Couches and couches, oh my!

I’m sitting on my couch, the pink one of course, but not in my usual spot. This is because I don’t want a Homer-dent and the middle cushion is already starting to feel softer than the others.

Speaking of my awesome couch… after finally finishing the last season of Desperate Housewives, I can’t help but ask the question: Who was first to the party? The velvet couch party that is.

Renee Perry has a nice velvet couch. I especially like the metal embellishments.
“Oh, Hi Bree. What a lovely blue velvet couch you have.” – said I.
Velvet is in these days? You don’t say…
In case it wasn’t obviously, that last shot is of my couch. Just sayin’. I’m hip-and-shit. Or, waiiiiittt aaaa minute! Are… velvet couches……. cliché?

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Oh Honey

So last night I went out to dinner at the Bachelor Farmer with Joe and a friend from work. Conversation was really flowing well, until my last trip to the bar was brought up. I think I was making some snide comment about having been to Marvel a few times, with all the guys I go out with and what not. My friend and Joe had a little laugh about that, and then she felt the need to remind me that no, I probably don’t go out with other guys because I was a sobber-fest when him and I were apart for just two weeks. To emphasize my bad-assery, I explained that it was I who initiated the conversation with Justin at the bar. Joe tried to put on his fake jealousy face so I played into it. “What??” I said “I just needed help spelling a word!” My coworker jumped in to say that there are other sources to find correct spellings, especially when one is on a computer with internet access. So, I had to tell the story from the start.

Weeks ago, I walked in to Rock Bottom, minding my own business, intending to get some writing done for the evening. I chose my spot based solely on the placement of the TV’s; I wanted to make sure I could watch the Twin’s game, duh, and only one TV was playing it. I happened to be sitting right next to a guy, but it was a mostly full bar so that was fine. After a while of being deep into my work, I came to an impasse. I was stuck on the spelling of a word, and Google couldn’t even help me. This is because I’m really a genius with all things except for spelling, I swear. I kept going with wrip, and other various spellings that I can no longer come up with because I know how to spell it now. Anyway, I look over to this guy and I interupt “I’ve got a weird question to ask you… how do you spell rip? As in… like… ripping of a bandaid?” I got a blank stare for a few seconds, and finally he responded “R-I-P…” Ahh, okay, that makes sense. “Thanks!” and then I returned to my writing.

Except him and I began talking a little bit more after that, and he ultimately bought me a drink. I was explaining that the reason he bought me the drink was because I was such awesome company. However, Joe and my friend argued that he thought he was getting laid. I fought this for quite awhile, because I don’t indeed believe I was hitting on him, I truly needed to know how to spell the word. They claim, though, that no one needs to know how to spell rip because it is the easiest word in the world. My friend suggested that a harder word would be more justifiable, but I denied that on the basis that a more complicated word would more likely result in spell check suggestions. She compared it to a guy asking a girl “how to I spell THE?” and it not being a pick up line. Joe offered that all week Justin probably complained to his friends “and she asked me how to spell rip – she was hitting on me, and then nothing even happened.”

After a lot and back and fourth, I concluded that maybe Justin interpreted it as a pick up line and I was wrong to accept the drink when I had no intentions of taking him home.

On a completely separate random note: earlier in the evening, I was sitting on the floor of the office clipping my nails. I don’t what made it enter my mind, but I looked up at Joe and asked “how lame would it be if we celebrated our birthdays together?” Trying to play it off like maybe a couple I knew had been planning on doing that exact thing. He just started laughing and probably didn’t stop for a good five minutes. He thinks he can see right through me and he is so wrong.

Anyway, we will be having a joint birthday party this year, and I’m totes excited for it :)

After dinner we stopped off for a night cap because it was such a beautiful evening. In the midst of making flirty eyes with each other, I say “you know what I’m most excited to go home for?… … … … Buncha crunch!” A look of disappointment took over his face and he just said “I thought you were going to say sexy time” I responded with “oh honey…”  It’s bittersweet to reach this point…

Volunteer Work

Some volunteer work is really awesome… whether because it is actually a fun experience or because it is very fulfilling/meaningful work. Some volunteer work sucks. This happens when it is neither fun nor fulfilling. I will now provide some examples of each.

Planting trees along the Mississippi River in April in 40 degree rain/snow weather: Awesome. The work was grueling and the weather was painful. But, it was with a good group of people and we were all able to laugh at our situation. Plus, maybe some of those trees took root and will end up being huge and living longer than me.

