COMING SOON!

Hi dolls! The only proper way to begin this is with THANK YOU! Over the past two years as The PR Princess, I have been able to connect and influence so many talented individuals and for that, I am thankful. Over the past six months, I have taken the time to reevaluate my goals and interests. While doing this, I realized that I have grown tremendously and that it’s time for change and rebranding. I’ve decided to rid of my PR blog and move on to a blog which truly exemplifies everything that I am passionate about…

FOOD (Duh!)

FASHION

DIY/PINTEREST PROJECTS

PR (Okay, just a little bit)

BEAUTY

I am beyond excited to start fresh and share my tips and tricks, recipes, and outfits with all of my loyal readers on a brand new blog: Southern B & Sweet Tea! At this point in my life, I have realized that my happiness expands much further than public relations and I want to share that with you all. Please follow & subscribe! I promise you won’t regret it 🙂

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I hope that you will join me in this new chapter and will continue to follow, subscribe, and leave feedback. I value your support and opinions tremendously. I cannot thank each of you enough for following and supporting my dreams. It’s time to share new dreams with you all and I couldn’t be more excited! Stay tuned… Southern B & Sweet Tea is comin’ in HOT!

If you have any ideas for blog posts or have questions you want me to answer, please send them to me at southernbandsweettea@gmail.com. Also, please subscribe and follow me on Instagram: @southernbandsweettea

I will be officially changing my current Twitter & Instagram handles on May 1 to @brandiwelk.

XO, Brandi

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Made-Over Chicken Tetrazzini

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I love trying new recipes, especially healthy ones. This recipe is simple and AMAZING! My go-to for recipes are Kraft’s Healthy Living Recipes. They use minimal ingredients, stick to my budget, and have incredible taste. They are perfect for the busy working gal like myself!

Tonight, I tried out Made-Over Chicken Tetrazzini for the first time and it turned out great. My man was super happy and that’s always a plus! I tweaked the recipe a tad from the actual website to add a little more flavor. Check out the recipe below:

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WHAT YOU NEED:

1/2 lb. spaghetti, uncooked (8 oz. package)
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
red bell pepper, finely chopped
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) cream cheese, cubed
1/4 cup  flour
1 can (14.5 oz.) fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 can (8.5 oz.) sweet green peas
3 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
1/2 cup  2% Milk Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
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MAKE IT:

HEAT oven to 350°F.

COOK spaghetti in large saucepan as directed on package, omitting salt. Meanwhile, cook chicken and vegetables with a splash of olive oil in large nonstick skillet 5 min. or until chicken is no longer pink. Add 1 Tbsp. of garlic powder to flavor chicken. Remove from skillet; cover to keep warm. Drain peas and add to chicken/red pepper mixture.

BRING cream cheese, flour and broth to boil in same skillet, whisking constantly; simmer on medium-low heat 5 min., stirring frequently.

DRAIN spaghetti; return to saucepan. Add cream cheese/flour/broth sauce, chicken mixture and 2 Tbsp. Parmesan; mix well. Spoon into casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray; cover.

BAKE 25 min. Top with mozzarella and remaining Parmesan; bake, uncovered, 2 min. or until mozzarella is melted.

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NUTRITION INFO:

Low fat
Low calorie – ONLY 360 CALORIES!!
Good source of vitamin A or C
Low sodium

SEE! So simple! After working a long 9-5 day, the last thing I want to do is cook…but finding budget and lifestyle friendly dinners makes it all worth it. What is your go-to dinner dish? I would love to try it. Comment below!

Happy cooking, dolls!

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preparing for a job interview

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So you’ve graduated from college and you have to be an adult . . . this typically means going in for your first ‘real’ job interview. Tons of thoughts run through your mind and you feel like you’re going to vomit just at the thought of it. Well, at least this is how I felt. Interviews are the moment of truth. It’s pretty much Judgement Day. Did all of your hard work pay off? Did you gain all of the skills necessary? Truth is, YES. Yes, you are ready. Skills are a very important aspect of a job interview, but so are the many small details that go along with it like your attire and follow-up emails.

