Gary Vaynerchuk Hustle #AskGaryVee

A Little Bit of Hustle

Swamped at school and cramming a million things into all of my days, sounds like the perfect time to change things up, right?

Well that is exactly what I did. Wednesday marked the first day of my new job, adding tying up loose ends and adjusting to a new environment, team, commute, and responsibilities to my ever growing list of tasks. This is all happening during what will possibly be the three busiest weeks of my grad school journey. I was not able to take any time off between jobs; I closed up business on Tuesday at my old agency and opened Wednesday at the new job. At the same time, I had a case study (more on that later) due at 6pm Wednesday and several class readings that I needed to catch up on from Monday. I now also have readings that I will need to complete ahead of time so that I can start my next case study. That final case is a group presentation where we will lead the class in a discussion and debate. The madness continues in Global Automotive Marketing.

The countdown to my weekend seminar has also officially begun (7 days). I have made significant progress on my pre-seminar readings and I feel like I am in good shape. I have all of the readings completed for the first weekend as well as my writing sample that is due Monday. My assigned partner and I still need to finish our collaborative assignment, but it is pretty close to done.

About that case study. I generally pride myself on being a competent writer, both creatively and academically. I have had few instances in my academic career where I was not able to effectively construct and communicate ideas and view points, particularly when given a topic to write on. That was not the case for this paper. While I feel confident with the material that we have covered in class, I struggled to figure out what direction to take my paper and debated on whether I was correctly evaluating the case on the basis of class discussions. The goal of the case study is to tie relevant class material to a real world case and credit is generally given if the presented position is logically supported. However, no matter how much I reread, reconsidered, and edited my paper, I was not completely satisfied. By the time I turned my paper in, I was definitely in a “satisficing” consumer mindset, not an”optimizing” mindset (a little consumer behavior jargon for you). This is a frustrating position to be in. I am not the type of student who can get a passing grade and be happy, I want to excel. I want to be able to say that I completed the task at the highest level possible. I realize that it will not always be the reality, but it still bothers me when it is the case. It does not help that I received a grade lower than expected on the first exam. Overall the class did not perform well, and I was among the highest grades, but given the amount of time I spent preparing and the confidence I felt coming out of the test, it is another frustration.

With everything going on and the new routine I am about to start, I have a feeling that I will be channeling Gary Vee for the next few weeks and months; cranking it out and living with a little bit of hustle.


Stay tuned!

Friday Highlights

Sleep: 7 Hours

Work: 8 Hours

Study: 1 Hour

Workout: Overslept…

Soundtrack: 90’s Playlist



It’s Not All Sunshine

As a general rule, I try to stay positive even when my days are roller coasters or just plain bad. In this blog I’ve tried to convey that same mindset, avoiding ending a blog on a sad note and instead finding the positive or rallying motivation to push through. With all of that said, I have to admit that there are days and times that just suck. I seem to be in the midst of one of those times; several days worth of two steps forward, one step back, putting out one fire only to have 3 more pop up.  To say I am tired is an understatement. One good night’s sleep this week has done nothing to counteract the exhaustion that preceded it nor sustain me through the long days and lack of sleep that followed it. I have reached the point where I want to curl up in a ball and do nothing. I want to be done with class, I don’t want to think about doing papers or taking tests. I have a hard time focusing and even light days at work feel endless. Frankly, I don’t even want to think about writing articles and blog posts, things that I generally enjoy. I feel cranky and sore and am losing the fight against the headache threatening to ruin my day.

For all of the positive quotes and the motivation Mondays, this is still a reality of grad school and in particular grad school while working. There is no sugar coating the fact that it is hard and there are times that I really wish I had not put myself in this position. I recognize the feeling of being overwhelmed and I can feel myself becoming irritated over little things that I shouldn’t, a repercussion of stress and exhaustion. As much as I want to put on the strong face and find the positive spin, that might not be an option today. Today might be one of the few days where I collapse on the couch with a glass of wine and say “this sucks.” I can go back to positivity and the mindset of “this is worth it” tomorrow, but right now I need a few hours to take the easier metal route of wallowing. Whether it will make me feel any better is uncertain, but at least for a few hours there will be one less draw on my mental fortitude and energy.






Thursday Highlights

Sleep: 6 Hours

Work: 8 Hours

Study: 1 Hour Case Study

Workout: Some crazy soccer inspired circuit

Soundtrack: Clare De Lune





Blueberry Spinach Smoothie

Brain Food – Blueberry Spinach Smoothie

Whether you’re looking for a healthy meal on the go or a refreshing way to get your fruits and veggies, smoothies are a nutritious and delicious answer.

This is a recipe that started as an experiment and resulted in a breakfast I could be proud of. With no added sugar or processed ingredients, it is as good for you as it is delicious.

Blueberry Spinach Smoothie

Blueberry Spinach Smoothie

-2 Cups Spinach

-1 Cup Blueberries

-1 Banana

-1 Cup Skim Milk


Add all ingredients to blender and blend on high until desired consistency. I chose to use a frozen banana and fresh blueberries that I had previously frozen. If you prefer soy or almond milk it could be swapped for the skim milk.





