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A “Must Read”…in My Humble Opinion

16 Jul

We’re all busy, right? Right. Lately – well, the past year – I’ve been juggling ideas of starting my own business, enrolling in an MBA program, and a bunch of other personal and professional endeavors. While I figure things out…or life just figures itself out on the go…I decided to dedicate 2012 towards professional and insightful reading. Sure, the latest Nicholas Sparks book and a few fun ones have been thrown into the mix, but I’ve really embraced this new trend going on in my iPad’s ebook reader.

I’m just 6 months into this resolution to read professional development style books. Can’t. Get. Enough. In conversations, I consistently find myself referring to new ideas or studies I recently learned about. Dan is probably so sick of hearing me say, “This book I’m reading…so interesting! Listen to this….!”

This new-to-me genre has pushed my mind to think in new ways. I’ve developed a broader sense of success. As my reading list continues to grow, my ways of thinking, planning, and problem solving have evolved. This is good. While I still figure out my next few career goals (MBA is the primary question mark right now), I feel like I’m learning more than I have in years.

Now, I leave you with a “must read“: Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer. If you are an idea-generator, creative professional, entrepreneur, manager…the list goes on – read this book. While I finished this almost two months ago, it has remained in my thoughts since. Now that’s a sign of a good read.

Since posting (just 10 minutes ago), I’ve already received a few messages about other reading suggestions. Please check out my two public reading lists:

Katie Vojtko on Goodreads

Katie Vojtko’s Book Wishlist (on Amazon)

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Where I’ve Been Finding Inspiration this Week…

29 Mar

I’m not sure about you, but inspiration can, at times, be hard to find. This month, I’ve had heavy weight on my shoulders due to a few large-scale copywriting projects (talk about writer’s block!), work on my mind all hours of the day, and a budding side business which desperately needs focus and attention. With my energy all over the place, I’m left with wondering how to maintain my creativity, energy, and inspiration needed to do great work.

Cue a week of self exploration. The past few days have been full of internal debates, self-criticism, and a personal need to bring positivity and new energy back into my world. My job requires me to be active and moving 8am-5pm M-F. To be successful, I can’t allow my brain to get into this rut for too often and for too long. This is why when a string of fun, thought-provoking events, ideas, and content came into my world – I wrapped my arms around them all and was thankful. Here’s what happened:

Social Media Professionals Network – Just meeting and collaborating with peer professionals can provide a boat load of ideas. Our first Pittsburgh Social Media Professionals Speaker Series event was last week in the beautiful Pennsylvanian on Liberty Ave. Our round table conversation provided me with a reminder to never settle. Never stop learning. (PS – you should plan to join us for the next event.)

This Book: Social Media ROI  by Oliver Blanchard – If you are in online or digital marketing, pick up this book. Written specifically for C-level execs, Blanchard reviews everything from hiring strategic digital marketing managers to introducing a social media program to your corporation. Fascinating read. Found new perspective and outlook from this one.

The Stairmaster. No joke. Stepping away from the problem (either physically or mentally) helps to think about the issue from a different perspective. Dealing with writer’s block is difficult while I feel pressure to type. On the stairmaster, I think about the topic and words seem to just flow like water.

Long, Lost Friends – Energy found from friends and connections. Last week, I reconnected with a close friend during a wake. Yes, the reason for our reunion was pretty sad and is still is a weight on my mind (related blog post in progress) but seeing her has been a source of excitement and energy in my world. Conversations with an old friend bring up ideas and plans from that stage of life that I had long since forgotten. Conversing with her has brought up a sense of optimism. I cannot wait to continue these discussions.

Entrepreneurs – Finally, D and I have begun working with onlyinpgh.com. If you aren’t following them on Twitter, do so quickly. Their new project called Scenable is going to be seriously groundbreaking. The excitement, drive, and passion start-ups have is probably the best place to find inspiration. Especially from this one. Their drive to improve Pittsburgh communities is seriously remarkable. Not to mention, their 60-70+ hours/week of dedication makes my standard work week look pitiful!

I’m a true karma believer. Good things come in your life if you welcome them in. This week, I begged the world for new energy and that’s certainly what came. Thanks, yinz.

-Katie

Fresh Outlook: Spring Plans and Projects

22 Mar

Growing up, my dad would spend the early months of the year prepping his garden in a makeshift greenhouse in our basement. I found a lot of excitement from looking forward to higher temperatures, sunshine, and the promise of spending more time outdoors. My dad’s gardening was the first true indication that my favorite season was on the way.

Of course, as I grew older, my father’s passions became less cool. I moved to Pittsburgh and began soaking up all that urban life can offer. All was well, until I developed a passion for cooking about a year ago when my schedule balanced out and I gained a +1 who enjoys my food just as much as I enjoy cooking. That was the first time I began lusting over homegrown tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce…ahh EVERYTHING! BTW – Pittsburghers adore their homegrown tomatoes. We are the proudest bunch over fresh produce from our garden.

It was then decided. I’m going to try out this gardening thing.

Enter Problem : We live in a lovely, East End apartment with not one blade of grass. NONE. The horror for this…ahem…”country” girl.

We decided to get creative and do an entire above-ground garden. I got the seeds going for herbs and veggies a few weeks ago. While those are sprouting, we are looking for inspiration for funky, interesting ‘vessels’ for our delicious homegrown goods. Below is an image of my herbs at week 1 as well as images of our “OMG THAT’S COOL” ideas. Happy Spring!

Do you have any projects coming up? Would love to get some inspiration from your ideas, too!

-Katie