Overnight shift at a homeless shelter: Awesome. I was mainly there in case anything happened, but I don’t know what I would have done if something actually had. I mostly made coffee, chatted with interesting people, and sat at a desk shushing people before going to lie down for my 4 hour sleep shift. I did it a lot during college and it was a nice way to get homework done without friends getting in the way. I also felt like I was actually contributing though… these people had no place to go and I was kind of watching over them keeping them safe at night.

Manning a booth at the Living Green Expo: Suck. No one stopped by and no one wanted to hear what we had to say. I did get a back massage out of the deal though, and I sat there eating M&Ms with Joe the whole time. Let’s just call it a wash.

Bagging potatoes for 3 hours before going on a tour that ends in a sex-slave room: Suck. I’m a corporate cube worker. I can’t be brought to a warehouse, stuck in front of a pallet of potatoes, and be expected to happily stuff 10lb bags for 3 hours. I get bored. This could be my ADHD, this could be that bagging potatoes isn’t my thing. Either way, the entire time I was thinking “I would be working so much harder if they varied up my tasks a bit…” which in turn slowed me down further. The day ended with an “international tour” which took us through a really neat mock-up of different homes across the world. However, the last room was just a bed under a red light with a small blanket on the wire frame and handcuffs. Bam – sex trafficking. How does me packing potatoes help? It doesn’t, not at all, which left me feeling even more deflated.

Handing out tons (literally) of food to elementary school children who really need it: Awesome. I’ve done this a few times at my old elementary school. The first time I got to give out girl scout cookies which made me the favorite of every child there. It also hit really close to home because only a while back it was me in that school having my own not-perfect-home-situation and I made it out, so, I want to help others in any way I can so they can make it through too. I’m trying to get the Lead Volunteer position with this organization so I can make a bigger contribution, but, I feel like I’m stalking them to no avail.

Re-shelving books at a library: Awesome. You get to have quiet time playing with books. I was able to both build my “to-read” list and make fun of some of the crazy books people borrowed. It was also really helpful to learn my way around the library… I still find myself grabbing random stalks of books and re-shelving them sometimes. Hey, that’s a good idea. Instead of legitimately volunteering at a library, I could just creep around shelving books on a regular basis. Then I wouldn’t have to fill out the application or let them know when I’m going to be in… commitment is overrated.

The moral of the story? If you think volunteering sucks, try something else. You just aren’t doing it right.

A stab to the heart

Uhh! I just stabbed a man in the heart. Not literally, my lawyer has told me not to discuss ongoing cases, but in the figurative way. I’ll start from the beginning.

After work today, I met with my brand manager. We met to go over the redesign of my blog, and while it isn’t done yet… I will just say, keep an eye out for an inconspicuous penis. Because well, this is my blog after all.

After that, I went to a MBA program overview. Even though I’ve more or less semi-narrowed down my application list, I still entertain other schools. Meaning, if a top 15 is coming to town and offering to buy me drinks to listen to their spiel, I’ll bite.

It was actually really nice. While I don’t think that specifically this particular program is right for me, I can’t turn down the institution as a whole. More importantly, I met some really interesting people that have either attended B school, recently gotten in, or have lived a long enough life to where they are the kind of person I trust on some of the things they say. Unless it’s totally negative and in the realm of “uggghhh, never go to b-school because you’ll never earn a return on your investment, etc.” Because, well, they don’t understand how awesome I am and that I’m more likely than others to excel.

Anyway, flash forward to a little later in the evening and I’m walking out. This man walks out with me and we end up chatting the entire walk home. I emphasize “entire” because it was one block. He had been through law school, done the whole real estate thing, and now (umm.. in his late 50’s?) is considering business school. He name-dropped a couple of Macalester folk so I know he’s been around the block.

I always like getting people’s perspective on life. Everyone does it differently, yet, somehow it seems that we often find ourselves at the same conclusion. He got married in his early 30’s, had children before she had reached her 40’s (this was brought up in reference to me being interested in b-school now so that I can get married after and still have 5 years of being happily married before becoming infertile…) and still found himself divorced. His perspective was that it is more important to invest time/energy in finding a partner than it is to focus on business school. Where is this coming from? Years of fricken experience, that’s where.

After we had been chatting for a while, we parted ways and he asked me my name. I said “Kate” and to that, he grasped his chest and said “ugh, you just stabbed my heart.” I interpreted that to mean “Kate” is also his ex-wife’s name.

Anyway, I withdrew my $150 from the bank this morning to bribe Joe into forcing me to write. Meh heh heh. If tonight taught me anything it is that I need to be more active and involved in my community than I am currently. Get er done.

