Melissa Murphy Talks Career Moves, Office Style, and How to Be an Amazing Intern
Posted 1 week ago by Amanda Raye
Meet Melissa Murphy, the Marketing Director at RAPP, a customer experience agency based in New York City that specializes in creating experiences for clients like Toyota, Mattel, and Brita. Straight out of college, Melissa landed a job working for Donald Trump in Miami, Florida as the Director of Communications for Trump Grande Resort (can you say hustler?). She then went on to be the Director of Communications for pop artist, Romero Britto at his Miami Beach gallery.
She’s also one of the few people out there who knew what she wanted to do at a young age:
In high school, I excelled and enjoyed my art and business classes, so I figured advertising and marketing would be a great career choice. I was accepted to Fashion Institute of Technology’s Marketing Communications program and dove right in. It ended up being a great career path for me. I started in special events, then PR (both at agencies and in-house), then social media, and now corporate marketing. I’ve learned a lot along the way, and I think it has made me a very well-rounded marketer.
To top it all off, she’s an amazing mom. When she’s not working, you can find her brunching with her daughter, sweating it out at hot yoga, drinking green juice, sporting the coolest nail art, and wearing killer heels.
Keep reading to learn more about Melissa’s career, her style, how you can break into her industry, and how to be a kick-ass intern.
- Name: Melissa Murphy
Current title: Marketing Director at RAPP
Education: Bachelors degree in Advertising and Marketing Communications from the Fashion Institute of Technology
What does an average day look like for you?
Nothing about my day is average and that’s why I love my job. One day, I could be negotiating a sponsorship deal or planning a trade show, another day I’m arranging press interviews or approving case studies. Every day is different, plus I get to collaborate across all of our U.S. offices, so I get the opportunity to work with all kinds of people with different backgrounds and specialties. It’s hectic and sometimes stressful, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What’s the dress code for your industry?
Unfortunately, the dress code in the advertising industry today is not half as fabulous as the Mad Men days. The people in our creative department can wear whatever they want. Jeans and tees are fine. Our client services team definitely steps it up a notch with their professional office attire. We do have some very fashion-forward newbies with blue hair and chic vintage wardrobes.
I work in corporate so I’m usually rocking a dress and heels, but you can sometimes find me in a blazer, jeans, and stilettos.
Do you think college prepared you for the duties of your job?
Yes, FIT has a great program that allows you to learn real-world skills while in school. We worked on actual campaigns and the professors are all top professionals in their practice. My first internship at FIT turned into my first full-time position and really set me up for the successful career I currently have.
What advice would you give the person who wants to get into advertising and marketing?
Work on building a personal brand. Social media has offered us an amazing tool to share our passions and expertise with the world and build your own brand — take advantage of that. My second recommendation is to network, via social and in person, and become a LinkedIn pro. It’s the easiest way to keep in touch with business contacts as they grow and move through their own careers. Third, build yourself a tribe of people who work in similar industries that you can count on.
It’s great to have a built-in focus group to bounce ideas off of, can help you in a pinch, and who don’t mind talking shop over happy hour cocktails.
How about PR?
Same as the above with an extra emphasis on networking. PR is all about relationships that you build with the media and your clients. No matter how good your pitch is, relationships matter.
What do you expect out of your interns?
I expect my interns to be ready to dive right in, take initiative and bring new ideas to the table. We have a great summer internship program here at RAPP and it’s always an exciting time at the agency. I had great internships and mentors throughout my career, so I like having the opportunity to give back.
What’s the hardest or most interesting lesson you learned that helped you get ahead?
Failure is okay! Not every project, campaign and relationship is going to work perfectly every time. In our fast-paced world, you have to learn from your mistakes and quickly forge ahead.
What have been some career highlights?
I have had an amazing career so far. I’ve been able to travel the world (on an expense account), work with amazing clients and brands, scored some really great press hits like The Apprentice for clients, threw a gallery opening for the Prince of Monaco, attended Fashion Week in Milan and collect some great swag along the way.
