Monday, August 30, 2010

Movin on Up!

Hey Crepey People!!

Well this weekend, much to the help of my father, I moved into the city with my friend Jamie (we met through Alpha Phi, my beloved sorority? at IOWA--she's going to law school at John Marshall). We are living in the Fisher Building, a creation of the famed Chicago architect DH Burnham. If anyone is familiar with the book Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, Daniel Hudson Burnham was the lead architect to design the massive amount of buildings used during the Chicago World's Fair. I feel honored to be part of such a historic piece of Chicago's history. Plus, the twenty minute by-foot commute to work is pretty awesome.

I took the Megabus to Des Moines on Friday night. It was a seven hour, nausea-inducing ride and I couldn't have been happier to see my sister there to pick me up in her new car (that she paid for herself, oh ya!). We then bought groceries at Wal-Mart (the only place open at 12:30a in Des Moines) and finally hit the hay. Saturday morning, my dad and I loaded the truck, stopped in IC to say a quick Hello to Mark and Lady, and then drove to Schaumburg, IL to pick up essentials and a yumm-o dinner at IKEA. We had a 3.99$ dinner of Swedish meatballs (15 of them), mashed potatoes, lignonberry preserves, a salad, and the best Sierra Mist I've ever tasted in my life. We were beyond satiated after our meal. Plus, below you'll see a pic of our amazing bench below the bay windows. It is actually a book shelf (called "Expedit") that we picked up from IKEA and turned on its side.

We stayed the night in Evanston and were able to move everything into my 16th-floor pad by 11:30am Sunday. After feeding him a primative peanut butter sandwich and glass of water, and pleading internally for him to stay, I said good bye to my dad and off he went, South on Plymouth, Right at Congress, and on the Expressway back to Des Moines. I spent the rest of the day trying to find a 10"X10" piece of glass to replace the glass of a frame of Jamie's that I broke during the move.

I was incredibly unsuccessful.

And now, I'm just preparing, relaxing, and countin' the hours until my French sis gets here tomorrow. Eulalie will be arriving from New York City and I hope that we can go to Iowa City this weekend. So excited to see her.

Picture of me standing in the uber-efficient Swedish canteen at IKEA. Oh, and no big deal or anything, but just reppin' my GRAD SCHOOL by wearin' a NU tee they sent me.


The shot of my room standing in the doorway. I told myself I was going to try to keep the crap off my bed. But hey, at least I pulled the sheets up.


Our living room (and bar) as you walk into the place. The stove and etc are to the right behind the bar.


And finally, the view from the windows, looking to the right. It's the Pink/Purple/Brown CTA train line and the Chicago Public Library (I think I will take Eulalie with me tomorrow to go get a card). The Blue line runs on Dearborn (our street) and the Red line isn't too far from us either. Ahhh...it's great to be a city girl.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Confirmation that I am a beauty goddess

Being ever the frugie (frugal person), I've been trying to justify that $10 dry shampoo purchase. Haven't really come up with a good enough answer except that now I will buy less shampoo? but oh well. Below is a video by Oscar Blandi for Sephora that Cara (one of my Evanston roommies) sent me:



It details how to use dry shampoo. Don't those scalp massages look lovely people?!? Mmmm I started to get all relaxed just watching.

In other news,  after one and a half hours of posting my grandmother's dishes for sale, I got a hit. I hope she bites. I think my Gramma Vicki would be proud to know that her dishes are being sold because her grandaughter needs the money for rent because she spent her money on cab rides, new clothes, and um dry shampoo. Love ya Grams! Going to Des Moines this weekend, then moving into the new apartment with the help of my dad. Getting very excited!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dry Shampoo

So a friend, his name is Pete, is driving a section of Route 66 as part of a contest with Sears. He is my age, just graduated from DePaul in theatre studies, and with 1500$, he's mapping out a part of iconic America. Below is his entrance video:



In other news, today I bought some dry shampoo. I've always been curious about it, and after doing some research last night, and a trip to ULTA beauty today during my lunch hour, I settled on a 2oz ($10!) can of Ojon's "Rub Out Dry Cleanser" pictured below:



The application of this product is a bit tricky (consult your local ULTA/Sephora/Whatever associate), and the perfume is like a forty year old French woman in the Sahara (see: very strong), but I gotta say, I like it. I tried it at night; I think it's best to use it in the morning, so that bed head doesn't ruin your efforts. I've also been warned that for us brunettes and redheads, many dry shampoos (the aeresol kind) apply white, making our hair look ashy. Ojon did nothing of the sort.

