Archives for the month of: October, 2011

I’ve never been a fan of the Ugg boots; I do not like how they look on my wide and short feet.

However, when I see them on others, I appreciate the style.

In 2009, I remember there was a huge trend in the U.S. to wear Ugg boots. The prices ranged from $125-$200 dollars (if memory serves me correct). Needless to say, I , a meager college student, never saw the necessity in buyng expensive Ugg boots when I could but the knock off brands (and rock them quite well, might I add). lol

Since my arrival in the U.K., I have noticed the pervasiveness in Ugg boots in the youth/young adult culture. In fact, in a class of  approximatley 13 students, 11 are females. Atleast 3  of the 11 have and wear Ugg boots on a regular.

I’ve seen the normal, ordinary styles of Ugg boots but today, I saw this girl wearing the most amazing pair of Ugg boots I have ever seen. I call them “rocker cowgirl” as the  light brown boots have tassles around the top and gold spikes all over the boot.

Intrigued by the girl’s boots, I just had to take a picture (see below).

 These shoes definitely changed my opinion on Uggs. These are 2011 Luxury Ugg Boot collection by renowned fashion designer, Jimmy Choo. The girl who wore them was very friendly. She told me that she purchased  the “rocker cowgirl” Ugg boots for £500 pounds, equivalent to $750 but they are now on sale for £250 which is equivalent to $400 dollars.  

Yes, the amount is correct.

Now, where college students get the money to buy such expensive shoes, I don’t know.  But, I sure wouldn’t mind having a pair myself. So if anyone wants to contribute to the “Help Mo get her first pair of Uggs fund,” I will be more than willing to send you my contact information. LOL 

To learn more about The Story of UGG, see pictures and view prices, visit this website: http://www.uggaustralia.co.uk/the-story-of-ugg/story-ugg,en_GB,pg.html

To see more pictures and prices of Ugg boots, visit this website: http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=ugg+boots&tag=googhydr-21&index=shoes&hvadid=12426401156&ref=pd_sl_9admbdd38v_b

 

 

 

 

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Umbrella (song)

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Rihanna is huge in the U.K. as well as many other countries, including the U.S.  Every day I hear her songs, see pictures of her on the front pages of magazines, or hear references to her in various mediums (television/newspaper, etc).

 

Although her single, “We Found Love” is huge on the charts, I find that an earlier hit seems to be the song of Manchester.   I believe her song,  “Umbrella” is the mot juste for any day here.

Why?

It rains daily here; in fact, it has rained non-stop for the past four days. For example, In the span of a few hours, it has been sunny, hailed and rained.  In Manchester, an ensemble is not complete without an umbrella or some type of waterproof clothing (rainboots, jackets, etc) to protect citizens from the weather. For that reason, no matter what fashionable outfit one may wear, it is never complete without a good and sturdy umbrella.

More often than not, you will see people walking around with umbrella’s like the one’s below. So before anyone sings, “Cheers (Drink to That)” while listening to Ri-Ri, it’s best to have your “Umbrella, Ella, Ella, Aye”  handy as well.

I hate to begin another blog with the “while I was in class” anecdote, but honestly that is where a lot of my inspiration seems to stem from now.  Bear with me a few sentences as I set the scene.

***

A  good public relations campaign should identify three to four critical issues, but only address 1 of those issues. My lecturer began to give a very sound and logical explanations as to why that was the best way to run a campaign. However, one of the reasons she gave as to why seemed a little odd–not incorrect–just the word choice got to me. She stated that depending on the budget, it would be impossible to run certain pr campaigns on a very small budget.  She said it would be impossible.

Under my breathe, I stated, “Well, nothings impossible.”

My classmate and friend sitting next to me replied, “That’s such an American thing to say.”

She did not say it rudely. In fact, she said it with a smile on her face as she is very helpful in helping me understand British customs, words, and their perceptions of Americans.

Her comment made me smile.

Looking back at the evolution and development of America, we have made our name of off making the impossible, possible.

At one point in time, people thought it was impossible to do many things, such as have an engine powered airplane or an electronic hand help calculator or have a portable photographic camera, but these among many other things are what America has shown as possible.

But I believe the attitude of “anything is possible” does not rest solely in the minds of those who live in the “land of the free and home of the brave.”