Why do you think you’re so successful?
I’ve always been open to new opportunities and try my best to keep all the doors open when it comes to clients and employers. I’ve also always been open to learning new skills, by taking classes and attending seminars about the industry.
Where would you like to be in another 10 years?
I decided in college that my career goal would be Chief Marketing Officer. I can see that goal clearer now than ever before, especially since I report to the CMO in my current position. I’m not sure if I’ll be at a brand or still at the agency in 10 years, but I’m excited to find out.
Want to learn more about Melissa? Follow her on Twitter — @MelMurphyTweets.
The Broke Girl’s Guide to Valentine’s Day Gifts — from Traditional to Unique
Posted 1 week ago by Amanda Raye
When it comes to buying gifts for your significant other on Valentine’s Day, it’s good to be on top of things and plan ahead. Thanks to the internet (we love you interwebz!), gift giving is easier than ever. You don’t even need to leave the house!
By ordering now, you’ll avoid the usual V-Day panic (you know what I’m talking about). But what if you’re tired of giving the same old, same old?
For some gift inspo, check out our budget-friendly Valentine’s Day gift guide. Whether you want to be more traditional, or super romantic, we got you covered!
Below are some not-so-basic ways to give traditional Valentine’s Day gifts:
Is your partner a chocoholic? Instead of giving a box of chocolates, change it up a bit. Go to your local candy shop to buy a few candy bars that are popular in other parts of the world. You’ll both have a blast trying new candy! Don’t know what to get? We’re in love with Kinder Bueno (Germany), Aero Bars (U.K.), and Lion Bars (U.K.).
Love to bake? Consider making your own chocolate and candy instead.
Who says flowers are only for girls? If your boyfriend or husband loves the smell of your perfume, he’ll most likely love the smell of flowers too. Choose something that you know will look great at home or even something sentimental like a bouquet similar to your wedding bouquet.
If you’re looking to make a bold statement, get your flowers delivered to your partners work place. You could even get them delivered a few days earlier than the day itself to let them know you couldn’t wait to treat them!
To make your life easier, order your flowers online with Fresh Flowers. Not only does Fresh Flowers offer a wide rang of stunning bouquets, but they also stock many other gifts. Since they have same-day delivery, they might be your lifesaver.
Think flowers are too pricey? If you’ve been together for five years or less, send a rose for every year you’ve been together (so’cute)! It’ll be cheaper that a whole bouquet, and the romance level is sky-high.
Instead of getting a cute teddy bear, consider getting your partner something a bit more meaningful and useful. Like a pillow! Society6 has a great selection of pillows that will liven up any home. How can you say no to a panda or Totoro pillow?
Want an extra dose of romance on Valentine’s Day? Consider one of these options:
Consider having an at-home movie night. Buy some popcorn, order a pizza, and watch a movie on Netflix. What’s more romantic than cuddling?
Get creative by making your gift this year. Make a really nice card, make dinner, make a candle that smells like pine, or just write what you love about your partner on post-it notes and stick them all over their bedroom or car.
Who says Valentine’s Day has to be all about stuffed animals and candy? Here are a few gift ideas for the unique couple:
If you’re a food loving couple, consider giving the gift of home cooking with Blue Apron. This awesome company sends you all the ingredients to make a variety of different dishes.
Does your boyfriend care about his wardrobe? If so, consider giving him a watch. It’s not cute (or cuddly), but it is useful! He’ll also never be later for a date again — J/K!
We’re currently loving the watches from BREDA — they’re affordable and stylish. You can find sleek watches for as low as $39!
Do you both love Instagram? Print Studio allows you to turn your favorite Instagram photos into framed photos, posters, T-shirts, and even mini books! All for a good price.
What was your favorite Valentine’s Day gift? Let us know in the comments below!
*We teamed up with Fresh Flowers for this post.
