It’s officially summer 2021 and a lot of us feel like this is the first time we can break out and go do something. We all had a crazy 2020 and it’s time that each of us gets a little break. It’s the season for vacations so here are some tips for taking time off and not worrying about what’s happening at work. 


You have the vacation time and you’re ready for a getaway. As soon as you know the dates you’ll be out of office, communicate with your team. Mark it on your calendar, bring it up in team meetings, make sure everybody knows ahead of time you will be out and when. That way, the office can plan accordingly to cover the work you are responsible for. 


Your dates are confirmed, so it’s time to prioritize your responsibilities and plan for your absence. Do you have anything on your calendar already that you need to reschedule? Who will cover some of your responsibilities while you’re gone? Think about your daily tasks and how you might handle those. Something as simple as setting up and scheduling an “Out of Office” reply takes care of daily email while you’re out. This little message shows you plan ahead, you’re transparent and you know the importance of communication.  

What tasks should be completed before you go? Once you get back? We all have deadlines… what do you need to accomplish, send off, schedule, etc. so you won’t have to step away from your relaxation time to work. All the tasks that need to be done will be done, and all the deadlines will be met. Forecast what tasks might be coming in. If you are working to get some things sent out that may be time sensitive, be sure to copy the co-worker that will cover this area while you’re gone. Let them know what they should be expecting and how to proceed. 

Welcome the newest member of the Best Gurl team, Shawntia (Shawn) Jones, The Organizer! Shawn started working with Best Gurl on January 5. She is working on coordinating with clients, managing schedules, planning projects, and keeping everyone informed and prepared! We’re so lucky to have her on the team.

If you really want to get to know Shawn let’s have her introduce herself.

Where are you from?

I am from Deerfield Beach, Florida

What is your background in?

My background is in administration

What's one work-related thing you want to accomplish in the next year?

To build and maintain strong client relationships while learning and growing along the way.

What’s your favorite way to spend a day off?

Working on my DIY projects making waist beads, soaps, and other selfcare products.

What's on your bucket list?

To travel the world and attempt those Hungry Man challenges

Name your top 5 favorite movies:

- The Wiz
- The Five Heartbeats
- Beasts of the Southern Wild
- The Harry Potter Saga
- The Color Purple

Do you live by any piece of advice or motto?

The way you speak to yourself matters, Be the flame, not the moth.

Anything we didn’t ask (or any last thoughts)

Kittens, traveling, vacations and happy hour= life

Position Description

“Coordinating with clients, managing schedules, planning projects, and keeping everyone informed and prepared.”
Is this you? Send us your resume!


Effectively initiate, facilitate, and complete internal and external management related to Best Gurl and Client projects and activities. Manage projects, document preparation, schedules, travel, and client interactions on behalf of Best Gurl to create and maintain positive relationships and generate revenue.

Interpersonal Skills:

Technical Skills:

Salary and Benefits:

Negotiable, working from home office with flexible scheduling

I never have a good answer about what I want for Christmas, my birthday, whatever…because I don’t really care what people get for me other than cash and gift cards (something useful…).

“What kind of things could you use? Any electronics?” My dad asked.

“I can’t think of any off the top of my head. Like what?” I replied.

“Fitbit, Alexa, Speakers, Headphones?” He continued.

I stopped. I hadn’t thought about anything like that. I did need headphones… I couldn’t find my earbuds anywhere for the last week or so, and I was about to travel home… and hmm… a Fitbit would be nice. So, I let him know.

I had a Fitbit before- it was the little clip-on kind, and I loved it. But, at that time, I was a college student at Auburn University, and I was a breakfast server at the university hotel. I’d always hit my 10,000 step goal daily, either after a day of walking around campus, or by 8am on my serving days (I’m not kidding).

But now I not only wanted a Fitbit…I needed it. I was working at home, home being a tiny apartment which probably only took me 15 steps to get from my bed to my desk. I worked through the day, sitting at my desk, occasionally trapped by videoconference meetings, or regularly leaving the house, to go work/meet with my bosses. I joined the American Business Women’s Association, and so there was one evening a month for our Chapter Meeting where I’d go and mostly sit, then our monthly board meeting…another 2 hours of sitting. Yeah, I would take breaks during the day when I could, but I never made it a priority to go out and walk. Plus, I always felt tired after a busy day.