Every day, many of us around the globe do something that is considered impossible:

 Beating a terminal illness. Living after a horrible car wreck. Beating that old drug habit. Learning to love again after being in a horrible relationship. Awaking from a coma. Reuniting with long lost loved ones. Passing that final exam.

All of these things to some may seem impossible, but for those who dare to believe in the opportunities of life, they know  just how possible, the impossible can be.  

Yes, I agree with my lecturer that a pr campaign with a little budget is limited in it’s campaign strategies/tactics, but like Whitney Houston sang in Cinderella, “Impossible things are happening every day.”

Those who dare to dream have come up with wonderful inventions around the globe. Visit this link for more information: http://corporate.britannica.com/press/inventions.html

The Center for Global Public Relations

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In my lecture that focused on international public relations, we discussed the 9 generic principles Vercic,L .Grunig & J Grunig (1996) argued might help the development of any Global PR program. Their ideas added to the theory of excellence in public relations and communications management by J Grunig ( 1992).

Those 9 generic problems are as follows (taken from lecture given bySarah Williams, MMU):

“PR understood and practiced according to the two-symmetrical model

PR involvement in strategic management

Empowerment of PR  in dominant coalition or in direct reporting relationship to top management
 
PR function treated as management function independent of other functions
 
Symmetrical system of internal communication
 
Managerial role of practitioners
 
Knowledge potential for the managerial role and symmetrical PR
 
Diversity embodied in all roles
 
Integrated PR function”

However, Vercic,L .Grunig & J Grunig (1996) noted how the development of communications program must take into consideration the local conditions/consrtaints of that country.

While sitting in class, I could not help but think about the Center for Global Public Relations, located at the University of North Carolina- Charlotte within the Communication Department.

I have worked there over a year now, and within our office, I believe that we embody these characteristics. For example, our internal communication is definitely symmetric and less of a top-down approach. We communicate regularly with daily and weekly updates along with our weekly meetings. Even for those who are abroad or away, the main office still keeps us in touch with the weekly activities and progress of the Center. We work together to come up with the best strategies and tactics for whatever job is at hand.

Currently, ne of the many things we are working on is the Second Annual Global Research Conference of the Center for Global Public Relations. The Conference will be held on  April 20, 2012, in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.A.  Abstract submissions of scholarly papers and case studies/position papers should revolve around the conference theme, “Communicating Beyond Borders: Building Relationships Among Corporations, NGO’s and Governments.”

Don’t take my word for it, if you are ever in the area, feel free to stop by our office and meet our team. If you have any inquiries or just want to learn more about what the team does, visit http://cgpr.uncc.edu/  for more information.

Café con leche (Coffee with milk)

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While waiting for a meeting to begin, the manager asked if I wanted some tea.

 “Yes, please.”

“Would you like milk and sugar in your tea?, ” she asked.

Milk in my tea? I’ve never had it before, but  I’ll try it.

“Um, that would be fine,” I replied.

As we sat down to discuss a potential internship, I told her I usually do not drink tea with milk.

 “Well, how do you drink it? Plain?,” she inquired.

 “No, just with sugar. I usually add milk in my coffee,” I said.

 “Oh, well, I hope you like the milk in your tea,” she said while pointing at the mug in my hand.

 As I took a sip, the taste was different, yet familiar. The tea still tasted like tea, it just had a new flavor to it.

“I like it,” I said.

***

Years ago, I read a book by Eric Jerome Dickey entitled, Milk in My Coffee

The book, although fictional, centered on interracial relationships, specifically between black and white couples and the perception that comes along with it. The book gives a voice to the hardships, stereotypes, etc. that come along with interracial dating. That book sheds insight into the intrapersonal and well as interpersonal struggles of interracial dating.

Milk in My Coffee was published in 1998. 13 years later, I wonder how things have changed.

***

While in Manchester, I notice a lot of interracial dating. By interracial dating, I do not specifically mean black and white. Diversity is prevalent in Manchester, so it is highly commonplace for people of different ethnic or racial origins to date, marry, and procreate (not necessarily all three).

