2021 Update

just wanted to post a lil’ update since i currently have a ton of projects in the works + have not been the best at reaching out/catching up w/ anyone lately โœจ

in addition to working as a full-time Creative PM (+ currently navigating some team restructuring), i’ve been running a DePop shop + sales have picked up a good amount throughout quarantine. i also have an Etsy store, which i recently am trying to give a new look + feel and fresh product designs. ๐Ÿ’ป๐Ÿ“ˆ

+ been working on rebranding my fitness/wellness instagram account + posting updates more regularly (@courtneynicole_fit) ๐Ÿ‘

i also run 4-6 miles โ€“ 5-6x/wk + 6-7x/wk am also completing 100 pushups/day, 200 crunches/day + some weight-lifting/strength-training ๐Ÿคธ๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ

trying to eat healthy, recently cooked more dishes (insert images here) although admittedly i am currently super obsessed w/ hawaiian bagels.๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿฅฏ

keeping up w/ reading โ€“ might hit 100 books/year mark for the 3rd time ๐Ÿค“ ๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿคž๐Ÿป

plus, replying to text messages every so often, manifesting my goals, etc. โ€“โ€“ also reconnected w/ an old friend, which was a little spontaneous (or possibly divine timing?? ๐Ÿ”ฎ), unexpected + absolutely a complete and total blessing. ๐Ÿคโœจ

๐Ÿงฟ wishing everyone lots of love, success + fulfillment! ๐Ÿงฟ


#BYE 2020

NYE has always been my favorite holiday โ€“ if you know me at all, you know Iโ€™m big on goals/goal-setting. Iโ€™m definitely finding it to be more challenging than usual to set mine for 2021 + also try to continuously expect the unexpected. While plenty of sh*t has happened in 2020 (+ is still happening), + some goals had to be put on hold, I really believe itโ€™s more important than ever to celebrate even the small wins. LMK what yโ€™all have been up to! ๐Ÿค  

Here are some of mine from this year:ย ย ย 

raised funds for my birthday that resulted in $275 donated to Resilience during Sexual Assault Awareness Month! ๐Ÿ˜‡
  • started a new role at work (from Copy Editor to Creative PM) ๐Ÿ’ป
  • broke my record for # miles ran in a month (new record = 140) ๐Ÿ“ˆ
  • paid off my student loans ๐Ÿ’ธ
  • read 100 books (for the second time! first was 2018) ๐Ÿ“š
  • stopped drinking alcohol ๐Ÿšซ
  • started daily meditation โœจ
  • finally invested a lot of time + effort toward my #1 goal in life ๐Ÿ”ฅ

1.1.2021 update โ€“ here are some of my resolutions for 2021:   

  • be more intentional.
  • be happy more. take time to enjoy things/life.
  • make it 1 full year w/o alcohol (already 10 months in)
  • save more $ now that my student loans are paid off
  • spend less time on my phone
  • take at least 1 day/wk to just relax + not be productive

Social Distancing Self-Care + Self-Reflection

Take this short quiz to discover what level of self-compassion you have โ€“ prompted some reflection on thought patterns + caring for your emotional self during tough times.
I also highly recommend checking out Liz + Mollie’s (co-authors of an insightful read, No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work) assessment to help you learn about your emotional tendencies. There are also additional assessments that focus on evaluating your teamโ€™s emotional culture + your organizationโ€™s emotion norms.

Journal Prompts:

  • i am noticing _____. i am thinking _____. i am feeling ______.
  • (observe any tension in neck + shoulders)
  • what are your ‘mini breaks’ throughout the day?
  • what activities have you done recently that you didn’t like?
  • what activities have you done lately that you did like?
  • write down 3-5 things you’re grateful for (daily or weekly)

The Minimalists

I can’t believe I never posted about The Minimalists on here before โ€“ I guess I just kept it to Facebook + IG. I just saw they’re coming out w/ a brand-new Netflix documentary, Less Is Now โ€“ available on 1.1.2021. โœจ

In the meantime, their 2016 documentary, Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, is still currently available to stream on Netflix.

I really don’t remember how I stumbled upon them in the first place, but I know I started reading their books back in 2014, although unfortunately (very much in the spirit of minimalism), I lent out most of their books, which haven’t been returned to me, so am currently only in possession of a few. ๐Ÿ˜…

I’m also in a Minimalist Facebook group + attended a meetup + discussion a few years back at an IL suburban library, which was a great opportunity to connect w/ some likeminded people. ๐Ÿค“

I was lucky enough to meet them at the premiere of their first documentary in Chicago at the Portage Theater. (+ I’m still very proud of myself for being the first to stand up + ask a question during the Q&A portion of the event!)

