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Positive Vibes: A One-on-One with Erin A. Simon

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Laid-back, friendly and humble are just a few words to describe media maven and content creator, Erin Ashley Simon. Above all though, she’s a go-getter whose admirable view of life has helped to shape her career and journey.

During the times Simon bore witness to her mother’s battle with health issues, she didn’t realize the effect it would have on her perspective, and how that perspective would enable her to attract nothing but positive vibes and people.

“My mom doesn’t allow her health or negativity to consume her or get in the way of her happiness,” Simon said. “That really inspired me. Anytime I’m feeling a certain way I tell myself, ‘you know, there are people going through worse things than I am. This obstacle isn’t as bad as it seems.”

With that positive attitude and 18 years of athletic training under her belt, Simon is currently using that frame of mind to help turn her passion for both music and sports into a rewarding career.

How did you transition from a life in sports to a career in marketing and journalism?

During high school, I didn’t have a lot of vacation time. Anytime we had a break or vacation it was usually a soccer tournament. When everyone was on vacation I was home with my parents and I created a blog called boxofmess. It eventually started to resonate to the point where I was getting thousands of views from the interviews and I was like “whoa, this is actually fun.” This was a pivotal moment where I realized I really liked writing. And I found that I could take that and add that to things I’m passionate about.

 

You’re now a Social Media Producer for Revolt TV. How would you describe what it is you do and what do you like most about that job?

The best way to describe my job is content development: creating content on various platforms, from TV to online and social. I also initiate conversations with other brands to develop content segments, series or even possible events and partnerships with Revolt.

I’m happy I get to wake up every single day and do what I love to do and what I’m passionate about. If you’re truly happy with your job you’ll do the best work and for me, having the ability to potentially change a culture is truly amazing.

 

What I love most about Revolt is that it doesn’t matter how old or how young you are, people are open to hearing what ideas you have. They’re interested. I love that because I don’t believe your age should dictate how well you know something. It should be based upon knowledge and experience.

Tell me a little bit about your Uber ride interviews. How’d you go about making that happen?

My publicist elected that if I’m going to brand myself I have to find something unique to me and that I’m known for. From there the concept to have an [interview] car series with Uber was developed. Now we’re working on having this content be for Revolt TV. The Uber series has encouraged me to think of myself more as a producer and a strategist, not just a journalist. It has changed my career track.

What’s your favorite type of story to do? Whether that’s a feature, an exclusive or something from the business side of things?

I would say the most interesting stories, for me, are human interest stories. One of the stories I’m most proud about is a suicide piece I did for a regional newspaper in college where we spoke with a suicide victim. Those are usually the people closest to those who take their own lives.

The stories that make a difference and cause an emotional attachment and response from people are the kinds of stories that I like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What would you say is the hardest part about what you do/your job?

To juggle work and maintain relationships. In the media life, you’re not quite able to have a typical nine-to-five. You may have to work during the weekend. Because of that, I have to make sure I’m doing what I need to do to maintain personal relationships.

So how do you balance your career endeavors while still leaving some time for yourself?

I’ve learned that if you want to make something work you have to make sacrifices. If that means I have to sacrifice an hour of sleep just to make sure that I call my mom back at 11pm, I do that. Another thing I do is designate one day during the weekend where I watch a movie, go to sleep early or go to some events by myself. I just always try to have one day where I don’t do any work. I also have designated hours where I don’t touch my phone or work at all. After 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays, I’m trying to turn up!

Who’s your current career inspiration?

It’s cliché, but I have to say, Oprah Winfrey. One, she didn’t allow someone to tell her she wouldn’t be good enough for something. Two, she knew what she was good at and she excelled at that. Anything else she was not good at, she developed and built on. She didn’t learn everything in one day. Three, I’ve learned from her that the more you help others, the more you will receive in return. Oprah is one of the smartest and most successful content aggregators. She wanted to create a platform and help other people do the same. That inspires me because too many times in this industry, [there are] people who have selfish initiatives.

How do you spend your downtime?

I like to read. If you’re truly a journalist or an artist of your craft, I believe that you should read because aside from building up your vocab, you can also grab inspiration from it.

I’m also a little bit of a nerd and I’m techy. I love watching the Discovery Channel, the Food Network and the History channel. I also enjoy watching foreign movies. In my spare time, I like to learn and experience different activities, foods and cultures. I like to dive into things that aren’t custom to what people my age like to partake in. Doing that only further helps me and my job and in the end, I feel more connected. The more I learn, the better conversations I can have.

