Sunday, October 30, 2011

resume lessons

The job market is cutthroat. Unless you live under a rock (cheers to you!), you are aware of the devastating state of the economy. Delving back into this world is stressful, daunting and overwhelming. The life you've lived and all of your accomplishments must now fit onto one page. And that page, could make or break your early career. 

The infamous resume is constantly under scrutiny. What do you include? What format? How do you prioritize your work experience? Over the past month my resume has undergone many revisions and I've learned a few things along the way. Here is a collection of both my thoughts and observations through the job search process.

Constantly update your resume to reflect current work experiences in real-time, with the most recent position at the top with the dates worked  through present (- present). Even if you work at a job you love, just keep track of everything you are doing, developing or implementing. Everyone should keep an updated resume on hand, just in case, because you never know what could happen. Opportunities may arise and you do so many things in a workday that it is easy to forget that month you doubled leads for the sales team. 

Proofread, proofread and then proofread again. This is my weakness. I get so excited about the content that I disregard the minute details in the end, and I've paid for it. When I first redesigned my resume, it was a complete overhaul. Everything from the font to the objective statement was revamped. I hit the ground running, but forgot to proofread the dates for my work experience because that had obviously not changed. Two weeks, hundreds of inquiries and maybe three responses later, I was modifying my objective statement when I realized a date was off. One number decreased my work experience from 1 year and 4 months to a simple 4 months, rather significant. Don't be in a hurry. Re-read everything, slowly.

Tailor your resume with each application. This can be a simple adjustment or a vast overhaul. Recently I read an article that said "Objective" statements at the top of a resume were outdated. I disagree. An employer told me point-blank that it was my objective that solidified my first interview. They knew that we were on the same page right off the bat. An objective takes 5 minutes to update for a specific position and shows you are truly interested in the position (even if you send out 30 resumes everyday). So, it may be old-fashioned, but it got me an interview, and I have yet to hear of someone being turned off by a clear objective statement. Responses, much less interviews, are few and far between, so any little detail should not be overlooked. Tailor as best you can and as often as you can.

Be specific. When I graduated my resume was a generic summary of all of my internships to hit as many bases as possible. This was a great strategy when I first graduated college and was trying to diversify my English degree. But, 2 years later, I need to identify accomplishments and demonstrate the employed value I had for the company. 

An "Interests" section at the bottom is also imperative. Let people know that you have a life outside the workplace and that you bring unique characteristics. At first my interests included "running" and "cooking Italian food," which is decent, but not as noteworthy as "running with my boxer, George" and "perfecting spaghetti sauce." This extra description allows a more immediate connection with the stranger reading your resume. Multiple people have asked about my spaghetti sauce since adding that detail.

Your resume can be daunting, but if you spend a little extra time on it, the return on your investment is priceless. Hope this helps and good luck!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

stale coffee beans get fresh

The Texas Pecan Coffee ran out this morning, so I rummaged through the back of my freezer* for the back-up Dunkin' Donuts coffee beans. Dunkin' Donuts makes fabulous coffee for a simple brewed cup, but they don't stay fresh for long. The result is bitter. And how does one combat dry, bitter coffee beans without running over to the local grocery store? Add a teaspoon of cinnamon to ground coffee in filter before brewing. This worked like a charm. I also added warm almond milk for an extra special cafe au lait. Highliy recommend.

*I store all of my coffee beans in the freezer to keep it fresh for as long as possible. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

every bathroom needs a chandelier and other nonsense

I live in a fantasy world. The kind of fantasy world where chandeliers always accompany a claw-foot bathtub. It's getting serious and I may never find a suitable apartment. To be fair, this idea was spurred by a friend with equally obtainable expectations. Our back-up plan is a Real Housewives gig. 
Reality, don't bother me.

Now jump on the bathroom-chandelier bandwagon:

Friday, October 21, 2011

"Man, wow, there's so many things to do, so many things to write! How to even begin to get it all down and without modified restraints and all hung-up on like literary inhibitions and grammatical fears..."
-Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Welcome to my life, Spotify!

