A look back at simonoh.com’s first year

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What a difference a year makes.

It’s already been a year since I revamped this blog to become what we now know as simonoh.com. Once a WordPress blog lacking any particular identity or vision, it has turned into a format that I have wholeheartedly embraced.

Although this blog is better than ever before, there’s still more work to be done. Some of the ideas I have in mind will be phased in over time including producing more content that equally connects with me and everyone who comes across this site.

I’m proud to have introduced three regular series with last year’s revamp, adding some vitality and substance to this space. Those series are:

  • Reflections and Expectations — which predated simonoh.com by a month — is a monthly wrap-up / look-ahead post inspired by Jessica Lawlor‘s Monthly Check-In series
  • #Read3 is a weekly series published on Sundays, highlighting my top three favorite articles and posts from around the web
  • Winners and Losers – an occasional series where I offer praise and (gentle) scorn to heroes and zeroes, respectively

On this space, I have chronicled some major professional and personal developments that have occurred over the last 12 months. Among the most noteworthy highlights include:

  • AmeriCorps – the conclusion of my 11-month service year in August 2013 and the beginning of an end to my short life on the East Coast
  • Summer 2013 trips – Visited Chicago and points in South Korea in August and Boston in September
  • South Korea – My first visit in 20 years — when I was three years old — to visit my biological mother and largely-unknown maternal relatives
  • Moving back to California – Leaving the East Coast after 14 short months in preparation for graduate school. Also came back to where life as I know it all started — friends, family, food, you name it.
  • PRSA New Professionals committee – Began my term on a national leadership body as the diversity liaison
  • Graduate school – Began graduate school at San Jose State University in January to pursue a Master of Science in Transportation Management degree
  • Job search – The never-ending, 2.5-year long search that I sure hope comes to an end soon
  • Nebraska and Colorado – Ventured deeper into the Midwest and met up with some old friends in the process

Thank you to all who have made simonoh.com something better than anything I have ever imagined it to be. It’ll only get better over time. Watch this space.

Do you have a blog of your own? If not, are you thinking about starting one? Share your thoughts and links below. I would love to hear from you.

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#Read3 + The Week Ahead: March 30, 2014

If you’re like me living in Southern California, we’ve had two sizable earthquakes since Friday night. I felt the one on Friday night while I didn’t feel yesterday afternoon’s. Sometimes, I wonder which is scarier — experiencing earthquakes in these parts or that day in Philly in late October 2012 when I survived Hurricane Sandy. In any event, it’s all part of the journey.

That being said, here is my #Read3 for this week.

#Read3

  1. 6 Simple Tips to Boost Your Concentration – Focus!
  2. 10 Gmail Hacks to Help You Master Your Inbox – However, zero tips for ensuring a job offer email by the end of this week.
  3. Against Hashtag Warriors – Some people just don’t have a sense of humor. This means you, Suey Park.

This Week

  • Birthday – I’m turning 25 on Friday! Nothing special planned as birthdays in recent years have become largely uneventful — which I prefer anyway. I might go to Yogurtland or see a movie. I’ll figure it out.
  • Reflections and Expectations – It’ll be out tomorrow. Eternal optimism has been a recurring theme lately.

Have a great rest of your week, everyone!

#Read3 + The Week Ahead: Feb. 23, 2014

Happy Sunday, America!

It’s gonna be a pretty busy week for me, filled with a series of important things that matter to varying degrees. I like staying busy and productive. Grad school is keeping me busy and productive although having a job to go with that would be even better. I’m still getting there, sooner or later.

Let’s take a look at this week’s #Read3 and what I can expect for the week ahead.

#Read3

  1. House of Cards Season 2: Is It Worth Watching? – You bet it is…but do read on.
  2. Your Career and You: “Never ‘Get ‘Old’” – Don’t let it get to you!
  3. 25 Simple Ways to Vastly Improve Your Life – …out of many that are just as mind blowing.

This Week

  • Semester project presentation – On Wednesday night, I’ll be giving my first ever presentation for a grad school class. This one deals with the crash of ValuJet Flight 592 over the Florida Everglades in 1996. Pretty gritty — hey, that rhymes — but it was an interesting project to work on. Now, time to rock the presentation this week!

Have a great rest of your week, everyone!

#Read3 + The Week Ahead: Feb. 16, 2014

Happy National Almond Day, America! If you know me well, you’d know that almonds are my favorite kind of nuts. It’s even better when those are chocolate-covered almonds. Not sure why but they have always been my favorite. It’s that great of a combination.

Let’s go nuts with this week’s #Read3 and what I can expect for the week ahead.

#Read3

  1. Work Toward Finding the Job You Love (Even if You Don’t Know What That Is Yet) – You are more talented than you think.
  2. How Being Odd Can Help Out Your PR Career – Don’t be forgettable. Be memorable. That’s how you stand out.
  3. The Social Circle: February 2014 – Another new series on this space. Coffee, anyone?

This Week

  • @midnight taping – I’m going to the taping of the Comedy Central show Tuesday afternoon. It’s a funny, fantastic show that I started watching recently. Watch for it Wednesday at midnight on Comedy Central. I’ll be in the audience somewhere.

Have a great rest of your week, everyone!

#Read3 + The Week Ahead: Jan. 26, 2014

Happy Sunday, America!