The most exercise I probably got was walking around WalMart or Target to shop and scan items (Try Shopkick and we'll both get points toward a free gift card! Use code SAVE792565 or download I had access to a small gym at the local rec center, and I went several times to use some of the equipment…but I wasn’t about to make a special trip in town, and if I was already in town I’d try to remember my tennis shoes and athletic wear- but again, sometimes I just didn’t feel like making the stop, I was tired, or I was busy doing other things.

Christmas came, and in the evening before dinner we opened presents at my grandma’s house. My sister, Landri (11 years old), and I both got the Fitbit Versa! I couldn’t set mine up that night because I stayed at my grandma’s house and she doesn’t have WiFi, but I still immediately charged it and wore it. The next night, I stayed at my dad’s with my sister and set up my Fitbit. I created my profile and set my step goal to 10,000. She kept me up all night, and we slept in, but seeing how the Fitbit tracked my sleep was awesome.

Next, I had to figure out what I could do with my Fitbit. I tried to figure out how to add friends and posted on Facebook for my friends to add me. My friend Ashley was the first person to invite me to the Workweek challenge, then I created challenges between some of my connections. The most competitive group would be the one with my dad, my uncle, my sister, and I. Let me tell you those challenges bring out the competitor in all of us, but especially Landri. I remember one night it was about 10pm Central (they are all on Eastern time), I was just a tiny bit behind, so I joked and said I needed to get up and take a walk, I hadn’t yet when my dad called and told me to stop walking. He had just talked to Landri and she said she was going to stay up (past her bedtime) and pace her room so she could win. This girl would literally talk crap to me in the challenges or call me out on how few steps I had, when she would have so many steps because of school, cheer, and gymnastics. There was nothing I could do but try to step it up. My uncle kept winning the challenges, so one time she created a challenge without him so she would have a better chance to win.

Four months later and in a new setting, I really enjoy my new toy/tool. I am doing much better on my daily walking and have started hitting (or getting super close) to my goal. I have a notification set to alert me every hour from 9am-6pm to get up and get at least 250 steps in the hour. I love the Workweek Hustle, Weekend Warrior, Daily Showdown, and Goal Day challenges. I have completed one Solo Adventure, Yosemite Vernal Falls, and plan to do the Yosemite Valley Loop next. There are also Adventure Races to virtually race against your opponent(s) I want to try. I am still accepting friends and challenges…so connect with me!

I have to say, if you want some motivation for a more active day and a consistent sleep schedule, GET A FITBIT- officially endorsed by Emily M. Hedrick.

Ya know when you thought, “Oh I want a job that travels! I would love to be a traveling business professional! I want to explore!”


Now that I have traveled for work, and more specifically, spent 12 nights in October not in my own bed… I really don’t know what I was thinking….

Just kidding.

Travel for work is awesome. All you have to do is your Out of Officejob, and everything else is taken care of. Your gas gets paid for, your airline ticket gets paid for, your food, and sometimes even your beer or wine get paid for. Either the company pays from the get-go or you are reimbursed. It’s like you aren’t even spending money.

You get to visit some cool places too! I went to Tulsa, Oklahoma for 6 days for my first “business trip” in 2017.  We stayed downtown at a nice hotel. I was pleasantly surprised with the city and enjoyed all the restaurants, shops, and museums we visited…though I was appalled that in 2017 there are still places that don’t brew Sweet tea. If you are ever in Tulsa make sure you stop by Glacier Confection, and send me a treat for recommending it!

A year later, our client organization had their conference in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Being from Cumberland, Maryland, only about 2-3 hours away, it was nice to revisit and actually spend a night (or 5) there, in the Hershey Lodge. My family was able to visit me, which was wonderful, and when it was time to head back home, my suitcase weighed 10 pounds more than it had on arrival, due to all the chocolate I was gifted. Next year, for that conference, I will be heading out to Spokane, Washington. The furthest west I’ll have been!

I’ve had my share of “day trips” to Auburn, Birmingham, and/or Montgomery (all Alabama) in the last year or so. Drive (or ride) up that day, work, may or may not stay the night, then head back. They aren’t too bad. Just makes for a long day. Most recently we worked in Auburn for a week at a time, for 2 weeks in October. It made for a very different experience. I stayed at the "Auburn Hotel" as a guest, where I worked at for three years while in school. I was surprised at check-in to be staying on the “Executive Floor” and when I arrived to my room and saw a VIP amenity.

I guess I finally made it…

Totally kidding.

But I did have time to visit with friends I hadn’t seen and dearly missed. It was nice to hit my favorite spots and even take some recycling to the drop-off center like I used to. I had missed Auburn.

