Monthly Archives: June 2010

First Stop on the Vacation Train

Lake Hartwell

Lake Hartwell stretches 940 miles around, sharing parts of Georgia and South Carolina. Our house is located in Anderson, SC.

This is a view from the dock. (back to the water)

View from the dock. (back to the house)

Boat Ramp. View from the dock. (facing right side of the property)

View from the dock. (facing right side of the property) Don’t let the clay fool ya, it doesn’t make a mess at all (seriously). 

Me and my boyfriend, Jamie, hit the road at 8:20 am Friday morning and arrived at the lake around 12:30 pm, and were greeted by my amazing family. After a few hugs and kisses, store runs, and test runs in the boat, we grabbed a bite to eat and took a load off. After blowing up all the air mattresses and preparing them with sheets and pillows; everyone had arrived. We had a house full (about 18 people).

Come late afternoon, we attempted our first boat ride without much success. The storm rolled in with a vengeance. As soon as we left the dock, the wind picked up and the clouds covered the sky. After eight failed attempts to redock the boat, we finally were tied up and made a run to the house to avoid the lightening and dime sized rain drops. It was time to move all the furniture away from the screens on the porch and grab another bite to eat.

We sat around for a couple of hours to catch up on each other’s lives, and then it was time to prepare dinner. If you can’t tell yet, my family loves to eat. And with an enormous garden in the yard, everything is as fresh as possible.

After dinner, it was GAME TIME. Another thing my family is crazy about is board games. Apples to Apples, Cranium, Catch Phrase, Loaded Questions… you name it, we play it. Not only do we play them, but we play them for hours; in fact until bedtime. After a great relaxing night, we all made our way to bed; after claiming our air mattresses and determining who would sleep in what sections of the house to avoid the snorers. It would be an early morning full of fun, sun, boating and tubing.

We peeled our eyes open at what I consider to be an early 9 am. Breakfast was soon on the stove; eggs, fried hotdogs, bacon, sausage, grits, bagels… the whole nine yards. Next thing on the “to-do” list was to jump into our bathing suits and hit the water. After a boat load of friends showed up, we played a few games, including our favorite Corn-Hole. We had a few mid-day refreshers and headed to the water. All tied together on floats, inter tubes, and noodles, we waded in the bath-tub-warm water for a couple hours then made our way to the boat.

Tubing was next to be checked off the list. After a short ride on the tube, with Jamie flipping it right on top of me, we were off and bobbing in the water. I was ready to get back in the boat. My competitive nature took hold and I was a bit annoyed that Jamie knocked me off when I was trying to see if I could stay on longer than those who rode before me. (ha) Good thing I was finished because yet another storm rolled in. Time to repeat yesterday’s afternoon events; redock, sprint to the house, move all the furniture, and relax! (ahhh!!)

Next on my list was to shower and head to the kitchen to help my aunt start cooking. Cooking for 18 isn’t exactly easy, but with the guys on the grill and the girls in the kitchen, we got food on the table in no time. After a wonderful meal we were all ready to get the festivities started. The board games were brought back out; and let me add that we are not a geeky family… we get intense in our gaming. The table was cleared for some “adult ping pong” and the party began.

Thank goodness any neighbors are a nice distance away… we tend to get a little noisy. We cut up, laughed and carried on well into the night. I must admit there has never been a dull moment with my family; in fact some people can’t even keep up.

After we all eventually made our way back to our beds; the house fell silent. Until it was time to do it all over again. Sunday morning rolled around and the “to-do” list was almost complete. First, it was time to deflate beds, gather sheets and towels, pack our bags, and clean up the house. Once our “vacation chores” were complete it was time to relax again. People soon found their ways back to the highway and headed home; but not without a game of Rummikub and making plans to return again this weekend.

Me and Jamie will be packing our bags and returning to the lake this Thursday and Friday, along with others. Friday afternoon we will head to Clarks Hill, where we will celebrate next weekend with red, white and blue, fireworks, boats, friends, cookouts, and more lake water! Monday we plan to head back home – but not for long. My birthday is July 7 (Wednesday) and we are hitting the road again. This time we are going south to Ft. Lauderdale and Miami to celebrate my third annual 21st birthday! We will be gone from July 8 to July 12.

This vacation train keeps on moving… choo choo!

Stay tuned folks. I will surely be posting more pictures.


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Love this Summer Weather

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Landon Donovan’s goal gave the USA a 1-0 win against Algeria on Wednesday and sent the Americans to the second round of the World Cup.

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A Possible Second Dead Sea?

