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An Open Letter Regarding "Success"


This morning I opened my inbox to find an incredibly kind email. It was from a gentleman (we’ll call him “T”) regarding my career, success, and how to get started. I thought I would share my reply to him for others looking to get started in the entertainment industry….


I am reaching out to you because I have been keeping up with the amazing work you have done. From Johnny's House to being a baseball personality. I commend you on all of your success. I just wanted to reach out because I am very eager to learn and was just wondering if you had any tips or advice for me on how I could get my foot in the door and grow in the very hard industry. I would greatly appreciate any piece of advice you can give. I truly want to learn and I couldn't think of anyone else who has started from the ground up and has become such a success. I truly appreciate it.

Thank you for your time and consideration. 




Hi T! 

First, I want to say I am beyond humbled you thought of me to reach out to.  I really appreciate that and hopefully some of this information will help. 

A little bit about my journey....

When I got started on Johnny's House I was an intern.  I was getting my Master's degree from UCF and needed an internship as part of the program.  I had listened to Johnny growing up (literally since middle school) and knew they had occasional internships.  So I contacted Rae and the rest was history.  Johnny calls it "getting bit by the radio bug".  But I knew once my foot was *out* of the door, it was impossible to get back in.  So even after my internship, I stayed.  I kept coming in every day for free, for no credit, to work.  (I wouldn't necessarily suggest this to others because HR is not fond of it! Haha!) Eventually the program director realized I wasn't going anywhere, and even though there wasn't a position open, they created one for me.  

I'll also never forget the story of Jayde flying ACROSS THE COUNTRY, unannounced, and waiting in the lobby for the chance to talk to Johnny about a position.  The lesson in all of this? Persistence. Sometimes you have to do crazy sh*t to stand out in this industry.  

The next thing I made sure to do was learn EVERYTHING I could.  Technically my position on paper was "programming coordinator", but I made sure to sit in on meetings in promotions, music, sales, etc.  You would be surprised how many managers enthusiastically say "yes" when you ask to shadow them.  Not only does this allow you to get to know other departments and figure out what else you do/don't like, but it starts to make you invaluable to the company.  My real passion was being on-air, but the most valuable skill I learned was board-oping.  Board op-ing allowed me to make extra money, work more hours, and made me *needed* by other stations because so few people could run the board well.  Unfortunately iHeart Media generally doesn't do internships anymore, but starting in a lower-level position such as promotions coordinator or producer will get you that badge to get IN the building. That's all you need to start.  

Another thing I learned (the hard way) was to always say "yes", even when you don't feel ready.  I'll never forget the moment when another intern and I were shadowing Brian on the board early on in my internship when out of the blue Johnny asks "Marissa, are you ready to run this next break?"  I froze.  A few seconds later he looked at the other intern and asked her to run it instead.  I was crushed.  When I talked to him about it later he said, "always say yes. Figure it out later."  From then on I never hesitated, even when I didn't feel like I was ready because I didn't want to get passed over ever again.  It's kind of along the same lines as that phrase "fake it til ya make it."  

I've talked a lot about Johnny, and that's because he was a huge part in getting me where I am today.  He went to bat for me more times than I can count, and I am so grateful for that.  Find yourself a mentor who does the same.  I learned that when you humble yourself and ask for advice, most people are willing to share.  When I first started working for him, I thought his "Johnny-isms" were just that....words.  Cheesy words.  But after hearing them again and again for five years, I realized they were genuine pieces of advice he gained over 25+ years in radio.  Think about what YOU can do to make THEIR job easier, and they will guide you along the way in return. 

One thing that was particularly difficult for me (and still is), is the idea of "selling yourself."  The entertainment industry is unlike most, because YOU are the product.  YOU are the "thing" the sales team sells, YOU are the "product" hiring managers are looking at.  My advice would be to make yourself a website that includes great photos that capture your personality, an About section that sums up who you are, and a demo video or audio reel that shows what you look/sound like.  Entertainment jobs generally don't care as much about a paper resume as they do something that captures the *essence* of who you are.  

