We are back with another edition of Career Girl, written by Andrea Samacicia Mullan, President of Victory PR. Career Girl is a regular column that includes everything from interviews with inspiring Hoboken Career Girls, career advice, and lots more. We are so excited to be partnering up with Andrea to bring some new and noteworthy ladies to HG. Today is a little bit different…so without further ado, here’s Andrea:
Like many of you, I spent last weekend celebrating some of the amazing women in my life – my own mother, my mother-in-law – and I even enjoyed a little celebration myself thanks to a very thoughtful husband and son. It was amazing. And the gorgeous weather certainly didn’t hurt☺
Here at Career Girl we’re extending the Mother’s Day celebration throughout the month of May because, really, whether they work at home or in an office somewhere, what are moms if not the ultimate Career Girls??
I’m kicking things off with the mother of all (see what I did there?) Career Girl subjects, none other than Jen Casson, editor and founder of a little blog you might have heard of, Hoboken Girl! Although not technically a mother, Jen has two babies – Hoboken Girl and her fur baby, French bulldog, Pierre. She also juggles a full time day-job and a second gig as a photographer — so if there’s anyone who can offer some career words of wisdom, it’s Jen, the ultimate Hoboken Girl!
Why and how did you start Hoboken Girl?
I started Hoboken Girl in 2012 as part of my New Year’s resolution to get out there and explore the city (and make new friends!). I had been craving a female perspective on the city in a male-dominated blogosphere, and thought I would chronicle my Hoboken adventures with a fresh perspective. Two and half years later, I’m still doing the same!
Hoboken Girl started as a personal blog chronicling my experiences and has now grown into a website with various contributors. It’s so amazing to see women (and men) connecting in a positive way on a daily basis through HG and social media, and I absolutely love getting to know people in town, learning about local businesses, and helping people connect.
How do you manage to juggle everything?
I’ll admit – sometimes I’m horrible at time management. I’ll get caught up editing some photos or writing a blog post and realize I didn’t even make dinner or get to the gym and it’s 11 pm!
Still, I have a few tips that I’ve learned to help me juggle the craziness that is my life:
Tip #1: With three different jobs, I try to block out my time effectively and always give my all to whatever task I am doing. For example, I schedule posts to go live on Hoboken Girl the night before and I use an app to schedule social media posts so I never have to do that during the day at my full-time job. For photography, I book certain weekends of the month and keep certain weekends free for time with family, friends and the fiancé. I also try to schedule days for the gym and Sundays I try to plan at least three lunch and dinner meals (plus grocery shop) for the week.
Tip #2: This is big – I “chunk” my emails into two checking periods per day. It is so hard, but I try not to check email throughout the day because then I forget to respond. It has definitely helped – I usually check mail at lunch time and then again in the evening. Once in a while I can’t help but check it, but then I always mark my messages as unread so I know I need to respond. For some reason the number on the mail app on my phone drives me crazy if it’s not at zero, but I’m learning to cope. ☺
Tip #3: Lately, I’ve been practicing mindfulness and meditation daily (even if just a minute) to center and ground myself. That, going off the grid with my fiancé at 8 or 9pm, and a lavender bath at night, works miracles for relaxation after a long day.
Tip #4: My advice to entrepreneurs (and working women!): if you’re not careful, you can get caught up in the day-to-day and wind up making your life one major to-do list with everything that goes into owning your own business. I’m working on making life about the journey, not the finished product. I once heard a TEDx talk about how Americans measure their success in productivity, which kind of made me sad because it hit home. So now, I’m working on measuring my success in happiness. ☺
Tip #5: Get a cleaning service to come in twice a month. Maid in Hoboken was life changing. As much as I work, cleaning the house just doesn’t happen as often as I’d like it to on my own…unless guests are coming over, of course!
We all know Hoboken Girl is your 1st baby, but tell us about your 2nd baby, Pierre.
My baby! Honestly, besides the occasional walk in the rain or blizzard conditions, having a dog is incredible. I grew up with a dog, so I know I’m guaranteed wiggles and snuggles as soon as I get home from work, and a little couch buddy while I’m blogging or editing photos. Having your own (rather than a family dog) is definitely tougher because you are 100 percent (or in my case, 50 percent) responsible for taking care of him. Sometimes it’s a tough compromise (happy hour or go home and walk the dog?), but it’s definitely grounded me, which I love. I’m actually somewhat of a homebody at times and to me there’s nothing better than hanging with my dog.
I know I’m biased, but just looking at his face after a long day cheers me up! He (obviously) has an instagram account (@PierreCasson). I honestly can’t imagine my life without a dog, and don’t know how I ever survived without one.
[Editor’s note: End cheeseball dog soapbox]
What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten from your mom?
That is tough – my mom has a lot of great advice – I know I can always call her when I’m in a tough situation.
But, I’ll give you the top two.
1. Always go after your dreams and dive head first into whatever project you’re working on. For example when I was in eighth grade I started a town newspaper and even got some local businesses to advertise (sound familiar?). She was my right-hand woman, driving me around to businesses, helping me make copies, and distributing everything. It was a blast! She has always been a wonderful and proud supporter of whatever I do career-wise and she has such an entrepreneurial spirit.
2. Take care of your health because at the end of the day, one’s health is the most important thing! My mom has been a vegetarian for 25 years, and I feel really lucky to have eaten very healthy (and organic foods) for years before it was trendy to do so. Even though I splurge on yummy and decadent things from time to time, I always keep my mom’s healthy ways in the back of my mind so I can find a good balance.
What is your favorite thing to do with your mom in Hoboken?
My favorite thing to do with my mom is probably just having her over (albeit she complains about Hoboken parking!) and ordering delivery from Karma Kafe. When I was younger we used to go on dates to NYC where we’d get Indian food and go to a Broadway show. We both love spicy food and Indian was always our go-to. Now when she comes, we have a fun night in with some Indian – sometimes my dad joins, too! We just recently had San Giuseppe’s brick-oven pizza, and I think that may be a new favorite for us when dining out—especially because there is free parking!