We normally start these posts with an explanation of why we’re still posting for National Women’s History Month in April, but do we really need a reason to continue celebrating the amazing women at our company?

Today we’re introducing you to the face behind our Facebook posts, Lauren. In addition to being a beacon of wit and sarcasm – an absolute revolutionary, really, Lauren is a marketing coordinator at Flying Cork, originally from New Kensington, PA. She has a degree in Mass Communication from Point Park University.

Q: What’s the most valuable part of your day? 

A: When I finally crash onto my bed and sit on Twitter for 45 minutes even though I told everyone I already “went to sleep.”

Q: How have you developed professionally since you started working with Flying Cork? 

A: Flying Cork is actually my first full-time job out of college, and so in that sense alone I have learned and grown so much. I’m learning how to operate working in a full-time agency, how many different jobs I am actually able to do, and I have come to realize that content creation comes in many different shapes and forms that were previously unknown to me.

Q: Bagels or Donuts? Why?

A: That depends. Am I getting coffee? Then a donut to balance out the bitter taste. Am I just picking up a quick bite while running out the door because I’m perpetually late? Then an everything bagel with garden veggie cream cheese.

Q: If Hollywood was making a movie about your life, what would the title be, and what actress would you pick to play you? 

A: The title would probably be the sound you make when you didn’t hear something the first time, like “Huh?” or “What was that, again?” and the actress would HAVE to be Raini Rodriguez.

Q: What advice would you give yourself a year ago? 

A: All of the people that you think “have it together,” don’t really. They’re just faking it. It’s ok to not have it figured out.

Q: You’re trapped in a train with 3 people for one month, who do you pick?

A: A five-star chef so we still eat good, a scholar of a subject I don’t know a lot about so that I can at least learn something while we’re trapped in there, and probably my sister.

Q: What has been one of the best moments of your life, so far? 

A: Any time I have traveled. The feeling when I’m about to go to a new place is indescribable. One of my favorite moments so far would probably be when I kissed the Blarney Stone in Ireland.

Q: What female professional has made the most impact on your career and why? 

A: Last year from January to August, I worked as an intern and then contributor for the Pittsburgh City Paper, where I had the pleasure of meeting now editor-in-chief Lisa Cunningham. She was very encouraging, even when I felt in doubt of myself and my abilities (which was a lot) and I cannot thank her enough for making me feel like I was good enough and being so willing to answer me when I had questions (also a lot).

For those of you who are new around these parts, March was National Women’s History Month but because we love our female employees so much, and NOT because we got someone new to run social media who was a little confused at first (It’s a learning process, ok?), we’re continuing the celebrations into April.

Meet our Public Relations Associate – Evangeline. A lover of glamour and twirly dresses, Evangeline is originally from Turtle Creek, PA and has a masters in Entertainment Industry Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

Q: What’s the most valuable part of your day?

A: My morning quiet time for reading and meditation and my workout. It sets the tone for the rest of my day, puts me in a centered frame of mind and gets my mind and body working and ready for the day’s challenges. Of course, it also means I’m contradicting my inherent night-owl-ness, but so far I’m finding I like being a morning person and my day is more productive and enjoyable this way.

Q: How have you developed professionally since starting at Flying Cork? 

A: My background is in the business side of entertainment with an emphasis on film and TV production, so Public Relations is a whole new skill-set. By nature I’m a “people person” so this has been great for using and developing my communications skills further. Part of PR and content creation has played to my strengths too, logistics and planning – I love planning events or productions, the budgets and schedules, getting the details just right. I’d say the way I’ve most developed professionally since starting with Flying Cork is honing my writing skills for communicating with the media while exercising my logistics skills.

Q: Bagels or Donuts? Why? 

A: Yes? I don’t understand the question. Both? Is this a trick question? Do they come with coffee?

Q: If Hollywood was making a movie about your life, what would the title be and what actress would play you?

A: “The Girl Who Forgot To Dance” with Reese Witherspoon. Every story has an arc, and even though mine features a tough glamour girl, the process of becoming her is the real story.

Q: What advice would you give yourself a year ago? 

A: Everything worth having takes effort. Be a duck; stay calm on top and keep paddling hard.