Through all this, there was work. Hard work. Emotionally, mentally, physically draining work. Plus, travel already takes “it” out of you. I really like my my own bed, with my own pillows and covers, and a comfortable room temperature. I don’t think I had ever experienced this type of tired until I traveled and worked at the same time. Will Work for Travel

It’s all worth it though. It’s so nice to go somewhere “new” (even if the location isn’t new, the work/client is different), to be able to show my value to the team, to experience variety, and to feel accomplished when it’s over.

So, after a week of recovery time…I think I'm back to normal.

Gotta keep on travelin', movin' on down the line...

It was August 2011! I’ll never forget counting down the days until I left. It was so sad…but it was so exciting, so major, I couldn’t wait for the day. I said my “proper goodbyes” to most of my friends. That morning I hugged my mom and my Nana, and dad and I got in my packed down car and started our 765 mile road trip to a place where I had only been once, and didn’t know a soul.


After ~about~ 12 hours in the car, dad and I made it to our hotel. I remember coming off the exit and seeing a Golden Corral (ugh! Haha), a WalMart, and then getting to the Jameson Inn. We had made it to Auburn, Alabama. This was my new home. Hungry, we asked where we should eat…the recommendation…Niffer’s! We got fried pickles and I signed the wall somewhere near the bar. After we ate, we went back to the hotel and settled in for the night. At some point, one of us made a comment about the TV, or clock, or cell phones or something being a different time. Without thinking I said, “well maybe we’re in a different time zone,” and after a few seconds, we realized we were! (lol)

Auburn had just won the National Championship in January, and you couldn’t drive by, or walk in, anywhere without the store, signs along the road, or the items in every store letting you know. I watched the game with a group of friends after attending a Fort Hill basketball game (I think?). When it was getting down to the end, we joked that whichever school won is where I would go to college. That’s not the reason I went to Auburn, but isn’t that funny?

I moved into my apartment, started my classes, made a few friends, and quickly got a job. I got hired at the Sonic on South College. It lasted less than a week. Turns out an unorganized store and $4.14 an hour wasn’t for me. I called and quit the Friday before the first Auburn game.

On September 3rd, Utah State came to Jordan-Hare. All I could do was take it all in. RVs full of people tailgating, cars parked all over the place, and people in orange (and some blue) were everywhere. It was an “All Orange” game, so I wore my new orange Auburn shirt. I climbed all the way to the top of the stadium, and for the first time- I saw the Eagle fly, listened & participated in the stadium-wide Auburn call cheers, and watched the marching band in awe. If you ever go to an Auburn game, DO NOT miss pregame, it’s the best part!


The Auburn Marching Band during pre-game.

The game went on, and boy, if that first game wasn’t a perfect metaphor for my new life as an Auburn fan. I’ve learned to hope for the best and expect anything. We beat Utah State 42-38, and I went out and bought myself a pair of orange Chuck Taylors in celebration.

Who knew I’d ever own this much orange?

Even though I didn’t know it yet, the “Auburn Family” was a real thing. My Auburn Family welcomed me, an outsider, and taught me all the things I needed to know. They welcomed me to their tailgates, they invited me to games with them, they taught me the cheers, the songs, the traditions, and they showed me what a real Auburn fan was.

I can’t believe that was seven years ago. There were so many new experiences and so many changes I have experienced since then. But as we prepare for another football season, I look back at those milestone moments as a Auburn student and fan.



First celebrated 48 years ago, Earth Day is an annual event held on April 22.

"On April 22,1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values." (The History of Earth Day)

This post is not has to do with creating a better Earth and climate for years to come. If you don't take the status of the environment serious, how can you live?

I know I create waste and use plenty of unnecessary energy, but I took time to reflect on some of the easy day-to-day tasks I do, some I could improve on, and some I would like to try to help the environment. I have 30 tips for you to try to focus on this month to  improve your environmental conscience and celebrate Earth Day.

