Sunday, August 24, 2014

Next Stop: Germany

It's finally here! I've dreamed of studying abroad in Germany since eighth grade, and today I'm hopping on a flight to Berlin with two suitcases and a backpack. I'm spending this semester taking classes at Freie University in Berlin, with plans to travel and explore Europe during my convenient three day weekends. It's actually happening, but I still can't believe it!

Why Berlin? Since I'm part German and my dad travelled to Germany for business when I was little, I decided to start studying the German language in eighth grade. I stuck with it through high school and declared a German minor in college (to accompany my magazine journalism major). Traveling has always been a passion of mine and I knew I wanted to study abroad in college. Given my history with the German language, I didn't even consider studying abroad in any other country. And now here I am, waiting out a five hour layover in the Newark airport!

I'm taking four classes while abroad but have plenty of time to travel around. Through my program, I'm going to Prague and Nuremberg in September. I also plan to take advantage of the cheap travel expenses in Europe to visit neighboring counties like Switzerland and Austria, as well as other German cities besides Berlin. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know! My schedule is completely blank right now.

This won't be my first time in Europe. My dad actually took me for a week-and-a-half after my high school graduation, where we made our way to Germany (Berlin, Munich, Heidelberg, Frankfurt, Trier, Rothenberg), Austria (Innsbruck), France, and Luxembourg. I had such a fun and memorable vacation, but we didn't stay anywhere for more than a few days. This summer I get to actually immerse myself in German life and culture, while hopefully practicing my language skills along the way. I couldn't be happier!

What does this mean for Meet Me In Midtown? I created this blog as a way to document my journeys and share them with others, so I'm going to be blogging about my study abroad experience! I'll also continue to post my typical lifestyle/college/inspiration posts in order to have a nice mix of content. I'm super excited to share my experiences on my blog!

Here are some pictures from my last trip to Germany:

Bloggers With Class Award

I'd like to thank Ellen from A Pop of Pink for nominating me for the Bloggers With Class Award! Ellen is a fashion and lifestyle blogger with great personal style and inspiring outfit ideas, so I highly recommend checking out her blog. You can also visit the Bloggers With Class community on their Google+ page

  • If tagged, please copy the rules into your post
  • Please also link back to this post on Classy Cathleen
  • Recognize the blogger that tagged you (share a little about them and their blog, and link back to them)
  • Answer the questions that are a part of the award
  • Tag 5 bloggers that you feel are classy to receive the award as well
  • Let the bloggers know that they have been tagged!
  • Be sure to include the link to the Bloggers With Class community (And don’t forget to join!)
  • Include the image in your post

What do you think it means to be classy? 
Being classy means putting effort into yourself and your activities in order to thrive. Classy girls don't settle, but rather work hard for what they want. They aren't afraid to express their thoughts and show off their personalities. 

Who are some of your role models? 
I admire the editor of the magazine I interned at this past summer. She had a vision for the magazine and stuck with it, even though her idea made some people unhappy along the way, and the result was spectacular. The editor showed me that the right things isn't always the easiest thing, and you have to be willing to stick with your own ideas no matter the consequence. Holding your head high in tough situations embodies class to me. In my personal life, my parents have always been great role models. My mom is my biggest supporter, and she does all she can to help me achieve my dreams. I also see the importance of hard work and discipline firsthand through my dad. He made career goals for himself at a young age and managed to accomplish those goals, and more, with his business-savvy mind and drive to succeed. He's not afraid to speak his mind and make risky decisions, and I admire him for that. 

Who are some of your style icons? 
Kerry Washington has been one of my style icons this year. Not only is she absolutely beautiful, she always dresses flawlessly. All of her outfits, especially her formal dresses, are classy and flattering without being too sexy. I'm also a fan of Kate Middleton's timeless style, as well as the styles of Blake Lively and Lauren Conrad.

Pearls or bows? 
I don't wear either, but I love bow details on my clothing!

Who/What inspires you? 
I am always inspired by other bloggers for their creative blog post ideas, impressive photography, or flawless writing. Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere is a one of the most inspirational bloggers to me. She started Cupcakes and Cashmere as a hobby but jumped on her success and made a brand for herself, complete with books and a clothing line. Her blog has its own personal voice, and I can't even fathom how she brainstorms so many great new ideas for blog posts every week. I also get inspired by anybody who isn't afraid to put themselves out there and ask for what they want. 

