas party this year (kudos to my creative co-workers!), to the amazing birthday celebrations (and as the office staff grows, so do the parties, wink wink), and our fun brainstorming atmosphere (we have had some pretty wild ideas) each day- there is just this joyful aura around here- and it’s such an honor to be a part of such a cohesive team of individuals.

Q: Seems like a pretty wonderful place to create, inspire, and have an open space of exchange. That’s lovely. I must ask this because of the area of work you guys deal with everyday; We walk around places all the time and see loads of vitamins swarming the aisles and don’t actively think much of it- from grocery stores, health stores, pharmacies, etc.  What is it like now, seeing this, when you know so many women and children die everyday from such a simple deficiencies? Has it changed you at all?

A: I am so proud of everything that we are doing with Vitamin Angels– and have seen firsthand the affect that it is having globally– that I honestly haven’t focused on the negativity (death) that much. I suppose I find myself more engaged and thoughtful on how can we reach more people- ‘How do we get the word out so that everyone has heard of Vitamin Angels?’- those sort of thoughts cross my mind a lot nowadays. It is also amazing to me that .25 cents can save one child’s life. Vitamin Angels has changed me by actually being proud of what I do and who I work for. I know that at the end of the day creating memorable events, equals out to creating mass awareness about our cause.

Q: Obviously we’re on the same page; Creating a meaningful and positive impact on others in our lives is one of the only true ways to live life to the fullest. You certainly do this in your line of work– do you feel like your job is a sort of ‘complete success’ in a way? Especially when so many of us know we get caught up in merely working to support a lifestyle we want?

A: I absolutely feel that my job is a gift. I am so grateful for being able to work with such great people that truly believe in what we are doing, in an industry that is truly proud to work with us, and is so supportive. If you feel you want a job that is more meaningful, simple and actively seek it out– eventually you will find your calling. It may not fall out of the sky immediately, but you’ll get there.

Q: So how has your life changed knowing you are working for a greater good? 

A: My life has certainly changed for the better. What has truly inspired me while working at VA are the certainly the incredibly dedicated and intelligent people I work with, but also having the opportunity to see the Vitamin A distribution in Malawi, Africa. The impact was profound and is currently driving me to find ways to bring the feeling from the trip to those that might not be able to go to a remote distribution, but will find a way to come to our events and make a difference.

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Photograph of Malawi mother and son, as she builds her own home, brick-by-brick

 Q: Was there one particular moment while distributing Vitamin A, in Malawi, that touched you/inspired you– being a women and playing such a key-role in a huge NGO?

A: While in Malawi, the last village we visited, there was a young mother, 23 years old with two children and she was building her own home…brick by brick (literally – she was making the bricks one by one in the mud). Her love for her children and her need to provide for them, although she has nothing, was so overwhelming. Standing in a pile of mud (that she was using to create each brick) she takes her son, rinses off his legs and hands, gives him a big hug and sends him over to play with the other children. A mother’s love for her child reaches across the globe and all that crossed my mind after seeing this was how can I help VA more? What can I do to bring these stories to life for those that aren’t able to be in Malawi with me? It has inspired me to push myself even harder with life and work but it also reminded me to take time to enjoy being with those that I love.

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Q: So, my last question is pretty loaded; If you could say something to generations before you on behalf of Generation Y, what do you think you would say about us?

A: It’s as simple as, watch and learn…

If you would like to learn more, get involved, or donate to Vitamin Angels, please visit their website, donations may be taken here!

A special thanks from 20Something to Vitamin Angels and Megan MacKay for our interview! You guys Rock!

{all images in the interview are courtesy of Vitamin Angel’s}

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Foxes, Glitter, & Paradise: Home Inspiration

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I’m a big believer that a few, simple, changes can make a place feel like home vs. merely a place you live. So while I was scavenging today, I came across these lovelies that I think would make little changes, but a big difference. To be honest, I’m kind of obsessed with them all (not to mention the title, can I deem that the name of my future book?) Yes, yes indeed, because who wouldn’t want to read Foxes, Glitter, & Paradise? I’m on it. I wish I was kidding. Anyway, I also wanted to keep everything in a reasonable price range, so everything is below $100. Not to mention every piece would definitely add a little whimsical-worthy fun to your home.