What I wouldn’t give for a day to sleep in and do nothing. That unfortunately, will not be a reality for me until at least the middle of August, and even then, the window is small. Starting my newest class, Global Automotive Marketing, I was excited. The topic is of interest to me and I enjoyed my first class with this professor. Two weeks in, I am still enjoying the class, but not the condensed time frame in which I have to complete the material. Having class two times per week means that I am responsible for 2-5 readings from which I need to pull thoughtful discussion points in addition to the knowledge base on which I will be tested on. In addition, there are multiple case studies within the coursework which require several hours worth of analysis, composition, and revisions. The first case is due next Monday, and as I will be spending the weekend at a campground, I began writing my case study this past weekend. In the past several days I have spent approximately 5-6 hours reading and evaluating the case and composing my answers to the five questions posed by my professor. As this is a grad class, the expectation is that students utilize class materials, professional experience, and outside knowledge sources to give a complete evaluation of the case. This is not a paper that can be completed in one 1 hour session. On top of my Global Marketing class, I have recently become aware of the large amount of work that is required prior to my weekend seminar that takes place in early August. Before August 1st I am required to complete two writing assignments, one of which is a partner project with another student, watch a 35 minute video, read “The Book on Writing,”and read 25 articles. Luckily, the first of the writing assignment is rather simple and I was able to complete my initial draft fairly quickly. I still need to reach out to my partner for the second writing assignment. Many of the articles are also short, but the issue of time remains. To add to the mix, I will be transitioning into a new job in the next few weeks. This means that I will be busy training my successors at mu current job and eventually adapting to a new position and new team. To say that the next few weeks will be a roller coaster is probably an understatement. In choosing to take on the weekend seminar, I may have underestimated the amount of work that would be required. I assumed that there would be some pre-work, but I also thought that the two weekends were going to include the bulk of the work. By spreading the material out over the weeks preceding the seminar, the professor is lessening the stress of the weekend, which is nice. However, given that I am in the midst of another class and a period of major transition, not having the extra work in these next few weeks would have preferable. That is the reality of grad school though; you do not get to choose when you class demands pick up. You can choose classes based on expectations, but there are never any guarantees that those expectations will match the reality.

The frustrating part is that even with careful planning and time management, it still feels a bit overwhelming, at times to the point that it can be difficult to enjoy the activities that are supposed to be leisurely. Camping this weekend for instance, should be something to look forward to (perhaps with a little hesitancy as it involves sleeping in a tent), and yet this week I have stressed over the fact that I need to have my case study done before Friday and that I have a test the following Wednesday. That stress can make me feel like I don’t even want to go camping. On the flip side, I know that locking myself away for all hours to study is not a healthy alternative, for mind or body. I have said it before and will say it again, you need balance. Whether you are tackling grad school or life in general, all work and no play is not a happy way to live and in the long run, it can end up hurting your productivity and level of success.

So this weekend I will pack up my gear and head for the lake, prepared to let the stresses of school and work slide away for a few days. When I come back, I will have a lot to do, but I have planned out all of my tasks for next week and established a time table for when I will complete the requirements for my seminar. I think I can make it.


Wish me luck!





Wednesday Highlights:

Sleep: 6.5 hours

Work: 8 Hours

Study: 5 hours

Workout: Blogilates HIIT workouts

Soundtrack: Lindsey Stirling

What is Quark, Elli Quark Flavors

Brain Food – What is Quark?

There are some foods that we come to recognize as staples in our quest for a healthy lifestyle. Among the staples you will find in my house are plenty of fruits and veggies, granola, and greek yogurt. I have mentioned before that the fact that granola and yogurt are staples for me is ironic given that I greatly disliked both for the longest time. However, as I have grown up my tastes have evolved. I was never one to shy away from trying new foods and that has not changed as I have gotten older. In fact, I recently came across another food that will likely be making its way into my  rotation. A few months back a group of friends and I decided to take on the Tone it Up Bikini Series. In addition to the daily workouts, founders Karena and Katrina regularly post videos about healthy eating and recipes for their fans to try out. One of the videos that I watched mentioned a brand called Elli Quark. At first I thought that this was another brand of yogurt. The brand comes in 6oz containers that resemble your typical yogurt cup and at first glance it looks like yogurt. However, quark is in fact cheese. A common dairy dish in many European countries, quark’s value proposition over greek yogurt is its higher protein to carb ratio (quark has 15% more protein), lower calorie count, and no added or artificial sweeteners.  Now I will admit, as I perused the Elli Quark site, the phrase “spoonable cheese” did not do much in the way of making me crave the product. While I recognize that cottage cheese is also a spoonable cheese, there was something about a cheese with the texture of yogurt that I couldn’t quite wrap my head around. None the less, I was curious, and so I decided to find it and try it.