5 Girls, 5 Different New Year’s Resolutions
Posted 2 weeks ago by Amanda Raye
Most people like to start a new year with new goals in order to better themselves. But if you find yourself making extremely vague resolutions, you may find it difficult to stick with them. A good example of that is “get healthy” and “lose weight.” Both of those goals are great, but they’re way too vague. What exactly are you going to do to get healthy and lose weight? Instead, pick a resolution like “eat at least one vegetable or fruit at every meal” or “stop drinking soda.”
Last year my two resolutions were to go to the doctor on a regular basis and to make exercise a part of my life. I actually achieved both and have maintained them in 2015 (so far).
This year my resolution is to start eating at home more often. With all the good food in NYC, it’s way more fun to dine out, but it’s affecting my health and bank account. Womp.
Curious to know what other people are trying to do to better themselves in 2015? Below are five girls from all over the world who were willing to share their 2015 resolutions with Broke & Chic — from college students to hot-shot CEOs.
- Who: Emma W.
- Location: Richmond, VA
- Age: 18
- Occupation: College Student
- Resolution: Be more organized and stick to a schedule
Emma is currently a freshman at Virginia Commonwealth University where she is majoring in pre-med. According to Emma:
I didn’t really make much of a big resolution the past two years, but this year mine is to make a schedule for myself everyday so I am not easily overwhelmed by all of my bio work. If I’m organized, I find my stress levels to be much lower. Who doesn’t want to be stress free?!
Last year I stopped drinking soda with the exception of when I was at school and needed to stay awake!
- Who: Bianca Caampued
- Location: Brooklyn, New York
- Age: 30
- Occupation: Co-founder of Small Girls PR
- Resolution: To work on my interactions and relationships with other people
Bianca is the co-founder of Small Girls PR — a highly successful boutique PR firm in NYC. You may recognize her from Forbes, Buzzfeed, and Marie Claire. Bianca’s company has worked with big names such as Ann Taylor, Brika, and Google. But just because she’s a successful founder, doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to find ways to better herself in 2015. According to Bianca:
I’ve never really set hard resolutions because I feel that trying to hit quantifiable goals can be stressful, but I spent 2014 focusing on working on myself, which in turn means I can spend 2015 working with others.
In the general sense, I was able to achieve my 2014 ‘resolution’ — figuring out my work flow in a growing company, quitting drinking, meditating more, and being ok just sitting with myself. For 2015 I’ve resolved to learn how to be a better boss, be more patient with other people (friends, boyfriend, colleagues), and basically peel back a bit of that “self-proclaimed narcissism” that used to define me. [But of course continuing to up my level of self-care along the way.]
- Name: Anastasia B.
- Location: Northern, CT
- Age: 26
- Occupation: Works in the graduate admissions office at Bay Path University
- Resolution: To think more positively!
Anastasia resides in New England and she is currently pursuing a career in higher education. According to Anastasia:
Facebook and the news has made it extremely easy to be negative. There’s just so many negative people and events in the world! So this year I’m going to be more positive and look on the bright side. Plus…being negative is stressful and stress is bad for you!
Last year my resolution was to lose 25 lbs. Did I achieve it? No. I began on January 1st and it started off fantastic — I lost 11 lbs in two months and was feeling great! But then life happened and I lost track of my goal until it was December, and by then it was too late. Even though I didn’t meet my goal, I still lost 10 lbs!
- Name: Camilla E.
- Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
- Age: 28
- Occupation: Makeup Artist
- Resolution: To work harder, and to get fit again.
Camilla is from Sweden and she loves makeup and all things fitness (especially weight lifting). According to Camilla:
After living in the States for a few years, I adopted an unhealthy lifestyle — I stopped exercising and ate too much crap. Once I moved back home, my goal was to get back in shape so I would have more energy. So my 2014 goal was to lose weight — which I was able to do.
I’m currently seven months pregnant, so my two 2015 resolutions are being put on hold until after my son is born. Later this year, I hope to get a job where I can grow and climb the ladder. I also want to get back on track when it comes to fitness. I’m still eating healthy, I just miss lifting weights.