Another great find spotted recently in the fashion/beauty world is $22 Paper Denim and Cloth jeans found at Overstock.com. I love the structured stitching on the pockets of PDC bottoms.

And lastly, I'm thinking about bringing back my iconic bob haircut, maybe for my birthday. I found this pic of Drew Barrymore that I absolutely love:

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Our Great Struggle

In such a timely and coinciding fashion, I came across a link on Facebook (breaking my own rules about avoiding the site) posted by a friend's older sister. She wrote something to the effect of, "Not sure if it's a relief or a worry that according to this article, I am just like every other 20-something." Her note immediately caught my eye (this was literally one day after I registered with "20-Something Bloggers).

The New York Times article entitled "What Is It About 20-Somethings" explores the emerging scientification of our age group. Meaning, that just like puberty, mid-life, or seniority, "emerging adulthood," as it is being coined, is a viable and documented final stage of brain development. Author Robin Henig, along with the scientists, theorists, and 20-somethings she interviews, explores and confirms the idea that people in this age group face a contradicting time: one that says you can do whatever you want, but one that gives you so many options, it's hard to pick just one. And if you do pick one, sometimes you fail, sometimes you succeed, but a lot of times we (20-somethings) are just so confused or excited by all the options, we can't seem to be able to stay committed to anything.

Picture courtesy of newyorktimes.com

I felt much like my friend's sister did. I was comforted by the fact that many people my age, and scientists can confirm, feel just about as lost yet excited and hopeful as I do. But I was also frustrated. One, because it means that I am not unique (boooohooo...). And two, what should we be doing to get on the path to happiness?

I'm often of the mindset that we should do whatever we can to move forward--meaning, we should always be looking for the next experience, if it's a new job, a graduate degree, meeting new people. But this course of action leaves me feeling empty and exhausted after a while: doing all the things I think I'm supposed to do, the things I think I will regret if I don't, the things I think other people want me to do (or even to do for themselves). And I want these things, but they aren't doing the trick. Meaning, after a while, I can't help but think: "I'm doing all the right things, I look good on paper, but I don't feel any different or more 'Me.'" So I think it's time to stop. Time to start enjoying life for the uncertain time that it is. Because sooner or later, it will be all too certain.

For now, I am going to relax, slow down, and accept my fate as a 20-something. And just be.

5 20-somethings just being somethings at Lolla, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Black and White

So what if Obama was Muslim? Is Muslim? What's the big deal? Is it this, plus his dark skin, that is too much for our fair skinned, Puritan nation? As far as I knew, Mohammed was a prophet of peace. Terrorists, just like Fundamentalist Mormons, are a far cry from their predecessors, or rather, the sources of their inspiration? Terrorists are not the Muslims of Mohammed. FLDS are not the followers of Christ. Learn to separate the two people! Enough with the melodrama!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Oui Oui

At the urging of my father, I'm making a conscious effort to keep up my French. Currently, I am listening to a live webstream of a Parisian news radio station. It is 7:45pm here, which means it is 2:45am in Paris. I have a feeling there are more American listeners right now than there are French ones. They are talking it seems to be a round-table episode, with about three different speakers, and (gasp!) they are talking about Sark-o and the economy. BORING.


There are also some great podcasts available to Francophones of all levels and I imagine there is a great selection for n'importe quelle langue ("any language"). I started this re-immersion into French last night after attempting to get through another epi of SKINS (unsuccessful), so I turned the radio program on and did my sit-ups (this is also a very new routine). I literally shed a tear when, while listening real hard, I was able to understand what they were talking about: the withdrawl plan for America from Afghanistan and Iraq....sigh...

I've been writing since I was old enough to sharpen a pencil. But no, I won't lie to you and tell you I was one of these kids with plastic frame glasses sitting in their treehouses writing screen plays. Instead, I worked writing into my life, to make it a very natural extension of who I am. If it was notes to myself, "documents" during my sister's and I games of "House" or "Work," or dreams and thoughts into a journal, I was conscious at a young age to embrace writing. And now, that I'm an adult and have to do it as part of my job work current gig, I've realized that writing is something I have to do on my own. In other words (did you get my pun?), it's something that has to come to me, that if feeling unispired or feeling short of material, it's not something I can force. Writing has always been a mutual love: being a creative outlet and a utilitarian tool for survival. Our relationship is symbiotic, and if I ask too much, it doesn't come...

