Monday, April 29, 2013

My Guilty Pleasure Shows

Generally speaking, I am not the type of person who will lay around for hours watching TV (laying around for hours blogging is another thing...). I, however, do have two shows that I love to watch despite the scoffs I receive from some of my peers and comrades. Both shows are effortlessly funny, witty and right up my alley.

New Girl follows Jessica Day (Zooey Deschanel) battling the daily, hillarious situations she and her three male roommates get themselves into. Its absurdity is the best part and I happen to adore Zooey's wardrobe.

The Mindy Project is the story of Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling), a very fashionable OBGYN living in New York City getting in all sorts of trouble. Mindy's sense of humor is hilariously self-depricating and refreshingly relatable.

Judge away... but I love them!

What are your guilty pleasure TV shows?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

LA Getaway in Ten Photos

This weekend, I took a spontaneous road trip with my favorite travel partner to visit a bestie at the Chi Omega house of UCLA... aka a spanish mansion in Westwood, CA.

We spent our weekend trying out new hotspots in LA and revisiting old favorites. Mixed with a lovely visit to The Getty Museum in perfect weather and long evening conversations, our foodie weekend was fabulous.

We enjoyed fresh Neapolitan pizza, life changing biscuits, s'mores in a mason jar and more. LA, you may have terrible traffic and be a little too obsessed with the trendy and the hip... but you have a fantastic restaurant scene.

Thanks for hosting us Jen and Chi Omega gals-- we had a blast!

(My memory card was acting funky, so I resorted to my trusty iPhone.)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Carlsbad Flower Fields

With graduation on the horizon, my friends and I are trying to make the most of our last few months in San Diego by exploring different parts of town and taking mini daycations.

Last weekend, my friend suggested we go visit the Carlsbad Flower Fields. I had heard of these fields, but they were SO much more beautiful than I expected.

The fields are filled with various colors and patterns of the ranunculus flower (which, I will add do not pollinate with bees-- so there were no bees to be found!) It is simply majestic. With the endless rows of flowers accompanied by the pacific ocean in the distance, all we could do was frolick. Take a look at our colorful adventure:

Sunday, April 21, 2013

How To Ace The Interview

One of the most frequent questions I receive from peers is, "How do you ace an interview?" Folks, let me tell ya... the preparation is the most important part. Just with any live performance, practice makes perfect. However, preparation is apart of a bigger package.

I truly believe the success of an interview is derived from three key factors: Personality, Presentation and Preparation.


Let's start with the first... Personality.

The reason you get called in to an interview is because you've passed the credentials test through your resume and cover letter. If you didn't have the right experience for the position, you wouldn't get the interview. It is during the interview that they want to see what's beyond the paper. The ticket is to let your personality shine. They want to hire you as a person, not a robot. Let your dazzling personality come out in your responses to their questions. Loosen up and relax.


Secondly... don't forget the Presentation.

I am of the personal belief that one should always look presentable. You never know when you are going to run into someone important or have to make an impromptu presentation/speech/toast/debate! To me, looking presentable for an interview means styling your hair (fun buns don't cut it for an interview), keeping your nails clean (treat yourself to a neutral manicure) and doing your makeup in a natural manner.

In my opinion, men have it a lot easier than women. For a guy to look sharp, all he's gotta do is put on a suit, dress shoes and have a clean hair cut. For a woman, she has to find the balance between professional and feminine. Nothing says newbie like an oversized pantsuit. I think you'll never go wrong with a nice dress and blazer and nothing gives confidence like heels. Unless of course you struggle walking in them and then... well, they won't give you much confidence.

Regardless, a person judges your level of confidence within the first 30 seconds of meeting you. Your physical presentation will play a large part in this. Dress well and comfortably, stand tall and look people straight in the eyes.


Lastly, the ultimate success of an interview lies on the Preparation you do before hand.

Before any interview, I suggest doing a fair amount of research on the company, the department you are applying to and the people you are interviewing with. One easy way to do this is Google News. Look at the most recent news articles written on the company. Check out the LinkedIn profiles of your interviewers; see where they started and their progression.  Another secret weapon I always use is Glassdoor. In my interview at LinkedIn, I scoured over Glassdoor looking for potential interview questions, reading reviews of the company and learning about the average salaries. For those who have never used Glassdoor, it is a go to for interview prep. I even write reviews after I interview at companies. Practically all of the questions I received at my interview at LinkedIn, I was prepared for because I saw them as examples on Glassdoor.

