Saturday, February 28, 2009

Getting a Job for My Ego

Saturday, February 28, 2009 0
Above: If I don't get a job soon, I'm going to have to find more inspiration from bathroom wall drawings. This one isn't really reassuring.

Is anyone else out there looking for a post-graduation job? Does anyone else out there have thousands of dollars in school loans encroaching on their life? Does anyone else out there despise the economic meltdown? Does anyone else just wish that they'd win a million dollars and be set for life?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, too bad. That's life. It's kind of sad. But do you know what I did to try to make myself feel better about not getting any post-graduation offers?

I made a new page on my website, catered towards my ego. It will now act as my homepage. It's a list of social networking sites, articles, brochures, and websites that are all about me. I've also attached my resume in case any employers happen upon it.

I'm going to find a job. My ego hates me!

Friday, February 27, 2009

I like things that make me glad :-)

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Today I found a new song via Pandora Radio that I really like! It's called "Things" by a Brooklyn-based group called FannyPack. This song was released in 2003 on their "So Stylistic" album.

I looked for about five minutes, but I couldn't find any other videos to demonstrate the song, other than this one with randoms girls. But just ignore the girls and listen to the music!



The lyrics can be found here.

And, special treat, I found a circa 2003 NYTimes Hip-Hop review on FannyPack.

Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeet!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

flyod the goldfish

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My friend, Maria, told me a touching story about her family's childhood goldfish and his silver fish friend. I'd like to recount that story.

Floyd was the goldfish's name, and his silver fish friend was Yobi. The two fish originally belonged to her brother, Christopher, who had them for about a year, but he left them behind when times at college got a little too hectic. Unfortunately, Yobi had a short life and died not long after they got the fish, because Floyd kept eating all of the food. Floyd went on to live another three years, eating happily, until one December when Massachusetts had a drought and the city switched water sources. There was too much iron for poor Floyd to live, and so he moved on to a new life somewhere else. Maria's father, being the hero of the family, flushed Floyd that December morning before Maria came down for breakfast.

Years after the incident, Ryan, Maria's other brother, made a tribute video, entitled "flyod the goldfish". It's spelled Flyod, because one year all of the siblings were making Christmas ornaments and Ryan made one of Floyd, but spelled it Flyod.

What a great story. And now, we all get a first hand look at Ryan's work of art.



Note: Goldfish have an average life span of between 5-10 years. The oldest known goldfish lived to be 41 years old. However, many goldfish die prematurely due to environmental changes.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Is It Really Decaf?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 0
Shocking news: Decaf coffee has caffeine.

That's according to several studies.

"If someone drinks five to ten cups of decaffeinated coffee, the dose of caffeine could easily reach the level present in a cup or two of caffeinated coffee," says researcher Bruce A. Goldberger, PhD, of the University of Florida, in a news release.

In a study administered by Journal of Analytical Toxicology, researchers found that only one "decaf" coffee out of the ten tested was actually caffeine-free: decaffeinated Folgers Instant.

In another study by ConsumerReports.org, secret shoppers bought 36 cups of decaf from six locations of Burger King, Dunkin' Donuts, McDonald's, Seattle's Best Coffee, 7-Eleven, and Starbucks and tested them for caffeine content. To quote from the study:
More than half of our decafs had less than 5 mg of caffeine, but some had quite a bit more. One of the six cups from Dunkin' Donuts had 32 mg; one from Seattle's Best had 29 mg; and one from Starbucks had 21 mg. Levels of caffeine in the decaffeinated coffees we tested varied within chains, but in our sample, McDonald's decaf consistently had less than 5 mg.
Reference point: an 8-ounce cup of regular drip-brewed coffee contains about 85 milligrams of caffeine.

Overall, caffeine amounts ranged from around 1/10 to a little over 1/3 of that in regular coffee.

It's a lesson learned: decaffeinated ≠ caffeine-free.

Anti-Wrinkle Cream in your 20s?

Last night, my friend spotted a pack of Olay Regenerist 14 Day Skin Intervention on my dresser. Only one of the 14 packets were removed, so she asked if I was using it. "No," I replied, "I just thought I'd try it, because some of my co-worker working on the Olay account at Saatchi thought it was great." Unfortunately, I'm not so good with regimines. Crest White Strips proved that to me! After 5 days, I was forgetting to put on the strips! So, the rest of my 10-day pack was useless!

She took it home and emailed me an interesting questions: "Is 22 years old too young to start using anti-wrinkling creams?"

