Networking is Scary At Times

So I wanted to talk about networking. It’s essential to what I do with blogging especially if you want to get out about. Your talent will take you in front of amazing people.  In order to stay you have to be able to talk to a few folks and learn the finesse of making relationships work.

three woman talking near laptop on desk inside room

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I met some of the most amazing people while on an assignment at various locations in Philadelphia. I can’t even imagine not taking the first steps which started out of paying attention to social media. Its more than getting caught up in the darkness of liking posts. It comes from searching hash-tags of areas you are strong in. I started looking at other lifestyle bloggers. From there I made sure to follow AND engage. You have to be proactive in what you are doing online. Once I made solid connections I always make a few promises to myself:

  • Blog an event within 24 hours of attendance-keep things fresh
  • Always know who the movers and shakers are and introduce yourself
  • Be sure to get the information in the blog right the first time i.e. names, etc.
  • Keep a notebook and a pen on you at all times or you your phone for notes

Here are a few things to understand Networking in 2019

  • Have a business card but expect to follow someone on the spot on your social media platform-people tend to follow immediately. I got 10 potential blogging events from immediate follows
  • Always send a thank you note. People love acknowledgement
  • It’s okay to be scared it’s not okay to wait for someone to approach you. Fear is debilitating but if you at an event, speak up
  • If you showed up to an event, show up for yourself in that you do the best job possible. I blogged an event I attended with my family, caught a PR’s attention and I have been rocking ever since.
  • If you RSVP, show up. I have only not gone to one event and had to bow out. Life happens but don’t make it frequent.
  • Treat your blog like a job in that not that you get into a mundane flow with it but make it priority. If and when others see that you do, they will take you seriously. I am a creator. I blog. I am consistent. People notice consistency and that alone will take you before amazing people
  • Make friends that are doing the same type of things as you network

One of the things I struggle with is not always wanting to get the shot with me in it. This is one of the things I changed this year. Do not be afraid since I tend to travel to events by myself to talk and ask someone to get the picture of you in it. Having a few pictures with you in the shot for a personal blog is personable and necessary. Treat it as if you were at an event with friends. The same excitement you would have you must take in order to get what you came for. I have had many high level executives thank me for how I approach their event and get the information. My job in my mind is how would a reader of my blog need to approach a restaurant, event, or social gathering. I take the initial hit so that a reader can easily flow into it when they attend.

photography of people using smartphones

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Also if you are being asked to attend an event of lets say a PR firm, act accordingly. Learn the art of socializing at an event.  Meaning if there are drinks and 9 times out of 10 there are, have a few without looking like you had a few. Learn to pace yourself. Learn to speak well of yourself. Always stay clear of conversations that will trigger bad behavior.  The last thing you want to do is to be found being the one that is labeled an issue. Smile. You weren’t invited to be grumpy. Always know the camera is on you. Most events I have attended there is always at least one if not more photographers on site so dress for the event!  If it’s a play that’s an immediate dress up. If it’s a dinner, if its black tie, dress to impress. It’s always business casual unless otherwise stated. If you are at an outdoor event, than always keep your gear clean and tidy and dress down for that event but keep it nice. All of this should come without saying but you will be surprised of the things you see when you are out and about.

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So networking is hard. But its necessary. I have had a great time getting to know my city and as I hope to expand, the only way to do so is speaking up, smiling, and letting my normal personality shine. I feel as if people are getting what they need from me by me being who I am to begin with. Remember do what you love it will take you places not just because you have ability but because you have heart!  So clear heart and mind, smile, and fun should be on your agenda. Also organize yourself so you present the best picture. I always pack my media bag the night before.  I get my lighting, extra battery pack, charge my phone, grab a camera, get your business cards, grab a notebook, etc. Being prepared will assist you.

 

 

Christmas Village Experience 2018

So as many of you know I came across the Christmas Village last year doing a Google search for free family fun. I then convinced my family to give the authentic outdoor German Market a try. We were impressed and excited to attend again this year. This year I was invited to take an intimate look at what the Christmas Village really has to offer behind the scenes. This year thanks to the renovations of the Love Park sign, it was even more special!