What is your favorite color? 
It's a tie between muted purple and baby blue. Very specific, I know!

Do you like the classy style? What are some of your favorite pieces/trends of the style? 
When I think of classy style, I think of timeless and elegant clothing that survives through generations. I think of the sleek dresses and put-together outfits worn by Kate Middleton and Aubrey Hepburn.These women always look flawless and confident. I love the classy style and tend to gravitate toward classy pieces for my own wardrobe. 

What are some of your favorite quotes? 
  • "Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you'll be criticized anyway." -Eleanor Roosevelt ... This quote reminds me to trust my instinct and be confident in my decisions.
  • "If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be" - Maya Angelou... Again, being yourself is extremely important to happiness and success.   
Why is it important to have class? 
A classy girl is a confident girl. If you respect yourself and have faith in your thoughts and actions, others will have faith in you. Present yourself in a way that makes others eager to be around you.

Why did you start your blog? When did you start your blog? I
I started my blog in June 2014! I was interning in New York City for the summer and am preparing to study abroad this fall, and I wanted a way to document my experiences. Writing has always been a hobby of mine, and being a journalism major, I wanted a creative outlet to practice my writing and develop a voice. 

I nominate:
1. Arianne from Ayre
2. Sarah from Tulle and Trinkets
3. Gabriela from Gab Sessions
4. Mary from Crazy in Life
5. Michaela from Monogrammed Midwesterner

I love telling a little more about myself with posts like this. If you want to read more, you can check out my Liebster Award post. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

How I Met My Boyfriend (And Kissed Him In Front Of 50,000 People)

One of the reasons I chose to study journalism is that I love telling stories about everything and anything. I created my blog to share my own story about a small-town girl navigating her way through college with the dreams of becoming a magazine journalist. Today I'm going to write about an interesting and somewhat personal chapter to my story: how I started dating my boyfriend.

I met Jake on the second day of school during our freshman year at Syracuse University. He lived right across the hall from me, literally two feet away. I was instantly intimidated: he was six-foot-four with the broad stature of a football player (I wasn't surprised to learn that he played center and defensive tackle on his high school football team). We were also complete opposites. I was a shy girly-girly who loved anything creative, and he was a friendly, outgoing, sports-obsessed man.
Nonetheless, we had an instant connection. We were attached at the hip for all of the "new student" orientation activities, like ice skating and parties on the quad. When school started, we did homework together, ate meals together, watched TV together, went to a concert together. He was my best friend, but nothing more since I had a boyfriend back home. I realize now how completely cruel the situation was – I friend-zoned him so badly that I'm surprised he stuck around. But he did stick around, and he was persistent without being pushy. I knew he liked me, and eventually I realized that I liked him, too.

Here's the tricky thing: I wasn't sure how to handle this unwelcome romantic drama. I had a couple of boyfriends in high school, but I certainly didn't expect to be involved in a love triangle merely weeks after coming to college. College is full of new and exciting guys – ones who didn't watch you go through puberty – and the situation was honestly quite confusing. Should I stick with a guy I'm comfortable with, or take a chance with this extremely social, super friendly football player? I even surprised myself, because I never, ever thought I'd consider dating someone who liked sports so much. Jake was even planning to study sport management!
After an excruciating weekend when my boyfriend came to visit and I had to decide between him and Jake, I followed my heart and wound up choosing Jake. Of course, dating him would be floorcest (dating someone on the same dorm floor, which usually ends in disaster and awkward encounters for the rest of the school year). That, combined with the fact that I had just broken up with my boyfriend back home, meant that Jake kept our relationship secret for a while. My dorm floor was extremely close, and everyone was friends with everyone, so keeping the secret was awfully hard. We still hung out like usual in public, but we started transitioning from best friends into a couple in private.

Our hush-hush relationship was finally exposed a couple of weeks later, and not by a conscious choice. Jake and I tagged along with a group of friends to a Syracuse Orange football game, painting our faces orange and navy blue. Everything was going smoothly at the game until the dreaded Kiss Cam. For those who don't know, the Kiss Cam is when the cameraman shines his camera on two people (a boy and a girl), who appear on the big screen at the game in front of the entire crowd. The two people are supposed to kiss, amid cheers and screams from the stadium. Well, there were 50,000 people at the football game that night, but Jake and I were the ones chosen for the Kiss Cam. What are the odds?!