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{via (top to bottom): Tobi Fairley + Rosa Pillow, Urban Outfitters + Magical Thinking Blanket, Urban Outfitters + Home Geo Wall Organizer, Leif + Pinch & Glazer Planter, My Favorite Cult-Worthy Candle: Woodwick + Vanilla Scent,  Leif + Party Teaspoons, Urbant Outfitters + Ola Liola Blue Fox Print}

What are your favorite ways to decorate? Also, I feel like a lot these would double as cool gift ideas, don’t you? Have a fox & glittered-inspired weekend, whatever that means. xoxo til’ next loves.

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Pretty Simple: Wanna’ Be Healthier?

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Back when I used to juice basically every single day and eat like a fairy, I felt pretty damn amazing.  All the hype is true, juicing and eating a lot of raw foods is a wonderful, marvelous, amazing idea. But there’s this thing…perhaps you’ve heard of it? It’s called real life.

Rewind to a mere few years ago- I remember the days I used to prance around and say in my best granola accent, “It’s so easy to eat like this everyday! What’s the problem? Just bring your juicer everywhere you go and you’ve got that shit down!” I’m no hypocrite either, I’ve been known to carry a couple grocery bags/juicer/small basil plant/etc. around with me wherever I went- in the glorious name of, “I’ll be fuc*ing healthy if it’s the last thing I do.” I had no shame. People looked at me like I was some crazy green-juice lady…and I still was full speed ahead, taking the name with pride.

However, after time I started to shed some of my old ways here and there (i.e. the juicer is no longer a staple in my…pocketbook), but I still wanted to keep the energy I seemed to have infinite amounts of when I was a walking produce isle. And so, here and now, I give to the, the loveliest green single-celled microalgae you will ever lay your pretty little eyes on. Okay, aside from how it sounds, Chlorella is basically a life-support for anyone who needs something to keep their bodies more balanced (i.e. alkaline, etc.), cleaner, and energy efficient. I had to share it on here because every time I go without it, I can tell my body just doesn’t feel as, well, well. Chlorella is full of naturally occurring chlorophyll, iron, protein, vitamin C, and beta-carotene. So, it’s obviously pretty amazing stuff, and I’ve recommended it to my friends only about one million times.  So now it’s your turn, woo! It can be used as a daily super-detox as well, to protect us from everyday free radicals and heavy metals that are constantly around us, trying to make us…useless.

This was just a quick thought I wanted to share with you guys, it’s such an amazing, quick thing to do that has amazing benefits- so why not? If you decide to make a trip to your health food store, you want to make sure it reads ‘broken cell wall‘ on the bottle, that way it is most easily digested and used by our bodies. If it is not, it basically is worthless, so that’s very important! ‘Organic’ chlorella is also the best way to make sure the sourcing is clean and not…iffy. I recommend taking anywhere from 200-1000mg starting off, depending on how much you juice, eating habits, etc. It is definitely worth a try if you want more natural energy. Oh, and it’s also AMAZING for our skin, so if you are dealing with any breakouts or feel like your skin needs some tlc, chlorella is my go-to option. If you have any questions, or other ideas for quick natural ways to have more energy- feel free to leave me a comment! xoxo.

p.s here are some informational videos on chlorella…

Dr. Oz on chlorella and heavy metals.

really interesting talk with internationally renown natural health physician, Dr. Mercola (it’s long, but interesting- starts talking about chlorella at 5:18)

and these two, who are basically as excited as I am about chlorella, I mean, they’re really excited. (p.s.s…at least you’ll laugh) via natural news

happy granola-eatin’ themed Thursday! ha, xoxo.

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Channeling The 60s: Edie+Twiggy Eyes For Your Weekend.

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There are certain trends that feel seriously played out when it comes to matters of makeup. Especially really dramatic looks that feel way too overdone to wear in everyday life. To me, simplicity is always the winner. Simple makeup is classic- a staple, highlighter of your natural beauty. However, there are just some cases where ‘dramatic’ ends up winning. For instance, Twiggy and Edie Sedgwick’s staple of dramatized eyes during the 60s, in which, they pulled off effortlessly.

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 I’ve always wanted to try it out, but for one, I had no clue where to start. I mean, not that it stopped me- who knows how many times I ended up staring back into the mirror looking like a raccoon gave me makeup advice.

