The best public relations practitioners are flexible, curious, and bold individuals.
My dear friend and fellow young professional Camille Mola, a suburban Springfield, Pa., native turned chic Philly gal, fits these adjectives flawlessly.
Camille has the role of PR and Communications Manager for the Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) in Philadelphia. The tuition-free institution is over eighty-five years old and is dedicated to professionally training singers to share their gifts with the world.
Mid-March 2020, the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic began changing life as we knew it. The global health emergency imposed stay-at-home orders and banned social gatherings forcing everyone to pivot and strategize how to move forward in the new normal. All performances planned for academy were cancelled and classes were suspended indefinitely.
“AVA was founded on ensuring singers can hone their gifts, I knew we could still do that. We just needed to adjust.”
Camille Mola on how COVID-19 impacted AVA
Camille has successfully headed the launch of AVA’s newly designed website in December 2020, an entirely virtual fall season of performances for 2021, and helped the academy adjust offerings while maintaining focus on students training.
The website redesign for AVA spanned from September to December and required a lot of brainstorming, collaboration, and precision.
“The new website is modern style with a classic, timeless accent,” she said. “The older design was not very user-friendly. I wanted to make sure the story and mission of AVA is crystal clear to all visitors.”
Outside of the semi-structured 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. work week, Camille manages Positive Publicity, a lifestyle blog she established in 2012 during her sophomore year at Penn State University. Her mission is to imagine and create beauty in all forms and share positivity with the world.
Camille’s physical and virtual presence embody her self-proclaimed pursuit. Her solo apartment in the Spring Garden area of the city is decorated with funky wall art and eclectic decor from local artisan shops.
My favorite piece in her home is a Philly-esque Pantone palette from South Fellini. The piece features colors such as burnt orange and canary yellow, labeled ‘broad street line’ and ‘whiz wit’ respectively.
As always with Camille, our conversation took many detours ranging from her new living situation, woes of living as a young woman, recent work and life achievements, and aspirations for the future. Camille shared that she is excited to continue her real job and working to build her personal brand by staying active on her blog, social media accounts, and networking.
Follow Camille on Instagram to keep up with her latest content!
She also launched a free weekly newsletter, ‘why don’t you cry about it?’ You can subscribe via substack here.
All of these can be found on Apple Podcast or Spotify! I also encourage taking a solo search for “guided meditation” to see what else is available!
Channeling my inner energy and thinking about what I want to do with this time has sparked many mini fires within me.
I have a ton of ideas in the works including a scholarly article on authenticity and its relation to success that I cannot wait to share with the world. And while I love creating content for my blog, other aspirations of mine are calling me.
I have decided to take a hiatus from blogging to pursue other projects.
I appreciate the time spent reading my content. More to come in the future.
I need to prioritize myself. I have to be my own biggest fan. Practice what I preach!
I’ve decided to use this irregular period of ‘open’ time to further invest in myself.
Give all the thoughts I’ve scribbled on pieces of paper and shoved in notebooks space to expand.
I’m a go-getter. I’m ambitious. All that good stuff that creates a somebody.
However, with positives come negatives.
I have a very difficult time relaxing. Chilling out — doing nothing.
Previously I felt that time spent resting, reading, watching YouTube videos, or doing “non-productive” tasks was wasteful. I could be working to make money, brainstorming blog topics, or building other skills!
Not doing things that allow your mind to take a break and rest, ladies and gentlemen, is how you burn yourself out. 🙂
I didn’t quite realize I was guilty of this until I listened to THIS Self-Made CEO episode.
This podcast created by, entrepreneur and life-coach, Adrienne Finch has changed my life.
I fell out of routine with listening to it and totally noticed a shift in my mood and productivity. Not for the better, haha.
Over the past month I have actively been working mindfulness, meditation, and gratitude practices into my daily routine.
Although life around me has been crazy, I’ve felt stable (for the most part) internally.
This may all sound like bullshit.
I get it — I was skeptical too!
But taking the time to introspectively evaluate yourself; who you are is so beneficial.
You are able to heal yourself.
You do not need anyone or anything to complete you.
You are whole.
Once you’re able to become your best self, you are able to give your best self to others.
I encourage you all to find one positive aspect of whatever you’re experiencing.