- Name: Kaitlyn King
Location: Boston, MA
Occupation: The founder and CEO of The Trekking Studio
Resolution: To continue working hard (and have fun while doing so) on The Trekking Studio.
Kaitlyn resides in Boston, MA and she’s a yoga instructor and the founder of The Trekking Studio — a new brand that markets handmade and discovered jewelry inspired by world travel, with the mission of giving back for women’s empowerment. According to Kaitlyn:
My new year’s resolution last year was to become an entrepreneur. Specifically, to build a business of designer jewelry collections inspired by world travel. It was a huge endeavor, but what felt even more incredible was that it was easier than expected. Of course, there was (and is) an incredible amount of work involved, but because I am building a business I absolutely love, it’s something I look forward to doing every day. I recently found one of my notebooks from the beginning of 2014 with several pages planning the beginning stages. The Trekking Studio was launched in September 2014! It was incredibly gratifying and made me feel more confident about other future goals.
With that said, my resolution for 2015 is to continue working hard and having a great time while doing so with The Trekking Studio. And to eat more spinach!
What are your 2015 New Year’s Resolutions? Let us know in the comments below!
Shop our January 2015 Wish List — Great buys under $50
Posted 2 weeks ago by Amanda Raye
Broke, cold, and dreary: these are the three adjectives that many would use to describe January. After the holidays, (almost) everyone is low on cash, the temps are below freezing, and the sun just doesn’t seem to want to participate.
If you have a bad case of the January blues as well, you have one exciting thing to look forward to. Valentine’s Day! Now don’t roll your eyes yet — this “holiday” isn’t just for those obnoxious couples you despise. It’s also a great excuse to wear pretty pinks, flirty skirts, and adorable prints! Single or not, Valentine’s Day fashion is fun to play around with.
Since February will be here before you know it, this month’s wish list is filled with ultra feminine pieces — all under $50.
Which item was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!
This 90’s Shoe Trend Is Coming Back in Full Force
Posted 3 weeks ago by Amanda Raye
Meet mule, the latest shoe trend. We’re not a fan of the name, but we’re definitely a fan of the shoe! You might recognize these backless staples from the 90’s — most likely on the feet of your mom or your too-cool-for-school older sister. You can opt for the traditional chunky look, or try out the more modern stiletto variety.
Either way, these shoes look great paired with boyfriend jeans, leather pants, and maxi skirts. Below is Jill, the blogger behind The August Diaries, wearing a sassy pair of mules with a black tank and pencil skirt.
There are so many different varieties when it comes to mules — chunky heels, low heels, spiky heels, bright colors, and even cut-out varieties like the Aldo pair Jill is wearing.
Interested in giving this trend a try when the weather warms up? Shop the under $50 looks below!
Ring in 2015 with This Tea Inspired Cocktail
Posted 1 month ago by Amanda Raye
If you’re an East Coaster, 2015 is less than twelve hours away. And if you’re anything like us, you’re anxiously waiting until you can dress up and hang out with your favorite people.
If you’re hosting a party, or better yet, attending one, why not bring the supplies over to make some “fancy” cocktails?
Below is a great recipe that includes everyone’s favorite cheap mixer — Arizona Tea. Arizona recently came out with Oak Brewed tea that pairs well with Bourbon.
- 1 shot of Bourbon
- A splash of Aperol
- Lightly Sweet Oak Brewed Tea
In a small glass with ice, add 1 shot of Bourbon, a splash of Aperol, and an Arizona tea of your choice (but we highly recommend the lightly sweet oak brewed tea).
Mix well and enjoy!
This drink is perfect for the person who loves orange spiced tea (like Constant Comment). What are you drinking this New Year’s? Let us know in the comments below!
12 Last-minute NYE Dresses That Will Make You Sparkle and Shine
Posted 1 month ago by Amanda Raye
How can you ring in the New Year without sparkle? You really can’t. If you haven’t bought a NYE dress yet, ordering one from your favorite retailer is out of the question. But, it’s not too late to celebrate 2015 with some sparkle and sass!
