Tag Archives: anniversary

Ecuador Pure Life: Part One

16th November 2015

After eight days away and two spent sleeping to recover, P and I are home from Ecuador. We’re rested, thankful and still quite mesmerized by a remarkable week spent in South America.

FullSizeRender 16When we began planning this trip four months or so ago, I had two wishes: get out of my comfort zone and get outside.


When we stumbled upon a trip to Ecuador on the Clymb over the summer and the itinerary and price fit the bill, we booked it on a whim. It wasn’t until the night before heading out that I frantically looked up weather patterns in the cities we would be visiting, so to say we were going into this one blind was an understatement.

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While our packing may have been slightly sub-par (when the packing list calls for rain pants, pack rain pants), the trip in its entirety blew our expectations away at every turn.

We booked the trip with Ecuador Pure Life, which meant they took care of all of our reservations, activities and transportation. Phew. We traveled with a driver and tour guide for the entire trip, making our language barrier much more manageable (thank goodness for snippets from college rushing back), and I couldn’t have hand picked a better group of fifteen strangers as companions.


I’ll save all of our adventures for a few posts to come (seriously there were SO many activities), because, by far, the best part of the entire trip was the people. The people we traveled with. The people we met. The people who guided us.


Of all of the places I’ve been in the world (which is not an exhaustive list), the Ecuadorians are the most welcoming, humble and positive group of people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.


Ecuador Pure Life works to carefully select local guides, restaurants and partners across the country, leaving us with a balance of sketchy activities (like P’s bridge jump), to authentic Andean and Amazon home stays and to no shortage of gas station ice cream runs.

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While we’re happy to be home (and so are our animals), eight days away to a place unknown with people who became family was just the retreat we needed. Friday night, as we sat in the airport and watched the news from Paris unfold, we were comforted in knowing that while there are bad people in this world, they are far outnumbered by the good.


Thank you Ecuador for welcoming us to into your homes, for inspiring us to have deeper conversations with people unknown, for challenging us to be more curious (but maybe not so curious to eat live grubs) and for encouraging us to embrace every adventure that life throws our way, together. For the best eight days we can remember, thank you.


South America, we’ll be back, maybe not for the grubs, but as for the rest, count us in.

Real World Review: 1 Year at Engauge

8th September 2011

I’ve officially hit the one year mark at Engauge, and more impressively in my head, the one year survival mark in the real world. It’s been quite a whirlwind of a year and I’ve learned more than I could ever write, but I’ll try to touch on some of my biggest lessons here so far.

Go big or go home. Don’t settle for good. Good doesn’t cut it in this business, great does. Push yourself everyday, ask why, innovate, go the extra mile and you just might find your job is easier and a little more rewarding along the way.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Yes, everyone is in over the their heads, but the good news is everyone is in over their heads. They get it. Your coworkers know why you are losing your mind and how to help you get back on your feet. It’s OK to admit defeat sometimes, you’ll feel much better when you have someone to watch you back and help you on the bad days.

Take a time out. One of the most rewarding things I’ve been able to do in the last year is spend one hour a week volunteering with an elementary reading program. I’m convinced I find more relaxation and learning during of the hour I spend not doing my job than I do for any time spent during after work hours.

Be a customer service expert. This extends beyond what we preach to our clients in the digital space and takes a role in everything you do. Put into your work, your relationships and your clients, everything you would expect from a waitress at your favorite restaurant.

Stay ahead of the curve. Learning didn’t end when I turned in my last final and that has to be one of my favorite roles in my job. Take time to read, to ask questions and to share ideas with anyone willing to listen. One of my favorite practices at Engauge are internal events like Technology Thursdays and Lunch Clubs where members from different departments simply share and debate on some of the latest trends, campaigns or work we may have produced.

Speak up. This one seems simple, but has probably been one of the most challenging tasks for this former shy girl over the past year. If you are interested in learning something new, working on a project you are passionate about or disagree with a coworker, have an open conversation. Sometimes raising your hand is the hardest step, but I’ve found the responses never seem to be quite as scary. Going back to my first learning: everyone wants to help.

I have been given far more than I ever could have imagined in my last year here at Enguage. I still find myself thinking “normal 23-year-olds should not be doing this at their jobs” on a weekly basis. I’m still learning. I don’t know a fraction of what some of the people I work with have taught me. I’ve found an industry I’m passionate about, a place I want to go every morning and I cannot wait to see where the next year takes me.

PS want to come work with me at my super amazing, badass agency? We’re hiring.

Setting a date

12th August 2011

Today I came across the following entry in my weekly planner (yes, at that point I somehow managed to find the time to write in a planner). My second, and what would be final, interview at Engauge a year ago tomorrow.

A year ago, I was working for an amazing brand, with an incredibly talented team, working on really cool projects and starting to discover exactly where my passions lie in the digital space.

I have always told myself I would know when I was ready to move on from a job, even an amazing one. Around this time last year, I started to test the waters for agencies around the Atlanta area, making lists, checking them twice and meeting with contacts. I knew I wanted to work somewhere where the people around me would drive my passions professionally through work and personally through culture.

You hear the stories about agency life: the endless hours, crazy clients, cut throat mentality. My cozy corporate fit sure seemed much safer, but safe wasn’t quite for me anymore. I wanted to work somewhere that would push me to learn more, to step up and speak my mind and have a great time while doing it. I found that at Engauge the first time I walked through the door. (It might have helped that half of my first interview consisted of college cheerleading memories with Carla and Dave).

And guess what, agency life is not really what it’s made out to be. Sure, I’ll never work a perfect 40 hour work week. I juggle multiple clients, projects, teams and meetings. I forget to each lunch sometimes. But I love it.

In the past year, I have learned more than I could have ever imagined, been given opportunities to grow that no 22-year-old should ever feasibly be trusted in tackling and made friends with people that feel like family. Not to mention, I get to have a little a lot of fun while doing it.

Looking back, I know I 150% took the right risk and I can’t wait to see where the next 12 months take me. I’ll probably fill in the gaps in more nostalgia posts over the next few weeks (if you know me, you know I love a good story, so if that’s not quite your thing, my apologies in advance) but until then, thanks Engauge for setting a date with me, taking a chance and teaching me that the ‘grown up’ world isn’t so bad after all.