I know we are all experiencing change on a large scale, however, I hope after reading this you’re able to find at least one light in the darkness!
Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller stresses the importance of signaling change when beginning a journey of growth.
The world is signaling change. Begin your journey.
I’m a firm believer that everything will be okay in the end.
We have all gone through challenges and struggles before. The first time is always the hardest. Everything after comes easily.
I have two ways I will order this depending on what my coffee vibe is at the time.
If I’m feeling average I will opt for the iced espresso and add a splash of almond milk.
I also love cinnamon so if I’m feeling ~spicy~ I’ll mix in cinnamon powder!
If I’m feeling a coffee but not looking for the heaviness of milk or want something a little different I will get the espresso with coconut water.
It might sound strange but it’s good.
Don’t knock it til ya try it.
TIP I always ask for espresso drinks in the smallest cup.
CHAI COLD BREW
I love chai scent, flavor, Pantone color — all of it!
When Saxbys launched the cold brew line I was super excited to try this one.
Love at first sip. The keyword being first.
It was a tad too sweet for my liking.
Then I tried it dirty (added shot of espresso) and I was obsessed.
But if you’re looking to keep costs low this isn’t the option.
However, I recently discovered the half-sweet option which keeps the sweetness at bay while delivering just the right amount of caffeine at a decent price.
So if I’m looking for a pick-me-up I’ll get a small chai cold brew half sweet with little almond milk!
I mentioned in this older post that I am “spending the semester with Saxbys” as a Campus Partner! Saxbys is a bit pricey if you’re accustomed to getting huuuuge low quality iced coffee from other more accessible places. However, the quality of Saxbys is worth it! I want to help you get the best deals, dawg! I’ve taken it upon myself to sample the menu (food, drinks, snacks, etc.) and let you know what’s worth getting. 🙂
If you download the Saxbys app here you’ll get $3 off your first order! That’s a free double shot, y’all.
This week I asked on an Instagram poll what topic you would rather me ramble about: Eliminating Negativity or Imposter Syndrome. Y’all spoke and I listened. Here I am delivering. If you’re reading this on the day it is posted — Happy Turkey Day!
— With the change of the seasons, the sun setting in the early afternoon, and obligatory family time creeping up, it becomes easier to fall into less productive habits and mindsets. Succumbing to these obstructive behaviors may feel more comfortable in the moment, but they are digressions along the path. These small defeats you allow yourself, like napping when you planned to work out or scrolling on Instagram when you should be finishing an assignment, maybe easier, but that doesn’t make them the right choice.
Eliminating negativity from my life has aided me in choosing the most advantageous options available to me, even when it is not the easiest or most appealing. Something a mentor has instilled within me, along with a wildly sarcastic sense of humor, is the truth that “you cannot control the situation, you can only control your reaction.” Although you may not be able to control the types of energy being directed at you, you are able to convert that energy once it is received. Imagine… You’re at work; your boss is in a mood and takes it out in microaggressions towards you.
The cause of your boss’ disgruntled attitude was most likely caused by an external force. Maybe a traffic jam on the commute into the office or an incorrect coffee order — nonetheless, he/she is allowing something other than themselves to dictate their emotions. More importantly, he/she is being overpowered by a failure outside of their control.
Now the question is — how do you avoid falling into the same negative feedback loop? **
I have found that eliminating any negativity I was allowing into my life has helped me to better focus on my goals and make the choices to work towards them.
** The “negative feedback loop” is a concept which Adrienne Finch discusses often in her podcast, Self-Made CEO. The idea essentially says we are responsible for the energy we attract into our lives. If we fail something and allow that failure to build the believe we truly cannot overcome a challenge, we fall victim to more opportunities that highlight our shortcomings. Thank you so much to Adrienne who took the time to reply to my DM and further define this concept!!
This requires being very honest with yourself. Evaluate what you are devoting your energy to (x), then think about how it makes you feel to have spent time doing x. If you do not feel good about having spent your time doing it, don’t do it anymore. Time is the most valuable thing a person is able to offer, which is why I make a point to thank each of you for reading my posts each week. None of you have to be reading this right now, however, you are and I appreciate it. Anyhow, you should only spend your time doing things which make you happy. This may feel selfish at first, but just remember society has ingrained in us that being selfish is bad.