Below are a few dresses that you can find at retailers such as Target, Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, Necessary Clothing, and Express. Perfect for the girl who’s always last-minute.
4 Different Ways to Wear a Sundress This Winter
Posted 1 month ago by Amanda Raye
With winter officially upon us, you may think your array of sundresses needs to be retired for a bit. But luckily, that’s so far from the truth. With floral prints still trending, you won’t look out-of-place at all! Don’t believe us? The trick is layers. Sometimes, it’s hard envisioning a new look for a sundress when you’ve only worn it over a bathing suit and with sandals.
To help you think out of the box when it comes to your collection of pretty sundresses, Alex and I gave you some examples. Below are four different ways to wear your favorite sundress when the temps drop.
1. Add Tights
Tights will be your new best friend until April, so stock up!
2. Add a Sweater
Layering your favorite sundress with an oversized sweater will make you look ultra-cozy and stylish. To not overwhelm your frame, stick with neutrals. For even more warmth, add a hat and riding boots!
- Sundress: $14.80 via Forever 21
- Sweater: $2 thrift find
- Tights: $9.95 via H&M
- Boots: $10 thrift find
- Necklace: $14.90 via Forever 21
3. Add Tall Boots
To give your friends some serious style envy, add a pair of tall heeled boots to your winter sundress look. For even more style (and warmth) add a cardigan and a floppy hat. This look is perfect for that upcoming first date you’re excited about!
- Cardigan: $29.30 via Forever 21 (similar)
- Boots: $40.00 via Forever 21 (similar)
- Necklace: $7.90 via Forever 21 (similar)
- Hat: $19.95 via H&M
4. Layer with a T-Shirt
If you’re anything like us, your wardrobe is filled with random t-shirts from events and concerts. If so, give them a job by layering them over your sundress. This is a really relaxed look — perfect for an early morning class or coffee run.
This outfit would also look great with a pair of rain boots.
Do you still wear sundresses in the winter? Let us know in the comments below!
Gift Guide! 11 Amazing Presents under $40 for the Bestie
Posted 2 months ago by Amanda Raye
Shopping for the bestie can be extremely difficult because we tend to want to keep the gifts ourselves. But alas, you must stay strong and resist the urge to keep. It’s the holiday season after all!
If you still haven’t gotten your best gal pal something, the gift guide below will definitely point your dollars in the right direction.
1. Rio de Keratin Advanced Keratin Smoothing System ($39.99)
Does your bestie have curly, frizzy, or unmanageable hair? If so, she’ll love this at-home keratin treatment!
2. LAQA & Co. Sheer Lip Lube ($18.00)
The new Sheer Lip Lube collection from LAQA & Co. is the perfect addition to a winter makeup routine.
3. Paula Dorf 2 + 1 for Brows (26.00)
After using this brow filler, your bestie’s life will never be the same. Learn more about it here.
4. Slim Sonic Toothbrush ($14.95)
Is your friend always traveling? If so, she’ll love this portable electric toothbrush!
5. Knit Headband ($8.90)
A knit headband will keep her ears warm in style (perfect for the city dweller).
6. Donut Ankle Socks ($8.00)
Who says silly socks are only for boys?!
7. Portable Charger ( $34.99)
Is her phone always dead? Consider getting her a portable charger from Jellyfish!
8. Homemade Nail Polish by Allison Rose Spiekermann ($13.30)
Is your friend the queen of DIY? If so, she’ll love this book on how to make her own nail polish!
9. Motivational Coffee Tumbler ($16.00)
Give her a coffee tumbler if she’s always on the go!
10. Emoji Tote ($19.00)
Can your relationship be summarized into a series of emojis? If yes is your answer, this bag will be a winner.
11. Silk’n Swirl cleansing Brush ($20.00)
The perfect gift for the beauty junkie who has way too much makeup. In the mood to splurge? Try this one!
