About Sydney Hafen

Sydney wants to live in a world where people are kind, emails are short, and the beach is never more than a short walk away. As a Public Relations major and Executive Board Member of the Southern Methodist University chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, she strives to make the world a better place through kindness, consideration, and good, concise writing.

Forks over Knives: The Unexpected Benefits of Being Vegan

For the past two months, I’ve been what I like to call a modified vegan. I’ve had a slice of pizza or two, and still eat fish where there are no other options, but for the most part, I have cut dairy, meat, and eggs out of my diet. What prompted this change was a Netflix binge watching session- how all great epiphanies come to light. I wanted a movie called Forks over Knives (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7ijukNzlUg) which explained the negative effects of animal products on the human body. All of a sudden, something changed. I started to see food as fuel and not as a hobby or time filler. I wasn’t doing it to lose weight, or to reach any specific goal, I simply wanted to know if my body would feel different. And it did! Here are a few of the ways:

  1. Clear, healthy skin.
  2. Easier to wake up in the morning.
  3. Longer hair and nails.
  4. More energy throughout the day.
  5. Less muscle soreness and bloating.

Here are some more benefits listed, although many links like this one can be found all over the web! http://www.wildflourveganbakerycafe.com/2011/08/42-health-benefits-of-going-vegan/

I think it’s important to note, I am not a vegan. I still cave once a week or so, and I modify my diet based on where I am and what’s available. When making lifestyle changes, it is important to incorporate the new activity slowly, and not to beat yourself up when you break it. The biggest downfall of all diets is convening yourself that you have failed when you have a small slip up. Instead, embrace these mistakes and come to expect them! They are part of your journey to health. I hope this new information makes you consider your diet choices, and inspires you to experiment to find a diet that works for you!

How to Survive Finals Week: Tips for Crunch Time

keep-calm-and-kill-every-test-on-finals-week-3Finals week is approaching and let’s face it: we’re screwed.

Or at least that’s how we feel. Panic, stress and fear set in as we leave for Thanksgiving break knowing that upon our return, we will be bombarded with essays, tests, and presentations. As much as we dread it, finals week is preparing us for something we will have to deal with as professionals- crunch time. In PR and journalism especially, deadlines are simply part of the job. For this reason, I have compiled some of my most helpful tips for these stressful times.

  1. Take things one step at a time. Baby steps. Completion is key, so don’t freeze under the pressure of 1000 tasks. Instead, write a to do list each day, and complete the most pressing tasks first.
  2. Positive thinking. You’ve heard the stories of olympians visualizing themselves winning the gold, so do the same with your finals. This form of meditation will calm and relax you and set your sights on a goal. Be your own cheerleader. You can do it!
  3. Find an outlet. Fact: no one can study for 20 hours straight. At some point in our college career, we’ve all tried and failed. Instead, allow yourself to take a break to do something you love. Listen to music, take a run, or watch an episode of your favorite show. Reward yourself for all your hard work, because after all, you deserve it.

Your Mother Was Right- The MAGIC of Tidying

I’ll be the first to admit, tidying is not exactly my strong suit. I’ve been known to leave clothes on the floor… every morning, and the bathroom counter is usually cluttered with makeup. But whenever guests come over, I scramble to make everything look neat and presentable. I’ll throw clothes in the closet, put wine under the sink, and swipe products into bathroom drawers. And EVERY TIME I think- there has to be a better way.

Enter The Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo. This book has truly changed my outlook on not only keeping my space clean, but buying habits, and general organization. Kondo is a very successful tidying consultant in Tokyo who helps people clear, arrange, and keep their spaces neat. Since the release of her book, her techniques and outlook have spread like wild fire, being featured everywhere from Wall Street Journal to Psychology Today.

Her steps are as follows: 1) get rid of anything that does not bring joy, 2) organize what you have left 3) keep it that way. There are of course some steps in between, but it is generally easy to follow. What is most inspirational about her book is she lets you visualize your life in a cleaner space. Quotes like “The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” stick with you long after you read it.

I could go on and on about the changes I’ve made in my life since finishing the novel, but my best advice is to read it for yourself. Your closet, pantry, and cabinets will thank you.

Work Playlist: Set the Mood

Atmosphere in the workplace is everything– conditions have to be just right. The room can’t be too hot or cold, your chair has to have just the right amount of cushion, and your coffee takes half a splenda and just a splash of soymilk. So what plachristmas-music-notes-border-singing_8355-1ylist you choose to play in your office or at your desk really sets the tone of the environment and can foster or hinder productivity.

So what makes the perfect song to work to? Something mellow, yet upbeat enough not to put you to sleep; lyrically interesting and percussive, yet not distracting. Here is the playlist of songs I’ve been jamming to before happy hour.