This morning I unassumingly clicked on someone's playlist link in Twitter, under the program Spotify. It was not a virus (thank you Jesus), but the newest advancement in music sharing!

Because sometimes my Mariah and other 90s Fascinations playlist just doesn't hit the spot and this variety of recommendations is priceless.

I'm a big music-discovery person, spending countless hours cherishing those 30-second and then 90-second clips in i-tunes before solidifying any purchases. While I'm still on my first shared playlist, the love is apparent. You can see other music recommendations from your Facebook friends, and you can click on the play button within Facebook to listen to the recommended songs of your friends in their entirety. Love at first sight.

As soon as I solidify the most perfect playlist, I will share via Twitter. Stay-tuned! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

george's lesson of the day

Dogs often growl at George when they meet. He's a ball of energy and sometimes he is a little too intense for other dogs. But George does not give up. Give him five minutes and George will win over even the most grumpy pup. It's a gift. But it's also interesting to watch how easily they get along after the initial hurdle is overcome. Once the differences are past them and George shows his relentless interest in the other, they become inseparable. To watch this roller coaster is entertaining (although sometimes stressful).

And then, how many more people would I know if I simply greeted them as they passed or didn't let a first impression derail me? I'm not the most open person and I like the friends I already have as oppose to meeting new ones. It's comfortable and safe. But everyday George runs up to a new stranger and licks there face. Now, I'm going to draw the line with personal space, but it will be a personal goal to start saying a simple "Hello!" to people I encounter throughout the day.

the happiness of our parents

What a perfect fall day! George and I went to the dog park where he simply ran laps, enjoying the weather, in between little play sessions with the other dogs. It was a beautiful morning. And I'm wearing this next time (as oppose to sweatpants!):
One of my favorite blogs had the brilliant idea of an article club. From many angles it's a genius concept, the commonly short attention spans, the varied interests, the short time commitment, but what solidified the idea in my mind was her first article selection, a Modern Love column from the Style section of The New York Times. I have read this column religiously for 5 years and am still trying to muster the courage and organize my thoughts enough to submit my own. 

But when I read the selected column, it was this quote that stood out in my mind:

“It’s not age-appropriate to expect children to be concerned with their parents’ happiness. Not unless you want to create co-dependents who’ll spend their lives in bad relationships and therapy."

What are your thoughts on this? Everyone has sad moments, but at what point is the line drawn for inappropriate sharing on the part of the parents? I've recently been thinking a lot about the happiness of my own parents and at what level I need to be invested in their well-being. They raised me and sacrificed a great deal to give me this life, but it's hard to constantly be stressed about their happiness, which, frankly, I'm unable to control.

While I would want an open and honest relationship with my parents, I am increasingly leaning towards the ignorance is bliss camp when it comes to children. Even as adults, they are still their parents' children and this relationship is the foundation for so much more. 


This morning I'm up early with a plan for it all.  It's easy to remain ambitious before the day begins. There are so many papers piled high on my desk and books that I still need to enjoy before the free time dwindles to responsibility. 

"Forever is composed of nows." -Emily Dickinson

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

pumpkin season

The first pumpkin pie of the season was a hit! Thank you, Paula Dean. This recipe is perfect, not too heavy, just the right amount of pumpkin flavor and simple as pie (oh, snap). One of my friends even pretended to like pumpkin pie and ate a slice. I have the best friends. The pie was a necessary celebration for the cold-front Dallas is experiencing and the season finale of Dallas Most Eligible. 

Does anyone outside of Dallas watch this show? I'm not sure, although my claim to fame this past weekend was running into Courtney at the neighborhood gas station. 
Love her (minus the whole Neil-hazing phase).

And I will leave you with George in his Halloween costume. He's a pumpkin and he loves it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

complex perfume for a complex life

Perfume constantly reminds me of places I've been and things that were. It magically transports me completely through the senses, in a way that is personal, romantic and an extension of the self. Needless to say, I'm a bit obsessive about perfume.  I admire anyone who can settle on one scent and never waiver, they know who they are, but I'm still evolving, learning and embracing change. The perfect scent means everything, from first impressions to how you will remember each moment. 