In the house

  1. When you wake up in the morning and brush your teeth do you leave the water running? Wet your toothbrush then turn off the water, apply the toothpaste and brush your teeth, or apply the toothpaste, wet the brush and begin brushing...either way, just keep the water off when you are brushing.
  2. Fully charged devices? Unplug them! There are no benefits associated with wasted energy, a hot charger, and an overcharged device.
  3. This seems pretty elementary...but, I'll say it anyway. Turn off the light when you leave a room.
  4. Notice your sink leaking? Fix it or get it fixed immediately so you aren't wasting water nor paying for water use.
  5. Open your curtains, twist the blinds, and let natural sunlight in to brighten up the room instead of turning on a light.
  6. Save water in the shower & bath! Of course you can treat yourself every once in a while with a bath, but the average bath uses 35 to 50 gallons of water, whereas a 10-minute shower with a low-flow showerhead only uses 25 gallons.
  7. Take care of yourself with sustainable and/or natural personal care products! Take the extra step to buy quality products and look for alternatives- keeping in mind less packaging, less waste, less chemicals!
  8. Stop buying bottled water! Invest in a water filter for your sink, on your refrigerator, or a refillable water pitcher with a filter. It really makes no sense to have to go to the store to get water...
  9. Don't run a fan for an empty room. Ceiling fans move air, but they don't cool down a room. It is a cooling effect on us because of the movement of the air on our skin.
  10. Pretty spring days making you want to open the windows? It's the perfect time for opening up the windows letting the fresh air in- until the higher temperatures start coming and it's time for air conditioning.
  11. If you do have to run your air (or heat), they say the average temperature is 78 degrees in the summer, and 68 degrees in the winter. Set the temperature to whatever makes you comfortable, and if you begin to get too cold/hot, increase or decrease the set temperature by plus or minus two degrees, so the breaker doesn't have to work hard to get the temperature back to where you want. If you turn it completely off, it takes more energy to get the temperature back once it's increased to decreased by a significant number of degrees.
  12. Seal drafty windows and doors. The air/heat you are running is escaping! Making your unit work harder to keep your home temperature where you want it.
  13. Reduce energy consumption with smart power strips! Smart power strips save energy by turning off outlets that aren't in use while allowing you to keep your devices plugged in. Get one (or a few) for an easy, low-cost way to manage home electronics, reduce vampire power loss & save money.
  14. Have some old towels you don't want to use anymore? Cut them up to use as cleaning rags, wash rags, car wash rags, even napkins.
  15. Don't take the easy way out and use paper products, use regular dishware and wash them to reuse. Paper and styrofoam plates are only good for one use, then thrown away. #wasteful
  16. Learn about your local recycling program on Earth 911. Some places do curbside pickup in a separate bin, some places allow you to put everything together for other people to sort, and some places you have to drop it off at the local recycling center. Figure out what materials you can recycle then begin recycling at your convenience. Paper, plastic, and cardboard are very common everyday materials you use at home. Start collecting them to recycle!

Outside the house

  1. We need bees! There is growing concern at bee decline across the world caused by loss of habitat and food sources, exposure to pesticides, effects of climate change and more. We need to recognize the importance of bees to nature and to our lives and turn our knowledge into action. Plant one of these to help save the bees!
  2. Grow your own! What is something you buy in the store and use a lot of? Tomatoes? Peppers? Grapes? Peaches? Basil? Mint? Look up what you can grow in your area and start your own garden! You’ll save money at the store, and feel incredibly proud of the things you can grow.


    Small scale rain barrels with spigots.

  3. We pay for water, meanwhile it’s falling from the sky. Try collecting rainwater. You can do so on a large scale, or small scale. Use the water to wet your garden or grass, wash your car, flushing toilets and more.
  4. “Spring has officially begun and the world around us has brightened up and come to life. If you are looking to liven up your yard, it is easy to attract songbirds and wild birds.” (Attracting Songbirds and Wildbirds to your feeders)
    Plus there are several Benefits of Backyard Birds
  5. If I am in my home, in the office, out to eat, or at a meeting… I don’t want to hear you blowing leaves for hours. It’s super annoying, a substantial waste of your time and energy, and a huge producer of emissions. I love this article Why You’re the Worst Person In the World If You Use a Leaf Blower