They also have a podcast + YouTube channel! If you’re interested in beginning to live a minimalist lifestyle, check out the video introduction below or skip right ahead to playing the 30-day Minimalism Game! ๐Ÿ˜‰

When I first started selling a lot of my possessions back in 2015/2016, I used eBay, but now I’m mainly only selling clothing items + like using the DePop app! I have a rule that I’m not allowed to buy something new unless I “get rid of” something old/something I don’t wear anymore, but to reduce waste + get some of the $ back, I try to sell my items to a new owner.

It’s very simple to list for sale + I choose to ship through DePop, so all I have to do is print a label that’s sent to me when an item is purchased, put the item in a box + place it in the mailbox for USPS to pick up. The payment comes in through PayPal, which is really easy + convenient. Items that don’t sell after some time are usually donated to The Salvation Army.


Adobe Creative Types

Last year I got The Adventurer + this year I got The Maker. I initially expected to get the same result, but after reading the Maker description, I think it changed accurately + correspondingly based on my transition in roles from copyediting to project managing. 

~ Maker types develop the systems, structures, tools + innovations that we all rely on + are almost always busy solving problems, making headway on personally meaningful goals + completing projects. They’re driven by tangible results, know how to deliver + know how to play the long game, unafraid of the unglamorous legwork that goes into building something of value over time. ~


Visual Editor

I’m not an Art Director (clearly), but our whole team was asked to create an email using Epsilon’s new Visual Editor software to get a feel for it, so I used some design elements from Pitchfork Music Festival’s website + some Wikipedia copy to put together a makeshift faux 2019 lineup announcement email (html).

2019 MediaPost EIS Awards

An email I worked on at Epsilon for NFL won the 2019 MediaPost EIS Awards for Member’s Choice Email Marketing Creativity + Best Use of Dynamic Email Content.

Working Hard or Hardly Working?

creative pm Uncategorized

Epsilon 2020 Creative + Coding Summit (Zoom Edition) Guest Speaker

This year, instead of a 2-day in-person event, our team connected over an hour and a half lunch, beginning w/ some company updates, ending w/ breakout small-group discussion sessions in Zoom meeting rooms + in between, were surprised w/ an unconventional + extremely inspirational guest speaker.

Our guest speaker was Jeff Miller, a friend of someone on our team, + a passenger on the July 19, 1989 United Airlines flight 232 from Denver to Chicago, that crash-landed at Sioux City, Iowa’s Gateway Airport after a tail engine explosion + subsequent loss of hydraulic control.

The point of Jeff sharing this story w/ our team specifically at this point in time (mid-pandemic) was to hear a firsthand experience of someone who lived through something intense + traumatic in their life, as well as to hear the key takeaways + what he learned from it.

Ever since hearing this story, I’ve been in a deep YouTube hole, watching tons of videos about it as well as digging up a bunch of articles on the crash, so I’ll share some of those links at the end in case anyone reading this is just as interested as I am!

(side note โ€“ my dad is from Iowa, and told me that one of his friends’ father was one of the four pilots on this flight + one of the people who survived โ€“ but not the captain shown in the video below)

Jeff begins by telling us there was a really loud explosion at the back of the plane when they were about 40 mins. away from the destination (Chicago), but the plane wasn’t falling out of the sky and no one seemed to be reacting much, so he just went back to reading his book while the flight attendants were collecting lunch trays. Everything seemed fairly normal.

He says then there was an announcement made that they’d be making an emergency landing in Sioux City, Iowa, but he figures ’emergency landing’ was the airline just being precautious due to the explosion, because everything was going as per usual since then. They were also informed they may be instructed to exit the aircraft by sliding down the emergency slide + he was looking forward to getting to use this slide you always see in the emergency instruction videos + pamphlets because how many people get to do that?!

So, he says, the passengers were expecting a hard landing + he was expecting to be slightly delayed from arriving at his destination due to this one additional stop they needed to make. He wasn’t really concerned until the crew yelled out “Brace, brace, brace!” right as they were landing + everyone was told to bend over + grab their ankles.

The plane then stood up on its nose, did a cartwheel, and the wings fell off, the tail fell off, and it slid 1.8 miles down the runway. It finally landed upside-down in a cornfield to the right of the runway. Jeff says no one was panicking, that he saw, at any point โ€“ before or after.

At this point, he was still buckled into his seat + was hanging from the ceiling. His white gym shoes were still white, jeans were spotless, hair still looked combed + didn’t have a scratch on him. Only 13 people walked away that day w/ zero injuries.

(In case you’re a nervous flyer like myself, he told us he was sitting in Row 16G.)