Additionally prepare for some very specific questions about the company that you might be asked. One question that I think is really telling, but could be out of left field in the interview is, "What is our CEO's name?" One would think that is an important thing to know. Another question that a friend received in an interview is, "Which one of our campaigns did you like the most?" for a PR Agency. Knowing this information is vitally important.

Do your homework on the company's demographics, quarterly earnings reports and reputations within the industry. That way you look very well informed when you casually bring them up.

Lastly, always have a few questions to ask at the end of an interview when they say, "Do you have any questions for us?" As a general rule of thumb, ask questions you actually want to know the answer to... don't ask the questions that will make you "look good." They've heard 'em all before. Someone who asks, "What is the turnover rate like for employees? i.e. How loyal are your employees?" will look a lot sharper than someone who says "What is the culture like here?"

Best of luck in your upcoming interviews. Stay calm, dress well and do your homework.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Book That Changed My Life: Lean In

If you haven't heard about Lean In, where the heck have you been living? Well, you definitely haven't been living with me... because it is all I can talk about in my house.

In just a month since its release, Lean In has witnessed rapid success. Written by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, the book is exactly what I needed to read at this stage in my life.

Lean In is not a self-help book, nor a memoir of Sandberg's life (though it does provide helpful advice and Sandberg's funny anecdotes)... it is an eye-opening study based off of solid research that is written in a humorous and passionate way. In fact, the book is quite short. Half of the book is field notes and credits for her claims.

In this study, Sandberg explores why the women's movement has stalled and how we can and should get more women in positions of power and influence. The book urges women to "Lean In" to opportunities for leadership, as she believes that the world will not change until women are equally as in charge as men are.

I've watched many talks by Sandberg during her recent book tour and she always opens by saying something like, "The blunt truth is, men still run the world... and I don't think that's going so well." This comment usually gets a lot of laughs from the predominately female audiences, but it is the core of her argument.

As a young woman entering the workforce, I am fortunate enough to have been raised by a powerful, strong and smart mother. As a girl, I watched my extremely successful mother receive promotion upon promotion that took her to executive positions. Never once did it occur to me that this was abnormal. In my mind, this is something I have always planned for myself and I have always received encouragement along the way.

For me, Lean In was a reiteration of ideals and core values that my mother instilled in me many years ago. However for most, The Lean In Movement is providing support in revolutionary ways. Some are even saying that Lean In is The Feminine Mystique of our day.

To my female Pre-Medical or engineer friends who have argued that the book is only relevant to people entering fields like mine, I assure you that you will find inspiration and eye-opening statistics in this book. To my male friends who have argued that this book is only relevant to women, I assure you that the information provided in Lean In will not only help you to be more successful as a manager and a colleague to women, but it will also educate you on pressing matters in today's world. (Sandberg also jokes that it might help you get a date!)

How has the book changed my life? It helped me make my decision to choose a company where I foresee large personal growth and it has refueled the flame within me to reach an executive level in my career. I will say it loud and proud, I will be a CEO one day.

Not convinced? Watch this talk by Sandberg for a taste of what the book offers. You will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Cause For Celebration

Many of you know this and some of my other readers may be guessing that something is up... but I have some exciting news.

I'm employed! You know that around three months ago, I started my big Job Hunt. Well after three very busy months of hunting, I am proud to announce that I will be starting my career at one of the most exciting companies in Silicon Valley-- LinkedIn. They came to campus about a month ago, which I alluded to in this What I Wore post. Then whilst in China, I received an invitation to interview at their San Francisco offices the day after I returned from China. That's right my friends... I flew straight from Hong Kong to San Francisco. 

After furiously shopping for the perfect outfit and shoes...

And prepping like crazy... I was ready! The offer came a few days later and it was too good to say no. I'm so excited for this next chapter in my life. 

Since making my decision, a lot of friends have been asking for tips and tricks to succeed in the job hunt. Inspired by many conversations I've had in the past few weeks, I've decided to dedicate the next couple of posts to career topics. From China posts to Career posts-- I promise, we will get back to normal around here. However, in the mean time, we are going to focus on the present. That's they key to successful blogging, isn't it? 

Stick around for the next upcoming posts on How To Prep For an Interview, What To Wear, The Most Influential Book for Young Professionals and more... 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Hong Kong Part 2-- The Last Post from China... and more noodles.

Well we've finally reached the last China post. Congratulations. You may be thinking, Mac, why is it taking you so long to blog about your trip to China? The truth is, tons of other exciting this are going on right now that have pretty much shadowed the excitement of my trip (more on that later!).

After galavanting around the Ladies Market and making some much needed silk purchases...