From my experience working on the Olay team, I could tell her immediately that the two people who recommended the 14 Day system to me in the first place were both in their lower 20s. But I did some more research to solidify my answer.

It turns out that many dermatologists begin recommending anti-aging products that contain niacinamide and retinoids to those in their 20s. The reasoning is that anti-aging products work best as prevention tools rather than treatments. Leslie Baumann, "the Skin Guru", writes about skin care in your 20s and 30s, and says that beyond beginning the use of anti-aging products, the most important thing to do is form good skin care habits:
"Hopefully, you've been using sunscreen regularly since you were a child. (To any parents reading this: Teaching your children about sun avoidance and protection is one of the greatest gifts you can give them!) If you smoke, stop - and definitely don't start. Learn to incorporate skin-friendly foods into your diet, like berries and green tea for antioxidants, salmon and flax seed for omega-3 fatty acids."
Note of Caution: If you are using anti-wrinkle creams, make sure you drink enough water, as most creams cause dehydration and could actually aid in creating wrinkles if not used properly.

Personally, I've been trying to move towards using all-natural body care treatments. But it's just so difficult and expensive to completely switch over everything: skin care, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, make-up, deodorant, lip balm! So, I'm going to keep switching one product at a time, as the old stuff runs out.

In the meantime, at least we know that using anti-wrinkle creams in our 20s is okay.

Syrah or Shiraz?

Above: Project Happiness Syrah Red Wine from Trader Joe's

Everyone needs some happy red wine every now and then. That's why I chose pRojECt hApPinesS Syrah tonight!

And then I realized a disconnect in my knowledge between Shiraz and Syrah. I began to wonder, "Are Shiraz and Syrah the same type of grape?"

The answer: Yes!

It turns out that Shiraz and Syrah are indeed the same grape. According to weeklydig.com, the difference lies in how you use the names:

"Syrah is the old-world name, and it's used when referring to wines either from France's Rhône Valley or wines made in that style, like those from California. Shiraz is the "new-world" name, and it's given mainly to wines made in a modern style, like those from Australia."

So, there we have it! We can all go back to our normal lives, in peace of the knowledge that Shiraz and Syrah are one in the same!

Why is it called a Tennis Bracelet?

Above: Harry Winston Tennis Bracelet (Price: $21,000)


My friends and I were watching the grand finale of The Real Housewives of Orange County tonight, and a question popped into my mind. One of the cast members, Tamra, received a "tennis bracelet" for her birthday. The tennis bracelet is an in-line thin diamond bracelet that features a symmetrical pattern of diamonds. It's a beautiful piece of jewelry, yet the name is so startling. I wondered, "Why is it called a tennis bracelet?" A little research revealed a possible answer.

According to Diamond Bug, in 1987, Chris Evert, the former World No. 1 woman tennis player and the winner of 18 Grand Slam singles titles, was playing in the U.S. Open. She was wearing an elegant in-line diamond bracelet, made by jeweler to the stars George Bedewi. Unfortunately, the bracelet broke during a match and interrupted the game so that Evert could recover her precious diamonds. The "tennis bracelet" incident made history and inspired a new name for the jewelry item.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Business Cards with Style

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I was at an event a week or so ago, when I decided that my business cards are out-of-style. Luckily, that same night, a trendy professional was handing out his "minicards" with personalized photos on the back, purchased from moo.com.

That night, I went home and ordered my very own minicards, customizing them with pictures I had taken in China, Thailand and New York. I chose around 40 pictures. Can you believe that you can upload up to 100 photos? And it's all included in the base price of $19.99 for 100 minicards.

Yesterday, I had a package in the mail. It was my minicards! I wanted to share the experience with you! Here's what I found within the envelope that had shipped from London:

Above: The cute container that held my mincards

Above some of the various cards that I customized!

I definitely recommend these minicards for professionals who are tired of the average black-on-white business card. These minicards add a personal touch and story to each card that you hand out. Now I'll have a story to tell each time I hand out my card!

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Tragedy of Bake Sales

Monday, February 23, 2009 0
Above: China Care members, Lily and Stephanie at the bake sale

NYU China Care had its first bake sale of the Spring 2009 semester today! We raise money to help fund life-saving surgeries for disabled Chinese orphans.

Total funds raised today? $98.05.