I was able to attend the opening ceremony to light “The Present.” Thanks to Mayor Jim Kenney who hit it home with his opening speech about giving towards others. This is the season to not just think about ourselves and our families but how we can best serve the people of Philadelphia. The Present is 27 feet in height, well-lit holiday present. It is in the middle of the Christmas Village.  Not only is it visually stunning, its set as a reminder to give to others.  If you are in the area you can give by texting and you will receive a gift tag that can be displayed on “The Present” that is a symbol of what the holiday is all about. You can actively give by doing the following:

  • TEXT PARKS to 501501 to donate to Fairmount Park Conservancy will go towards helping Philadelphia Parks
  • TEXT BOOKS  to 20222 to donate to Welcome America’s holiday book campaign for Parks and Recreation. Every $5 raised will purchase a total of 4 books. 
  • TEXT 80100 to donate to Project Home to help end poverty and homelessness

Inside “The Present”

“The Present is open starting today to the public all the way through December 24th. It’s free to enter and as you can see from the above photos it’s a beauty to see, take photos and walk inside!  I felt like the biggest kid. The colors and lights had me mesmerized. 

So I knew after watching “The Present” light up that I was off to a good start. The first stop on the tour was the German Grill. The open grill had all the best of the German deliciousness. From Bratwurst to Schnitzel, I was in pure Heaven. The open grill is such a delight and the smells pulled me in. I was completely satisfied.  As soon as I got home, I was upset as to why I didn’t take a Bratwurst to go. 

This took me to the second stop on the tour and that was to the open beer garden, The Alm. It’s always a good idea for beer. There are a lot of new items on the menu. Let me also point out for families with young children. This is a great spot to combine adulting and kids. It’s closed in. So this means a lot of play for the kids and drinks for the adults. This year they have a new beer mug. It’s a beauty to behold and you know that the bigger the cup, the bigger the gulp!

As if the beer wasn’t enough, I made my way to one if that’s right one of the wine offerings, German Gluhwein.  It’s a mulled wine. They offer a white and a red wine and both were amazing.

Next up was Käthe Wohlfahrt. This indoor gem blew my mind. This unique shop was full of mostly hand-made treasures. From one of a kind pieces to ornaments and decorations, it was a delight. Note there is no videography or photos for the public. However I was able to get you that inside look. What I will say is this is a must on your stops through the open village. Be careful as some of the pieces are pricey. So if you have little ones just hold their hands. I do believe once they see how well-lit and how beautiful the pieces are, they will spend more time asking questions than running through the store.

Next stop was the The Bacon Jams. I’ve never had bacon jam but today I wanted to buy all of them. These easy to spread jams taste super authentic to real bacon. The flavors were amazing. I tried every last one. From the maple bacon to the honey bourbon! All of them were a treat!

I believe I was turning into a foodie by the end of the night. The next stop was to Sweets where we tried some toasted chestnuts. I’ve never had any before but I was a believer tonight. Be sure if you attend that you make your way. There are other sweet treats as well.

Keeping in line with sweets we make our way to John and Kira’s. This was like chocolate Heaven! I tried for her first time honey bee chocolate made from local honey bee. First of all this gooey treat should be eaten in one bite. It’s honey flavor mixed with chocolate had to be the best that I have had in a long time. We also had some amazing sea salt caramel.

If you ever been to the Christmas Village you are full aware of the Raclette. It’s basically the best cheese I’ve ever eaten, that is melted under a special heated lamp and the cheese oozes onto some of the freshest bread Philadelphia has to offer. I was in cheese coma. Let me say that yes I took one for the team of non dairy, but I ain’t feel not ounce of shame.

For those who love unique cards you must stop at Love Pop. You can get pop up 3D cards. I enjoyed the tour and I plan to grab a few to give to special friends.

Our next stop was Mike’s Hot Honey. We were told that when you taste it, it would be sweet and then bitter and it was true. Mike’s Hot Honey is a spread that can be put on almost anything from bagels to chicken. I enjoyed it. I don’t know if I am getting a cold but if I was when I left I definitely felt like my palette was cleared. 

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girl

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Of course we needed something a little sweet so we headed over to Helmuts Original Austrian Strudel. They had your classics like cherry but they also had some that were a definite go back and true such as the meat and pulled pork puffs. They even have a mac and cheese one!  

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cherry

One of the final stops before ending with hot chocolate was Truffleist. This is what the name says, Truffle. So between some amazing cheeses and salami, the truffle butter was everything. I mean everyone enjoyed it. They have an amazing selection and to be honest I could eat that truffle butter by the spoonfuls. It was that good. 

