Well, She Dared To: Caitlin Shu

I specifically remember the conversation I had with a coworker almost 4 years ago, back when we both worked in retail.

She was graduating with a degree in English, and I was just a freshman with my sights firmly set on Advertising. In the most casual conversation, she mentioned how advertising looked fun, and she was considering pursuing it.

I don’t think she knew what a rage she sparked in me. My thoughts were buzzing…But… this is a big industry! You don’t just get to waltz into it. Otherwise, why would I be busting my butt in school? No. This industry is for those who devote time, tears, and design smears. No Way, Jose.

The funny thing is, promptly after graduating, that co-worker of mine, moved to New York City where she proceeded to excel in everything she put her mind to. And hauled some ass. She set her roots and grew and grew. And crazily enough, I saw her post today that she was hired by none other than Kay and Black. 

Hot Damn.

She did it. She actually did it. And you know what? It’s perfect for her.

Now here I am, a junior, sweating it out just like she was a few years ago.  And I can’t help but feel not only proud, but highly motivated by this girl. How dare she think she can walk in here… into my industry… and make herself at home. WELL, SHE DARED TO.  That’s what happens when you set your mind to something. Who does she think she is? WELL, She thinks she’s Caitlin Shu… and sure as hell, she’s right.

I’ll see you in the big leagues darling. Who knows, maybe your team will be scouting my talent next year.


An Open Letter to Friends During College:

Dear Friends,
If I don’t make time to be a decent friend this semester – please understand that I had a choice to make between a full friendship circle, and everything else on my plate. I’m working on the career of my dreams, working a job that depends on me, and living in (and affording) wonderful safe apartment of my own. I was invited to extend my internship though next summer to allow myself another year worth of growth and networking 
And I intend on doing it all without crying.
That means making some choices – and sparing no feelings in order to stay on top. I recognize the value of the gesture, a lunch date, or coffee, or really any increment of your precious free time. I know it’s hard to come by and you’d like to spend some of it with me. And when I can make it happen, I’d love to join you – but please don’t be upset or offended should I decline. It’s not that I don’t love you. I just really love keeping my head above water first.
Thanks for loving me through the next two years. One day into my Junior year, I’m already confident that I’ve spread myself too thin. It’s only going to get worse. I’m really looking forward to inviting you all to my pied-de-terre on the other side of the world when I take over my industry. In the mean time, your patience means so much to me. Thank you for understanding.

Thought of the Day: Be a Fountain.

be a fountain

“BE a fountain, not a drain. It’s a choice! A choice to: BE positive not negative. BE a giver not a taker. BE a creator not a destroyer. BE hopeful not hopeless. BE love not hate. BE grateful not thankless. BE selfless not selfish. BE a light not a shadow. BE a beginning not an ending.

-T Harv Ekert

Image: One Lucky Day

Spread Too Thin? Here’s the Secret:


August is upon us. Do you know what that means? No more procrastinating.  Hopefully your classes are scheduled and your term bill is squared away. Your laundry is clean and folded because if it’s not yet – you’re probably hopeless. And Oh Man. I really hope you have your internet access enabled soon because your Netflix misses you.

I unfortunately, have not, they are not, it is not.

I can however tell you,  I moved into an apartment last week and I finally have groceries AND a pot to cook it in. AND I just launched a big campaign for my internship. At least I know where my classes should be located, and that’s good enough for me. I’m surviving a major management change while keeping my hotel guests very happy.

Oh, and this week I’m watching 3 dogs, 2 cats, and a giant house. And hosting a yardsale  #HUSTLE

How have I not drowned yet?  Here’s the only reasonable conclusion I’ve come up.

Don’t half ass it. Dive in.  Any other time in my life, I would have skimmed the surface of all these responsibilities. Surely, there’s no way you could give 110% to all these overwhelming tasks. You just don’t have it in you.

But actually, you do.

Blackboard with chalk

It turns out, your determination doesn’t stop at 100%. You set the bar. You dive into every task on your plate. So what if you only have an inch, go deep. If you set your goal to “just get it done, even if that means doing a crap job”, that’s exactly what you’ll do. If you set your goal to “dominate everything. No retreat. No surrender. Take no prisoners. Show no mercy.” Guess what will happen.

Are you going to set yourself up for success? Or are you going to set your self up for halfassery? You may be spread thin, but you won’t run out. 

