Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Artist Watch: Miroslav Sasek

Nothing makes my heart sing more than the paintings of Miroslav Sasek. You may recognize his work from his "This is _______" series in which he travels the world to create beautiful story books. Take a look at some of his creations below of San Francisco cable cars, London's Tube, the streets of Paris and a pub in Ireland. Don't they just put a smile on your face?

Monday, February 25, 2013

How To Create Your Personal Brand

Let's talk about personal branding. Last week, I had coffee with a younger friend who was seeking advice on how to get started in her career. I told her one of the most helpful things you can do is figure out what your personal brand is. I asked her how she would describe herself. She didn't really know where to start and most people don't. 

The conversation then turned into what she loves to pin, what blogs she follows, where she shops, what subjects she excels in, what magazines she reads, what kinds of people she spends her time with, what she does in her spare time and more. Discovering your personal brand is all about exploring your passions and your interests. 

You are a uniquely crafted person who has curated an incredibly specific personality from the millions of inspirations and influences out there. The trick is the to find a trend amongst all of your descriptive adjectives and shape that into what I am calling your "brand." 

I share this word cloud with you to give you an idea of the brand I associate myself with. In fact, this here blog was created to explore, expand and explain my personal brand that is "mackenzie charlotte."

So how does one create a personal brand?

1. Write down the top five things you want the world to know about you. Those are the pillars of your brand. 

Here are my top five:
-I am classically feminine with a modern twist.
-I am technologically savvy with a focus on digital marketing and social media strategy.
-I am incredibly ambitious in pursuing a career in consumer goods and luxury products.
-I am seeking to cultivate my expertise in fashion, art and wine. 
-I am inspired by strong, creative and optimistic women. 

2. Once you've figured out your pillars, use those to create a short explanation of who you are. This "elevator statement" is the key to strategic networking. When you first meet with someone, you have approximately 30 seconds to make a first, lasting impression. 

3. Sync all of your online networks to connect under your brand. Make sure that you are promoting a similar voice and message across all platforms. That means, take down the pictures of you doing "dirty girl scouts" on Facebook, stop tweeting profanities and keep your content clean on Tumblr. Unless of course, you are going for that kind of image in your brand, then by all means... keep doing what you are doing. 

4. Create a blog. Blogging can seem like a lot of work, but it really is what you make of it. It is one of the strongest platforms for you to create and shape your online presence. 

Once you have figured out what your brand is... own it. My biggest piece of advice in this process is be original. 

I heard this quote the other day...

"Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself."

That is the ticket, my friends! Happy branding. 

The Oscar Goes To...

Had to share this lovely portrait of the 2013 Oscar Winners...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Foodie Adventures: D Bar

My most recent foodie adventure took me to Food Network's Keegan Gerhard's (former host of Food Network Challenge) San Diego spot-- D Bar. The hip Hillcrest location makes this a go-to spot for a chic dinner.

The interior is open, airy and very sleek. It reminded me almost of the inside of a contemporary museum with beautiful floral arrangements and hanging lights.

Their menu is loaded with so many delicious plates that it is almost overwhelming to choose. For that reason, I suggest taking a sampling of many of their smaller plates and sharing amongst friends. This is precisely what we did.

 We started with an item under the "On the Greener Side of Things" section. "Avos Avos Avos"-- basically Avocados served up in three different ways. There was a simple dressed avocado, a crusted in crumbs avocado ball and an avocado/goat cheese dip with what seemed to be pita bread strips. It was a lovely presentation and quite crafty.

Then we had three of their plates under the "Things We Like to Eat" section. First up was the "Southern Fried Belgian"-- aka Chicken and Waffles. I gotta admit, I keep wanting to like the whole chicken and waffles trend, but it just doesn't do it for me. It was a nice presentation though... very waffly.

Next was the Bacon Mac & Cheese. Pretty hard to go wrong with this one. It was delish.