For example, since I’ve been here I’ve been approached by a diversity of males from different parts of the world. Not once has a male been African American or American for that matter. Every time I’m approached by the opposite sex, I am reminded of the different, yet familiar taste of the milk in my tea (no pun intended). Similar to adding the cultural norm of milk in my tea, when a person dates someone from another culture, it is expected that they will bring something new and exciting to the relationship—be it their perspective, cultural norms, etc. – something will be new. But similar to the fact that adding milk to my tea did not change the fact that it was tea exemplifies that no matter what race you date or where you go, people are people.

***

Now that I back in my room, I am going to fix me some tea. Who knows, maybe I’ll put some milk in it again this time.

Xoxo

Mo

 

Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...

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Since my arrival in the U.K., I must say that I have received a lot of unsolicited attention. Although there are many factors that could contribute to the attention, I believe that the primary factor is my accent. I  have never lived in a place where my origin, accent or ethnicity seemed almost prized. I’m different here. I stand out. I asked some random people if I stood out just because I was an American. They replied, “No, you stand out because you’re African American. We always have American’s come, but it’s less often that we have a black American come.” How true that is,  I don’t know so I will focus on my American accent.

For example, I can be sitting down, talking to my classmates and someone who I don’t know will approach my table and start a conversation. I can be  riding the bus, talking on the phone and someone will strike a conversation with me.   The first question usually is, “Are you from America?” I assume that my American accent is a dead giveaway that I am foreigner and people seem to be intrigued by that. They desire to know where I am from in America and then they usually proceed to tell me where they have visited in the U.S. or how much they desire to visit the U.S.  After the small talk is finished, like clockwork,  a barrage of questions/statements based on stereotypes seem to be directed at me as I become the voice of America.  Some of the sterotypes are good, others, well, let’s just say they are not so good.

Here are a few:

I know you’re American because your teeth as so pretty. All American’s teeth are pretty.

America is so strong. You guys are inpenetrable.

How do you feel about the controversy surrounding the 9/11 Memorial?

How does it feel to have Barack Obama as a president?

What’s it like in America?

Are there any ghetto’s in America?

Are people really country in America?

Some of these questions are asked because I am American, but I know that other questions derive because I’m African American.For example,

Do you still have the KKK?

Is racism really that bad in the South?

When they ask me questions,   I don’t mind. I answer their questions honestly and as politely as I can, but sometimes the questions that I get seems a little far-fetched and ignorant.

For example, several times I have heard people say, “Everything I learned about America, I learned from watching Maury, Jerry Springer and South Park.”

Cringe. Wow. What a horrible representation of America! So you think we all curse and fight and sleep around, etc. ? 

This leads me to my main point: We, as a country, need to be more critical of not only the media we consume in house, but also the media that we project to other countries. It’s sad, that for those who may never sit and have a conversation with an American, how they may view us.

I’m only one person. I cannot dispel every negative stereotype of Americans or African Americans, for that matter. I can only represent myself, my beliefs, and give my opinion on the questions they ask; however, as a country we can help portray a better image so that  some of these stereotypes can be dispelled before they ever ask, “Are you American?”

Child driving shopping cart in Japan

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Today on my way to ASDA (international version of Wal-Mart) to pick up groceries, I ran across a friend of mine (who we will call Sue for the time being) on the bus.  She decided to accompany me along with a few friends to go shopping.

After I had purchased my crisps (potatoe chips), chips (fries), biscuits (cookies) among other things, I carried my trolley (grocery cart) back to the front of the store. Bypassing a lady pushing a Pram (stroller), I felt compelled to ask Sue about her child.

Her face lit up as she described her 4 year old daughter that has the looks of her dad but the adventurous personality of her mom. Like me, Sue is an international student. Like me, she decided to further her education. Unlike me, she is a married mother.

I asked her why did she decide to go abroad. Of course, I figured she would have wanted to stay home with her child, especially at such a critical stage of development for her baby girl. She replied that she wanted to set an example for her daughter and to show her how a woman can have a career and have a family. In her country of Korea, she stated that it can be difficult to do both but that she wanted to show her daughter that it could be done so that one day, she would be inspired to do both as well.

She stated that it was very difficult to leave her child and husband behind. She stated that she always thought she was a strong woman, but even she was not compared for the mental and emotional distress that accompanied her departure. She said that she has not spoken to her daughter since she came to the U.K. (about two months ago). She does not want to cause her daughter sadness and thinks it would be worse if she spoke to her daughter on a regular. She will be here for a year.