Last but not least, be authentic.  I found that people connect with people who are vulnerable.  This means sharing the good, and sharing the bad.  Social media is filled with people pretending to lead "perfect" lives and we don't need more of that.  When it came time to interview with the Astros, I remember being terrified of them asking me why I left my previous job.  I was afraid they would turn me around on the spot.  But instead I was honest, up front, and authentic...and I think that's a large part of why I ended up getting the job.

I realize this has been a rather lengthy reply, but I hope some pieces of it help you.  I find the generic advice of "show up", "be on time",  and "have a great resume" aren't what I needed to hear when I was first starting out.  Instead, I wish someone had told me to take ANY position to get in the building, find a solid mentor, and work your ass off.  THAT'S the advice I think is the most valuable.

And one more thought......

While I have had some *AMAZING* opportunities with XL and the Houston Astros, keep in mind that "success" is relative.  In fact, as I'm writing this I am sitting at my parent's kitchen table unemployed.  Pretty ironic, huh?  For so long I let my job define who I was, and now that it's gone I've had to re-identify myself.  I guess that would be my last piece of advice, to remember that our jobs don't define us.  The entertainment industry is incredibly volatile and you'll never know when it will all end.  Even the famous PLJ in New York just went off the air last week.  So remember ~when~ you do get an amazing opportunity to embrace it, but never lose sight of all the other qualities that make up who you are.

Clearly you are on a great path simply by reaching out.  That speaks a lot to your character! 

Thank you again for reaching out.  If you ever have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask.  Good luck and KICK ASS!!!! 


"What I Look For In A Candidate" from REAL Hiring Managers

I’ve got a pretty exciting interview this week. It’s a position I’ve been eyeing for a MINUTE and so I want to make sure I am extra prepared. Therefore, I put my feelers out on social media with the question….

HIRING MANAGERS: What are you looking for in a candidate? When you have MANY applicants, what helps someone stand out?

And as promised- here are the replies….

I wouldn’t necessarily look for people that seem to have leadership qualities off the bat. A lot of quiet people don’t boast about their capabilities in interviews, they thrive on showing you what they can do. In general...try to ask questions relating to chemistry, character and competence. Chemistry is extremely important. For me, if I don’t think I could befriend the person then the chemistry may be off. Stick with your gut instinct. Asking someone about the definition of integrity is a good one, for me a sign of a good leader is someone who knows the definition, doing what you say you’ll do, as well as doing what’s best and honest when nobody is looking. I’ve done interviews for about 6 years, I really hope this helps!

People that are relaxed, personable, show that they have done their research about the company and ask questions. I always say that we have to sell ourselves to the candidate just as must as they candidate sells themselves to us.

Just a couple things I look for.  Make sure you have a few solid questions to ask about the position.  Also, do your research, know about the company and possibly the role ahead of time.    Don’t rush your answers, take a second to really consider the question.  And be yourself. Let your personality shine through.  :)

A good resume, job history that shows commitment to past positions instead of a lot of jumping around. A smile and confidence goes a long way. Don’t bad mouth or speak negatively about former employers (sounds dumb, but it happens all the time). Try to explain reasons for leaving that pertain to your goals etc. Prepare a few questions to ask and be honest & open about any questions they ask you.

A visually appealing resume, someone who reaches out via email or phone call after the interview thankful for the opportunity to interview and eye contact! Best of luck!

If I have multiple candidates who are all ‘qualified’, I have to ask myself, who would I not HATE to manage? Who would I not hate to be stuck in an elevator with? Who would I just really dread having a meeting with or talking to on the reg?

A pretty/standout resume is something that I always remember. When resumes are simply just in black and white, or an overused Microsoft template, they blend in with the rest. The presentation of your resume should be a representation of who you are!

Balance professional with excitement and positivity. At our age/gender, you really have to balance the two to show your capability combined with your positivity. Balance professional with excitement and positivity. At our age/gender, you really have to balance the two to show your capability combined with your positivity.

Eye contact, candidate knowing the company and having questions, be authentic (don’t always give them what they want to hear), and mostly a solution. How are you going to make the company better and bring to the table.