The weirdest thing is, I knew we would be chosen. As soon as the Kiss Cam was introduced, I had this feeling that the camera would turn to us, and I was even preparing for the moment it did. But my intuition didn't stop my heart from jumping out of my chest when I saw the side of my head appear on the big screen over the orange-clad football fans in the Carrier Dome. Wide-eyed, I turned to Jake, who also looked like a deer in the headlights. And then we kissed. In front of 50,000 people. I remember looking back at our friends when the kiss was done and laughing – half of them were screaming and cheering, the other half just stared with their mouths open in shock. We were definitely popular on campus that night, considering we were stopped a dozen times by people who recognized us from the Kiss Cam.

And now here we are, almost two years later. I'm headed to Germany for a semester and Jake is staying back at 'Cuse, but I know we'll be ok. I guess the moral of the story is that when things are meant to happen, they happen. Or maybe it's that floorcest isn't always bad, or that the "unbreakable" friendzone can, in fact, be broken? Either way, my story is one I love to tell.

Monday, August 18, 2014

No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems

I've been an anxious wreck for the last few weeks. I'm even worse than when I first started college two years ago, and that was bad. I can usually handle my anxiety pretty well, but my upcoming semester abroad has taken a toll on my poor little nerves. I've been worrying so much that my anxiety passed the "point of no return," meaning I can't just distract myself and take my mind off things by watching funny YouTube videos.

I know I'll be perfectly fine in Berlin, especially after spending this past summer alone in New York City. I've even been to Berlin before and know conversational German. So what is there to worry about? Well, I think I'm bothered most by the fact that my family, friends, and boyfriend won't be just a car ride away. I've never been away from my them for more than a few months at a time, and I can't even imagine spending Halloween or Thanksgiving without them. No going to crazy Halloween costume parties or binging on turkey and stuffing this year! I'm also dreading the inevitable culture shock from being in a completely different environment. Maybe I'll be the girl who freaks out when I can't find my favorite brand of shampoo at the German stores.

I really needed a nice break to ease my worries, and luckily my family went on a perfectly timed vacation to Florida to move my little sister into her dorm at Florida Gulf Coast University this weekend. Of course, we stayed a few extra days to take advantage of the beaches and boating weather.

Life on a beach is so much more peaceful than anywhere else. Time doesn't seem to matter and nobody has a set schedule, so I can sleep in every morning and stay up late every night. I love being able to do whatever I want during the day- I can read by the pool, go on a boat ride, walk the beach, go to dinner with my family... whatever I feel like, basically. I'm glad I was able to spend time with my family before trekking to Berlin, and (thankfully) the salty air and serene beach sunsets eased my anxiety a bit.

Friday, August 15, 2014

College Campus? More Like A Resort

My family and I moved my little sister into her college dorm at Florida Gulf Coast University today. She's only two years younger than me, but I felt super old as I helped her decorate her dorm. We've had our fair share of spats over the years... she likes to steal my clothes and we have completely opposite personalities. But we've also had countless "sister" moments, from cutting our Barbie dolls' hair in elementary school to sharing my twin-sized dorm bed for a couple of days last year. It's strange having a little sister in college, but I know she'll do great!

Now let's take a moment to drool over the FGCU campus, which is really more like a resort than a campus. I'm not even exaggerating – the first thing you notice is all of the tropical-looking buildings and palm trees. The freshman dorms have their own swimming pool with lounge chairs and pool toys, literally 20 steps from my sister's dorm. The college even has its own beach with free boat rentals.

Don't even get me started on the dorms. My sister has a large, apartment-style dorm with her own room and a HUGE closet. The dorm building has its own mini movie theater, a lounge with actual arcade games like skee ball, and a laundry room right down the hall. Talk about jealousy! I don't know how those students are going to get any school work done.

Although my sister's college campus is super nice, I bleed orange and wouldn't trade my time at Syracuse for anything. My school really is perfect for me – I just love the old buildings, my awesome journalism school, the basketball team, and even the snowy winters. Just like I can't see myself going to school in Florida, I can't see my sister going to school at Syracuse. Every college is so unique, and choosing a college that matches your personality is key. I'll always love Syracuse, even when my sister sends me pictures of the beach in December while I'm walking to class is snowy, cold, -30 degree Fahrenheit weather. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How To Be A Super Impressive Intern

My summers have been booked with internships ever since starting college. Last summer I had an unpaid and extremely stressful internship with a local newspaper, and this summer I interned with a "big name" magazine in NYC.