Busy bee

I’ve been totally overloading my schedule lately to keep me busy and entertained. It is totally working and I like it a lot. I don’t like when I get sedentary because then I also get emo. I talked to Drew this past weekend, but only on gchat. It was still super lovely though. Joe is always a great listener, but Drew has been through most of it so he comes from a different perspective. He starts at Stanford soon and I’m über excited for him.

Also! Last night I had dinner with an old friend from college. I hadn’t seen her in way too long so it was really nice to catch up. I forget how nice it is to be surrounded by people that get me. Not sure if this is a good thing or a bad…

I’m applying for a couple different things here and there. One I’ve talked about before and that is the Girls in Tech PR position. My meeting about that is tomorrow! I’m also looking into being the volunteer lead for the food program at the school I used to go to. I thought that I’d blogged about it after one of the times, but I guess I didn’t. Anyway, I’ve volunteered with them a few times through work and it is always a great/sad experience to be back where I went to elementary school and see how I have/it has changed. Being the lead coordinator would be a great experience to both connect to the community more and make a bigger impact. Lastly, I’m thinking about applying to a fellowship type of thing. I heard about it through work, and it is really a mentorship program but I would be paired up with someone awesome in business and then would go to programs now through April. I need to read more about it though before I make a decision. It is with League of Women Voters and I don’t know enough about them as an org. Normally this is something I’d ask my Grandma about, but she’s in Ireland or London or something awesome like that. I’ll have to Google it.

The Vanessa.

My reason for coming back out tonight was mainly the fact that I have a doctor appointment in the morning and I don’t have to be to work at 7am because of it. This means I’ll get to sleep in 15 minutes or so, which equates to have an additional Vanessa for the evening. That, and I look really hot in my new jeans. For those of you who follow me on twitter (@katesacliche) I have decided to keep them (yet, the tags are still on). Sometimes I don’t like making choices. Right now, I can still return the jeans and get my $82 back. Once those tags are removed though, I’m committed to it. So, rather, I should say I don’t like commitment. This is more accurate because I love making rash decisions whether they are good for me or not (i.e. coming to the bar tonight).

The fortunate thing is, my bartender knows my “usual” now. This is good because I feel silly for always needing to explain what a Vanessa is. Probably because I made it up myself and I know that no one should really know what it is. Have I ever told the story of how I named it? I don’t remember. I’m at the bar right now and my iphone is about to die and I therefore have no internet, otherwise I’d search my site for “Vanessa” and probably have my question answered.

In an effort to capture a good story (or catch myself in a fabrication) I shall tell it (possibly again). A while back, I was on a business trip. I don’t remember where we were… California I do believe. We were staying at a hotel and after a long day of traveling, the team decided to reconvene at the bar after settling down. A coworker and I ended up there first, and managed to chat with the bartender a bit. It was his first night bartending- he made it clear he wasn’t the normal keeper. He made a special point to say that “Vanessa” was the regular, but it was her birthday and therefore had the night off. He mentioned his own name, but, let’s just say it was hard to remember, especially compared to Vanessa. I asked him if I could just call him that, in a flirtatious way of course. He was hesitant to accept this as a name, but agreed nonetheless. When asking for my next drink (who knows, #3? #4?) I said “Vanessa? Another please!” to which he completely ignored my request. I was quick to remind him that he gave me permission to call him Vanessa, but as the bar had become more full at this point, he recanted his earlier statement and asked me to never call him that again. Not wanting to stick my foot any further down my throat I was all like “oh, no, oh no babe, I was asking for another Vanessa” and so, the Vanessa was born.

Anyway, Joe joined me at the bar and nearly scared the shit out of me. Tootles.

Rawrrrrr Stanford

Raaaawwwrrrrr I want to go to Stanford so bad. Like, rrrraawwrrrr I can do this and it is going to be AWESOME.

Everything I heard from the panel of students/alumni made me love it more and more. From the non-competitiveness to the idea that they take people for who they are rather than what they know. I know a lot, and I know this, but I also have a crap-ton to learn and I want Stanford to be the place I do it.

When I started thinking about business school a while ago, I was bogged down by choosing a concentration or a particular area of study. I’m not going to business school to be an expert in finance or marketing, but rather, I’m looking to get a holistic view of business in general, with an even greater focus on the human component. As my readers know, I’ve done a lot of self discovery lately, and more importantly have begun appreciating/respecting who I am more and more. I have a specific style, with my sarcasm, shyness, and also a great ability to make others feel at ease when meeting 1:1. I want to focus on honing who I am, how I connect with others, and how I can enrich the lives of those around me.