Personality and the knowledge of what ever the position is also some one that can carry them selves with confidence

You have to hire someone who will mesh with you and your team. Not just standard qualifications but also personality and work ethic.

Following up and persistence.. sometimes when there’s a billion applications an additional email with resume and cover letter is very helpful and makes it look like you’re actually interested and a thank you email/ card after a phone screen or interview. Good luck!

All my questions fall into three categories. 
1. Can they do the job?
2. Will they enjoy the job?
3. Do they fit the existing company culture?

The first portion of the interview/their resume should answer the first two questions. The last question  can harder to answer, but you should have a better idea after interviewing them.

Relatability and how they carry themselves. I already have their resume In hand so I can validate their credentials quickly. I want to make sure they fit the role I have envisioned. Characteristics, personality, and overall fit to the team. I want a bank teller that promotes customer first interaction, a chef that promotes food experiences etc. Not a robot lol

Following up. I would get 500 resumes a week and I always looked at the resumes of the people that called.

9 Books I'm Currently Loving


A little disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. These are at no cost to you, but I might earn a slight commission off of them. As always, I only talk about products or services I love. Thanks for your support! xo


I’ve got a problem. I love books. So much that before I can fully finish one book, I’ve found 4 others I want to read and move on. However, there are a few I’ve managed to devour and I thought I would share a few of my favs! (If you want to shop them, just click the title OR I’ve rounded them up at the bottom of this post. Happy reading!)


1) The Five Love Languages- Dr. Gary Chapman

“According to Chapman, the five ways to express and experience love that Chapman calls "love languages" are receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service (devotion) and physical touch.  Examples are given from his counseling practice, as well as questions to help determine one's own love languages.”

I’ve heard lots about the idea of “love languages” but was always curious to learn more. Dr. Chapman lays each one out in detail in a simple, easy-to-understand way. Of course I’m not currently in a relationship, but these are great techniques for friends, family, and to understand how you communicate love.


2) The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up- Marie Kondo

“Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results.”

We’ve all seen the cult Netflix show, and I admit I use the phrase “spark joy” in every day conversation now. So when I saw Marie Kondo had a BOOK….sign me up! Marie shares her back story on how she got into the organizing industry, and then proceeds to share her tips from the Kon Mari Method.


3) Whiskey In A Teacup- Reese Witherspoon

“Reese’s Southern heritage informs her whole life, and she loves sharing the joys of Southern living with practically everyone she meets. She takes the South wherever she goes with bluegrass, big holiday parties, and plenty of Dorothea’s fried chicken. It’s reflected in how she entertains, decorates her home, and makes holidays special for her kids—not to mention how she talks, dances, and does her hair (in these pages, you will learn Reese’s fail-proof, only slightly insane hot-roller technique). Reese loves sharing Dorothea’s most delicious recipes as well as her favorite Southern traditions, from midnight barn parties to backyard bridal showers, magical Christmas mornings to rollicking honky-tonks. It’s easy to bring a little bit of Reese’s world into your home, no matter where you live. After all, there’s a Southern side to every place in the world, right?”

Y’all. I’ve had a girl crush on Reese since the moment Legally Blonde came into my life. She’s stunning, talented, and an amazing advocate for women. This book has amazing fashion and beauty tips, recipes, home decor inspo, and gorgeous photos. I read it in one sitting and plan on using it as a coffee table book!


4) Lauren Conrad- Celebrate

“Filled with lush and inspiring original four-color photos and budget friendly tips, Lauren Conrad Celebrate offers advice about the basics to make planning any type of event a breeze, including suggestions for the perfect invitations, food, drinks, decorations, and gifts. Lauren shows how to put it all together for a diverse range of events that span the calendar, from a charming Baby shower to a festive holiday party. And she packs the book with creative full-color photos and stories from her own life, including her housewarming party, and her recent bridal shower and wedding.”

When a girlfriend of mine asked me to help co-host her baby shower, I immediately grabbed this book for inspiration. It has beautiful photos and some of Lauren’s tips for every holiday party. Another great coffee table book.