 

Given your passion for music, who would you say are your top three favorite artists and why?

I like different artists for different reasons but I really like Chance because he’s bending the rules. I like Kendrick Lamar because he brought back conscious music and showed everyone that it’s OK to spit lyrics that are poetic. Last, I like Outkast because I love artists who change things and create movements. Outkast created the southern movement.

 

What’s your favorite show right now? Why?

Quantico. I like how the main character is a minority. We don’t see that too often. I also like seeing women as lead characters too and not be presented in the stereotypical or negative way that the media can sometimes portray different women and different minorities.

What’s something interesting or unique about you that people don’t know?

People know that I’m mixed but most people don’t know that I’m eight things: I’m mostly black and Puerto Rican. Within my entire background, though, I’m Spaniard, Italian, Irish, German, Native American, Egyptian and Moroccan. My family was mixing when it was illegal!

What’s the best advice you’ve received so far?

Just because someone thinks you can’t do something doesn’t mean you can’t. It’s just a reflection of what they think they can or cannot do. Do not limit yourself because someone else is going to set those limitations. The only person that can control what you can and are able to do, is yourself.

My parents have also always said, “Whatever you want to do, just make sure you’re happy. Through all the struggles and all the issues, your main objective is to ensure the happiness within yourself.”

How would you describe your journey so far? And what do you hope to get from it?

My journey has ups, downs, curves, dips and hills. No one’s journey is a straight shot. I think the one thing we miss sometimes is that we don’t take the time to enjoy the process. We’re so focused on the ending. So I’ve been enjoying the process and looking back at where I came from. When I got out of college, I didn’t get a job right away. It took me awhile to get a job. I’m also looking to help others avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made. I’ve always tried to mentor people, especially artists…I do this now on social media.

I just hope throughout the journey I can look back and be happy about the choices I made and see that I haven’t lost myself throughout the process. I try to stay true to myself. I know where my weaknesses and strengths are and I know that whatever environment you’re in, it’s good to adapt, but it’s never good to change yourself completely.

 

Tamara Shanice is an actress, writer, lyricist and fashionable hustler who takes pride in entertaining and educating through her art. She's a wandering spirit who loves to travel the world and marvel at the works of God's paintbrush.

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Ambitious AF

Self-Love Practice Tips From 12 of My Favorite People on Instagram

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We’re now about to wrap up the first month of 2019. How are those Self-Love resolutions you had set for yourself going so far? I hope you’re still feeling the same excitement you felt right before the ball dropped at midnight on January 1st.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve recently hit kind of a weird place in my life where there were so many opportunities being thrown my way but nothing was confirmed. I felt stuck, not sure what my next move would be and because of this I could literally feel my mental demons beginning to attack me. I’ve learned that when you’re in a place of uncertainty, that’s when the feelings of self-doubt and negativity will begin to consume your thoughts at an all time high. With that being said, I knew that now more than ever I had to really practice different forms of self-love, because ya know AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR NEGATIVITY. You feel me?

I hit up a couple of my close girls that are either IRL friends or some that I just stalk on a consistent basis (they’re my besties in my head haha) because I love their content and asked each of them to share their #1 self love practice tip.

Even though I’m writing this for you, know that I high key needed this article for me too. I loved putting this together, I hope you all enjoy.

Photo by: @elenamudd

@analisacantuAnalisa Cantu, CMO + COO of Trenza

My phone is in a constant state of Do Not Disturb, and I never – NEVER answer emails from my phone. In fact, I have push notifications for my email turned off. There is no fire too big that it can’t wait for me to pull out my laptop and write out a strategic, intentional response. People in media: Let’s stop working in an unhealthy gaslit state, please. 

All this to say, I am hyper aware of the energy I intake (through foods, movement, social settings, push notifications) and the energy I exhibit *because* of what I choose to intake; this is why I create strict boundaries. Me, my ideas, my productivity (a company’s source of revenue) is a result of everything I choose to let in to my orbit. 

Millennials don’t need more unlimited PTO or fancy office snacks, we just need to be in workspaces that allow us to feel enabled to actually clock out. To sleep, to be encouraged to have a life outside of work. Eat a real meal. 