Q: What’s one thing no one knows about you, but you’re going to tell us anyway? 

A: It’s fun to see people’s surprised reactions when I, the glammed up, full-face of makeup, woman in a twirly 50s dress, tell them that I play with swords. I’m a German Longsword fencer in Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA). I study medieval and renaissance manuals translated from Old High German and Italian, and practice with modern safety gear. I love how it builds my physical strength and mental toughness, and I’ve made a lot of great friends through this sport. Also, I know how to knock a cork out of a bottle of champagne with a sword.

Q: You’re trapped in a train with 3 people for one month, who do you choose? 

A: My best friend because we talk all the time, my HEMA fencing coach, it would be like private lessons for a month (!), and my personal business mentor, so she could coach me on working on my personal business. After a month, I’d come out of that train feeling totally rejuvenated, a much better fencer, and having crushed my business goals.

Q: What has been one of the best moments of your life, so far? 

A: Graduation day from Carnegie Mellon was pretty great, but my best moments have been “I can do the thing!” moments. Seeing the pride and joy in my fencing coach’s face when I executed a beautifully clean technique in a tournament, or my best friend’s (and motion therapist) excitement seeing me fence and dance better than I have in many years. One of my best moments was during the awards dinner for HEMA fencing tournament I organized at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando. After all the speeches were made and the awards given out, my co-organizer made a short speech recognizing me for all of the work I put into the event, and it nearly brought me to tears to see the whole dining room full of my friends and fellow HEMA practitioners give me a boisterous standing ovation. It was so wonderful to be appreciated and recognized for months of hard work done so that my friends could have a good time.

Q: What female professional has made the most impact on your career and why? 

A: I’ve had several female mentors but the female professional who has made the most profound impact on me is Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics. She was a visionary woman in her day and built a company on the priciple that any woman can achieve anything, and that when a company is built with and acts with integrity, everyone around it benefits. She was featured in Forbes as the preeminent American female entreprenuer, and I think what speaks to me most is the combination of grit and love with which she approached every challenge. Her business principles of putting people first and allowing them to use their unlimited potential has built so much confidence and strength in my life, taught me to set goals, and make achieving them non-negotiable.

As you may remember from last week, we’re continuing our posts for National Women’s History Month into April, in a highly anticipated sequel that not even all of The Avengers movies combined could beat. We’ll call it Women’s History Month Part 2: It Should Be Longer Anyways.

To end this week, we’re introducing you to Tessa, a lover of Doctor Who, Pokémon, and many nerdy things in-between. Tessa is a lead developer at Flying Cork, originally from Brookville, PA. She has a degree in Game Art & Design from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

Q: What’s the most valuable part of your day?

A: The morning. If the morning doesn’t go right, the rest of the day will follow suit. Though I personally love it because it’s the part of the day that is still the “blank slate.” I also get cute, baby cuddles from my daughter.

Q: Bagels or Donuts? Why? 

A: Bagels. I have too many other sweet things in my life!

Q: If Hollywood was making a movie about your life, what would the title be, and what actress would you pick to play you? 

A: If there was a movie about my life, I’d probably call it It’s Not Luck starring Hayden Panettiere. There’s a story behind that title, but that’s for another time.

Q: What advice would you give yourself a year ago?

A: A year ago I had just found out that I was pregnant, so I would’ve told myself to get on those daycare waitlists even earlier!!

Q: What’s one thing no one knows about you, but you’re going to tell us anyway? 

A: I have an uncommon form of ADHD called “hyperfocus.”

Q: You’re trapped in a train with 3 people for one month, who do you pick? 

A: Magneto (controls magnetism with his mind, could be fun), Spiderman (good track record with saving trains), and Sheldon Cooper (loves trains). If you meant real people, then I’d chose my Auntie Donna, my husband John, and my daughter Tabitha, purely for conversational purposes and entertainment.

Q: What has been one of the best moments of your life, so far? 

A: I’d say that one of the best moments of my life is making my baby daughter giggle for the first time. I’m well aware that I’m not naturally a funny person, and now she’s the only other person in the world that I can make laugh! The other is me.

Q: What female professional has made the most impact on your career and why? 