I'm not going to lie, internships are extremely important, especially for journalism. Employers want to hire people with experience, and pretty much the only way to get journalism experience is through internships. At least that what's I've been told by professors, internship coordinators, and university alumni.

My time at the local newspaper and the magazine are almost incomparable, but I realized that "proper intern behavior" is the same at both. I've seen outstanding interns who've been asked back to the company, and I've also seen lousy interns who didn't put any effort into their work. I wanted to share a few tips I've picked up over the last two years about how to be an impressive intern.

1. Know your place
If your internship coordinator gives you an assignment, then do the assignment. This may seem obvious, but my internship coordinator told me about an intern who responded to a task with, "I want to eat lunch now. Maybe I can do that later." Seriously. Interns are basically supposed to do anything their coordinator asks, so don't come off as high maintenance by rejecting a task.

2. Dress the part
Your hair and clothes are obviously not the most important aspects of your internship, but how you look really does matter. Appearance is the first thing your coworkers notice about you, and often the thing they remember. While you should always be conservative and appropriate, keep in mind that a fashion intern might wear something completely different than a financial intern. Research the dress code ahead of time and take cues from your coworker. You don't want to be the girl wearing the highest heels or the shortest skirt.

3. Ask for what you want
I'm a timid person, but I've learned the importance of asking for what you want. Do you want to grab coffee with your coordinator? Ask. Do you want to sit in on a meeting? Ask. Do you want to try your hand at writing an article? Ask. People won't know what you want unless you ask. Make the most of your internship and try out anything and everything you possibly can. The worst that can happen is that your coordinator will say no.

4. Be willing to do anything
At my internship, I'm known as the "intern who is willing to do anything," since I accept each task and try my best at it, even if the work is tedious. My coordinators noticed my drive, and I've been rewarded for my efforts. I was asked to write an article for the magazine's website, and I even got to attend a press event. Smile through the hardships!

5. Make connections and network, network, network
Connections are everything. Absolutely everything. Magazine job positions can get hundreds of applications in one week, and no employer will have time to sort through every applicant. People with connections are way more likely to get a job, since employers will pay closer attention to those recommended by other people in the office. Meet people through your internship who have a job that you covet and ask them to get coffee. On your date, ask them anything you wanted to know about their job and how they got it, and be sure to thank them afterwards. Keep in touch with your coordinator after your internships by sending an email every couple of months, but make sure not to bombard them with emails as well.

Good luck!

Monday, August 11, 2014

My "Currently" List

I'm always interested in what other people are reading/watching/eating, so I thought I'd do another "currently" list.  I hope you guys enjoy these types of posts – feel free to make your own and link it in the comments!

Watching: I'm still working through The Vampire Diaries on Netflix. The show is my guilty pleasure and I love it, but I'm not one to binge watch many episodes of a TV show at once. I already have a list of recommended TV shows to start once I finish The Vampire Diaries, so hopefully I'll have more free time to watch Netflix this fall. My friend and I also watched Divergent last night, which we both enjoyed!

Reading: "Something Borrowed" by Emily Giffin. A nice beach read!

Listening: "All of Me" by John Legend and "Danny's Song" by Kenny Loggins. I haven't listened to the radio much this summer, so I'm not up to date on the songs that are popular now. My friends and I have also been listening to the "Newsies" soundtrack since we saw the Broadway musical in July. I recommend the songs, if you like show tunes!
Eating: Home cooked meals! Between college and my internship, I've only been home for two weeks during the whole year. I've been seriously craving some childhood comfort food. Bring on the steak and potatoes! Also, I really enjoyed the macarons pictured above.

Drinking: Water and coffee, like always.

Enjoying: Sleeping in and relaxing with my family. I loved living in NYC but I was really craving some quiet time and non-crowded streets.

Wanting: Sushi! I miss the sushi bar from my internship. Also, I get terrible acid reflux, so I would love to get rid of that.

Wearing: T-shirts and lounge shorts, which is my staple wardrobe while at home. I'll throw on a nicer shirt and some jean shorts if I go out anywhere.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Back To My Suburban Home

I packed up my tiny New York City dorm room yesterday and drove nine hours back to Ohio. The drive home was bittersweet – I'm excited to relax with my family before heading off to Germany for fall semester, but I'm going to miss my awesome internship and life in the city. 