 …no   words   needed

A bird covered in oil flails in the surf at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast Thursday, June 3, 2010. Oil from the Deepwater Horizon has affected wildlife throughout the Gulf of Mexico. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

A bird is mired in oil on the beach at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast on Thursday, June 3, 2010. Oil from the Deepwater Horizon has affected wildlife throughout the Gulf of Mexico. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

A Brown Pelican is seen on the beach at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast after being drenched in oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill Thursday, June 3, 2010. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)


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Chapter 14: Writing E-mail, Memos, and Proposals

This information is found in PUBLIC RELATION WRITING AND MEDIA TECHNIQUES, 6th edition, by Dennis L. Wilcox 

The Challenge of Managing Communication Overload:

  • You should follow basic guidelines”
    • Completeness
    • Conciseness
    • Correctness
    • Courtesy
    • Responsibility


  • Purpose:
    • Reduces the cost of employee communication
    • Increases the distribution of messages to more employees
    • Flattens the corporate hierarchy
    • Speeds decision making
  • Format:               
    • Subject line
    • Salutation
    • First sentence or paragraph
    • Body of message
    • Closing


  • Purpose:
    • Can serve any communication purpose
    • Public relations firms require a memo to be written whenever there is a client meeting or telephone conversation.
  • Content:
    • Specific and to the point.
  • Format:
    • Date
    • To
    • From
    • Subject
    • Message


  • Purpose:
    • To give information, to ask for information, to motivate, to answer complaints, to soothe or arouse, to warn, to admit, or to deny
  • Content:
    • Most important part of a letter is the first paragraph
  • Format:
    • Should be written on standard business stationery
    • Should have the name, address, and telephone number of the organization
    • Body should be about four or five paragraphs
    • Proofread, proofread, proofread


  • Purpose:
    • To get something accomplished – to persuade management to approve and authorize some important action that will have a long-lasting effect on the organization or its people.
  • Organization:
    • Show a need
    • Satisfy the need
    • Show benefits
    • Call for action

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Chapter 12: Tapping the Web and New Media

This information is found in PUBLIC RELATION WRITING AND MEDIA TECHNIQUES, 6th edition, by Dennis L. Wilcox 

The Internet: Pervasive in Our Lives:

  • Traditional Media:
    • Is centralized
    • Expensive
    • Staffed by gatekeepers known as editors and publishers
    • Features one-way communication with limited feedback channels
  • New Media:
    • Widespread broadband
    • Cheap/free
    • New distribution channels
    • Mobile devices
    • New advertising paradigms

The World Wide Web:

  • Can update information quickly
  • Allows interaction
  • Researchers can find more about their interests
  • Great amount of material can be posted
  • Cost-effective
  • Reach niche-markets and audiences
  • Users can reach your organization information within 24 hours

The Basics of Webcasting:

  • One survey found that more than 90 percent of public companies use Webcasts for everything from employee training to briefings for financial analysts and news conferences launching a new product.
  • Be aware of (1) quality, (2) computer capabilities of the intended audience

The Rise of Social Media:

  • Blogs are the most dominant manifestation, but social networks such as MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube are also a major presence in today’s world, even more social networks are being created almost daily.
  • Conversations can’t be controlled, so organizations and their public relations staffs must get used to the idea that everything an organization does is more transparent and fair game for comment.

The Explosion of Blogs:

  • Although the vast majority of blogs are still the province of individuals who post their diaries and personal opinion, they are now widely recognized by business and public relations personnel as an extremely cost-effective way to reach large numbers of people.
  • Corporate Blogs
  • Employee Blogs
  • Third-Party Blogs

The Continuing Role of Traditional Media:

  • July 2008 an estimated 220 million Americans had Internet access at home or work, and 73 percent of them went online in May.
  • Internet has no space or time constraints.

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Chapter 11: Getting Along with Journalists

This information is found in PUBLIC RELATION WRITING AND MEDIA TECHNIQUES, 6th edition, by Dennis L. Wilcox

The Importance of Media Relations:

  • Public relations personnel are the primary contact between the organization and the media.

The Media’s Dependence on Public Relations:

  • Although many reporters deny it, most of the information that appears in the mass media comes from public relations sources, which provide a constant stream of news releases, features, planned events, and tops to the media.
  • Public relations materials save media the time, money, and effort of gathering their own news.

Public Relations’ Dependence on the Media:

  • The purpose of public relations is to inform, to shape opinions and attitudes, and to motivate.
  • Reporters and editors make independent judgments about what is newsworthy and what will be disseminated.
  • Today, public relations professionals are less dependent on the traditional mess media to reach large audiences, because, for the first time in history, an organization, or even an individual, can literally reach billions of people, bypassing traditional mass media gatekeepers.

Areas of Friction:

  • Hype and Hews Release Spam
  • Name Calling
  • Sloppy/Biased Reporting
  • Tabloid Journalism
  • Advertising Influence

Working with Journalists:

  • Media Interviews
  • News Conferences
  • Teleconferences and Webcasts
  • Media Tours
  • Previews and Parties
  • Press Junkets
  • Editorial Board Meetings

A Media Relations Checklist:

  • Know your media
  • Send newsworthy information
  • Be available
  • Be truthful
  • Protect exclusives
  • Explain
  • Correct errors politely

Crisis Communication:

  • A good working relationship with the media is severely tested in times of crisis.
  • Guidelines:
    • “No comment” fuels hostility
    • Always try to be helpful
    • Be familiar with print and broadcast deadlines
    • Got to know the journalists in your area before a crisis hits

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