I'm wondering if there is a way to make bake sales more profitable, because I'm tired of having 5-6 volunteers help with baking hundreds of baked goods, transporting all of those goods to the sale site, sitting for hours, trying to get passersby to buy cookies and brownies, and coming out with small profits. The work that we put in is worth more than the money we come out with! We could all just volunteer our hypothetical wages (in the case that we could actually be working and being paid our average work wages, instead of volunteering our time; thus the theory of opportunity cost) for the time we put in and raise much more. But, we want to keep up the community involvement by educating our peers about China Care.

It seems like there has to be a better model for bake sales. Does anyone out there have suggestions on how to ramp up our profits?

The French Paradox and Red Wine

Above: My friend's 21st birthday party!

I've always wondered why everyone says that a glass of red wine a day is a healthy choice, and today I found out! It was based on a study known as "The French Paradox".

"The French Paradox" refers to the coincidence in France of lower-than-average mortality rates from cardiovascular disease and higher-than-average consumption of saturated fats, such as butter and cheese. In 1991, before 35 million American TV viewers, Doctors Curt Ellison and Serge Renaud presented research findings that attributed the phenomenon to the beneficial effects of the higher-than-average consumption of red wine. And obviously, red wine sales in America jumped dramatically after the airing.

I haven't quite committed to a daily glass of wine yet, but I'm considering! (And I must confess I'm a sucker for Sangria!)

Must Speak Mandarin ... Sort of.

Since studying abroad in Shanghai during the fall of 2006, I've had a keen interest in living and working in China. Ever since, I've been keeping up on the news in China.

I attended the Wharton China Business Forum this weekend in hope to learn more about the business environment in China. I also hoped to get a little insider information on the job market for foreigners looking to get into entry-level marketing positions. I came in with a good idea that there wouldn't be much demand for me in the China market, but came out feeling hopeless.

In one of our seminars, a student asked, "Is it absolutely necessary to learn Mandarin in order to work in China?" Among the four panelists, answers fell into these categories:

  • Oh yes! Definitely! I am ONLY looking for candidates that fluently speak Mandarin and English. You really need to know both languages in order to work in China... however, I don't know a lick of Mandarin! hahaha. Really what I mean is, if you're entry-level, you have to know it. If you're at the management level, you can get in, because you have much more valuable business knowledge and experience.
  • Well, "Wo shuo putonghua" ("I speak Mandarin" -- mind you, he had a horrible accent and at first I couldn't even tell what he was saying). I recommend that you take 3-4 months off and learn the language. Don't do like me and pick it up over 10 years!
  • I'm Taiwanese, and I think it's a definite advantage to know the language. For example, I went into a negotiation where the counter party had to rely on his competition's intern for interpretation. In that case, he had a huge disadvantage.
  • We don't want to discourage anyone, because there are many people in business in China that don't speak much Mandarin, but learning any language when entering that country is important.
So, basically, I have no chance of working in China until I'm an MBA graduate with 3-4 years of experience and completely fluent in Mandarin Chinese. So depressing!

For those of you who don't know me, let me fill you in on my involvement with China:

  • I'm one of the founders and presidents of an on-campus club called NYU China Care. We help disabled Chinese orphans receive life-saving surgeries.
  • I've studied Mandarin for 2 years.
  • I was one of the first 18 students to studying abroad with NYU in Shanghai.
  • I wrote a guide for students studying abroad in Shanghai, as well as a website.
  • I was just recently admitted as one of 40 delegates of FACES, Forum for American/Chinese Exchange at Stanford. (There were over 600 applicants this year!)
  • I chose to participate in a one-week learning experience with NYU Stern called Hong Kong International Study Program, sponsored by the Edward and Nancy Barr family. We learned about the 2nd largest paper producer in China, Lee & Man Paper.
  • I plan to study Mandarin in China this summer through the Critical Language Scholarship.
However, unlike one of the panelist's recommendations, it doesn't take only 3-4 months to learn Mandarin. I've been studying for 2 years, and I still don't have a full grasp on the language.

For someone so interested in Chinese culture and business, it's just depressing to know that recruiters have such stringent demands for entry-level positions, yet upper management is allowed to slack on the language.

No fair! Give me a chance!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Feeling Entitled to Good Grades

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Today the Most Emailed New York Times article is entitled "Students Expectations Seen as Causing Grade Disputes". It's a good read, especially for professors or college students tired of the endless grading battle that occurs every semester in almost every course.