Eyebrows on Fleek? 5 Ways to Get the Brows of Your Dreams
Posted 2 months ago by Amanda Raye
As a kid, I never knew how much eyebrows would mean to me someday. Now that I’m an adult, leaving the house without well-groomed eyebrows is like leaving the house without pants — you just don’t.
Feel the same, but don’t know how to get the eyebrows of your dreams? Below are a few ways to ensure your brows are on fleek 24/7 — just like Kim K and Cara D!
1. Get Them Threaded
I used to get my eyebrows waxed, but I was never happy with them, and once got burned (as in I had a slight blister). Not cool! After that incident, I decided to just tweez them myself. After constantly seeing a former co-worker of mine with perfect brows on the reg, I had to ask her where she went. She then told me about a great threading salon in Soho, and I tried it out for myself that day.
It was a life changing experience! I will never, ever do anything else when it comes to my brows. Threading is also pretty cheap (about $8).
2. Apply Castor Oil
My eyebrows are actually pretty thin, and I thought there was nothing I could do about it. But recently, one of the woman at my favorite threading salons told me to start applying castor oil to my brows every night for growth. I thought she was crazy! But alas, it has worked.
You’re not going to get brows like Nadia Aboulhosn (unfortunately), but if you have over-plucked for years or have thin brows, you will notice a difference in about four weeks.
3. Fill Them In
Two years ago while at Sephora, a makeup artist approached me and asked if she could pencil in my eyebrows. I was worried I’d look like a cartoon version of myself, but I agreed.
Another life changer! I haven’t left the house without filled in brows since. Not all pencils and brow waxes are created equal though. I have found that most drugstore brands don’t carry eyebrow pencils, and the ones that do have a bad selection of colors. So expect to splurge on the perfect pencil/wax for you. My personal favorite is from Paula Dorf.
Paula Dorf’s 2 + 1 is a powder and wax combo that gives you perfect brows! It lasts all day and it’s extremely natural-looking. Just dip the brush into the powder to pick up color, then dip the brush into the wax.
There’s four different color options, so you won’t have to worry about finding a perfect match.
Since it’s used with a brush, there’s a slight learning curve — so expect a short tutorial on Instagram later this month.
Wearing Paula Dorf 2 + 1 for Brows in Neutral.
4. Use A Brush
After filling them in, use a brush to tame and blend the color.
5. Use A Setting Spray
After applying all of your makeup, consider introducing a setting spray to your daily routine. It’ll give your more peace of mind since it’ll make your makeup last longer. A primer would be a great addition as well.
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5 Lamps That Need to Be on Your Bedside Table — Stat!
Posted 2 months ago by Amanda Raye
Lamps. Who knew they could do so much for a bedroom! If your bedroom needs a refresher, consider adding a unique, colorful, or shiny lamp to your bedside table.
Below are a few quick-fix options — all under $40 (insert salsa dancing emoji here).
1. Himalayan Salt Lamp
Love salt (who doesn’t)? If you’re a fan, then why not take it into the bedroom? This Himalayan salt lamp is extremely unique and simple. And this lamp doesn’t just look like the cooking staple, it’s actually real salt.
$34.00 via Urban Outfitters
2. Lime Green Lamp
So colorful, and so cheap! IKEA will always have your back when your home needs a stylish update.
$9.00 via IKEA
Here’s another IKEA must-have side lamp. It’s simple and bold at the same time.
$14.99 via IKEA
4. Ultra- Feminine
Not a fan of modern decor? Here’s a lamp that’s ultra-feminine and pretty. Perfect for the girl who has graduated from all-pink-everythang.
$31.99 via Target
5. Tiny Twinklings String Light Lamp
This lamp is gorgeous, affordable, and swoon worthy. What more could you want?
$21.99 via ModCloth
6. Punched Metal Lamp
Punched metal is a great way to add some Indian flair to your room. Plus, it’ll never go out of style.
$49.99 via World Market
Which lamp was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!