8 Ways Your Pet (and You) Can and Will Survive Being Separated During College.


Maybe it’s just me, but my pet is my soulmate. She’s my spirit animal and my totem. I swear if she could speak, my voice would come out. She’s a sassy little sh*t, but I love her more than anything in the world. And for that reason, I knew bringing her to a tiny apartment on the corner of a busy intersection would be a bad idea. I know it would be torture never getting to play outside. Plus she would get lonely (and destructive) if I left her alone for a full school day, followed by a full work night. The hardest part about being a pet parent is deciding what’s best for your furry angels. Sneaking forbidden pets into a dorm, for instance, might not be ideal for your buddy. Here’s a few tips to keep pets’ (and your) spirits up while you’re away at school.

  1. Ask Family to Play Bigger Role. Having family members take on more responsibility with your pet will help him/her adjust to you being gone. For instance, if you always walked Fido and all of a sudden your brother is the one with the leash and you are nowhere to be found, this can cause some anxiety for pets. It will also provide you some comfort knowing your family is playing in active role in maintaining Fido’s happiness.
  2. Video chat – As goofy as it sounds, seeing your baby alert and aware can provide so much more than a picture. Plus, if your pet can recognize you in the screen, you both can interact and feel reconnected.
  3. Don’t Make a Big Deal of Goodbyes. At least in front of your buddy. If you’re expecting a tearful goodbye, have a distraction prepared for your pet. Animals can feel the emotion of their owners. If you don’t make a big deal of the goodbye in front of her, it will help prevent depression once you’re gone. You don’t want to start a semester with the distraction of concern for your buddy’s depressive state.
  4. Speaker Phone – If your pet is attached to your voice, speaker phone can be surprisingly comforting. Even if you’re just catching up with your family, being on speakerphone where your pet can hear might ease some of the discomfort of being separated.
  5. Frame and Display Pictures. This one is all for you, students. When you used to spend every night cuddled with your baby, a new home just doesn’t feel like home without their presence. Sometimes, just looking at the photo on the nightstand is enough.
  6. Video of Cuddles. Maybe it’s just me, but on my last night at home, I recorded a video of my kitten crawling into my lap for our nightly cuddle sesh. I knew it would possibly be my last chance to cuddle with her before bed.
  7. Visits, and more Visits. Remember that time you wanted a college as far away from Mom and Dad as possible? Now you’re wondering how many trips home you can afford until the next holiday. Go spend time with the only ones who have truly never judged you for your pajama weekend Netflix binges. Fortunately, I live close enough to home for my kitten to visit the apartment for the day. However, every situation is different. And I took the only spare bed with me, so the only night time cuddles I’ll ever get again will be in the apartment – and you know how long it takes cats to adjust and relax in new surroundings.
  8. Watch for Health Concerns. It’s not unheard of for pet to develop depression and anxiety during bouts of change. In fact, some pets tend to act out when you change the furniture placement. When their humans move away, especially their favorite human, it can create some trauma in their lives. Make sure your family watches eating habits, behavioral changes, and potential illness. Alert your Vet if you see any significant concerns. Sometimes the cure is as simple as a good belly rub from their one true best friend. But other times, some professional intervention may be best for your pet’s health and safety.

Leaving your best friend its hard. I know. I actually made a trip back home so I could prepare this post with her on my lap. But if you’re as in love with your pet as she is with you, you’ll find ways to make it work. Just communicate, keep your eyes out for warnings, and cuddle every chance you get.

13 Things You Should Know About Anderson Design Group


I have always wanted to know who was responsible for those gorgeous destination/travel posters you see hanging everywhere. I never dug any deeper assuming “colorful city poster” wouldn’t get me very far. However, I recently found a place in my home seriously dying for a piece of art – so I hopped online. I had NO idea the masterminds behind my favorite posters were so close to home – and that they are such an amazing company!

Here’s 13 Things You Need To Know About Anderson Design Group! 

(While you’re busy reading, I’ll be ordering about 6 prints for my kitchen!)


1) They call Nashville, Tennessee home, which is known for it’s passionate artists and craftspeople.

2) Many prints get donated to local charities to be sold at silent auctions. This raises funds and awareness for their ongoing work with at-risk members of their community.

3)They donate 10% of our annual profits to a number of non-profit organizations. Your purchases help battered women, under-priveleged students, homeless people, parks & greenways, and young people who want to pursue a career in the visual arts.