Out and about

  1. Think about ride-sharing with friends who are going to the same place! Take turns carpooling the kids to school or sports, share rides with co-workers, friends that work close by, neighbors that need to go to the store, or someone who wants to go shopping when you do. Cut back on emissions and have fun with friends or family during the car ride.
  2. Grab a reusable water bottle, or thermos cup to take a drink with you for the trip, or for wherever you're going. If you’re going to be out for a while you need to stay hydrated. Bringing your own drink saves money and prevents you from drinking from a plastic bottle or aluminum can. You can even take an empty bottle/cup to the airport and fill with water for the plane. Take advantage!
  3. Speaking of reusable…keep a few reusable bags in your car for when you go grocery shopping. Stop taking home a bunch of plastic bags that only hold a few items, and are basically useless. Just use a few sturdy bags that hold more and make carrying groceries easier. If you do find yourself with a collection of plastic bags, there are places where you can recycle them. In California, if you want plastic bags at Wal Mart they are ten cents each. Think about that next time you come home and have to take three trips to the car to get your 20 plastic bags.
  4. Always eating on the go? If you eat takeout at work, take your own silverware to reuse each day instead of getting plastic ware every time you get food. If you are grabbing to-go food on the way home, tell them to skip out on the plastic ware, you have silverware at home! Reduce & reuse people!
  5. Same goes for coffee cups at work. If you know you drink coffee or tea most days, take your own mug, or thermos to store your coffee all day instead of throwing away one (or more) paper cups per day.
  6. Shop local! When you shop at locally owned, independent businesses more money is kept in the community. Local businesses often purchase from  other local businesses, service providers, and farms. It requires less transportation overall, and stores are generally set up shop in existing buildings in town or city centers.
  7. shop localWhen it comes to fruits and veggies, hit up the local farmers market! You know you are getting locally sourced, fresh produce for a reasonable price, and the money going back into pocket is used to grow more produce, and support a family.
  8. Donate to local nonprofit groups. You can find organizations to donate clothes, toiletries, food, personal care products, and other items you have just sitting around your house. It’s really nice to do a big spring cleaning and get rid of the things you don’t want/use. It’s even better to know your items are going to someone who needs them!
  9. Tell someone about an existing sustainable practice you use, or a new one you are interested in trying. I just gave you 29 little ideas that can make a big difference. These tips not only help the environment, but more times than none, they save you money and personal energy...and make you feel better!

What do you do to live sustainably?



As a child, I loved Valentine’s Day. I loved making however many cards for my entire (whichever grade) class. I loved my pink or red Valentine’s Day shirt from Old Navy and heart-shaped earrings and put them on proudly to wear to school on February 14. The whole day was fun- getting all the cards and candy from classmates, getting a treat and extra love from family…as a kid…one of the best holidays.

I’m older now, and Valentine’s Day is much different. It’s all about flowers, dinner, a movie, chocolate, and posting all of it on social media. But down to the core, it’s really about one

It’s the ONE day a year we all, in one way or another, celebrate love. We enjoy the company of our significant other, family, friends...or we celebrate self-love alone. However you choose to celebrate doesn't matter, but to me, Valentine’s Day is a reminder to let the ones you care for know you love them.

Take time to reflect on love- what love has done for you and what love inspires you to do. Thank the ones who helped you get to where you are, thank the ones that continue to support you. With so much negativity going on, give your love and support to everyone…no matter what day it is.

Be unafraid to step out of your comfort zone and step into someone else’s shoes...if only just for a moment. Be more friendly and understanding, give compliments and hugs. Even though Valentine’s Day is already here and gone, carry the message of love with you for the rest of the year. We all just want to be loved and appreciated, so share your positivity to those around you. What you give out, you will get back.



Well, I guess I'll start something new here. I had my blog on ...but the domain expires tomorrow (and I don't want to pay again this year to keep up my awesome website that no one looks at & needs updated). So I tried to change the URL on my WordPress...but I put /emilysjournal instead of the actual page /emilys-journal. And so now I think it's lost forever. If I can do it I will upload those older blogs on here...but they might be lost in space.


Emily M. Hedrick was born and raised in the small town of Cumberland in the mountains of Maryland. Growing up, she stayed busy with activities, a variety of interests, and lots of friends, but she didn’t like the comfortability of “staying home.” She yearned for a new adventure, in a new place, on her own.

Emily always dreamt of going away to a big college, and landed in Auburn, Alabama in August of 2011. She was “undecided,” so she tried a little bit of every major (or so it seemed). Building on her interests of communication and business, she found the public relations major as well as a passion for female education, leadership, and sustainability. In December 2016, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and was ready for another adventure.

Emily began working as The Communicator for Best Gurl, inc. in January 2017. During her first year, she has collaborated in strategic planning to promote Best Gurl products and services; created an editorial calendar, reinvigorated the social media platforms, planned marketing campaigns, and reworked and published a new company website. Through it all, she always had fun communicating with Best Gurl clients and principals.

When not working, Emily loves to listen to bluegrass music, especially The Infamous Stringdusters. Every Memorial Day weekend you can catch her back in her hometown, volunteering at DelFest, a bluegrass festival hosted by Del McCoury and family.