Archive | November, 2008

Why Have I Not Purchased One Of These Sooner?

25 Nov


If I got a quarter for every time I, or someone else in the checkout line at the grocery store says, ” Darn it I forgot my bag in the car!” I’d be a very rich woman. It’s always the same routine: I throw my bag in the car, do some shopping, and then spend the entire time in line, playing a game of tetris with my items to see how best I can stack them without using a bag (of course I forgot my bag in the car). Thankfully, my weakness for last minute purchases at the checkout line payed off today when I threw a Whole Foods reusable Chico bag into my cart. For 2.99 how could I resist? I have so many reusable bags at home I could supply the whole grocery store, but this one was different- it had a key chain! When I got back to the office, I scrunched the bag into a little ball and tucked it into the attached (yes attached!) case and clipped it back to my key chain. 

Maybe it’s the short, slow week that’s making me easily amused, but I think this is a pretty cool find. With an estimated 14 million trees cut down each year for paper bags in the US alone, reusable bags are a great alternative. Head to your nearest Whole Foods, or check out their web site to purchase one.


Young People Who Rock

24 Nov

I just discovered this great new series on CNN, where every week, anchor Nicole Lapin, highlights people under 30 doing remarkable things. The best part is that she writes an intro on her blog ahead of time, so you can comment with any questions you’d like her to ask in the interview Friday. It’s a great way to learn and interact with a variety of young stars- from athletes, entertainers and political leaders, to community activists and entrepreneurs. 

Check out the interview above with Aaron Arnold, the 29 year old CEO of the company Music is My Business. After graduating from college, and working in PR, he decided to change his career path and find his true passion which was music. I love how he asked himself, “If money didn’t matter, what would I do?” His story, along with the others, encourages you to choose a career you are really passionate about.

Monday Muse

24 Nov

A catchy fun song from two classic artists Regina Spektor and Ben Folds.

Check it out:

What We’re Mad About This Week…

21 Nov

front-holiday-cardPoseprints: Our friends started this company a year ago, and all biases aside, if we had to design our dream stationary, this would be it. Using their design tab, you can personalize your stationary with a look-alike pose. They have options for every occasion- christmas cards, birthday invitations, graduation and wedding announcements, recipe cards and more. 

169100_detail-2See Jane Work:  Since most of us spend a good part of our week (okay most of it) at the office, why not invest in some cute and fun office supplies? They have everything from laptop bags, to calendars, notebooks and computer supplies. Check out their sales section for some great deals. 

20something20something bloggers: I know, all you need is one more social networking site to be addicted to. But if you’re like us, and can’t wait to discover new blogs, this is a great community to be a part of.  With over 3,000 members you’re sure to find some new favorite blogs to follow. 

burgerDaily Candy’s ten nibbles and sips under $10: All you sf’ers out there, this is a great list of frugal finds! Eating out can be expensive, and if money’s tight, (especially as you save for xmas presents or if you are like me and moving to a new apartment), it’s always nice to eat out cheaply.

l6092929747_8545The office: In case you didn’t catch last night’s episdode, all we will tell you is.. Toby’s back!!! Yes, the can’t-explain-it hatred between michael and Toby is by far my favorite part about this show, and I was experiencing major withdrawals when he went to Costa Rica. Check out the site to watch it if you missed it, and catch up on the characters blogs. 

grow-21Swirly Career test: Thanks to working-girl for this one (another recent obsession). This quick little career test has been right on for everyone who took it! 

zenhabitszenhabits: This is one of my favorite blogs out there. It covers a variety of topics from motivation, organizing, simplifying, parenting and living frugally.

Holiday Free Fun Alert for San Franciscans!

20 Nov


What is the Deal with Informational Interviews?

20 Nov


So if you are like me, and knew in the past certain companies you wanted to target to work but knew that you were not yet at a point where you have enough experience to work or they are not hiring. The best thing to do in this situation is to ask for an informational interview with someone from the company in the department you would like to work in.