This is not necessarily true when it comes to the 24-hours we each have in a day. Every minute of those hours we allot to something. These are the literal moments that make us. It’s important to spend a good amount of them doing things which make us happy, in order to allow ourselves to be fulfilled — enlightening us to reach our full potentials.
Removing the toxic people, or things, in your life does not have to be permanent. Once you feel you are better equipped to deal with those things, you can integrate them back into life. However, for now, it’s most beneficial to distance yourself from negativity so you are able to grow stronger. This may be a very difficult task, especially when the people feeding you negative energy are your family members or close friends. However, I have found communication is a very powerful tool. Explain to them you are working on you (as cliche as they may sound), which for you, means prioritizing more alone time.
They will either respect your mature decision to better yourself and allow you to distance without being hurt, OR they’ll think you’re a weirdo and begin distancing themselves from you. The end result is the same — more time for you. 🙂
– IMPLEMENT POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY –
The idea is to focus on building your strengths rather than fixing your flaws. “Resilience is the ability to bounce back in spite of adversity.” Overcoming limitations are the situations that strengthen the courage, conviction and other personality traits of impactful leaders.
I have been fortunate enough to find forms of de-stressing and mental relaxation which work for me relatively easily. Unfortunately, each method does not work for everyone and you may need to experiment with a few different techniques.
I have found podcasts to be incredible for my mental health. There are quite a few meditation / intention setting focused ones on Spotify. I really enjoy Sleep Cove and Mindful in Minutes: Mindful Morning! I have also rediscovered my love for reading. My excuse was “I don’t have the time.” But guess what, an extra hour isn’t just going to appear. If I really want to read more, I have to make the time. And so I did. Then between reading more frequently and blogging, I realized how much I love writing. I’m actually taking an advanced writing course in the spring, which I’m super pumped about! 🤓
As mentioned above, I began to withdrawal from toxic people I was allowing in my life and started to focus on what really makes me happy, then pursuing it (reading, writing, thinking creatively, sleeping, etc.) Find what you enjoy, that makes you feel good and is along the path towards your goals. Then do it.
– MAKE YOUR BED –
Seriously, listen to me: If you do not already, be sure to make your bed each morning. You will leave your house and go about your day knowing you have accomplished something. You will be coming home to a neat bed, rather than a disheveled mess of blankets and pillows. It feels so good, believe me. Especially after a long day. This trick ties in with implementing positive psychology, as well. You are praising small victories, which builds and reinforces self-efficacy and confidence.
– BE GRATEFUL –
This is pretty straightforward, but take time each day to remember what you are grateful for. There is always something. Be specific in what you’re reflecting on, which will instill the habit of looking for small things. You can take this time whenever you’d like (morning, afternoon, evening), but try to do it around the same time each day to better build the habit.
I take time in the morning while I am preparing my cup of coffee. The smell of coffee grounds is one of my favorite morning scents, along with bacon. Once my coffee is brewing I will spend the time thinking about how lucky I am to be alive — some people did not wake up. Although this may sounds incredibly lame, it is true. As humans, we must realize our mortality in order to embrace life. That’s just my way of doing it. I also reflect on the specific small wins of the day before, then prioritize my goals for the current day. This is an amazing way for me to organize my thoughts while my mind is getting set up, which helps to solidify ideas. Or so I’ve found. ☺️
Okay, I think this post is long enough. If you’re interested in knowing more about anything I mentioned, feel free to reach out to me! Once again, thank you for spending the time reading my work.
I am a busy gal who wears many hats. I mean that figuratively — hats are not my accessory of choice. In all seriousness, I am almost always working on (or procrastinating working on) something. Whether it be assignments for class, content creation, freelance projects or general administrative labors of living, like scheduling dentist appointments. Juggling all of these roles and tasks can be tough. I’m sure many of you can relate!
I personally am most productive working outside of my house. There are days when I work from home but they tend to be centered around laundry, cleaning and cooking. Every so often the 1950’s housewife in me comes out — always a pleasant surprise!
However, it can be a tedious task to find good workplaces. This is why I’ve compiled a list of six of my favorite places to get sh*t done in the city! Don’t worry, these aren’t (all) your traditional coffeehouses.