5) Cravings 2: Hungry For More- Chrissy Teigen

“After two years of parenthood, falling in love with different flavours, and relearning the healing power of comfort food, this book is like Chrissy's new edible diary: recipes for quick-snap meals; recipes for lighter, brighter healthier-ish living; and recipes that, well, are gonna put you to bed, holding your belly.”

YOU NEED THIS COOKBOOK. I have her orig and the Armadillo Cheesy Bread changed my life. When I saw she was coming out with a second cookbook I got it on pre-order and it did not let me down!!!! If you only try one recipe, try the Twitter Banana Bread. Not only did it originate from an amazingly hilarious story ( seriously, if you haven’t heard about it read HERE) but it is the best. damn. banana. bread. everrrrrrrrrrrr!


6) Becoming- Michelle Obama

“Becoming is the memoir of former United States First Lady Michelle Obama published in 2018. Described by the author as a deeply personal experience, the book talks about her roots and how she found her voice, as well as her time in the White House, her public health campaign, and her role as a mother.”

Technicalllllly I haven’t finished this one, but it was on top of the NY Times Best Seller list for like 10000 weeks and it’s Michelle Obama SO….I’m including it. I’m actually going to see her on tour for this book one week from today and cannot even contain my excitement. When they go low, we go high y’all.


7) Come As You Are- Emily Nagoski

“An essential exploration of why and how women's sexuality works--based on groundbreaking research and brain science--that will radically transform your sex life into one filled with confidence and joy.
Researchers have spent the last decade trying to develop a "pink pill" for women to function like Viagra does for men. So where is it? Well, for reasons this book makes crystal clear, that pill will never exist--but as a result of the research that's gone into it, scientists in the last few years have learned more about how women's sexuality works than we ever thought possible, and "Come as You Are" explains it all.”

I realize this is a superrr random one to add to the list. However, I’m so glad I read it. Not to get too personal, but basically after going on/off birth control the past few years, my hormones were all sorts of out of whack. Which as you ladies knows, affects sex drive among many other things. SO, it was refreshing to read about women’s sexuality in both a medical and human way as Emily does.


8) Girl, Wash Your Face- Rachel Hollis

“As the founder of the lifestyle website TheChicSite.com and CEO of her own media company, Rachel Hollis developed an immense online community by sharing tips for better living while fearlessly revealing the messiness of her own life. Now, in this challenging and inspiring new book, Rachel exposes the twenty lies and misconceptions that too often hold us back from living joyfully and productively, lies we’ve told ourselves so often we don’t even hear them anymore.”

Ok, I really struggled with whether to add this to my list or not. I always want to be genuine and if I’m being superrrrr honest, I felt like often times this book felt ~forced~. In other words, it didn’t always feel authentic. And I know that is a super un-popular opinion because this book broke all sorts of records and Rachel became a smash. With all of that being said, I am HERE for her work ethic, strategies, and overall boss babe vibes, so I’m keeping it on my list. She has a new book out Girl, Stop Apologizing and I’m definitely going to give that one a try too!


9) What I Know For Sure- Oprah Winfrey

“Now, for the first time, these thoughtful gems have been revised, updated, and collected in What I Know For Sure, a beautiful cloth bound book with a ribbon marker, packed with insight and revelation from Oprah Winfrey. Organized by theme—joy, resilience, connection, gratitude, possibility, awe, clarity, and power—these essays offer a rare, powerful and intimate glimpse into the heart and mind of one of the world's most extraordinary women—while providing readers a guide to becoming their best selves. Candid, moving, exhilarating, uplifting, and frequently humorous, the words Oprah shares in What I Know For Sure shimmer with the sort of truth that readers will turn to again and again.”

Everyone needs this book. EVERYONE. You, your mom, your grandma, your best friend….everyone. It is now the book I gift to every single person in my life. I just ordered one for my cousin. It’s hard to put into words exactly “what” the book is (other than perfection). Essentially it’s a collection of columns Oprah wrote about things in life she “knows for sure”. It inspired me to do the same on Laura and I’s podcast, and it’s a book I’ve read 3 times because it’s that beautiful. (Plus….it’s OPRAH.)