Information interviews are beneficial for many reasons, here are some tips and advantages:

  • They are a great networking tool, the best thing you can do is when looking for a job is meet as many people as possible! You never know who knows someone who knows someone who has the job you want! Even if the position is unavailable after meeting with someone at the company they could recommend you to their friends, co-workers and any other company they may see as a good fit for you.
  • Do your homework. Treat the informational interview as if it were a real interview for the actual position because you never know what will develop from the meeting.
  • Dress appropriately as you would going to an actual interview, make sure you apparel is in accordance with the company.
  • Take notes, since it is informational soak in everything you can and be sure to bring a pen and jot a few things down to reference in the future.
  • Come prepared with a plethora of questions. Since you already know the purpose of the interview is to find out more about the specific profession make sure you come prepared with lots of questions to make the most of the meeting.

Here are some good example questions to think about or ask from

  • What is a day on this job really like?
  • What do you like about your job? Dislike?
  • Is your job typical of others in this field?
  • What’s the corporate culture like here? (Hours, salary, titles)
  • Which firms do you think are your toughest competitors, and how do they differ from your company?
  • How did you get into this field?
  • How do you stay current in your knowledge?
  • What kind of experience or training is required?
  • What are employers looking for? (Skills, education, experience)
  • May I have a copy of a job description?
  • What is the potential for advancement?
  • What are current job prospects like?
  • Are there related fields I might want to look into if few jobs are available in my primary career goal?
  • What’s the best way to find out about jobs in this field?
  • Can you refer me to someone else in this field?

For some extra advice check out these Pet Peeves About the Informational Interview from the NYT Business Section.

What Do Cupcakes and Millennials Have in Common?

19 Nov


Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past year, chances are you’ve noticed the recent cupcake craze. I didn’t really understand it, until about a week ago when my Boss brought in cupcakes from Sprinkles in Palo Alto.  As soon as I bit into the chocolaty gooey amazingness, I knew it was worth every one of the 500 plus calories that were in it. This was no ordinary dessert. Yes, this cupcake offered something that a chocolate chip cookie, double fudge brownie, and piece of funfetti cake could not. This new wave of decatent desserts, reminded me of something else: Millennials. I know what you are thinking, and despite waking up at 6am today, I am not sleep deprived. Here’s what I think we have in common:

They Influence Each other: Is it just me, or did 1 cupcake shop open, and then 500 others like it open as well? This is similar to how Millennials influence each other (with the recent election being the best example). Growing up on Facebook, Myspace and Linked-in, Millennials are heavily influenced by their peers, and always connected with one another. 

They’re Multi-Taskers: One single cupcake can do many things, from cheering someone up to satisfying a sweet tooth and making the perfect wedding dessert. Millennials, who have a difficult time remembering what life was like before Email on cell phones, have also mastered the art of doing multiple things at once. They’re often spotted checking their emails, while talking on the phone, Facebooking and updating their twitter status.

They Find a Bigger Purpose: Millennials are always looking for ways to help others and impact the world around them. Take the recent popularity of green jobs, for example, which recent graduates are fighting to obtain after college. They use social media to their advantage, drawing awareness to many social and political issues. With a few exceptions of course, people rarely make cupcakes just for fun. They’re used for bigger things such as celebrating a wedding or friends birthday, or bringing a smile to someones face. 

They’re Nurtured and very protected: You don’t just plop some dough on a pan, let it cool and its done.  You have to add just the right ingredients, give them a perfect swirl of icing and then add a little design at the top. And the work isn’t done after they are baked- you have to take special care to make sure they’re not smudged, toppled or smeared. This is similar to Millennials, who are known for being overly nurtured and protected by their parents. Millennial Parents, are very involved in their childrens’ lives giving them a strong sense of self-worth and entitlement. 

They work best in groups: Honestly, have you ever given someone just 1 cupcake? Chances are you give them a bunch of cupcakes (or at least 3). Millennials also work best together, attending schools that encourage group work and collaboration. Their connection to one another through technology, gives them a preference for group decision making and social networking. 

They are often seen as a threat to older generations: Cupcakes, like Generation Y, pose a definite threat to their [cookie] predecessors. They enter the market with high expectations, changing the rules and with an apt for the latest technologies.  Businesses have been forced to re-vamp their ways to better embrace and understand this new generation. [Mrs Fields]

They have high hopes: Armed with college degrees and the self-entitlement given by their parents, Millennials graduate ready to take on the world (and their CEO). Umm, have you ever seen a flat cupcake? I didn’t think so. The higher the frosting, the better! (Just not when it’s so high that it topples over and makes you sick). 