During my freshman year of college I worked as a waitress here and made some good friends I still keep in touch with. When I’m not in the mood for a coffee and want to grab a beer or small bite, I go to Devil’s Alley. The high-ceilings and skylights above the bar makes my day — I am a huge fan of natural light!
The bar staff is always great and there is a rotating draft list, which is a plus! The bar isn’t huge, and during the lunch rush (12pm – 2:30pm) it can get a little rowdy and loud. If you cannot work in a noisy environment, this probably isn’t your place.
The wifi is kind of erratic, but there is a complimentary hour pass available through Xfinity. I set up my hotspot from my cell phone, seat myself near an electrical outlet and tackle my work. I typically am here on Tuesdays or Wednesdays when Brett is bartending. Go see him and say Alex sent you — he hooks it up and is super personable!
Make sure you get fries! I opt for classic, but Old Bay are good too. Brain food, right??
These spaces are located in major cities, including Philadelphia, Boston and Seattle. They offer free wifi for all visitors, a welcoming atmosphere, quality Peet’s Coffee and ample seating. There are also tons of electrical and USB ports! Nothing is worse than a giant working space with nowhere to charge electronics. First world problems, I know.
Aside from the perks mentioned above, there is free financial coaching available to anyone! Capital One identified the divide between millennials and banking then moved towards bridging that gap with the introduction of Capital One Cafes. Grab an incredibly cheap coffee (members get 50% off) and talk about how to better manage your money with an expert financial advisor? Yes please.
I have to admit I am partially biased since I am a Capital One member but hey, discounts on coffee are always appreciated. Plus there are time frames when members get free coffee! So yeah, being a member is great, I love it.
This former auto repair garage turned coffee shop is adorable with a wide variety of speciality espresso beverages, if you’re feeling adventurous! The aesthetic of this joint screams retro summer vibes. Coffee choices range from simple black coffee to espresso tonic mixes. The coffee is good and strong. Available seating options are large communal tables, solo bar seating or lawn chairs.
The inspiration behind this interior design concept comes from the owner’s grandfather, Herman, who was known for sitting in his lawn chair sipping a fresh cup of coffee. This space does more than just warm the heart with their story, they also are supportive of local business ventures! Over the summer they hosted pop-up shops with different Philly businesses, including 1-900-ICE-CREAM.
Follow Herman’s Coffee on Instagram for more information on future events!
4. Rittenhouse Square
For those of you who know me personally, this is no surprise. I practically live in this park, I’m here so much! Growing up in the city, I have always found myself drawn to the park. I really enjoy people watching. I can sit on a bench and observe everything around me for long periods without being bored. The range of people you will encounter during your time here is quite remarkable! This is one of the reasons why Rittenhouse is such an awesome place to hang around. Some of my favorite stories of talking with strangers stems from this park, but that’s a whole different topic. Nonetheless, there is never a dull moment here!
On Tuesdays and Saturdays the park is lined with vendors selling fresh bouquets of flowers, produce, jellies, jams, bread and seasonal specialities. If I swing by on a Tuesday afternoon, I usually grab a mini pretzel from Lost Bread Co. Aside from food, artists and other creative spirits frequent the park. Although the weather is getting cooler, I would recommend spending some time in the park. It’s a great place to sit and recenter yourself, especially now that the crowds have thinned out from summer.
The downside to this spot is the lack of wifi and electricity. However, there is a complimentary hour of Xfinity wifi you can use. And when you need to charge up or use the restroom, there is a Barnes & Nobles directly across the street which is open to the public! Inside, on the second floor, there is also a Starbucks cafe which you could work at but I crave the fresh air.
This fair-trade coffee chain has four locations around Philadelphia, but this one is the largest (and my favorite). If I am going to be sitting in a coffee shop, then it has to hit all criteria: strong coffee, ample outlets and comfortable seating. Plus you’ve got to offer more than just coffee — ya girl has to eat!
Good Karma has tons of tables, offers the option of seat cushions and has an entire menus of food choices, which is awesome. Another plus is that they have a few outdoor tables, but they are difficult to snag!