I completed my first interview one month after graduating college and I was hired. Since then, I have mentored interns and have learned a thing or two. Here is what I have learned through interviewing:

  • Research – You should know virtually everything about the company you are interviewing with before the interview. Know their mission statement, board of directors, programs and services, annual event, social media status, etc. We are blessed to have information always readily available. Take advantage of it!
  • Relax –  Seriously, take a chill pill! I know this ultimately decides your future, but it really doesn’t. If you don’t get the first job you interview for, it’s OKAY. There will be another opportunity. You need to relax and be realistic.
  • Have Confidence – I am in no way saying you should be arrogant, but you should be confident about your skills and talents. I mean you did just pay thousands of dollars for the degree you have. Be confident and sell yourself to the employer.
  • Sell Yourself – The interviewers know nothing about you other than what’s on your resume. It’s your job to sell you . . . sell your brand. Be yourself. Why are you better than other candidates? What makes you unique? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Sell them as if you are selling a car. You know yourself better than anyone else. You can do it!
  • Attire – Showing up to an interview with wrinkly clothes or a dress too short is not acceptable. Unfortunately, us humans are programmed to judge by appearance. Looking the part for your interview is essential. For women, a knee-length skirt or dress with a blazer is perfect. For men, slacks, a button-up, and tie are acceptable. You are representing their brand and they need to have confidence that you can do that in a professional manner. (Need help with this? Check out my blog on professional work attire)
  • Ask Questions – Don’t be afraid to ask questions during an interview. Yes, their job is to ask you a million questions, but you are allowed to ask as well. Ask them “why do you enjoy working here” or “what is your work morale like?” These questions not only show that you are interested, but they matter to your happiness.
  • Show off your work – As a PR professional, you should have a portfolio always handy. I have a leather portfolio which includes sample news releases, papers, and marketing collateral that I created in college. My portfolio was half of the reason I was hired. Employers want to see what you are capable of.
  • Follow-up – Always send a follow-up within 4-6 hours of your interview. This can be by email or a simple thank you note. Showing gratitude towards professionals for their time is imperative.

Above all, make sure that the job you are interviewing for aligns with your personal values and beliefs. I see too many professionals unhappy with their jobs because they took whatever was thrown at them first. In order to thrive in any work environment, you need to be passionate and happy with whatever your cause is. Don’t ever compromise your own needs for a company’s.

We have all heard it before that “practice makes perfect.” This is the same instance with interviewing. No one will be absolutely perfect on their first try. If you are not hired from your first interview, do not get discouraged. It just means that it was not meant to be and your brand does not fit their’s. It’s nothing personal. I always recommend getting involved in community organizations for networking and social events. I received my first job because of an organization I am in and the connections I have made. Every person you meet is important!

Good luck PR dolls! If you have more questions on interviews, feel free to comment below and I will get back with you ASAP. What tips do you have for preparing for an interview? I would love to read them & share them on my Twitter!

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don’t let your wedding break the bank

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As a recently engaged gal, I have been researching nonstop on the ‘W’ word. Yep, my wedding! From flowers, to bridesmaid dresses, food, and a DJ . . . the list literally goes on and on. For most, it can be quite overwhelming. Fortunately, I have five years of wedding catering behind me and can give you the ins and outs of not letting your dream wedding break your bank.

Let’s face it, for most engaged couples like myself, we are fresh out of college, trying to get our grown up life together, and still eating mac and cheese out of a box. We live on a budget where a $10,000 wedding dress is out of the question and that is perfectly okay. Buying a house or new car is more important anyway. Below are a few tricks I have learned to save some cash while wedding planning:

  • Venue – Look into local historical museums and community centers. Chances are they are cheaper and they provide the tables and linens. You can save BIG time here!
  • Linens – Don’t rent your linens! While your paying $20 per linen, I’m buying mine for $6-$10 a linen and can reuse them. This is the site I use: www.linentablecloth.com.
  • DJ –  There is no need to hire a cheesy DJ. Hire a family friend. On my Save the Date’s, I am asking guests to include a song they would dance to at the reception. From there, I have downloaded the songs on my Mac and will have a friend handle the tune selection.
  • Save the Dates – Paper is out. Digital is SO in! I am saving major moolah by sending my Save the Dates via email through www.paperlesspost.com. Most guests prefer email as communication anyway and are so many cute options when sending. I highly recommend!
  • Favors –  Skip the cheesy mini jams or bubbles and go for drink koozies or custom cups. Both of these serve as a double purpose. The guest can keep their drink cold or use the cup for mixed drinks all night. Plus, they can take them home and will totally use them again!
  • Dress – I, personally, got a Kate Spade dress that I adore. But I am all for ordering a dress from Etsy. There are so many talented designers out there and they have great quality.
  • Catering – Lots of catering companies want to charge per head which includes drinks, entrees, and sides. Trust me when I say, every company will make you order too much. Instead, order platters or by pan and provide your own soft drinks and plastic ware.
  • Hair & Makeup – Every bride wants to look their absolute best for their big day! Instead of hiring an overly expensive air brush professional, look to a skilled girlfriend or even a student going through cosmetology school. The student needs to extra cash and the experience and you need makeup. It’s a win-win!
  • Flowers –  I am having a fall wedding, which doesn’t require lots of flowers. But, if you’re a spring bride, try saving by doing something like Baby’s Breath, Sunflowers, or Tulips. Make sure you pick flowers that are seasonal. Otherwise, you will be paying an arm and a leg for bad quality.
  • Pinterest – I eat, breathe, and live for Pinterest. You can find lots of inspiration and crafty ideas for decor. USE IT!