Last up were the Kobe Sliders. Boy, were those tasty. We were amazed how much flavor was packed into such a small little thing. These are a MUST order. We joked that we'd like 10 more each please.

Of all the dishes, we were told that D Bar was most known for their desserts. Well let me tell ya, their dessert menu is as long as their dinner menu! We opted for the intriguing dish: d=mc^2... a trifecta of peanut butter and chocolate creations. It was gorgeous. 

Then, we finished with the star of the entire evening: Ch Ch Ch Churros. These cinnamon churros were as flaky and light as can be with dark chocolate dipping sauce and vanilla ice cream. It blew. my. mind.

D Bar was a night to remember. The setting is perfect place to bring a large group of friends and eat lots of small plates. The bar looked great too. We also decided that D Bar is a great dessert destination. A huge two thumbs up for Keegan's D Bar.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Vagina Monologues

In my first year at college, I partook in something extraordinary: The Vagina Monologues. For those who don't know, The Vagina Monologues is a show/event/movement/lifestyle all around empowering women.

Each spring, the show rolls out in cities all across the world featuring incredibly talented women putting their own personal spin on each monologue. The monologues range from topics of domestic violence to the first orgasm to giving birth. At times it's hilarious and at times it's heart wrenching.. but over all it is extremely important.

When I was apart of the show, I was cast as the monologue, "Flood." It was the story of an 80-year-old New Yorker whose embarrassing sexual experience as a teenager scarred her for the rest of her life. (The makeup was scary good.)

This year, I know many talented and beautiful women in the production at my university. I highly encourage those in the area to attend this year's show. For those not in San Diego, find out where the nearest performance is in your area.

I can't wait to see this year's production. Here is their wonderful trailer explaining why each of these women are rising:

The show runs Wednesday February 27st, Friday March 1st and Saturday March 2nd. 

For more information click here

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Seven Wonders of the World

In 2001, 100 million votes were submitted to create the newest "Seven Wonders of the World" list. Out of 200 monuments that were entered, seven were selected. I am personally making it my goal to see each and every one in my life.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

What I Wore: Long Weekend

 Top: J. Crew, Jacket: Gap, Jeans: Forever 21, Shoes: Clarks, Necklace: Chinatown SF, Watch: Michael Kors, Sun Glasses: Thrifted

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Balancing Act

In the past couple of months, my life has gone from leisurely days of studying abroad to early mornings and late nights with not even a second to catch my breath. I won't pretend I have it all together. To "do it all" is impossible. Instead, what I've come to accept is that you do what you can and let go of what you can't. 

Here are some ways that I personally balance my life: 

School is important. At least, that is what everyone keeps telling me. The truth is, in the past few weeks, I can't say school has been "on the back burner." Honestly, school hasn't even been on the stove. However, with midterms catching up to me, I was forced to get my head back in the game that is college. Thankfully, I'm not pre-med or an engineer, like some of my closest pals, so all I have to do for class is reading... lots of it. My trick is to get my readings done whilst doing other activities. Specifically, I will download the articles on my iPad or pack the books in my bag and read on my public transit commute to my internship. The strategy is to fit in those assigned readings amidst other time consuming activities that require little thought or effort.

My time at my internship is devoted strictly to my internship (with a little Facebook and Twitter updating here and there). The strategy is to go into work mode the second I enter the door and check out of work mode the second I leave. Thankfully, because it is a school-credit internship, I have the flexibility to turn the switch on and off. 

A lot of people have been asking me... how the heck do you have time to blog? And truthfully, I'd probably have more time to do other things if I didn't blog-- but blogging isn't THAT time consuming. I brainstorm my topics ahead of time and try to keep a couple posts on deck. Additionally, I have now started creating some blogging habits such as (Wednesday Wish List and Foodie Adventures), so I can always fall back on those themes when I'm hitting a blogger's block. At the start of the blog, I was consistently blogging everyday. Now, I am still trying to do this, but I'm not guilting myself if I skip a day. I've gotta remind myself: quality over quantity. 