I was at Herman’s Coffee one day working on some stuff. I got a bit hungry and this place was right next door attached to Charlie’s Roast Pork, a place that make bomb roast pork sandwiches. I decided on going there for lunch. I knew this little island of merchants has been in the Pennsport District for a while, but I am rarely ever by this part of South Philly — I spend a vast majority of my time in Center City.
Pennsport Beer Boutique offers 6 rotating draft beers, including a seasonal Cold Press Coffee Pumking by Southern Tier. (Which sounds AH-MAH-ZING!!) Aside from the draft list, there are an extensive variety of bottled options. Whatever you may choose, you’re allowed to drink it into Charlie’s Roast Pork. You bet I set myself up in the corner, ordered my food, ate and was incredibly nice to my waitress. 10/10 would recommend for good people, beer and food.
Where do you go to work in the city? Let me know in the comments below!
As always, thank you for reading. 🙂
Hi guys! I am going to be the hundredth person to say this but I cannot believe 2019 is coming to an end. October went by ~scary~ fast. (ba dum tss) Come on, I had to!!
In all seriousness, October moved quickly. Throughout the month I rediscovered a lot of old go-to’s which is always awesome for a college student on a budget. But I did pick up a few new items which I have been rocking hardcore.
If you want to know more about the stuff I’ve been loving for the month of October, read on!
Those of you who follow me on Instagram already know what I’m going to say. Those of you who don’t already follow me: you are missing out! I have been LOVING my Free People Teddy Bear Peacoat. I’m not sure what the actual color is called but it’s an off-white, cream color — super versatile!
I picked this baby up at Nordstrom Rack on 17th and Chestnut for a BARGAIN. The regular price was $150, but after the markdown I paid just under $70! That is wild for a warm, stylish FREE PEOPLE jacket.
Aside from the color I got, there were two other options: hunter green and burnt orange. I would have bought them all if that was practical, however, it is not.
This month I have started to dabble in fashion DIY. Nothing super drastic — I have not learned to sew yet, but we’re working on it!! Nonetheless, I’ve been messing around with a pair of sharp scissors cropping just about every sweatshirt I own and distressing old pairs of jeans.
I unearthed an older pair of dark wash Gap jeans. I love (most) Gap jeans. They really make the booty pop, ya know. But anyway, sometimes you need to kind of grow into your clothes and so I bought the jeans a few seasons ago but really never loved them on me.
All the snacks I have been eating recently must be doing something for me because the fit of these jeans is now perfect! (Shoutout to Oreos and cinnamon raisin bagels, woot woot)
After cutting some tasteful slits, roughing the seems up a bit with an old nail buffing block (get creative with what you’ve got!!) and distressing the ankles, they turned into my new fave pants.
As I mentioned, jeans aren’t the only things I’ve been cutting up. Cropped sweatshirts are my new jam.
I always lusted after the cute ones you can buy but I thought, “I can cut jeans. I can cut sweatshirts too! This is what Youtube tutorials were created for.” From there, I have never looked back.
A family friend asked me if every sweatshirt I own is cropped. No, dude. I have two that are not, FYI. Let’s be honest, if I’m at home I am probably wearing a cropped hoodie. They’re sooo cozy!! How can you blame me?!
AND the best part is that you don’t get too warm since it allows better airflow (duh). Throw on some leggings, cozy socks and you’re all set to be the most comfy person in the house.
Grab your scissors and get cutting. I’d recommend starting with older stuff you don’t care as much about incase there are any technical difficulties. 😋
I’ve been cycling through my makeup collection which, unfortunately, was placed on the backburner since summer was so freaking hot! Nonetheless, I rediscovered two L’Oreal face products I have really been enjoying: Magic BB Anti-Redness and True Match Concealer in fair/light N 1-2-3.
Both products are great. Dare I say holy grails??! Super blendable, buildable coverage. Honestly, I dig the entire L’Oreal True Match line. 10/10 would recommend.
Those of you present in the tri-state area during October probably took notice it was rather wet month, which makes my hair sad. 😔
One of the reasons I dislike rainy days so much is because my hair can get super frizzy then I am totally fed up with it. The other reason is because after 21-years of living I have yet to get myself a pair of rain boots which would keep my feet dry and cozy.