A: Ruth Comley. In 2011, I was planning my senior year in college. I majored in Game Art & Design (GAD) at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh (AiP) and I fell in love with programming and expressing my creativity by designing user experiences due to Patricia Huettel’s prototyping course. Most of my other classmates wanted to focus on the art aspect of game design, so there were a lot of illustration and 3D modeling specialty courses, but none were running for programming specialties. 

Hans Westmen (the department chair of GAD at the time) and Angela Love (faculty at AiP and a CMU ETC connection) connected me with Ruth who taught at Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU) Entertainment Technology Center (ETC). We had an arrangement that I’d spend 4 hours a week with Ruth for three quarters of the year and that would count as credits toward my degree. Essentially, I created a class that didn’t exist for just me and Ruth was my instructor. Ruth taught me the fundamentals of programming, logic, and my first programming language, Python. This yielded my first ever programming project in 2012a 2-player cooperative game called Code Echo designed for “The Bridge” on the top floor of the ETC.

And yes, I did just upload the old splash video of Code Echo I made back then to my old YouTube account purely for this response.

National Women’s History Month may be over, but time is a human construct, so we’re gonna keep celebrating with another feature of our employee Lauren.

Lauren is a self-proclaimed dork (don’t worry, we aren’t being mean – she says it herself later!) in addition to being a content manager for Flying Cork. She’s also a Point Park University Alumni with a degree in creative writing originally from Pittsburgh, PA.

Go give her post some love over on our FB page

Q: What’s the most valuable part of your day?

A: I love learning, so I’m very grateful that my job involves a lot of research into subjects I’d never normally think to delve into. But obviously, my passion is writing so my favorite part of my workday is when I’m hammering out a good piece.

Q: How have you developed professionally since you started working with Flying Cork?

A: Working at Flying Cork, I’ve learned so much about my writing voice and how to adapt to various styles and brands. I feel like I grow as a writer every day.

Q: Bagels or Donuts?

A: Bagels, if I’m having dessert for breakfast it’s going to be ice cream.

Q: If Hollywood was making a movie about your life, what would the title be, and what actress would you pick to play you?

A: Figuring It Out As I Go, starring Gal Godot because I saw Wonder Woman six times in theaters (not joking).

Q: What advice would you give yourself a year ago?

A: I know everyone else believes in you more than you believe in yourself, but guess what? They’re right.

Q: One thing no one knows about you, but you’re going to tell us anyway? 

A: I’m a huge comic book/graphic novel dork. Currently very into the Black Hammer series, but I’d say my go-to imprint is Image Comics. Also a big Whovian, so I guess you could say I’m just an all-around dork, but that’s not much of secret.

Q: What has been one of the best moments of your life, so far?

A: A few years ago, my cousin and I did a big trip where we went to five countries in two weeks- Ireland, the Netherlands, England, Italy, and France. It was the first time I’d ever been outside of the U.S. and experiencing all of the different cultures and people was life-changing.

Q: What female professional has made the most impact on your career and why?

A: Dr. Karen Dwyer, my Professor at Point Park University, has made such a huge impact on my writing and editing abilities. I grew so much as a writer, and found that I also had some skills at content editing, thanks to her guidance over the many courses I had with her. Not only do I adore her, but I couldn’t thank her enough for all of her wisdom, insight, and encouragement. I wouldn’t be where I am now if not for her.

We’ve all experienced it – 2 p.m. rolls around and you can’t find the motivation to continue working. You can feel yourself falling into the same trance one experiences on a long road trip fueled by Red Bull and caffeine patches, and you’re seriously considering how much trouble you’d get in if you used that spare office for a quick nap.

But why? You get eight hours of sleep every night and you try to stay alert in meetings even when Jerry gets off track talking about his newborn.

Don’t worry, it’s completely normal. On average, your body tends to get tired around seven hours after you initially wake up. For office workers who wake up between 5 to 7 a.m. that slump will be hitting around 1 to 2 p.m. Thus creating the infamous “afternoon slump.”

Here are eight ways to juice up your day and stay as productive as possible.

1. Stay away from the bread

This sounds both ridiculous and impossible, but having a carb filled lunch will aid in your gradual decline into the slump.

