Monday, December 30, 2013

Goodbye 2013! A Yearlong Wrap-Up

It's almost New Years, and I love this time of year. I love the idea of new beginnings and reflecting on your life up to this point. Starting a new year opens up so many possibilities for a new start, and I think it is important to evaluate your life to see your progress and your struggles. 2014 is fast approaching, and I have been thinking about all of the events of 2013 that has made it a year that I'll remember.




Major Events that Happened in 2013:
  • My Aunt Jo passed away. It's been hard to see my family coping with the loss of her, but it has brought us so close as a family.
  • My little brother got engaged! Looks like I'll have to practice dancing in a bucket…
  • The Boyfriend started his career. His move to New Orleans has been tough on our relationship, but we have grown stronger and learned to have even better communication. I'm so proud of how hard he has been working and how dedicated he is to passing the CPA exam.
  • My career at REACH ended. I worked with REACH for 6 years, and this is the first semester since 2008 that I've been in school and not worked at REACH. It's such an amazing program, and I miss it far too much, but my schooling had to come first.
  • I travelled coast to coast! In January, my cousin Allie and I went to NYC on our first real vacation without our parents, and it was pretty amazing (as evidenced by the pictures above!). Then, in May, I travelled to California with my family to see my cousin Laura graduate from high school. 
  • I attended my first music festival! For my birthday, Jer bought tickets to JazzFest, and I got to see John Mayer, Gary Clark Junior, John Michael Rouchell, and many other amazing artists perform.
  • I went skydiving! And I survived!








Things in 2013 I Am Most Proud Of:
  • This blog! I am a chronic starter. I start projects and get really excited about them, but I end up losing focus or moving on to something else (ahem, like that time I decided to become a runner…). This blog has been going for five months, and I don't see it slowing down. 
  • Working hard and getting a 4.0 in the Spring and Fall semesters! Graduate school is HARD. But both semesters, I worked my booty off and earned those A's. I'm pretty proud of myself for committing myself to hard work and dedication, even if it meant missing a few fun things.
  • Starting Book Club! Book club is seriously one of the best parts of my month. The girls in that group are intelligent and thoughtful and seriously love to read. I'm so happy to be a part of such a great group of individuals and have such great book (and life!) discussions.









Top 3 Favorite Books Of The Year:
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson
  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce











What a great year!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Presents!

Jeromy is the most impatient man in the world. No, seriously. For Valentine's day, he gave me my birthday present because he couldn't hold on to the JazzFest tickets anymore. For Christmas last year, he told me what my present was going to be weeks in advance just because he couldn't hold it in any longer.

This year, he ALMOST made it to Christmas. Except he didn't.

Last night, he gave me the most amazing present.



Next year, we are going to Colorado! And riding in a HOT AIR BALLOON! 

Swoon. I may be the luckiest girl on the planet.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Feminism in the Boardroom

So last night, I was watching Assassin's Creed videos with Jer on YouTube, because that's what we do on a Wednesday night. Before one of the videos, an advertisement came on that caught my attention. It was an advertisement from Pantene in the Philippines, but it resonated strongly with me.

I wrote a blog post about the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, and it looks like Pantene is getting in on the action. The ad shows men and women in business environments and the way each gender is perceived in that role. It shows that women and men in the workplace exhibit the same behaviors, but are labeled different things because of their gender. The caption on the video states that the Philippines are ranked 5th in the world for gender equality in the workplace, yet when they polled the citizens, a gender bias still evidently exists.

This video is a prime example of why I am a "feminist". That word is used so broadly, and it is used to describe a vast variety of extremes, but for me, feminism is not asking for special treatment, but rather, is asking for a fair and unbiased view of women, acknowledging their strengths and weaknesses, and treating them like a human, not like a woman.




When I started working on my MBA, I was shocked at the business world. In education, women were the norm, but male teachers weren't looked at any differently than female teachers (In high school, anyway. I know there is some gender bias in elementary schools against male teachers.) Coming from that environment to a business environment where women are treated so vastly different than their male counterparts astonished me. The statistics are scary, y'all. Women face many uphill battles in their career, simply because stereotypes like the ones in the video exist. (And don't even get me started on what happens if you want to have kids AND a successful corporate career.)

