Maegan Carberry has been a provocative independent voice in our national conversation, working as a journalist, media strategist, and digital entrepreneur for 15 years. She provides media strategies to organizations and individuals, and is an adjunct instructor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
This week, Maegan is giving Poppy and Seed readers a sneak peak into the first three chapters of her new book, Do I Have to Vote For Hilary Clinton?, which is being released in 2016. The book chronicles the rise of ambitious political journalist Amy Underwood, her English bulldog Mindy Kaling, and a variety of adventures that would make Susan B. Anthony proud and Bridget Jones giggle.
Maegan began her career as a reporter and columnist with the Chicago Tribune, where she wrote some amusing columns she really hopes you won’t google and interviewed exciting folks like Jennifer Lopez, Hugh Hefner, and an up-and-coming senator named Barack Obama. She later worked as Arianna Huffington’s Chief-of-Staff at The Huffington Post, was Communications Director of Rock the Vote, and the first curator of Upworthy.
As you can see, Maegan is kind of a big deal. And we are so lucky to work with her! She is a core part of our team at Poppy and Seed. A true #girlboss. Maegs and I share a secret love for Kim K. She inspires me to stay culturally aware. To broaden my world and keep up on what happens outside my little health and wellness bubble. She is the reason I am cutting my hair short. I love everything about Maegs, her wit, her beauty and most importantly, because she is one of the most warm-hearted people I’ve met. Thank you Maegs for being a genuine leader!
- Throat Comfort Yogi Tea – All good leaders need to use their voices truthfully and effectively. To that end, it’s important to make sure the throat chakra is clear. In addition to meditation, a nice cup of Throat Comfort Yogi Tea gives me a boost.
- Short hair – When I turned 35 in August I chopped off my long hair in order to view myself differently. It marked the end of what society considers a physical “youth” cycle, even though I believe we can all access our youthful state through adopting a light-heartedness at any time. My long hair started to feel girlish, like something I hid behind. When I walked out of Ramirez Tran salon in Beverly Hills (thanks, Jenda!) I remember how exposed I felt. I loved it and hated it in the same moment. It took a couple months before I could recognize myself in the mirror, and that was a good thing. I wanted to become the kind of person who doesn’t hide, and I am starting to grow into that identity.
- James Clear – In 2014 I began implementing James Clear’s theories around habits into my daily life. He’s an entrepreneur and weight lifter who has tremendous willpower and discipline. I feel lucky that he shares those great attributes with the world through his weekly emails on Mondays and Thursdays and in his ebook Transform Your Habits. We all have big ideas and good intentions, but few of us are able to be present in the here and now, slowly grinding through the incremental steps it takes to bring these visions to fruition. James Clear is a source of inspiration and a wonderful cyber-accountability partner. Everyone who knows me is used to hearing me spit James Clear game at them. I even have a sticky note on my fridge that says: “What would James Clear do?” (Answer: He would tell you to put easy-snacking veggie cuts on the top shelf instead of leftover cake.)
- The Pocket Rumi – One of the characters in my book Do I Have To Vote For Hillary Clinton? is an indie rock star named Magus Maldoni who responds to all life situations by quoting Rumi, the great Persian poet and mystic. In order to write his character I snagged a copy of The Pocket Rumi, which fits in my handbag. Magus is one of my favorite characters in the book because he adds a layer of spirituality to one of the plot’s core questions regarding how much we can expect from an earthly government or our flawed human politicians who promise to create change. Through Magus’ character I also poke fun at the crunchy, zany spiritual folks who say a lot of buzzy things but don’t live the values through their actions — I mean, vibes. Eventually life imitated art or art imitated life and it got meta. I started to look up Rumi quotes to get me through difficult situations! My fave: Beyond our ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’ doesn’t make sense anymore.
- Divination – A vital part of being a leader is being able to understand situations from multiple points of view, especially drastically different views. We’re all limited by our own context and perspectives, so one of the ways you can break through that barrier is to apply equations to whatever scenario you’re managing to see if you can access previously indecipherable thoughts. Some call it discovering “the unknown unknown.” People have all sorts of feelings about tarot cards, but whether you’re spiritual or not, the ancient art of divination is a wonderful tool for expanding the mind and problem-solving. Each deck tells the incremental story of a universal journey, and depending on which cards you pick, you can apply that insight immediately in your own experience. The mistake most people make is coming to the tarot with the idea that they are asking for a solution or trying to predict the future. You have to show up from the place of knowing the answers are inside of you and you’re using the tarot to unlock them. Right now, I’m loving Francene Hart’s Sacred Geometry deck. I got like a B- in high school physics, but when you think about the elements of interconnectedness from the awestruck wonder of faith it’s pretty wow.
- Vox.com – It’s an election year and good citizenship requires us to think critically about the issues. Since I’m a college professor, I am constantly looking for ways for my students to start taking the news seriously. It’s an incredibly biased, overwhelming, and confusing thing to do, especially if you’re a novice. Vox.com is a great news site because it explains the backstory behind the headlines so you’re not just clicking links into an Internet vortex trying to figure out what’s at stake in funding charter schools vs. public schools. It leans a little liberal, so I usually compliment that with The Federalist to get a conservative viewpoint. If you’re sassy, sign up to receive The Skimm. If you’re smart, think beyond the polarizing positions you read and challenge them in your life’s work.
- OMG ADULT COLORING BOOKS – Whatever your guilt-ridden stress reliever of choice is, I guarantee you that adult coloring is a gazillion times better! Alcohol, chocolate, an unadvisable friend with benefits. They all have side effects. Coloring offers the same space-out, comfort-me quality, and when it’s over you have a piece of art you can Instagram. You’ll get high off of all the comments, trust me.