They’re Pricier: When I was younger, my friend and I had a cupcake stand, selling them for 25 cents each. I may have to start one now, seeing as they’re going for up to 5 dollars a cupcake. Similarly, Millennials are entering the market expecting a higher base salary directly out of college. They’ve certainly taken pay cuts with the current economy, but high expectations remain the same.

They celebrate diversity: If you think you can open a successful cupcake shop serving only vanilla and chocolate cupcakes, think again. Cupcake shops now offer a variety of flavors from Lemon Ginger to Chai Latte. Millennials, (for the most part)  have been raised to celebrate diversity and be tolerant of all races and cultures. If you attended any of the recent Prop 8 Rallies, I’m sure you noticed the large amount of young protesters speaking out against discrimination. Coupled with their passion for politics, this is making great changes that will be witnessed for generations to come.

Twitter Happy

18 Nov


I always said I’d never join Twitter- Facebook status updates were enough OCD/Big Brother for me. Then again, I also swore off bell bottoms, UGGS, peddle pushers, boots over jeans until (as my closet is proof), I gave in and they became a regular part of my wardrobe. After hearing about everyone “twittering’ and reading a bunch of bloggers tweets, I thought I’d give it a try. I am so happy I did, and with the bags under my eyes as proof, it has been hard to think of anything else in the last 24 hours besides Twittering. 

It really is addicting, seeing what everyone from engineers to soccer moms, cooks, news, tv characters, CEO’s are thinking, doing, reading and questioning. Since twittering for the first time yesterday, I’ve discovered tons of new blogs and companies, and attracted new followers to our blog. Long time Twitter user, Jenny, will blog later about using Twitter to expand your personal and professional brand. Until then, check out this awesome article by Shama Hyder, 101 Ways to Be Rocked By Twitter. It has great advice for polishing your Twitter account, and maximizing its benefits. Next step on my list: Create a personalized Twitter Background.

If you want something bad enough…you’ll get it

17 Nov


A quote on Alexandra Levit’s blog really caught my attention: ” If you don’t get something you want, it simply means you didn’t want it badly enough.” I’ve actually been thinking about this a lot lately, as I’ve witnessed this in my own life. When I look back at the apartments, awards or jobs I didn’t get, as disappointed as I was at the time, there was a part of me that didn’t completely want it.

I had an interview awhile back with a company that I thought was pretty great- they paid for grad school, had lots of young employees, and offered great benefits. Needless to say I was pretty disappointed when they told me they went with someone else. But in reality, while the company was great, the position really wasn’t- I would be doing work that I wasn’t that interested in, and offered little room for growth. I’m sure they could tell in the interview, that while I was enthusiastic about their company, I wasn’t about the position. Just as we can sense if employers are interested in us, they can sense when we are interested in them. They know when we genuinely want the job, and when we are nodding and saying we want it, but really don’t.

I had a similar situation yesterday, looking for apartments with my roommates. After several months of searching, we finally found our dream home. Everything from the price, the freshly painted walls, to the dishwasher and disposal ( a treat in san francisco), was absolutely perfect. In the competitive housing market in San Francisco, we were surprised to find out that we got the apartment right away! After doing some thinking though, one of the main reasons we got it was because the landlord could tell how much we wanted it. It was hard not to see in our eyes, expressions and actions how much we wanted the house. This is the same for the other apartments I have looked at as well- when we really wanted the house, we usually got it, and when we didn’t- our hearts weren’t fully in it in the first place.

Next time you apply for an internship, full-time job, apartment, or scholarship,  make sure you really want it. If you do, pour heart and energy into getting it and chances are they will realize your passion and it will work out. If not, at least you know your time wasn’t wasted and it was worth the effort. (Or maybe you didn’t want it as bad as you originally thought)

Following The Mad Grad on Twitter

14 Nov

Hello fellow Mad Grad-ers you can now follow us on Twitter to see what we are up to!

Have a Happy Friday!