The article describes how students bring a certain expectation of making good grades to college and are disappointing when they realize that their work ethic has earned them less than their expectations. Some researchers attribute this feeling to Generation Y's sense of entitlement. Due to an increase in the competitiveness of the learning environment, researchers think that students have suddenly gone bonkers trying to make exceptional grades at the cost of true learning.

I can't tell you how many times I've felt the same way about my grades, though. Sometimes, I definitely deserve B here and there, but in other cases, I find it difficult to rationalize why I didn't make at least the A- cut. I think that most of my work could be described as "quality work", with the exception of the essays that I crank out at 1:00am the day of the due date. Yet still each semester my transcript reveals an unexpectedly low grade for a course that I thought I had in the bag. Am I one of these so-called students with a "sense of entitlement"?

Perhaps, but there are a lot of students out there that feel the same way. Each semester at NYU Stern professors pass out their syllabi and voice disclaimers that go something like this, "The grading system is outlined in my syllabus. The grade on your transcript will reflect the effort and quality of your work. Please do not call or email after this course, asking to negotiate your grade. There is a system to my grading, and I haven't made a mistake yet."

Maybe it's our generation that needs to chill out. Or maybe it's the elementary school environment that we grew up in. Perhaps it's our parents' faults for pressuring us to be super duper awesome. Who knows? So, for the meantime, I think we can all stop emailing our professors for grade negotiations, and our professors can continue to keep up the great work in outlining their expectations.

How about we all give organic learning a try? I've realized that classes that are the most fun are the ones that I genuinely enjoy and forget about grades in.

With all of that being said, I'm interested in student stories about grading! Comment below!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sending a Singing Telegram on Valentine's Day

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On February 13th, I was sitting at my desk at work wondering what I could get my boyfriend for Valentine's Day. You must know that he's the best boyfriend in the world; so I really needed to go all out on this one.

Some friends gave a few suggestions: dinner, a teddy bear, a show... none of them seemed right.

So, I Googled "Valentine's gifts". After looking through a few forums of discussion, I found a post that spoke about singing telegrams. "PERFECT!" I thought. Immediately, I sought out an NYC company in the singing telegram business. I found PreppyGrams, a local company that specialized in classy singing telegrams.

Within an hour, I had booked a singing heart to serenade my guy. Check out the footage as caught by my Valentine below!



His coworkers really got a kick out of it, and I think he really enjoyed it, too! I highly recommend sending singing telegrams now! It's probably the coolest gift I've sent on Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Living in NYC's Legendary Discotheque -- The Palladium

Wednesday, February 18, 2009 0
In 1985, Interior Design magazine wrote that The Palladium:

"represents Arata Isozaki's transformation of a vacant and rundown theater (originally built in 1854 as the Academy of Music) into an extraordinary interior that can only be described as a sleek new structure, the equivalent of a seven-story building suing more than 200 tons of steel, within the restored grandeur of the original shell."

It was the party playground for celebrities, including Madonna. Unfortunately, The Palladium saw its best days in the 80's. In 1998, it was closed, sold to New York University, and demolished.



Now, in 2009, the site is the home of Palladium Hall, which houses NYU students as well as multiple NYU facilities, including the Wasserman Center for Career Development,the Palladium Athletics Facility, a dining hall, wireless study lounges and music and piano rooms.

In fact, it also houses me, an NYU senior! And these days, the only excitement that this historic site boasts include lost mail situations and troubles signing in guests with the guards in the lobby. So much for the glory days!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Future of Social Media Marketing

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 0
Abrams Research just came out with their social media survey today. Check it out here. Here's an abridged version:

  • Most people would recommend businesses use Twitter over any other social media site: 40% to just 15% for Facebook
  • But - they'd pay for Facebook over any other site for their own use
  • MySpace: DEAD LAST FOR BOTH. Ouch.
  • When asked which company was using social media best (their pick), top choices were Zappos, Obama and CNN (also NYT, NPR, Dell, Jetblue, plus a WineLibrary shout-out)
Check out the unabridged version for all the juicy details!

All of this data kind of makes you wonder... what is the future of social media marketing? Any thoughts?

First Random Post

I decided that it's time for me to have a blog! No reason. No purpose. No scheme. No plan. It's just a blog, and I'll follow it where ever my randomness decides to go.

I know what you're thinking. Oh great, another random blog. I agree. It sounds cheesy. I'll do my best to make it fun!

I'm not sure what the theme of my new blog will evolve into, but I hope you'll join me in the process!