Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"So This Is the New Year....and I Don't Feel Any Different..."

This post will be short since I need to sleep....it's about 12:17 AM here in Hong Kong...yes that's right, I am in Hong Kong, baby!

So it's New Year's and once again, I have not really, truly celebrated it. So my "resolution" is to do something fun for New Year's 2010....like I want to be dressed up, hanging with friends, singing Auld Lang Syne [spelling???], watching a huge fireworks display, and kissing my sweetie when the clock strikes 12.

But who knows what this coming year holds; before I figure out how to celebrate the next year, I gotta think about this upcoming one. I have a lot of big decision[s] to make and think about [job offers, where to live, what will happen in the future.......]. I hope good things though.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What I've Learned Thus Far

Even though I am no longer a student, that doesn't mean I still can't learn! We learn new things everyday, whether it's reading the news, watching something new on tv, or meeting someone for the first time.

As I was laying here, looking up the general story of our economic recession [I know vaguely the details, but I want to be better informed!!] on good ole Wikipedia, it made me think of how I want to be more informed and educated on general going-ons...and since my mind works like a row of falling dominos [or maybe a Rube Goldberg machine], from one thought to another, that got me thinking of what I've learned so far from these past few months.

-There IS life after college...good or bad!
I'm not gonna lie, it's been tough. I lived on campus for 4 years, so I knew that living on my own [which I am still technically not, since I'm with fam] would be a total change...no more hallways where people keep their doors open/knock on your door for help or to chat, no more dining halls to feed me, no more being surrounded by thousands [or more] of your peers on a daily basis, no more being able to walk up a flight of stairs to go hang out with your friends, no more late-night cram sessions in the ORL office, no more chatting it up with the awesome housekeeping or dining staff, and no more student identity.

I think that's been one of the more ...stranger things to think about....I've been a student for about 16 years...that's a good chunk of time. And now, having that stripped from me....I feel almost identity-less. Some people call that freedom, but I call that confusion. What am I?

- Applying for jobs is hard. But you gotta do it anyways
I think it's a slap in the face in terms of a reality check...this is being an adult! If you're not a student, you gotta be a working adult in the real world. As scary as that is, time doesn't stop. You gotta do what you gotta do.

It might be dejecting to turn in application after application [I've heard stories of people turning in hundreds of applications!] and not hear anything back...but I guess you learn to have hope and faith. Hope in that someone is gonna see your resume and think 'THIS is what we've been looking for' and faith that you'll find something.

- Driving isn't toooooo bad....it's still bad, but practices makes it kind of easier
I am not a big fan of driving. I love being a passenger, but putting me behind the wheel with zooming cars surrounding me, I tense up. I didn't have a car in college because I didn't need one...and driving in a place like LA is almost ridiculous. There aren't a lot of protected left turns, parking costs a lot, you need to apply and have a justifiable reason to have a permit at school, and there are just TOO MANY CARS.

I think I'm a pretty safe driver, but I'm just a small-town girl in a big city world....so driving only slightly above the speed limit is not good enough here. People are in such a rush! If we all carpooled and slowed down to enjoy things, maybe driving wouldn't have to be such a chore. I like driving when no one else is around...it's almost calming...but that only happens if you are on the road at off times, like 3 AM.

I'm still getting used to it though. But hopefully it'll be like anything else I do in life, that it'll be something I'm more comfortable with.

-How to use a dishwasher...and a stove
Don't laugh...but at home our dishwasher is broken, and I didn't have one in college. I mean it didn't take more than 5 minutes to learn, but still.

Also, I don't really cook, but I'm getting more comfortable with the oven and stove. There's still plenty more I need to learn, but I'm getting there.

- The gym isn't scary
This might seem unbelievable...but I had never worked out in a gym until about a month ago. Well I used the treadmill once at the dorm gym, but I don't really count that because it wasn't a real gym.