Sheryl Sandberg's book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead talks about women's stereotypes in the corporate workplace, but in the context that women place these labels on themselves, which is hugely controversial. Of course, women are trained from birth that if they act a certain way, like being assertive in a boardroom, then they are overbearing and not "lady like". I think that this video did a great job of pointing out the hypocritical nature of these labels, and if women and men are more aware of the stereotypes we place on women, maybe we can overcome them and change the conversation.

Instead of saying that we need more women in the boardrooms, we need to be focusing on getting the RIGHT people in the boardrooms, whether they are male or female. Looking at what that person has to offer, regardless of gender, should really be the focus of feminism in the workforce.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Book Club Festivities!

A year ago, I was immersed in math and business and not at all excited about it. Give me words! Give me ideas! Because I missed reading and I missed discussing good literature, I started a book club. My friend Simone was in Library Science classes with me in undergrad, and so we thought up the club together. I invited a few people I knew through various organizations and activities on campus, and they invited a few more people, and thus, the Book Club was formed!

What makes it so special is that we are a group of girls who love literature and who come together for that purpose. Sure, some of us are friends outside of the club, but what brings us together every month is books. I love that.

So last night, we had our inaugural Christmas party/1 year anniversary party. I can't believe it's already been a year! At the bottom of this post, I'll list the books we've read this year. But first, the party.

My homemade tacky Christmas shirt!

We had it at Kate's house, and each person brought food. I brought my homemade candy that Stephanie and I made last week. Jambalya, Raising Cane's, and rum punch were all devoured. Then we talked about this month's book, Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. (You can see my thoughts at that link.) After discussing the craziness that is Google and the idea of immortality, we moved on to the game!

The books!

My wonderful wrapping… Can you guess what books I brought?

We decided to play our own version of White Elephant/Dirty Santa with books. We each wrapped 1 or 2 (or 4!) books and put keywords on them to describe them. Then, we pulled numbers and chose books based on our numbers. The trick was that we weren't allowed to open the books until after the game was over! A few books got stolen, and a few books were traded after we all opened them, but it was lots of fun, and we all gained new books in the process!


A few of the books



My choices!
Overall, it was great fun, and we all walked away happy with the books we received. Next month, we are reading historical fiction, and I can't wait!

Book Club Selections 2013: January - Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn // February - Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk // March - Pastoralia by George Sanders // April - Murder of the Century by Paul Collins // May/June - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald // July - The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce // August - The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson // September - The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller // October - The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde // November - The Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill // December - Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Monday, December 16, 2013

Book Review: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan


“Neel takes a sharp breath and I know exactly what it means. It means: I have waited my whole life to walk through a secret passage built into a bookshelf.”
― Robin Sloan,
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore


Book Title: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
Author:Robin Sloan
Publication Date: 2012
Genres: Adult Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Secret Societies, Techy Books
How I Found It: Book Club Book of the Month
Goodreads Rating: 3.77 Stars 
My Rating: 3 Stars

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Book Review: Little Bee by Chris Cleave


“We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, 'I survived'.” 

― Chris Cleave, Little Bee



Book Title: Little Bee
Author: Chris Cleave
Publication Date: 2010
Genres: Adult Fiction, Cultural Fiction
How I Found It: Sale Table at Barnes and Noble
Goodreads Rating: 3.63 Stars 
My Rating: 4 Stars

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Because, Cats

Today is the day of my last final of the semester. Thus, the only way I could write a semi-coherant blog post would be if I spewed accounting at you, and honestly, no one wants to see that. When I find myself needing a break, I turn to cat videos, because… it's cats. Here are a few gifs I loved from this Tumblr site.

So much cute.

At attention!


No words.

Honestly. Kittens and puppies. What's better?


Butt shake!


Cats have no cares.

Me, trying to study.

I can't even.

Boop.

It's so fluffy!

I did not eat your last tomato, mom.
And finally…


Happy hump day everyone!