1)   Whispers- Passenger


2)   Slow Motion- Phox


3)   Stay Gold- First Aid Kit


4)   Be Okay- Oh Honey


5)   Escape- Jack Johnson


6)   Uknowhowwedu- Bahamadia


7)   Stolen Dance- Milky Chance


8)   Lay Me Down- Sam Smith


9)   Who Are You, Really?- Mikky Ekko


10) High Life- London Grammar


11) Harvest Moon- Poolside


12) 5 Years Time- Noah and the Whale


13) Jamie- Basic Vacation


14) Obeder- Purity Ring


15) Wings- Birdy


16) Ya Hey- Vampire Weekend


17) Que Veux-tu- Yelle


18) Keep You- Wild Belle


19) Strawberry Fields Forever- Candyflip



Youtube Beauty Bloggers Make HOW Much?

Up to 40,000 a month, apparently. Youtube has gone from a home video posting website to a career building platform since its launch in 2005. Vloggers (video bloggers), beauty gurus, and gaming channels receive views in the millions, and rack in a hefty percentage of advertising revenue. Not a bad gig, huh?

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 1.05.35 PM

Additionally, vlogers and especially beauty video makers receive sponsorships, and include affiliate links, which make extra cash. Beauty brands like Maybelline, Lancôme, or Herbal Essences might choose to sponsor a beauty blogger, to the tune of anywhere from $100-$10,000 cash, plus the occasional all-inclusive trip to a studio or exotic location to film. Moreover, these bloggers often include affiliate links that track each click through and purchase they directed their viewers.


For many years, this sponsor-blogger relationship was kept on the down low, and viewers were kept in the dark about when bloggers were being paid for their rave product reviews. In recent years the FTC set guidelines that made it mandatory for bloggers to disclose when they were being sponsored. But still, there exists a veil of distrust for many viewers. An XO Jane
article states, “Now, clicking on a beauty or fashion video is equivalent to watching an ad… A beauty guru will rave about a new mascara she bought in a monthly favorites video… The sponsorship will be hidden somewhere in the description box, sandwiched between affiliate links.”

As blogging becomes a full time profession and personal brands become moneymaking giants, the relationship between bloggers and readers/viewers will inevitably change. It is important for marketers to keep a pulse on this tension as they continue to sponsor video bloggers.

You Heart What?

In a crowded, oversaturated market of photo sharing, video posting, and media collecting sites and apps, what makes one pass the tipping point to success? Well, ask social media platform We Heart It‘s 30 million active users.

This fairly new website and mobile application has millions of (primarily) young women captivated by its clean, crisp platform, user friendly interface, and inspiring photos. But what is it? This San Francisco-based startup combined tWe-heart-it-logohe best aspects of Pinterest, Tumblr, and Snapchat. Essentially, We Heart It is a photo-board creating app similar to Pinterest with a few additional and unique features. It abandoned Pinterest’s older, DIY, crafting, and wedding-centric vibe to appeal to a younger crowd. The overall feel of the site is more similar to the quirky yet aesthetically pleasing side of Tumblr, minus the clutter.

Recently, We Heart It added a feature called Postcards, which allows users to send a picture and short message to their connections on the app. This took what users love about Snapchat’s private photo messaging service, except these messages save rather than disappear after opening. With 80-90% of traffic coming from mobil devices, and the average user age of 18, We Heart It has a unique and niche market.

We Heart It presents new opportunities companies as well. Companies like Disney, Hollister Co., Vera Wang and Macy’s have partnered with the app to publish sponsored image posts in the user’s feeds. According to Dave Williams, President of the startup, these deals have been “substantial” and in the “six figures”. So take note marketing teams: We Heart It just might be the next big thing for the rising generation.

Waze: GPS Meets Personal Assistant

If you don’t know about Waze yet, your time behind the wheel is about to get a whole lot easier.waze-11

Waze is a social media and GPS app for your smartphone; I know this sounds complicated, but it’s actually very simple and an amazing tool. Waze offers more than the traditional GPS device, and acts as a personal assistant on the go, so you are free to focus on the road.

One of its most useful features are its traffic updates. Any user can warn those around them about congestion or any accidents. Users can also report other abnormalities on the road such as hazards on the road, cameras, gas prices, and even police on the road. These heads up give drivers ample time to prepare for these occurrences.

In addition, you can use Waze to coordinate meeting with friends and family. For example, you can easily share your drive with any contact you’re planning to meet, so they can see your ETA and watch your movements on a live map. This is particularly helpful when you want multiple people to meet at a location; you can simply send it to them and track their movement toward you. This app is wildly popular for its convenience and user-friendly interface, so don’t hesitate to download and see what all the hype is about.