Here’s Amazon links to each of the books (just click the photo)! HAPPY READING!

Sponsored Post Disclosures


According to the FTC, content creators who are being paid for their work must be open and honest about their partnership.  Before embarking on a sponsored post, let’s focus on what is required to disclose to your audience, and where they should be included in your content. 

What Is The FTC?

According to their website, the FTC is, “Working to protect consumers by preventing anticompetitive, deceptive, and unfair business practices, enhancing informed consumer choice and public understanding of the competitive process, and accomplishing this without unduly burdening legitimate business activity.”


What Are Disclosures?  

According to bloggylaw.com, disclosures are your way of telling a reader, a follower, or a fan about your relationship with a corporate sponsor, brand, or company.


Do I Have To Use Disclosures?  

YES. Not only is it ethical and allows you to build trust with your audience, but it’s literally the law. 


Where Should Disclosures Go?

According to the FTC, “Required disclosures must be clear and conspicuous. In evaluating whether a disclosure is likely to be clear and conspicuous, advertisers should consider its placement in the ad and its proximity to the relevant claim. The closer the disclosure is to the claim to which it relates, the better.” Check out their full guide HERE.


Twitter/ Facebook/ Instagram 

The challenge with social media disclosures is that you don’t have unlimited space.  Twitter only allows for 160 characters, while Instagram and Facebook are more accommodating to caption disclosures.


Some ways you can disclose links on social media include:  

-       Using #Ad

-       Using #Sponsored

-       Affiliate Link included: _______

-       Sponsored by @company: ________

-       Advertisement: _______


Blog Posts/ YouTube

The advantage to blog posts and Youtube is that you are not limited in space or characters.  Youtube allows you to utilize disclosures in the description box below your video, in addition to mentioning it in your video. 


Some samples of proper disclosures include:  

-       This post sponsored by Company: ________

-       Company sent me their newest product ____ to review in exchange to test it out for you for free!

-       Disclosure: I received compensation from Company to review this product, but all opinions are my own.

-       Sponsored: I was so excited when Company reached out to me to test out ____.  I did receive compensation and all opinions are my own.


These disclosures should be placed at the top of your post/ description and in the same size font as the rest of your text.


Resource Page

On my blog Pretty Boss Blog, I decided to compile a list of some of my favorite resources for bloggers.  Some are affiliate links, some are not…but I very clearly state at the top of the page that I do receive compensation from some links:


Please note some of these links might be affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. I only recommend products that I believe in and love. Promise! Thank you for your support!


Check out the page HERE.


Disclosure Page 

If you plan on being an affiliate and earning money from your website, it is wise to also create an “ABOUT” page that includes details about your Privacy and Disclosure Policies.  These can be in linked in a post IN ADDITION TO your in-context disclosure (not as a replacement).  


What To Include:

“Please check out more details on our Disclosure Page” would be added after your in-text disclosure. 



How To Set Yourself Apart From Other Influencers


With so much competition in the creator world, it can be hard to grab the attention of brands you are seeking to work with.  However, with these few tips you will be well on your way to landing the collab of your dreams!


1)   Make A Great First Impression

The first step to setting yourself apart from the rest is to make a great first impression.  Reach out to a brand you would like to work with.  Introduce yourself, show your personality, and politely explain you would like to collaborate with them.  This would be the time to attach a media kit or provide links to your previous work.  The key is to remain professional while conveying you are eager and excited to work with them!

2)   Attention To Detail

When collaborating with a brand, ensure you are always paying attention to details.  From the expectations of the collab, to the agreed upon timeline, creators should always focus on the details.  If the brand does not provide one, you might decide to create your own contract.  Contracts sound intimidating, but they are simply a mechanism for communication between brands and creators to make sure everyone is on the same page with their expectations. 

3)   Stay Open To Feedback

Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of collaborations is accepting feedback, yet it is often the most important.  Creators who stand out from the crowd are the ones who set the ego aside (momentarily!) and are open to critiques on their collaborations.  Before publishing your collaborations, send a copy to the brand and ask for any adjustments you could make.  In the end, it will make the brand happy to know you are willing to listen, while also improving the final product!