4) They’re passionate about training the new generation. They support young artists by regularly hosting tours for college design and illustration classes to see our studio, meet the artists, ask questions, or apply for internships.

5) The company was founded in 1993, originally to focus on CD Packaging. At the time, it was called Anderson Thomas Design. Inc.

6) The first few companies on the client list included Universal Studios, MCA Records, DreamWorks Pictures, Golden Books, Hasbro and more.

7) In 2007, the company reorganized the design firm as Anderson Design Group, Inc., narrowing the studio’s focus to specialize in illustrative design, branding, product development and poster design.

8) The team produces 4-6 new posters every month.

9) They have over 500+ illustrations!

10) The team is inspired by the graphic design and illustration from the late 1800s to the mid-1900s and creates as much as possible by hand.

11) After the sketch up, they draw, paint, and hand-letter the poster concepts before we move to the computer for some minor finishing touches.

12) Once a design is complete, the team produces a small number of prints, working closely with local printers who are dedicated to creating the highest quality and most affordable art possible.

13) They do MUCH more than destination/travel themes prints. That’s just one collection of many including Southern Delight, The Man Cave Collection, Vintage Ad Follies, and National Parks. Check them out! 


p.s. They’re not paying me to say they’re awesome. The advertiser/branding/designer in me just had to fangirl a little.

Calling All Vols: Volunteer Gear is pouring into KARM as We Speak. #GBO

Attention University of Tennessee Volunteers

Remember last semester when the Vol Shops put all of the Adidas on 50% off? And half of you was like *throws money at teller *walks out IN #11 Jersey. But the other half of you was like…. *throws money at teller *walks out with Anatomy textbook in tears.

The only thing we hate more than 8 a.m’s is the wait for Football Season. All we can do to pass the time is gear up. And do I have news for you. Today, I was dealhunting at KARM (Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries), the thrift store. I was minding my own business when one of the managers rolled out an entire rack of Orange and White. Then another rack. Then another rack. Then rack number four.

wpid-0728151406.jpg wpid-0728151406b.jpg

People.  Someone bought out ALL the Adidas and donated it to our neighborhood KARM. If you thought 50% off was a steal, you need to see KARM’s prices. Plus, the money is going back to our community to provide hot  meals and safe shelter for our neighbors.Can you say, win-win? The gear has been distributed to KARMs all over town!

And really, is there a better way to prep for the season? Vol Nation at it’s best. We’re so lucky to have an education, housing, access to cafeterias full of food – We’re the lucky ones. Now is our chance to rev up that Volunteer Spirit before the season starts.

After I tried on like 15 things, the manager mentioned that the four racks before me were just the beginning. They’re processing an entire campus worth of Vol Gear in the back. I decided to hold off on my Lady Vols rain jacket…. But you bet your sweet molasses I’m heading back tomorrow to put my money where my mouth heart is. My community!

Also, KARM‘s website just updated for 7/27…..954 Meals were Served and 348 Guests received Shelter. Every single purchase goes directly to Knoxville, for Knoxville, from Knoxville. So don’t forget when your dorm bookshelves don’t sell on Craigslist – you can still donate at 733 Hall of Fame Drive and make a difference!



I call this look “Day Off Chic”

P&S in 11 or Less: San Francisco


I’ve realized it’s next to impossible to share every priceless moment I’ve had on my adventures. If I were reading your trip recap, I’d find it more exciting to see your thrills and spills – the glorious highlights that MADE your trip. Cheers to hoping the name sticks – I wanted to share my 11 favorite moments from my recent trip to San Fran.

It was crazy. S & I both got off work early that Sunday and had a couple days off. The flights were wide open (good news for standbyers like me). As simple as the second star to the right, then straight on till morning. *only the star was a CRJ to Charlotte. So off we went. Here’s our highlights.

1. The Ferry Building


S & I walked from Fisherman’s Wharf, past 39 piers all the way to this gem. I had to stop to catch my breath, and by that I mean get Starbucks. Just standing here for 15 minutes, I probably counted 8 brightly colored cable cars. It made the hike worth it.

2. Pier 39


So the hike kicked my butt because I was actually stuffed. We ate lunch at Pier 39 and all I wanted to do was flop in the sun like these handsome men. We watched in just enough to watch the skinny sea lion lift his head to glare at the boat for disrupting his quiet.