Elli Quark Flavors

The store near me currently carries three flavors, strawberry, lemon, anElli Quark Strawberry 1d red velvet. I was surprised to see them retail at $3/cup, but the market I purchased from is known for higher prices. First up on the trial list was strawberry. Opening the container, it would be nearly impossible for someone to identify it as cheese without knowing what it was. Quark is very similar to greek yogurt both in appearance and texture. I would compare it to a cross between greek yogurt and a whipped style yogurt, creamy but a little fluffier than greek yogurt. I expected a texture and flavor more akin to a spreadable cheese like Laughing Cow, but was pleasantly surprised to find that there was little difference from the flavored greek yogurts I have tried. Elli Quark claims that their product has a less sour taste than greek yogurt, but as I usually eat plain greek yogurt and was trying a flavored quark, that comparison is difficult to make. The 6oz cup left me feeling satisfied and without any kind of after taste, which was an added bonus.

Next up was the Red Velvet. While this was also very tasty, it was a little rich for breakfast. It would however, be the perfect evening treat after a long day. It is sweet enough to feel like a dessert but healthy enough to remove any guilt associated with a sweet treat. I am tempted to stick a cup in the freezer for a few minutes to get it extra cold the next time I have an ice cream craving.

Finally, the lemon flavor. This was my least favorite of the three. The tart flavor reminded me a bit of a lemon cheesecake, but without some of the richness to lessen the bite of the lemon. If it was available I would eat it again, but given options I would lean towards the strawberry.

Elli Quark has a whole host of other flavors including blueberry, mint chocolate, and plain. While I’ll probably skip the bananas foster flavor, I’ll be interested to try some of the variations.

So there you have it, the new kid on the healthy alternatives block. Let me know if you’ve tried quark and what flavors I should try next!





Recharge in grad school

5 Ways to Reboot During Grad School


You know that feeling. The one where you could sleep for 12 hours and still feel tired. Where you sit down to study and have to read paragraphs two or three times because your brain refuses to process what you are reading.You’ve reached the point where your efforts to get everything done are delivering diminishing returns. It’s time to take a step back and hit the pause button. All of the hard work does no good if you burn out in the process. Take some time for yourself, the to do list will be there when you get back. Here are a few ideas to get you started on relaxing.

Run With It#1 Do Something Active

Sometimes the best way to shake off that sleepy feeling is to get moving. Whether that means going for a run or walk or cranking up the music and having a dance party, physical activity can wake up your muscles and get the endorphins pumping. It may take some effort to get going, but after a few minutes you’ll likely find that you feel more energized and generally less stressed.


#2 Take  A Weekend to Veg Out

Veg OutWhen your schedule is packed it can be hard to find time to take a complete break, but it
may be exactly what the doctor ordered. Setting aside even one day where you don’t think about work or school and dedicate time to doing something relaxing will pay major dividends when you go back to your to do list. Binge on movies or Netflix, sleep, craft, anything that you find relaxing and does not draw your attention back to work. While the end result may be a more relaxed feeling, finishing homework does not count as vegging out, so don’t do it! Maybe you can’t take an entire weekend off, either logistically or because it will drive you nuts, but at least take one day to recharge.

#3 Take A Vacation (even a staycation)San Diego Harbor Social Media World 2016

If you are like me, even weekends where you have time to relax often become packed with things to do. Whether that is chores, social events, or getting ahead on homework, it can be hard to focus on relaxing when those things are staring at you while you sit on the couch. Getting away from your every day may be just what you need to reboot. Taking a vacation can remove the every day noise and stress and allow you to finally relax.  Feel like you don’t have time for a vacation? Your destination does not need to be a tropical paradise (though that would be amazing) or even another city. Take a weekend to explore your hometown in a way that you normally don’t. Check out the bed and breakfast or treat yourself to a nice hotel and dinner at a restaurant you’ve been wanting to try. Trying something new can be rejuvenating for your mind, body, and spirit, giving you new vigor to take on school.

#4 Unplug for a Weekend

Does the idea of being disconnected for a weekend terrify you? If it does, good, do it anyway. It can be impossible to relax and reboot when work and school are only a tap away. Remove those distractions by disconnecting from email, social media, and even text if possible for a whole weekend. If you need to check in with family, significant others, etc, limit your device use to only a few minutes and only for that purpose. Better yet, ditch the device and go see those people in person. It may be hard, but the digital world will be there when you reconnect on Monday. In the meantime, you can focus on nothing but you.

#5 Treat YourselfMesa Grill

Constantly being busy can leave you feeling beat down and can cause taking care of yourself to fall off the priority list. Dedicate some time to giving yourself a little TLC. Get a massage, a mani/pedi, go shopping, or treat yourself to a nice dinner or special bottle of wine. These little things can do wonders for making you feel human again.


Grad school can be tough, especially when you are balancing it with other life demands. As busy as you get though, taking time to relax and recharge is critically important to your long term success. While taking a break may delay the completion of tasks, coming back to them rejuvenated will help you  be more productive and ultimately more effective in your endeavors.

How do you recharge? Let me know!