Miss Quirky

Road Trip Experiences: 49 States Done, One More To Go

In Travel on October 6, 2015 at 11:29 pm
South Dakota, Montana and Michigan

South Dakota, Montana and Michigan

Wanderlust affects Millenials hard. Don’t believe me? Go on Buzzfeed (Millenial verbal snack food) and read some of those posts, several relate back to road trips, foreign travel and even back to the Peace Corps.

As an atypical Millenial, I’ve been hit with the travel bug since I was 19. At that age, I studied English literature and Theatre abroad in England. Naturally, I gravitated towards visiting Shakespeare’s birth home, eating scones during tea time, and visited Stonehenge like a boss. If you don’t know me well, then let me elaborate why I naturally gravitated to those aforementioned spots. For starters, I like to write so, duh, Shakespeare. Second, i’m a gourmet fiend. Third, i’m an inquisitive person so, why not Stonehenge?

Anyways, from then on,  I wanted to see more of the world. So I started with taking road trips across the U.S the following year and as the years rolled by, I was able to cross off each state off my bucket list. At this time in my life, I can safely declare that I have visited 49 states. Hawaii, which is the last state I have not visited, was saved last on my list. I’ve already been to the Virgin Islands, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Marten and other tropical islands so i’m not completely itching to go just yet.

This Summer, I pulled an almost impossible feat. I went to 14 states in 8 days, and didn’t break a sweat. I used all modes of transportation available (plane, train, bus, car, and on foot) to get this done in time. In many ways, I felt like Lewis & Clark in that I was discovering uncharted territory and grew a passionate love for nature and wildlife. I even drove 200+ miles via the Lewis & Clark trail to get to renown spots.


Nature is boundless in Iowa

Each state holds a dear spot in my heart especially South Dakota. If you ever decide to take a road trip across the U.S, I highly recommend going to Mount Rushmore. It was a breath taking sight to see four great Presidents etched on stone. Not only that, 100 miles before you get there, you will guffaw for Wall Drug signs. Each mile has a unique sign that poorly sells you on why you should visit this deathly tourist trap. After two hours of driving, it’s hard not to fall for this trap since curiosity can get the best of any road tripper.

Those signs don’t lie.You do get free ice cold water and donuts at Wall Drug. You also get unique photo opportunities too such as taking silly pictures by a million foot green dinosaur and by a Jackalope (not a real animal, by the way). This stop was just one of many wonderful attractions I visited across the U.S.A. When it comes to going on a roadtrip, it’s imperative to make an itinerary.

Each day I created one that covered unique locales with hidden treasures. The U.S is a beautiful country to visit and each state has something unique to bring. It’s highly recommended to plan ahead, or you will waste money on gas, confusion, and more confusion.

For those who don’t see any credence, joy or merit with taking a road trip across the U.S (don’t lie, there are many of you out there) I agree that international travel is fun, memorable, and a unique experience but when you travel to states like Iowa, Montana, and Alaska you see inimitable wonders such as elk naturally grazing in front of one’s home, mountains as high as the sky, and magpies that screech like a tropical monkey.

Only at Yellowstone..

Only at Yellowstone..

Have you traveled across the U.S? Or better yet, have you  traveled, period? Comment below any advice you have!

Startup Weekend DC: What I Gained From That Experience

In Advice, Business, Women on October 6, 2015 at 9:45 pm
DC Startup weekend 2015 Collage

I worked with PhotoRight who was the winning team for DC Startup Weekend (Media Edition) 2015.

From July 31, 2015 through August 2, 2015, I spent 54 hours with a group of entrepreneurs on a business prototype that would accelerate the advancement of technology in the way users can comprehend the legalities behind images they find online. Within that three day weekend time frame, I helped pitch ideas, form a team, validate the concept,  be a parting of building the product, get valuable insight from mentors, and present the final product to a panel of notable judges. Startup Weekend, which is also an international movement, gives participants not only real world experience on creating a business but the confidence to make an idea into a reality.

Startup Weekend (Media Edition) took place at The Washington Post, and it was such a great experience. I interacted with  several writers, editors, and new media shakers from Discovery Communications, The Washington Post, NPR, National Geographic, and other notable publications. Plus, I learned about new technological trends with mobile apps, what the podcast movement is all about, and on how publications access interpret legalities for images they use online.

I also walked away with fun swag (mugs, lunch bag, books, pens, stickers) and ate top-notch food (District Taco, Peets Coffee, Buca di Beppo) that weekend too but that’s beside the point.