4)   Over-Deliver On Time

You’ve heard the phrase “under promise and over deliver”?  Well, the best influencers over deliver on time! This shows the brand you are aware of their deadlines, and will not keep them waiting.  If you provide killer work while also sticking to a timeline, the brand will take notice!

5)   Express Gratitude

Another great way to differentiate yourself is to express gratitude.  Once your collaboration has been submitted, reach out to the brand to say thank you.  Ensure this note is sincere, and as specific to this collaboration as possible. You could even include a few screenshots or stats about how your collaboration performed.  Leave the lines of communication available to work together in the future!




How I Edit My Instagram Photos


*This description may contain affiliate links. These are at no cost to you, but I may financially benefit from the use of these links. As always, thanks for your support! XO!

My top pet peeves:

  • One word/ letter texts. Ex: “K.”

  • Unexpected traffic on the interstate.


Ok, so maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but I truly wish everyone would take a few minutes to make their pics the best they can be before uploading to blogs or social media!

Here are a few of my favorite apps for photo editing!

- Adobe Photoshop

(By the way….I love the “Photography” bundle from Adobe! You get Lightroom CC, Lightroom Classic CC, and Photoshop CC for only $9.99/month! Suchhhh a good deal.)


- Perfect 365 app

- Kira Kira app

- VSCO app

- Adobe Lightroom


- Etsy presets

Feel free to give the Youtube channel a quick “subscribe” for future videos!

What apps do you use to edit pics?


My Personally Tested 'Side Hustles'

A few weeks ago I posted a blog about popular side hustles and top ways people make some cash. When I started reviewing the list I realized I've tried almost 10 of the side jobs! So I decided to share some of my favs and hopefully help you make some extra dollars this month! 

My favorite side hustles (in no particular order) PART ONE: 

1) Brand Ambassador



Ever since I was in college, I've found myself working various "Brand Ambassador" jobs. Whether it's alcohol sampling, product promotions, movie premieres, or brand demonstrations....it's a pretty lucrative side hustle. 

There are several ways to find Brand Ambassador gigs. Google, Craigslist, and Facebook are the most common. I joined THIS Facebook group to find local openings in my area. 

Pros: The average brand ambassador job paid around $18-$27 per hour, and usually we got to keep leftovers of the products we were sampling! 

Cons: Gigs are inconsistent, and sometimes brought me to sketchy areas. Try to stick to convention centers and well-known locations. 

2) Babysitting



The tried and true side hustle. Ages 13-grandparents can babysit in their free time and rake in cash. The average babysitter in America is now making around $13-$15 an hour (and it doesn't require a degree!!) 

Nowadays there are so many ways to find babysitting opportunities rather than just knowing your neighbor with kids. I've used Indeed.comSittercity.com, and Care.com to research possible families. **Make sure to arrange a meeting BEFORE you commit to the job to ensure you are comfortable with the parents AND their kids. 

Pros: It can be very flexible. Whether you want to work part-time hours as a nanny, or pick up a date-night shift, the need for babysitters will always be there. 

Cons: Working with kids isn't suited for everyone. They have their good and bad days, and aren't always welcome to new faces. It can sometimes be unpredictable. 

3) Gymnastics/ Dance Instructor



Obviously this one is rather personal to me. But swap "Gymnastics/Dance" with whatever your specialty is, and you could have an awesome side hustle. As a dancer for 21 years, it was a great way to do something I love while making some extra money. 

I happened to find a woman who ran a small company and contracted instructors, but you could always build your own side business. Whether it's sports instructing, academic instructing, or teaching your hobby...the opportunities are endless. 

Pros: At around $30/hr it was a profitable gig while doing something I love. 

Cons: Not all classes were located near me, so the miles began to add up. Plus as with any small business, in the event you get sick or need to call out there is usually no one to cover your shift. 

*****Want more?? Just type in your email below and we will send you a FREE 'Ultimate Side Hustle' Email Series!**********