This is just the start to the many things I plan to learn along the way of wedding planning! Try not to stress over every little detail. I promise you there will always be some sort of mess up and I promise you that life WILL go on and you will still be a happily married couple. Engage your friends in the planning. They can be a HUGE help. Most importantly, do NOT forget to thank all of your help and vendors. They are equally as important as the hue of sea-foam you want to wear. Don’t sweat the small stuff and be budget smart. You can mix expensive taste with more affordable options and no one will judge you for it and if they do, they shouldn’t be invited to your important day anyway.

To all of my brides, I wish you the best wedding day and a lifetime of happiness! Have more questions? Feel free to comment below and I will get back to you ASAP!

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I’m back!

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The PR Princess has returned…that’s right, I’m back! I took a short hiatus to evaluate myself professionally and figure out what I wanted in life. Since my last post in August, a lot as changed:

  • I’m engaged to my best friend and will be getting married in October
  • My annual event at work was extremely successful – raising over $100,000
  • I went to NYC for the first time
  • I’ve gained friendships
  • I bought a pug
  • I realized that being happy is being surrounded by positivity and tolerating nothing less
  • Also, people’s negative vibes are their problem, not mine

In general, I have found my happiness. I have the best girlfriends (who are also my bridesmaids), a wonderful and caring fiancé, a passion for nonprofit PR, and a very bright future. Taking a break was exactly what I needed. I continue to be thankful for the many experiences and opportunities that I have every day.

Currently, I am searching to buy a home with my love, planning a wedding, and still learning lots in the wonderful world of PR. I can’t wait to start sharing my experiences once again! Thank you to all of my loyal supporters for hanging in there. I’m a new me and I’m ready to dive back in and claim my throne as The PR Princess.

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advice for PR newbies

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So you’re a college graduate with a perfected portfolio and skills in social media and making the infamous ramen noodles. Let’s face it, you’re FRESH MEAT! haha okay not really! But as a fresh PR grad, where do you go next?! What should you know before the job hunt? CHILL! I’m here to help!

A little background: I graduated in May 2013 at 20 years old. Yeah, that’s scary! I barely knew what my signature cocktail was and I was being thrown into the real world where having a job was the only way to survive. Obviously, I made it and learned a lot of lessons along the way. Here’s my advice for the PR newbie:

  1. Brand yourself – Whether this be through a blog or a social media platform, know who you are and have that “brand” uniform throughout everything. Business cards, resume, you name it! An employer likes to see confidence . . . but don’t overdo it!
  2. Spring clean often – Do you have pics from a late night going out with your girlfriends? Maybe you were “white girl wasted?” Yeah, those pics needs to go NOW! Believe it or not, the rumors are true. Today’s employers will creep on your social media harder than any ex of yours. Employers want to know that you will carry on their mission and values in the work place as well as on a Friday night.
  3. Know PR – You’re probably thinking “‘I’ve got my degree, what more is there to know?” A LOT! I suggest following some PR blogs. Some of my favorite are rebeccapotzner.com, kaylahollatz.com, thewritewoman.com and chelseakrost.com. These ladies are only a few of the inspirational PR pros that I keep up with. This is a great place to learn new PR advances and build your own community of PR buddies. Twitter is also a great resource to get connected with PR tweeps all around the world.
  4. Stay informed – As PR pros, it’s imperative to stay up-to-date on issues and trends that affect the world around us. I, personally, use the ABC News app for my phone and when I get up and before I got to bed, I scroll through the feed.
  5. Have thick skin – Entering the professional world can be scary enough, but add self-doubt and criticism and it can be terrifying. There is ALWAYS room for improvement of your skills. When working with long-time PR pros, accept and show appreciation towards their advice. They are just trying to help. Remember, it’s not personal!
  6. Network – This doesn’t stop once you graduate. Networking will still be an active part of your roll in PR. Put yourself out there and get to know other professionals in the field. Who knows?! You may need them one day!
  7. Save everything – Invest in a high-storage USB drive to save all of your important projects. As you progress through your career, you will need to update your portfolio and life will be much easier if it is all saved!
  8. Have fun – Life is far too short. Don’t get too caught up in the lime light that you forget to enjoy yourself. You’re young . . . embrace it!

These are just a few of the lessons I have learned since being a PR professional. I still have SO MUCH to learn and look forward to the trials and tribulations along the way. Best of luck PR newbies! Show the world what you’re made of!

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