A lot of my philosophy around work was fueled by the tech scene in Austin, which admittedly can be too relaxed, but there’s an underlying understanding that Rome can’t be built *well* in a day. I’ve never seen happier employees, or had more present managers. Whereas when I made the transition to the New York tech scene, the underlying understanding was: Rome can be built in a day, but we’re going to beat that time and build it in 15 hours, k thanks. And thus, I’ve never seen more unhappy, dysfunctional teams than my time in the NYC tech scene. 

So: Take a breath. Figure out what makes you feel good. Prioritize that above all else, and I promise everything will follow suit.

Photo by: @curlderon

@astoldbyfatouFatou Berry, Founder of PRGIRLMANIFESTO & AB Media Group

My favorite way to practice self care is to honor my energy in all that I do. By stopping to ask myself how my spirit feels about a situation or person. I give myself the opportunity to make sure that I am in alignment, enabling me to tap into the best version of myself.

Photo by: @bycarolinacastro

@joyvalerieeJoy Valerie, Digital Business Operations Consultant & Host of Basic Brown Nerds Podcast

My favorite way to practice self-love is by reminding myself of what I have achieved so far. Be it that week, that day or in the last 5 years. This reminds me that the past me probably wouldn’t have even dreamed of where I am now – and future me is looking back smiling, having had achieved so much more.

This is what keeps me going on the days I want to give up and hide into a hole.

@annettecAnnette Gonzalez, Founder + CEO of Beyond The Babe

My self love ritual / tip is to show up FULLY and UNAPOLOGETICALLY as you are.  
I’ve been told I’m too passionate –  this set me back from pursing my dreams, fearful people wouldn’t accept how I show up.  I felt my light dim, thoughts of “not enough” sink in and the apologies endlessly pouring out. I held onto that shit so long that it manifested into an emergency stomach surgery.  

It took a lot of self love,  patience and mindful disconnection to recover and accept myself and my worth in it’s entirety. It wasn’t until I came across a quote from one of my favorite authors:

“You will always be too much of something for someone: too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. If you round out your edges, you lose your edge. Apologize for mistakes. Apologize for unintentionally hurting someone profusely. But don’t apologize for being who you are.” 

– Danielle Laporte


Since then I’ve grown to appreciate that I’m not for everyone. This new mindset connected me to the most aspirational, outspoken individuals who encourage me to use my voice as often as possible even if I’m scared. 
Love yourself. You are enough. Show up FULLY and UNAPOLOGETICALLY as you are & SHINE.


@ms.wilson2u – Sheneya Wilson, CPA + CEO of FolaFinancial

My favorite way to practice self-love is by no longer committing to people or things that will alter my personal happiness. I found myself in very dark places due to overexerting my energy to people who didn’t deserve or reciprocate it, or trying to fit in at a corporation whose mission didn’t align with my personality or interests. I am allowing myself to be open to a universe that is filled with abundance. Knowing that every opportunity or person isn’t for me,  I can confidently decline, allowing space for something or someone greater to come and ultimately protecting my inner happiness and peace. 

Photo by: @claudiagomezph

@candycalderon_Candy Calderon, Health & Wellness Entrepreneur + Founder of the Glow Wellness Tour

The biggest self-love tip I can give to anybody is to learn to say NO. To have the courage to say NO to anything that does not elevates you mentally, spiritually, emotionally or puts money in your bank! So many times we are guilt-tripped to saying yes to things that we don’t want to say yes to, and we end up being on the short end of the stick. Knowing your worth is super empowering —NO is a complete sentence— and I hope more of us love ourselves enough to say NO more often this year!

@kelsiwithaneyeKelsi Paden, Creator of Self Love Sunday Mixers

My favorite way to practice self-love is to challenge myself by stepping outside of my comfort zone. The self confidence I find when doing so is indescribable. I just know it’s a great feeling of accomplishment knowing that I am capable of doing whatever I put my mind to, always. I also practice self love by reflecting daily and acknowledging my accomplishments throughout the entire year. 

@ismilesometimesssHolta Tegu, Educator + Dance Fitness Instructor

My favorite way to practice self-care is by choosing to live intentionally. Two things have helped me in this never-ending journey:

  1. Clearly establishing and defining for myself my living intentions
  2. Mindfully planning to actualize those same intentions

When you’re passionate about the work you do and the people you serve, it can become a 24-7 job, which can in turn make it easy to forget yourself and your own well-being. Balance between work and rest is always something I struggled with. It wasn’t until the last two years that I realized I can’t be my best self for my students and the community I serve, if I’m not taking care of my well-being simultaneously. I knew that in the same way I planned for work, I had to start planning for me.