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 However, I finally found that the key is balance, and not everyone will look good with a white eyeshadow/highlighter as the foundation for this look (as most DIY’s stand by). When you figure out what balance is right for you, it’s a fun way to add a little something to brighten your eyes while keeping everything else, simple. Especially when you want a playful look for weekend festivities. The below picture is pretty simple to see how to mock this iconic look. Hint: It doesn’t have to be perfect, that’s definitely another key. Have fun with it! We’re young!

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{Quick Tips}

1. Use a yellow concealer and dot around eyes, and under.

2. Dot a pretty highlighter around your eyes, I don’t suggest using white- however, yellow or peachy undertones are most welcomed.

3. The rest is pretty much described in the picture above, I didn’t use false lashes when I did mine, too much work.

 4. Oh, and if you mess up on step 4, the key to mine was just making little eyeliner dots on the under-eye rims, instead of dragging the eyeliner. Then just follow with lots(sss) of mascara.

{What I Used}

Physician’s Formula Yellow Wear Mineral Concealer in Soft YellowOrigins Brightening Cream Eyeshadow in Ginger Zing, Pacifica Natural Minerals Eye Shadow in Enlighten, Tarte Lights, Camera Action! Mascara, Physician’s Formula Eye Booster in Ultra Black

Hope this sets the weekend off to a fun start. xoxo.

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Pretty Simple: DIY Surf Spray for Beach-Ready Hair.

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So. You’re walking through the store and you see that lovely, pricey, bottle of hair spray that promises sea salty, beach-y, summer scented, good-for-your-hair coconut oil, drenched tresses. It’s a serious moment. Hell, you might as well call it a phase.  Everything stops, you have a choice;

It’s that time of year again- you’re truly willing to throw basically anything out the window (job, rent, car, significant other, you know, etc.) in order to spend the summer like some carefree bohemian 20something with long hair and the golden sun shining off your skin (‘Who am I kidding?’, you think, ‘That IS me!’). All things California, Hawaii, coastal-inspired are pretty much the definition of your life, in fact, you’re basically a resident in every state that has a fucking beach because that’s how fucking free your spirit is. And, when it comes to being a free spirit there are essentials, in this case…salty, wavy, beach bum hair to truly live the part. Yes, that time.maybeb&bprettysimple

So, ‘That’s it!’, you think. It will make me feel better and look better and life will be great- a treat to myself. Plus, I’ll have beach hair to go perfectly with the Tan Towels I just bought (you know I’m talking to you, but that’s another post). Anyway, you buy Bumble and Bumble’s Surf Spray, and you know you’ve basically just bought the beach in a bottle. Life is sweet, and nothing can touch you. Even when you go to work tomorrow, you’ll smell like a tropical paradise, A TROPICAL BEACH GODDESS PARADISE (Fuck yes!). Oh, p.s., if you’re a guy reading this, I couldn’t make this up if I tried, we really do think certain products have the ability to be this life changing…it’s true. Anyway, you’re about to spray the hell(lll) out of that miracle-in-a-bottle and sit in your apartment knowing your life is pretty much amazing at this point. That beach is basically in your non-existent backyard by now. You made that choice, girl…and you’re stoked.

Please keep in mind the following, however:

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Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray

Ingredients: 

Water, Magnesium Sulfate, Macrocystis Pyrifera (Kelp) Extract, Ascophyllum Nodosum Extract, Isoceteth-20, Citric Acid, PPG-5-Ceteth-20, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Citronellol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Linalool, Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Fragrance.

The above ingredients are just…not. Hence, this post. Here’s a much cheaper alternative, that’s natural, and actually beach hair-worthy.

Style: "Penutbutter and Blueberries"

All you need is the above/love. However, the water needs to be hot enough for the salt to dissolve in the beginning, that’s about the hardest part. After the salt is down, you just put it in a cool bottle and shake it up, my loves. I really try to stress that the key here is the quality of the ingredients that you buy. For instance, you want raw, young, coconut oil because it’s in its’ purest state/unrefined, and therefore better for your hair- or if you like, you can even use this on your skin. I also think it’s definitely ideal to use Harmless Harvest’s coconut water in this recipe because again, they use raw, young, coconuts that are never heated in the process which causes it to smell AMAZING (which is kind of weird because it’s a drink, but whatever). I like to add some vanilla drops to mine sometimes, too.

You can add anything else you like to the mix (like more pink salt for added volume boosts to your hair), but I usually prefer its’ simplicity.

That’s it dears, see you at the beach (or the office, ya’ know, whichever).

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xoxo, The P&P.