Her response made me think of my own mother and her parenting techniques. True, she did not raise me. True, she was not there for all those little and big moments in my life. In fact, I spent the majority of my childhood/teenage years with my Grandmother. However, I believe, like Sue, my mother did things with my best interest in mind. She focused on the fact that her leaving and being stationed in various military bases would help me in the long run. I must admit, years later, I reckon that it has. My independence, maturity, and self-starter attitude derived from her absence. But, although she wasn’t there her hard work afforded me the opportunity to do many things like travel to other countries by the age of 15.

Like Sue, I imagine that my mother had a difficult time being away from me. Missing me, wanting to see me, wanting to talk to me, to hold me, etc.

I could not imagine leaving my child–someone I carried for 9 months. However, Sue’s testimony has shown me that it takes a strong woman to be a mother. To see that sometimes, a temporary absence can create limitless opportunities.

My mother’s temporary absence did that for me and I pray that Sue’s absence from her daughter does the same. Sue told me that being a mother was the hardest job she ever has had. But, I’m sure that she would probably also say that it is the most rewarding.

Infographic on how Social Media are being used...

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Facebook. Twitter. Blogs. Youtube. Flickr. Myspace. Wikipedia. Linkedin

These are some of the social media devices that have been born in the last decade or so (give or take some time) and it appears that they are not going anywhere anytime soon.

Like many, I was NOT a fan of social media. Sure, I used facebook to keep upwith my friends, family and colleagues. Yes, I even used the antiquated Myspace to listen to music and view pictures. But now, it seems as if you are not linkedin (no pun intended) to social media outlets then you are way out of the loop.

The new forms of social media allow for greater transparency that crosses space and time. No longer do we have  to wait for the mailman to drop the daily newspaper off or sit and tune in to the 5 or 6 or 7 o’clock news to stay in touch with local, national and international news. Now, information is literally at our fingertips. Which can be a good and not so good thing.

The touch of a button could almost instantaneously yield enough information on any subject that if we tried to read it all, we would all be blue in the face by the time it was over. Also the fact that anyone can post information on the world wide web creates issues with the credibility and validity of the content that we read. Nevertheless, the main benefit is that we have it. Information is available to us in almost limitless ways and it is up to us as consumers of it to do so with discretion.  As technology continues to progress, I can only imagine what all we will be able to access at the click of a button.

But,

What about those who are not technologically savvy? What do we do? Where do we go for help? When I moved to the U.K, I quickly realized how necessary it was to be informed and in tune with social media. In fact, at one of our first classes, we were urged to get a linkedin account, make sure our twitter and fb were professional and start subscribing to news subscription. Also, it appeared that at least half of my classmates blogged (something that I had only recently started a few weeks prior.)

I felt overwhelmed due to my ignorance regarding social media. I knew how to access what I needed, when I needed. But, I had never once considered entering the conversation that occurs via social media. Jobs are found. Professional and personal connections are made. And I believe that those of us who are not tuned into social media may be missing out on very good opportunites.

After all, when working in the realm of PR, and many of fields for that matter, how are you going to make small talk over the water cooler or in the elevator if you do not know what the people in your field are discussing.

Social Media seems here to stay, so you may as well learn how to use it. It will make you more marketable and definitely more competitive in the job market.

William Ernest Henley

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Overwhelmed. Stressed. Anxious

That would be the mot juste to describe how I am feeling.

Usually, I am the self-proclaimed Queen of  Time Management. Well, I never really “manage” my time, per say. I always just find a way to fit everything in. Hence one of my favorite quotes “Sleeping is Forbidden”- Diddy. “Late nights, early mornings” was the song I sung long before Marsha Ambrosius crooned it. The main difference between our songs is that she is discussing a lover, while I refer to my boyfriend of 12 plus years: My education 🙂

Since I have been here, I have had a difficult time balancing my coursework and my desire to gallavant the streets. If you saw how many fun and interesting things that there were to be done outside of class, you would see why I have been having quite (that’s how the people in the UK say, ‘little) some trouble here. I live in a small flat and staying in my room completing tasks just seem, well….boring, to say the least. I want to explore! I want to meet new people! I want to go out and do whatsoever I please.