The news first reported that everyone was dead. His parents saw the reports that there were no survivors. Right when they were about to relay the news to his wife + children, he called on the phone to tell them he’s alive/what happened (he wasn’t sure if they even knew or had heard anything about it yet).

Jeff was the only person not to sue the airlines. He was probably the only person on the flight to not experience any loss โ€“ incredibly, he even got his luggage back. He also added that he wasn’t originally even going to be on this flight + chose it because he knew that a DC-10, which is a wide-body… would have a better lunch. ๐Ÿคฏ

“I believe I survived to talk to you about this today.”

He said whenever he is available + can possibly speak about this, he does, because in a brief moment of the crash, when he realized what was happening, he had made a promise to God to tell his story if he survived. He hopes even one person hearing it will be inspired, think about the world differently + change something in their life.

Key takeaways:

“Everyone has a purpose, but it’s up to you to capture it.”

He explains that your destiny very well may be different from what you think it is.

“You become what you think about.”

If you believe things will never be okay, then they won’t be. If you think negative thoughts, you’ll live in negativity.

We are all here at this time for a reason.”

Respond to your current situation/the pandemic in the best way you can.

The Power Of Forgiveness โ€“

Ask for forgiveness. It’s one of the best things you can do for yourself. Free yourself. Let people know you forgive them, even if they don’t ask for it/reach out to you to apologize.

Be Kind โ€“

Be thoughtful. Go the extra mile. We don’t always need to be setting people straight all the time. Smile. Talk to people nicely. And talk to people wherever you go.

“Life isn’t what we think it is.”

Additional material to check out:

Daily Herald

Chicago Tribune

Sioux City Journal

The Gazette

“A Fresh Dose of Perspective” โ€“ Carol Stream Chamber

Here the captain speaks about the handful of things that went right the day of the crash โ€“ that had to go right โ€“ for there to be any survivors.

This Nightline clip gathers a few different perspectives + how their lives were altered by the crash.


2020 Reading List

January 2020:

Over The Top โ€“ Jonathan Van Ness

Necessary People โ€“ Anna Pitoniak 

Find Me โ€“ Andrรฉ Aciman (CMBYN sequel)

Would I Lie To You? The Amazing Power Of Being Honest In A World That Lies โ€“ Judi Ketteler

Fair Play โ€“ Eve Rodsky

Connect First: 52 Simple Ways To Ignite Success, Meaning, And Joy At Work โ€“ Melanie A. Katzman, PHD

Surrounded By Idiots: The Four Types Of Human Behavior + How To Effectively Communicate w/ Each In Business (And In Life) โ€“ Thomas Erikson

Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly โ€“ Jim DeRogatis

February 2020:

X โ€“ Chuck Klosterman 

The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living โ€“ Meik Wiking

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes + the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen โ€“ Christopher McDougall

Natural Born Heroes: Mastering the Lost Secrets of Strength + Endurance โ€“ Christopher McDougall

The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other Peopleโ€™s Lives Better, Too) โ€“ Gretchen Rubin

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives โ€“ Gretchen Rubin 

March 2020:

Power: Why Some People Have It โ€“โ€“ And Others Donโ€™t โ€“ Jeffrey Pfeffer 

Flying Too Close To The Sun: Myths in Art From Classical to Contemporary โ€“ Phidon

Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hooksup, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity โ€“ Peggy Orenstein

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us โ€“ Daniel H. Pink

โ€œWait, Iโ€™m The Boss?!?โ€: The Essential Guide for New Managers to Succeed from Day 1 โ€“ Peter Economy

Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It โ€“ Gary Taubes

Uncanny Valley: A Memoir โ€“ Anna Wiener

Physical Intelligence: The Science of How the Body + the Mind Guide Each Other Through Life โ€“ Scott Grafton 

The Longing for Less: Living w/ Minimalism โ€“ Kyle Chayka

No Visible Bruises: What We Donโ€™t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us โ€“ Rachel Louise Snyder

April 2020:

Into Thin Air โ€“ Jon Krakauer

Punished By Rewards: The Trouble w/ Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, Aโ€™s, Praise + Other Bribes โ€“ Alfie Kohn

Recursion โ€“ Blake Crouchย 

Survivor: The Official Companion Book to the CBS TV Show โ€“ Mark Burnett w/ Martin Dugard

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May 2020: 

The Psychology of Survivor โ€“ Richard J. Gerrig, PhD

In A Dark, Dark Wood โ€“ Ruth Ware

How To Break Up With Your Phone โ€“ Catherine Price

The Modern Break-Up โ€“ Daniel Chidiac

How To Be Alone โ€“ Lane Moore

June 2020: 

When It Was Worth Playing For โ€“ Mario Lanza

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder + Memory in Northern Ireland โ€“ Patrick Radden Keefe 