One of those two problems have been solved by a $14.00 bottle of mousse from Target! About a month ago I picked up Kristin Ess Instant Lift Volumizing Mousse on a whim. I was looking for a product to add more body to my hair. I had used a curl cream by the brand previously and enjoyed it, so why not give something else a go? I am not disappointed.
The mousse does its job of adding volume, thickness and hold. However, another bonus is that it does an awesome job of combating frizz! I typically apply a generous amount of mousse to my hair while it is wet. I have found flipping my head upside down and scrunching the mousse closer to my roots, specifically towards the back of the head, really adds that extra oomph. This technique, sometimes paired with a tousled blow-dry, yields the best results for me.
At the start of the month I decided to implement some new habits, one of which is attending networking events more regularly. These events are an amazing way to meet new people, exchange ideas and build my network. I’ve come to the realization that if I want others to take me seriously, I have to first take myself seriously. Ya girl got business cards. They’re awesome. I’m happy.
Alex Swanson, Freelance Content Creator, 2020.
But anyway, If you follow me on social media (if you don’t you are really missing out) you may be aware I attended a social media panel hosted by Gather: Social Media Group earlier in the month.
My friend and former colleague, Camille Mola, spoke on the panel along with four other amazing women. These boss ladies discussed how they have built, and continue to grow, their presence on social media and all that jazz. Everyone shared wonderful knowledge; it was amazing. Awesome, insightful, beautiful boss babe Camille (in the killer white booties above) also has a blog. You should go check it out after this post. ☺️
Although I was not a panelist, I spoke a lot. Probably more than an audience member should have but hey, that’s me. And in my defense, it kind of became an open forum!!
I guess the panelist didn’t mind too much because I, along with four other audience members, were gifted “INFLUENCER: Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media” by Brittany Hennessy.
If you are anyone who is interested in gaining traction as a content creator (…”influencer”…), get on this book! It is written from the perspective of a scout. Brittany Hennessy founded her own influencer development company. In this book she is telling you exactly what the people who have money to give you to promote their products or brands want to see.
Another lifestyle adjustment I have been working towards during this month is drinking water. Those of you who know me personally are probably thinking, “Alex, what?? You drink tons of water — it’s super annoying..” While this may be true, I do not drink as much water as I should! Especially in relation to the amount of coffee I consume. (I am trying to cut back but it’s so difficult. I have been drinking coffee since I was about 8 years old? My gram would have me fix her cup each day after work and obviously I had to taste it to make sure it was perfect. Based on that factual evidence, gram is the root of my coffee addiction. Love you anyway.)
Drinking more water was something I was aware I should work on, but it wasn’t until Adrienne Finch told me in an episode of Self-Made CEO that should really try harder that I actually started doing it. Transitioning us perfectly into podcasts!
Okay, real talk, podcasts intimidated me. They still do! I’ve wanted to get into them for the longest time but I had no idea where to start. I am one of those people who gets a bit overwhelmed when there are too many things to choose from. Then I end up procrastinating the choice altogether. I know I am not alone with this one, haha.
However, my want to get involved with podcasts finally outweighed my fear of entering that new world. One of my favorite Youtubers from back in the day, Kenzie Elizabeth, launched a podcast series, IYSM. So I found it on Spotify, saw an episode title which jumped out to me and hit play. From there I eased my way into other suggested podcasts. Now here we are. I’m hooked!
If you’re looking for one to start out with, an OG Youtuber, Lauren Elizabeth, just launched a series. It would be a great one to start with since there are currently four episodes live. Give MOOD a listen!
Lauren is an awesome boss woman and I aspire to be like her.
I am big into dental hygiene.
After I brush my teeth, I want the inside of my cheeks to burn when I smile.
Although I love the dentist and I’m a super freak when it comes to teeth, I never fed into the mouthwash gimmick. Until now. Crest Pro-Health Intense Mouthwash has totally changed my life. It is scary looking, which I love. And this stuff gets the job DONE.
I find oral hygiene to be similar to exercising — it sucks in the moment but afterwards you feel great. Yeah, this sh*t is going to burn. Keep swishing.
I get a lot of questions and comments about my teeth, so if you guys would be interested in hearing more about that stuff, let me know in the comments below!
If you’ve stuck around this far, thank you for reading. Time is the most valuable thing a person can give and I appreciate each moment given my work. ☺️