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One more goodie before I end, I love hand blown glass. The colors are amazing. So I had to take a picture of the Mouth Blown Ornaments. 

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So the tour was everything and more. You and your family or friends will have an amazing time. I tried to give you a snippet of what it would be like. The only thing that I didn’t see was Santa but you can catch Santa in the Santa Hut for pics starting on the weekends and then close to the season being over he will be there everyday. I would make sure you go and see him if you’re trying to get on the Nice List. 

Special thanks to Philadelphia Christmas Village, the sponsors: Bank of America, Acme, Käthe Wohlfahrt, and Hernnhuter and all of the partners who helped to make this day. Also shout out to all of the amazing vendors who bring the Christmas Village to Life rain or shine. Remember its free to enter and you only pay for the food, drinks, and treasures you find. 

Special shout out to Kory Aversa and the Aversa PR and Events for having me. 

So head on over and grab your kids, your friends, your girls, or your boys and  have an experience to remember!

Hours:
Sunday – Thursday: 11:00am – 7:00pm
Friday – Saturday: 11:00am – 8:00pm
Christmas Eve: 11:00am – 5:00pm

Location:
LOVE Park, 1500 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Ask Toi: We got some questions

Is it okay to air out a grievance about a company or individual who didn’t offer a good service or a faulty product? 

If they have a social media page for their work than yes.  Business is business.  In this social media age, how you deal with folks will air itself on social media.  So if you got to Toys R Us (I say them because last Christmas I aired them out) and they failed, reach out to their customer service.  If that gets you now where its fair game.  I find often times you can get them to respond better if you drop a dime on them on social media.  Make sure when you do that you are okay with others seeing it.  Most times these are not private comments.  To business owners, it would be in your best interest to make even mistakes right, social media has been known to end a business as customers have been known to drag someone for filth.

Is it okay that a grandparent doesn’t babysit a child? 

Yes grandparents are not expected to baby sit.  They are not the golden ticket to your social life now that you are a parent.  Many grandparents are out here living their best lives now that they are no longer tied down to kids of their own.  However grandparents should be involved in their grandchildren lives in other forms.  This means supporting them in school functions, attending birthday parties, holidays, etc A grandparent who doesn’t do these things should be held to a higher standard than them not simply wanting to babysit at will.  If you are experiencing other issues where the grandparents have checked out, it may be some deeper issues. I know some grandparents who do not and miss out on a lot of experiences and it comes out in how the kids interact with them.  Again they will lose precious time, try not to forget that.

How do you deal with a mate who has checked out emotionally?

One you have to communicate and find out why.  Find out if that mate even knows it.  Sometimes they may have things on their hearts and minds and makes it hard to even know that they are missing in action. You are not a mind reader, simply ask. If there is resistance.  Give it some time and space.  However you will have to revisit and if the resistance is still there, try counseling.  Do NOT nag them.  Trust me no one wants that. You are both grown so talking and communicating although not easy still has to take place.

Do you have to exchange gifts for the holidays with your mate?

I think I may have talked about this before but no.  This is something that is between couples.  Some couples do so much all year-long that they don’t see the value in giving gifts to one another. They not only give gifts but they invest in their mate, i.e taking them to the things their mate likes, getting them gifts for no reason, bringing flowers just because its Friday, getting tickets to their mate’s favorite team-overall thoughtfulness. I would opt in some other tradition.  I think that couples should build together.  Maybe instead of gifts you make a new pot of savings.  Maybe make the pot a vacation together, purchase a house, etc. You can decorate it, and place money from both partners.  This way you have something visible to show that you are moving towards goals. However as many complain about these commercial holidays many don’t find out their partners love language and definitely do NOT show them they love them all year. Love is not gifts.  Love should be how you speak, how you protect, how you engage.  Do not give your mate the excuse of not giving gifts on top of an already raggedy relationship.  What is the point in losing all the way around?  No a gift will not mask things but everyone likes to receive.  Its better to have a solid relationship than a bunch of stuff but its horrible to have nothing both in gifts and treatment as well and then try to hide under the no holiday guide as well.  Do better in how you love and show love.  All the ones complaining about getting all year, don’t mean they AND their mate feels that they are being loved on all year-long. Only you know that, also if your mate still wants to give don’t make them feel bad or pressure them to have the same mindset as you do.  Give them a gift because they want to for the holidays.  Relationships isn’t about being one-sided or going along with the dominating mate either.  It should be mutually respected and enjoyed by all.