3. Cupid’s Span


I’m not gonna lie, I had no idea what this sculpture was called until I looked it up just now. All that matters is that it was Huge. AND, there was a woman playing with the happiest black poodle I’ve ever seen in my life. Dog was straight frolicking – I should have got it on video, it would have gone viral. #sanfrandogsarehappydogs

4. Boardwalk at Pier 39.


If you walk all the way out on the boardwalk past the sea lions and the boat docking, you can see Alcatraz straight ahead. But if you look straight down, you see the single best advice I’ve ever seen in my life. OK, if you insist.

5. Same Boardwalk, Different Angle


Selfie down by the bay. I saw no watermelons….

7. Fisherman’s Wharf


So, I’m not saying skip the touristy stuff. Do that, because when is the next time you’ll be a tourist in San Fran? However, if you walk straight ahead through the crowd and shops and look to your left, there’s the Musee Mecanique. This is a warehouse PACKED with ancient coin-operated arcade games. By the way, Julia Andrews and Anne Hathaway arm wrestled there…

8. The Wharf at Night


We were supposed to be on a flight back home at midnight. We landed that morning at 12:35am, slept till 9am, inhaled the city thinking we only had 12 hours on the ground. When we realized the midnight flight was overbooked, we stopped jogging and tried to enjoy our last few hours in San Francisco. This was right after dinner, as S & I were heading back to our cable car. If we weren’t so freaking exhausted, it would have been extremely romantic.

9. Our Cable Car


This gem was my very first cable car. I am a true tourist now, and I can’t wait to ride them ALL!  This was also my sweet salvation at the end of our 12 hour tour of SF. As much as I adored our trek through the city, I was so excited to ride this trolley back to the hotel. I slept like a BABY that night.

10. Thank you San Francisco,


for the sunburn, the sweat, the stinky fish smell, the weird locals, the overpriced souvenirs and the best first West Coast Experience a girl could have ever asked for. Thank you San Francisco!

11. But No Thank You’s to SFO Airport


Never complaining again about a hotel. After being rolled off of 9 Standby Lists on anything flying Eastbound, we finally got on a flight to New York City… Flew into JFK to take a little 1am power nap. Couldn’t sleep. Ran the halls of JFK like loose animals. Then we taxied to La Guardia, where we realized security isn’t open at 3am. So we slept on the cold tile outside security like a homeless person. (probably with homeless persons… I didn’t ask the others sleeping in that hallway). Boarded the flight to Nashville where we rented a car and drowsy drove our way to Knoxville.

FINALLY we made it home with one of the most epic last-minute adventure stories of the year. Cheers to ALWAYS saying yes to adventure and dealing with the repercussions later.

Polar Bear: Spirit Animal

If you know a single thing about me, you know that Polar Bears are my favorite animal. I don’t know what it is about them, so I thought I would do some digging. Here’s what I found from http://www.spirit-animals.com/polar-bear/.


If the Polar Bear has come to hold significant meaning for you…

The Polar Bear is reminding you how enormously strong and full of courage you are. He has come to help you stand up to your current challenges in life, no matter how intimidating they are. You will never be overwhelmed. Polar Bear also reminds you that you can thrive in environments that may be hostile to others.

You know how to use your own power. You are fierce and strong yet playful at the same time. You know how to pursue what you want deliberately and powerfully. You are not afraid to show aggressive behavior – however you use it for defensive purposes only rather than bullying your way through things. You are a good provider and you enjoy the responsibility of providing for others.

If Polar Bear has come into your Dream…

When Polar bear comes to you in a dream it signifies a reawakening within you. This aspect of yourself will defy adversity and reflect a fearlessness of never giving in to your problems. Alternatively Polar Bear may also reflect a person in your life that you can depend on to do the right thing. You have the ability to compromise nothing to negativity. Polar Bears in dreams are considered good omens.

Polar Bears in dreams often signify an improvement in your circumstances.

Additional Associations for Polar Bear…

  • Ability to navigate along the Earth’s magnetic lines
  • Introspection
  • Expert swimmer through emotional waters
  • Finding one way back from the brink
  • Strength in the face of adversity
  • Transformation
  • Defense and revenge
  • Strength in adversity
  • Endurance in situations
  • Can show how to tap into emotions with clairty

I love how spot on this description was. I love bears!