And, that has been what I have been doing; However, the logical side (I think it’s the left side) of my brain has seized control and reminded me that I am here for a short time. I have a purpose. School is first. Everything else is second.

But, when I am constantly getting phone calls to go for dinner, go to the movies, go to the mall, go to a pub,  it is very tempting to abandon my books and become one with the night! lol

I must resist the urge to be wined and dined by suitors with nice accents and great conversation. I must hold my ground against nice friends who want to catch up over lunch. I must. I must. I must. Manage my time better to include all these things.

I am usually a night person and this has been the first time in years that I have had to attend classes before 11:00 am.
For that reason, I can no longer stay up until 3 or 4 am chatting away with friends from the U.S. or surfing the web trying to catch up on missed episodes of my favorite shows back home. Properly adjusting to the time difference requires that I monitor my sleep habits. How tragic!

Time to put my game face on and get into the swing of things. Having an extremely long summer definitely did not make this leap back into the world of academia any easier, but hey, I know that it must be done.

I have to manage my time better and get serious about dating my boyfriend of 12 plus years: My education 🙂

I have to remind myself that “I am the Master  of my Fate. I am the Captain of my soul.”-  Invictus by William Ernest Henley

Vector image of two human figures with hands i...

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I have never been the nicest, most attractive, funniest or smartest person in the world nor can I boast to have even been the most popular girl in school; in fact, some instances would have made me question whether I was liked at all (I’m sure many of us can relate to that feeling at some point in time). But, despite all those things, I do pride myself in my ability to be a good friend. Near or far, centimetres or miles away, friendships are important to me.

There are not many people who I refer to as a friend; If I call you a “friend,” I mean it.  The word “friend” is thrown around loosely but I found one definition that actually aligned with my idea of a friend. Ironically enough, my favourite explanation of the word “friendship” is taken from Wikipedia. (Don’t judge me!)

Wikipedia wrote:

“Friendship is a form of interpersonal relationship generally considered to be closer than association, although there is a range of degrees of intimacy in both friendships and associations. Value that is found in friendships is often the result of a friend demonstrating the following on a consistent basis:

-The tendency to desire what is best for the other

Sympathy and empathy

-Honesty, perhaps in situations where it may be difficult for others to speak the truth, especially in terms of pointing out the perceived faults of one’s counterpart

-Mutual understanding and compassion; ability to go to each other for emotional support

Enjoyment of each other’s company

-Trust in one another

-Positive reciprocity — a relationship is based on equal give and take between the two parties.

-The ability to be oneself, express one’s feelings and make mistakes without fear of judgement.”

 

I have found that going abroad always makes it clear who my friends are and who they are not. When I am out of the loop of normal activities with others, only a few will actually take the time to tweet, fb, skype, email, etc. to see how I am doing (outside of family). Now, I understand that everyone is busy and have their own things to do, people to see, but knowing that someone back home cared enough about me to take time out of their busy schedule to just say “hi, I hope you are having a fabulous time” shows who my friends are.

 

This weekend has been full of wonderful skype sessions, emails, fb messages, tweets, etc. with many of my family and friends back home. While abroad, it helps to be able to see a familiar face or hear a familiar voice every once in a while.  It keeps my spirits up on days when I literally wake up on the wrong side of the bed.

While here, I have also had the opportunity to make new  friends (Some of them are featured on the “New Friends” section of the blog). These people have to be the nicest people I have ever met and I hope that some of their generosity, empathy, care, etc. rub off on me while here.

For example, I had not left my flat yesterday because I had been working on an assignment due the next day. Igho, my flatmate bought me dinner and brought it to me because she saw that I had not taken a proper break to eat any real food. She also checked on me periodically to ensure that I was staying on task in order to meet my deadline.

When she came in the room with the food, I thanked her. As she left out of my room, she replied, “That’s what friends are for.” I smiled and thought to myself, “yes, that’s what friends are for.” To be there. To make those rough days a little bit smoother. To lend a helping hand or a kind word. Near or far, that’s what my friends have done while I have been here. Although there are too many people to name, you know who you are. I appreciate you. Thanks.