The Book of Rudy: The Wit + Wisdom of Rudy Boesch โ€“ Rudy Boesch + Jeff Herman

Jump In! Even If You Donโ€™t Know How To Swim โ€“ Mark Burnett

The Stingray: The Lethal Tactics of the Sole Survivor โ€“ Peter Lance

Dare to Succeed: How to Survive + Thrive in the Game of Life โ€“ Mark Burnett

July 2020:

H3 Leadership โ€“ Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always Hustle. by Brad Lomenick

Dear Edward โ€“ Ann Napolitano

Friends + Strangers โ€“ J. Courtney Sullivan 

Your Body in Balance โ€“ Neal D. Barnard, MD

How to Eat โ€“ Mark Bittman + David L. Katz

August 2020:

All Adults Here โ€“ Emma Straub 

Brain Wash โ€“ David Perlmutter, MD.

Find Your FuckYeah โ€“ Alexis Rockley 

Conversations w/ Friends โ€“ Sally Rooney

Broken People โ€“ Sam Lansky 

The Clear Skin Diet โ€“ Nina + Randa Nelson

The Vacationers โ€“ Emma Straub

The Self-Care Solution โ€“ Jennifer Ashton, M.D., M.S.

Self Care โ€“ Leigh Stein

The Choice โ€“ Gillian McAllister 

Strong is the New Beautiful โ€“ Lindsey Vonn

Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain โ€“ Sharon Begley

Something In The Water โ€“ Catherine Steadman

This Is How I Lied โ€“ Heather Gudenkauf

The Woman in Cabin 10 โ€“ Ruth Ware

Home Before Dark โ€“ Riley Sager

September 2020:

Luster โ€“ Raven Leilani

Mamba Mentality โ€“ Kobe Bryant

Untamed โ€“ Glennon Doyle 

Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close โ€“ Aminatou Sow + Ann Friedman

We are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life โ€“ Laura McKowen

Canโ€™t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation โ€“ Anne Helen Peterson

October 2020:

Other Peopleโ€™s Love Letters โ€“ Bill Shapiro 

Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the 21st Century โ€“ Alice Wong 

Whole Again: Healing Your Heart + Rediscovering Your True Self โ€“ Jackson MacKenzie

Almost Everything: Notes on Hope โ€“ Anne Lamott

Youโ€™re the Only One I Can Tell: Inside the Language of Womenโ€™s Friendships โ€“ Deborah Tannen

Everybody Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks + Difficult People โ€“ Bob Goff

The Gifts of Imperfection โ€“ Brenรฉ Brown

Love Poems (for Anxious People) โ€“ John Kenney

November 2020:

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love + Life From Dear Sugar โ€“ Cheryl Strayed

The Power of Moments โ€“ Chip + Dan Heath

This is How: Surviving What You Think You Canโ€™t โ€“ Augusten Burroughs

Good Morning, Monster: A therapist shares five heroic stories of emotional recovery โ€“ Catherine Gildner

The Dance of Connection: How to Talk to Someone When Youโ€™re Mad, Hurt, Scared, Frustrated, Insulted, Betrayed or Desperate โ€“ Harriet Lerner, Ph.D.

How to Fall in Love w/ Anyone โ€“ Mandy Len Catron

Anxious People โ€“ Fredrik Backman

December 2020:

The Gift of the Magi + The Purple Dress โ€“ O. Henry

ACE: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society + the Meaning of Sex โ€“ Angela Chen

Slim Down Now โ€“ Cynthia Sass

Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating โ€“ Moira Weigel 

Obsessed: Building a Brand People Love From Day One โ€“ Emily Heyward

No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work โ€“ Liz Fosslien + Mollie West Duffy 

Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass โ€“ Lana Del Rey

Radical Candor: Be A Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity โ€“ Kim Scott

Mirroring People: The Science of Empathy + How We Connect w/ Others โ€“ Marco Iacoboni

TED Talks: Storytelling โ€“ Akash Karia

Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution + Triumph of Modern Female Friendship โ€“ Kayleen Schaefer

This Is The Story Of A Happy Marriage โ€“ Ann Patchett

Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People โ€“ Banaji + Greenwald

The Best of Me โ€“ David Sedaris

One By One: A Memoir of Love + Loss in the Shadows of Opioid America โ€“ Nicolas Bush

How To Be A Person โ€“ Lindy West + Dan Savage

Adulthood *for Beginners: All the Life Secrets Nobody Bothered to Tell You โ€“ Andy Boyle

Sh*t, Actually: The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema โ€“ Lindy West

One Person, Multiple Careers: A New Model for Work/Life Success โ€“ Marci Alboher