Ironically, my dad had a business meeting in NYC early in the week so he was able to drive me home on Thursday. I am so grateful because I would've struggled with navigating three suitcases through the airport. My dad and I met for dinner on Tuesday and got cheesesteak sandwiches at Shorty's in Hell's Kitchen. On Wednesday, the last day of my internship, he took me to Keen's Chophouse, which was delicious! We stuffed ourselves with steaks, salads, and potatoes. 

We left at 3 p.m. on Thursday and immediately got stuck in NYC traffic around SoHo. I kid you not, we drove for over two hours to travel four miles. People were ordering from food vendors while sitting in their cars! At least NYC has a great public transportation system to make commuting a little more manageable on a daily basis. After a few bouts of traffic and construction, my dad and I pulled into our driveway a little after midnight. 

My whole summer in NYC was amazing and life changing. I was anxious to make the transition from a small town to a big city by myself, especially since I was negatively overwhelmed when I visited New York a few years ago. After a few tough weeks overcoming subway mishaps, crowded sidewalks, and extreme prices, I learned to love the city. The energy and excitement never ceased to amaze me. I felt revitalized and ready to embrace the world every time I left my dorm room. New York City is so full of opportunity that you can almost taste it. You never know who or what you're going to see every time you leave your place, which I think is an advantage over my small town in Ohio, where the only thing you might run into is deer on the road. This summer I also couldn't get enough of the countless restaurants and shops lining every street, or the complete emphasis on night life. Everything happens later in NYC – some jobs (like mine) don't start until 9:30 or 10 a.m., and people don't usually eat dinner until at least 8 p.m. 

Of course, some aspects of life in a city were a constant annoyance. I wasn't too fond of squeezing myself between strangers on my morning subway commute, and standing in long lines at the grocery store got old very fast. One of the hardest parts of living in NYC was not being able to escape. I'm the type of person who needs some alone time every once in a while, but I couldn't even walk to Starbucks without navigating a crowd on the sidewalk. Even the parks were always teeming with people. 

My incredible internship made these little annoyances completely worthwhile. I got to see the inner workings of a magazine and do actual, meaningful work. I connected with so many inspiring people and got a sense of life as a journalist. I'm already hoping to get another magazine internship in New York City next summer! 

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Quiet Weekend In The City

I have incredibly mixed feelings about leaving New York City on Thursday. I'm excited to relax with my family in Ohio before heading off to Berlin, but I'm also sad to leave my awesome internship and teeny-tiny dorm room. As a final goodbye to the City, I knew I wanted to make my last weekend special.

I've been in here since May, but this was only my second weekend without any visitors. You'd be surprised at how many people flock to see you when you're living in Manhattan!  I love when visitors come – I have an excuse to try new restaurants and do fun tourist-y things. Aside from get-togethers with people from work, I was alone this weekend to follow my own schedule and cross the rest of the items from my bucket list.

I went shopping and scored some $8 jeans, sat around in different parks, tried a lavender latte, bought little souvenirs for my family, and blogged in Starbucks for an hour. I walked around New York University and braved the tourists in Central Park. I also battled some extreme anxiety about studying abroad and the new college semester, which was obviously super fun

Being alone while shopping or eating used to make me feel super awkward, but I've gotten over that fear this summer. No matter where you go, people are always walking alone, eating alone, sitting on the subway alone... in a city with so many people, you have to adapt to being alone in a big crowd sometimes. Plus, shopping or walking by yourself allows you to let off some steam and, depending on the circumstance, can be way more convenient.

I know I'll be back to NYC in the future, but a relaxing weekend yet productive made leaving seem a little more final.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Pinterest Round-Up

My life has been busy this summer, but I always find time to relax and find inspiration on Pinterest. Here's a round-up of all of the pictures that made me happy recently. Enjoy!

I'm not wishing the summer away, but this adorable outfit makes me so excited for fall! (From here)

How can NYC always look so beautiful, even in the rain? (From here)

I'm definitely including a gallery wall in my first house. (From here)

For all of my fellow coffee lovers. I'm actually sipping on some Starbucks as I write this! (From here)

Another adorable fall outfit. (From here)

The math-challenged part of me loves this. Now I just need to cook something. (From here)
Exactly. Here's to my journalism major! (From here)

As always, thanks for visiting! Have a great weekend.