So my challenge to you today is three things: One, start practicing that skill you worked so hard to get and may have since lost (maybe the piano, running a mile, making a batch of cookies without a recipe). Two: write about it, just a paragraph, and remember how easy it was. And three, find a job, volunteer opportunity, or internship that sounds interesting to you. Here are some suggestions:

Bare Escentuals (ie, Bare Minerals, foo) is hiring a Brand and Internal Communications coordinator--Coordinator is an entry-level job title, and internal and brand comm is perfect for anyone wanting to get involved in Public Relations, Marketing, etc. Click here for more (I also applied).

For volunteering, check out Cross Cultural Solutions. They offer one-four week volunteer and internship opps all over the world. Great for anyone with a conscience. *Wink* I'm interested in this one in Morrocco--un pays francophone.

Happy writing!! And happy job applying!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lookin' Fly at The Office

Sounds impossible, doesn't it? Also, sounds expensive, don't it? Well yes, sometimes it is hard to find that perfect mix of corporate and casual, young but put-together. And it's even hard to do it on a budget. But it's not impossible if you have the right tools, and it doesn't have to be expensive as long as you are willing to set a budget and be true to it.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the key is in the fit. An outfit, casual or corporate, can look like a million bucks (and cost about $20) if it fits you right. Conversely, you could spend $100 on an outfit and look like you belong on the side of a milk carton.

And even though I love exaggerated prints and wild colors, for creating a cohesive wardrobe, they are not so helpful. So, I think a good alternative is working in solids, ie, color blocks like Joan Miro. These shoes from Yoox.com caught my eye and I thought they would look great with a black/navy blue/and purple outfit: (I would like to note that I was not Yoox-endorsed to mention their site).
Speaking of Yoox.com, there are great online sites for reasonable, but fashion forward, clothing. Yoox can be quite expensive, but if you scour their sale section (where I found these shoes for $40), you can find great stuff. I also love Bleudame.com and Hautelook.com. These two sites let you pick and choose popular and current trends that will mesh with your style, budget, and profession.

And finally, I think it's important to remember that the office doesn't have to be a runway. Most people, save for a few Vogue-reading girls, probably don't care what you're wearing. As long as you look smart and approachable. So don't sweat the small stuff. Don't hoard clothes and labels just for the sake of having lots. Remember that if you buy the right things, you don't have to buy a lot. Happy Shopping! And Happy Interviewing!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Workin' 9-5!

The weather outside today plummeted to almost 70'F but I can't shake any feeling of summer, especially considering that I have another six weeks before school starts.

With school approaching and my future life flashing before my eyes, I've been really trying to define myself, at least as a professional person. Lately, I've been struggling with the fact that this blog has yet to take on any true sense of identity or self. In other words, this thing is still kind of all over the place and so I want to work on bringing in the focus, both with this and all things in my life. And because I'm working in job recruiting, I've noticed that a lot of people seem to be challenged by this as well, at least when it comes to their career. So, I've decided that today, I will provide a few pointers to fellow job-seekers, especially those who are young, in hopes that I might be able to offer some respite:

1. Pick a good resume layout, one that is different yet still easy to read. Google Docs has some great templates that are great for those of us who are Microsoft XP challenged. (Apple did not endorse me to say that, though I wish.)

2. Most of us will work for others at least one point in our lives. So, meditate on the type of person, people, or company/organization you want to work for. One that is global or local? One that practices safe, sustainable procedures? One that is a start-up or well-established? Depending on your choice, you may enter into a company that offers a lot of growth (big ones) or a chance to really show your stuff and get your hands dirty (small ones). And remember, no matter what the work, you want it to be for a purpose that makes you proud (whether that be to make money, live in San Francisco, or save orphaned guinea pigs).

3. Write your conclusion down. Put this in your "Objective" section of your resume.

4. For the first 2-4 years of your career, list your HIGHER (ie don't list high school) education at the beginning of your resume, because chances are it's still a major selling point of your skills. After you've established yourself and gotten good experience, move this to the bottom.

5. I read that you should not list "References Provided Upon Request" because it might raise an eyebrow to the HR manager or make them think they have to work too hard. I however think you should only provide them when requested, because the references you provide will depend greatly on the job you are applying for and who you are able to give a heads-up to (that an HR person will be calling) and your source of reference-givers will change as you gain more experiences/meet new people.

6. Always list the dates of jobs. Don't put "Retail Associate, 2009-2010." Instead, list the month as well so that the HR department feels assured in the exact amount of time you were actually there. Because it could mean December 2009-February 2010 or it could mean January 2009-December 2010. BIG DIFFERENCE. And they are gonna find out either way. But please, do not list the exact date. It looks weird.