Amidst everything else going on, I have a life with logistical errands to keep up and most importantly, a social life that requires constant maintenance. I try and do myself a favor and get all my grocery shopping, cleaning and laundry done on the weekends... despite the massive rushes on Sundays at Trader Joes. 

What I'm struggling most with right now is maintaining my social life. I've only got a few months left in college and I know I need to make the most of it. Believe me, I'm workin' on it. It sometimes requires me to shut off my school/work/blog/life mode and just throw up my hands in defeat (a few cocktails usually speed up this process). However, I find solace in knowing that the best relationships worth having, are the relationships that work most naturally and most easily. I'm very grateful for the friends who have taken the time to get to know my schedule and forged out a slot for themselves in it.

Out of all of these things, the biggest thing that brings me back down to earth is this little quote I saw on The Everygirl a few weeks back: 

"Breathe, my friend. You are not a mess, you are normal. Extraordinary, perhaps. In the blink of an eye your life will change. And it will continue to change for decades to come. Enjoy it, embrace it... be grateful for the ride. You are not old, you are young. And faith will get you everywhere. Just you wait." --Abby Larson for The Evergirl

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Foodie Adventures: Tweety Thai

Nothing brings out good discussion like a steaming bowl of Yellow Curry. Last weekend, a couple of my oldest friends and I searched for a great, hole-in-the-wall place to spend hours in a booth, gossiping over peanut sauce and sticky rice.

We found, Tweety Thai. Strange name-- delicious food. We had our usual: Crab Rangoons, Peanut Sauce and Sticky Rice, Tofu Pad Thai and of course, Yellow Curry. Check out the deliciousness below.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Artist Watch: Elizabeth Chapman

Growing up, my family acquired quite the art collection. All around my house you can find modern impressionist works that are most expressive in color (example: see the painting behind my head in my picture). Because of this, I will always have an affinity towards beautifully expressive and colorful pieces.

Currently, I am lusting over Elizabeth Chapman. Her Etsy page is home to some fabulous works that are reasonably priced. I featured one of her works in last Wednesday's Wish List... but take a look below to see more: 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Friends and Farmers

Sundays are a day for sleeping in, grabbing brunch and then strolling through Farmer's Markets. Even if it is Midterms Week at your university and you should be studying instead of participating in said debauchery and then blogging about it.

Today, I took my non-La Jolla based friends to LJ's beautiful market open every Sunday from 9 am to 1 pm.

From flowers to lavender to citrus to garlic shmears, the market has everything you want, but don't need.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

My Favorite Online Magazines

Reading magazines has always been a favorite past time of mine. There is nothing like taking a good hour break and flipping through inspirational pages of a great mag. In recent times, there has been a surge of online magazines. These publications are often powered through softwares such as issu, and feature flip book style presentation where you flip through the pages of the magazine virtually. It is great on a computer and even better on a tablet.

Not to mention, all of these magazines are completely free. Every month. No subscription required!

Here are a few of my favorite online publications:

1. Matchbook Magazine

Matchbook is all about living "the charmed life." To me, the magazine is the baby of the personalities of Anthropologie, Kate Spade and J. Crew. It's feminine, classic and charming. Their feature stories are often prominent designers (fashion and interior). I always find inspiration in Matchbook.

Sweet Lemon Magazine reminds me a lot of Matchbook, but solely designed for the twenty somethings of the world! They have articles on careers, dating, fashion, travel and more-- all geared at their 20-30 year-old readers. 

Rue Magazine is all about a being a guide to stylish living. Meaning, it is a fabulous design magazine. Their features practically make up my Pinterest "Dream House" board. 

Happy reading!