What I Gained From That Experience:

  • In order for a potential investor to take your business seriously, your company needs to identify a problem, target how your business solution can solve it, and on how your solution can turn profit.
  • Investors want pitches to be realistic and it’s up to the entrepreneur to cover as many gaps as possible. The best pitch sums up the business plan, details your market, why you will succeed, value proposition, and make sure your presentation gets to the point. Investors don’t have time to dawdle.
  • Being able to work successfully in a team means to have the openness to collaborate, and to respect what your team mate’s viewpoints are. It’s not the easiest skill to have but with effort upfront, it will lead you to life long success. Moreover, successful teams often have a leader, a team player, the researcher, the creative, and the communicator.
  • Valuation is important. If investors can gather market information straight from the target demographic on how their product can help solve a problem, you will be able to sway an investor on your side. Consider using survey monkey, Quora, or face to face interviews to gather that information.
  • Journalists, media giants, think tanks, and all others who need free content to add value to their articles must be wary of ramifications. If an image is used without permission from the photographer who takes it, punitive damages between $500- $2,000 will ensue. Make sure you have a lawyer handy if you want to walk down that cumbersome route.
  • The Podcast Movement is for real. All professional and amateur podcasters meet once a year to turn their creative ideas into podcast realities. There are sessions that teach users how to perform technical setups, how to improve their foundation, and on what the best  trends are.
  • It’s not always about Millenials. Often times, public relations firms, content marketing companies, and journalists streamline their content for this age range; however, I learned from an app guru who works for a nation-wide publication that Generation X (who is now entering retirement) that they are heavy app users. They have time and extra money on their hands thanks to retirement so why not cater to them?
  • My new favorite apps are Periscope and Blab. Both apps are free, and you can interact with users in real time. Download it today and let me know what you think. I assure you will not be disappointed.

I am so grateful to DC Media Makers Meetup group for this experience. If it wasn’t for their weekly e-mails, I never would have known about this fun movement.

My Team Experience

Anyways, I gained all of these experiences by working on PhotoRight’s team. Our concept which was to help bloggers and journalists with finding images online for free that are legally sound really struck a chord with me. After I heard our team leader’s passionate pitch, I knew this was the right team for me. As a blogger, I have had online writer’s take my images without my permission and it always unnerved me.  It was a fruitful experience to work on a dynamic team consisting of a clever entertainment lawyer, a renown  travel writer, and three erudite developers. Each person had an important role and I was also proud of my own contributions. I was assigned to help shape business development, and to gather valuation for the team.

I interviewed 30 participants and employed outreach efforts online to get online users to fill out our survey monkey questionnaire. The information gathered helped finesse our presentation and strengthen how our product solves a growing need.

On Sunday, our team leader and lead developer presented our idea to a panel of powerful media giants. Our presentation was succinct, colorful, and presented well enough to win. Over 77 participants, PhotoRight took the grand prize of:

  • An hour meet and greet from a top executive from Discovery Communications (he makes Shark Week awe-inspiring)
  • $100 towards General Assembly classes
  • 1 month free Cove Membership

Just so you know, I recently cashed in the prize. I had a wonderful conversation with the  executive on how to save mad cash when you travel (stay at a friend’s abode), took two General Assembly workshops for fun (Intermediate SEO/Intro to Python), and checked out the Cove by Dupont Circle for a meeting.

All in all, I highly recommend you should check out startup weekend. Not only do you gain business experience, but you also meet some creative folks who can help shape or change your life–forever.

Kinda Obsessed With Stereophonics: And Other Updates…

In Music, Travel on October 2, 2015 at 3:05 am

Selfie at Yellowstone National Park!

Miss me? Well I miss myself too (kidding). Per usual, I had some unique adventures along the way but, alas, not enough time to type them up. So hopefully these inconsequential updates  indulge your voyeuristic cravings.

Stereophonics: Keep the Village Alive

My obsessive love for this band started in 2013, when I trekked all the way over to Roswell, New Mexico. Their highly lauded hit, “Maybe, Tomorrow” catapulted them into my heart–forever. Ever since then, I’ve been listening to them, non-stop, on Spotify and on Pandora. So when their newest album, Keep the Village Alive, came out, I knew this whole album was going to be played on repeat for the month of September. I think, at this point, I can recite every word to “I wanna get lost with you” as of right now. If anyone wants to know whatever happened to Sherryn last month, now you know.

Hannibal Buress

Pandora must be psychic or something because they recommended him to me after I listened to a hell’uva lot of Aziz Ansari. I really like his penguin skits (Hannibal desires fresh penguin meat) and even his views on the afterlife crack me up. His Live from Chicago album is the best by the way. I know after listening to his standup thrice over, I had to watch The Eric Andre Show AND Why with Hannibal Buress on Hulu plus. The Eric Andre Show is mentally disturbing, although, Hannibal mitigates that with his dosage of witty remarks. His own show, Why with Hannibal Buress, was HIL-ARIOUS for the first few episodes, but sadly tapered off with some bland skits. Nevertheless, he’s still a swell guy to me.

Kraft Makes Southwest Chipotle Mayo

Growing up, I was always that strange (but precocious) kid who  would add Italian spices or random seasonings to my mayo. I personally believed my sandwiches deserved much more than what I had in my pantry. I  also always dreamed that Giant or Safeway would carry a line of mayo with varied flavors ranging from lemon garlic to my personal favorite, Southwest chipotle. I was caught off-guard at my local dollar store when I found this bottle of Southwest Chipotle Mayo. Best day of my entire life! I, like, bought a lifetime supply just in case my dreams get dashed again.

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

Oh snap! The book club I am a part of chose the book I wanted to read. I’m not sure if this is fate or some kind of divine intervention but I am just extremely stoked to read this book next month: And to start some ridic conversations.

Have you read Modern Romance? Or do you heart Stereophonics? Whatever the case may be, feel free to comment below.


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