7. DON'T MOVE AROUND. Try to keep as solid of a history as you possibly can. HR people will be suspicious if you've had three jobs in two years, even if it was completely circumstantial. They don't care, and you can't put asterixes all over your resume. So, pick and chose what goes on the resume (like for myself, for example, I decided NOT to list my one-month stint at Ann Taylor b/c it doesn't help me at all, even if I am applying to Gap--it just looks like a red flag). And this being said, be sure about every career/job choice you make. Be conscious of it, because if you don't like it, and leave, it may come back to haunt you. I think a good rule of thumb is: 3-5 months for internships (4 mo is ideal), 1 year for entry-level position, 1.5-2 yrs for next level, so on an so forth. This will show your employer you are focused on advancing and reaching your potential while still paying your dues.

8. Networking is key! Talk to everybody you can, go to events, reach out to adults, use LinkedIn and alumni sites. Big Ten alums especially love other Big Ten alums--milk it for all it's worth! Trust me, I think football and NCAA conferences are just as irrelevant as you do, but it can work wonders when meeting a stranger.

9. Don't do any more than two internships. And if you haven't even done one at all, well then my friend, get your butt on the computer and start making some calls. You need the experience. Check out this site too: The Intern Queen.

10. Buy yourself a proper interview outfit--please make sure that it fits, that it's conservative, and that it shows some of your personality. No cleavage, no butt cracks/boxers, and please, don't wear something too big or too small.

I'm hoping that I can keep giving you guys clues into finding work. Because, yes, people are still working despite the economy. And no, internships shouldn't be a back-up plan because working for free is ridiculous. I have some food blogs that I am going to share with you tomorrow. In the meantime, good luck!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

S**t my dad says



So there's a mildly hilarious blog, book, and soon to be tv show I believe called Sh*t My Dad Says. And I don't mean to sound like I am "poo pooing" it. It is actually quite funny, in a vulgar, mean sort of way. But honestly, my dad is cooler. Why? Cuz that dude knows how to write a sentence! Which is why I've decided to record some of the stuff my dad says, which, for completely opposite reasons as Justin Halpern's father's comments, are just as provoking...

"I'm working on a unit of measurement based loosely on the notion of how long a person who is 20% over the national weight could run before collapsing. In fact, I'm calling it the keel factor."

"We're told we'll even get to meet some of the appraisers. No appraisals at the reception, though, so don't ask me to slip them your old Apple IIC. "

"Adulthood brings with it a variety of challenges . . . teenage children, mortgages and sleepless to name a few."

"To normal people, that doesn't mean much. But to Iowans, heat index is a sweaty, red exclamation point to what would otherwise be just another ungodly hot day."

"Yesterday was one of those all good news days, when the world opens its windows to your breeze."

"Cleaned the car at the quarter- wash on Grand -- but it cost me twice what it should have. I mistakenly loaded up the stall next to me before seeing the error of my ways."

"As the angry right continues to influence more of the political conversation, sucking even moderates like McCain and Lindsey Graham into it's turbulent wake, I'm amazed at the level of inhumanity and incivility the rest of us now practice and accept. "

"Is there anyone, Republican or Democrat, unhappy to see this hate-monger flailing to keep his political ambitions alive like a roach in water? "

"Read on. Have a drool cloth handy . . . "

"I've come to understand that by breaking life into its nano elements, pixels, and digi-bytes, computers are largely responsible for society's fragmentation. "

"Alexis, you have beefy arms."

"Alexis, the grease on your forehead looks like a third eye."

"Let's went."

This list could honestly go on and on, as I'm sure Justin's could about his 74 year old father too. But my dad's is droning for a slightly less comic reason: it's truth. It's to the point, flourished, but not at all flowery, my dad says it like he sees it, only better than your dad. And I'm willing to bet on that.

The guy is funny.

So in honor of my dad's meditations on life, I challenge everyone today reading (not including my dad) to write a mission statement, be it for their resume or their life. I've got mine, do you?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hello Friends and Lovers!

Has anyone seen this show on IFC (independent film channel) called Food Party? It's a wacky 20-minute "cooking show" that is a fictionalized Rachel Ray on some sort of Pee-Wee Herman acid trip. And yes, it is just as annoying as it sounds.

Whew...this weekend went by fast. Friday night entailed a trip to Caputo's (an amazingly inexpensive local grocery store specializing in Italian, Mexican, and Polish goods with locations in multiple suburbs) where we stocked up on good ranging from Nutella, to Indian curry, to $3/lb turkey, to Italian tea biscuits. That night, we made an especially yummy dinner: Syrrah-baked spicy Italian sausage, portobello risotto with wine glaze, and romaine salad. Plus, that Syrrah from the ingredients list also made it into our glasses. For dessert? Milk and cookies. Mmm...