We were in the mood for traditional Dim Sum. Again, we entered unknowingly into a very local restaurant. Everyone was looking at us like we were phonies, which we kind of were. However, the food was fantastic. Thank goodness for the one young server who spoke English!

On our last day of the trip, Easter (in fact), my mother insisted we take a hydrofoil to the bordering island of Macau. 25 years ago, Macau was a small little port town with tons of Portuguese influence. My mother and my father have fond memories of strolling along the harbor, speaking Portuguese (yes, my mother is fluent in Portuguese among many other languages) and eating delicious cuisine.

Today, Macau is the Las Vegas of China. Truly, there are just massive hotels and casinos everywhere. It was a bit disappointing to my mom, but we still had fun dining in the same restaurant she and my father did all those years ago. Though restaurant served up a mix between Spanish and Portuguese, it was a nice break from all of the noodles we had been eating. Who knew... Paella in China!

We still had not made it up to the infamous Victoria Peak yet, so we decided we would go after we got back from Macau. Unfortunately, by the time we got up there... the fog had rolled in and you couldn't see ANYTHING! Okay, well you could see a little... but supposedly, the view is amazing... I'll never know!

Overall, the trip was filled with goofy moments, communication barriers, delicious noodles and a fantastic time with my favorite person-- Mama Deb.

She and I have had the pleasure of so many wonderful trips and I can't wait until I am the one making the dough and can treat her to international trips! Soon. Very soon.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Hong Kong Stories: Part 1-- Ferries, Geppetto and High Tea

My next stop after Shanghai was to the wonderful Hong Kong! I was especially excited for this portion of the trip, not only because I would be traveling with Mama Deb, but also because she has many special memories in Hong Kong with my father.

We started our trip to Hong Kong as anyone should-- riding The Star Ferry across to the Calhoun side for dinner.

This ferry is the same ferry my mother used 25 years ago and still cost pennies. A one way ticket costs literally a quarter! Talk about reasonably priced transportation.

The next day we awoke bright and early and headed to the world famous Sam's to get fitted for our custom blazers. Sam's has been frequented by celebrities and politicians from Julia Roberts to Nancy Pelosi. The outside doesn't look like much, but magic happens on the inside.

My mother explained that when going to Hong Kong, one must get a suit tailor-made. Prices have skyrocketed since she was last in Hong Kong though, so we opted simply for black blazers.

We absolutely adored our tailor-- he was just too cute. He reminded me of Geppetto.

That evening, we went to a traditional Cantonese restaurant that was delicious. We stuck so the safe items, but I will never forget watching a whole pig go by our table followed by a lobster as big as the pig!

This was the most delicious fried rice I've ever had!

Check out the size of this crab. It's terrifying.

The next day, we spent the morning shopping and finished just in time to have Afternoon Tea at The Peninsula. If ever there is a place to have tea, it is The Peninsula. With a string quartet high up on a balcony, we enjoyed people watching and lovely conversation to the sounds of Bach.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our trip to Hong Kong!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Shanghai Memories: Part 2 -- So Many Noodles

The next day in Shanghai was filled with adventure. I went on the hunt for teacups and gifts for my friends in the tangled alleys Tian Zi Fang.

After shopping around the winding alleys, I joined my expat Belgian tour guide for a delicious and very filling Noodle Tour.

Simply put, I was paraded around the tree lined streets of the French Quarter and taken to secret noodle shops. Truly, I would have never found these shops without my tour guide. Further, I don't think I would have had the guts to go into these shops without my tour guide. Some of them were a bit questionable, albeit delicious.

Exhibit A:

The truth is, I can't even tell you the names of the restaurants we went to. In fact-- I don't think even think many of them had names. They were truly local joints.

Take a look at the various noodles I had the pleasure of eating... Get ready to have your mouth water...

1. Silver Fish Soup
2. Hairy Crab Noodles
3. Spiced Peanut Sauce
4. Caramelized Onion Noodles
5. I have no idea

And my favorite were not noodles at all... but in our last stop the infamous dumplings of China!

It was such a great way to experience food like a local! Though I couldn't eat for a whole day afterwards.

The next day, I treated myself to a luxurious afternoon tea at The Waldorf Astoria. My date for the afternoon was Vogue featuring the lovely, Michelle Obama.

In the evening, Mama Deb and I finally reunited for a fabulous dinner at the ultra chic, Char Restaurant.

Shanghai you were positively incredible. So modern and yet so rooted in tradition. I look forward to seeing how you change over the course of my life.

Up next... Hong Kong!
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