Enter, a new find in the perfume department: Tom Ford Black Orchid. 
There was a sample at the bottom of my latest Sephora purchase and I finally got around to trying it out. It's magical. Conveying a musky scent that I'm always partial too, but then adding a bit of sweetness. It's a more complex perfume. 
As my life is a little complicated right now, it makes sense that I would fall in love with this.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

50/50 Movie Review

Life happens without asking for permission. There's no briefing where you are able to discuss the next step or bluntly state that you are not quite ready for that challenge. It would be nice to guide life and have the authority to confirm or deny any change, but then there would be no real challenges or surprises. And while some challenges are small or surprises great, life is never fair with its allocation of tragedy. 

Last night, I finally went to see 50/50. It's tragic to think of anyone getting cancer and suffering through life with such a debilitating illness, but somehow Will Reiser leads the audience into the reality without loosing them. 

It was fabulous. Seth Rogen impressed with his approachability and unwavering loyalty to his best friend, Adam, who developed spine cancer in the movie. Rogen is friends with the screenwriter, Will Reiser, who developed spine cancer in his 20s and based the screenplay off of his own experiences. 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Adam in his usual quirky, nerdy persona and Anna Kendrick plays the psychologist in an endearing, naive fashion. Overall, it was a comedy, but a very real comedy, where the depth of any struggles were not dismissed or overlooked. Sometimes, all you can do is laugh.

Friday, October 14, 2011

9 to 5Dolly Parton
love everything about this song.

The Show Goes OnLupe Fiasco
Theme song for my life movie.

Just Dance- Lady Gaga
This will always be my favorite Gaga.

Up on the Roof- The Drifters

Better Than Revenge- Taylor Swift
"No amount of vintage dresses gives you dignity."

Boyz- M.I.A.
Because it makes me feel gangsta.

Takin' Pills- Pistol Annies
Pistol Annies are the best thing to happen to country music.

Sometimes- Michael Franti
Dance it out.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

dinner time

While the weather may still feel like it's summer in Dallas, we are well into the fall season and I intend to pretend until the weather follows suit. Enter tonight's dinner- Shepherd's Pie.. After researching a few recipes, I settled on this one from Alton Brown of Food Network fame. This meat and potatoes variation is a delicious reward after an hour of cooking. The preparation is simple, but requires some patience. 
It's perfection. But maybe add some tomatoes.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tribute to Thai Food

When the day feels like it will never end, or I've had a week filled with stressful late nights, there's always one thing I crave at the end of it all-Thai food. Finding the best Thai option is a game to me, I love the success and then the hope of topping my current favorite. It's always a to-go order and it must be spicy (when in doubt, add Siracha!). In Austin my favorite was the Thai Noodle House on campus. Not the best atmosphere, but absolutely the best take-out option.

With Dallas, the search began all over again and after many pad thai attempts, I've discovered a hidden, unassuming gem-Thai Thai. 
The pad thai and crab rangoons complete me. While the spice level is adjustable upon request, the peanut to noodle ratio is a perfect balance and this all deserves a top rating in my book. The restaurant is BYOB, which I appreciate (especially considering my uncertain paycheck), because pinot noir goes phenomenally well with a plate of pad thai.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

sidewalk adventures

Life is a whirlwind. The past month moved at such an unbelievable pace, void of any consistency, and I'm just now catching my breath. It's beautiful to have a life filled to the brim, but then overwhelming when it all boils down to me still searching. delicious ambiguity.

George taught me that sometimes you just need to take a walk outside and bounce around on the sidewalk. Which is a ridiculously fulfilling moment every time. It also brings little gifts. So while rent in Uptown is expensive, it continues to dispense designer sunglasses on said sidewalk. Today it was a pair of Coach sunglasses. A few weeks ago it was Marc Jacobs. So I break even.