Find out more here

Keep it on Lock: Tips on Passwords in the Digital Age

In the Digital Age, passwords are an integral component of personal security, and for good reason. We use apps and websites to store everything from our bank information and hospital records to personal photos. According to Entrepreneur, in the past year alone 1 in 5 people had an account hacked, had personal information compromised, or a password stolen.

Macro computer screen shot with binary code and password tex, great concept for computer, technology and online security.

The culprit? Well, along with more advanced hackers, it might be because our passwords stink! The most popular passwords in 2014 were: 123456, password, 12345, 12345678, and qwerty. No wonder 1/5 of people are being hacked! Additionally, people use the same passwords for multiple accounts, making it absurdly easy for hackers to gain access to several outlets by cracking one password. The key to a great password is something that is personal, a mix of numbers and letters, and varied from site to site. This might sound complicated

Luckily, there are a few easy tricks you can adopt to make your passwords more secure.


1) If you’re committed to one password, incorporate the site’s name into your favorite password.

For example:

Original: Iluvdogs7

Facebook: Iluvdogs7fabo

Twitter: Iluvdogs7twit


2) Combine a number and word by alternating between the two to create a unique, un-guessable password.

For example, a zipcode and pet name: 75206 + Spot = 7S5p2o0t6


4) Simply double the password without using a space. This makes it even more difficult for hackers to break, and is still just as easy to remember!


3) Utilize an app like One Password, which assigns each of your accounts a different random, complicated password. All you need to do is log into the app using “one password”, and find the others through that.


Hopefully, with these tips, you create an unbreakable password that will secure your sensitive information.

5 Websites You Need To Bookmark

Here, I’ve compiled 5 websites you probably haven’t hear of, but will simplify or improve your life with just a few clicks!

Unroll me:


This is the email-clutter clearer you’ve been looking for. Simply type in your email address and instantly unsubscribe from all the junk mail you get on a daily basis. Finally, a clear inbox.

Camel Camel Camel:


Be sure to get the best deal on Amazon by tracking the price on Camel Camel Camel. This site shows you the price history of any item on Amazon and alerts you with a friendly email when the prices drop.



Unless you’re closing chip bags with bottle caps, color coding your electric cords, and removing strawberry stems with a straw, you’re clearly not hacking life. Discover simple yet genius ways to do every day tasks more efficiently.

Account Killer:


Remember when you started a Vine and posted 9 videos of your cat? What about that Flickr from high school? Ever wonder where those videos and pictures went?

Delete those never used, potentially embarrassing online accounts with account killer.

Do Nothing for 2 Minutes:


Studys show that taking 2 mintues to relax actually increase productivity. Challenge yourself with Do Nothing for 2 Minutes; step away from your email, phone and spreadsheets and unwind.

Top 5 Mistakes Millennials Make in the Office

Millennials have many strengths from being tech savvy to not taking no for an answer, but sometimes this hard headedness can become an issue in an office setting. Here are five of the most common mistakes they make in the office, and how to avoid them.

Multiethnic Group of People Social Networking at Cafe

Mistake #1: Not Doing Your Homework.

You should come into an interview knowing all there is to know about the company you are interviewing for. This will make you look more informed during the interview itself, and will project the image the company is seeking. If you get the job, do your best to understand the inner workings of the company; with a greater overall picture, you will better understand your role in the company, and impress the higher ups along the way.

Mistake #2: Being Late.

Employers will always note your punctuality; being on time is not only expected, but it is required. Chronic tardiness says something more about you than your wake up time, it can turn into your defining trait. Instead, be early; this shows initiative and a strong work ethic, both vital characteristics of a good employee.

Mistake #3: Dressing Inappropriately.

Perhaps it is the fault of our all-too-casual generation, or an unclear office dress code, but the bottom line is the way you dress affects how people view you.

Here’s a short list of the major office faux pas: spaghetti straps, sheer clothes, work out gear, shorts, bandeau skirts, and flip-flops. In short, if you’d wear it to the club or a BBQ, it should probably not be worn at the office.

Mistake #4: Having Questionable Images on Social Media.

Spring break- it happened, it was documented, but it shouldn’t be accessible to your employer. Aside from the obvious substances that should not be on your profile, bikinis, clubbing, and partying pictures should be set on restricted view. You never know who will come across your profile, and you want to present yourself in the most professional way possible.

Mistake #5: Acting Like A Boss.

Especially in a big company, acting like you own the place on day 1 is a huge mistake. Accept the territory that comes with being new, and do your best to absorb the surrounding information rather than acting like you know everything right off the bat. Hard work will always beat the cool factor when you’re new, so tread lightly.

Millenials often get a bad rap for being the “me” generation or not working hard, but all of us are building our careers and are ready and eager to learn. We will undoubtedly make more mistakes than the five listed here, but if you get these down, you can move on to refining yourself further in your career.