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Song For Your Friday

I used to listen to this song all the time while I was abroad. Nothing like a great song about a great state.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

How Coffee Will Save Your Career


In the past month, I have been on coffee dates galore. As obvious as this sounds, grabbing coffee with someone is the easiest form of networking and it is the simplest way to have an informational interview. 

I've had coffee with friends of friends, who I've always wanted to get to know and happen to share similar career aspirations with me. I've had coffee with younger Communication majors who are asking me for my advice. And of course, I've had coffee with mentors who currently work in the field I desire to be in following graduation.

Each one of these coffee dates has mattered. Whether you are meeting with the CEO of a Fortune 500 or a freshman at your university, never miss the opportunity to build a relationship. You never know when this relationship will be of use later down the road.

Here are some questions to help spark the conversation during the networking and informational interview process:

-What are you doing now?
-What do you want to be doing in the future?
-What have you done in the past?
-What is your favorite thing about your work?
-What other companies in your industry do you admire?
-What blogs and publications do you read?
-Who do you look up to?
-Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
-What advice do you have for someone looking to enter into a similar career?
-Is there anyone else you think of that I would benefit from speaking with?

Most importantly, as much as making new connections matters... don't neglect previously built relationships. Always spend time to keep in touch with former colleagues and supervisors. Every relationship needs upkeep and a coffee date is the easiest way to do so. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Boy Who Amazed Spielberg

Throughout my undergraduate career, I have had the opportunity to take some very unique classes. My first year I took a music class called Klezmer and Yiddish Folk Music. Second year I took the History of The Beatles.

And now, I am taking a communications film course called Science Fiction. Why is this a communications course? That, my friend, is to be decided. Basically, all we do is watch Sci-Fi films and then discuss them. I took this lovely little course because it fit well in my schedule and because I happen to love three hour film classes. Granted, I am not the biggest Sci-Fi fan, my taste is slowly, but surely expanding.

That being said, today we were on the topics of Aliens and Alternate Realities. (Weird, I know...) The sweet and earnest example of a "good alien" was E.T.

While discussing this classic, it reminded me of a video I once saw of Henry Thomas' audition. When I first watched it, it blew my mind. Apparently it also impressed Steven Spielberg... because at the end of the video, he says, "Okay, kid. You got the job."

Take a look (grab a tissue):

Monday, February 4, 2013

Foodie Adventures: Herringbone

Upon first approach, Herringbone is a brick warehouse sticking out on La Jolla's pristine streets. If you didn't know it was a restaurant, you would think it was some super secret club. The gorgeously carved wood doors denote that something exciting is hidden behind them.

After walking through the doors you enter into a bright and airy space filled with delightful decor, olive trees and a vibe that is oh-so-la-jolla. Rustic and chic... this is the restaurant of my Pinterest dreams.

Herringbone is the newest of Top Chef Brian Malarkey's restaurant group. The theme at this wonderful establishment is "Fish Meets Field." You can see this reflected in their menu that serves dressed up comforted food featuring goods from the sea and the land.

We opted for Sunday brunch and it did not dissapoint. We shared the...

Hazelnut Sticky Bun with warm cream cheese icing...

Chicken and Biscuit with a bacon and cheddar biscuit, fried chicken, maple syrup and potatoes...

And the Pancakes that were peanut butter and dark chocolate chip...

The winner of the brunch was hands down the Hazelnut Sticky Bun. I'm not usually a huge fan of foods like that (cinnamon buns, donuts, coffee cake etc...), but this was out-of-this-world. I'd go back just for that and a cup of coffee! The Chicken and Biscuit was delish in theory, but a bit dry for us. We didn't dig the maple syrup and felt that a little gravy would have solved the problem. The pancake was fabulous, but by the time we got to it... we were already so full!

The atmosphere of Herringbone is the biggest selling point. I'd love to go back for dinner and drinks, but the menu has quite a high price point. Thus, I think I'll stick to their brunch. Next time, I am most definitely opting for their Maine Lobster Roll. It looked crazy good.

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