An amino acid called “tryptophan,” which causes drowsiness, is made more available to the brain after consuming carbohydrates which is why you feel so tired after big, carb-y meals. Tryptophan is also commonly found in turkey, which is why you feel so tired after Thanksgiving dinner – that, or it’s because you woke up at 5 a.m. to your mom burning her pie.

Instead of having yet another bread bowl from Panera, consider something with protein. Remember “ants on a log”? That snack your mom made for you as a kid in the summer? Try that! You may look like a third grader when you pull them out of your lunch box, but the peanut butter and celery will keep you going until quitting time.

2. Get hydrated

If you feel yourself nodding off in the middle of the day, skip the half-caf, soy, chai tea iced latte and get a glass of cold water. The water will refresh and re-energize you just enough to power through the day until you can crash on your couch at home.

Adding lemon to your water will not only have you feeling a little healthier than usual (“Yes, I am on a detox, thank you for noticing, Deb.”) it will help boost your energy. Replace your old, stained coffee mug that’s been on your desk since before the Christmas party and get a reusable water bottle, buy some lemons, and get to work.

3. Go outside and soak in the fresh air

Sitting in a dimly lit office, listening to the droning hum of the luminescent lights, and your coworker who won’t stop typing like the world is going to end before they finish their email (Thanks, Buzzfeed and Google, for popularizing the “open office” plan) can really drain your productivity.

Change up your usual schedule by going for a brisk walk outside and reconnect with nature. At Flying Cork, for example, we are located right next to an urban park that our employees walk through on their lunch breaks.

Walking around will give your body the much-needed zap of energy.

4. Take a whiff of some peppermint

Aromatherapy is no joke – putting a drop of peppermint oil on your hands can have a refreshing and energizing effect.

Don’t like the smell of peppermint? No worries, lemon, lime, orange, or other citrus smells can boost your body’s production of serotonin, a hormone that produces happy feelings and reduces stress levels. Unlike the smell of your coworker’s homemade onion and garlic hummus, which only adds to your stress levels. 

Rosemary and eucalyptus can also provide a healthier cognitive flow, so get to sniffing.

5. Organize your desk

Look at your desk, you have candy wrappers from Halloween that have been flattened under a pile of paperwork you were supposed to turn in last month, you have crumbs from lunch in your keyboard, and you can’t remember the last time you found something in under three minutes.

Organizing your belongings and making sure everything is in its place can increase your productivity and reduce stress. Once you’re done Marie Kondo-ing your workspace, you’ll feel more encouraged to get projects done.

6. Get up and dance

Ok, so you don’t necessarily have to have an impromptu dance party at your desk, because who wants Mark from HR to see you pulling out your eighth grade dance moves, BUT you should for sure stretch. Or dance. We aren’t your boss, do whatever you want.

Stretching (or dancing) can help blood flow and while you may not be able to do a full-blown “downward facing dog” position, adjusting your posture and flexing your arm and leg muscles definitely aid in waking you up.

7. Chew some gum

Like the aromatherapy and a lemon slice in your water combined, chewing “spicy” (cinnamon or peppermint) gum will keep your brain from getting too lethargic. It will pull you out of the beast that is boredom’s den and bring you back to life.

Plus, it’s good for your teeth and overall dental hygiene and coffee breath. We’re not saying you have coffee breath, we’re just saying… it’s good for getting rid of that.

8. Battle out your stress

What’s a safe (and basically harmless) way to get out all of the frustration of a long workday? Nerf guns.

At least, that’s what we do in our offices. Not every day, but some days, when it feels like we’re crawling through a tub of marshmallow, you can be sure to hear the sound of styrofoam darts whizzing past your head as some of our employees reenact Modern Warfare.

Karen from accounting may not approve, but it certainly works for us.

 

Now, if you find that you’re really falling asleep, try these more intense tricks: pinch your cheeks to stimulate blood flow, or bite into a ghost pepper, or dunk your head into an ice-cold bath. Where are you going to get an ice cold bath? No idea, we’re just here to give you suggestions.

With these tips and tricks, you can hopefully avoid feeling like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day just repeating the same day over and over and over and over again, and get more work out of your eight hours.