“Write it down, and stick to the script, Holta!”

Before I did anything else, I first had to intentionally identify what my living intentions were for myself (these have changed and I’m sure they’ll continue to change over time) – i.e. What did I regularly need to do to help me take better care of my basic needs? What would re-energize and help center me? What boundaries did I need to set?

I then planned to actualize those intentions. In the same way I plan for work-related tasks and events, I now also plan for myself (daily, weekly and monthly). Do I always stick to the plan? Absolutely not, and that’s where forgiving myself comes in. I now more than even understand that I’m human before I’m anything else – this too is an important aspect of “self-care”.

@halamaroc- Hala Maroc, Content Creator + Brand Developer. Founder of On The Block Badass Bootcamp

My favorite way to practice self-love these days is putting RIGHT NOW first. Operating on satisfaction is the easiest way to consistently be happy, healthy, and vibrating high. I tend to ask myself a lot:

“How do I feel about this?”

Committing to a workout gives my day a productive start. Turning off my notifications makes me feel in control of my time & interactions. Giving up meat has kept me light on my feet. I’m not the best at meditation but when I really need to feel good I shower with the lights off, incense or candle on, and R&B music up. Works every time. But all of these things amount to being present and living life one great moment at a time! I move on inspiration and anytime something goes left, I repeat to myself: EVERYTHING IS HAPPENING FOR ME NOT TO ME.

@arielledonce – Arielle Donce, Media Personality + Digital Strategist for BET

My favorite way to practice self love daily is positive self talk . I believe you should be a cheer squad of one and speak nice to yourself . I haven’t always practiced positive self talk but I can truly see the shift. In the words of Biggie

“I went from negative to positive and it’s all good.”

The Notorious B.I.G.

Genuinely support yourself and see how the world you view even begins to shift!
I am also a huge Oprah Supersoul Sunday fan. I suggest this as a good start to self evaluation for someone on the go. 

@supawomnsupaflyShaniece Cole, Associate Producer for Steve + Superhero

My favorite way to practice self love is following my passion. In order for us to really follow our passion we have to first believe in ourselves. People may doubt you, not encourage you, or tell you no, but as long as you keep believing in yourself, you will be able to make your passion into a profitable life. When we follow our passion, it brings us happiness and it solidifies our purpose in this world.

Photo by: @davidayllon

@bianacapeart – Bianca Peart, Courtyard NFL Global Correspondent + College Board Educator

For me, self-love is synonymous with self-awareness. It is an everlasting experience to evaluate and act on all the nooks and crannies of my entire being.  And, through trial and error, self-love has taught me the significance of structure. To rid the anxiety of “who am I?”, “do I love myself?”, or “am I worth anything?”, I express self-love using a three-themed structure.

Mind – Acquiring and retaining knowledge is very important to me. I make it a priority to read at least two long-form articles a day, one each way on the train during my commute.  The articles can be from any topic as long as I am learning something new and, as a bonus, I like to reexplain the stories with someone else.

Body – I would love to say I go to the gym everyday but that is not the reality. Instead, my face goes to the gym (hear me out). I embrace self-love by staring at myself in the mirror.  I remain present as I wash my face in the morning and evening, instead of just going through the motion. I spend at least five minutes pressing my fingers in circular motions to massage my face with a moisturizer or mask to circulate the blood, to the point where my face turns a little red.  Massaging the face is a dual benefit because it helps de-puff my face in the mornings. I typically speak aloud positive affirmations beginning with the phrase “I love…” 

Soul – Specifically at night while in bed, my mind wanders to the negative “what if” or “why don’t I have” universe.  This is where I’ve learned to flip my perspective and speak aloud about things I am grateful for. If I’m stuck, I always say to myself “could things be worse?” and although in the moment the answer feels like a “yes” it is always “no”. In the moments when I have low lows I acknowledge it. This is where I’ve groomed my self awareness. I am very familiar with the low moments and allow the negative energy to release. I get all the ugly out and immediately flip the perspective on how I can leverage the low into high, or even a medium. In that uncomfortable process, the beauty of self-love conquers.

Editor Note: Some answers have been edited and/or shortened.

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