Anyway, its time for bed, but just wanted to get these last minute thought out :)

Girls in Tech

So I went to a networking thing tonight that I just heard word of two days ago. It was called Girls in Tech, and it was about as exciting as it sounds. (Which is a lot, for those of you who are misreading this/aren’t into tech).

First I got there and it was hella-awkward because I knew no one and… didn’t even know where the event was necessarily being held. It was at a bar, but I wasn’t sure if the party I was walking up to was the party I thought. Everyone had name tags on though, and they were all women, so, what’s the worst that could happen right?

Turns out, it was definitely the right group. Apparently there aren’t hoards of nerdy girls just roaming around, sadly. As I sat there twiddling my thumbs I was thinking of all the crafty tweets I could write about the irony of it being awkward. I’m glad I didn’t though because women shouldn’t be awkward around each other and I wouldn’t want to perpetuate that myth.

I eventually made some small talk with folks (after my beer arrived, of course). Soon, the hosts/the board did a little welcome/announcements type thing. That was the best part because A) Now I know about She’s Geeky; B) I heard from someone who is running for NSTIC Mayor, which is totally up Joe’s alley; and C) I got to have some nice opening lines for going up to people “oooh, you’re on the board? How fascinating!”

They also mentioned they are looking for a PR/Social Media person, so I said, sign me the shit up. Really though, I went up after things were clearing out and I asked how many people had approached them about the gig. This helped to finalize my game plan. Because their answer was “zero” I went in strong saying how interested in it I am and the fact that I need more awesome stuff to be involved with. I got business cards and will be shipping an email out shortly.

Yet, the two women I approached at the end? Absolutely awesome. They are video game people. And I’m like, omg! I went to a liberal arts school and no girls there liked video games. I walked away thinking I had just found my new bffs – but I won’t come on too strong, I promise.

Overall review of my experience at Booth

This post answers your “well, how was it?” question. My three weeks in the Summer Business Scholars Program were inspiring. It was great to be surrounded by so many smart, driven people. I learned so much crammed into those three weeks… some of it academic, a lot of it personal.

  • I can be intimidated by large groups of people. My roommate, towards the end of the program, said that she thought I was very introverted/independent when she first met me. I’ve always known this about myself, but I still believe I am a people person, and these two attributes seem contradictory. I’m also not convinced it is something that needs to be resolved… only understood.
  • I’d much rather sit down and get to know someone 1:1. I like truly getting to understand someone rather than get the basic filler information. How will I remember this person? What is it about them that will encourage me to pass their name along to someone else? How can I help this person advance, and is this someone I want to work with?
  • Life, business, and entrepreneurship are all about relationships. As I’m meeting people I need to put my best food forward and nurture relationships with those I have a great connection with. There is the theory that you should surround yourself with people smarter than yourself and I want to make sure I have those people rooting for me too.

There are other components of my experience that I didn’t like as much, and either way those things are very helpful to understand.

  • I’d like Booth a lot more if it were downtown Chicago. We were in a dorm in the most perfect area (i.e., 1 block from a Maserati dealer!), but had to bus down to Hyde Park every day for class. This is not the ideal situation for me. I like fully immersing myself in my education and community and if I have to live outside of a big city area in order to be close to school, I’d need a really compelling reason to do so (read: Stanford).
  • This epiphany makes re-evaluate NYC schools. I loved my experience in NYC so much (I did a 5 month study away program there in 2010). The downsite? I remember feeling that it was so big. It would take a lot of work to be the big fish in that pond, but not impossible.. Intimidating nonetheless.
  • The upside? I totally love creeping on people, and NYC is the place to do it. OnLocationVactions (@olv) is my most favorite resource in life.
  • An article I recently read highlights the advantages of starting your business within your own community. This makes sense. You have the support of friends and it isn’t like starting fresh. For me, that community is Macalester. The neat thing about that though is that the Macalester community is everywhere. I treasure my education there more and more each day.

In general, marketing was a difficult class to take as I feel like “it” tries to take all the credit of a successful firm. Is it necessary? Yes. Are other departments just as important? Yes.

Finance was awesome and it is exciting to know that this program has helped me identify a core competency (see what I just did there? That’s a term I learned in Marketing).

As far as the program goes, it is definitely something I would do again. Or, rather, would do over given the opportunity to go back in time.

For Business school… I see many benefits in holding off a bit. It is still something I definitely want to do, but waiting another year will only make me a better candidate. Unless I become a crazed crack addict, in which case I don’t think business school would be relevant anymore.