So yes, I buckled in [and also got reeled in too!] and did a 1 month trial with 24 Hr Fitness. And I'm glad I did. I went in for a free consultation with a personal trainer the day after I signed up, and I found out my body fat to muscle ratio was a very unhealthy percentage [which caught me off guard since I am pretty small...I knew I was flabby, but not that flabby!]. I've been to the gym almost every day since I've had the membership, minus the T-day holiday weekend and a few days where I wasn't in the OC. I'm not a muscle trainer and although I don't look any different, I feel better.

I guess I had never worked out at a gym before because I didn't want people to see me all sweaty and gross [and it seems like 95% of the women that work out come to the gym looking cute in their workout outfits; I just wear a baggy tee and running shorts!], and plus all those machines looked intimidating. But when I went to the gym, I realized that no one cares if you're sweaty...they're all too busy focusing on their workouts. And the machines have instructions on them, so that helps to figure out how to work them [and also watching other people using them!]

Although my membership ends today, I think I'm going to take what I learned and keep exercising every day. And one day, when I have a job and can afford a membership [or afford to budget that in], then I might go back to the gym.



Hopefully this doesn't make me sound like an incompetent fool...but I've had a different experience which has led me to learn or be more comfortable with these things now.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Online (Shopping) Tips of the Day

I actually do a lot of shopping online, so I though I'd share some [logical] tips with you all:

1). Use promo codes! Whether it's from the actual store site itself [on the site or via an email subscription/newsletter], or from a separate coupon site [I really like www.retailmenot.com], you should definitely use them. Although there aren't always codes that you can use, for the most part, there's a good chance that you can find one.
**REAL LIFE EXAMPLE: I found one for 25% on all items at
Urban Outfitters that I've used a few times; I purchased a [different] coat on sale, and with the code, it took off an additional $50, which is awesome!

2). Try to get things with free shipping. Of course, if you can get a promo code whose discount is greater than the shipping cost, then of course use the %-off code instead. However, if you can, I recommend looking for free shipping. Many sites offer that if you spend a certain limit; of course some sites set that limit pretty high, so don't go buying things you don't want/need just to reach that limit...but if can bundle your purchases so that you can get free shipping, then why not? I say this because if you do need to make returns, stores do not reimburse for shipping and handling.

3). Comparison shop. If there's something that you want that isn't specific to a store [i.e. not clothing], don't feel the need to buy it from the first site you see it at. I always type what I'm looking for in the Google search bar to see what it can find. You might have to dig through A LOT of sites, so it can take awhile. But you also need to be careful....if a deal sounds too good to be true, and it's coming from a site that is not very well-known, I'd be very cautious purchasing from there. Related to this, Be cautious! Make sure the website is secure [so that your information is protected], that they have a physical address, and that there is a Customer Service number and other contact information. Check forums/user reviews to see what people have to say about that site. Remember, though, to take them with a grain of salt as well because sometimes sites do pay people/use their employees to write fake reviews to boost their ratings. Also, trust your gut. If the website seems shady, it probably is.
**REAL LIFE EXAMPLE: I just bought a graduation present for my bf, and I had been searching and debating for a long time [this probably took a span of 3-4 weeks to find and decide!]. I originally was going to purchase this gift from
newegg.com, because it came with a free bonus item [and it was a good one!]. However, the tax and the shipping & handling was almost an additional $30 to the price! Instead, I bought a slightly different version from Amazon (they were having a special too!) which also came with free bonus item. And along with my trial of Amazon Prime Shipping, I saved a lot more. I did see some too-good-to-be-true deals, and those sites had received great reviews. But on a forum on CNET, quite a few people were saying that those sites were shady. If those reviews are written on a separate forum and not the site itself, they might be a little more trustworthy.