We are almost at the end of the first month of 2014. Next month should be interesting in its own ways…or at least I hope. So far, I can already tell that this year is getting off to a great start and I hope to keep it that way or make it even better.

Here is my #Read3 for this Sunday and what I can expect for this week.

#Read3

  1. The Mac Turns 30 – This week, Apple Macintosh celebrated its 30th anniversary. The brand, now more commonly known as Mac, transformed the technological landscape and strengthened itself even more with the rollout of the iPhone and iPad in recent years. I made the full conversion to the Apple suite of products in July 2012 when I bought the MacBook Pro I’m using to compose today’s #Read3, following the purchases of the iPhone 4S (April 2012) and the iPad 2 (March 2011). I could not be happier since.
  2. Your Career and You: “The Road to Success…It’s an Uphill Climb” – Kirk Hazlett shares how the road to success is never an easy one to traverse. He encourages you to not give up on your hopes and dreams as you make that pursuit to find out where you want to go next in life.
  3. Oreo to Release Cookie Dough, Marshmallow Flavors – For a brand that never ceases to amaze me, they are continuing to roll out new flavors that makes them stand out even more. Either way, I look forward to trying out the cookie dough one.

This Week

  • John Oliver – I’m going to the Wiltern Theatre in L.A. Saturday night to see him perform. I love John Oliver, especially last summer when he filled in for Jon Stewart on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart while he was away to direct a film. Also, in all the years I lived in the Koreatown section of Los Angeles, I have never been inside the Wiltern Theatre. This should be fantastic all around.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

#Read3 + The Week Ahead: Jan. 12, 2014

L.A. City Hall, Wednesday night

L.A. City Hall, Wednesday night

Happy Sunday, America!

January has historically been a pretty dull month for me. Although we are only halfway through the first month of 2014, I have to say that this January has gotten off to a somewhat upbeat, eventful start.

Although my job search remains an ongoing effort — some signs of progress already are beginning to emerge — I have two other things already going for me that makes me feel pretty hopeful about this new year. I can only hope I can keep the momentum going with my PRSA New Pros leadership post and the Mineta graduate certificate program.

Let’s take a look at this week’s #Read3 and what I can expect for the week ahead.

#Read3

  1. Your Career and You: “Start Your Resolution Revolution…Today!” – Kirk Hazlett talks about how to set resolutions for yourself the right way. You don’t have to start at the first of the year.
  2. Openings and Construction Starts Planned for 2014 – Transport Politic lists all of the major transit projects in the United States and Canada that are set to finish this year, begin construction or are ongoing. Whether it is a streetcar, BRT or commuter rail, find out if a new transit line is coming to your neighborhood this year.
  3. Resolution For 2014: “Walk The Talk” When It Comes To Diversity – PRSA Chair Joe Cohen outlines how PRSA members can do their part in encouraging greater diversity within the public relations field. For my part, as the diversity liaison for the PRSA New Professionals executive committee, I will be working with the PRSA National Diversity Committee to find ways to encourage and support young professionals of various backgrounds looking to enter this field.

This Week

  • Mineta program – My second week of class is this Wednesday night. In addition to all the reading I have to do, there’s a semester project I will begin working on soon. It deals with the ValuJet Flight 592 crash over the Everglades in 1996. Watch this space.
  • Touring the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension route – I’ll be meeting up with a friend who is a retired transportation professional in L.A. to tour the segment of the Metro Gold Line to Azusa that remains under construction. We’ve taken a tour of this route before and the construction crews continue to make great progress.

Have a great rest of your week!

#Read3 + The Week Ahead: Jan. 5, 2014

At a CVS Pharmacy in Los Angeles Thursday. They weren't kidding about the Sriracha shortage!

At a CVS Pharmacy in Los Angeles Thursday. They weren’t kidding about the Sriracha shortage!

Happy New Year, America!

I hope this new year will be better for you as it will be for me. While I don’t have a job yet, there are other things starting up soon that are still worth looking forward to for the time being — personally and professionally. I remain optimistic but I am also excited as well.

Let’s take a look at the first set of stories for #Read3 of 2014 — ironically, most of which are about 2013 — and look ahead to what I can expect this week.

#Read3

  1. Social Media Heroes of 2013 – PRSSA Progressions blog published my list of nominees for the social media heroes of 2013. It is loosely derived from the Winners and Losers post I put out on this space last month.
  2. 2013: A Look Back on the Year That Was – Back on this space, I looked back at the year that was. Despite some notable and remarkable moments, it also is a year I am glad to leave behind.
  3. Expectations for 2014: Finishing What I Started – On New Year’s Day, I listed my set of expectations, not resolutions, for 2014. That way, I won’t run the risk of burning out or losing interest so easily in the goals I set for this new year.

This Week

  • Mineta program – My first class for the graduate certificate in transportation management program through the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University starts Wednesday night in Downtown L.A. This one will deal with emergency issues for transportation professionals. I highly doubt it will involve joke fire extinguishers that shoot out gummy worms or something to that effect. It would be interesting if it did.
  • Jeopardy! online test – “What is Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m. PT?” This will determine if I can become a contestant on Jeopardy! I know, it is a long shot and I took this same test a few years back. Still, it’s free and there’s nothing to lose by doing so.

Have a wonderful week, everyone!