Saturday was a great day. We snuck Lady into the dog beach (because as it turns out, it is not free. Fail: Evanston). We checked out the local arts festival (Success: Artist Rachel Perrine). And then we watched MacBeth while eating our left-overs from the night before (Fail: Me falling asleep in the second act). And to end the night, after an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay, we hit up Oberweiss, an amazing local creamery. Witness this success below:





And finally, Sunday, believe it or not, was a day spent at Lollapalooza. We saw The Cribs, Yeasayer, MGMT, and Arcade Fire. I managed to sneak into the VIP section (see: free beer, food, cigarettes, and fancy restrooms) unknowingly and managed to take advantage of nothing. Yeasayer was fantastic, albeit incredibly hot, and it was clear the East Coast boys were feelin' a little weezy. The night ended with Arcade Fire, who played the perfect mix of their new album The Suburbs with their hits from Funeral. Pics of "da Gang" will be coming soon...


#87.1 - YEASAYER - No need to worry / Redcave
Uploaded by lablogotheque. - See the latest featured music videos.

FREE MUSIC! Download Arcade Fire's title track off of The Suburbs: GO TO THIS LINK: http://www.box.net/shared/aok0o43be4

PEACE Y'ALL!!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Are you going to Lolla??

Um no actually I'm not. Instead, I think it will be nice to take Lady to the dog beach in Evanston (one of the few I've seen dedicated solely for dogs...and one of the few free beaches in town) and then head to the free showing at Ingraham Park of Macbeth at 3pm (I know...Lady's namesake...How perfect!).

Mark seems to think that Lolla has been involved in some shady business (he didn't know the details). And while this has yet to be confirmed or fact-checked by my assistant, he did also mention that ticket sales are way down. And again, I have yet to have this on record, but it doesn't seem to far fetched. 300 bones for Lady Gaga and Cat Power? Ok Arcade Fire too, but really, 300 big ones to attempt yet again to conquer Grant Park, the endless sea of mud, mobile phone tents, and Urban Outfitter rejects? As I work to grapple with my own post-consumerism notions, feelings, and actions, I really can't see how anyone could justify Lolla this year.

Of course, it should be noted, that the only way I ever went in the first place two years ago was because I had loan money. But in all seriousness, I think people are realizing, or at least thinking strategically, that they can't spend that much money, plus the green on transportation, food, and BEER (even if it is PBR) right now. School is approaching, summer is winding down, and I imagine that people just don't see the reason in investing all that money into one weekend. And really, as far as I'm concerned, the best venue for any show is the speakers in your car, racing down a backroad.

The verdict on this one? Lolla, Out. Saving money, Hip. Lady Gaga's bellybutton? Probably an outtie but that's weird so let's say In.



courtesy of: ideagirlconsulting.wordpress.com

Monday, August 2, 2010

So Fetch

So you want to know what I think is "Fetch?"...

Alright Google Buzz, it looks like it's just you and me. That's right, I said it, just you and me. Why? Because believe it or not, I deactivated my Facebook account. I'm sick of the social nuance site becoming my main source of social activity. Especially because nothing interesting happens on it. Even when I find out that that one girl from Junior year pre-calc class is pregnant, the THRILL IS GONE.

In related news, I am also trying to stop spending money, particularly on clothes. I have too many of them, and most of the items I currently own I hate anyways. My clothes will never be good enough, cute enough, fit me the right way, or look as polished as the girl sitting next to me. So I've decided to give it up. Stop the charade. And learn to accept my uniform of skinny pants, over-sized tee, and Danskos that I have come to so dearly accumulate.

And in spirit of it all, I am also boycotting Food Network. "Why, Alexis?" you ask. "You love food!" Yes, I guess I do. But I do not love watching whiny jerks who think they're God's gift to the kitchen. And more importantly, Food Network has just become an off-shoot of the reality TV drama infested insanity, which, as far as I'm concerned, is really just a glamorized game show. Competition for an over-sized check and the forced approval from a pretty lady. Pat Sajek please...

It's interesting: the hardest component for me to part with in Facebook was my pictures. But I realize that I have the majority of them printed, and even still, I never look at them. And the pictures I wish I had printed, well that just learns me my lesson that even pictures are fleeting.

And who's excited for the Vogue September style issue?? Over 300 pages of anorexia-ridden consumerism??!?!? MEEEEE!!!!



photo courtesy of jezebel.com