4). Don't be afraid to take your time or wait a little. With my above example, I'm glad I waited, and I'm glad I took the time to think about my purchase because I got a better deal. Eventually items have to go on sale, so check frequently. However, don't wait too long, because if you do, it might be gone/sold out. There are some items, though, that never go on sale/need to be purchased in advance, like plane tickets...they typically need to be bought in advance to get a good price on them.

5). Make sure the site has a good return policy. I think most online sites that have physical stores [like
Urban Outfitters, or Gap, etc.] let you return items whenever, as long as you have the original packing slip and the item has not been worn/used. If I can, I prefer returning items to the actual stores themselves, but that's just my personal preference. Zappos.com offers free return shipping, and Bluefly does too, if you opt to have your return go towards store credit. But you have 90 days to make that return. Aldo lets you return shoes within a year of purchasing them.

6). Even after you've made the purchase, continue to check back on those items. What does this mean, you may ask? It means that sometimes after you've purchased items, they go on sale...if this happens, a price adjustment may be applicable. If they do offer price adjustments, it usually has to happen very close to the date of purchase; Bluefly's "grace period" is only 5 days...meaning the item's price has to change within 5 days of your purchase.
**REAL LIFE EXAMPLE: This happens to me a lot...I guess that's why I tend to go back to the sites to check out the items I've purchased. It might seem weird, but this habit has paid off many a times. The coat I blogged about last week was reduced by about $20+ within a few days of my purchase, and I contacted their Customer Service immediately; they were able to offer me the price adjustment...sadly [or maybe not so sadly] I will be returning that coat because it doesn't fit right and doesn't seem worth altering. I also saw that a dress I had recently purchased at Urban Outfitters was reduced by almost $30 from the original price [$20, with the promo code I used], so I've contacted their Customer Service...hopefully they can perform the adjustment.

I guess that's pretty much it for now...I guess my last pieces of advice are to check out clearance sections frequently [...I find that the selection is much, much greater than in stores]; buy what you really, really like/can't "live without" [you don't want buyer's remorse] but also know that if the item is gone, you'll still be ok; and don't buy everything you see! Sometimes it's just fun to "window" shop [haha, it's a pun...get it? A window, as in like a browser....???]...but if there's a really good deal, there's no harm in just placing it in your e-shopping cart and leaving it there. And if you do happen to end up making a purchase, you can congratulate yourself on the fact that you got a good deal!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mellow Music Makes Me.....Mellow

Sorry there, folks...I couldn't think of another adjective to insert that would mean calm [sorry I am too lazy to look it up in a thesaurus]....so if any of you out there can think of one, feel free to let me know.

Anywho, I thought I would share with you some chill songs that make me feel relaxed...one of them I just heard yesterday on
uclaradio.com
...which you all can check out [support college radio!].

Ra Ra Riot is "an American indie rock band from Syracuse, NY" [courtesy of Wikipedia] that formed in 2006. I heard their song "Can You Tell" on someone's show. I liked it, but I didn't know who it was. So now I [and you] know! You can listen to that song here.



The above song reminded me a lot of Vampire Weekend...I don't know too much about Vampire Weekend, but they are also another indie rock band that came out of NY in 2006 [courtesy of Wikipedia]. Interesting. I'm detecting a pattern here! Anywho, I enjoy their song "Oxford Comma," which you can listen here.


I first heard Yael Naim's song while browsing through Mac ads on Youtube. Her song "New Soul" was featured on the Macbook Air commercial. When I heard this song, I instantly pictured a movie scene where this song could be played:

The scene starts with bird's-eye view of a sunny morning in New York, where the camera pans over the city. We see a shot of the city's skyscrapers, and the camera focuses on one high-rise. The dawning sun strikes the windows and the beginnings of an illuminating blue sky are reflected in the glass. Then, the camera moves to follow a young, twenty-something girl riding her bicycle on her way to work [most likely a little hip bookstore], where an unsuspecting new day begins that will change her life forever.

Haha, possibly a little cliche, and yes, that all came from me listening to that song. You can listen to "New Soul" here.