Thursday, October 16, 2008

Good Enough is Not Good Enough

So it's been a while...more interesting stuff coming up, really.

For now:

1.  If you have contacts in the fashion industry (any aspect) who would not mind talking to me, please let me know!  I am specifically looking for opportunities in Fashion Public Relations - agency or in-house for high fashion brands, but I would love to talk to anyone in any aspect of the field.  Spanks!

2.  Two weeks after I quit my job, I began interning at a fashion PR firm (one of the top 3 agencies I want to work for!) that represents high fashion and luxury contemporary designers/labels, and I love love love it!  God, it's weird to love going to work...not like, love.  And even weirder to leave work before 7pm...slackers

Among the other interns I have met:
-3 career changers (a former management consultant, a former auditor w/a Big 4 firm, a former investment banker)
-several people who graduated with degrees from reputable schools (many ivy leagues) that have nothing to do with fashion (Political Science, Art History, Economics, Finance)
-90% of interns have already graduated from college

What is significant about this is that the internship is unpaid - ubiquitous in many creative industries, but still mind-boggling to me.  Working.  For free.  Crazy.  Summer finance internships are usually paid starting salary (pro-rated) with perks like housing stipends, excessively lavish dinners, box seats at sports events, etc.  But in fashion, there are A LOT of well-educated, well-spoken, personable, well-dressed kids in NYC who are willing and able to work unpaid, full-time, indefinitely, until they land the dream job.  WTH?!?! That's my competition?!?!  Oh, I forgot to point out that there is zero correlation between interning and getting a full-time offer.  Ok, maybe like 2%, but that's it.  

3.  Just something interesting I came across:
Satisficers (yes, satisfice is a word, I checked) are those who make a decision or take action once their criteria are met. That doesn’t mean they’ll settle for mediocrity; their criteria can be very high; but as soon as they find the car, the hotel, or the pasta sauce that has the qualities they want, they’re satisfied.

Maximizers want to make the optimal decision. So even if they see a bicycle or a photographer that would seem to meet their requirements, they can’t make a decision until after they’ve examined every option, so they know they’re making the best possible choice.

Most people are a mix of both approaches. For example, one friend was a satisficer about renting an apartment, but a maximizer about buying an apartment. As a consequence, he and his wife are renting an apartment now, because they had to move, and they're still searching for the perfect apartment to buy.

In a fascinating book, The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz argues that satisficers tend to be happier than maximizers. Maximizers must spend a lot more time and energy to reach a decision, and they’re often anxious about whether they are, in fact, making the best choice.

My mother is a good example of what I’d call a “happy limited maximizer.” In certain distinct categories, she’s a maximizer, and she loves the very process of investigating every possibility. My sister is getting married next year, and I know that my mother would love nothing more than to see her try on practically every possible wedding dress, just for the fun of it. But
too often maximizers find the research process exhausting—yet can’t let themselves “settle” for anything but the best.

The difference between the two approaches may be one reason some people find a big city like New York overwhelming. I
f you’re a maximizer, and you live in New York, you could spend months surveying your options for bedroom furniture or even wooden hangers. In a smaller city, like Kansas City, even the most zealous maximizer can size up the available options pretty quickly.

I'm a satisficer when it comes to trivial things (buying hangers), but with long term goals, I am the ultimate maximizer.  Simply "good enough" is never good enough for me.  So yes, this means that I too am determined to remain unemployed indefinitely until the perfect job at one of the top firms comes along.  Um...again, email me if you have fashion industry contacts!

What are you, a satisficer or a maximizer?

And yes, I am writing this before 6AM.  And no, I didn't go to 1OAK last night.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


At 9am EST on Friday, September 19, 2008, I did the most amazing thing I have done in a long time: I quit my job! 

It took every ounce of self control for me not to skip out of my HR Manager’s office yelling, “SO LONG SUCKAS!!!!” - but being the mature, poised adult that I am (stop laughing), I managed to, at least until I go to the elevator.  I also may or may not have been humming the chorus of George Michael's "Freedom" on the way home...

Do his waxed eyebrows/precisely trimmed sideburns and facial hair scare you too?

That’s right, during a week of turmoil in the financial markets beyond what I could ever have imagined even a few months ago, I decided to resign from a perfectly stable, currently decently-paying-but-eventually-lucrative job at one of the world’s most reputable companies. 


This must be what those guys who have been wrongly imprisoned, and later released because DNA forensic testing proved their innocence, must feel like. Okay, maybe not the best analogy! Anyway.

It has been the most humbling experience to admit to myself that a job that once made me excited to go to work, that challenged me, that I took pride in, was now making me truly miserable.  It was depressing to realize that I was working 16+ hour days with zero sense of accomplishment or satisfaction, that I was really BORED, that none of it was worth it since I knew I did not want to stay in finance anymore. But once I admitted this to myself, the decision was easy, and it was just a matter of time before I pulled the trigger.  The next time I meet someone who asks me what I do (which in our society always means what one does for a living because we totally define ourselves by our jobs whether we want to/realize it, or not), I cannot wait to say, "Oh, you know, this and that. I'm exploring my options."  And I love run on sentences.

Of course, voluntary unemployment entails a plethora of new concerns….how long can I live off savings before finding another job? How can I be sure that I’ll be happier in a new job/industry? How will I survive not taking cabs while in 4 inch heels? Am I going to have to rent forever? Will I have to start eating ramen (and not good ramen which I set out to do, but cheap, packaged ramen)? Will I be in agony when I can no longer afford to go to whatever new restaurant is opening? Opera season is starting soon – am I going to have to settle for the shitty seats in the back where you can only see half the stage (the botton half)? AHHHH!! But in the grand scheme of things, these are insignificant problems, and since I am self-confident to the brink of arrogance, I know I’ll be successful in my new endeavors. =) 

So what are these new endeavors? Stay tuned...because I obviously now have time to write more crap, more frequently, for your entertainment. 


P.S. For all my friends who have doubts that I can live frugally with no income, I'd just like to say that I haven't taken a cab for over 48 hours. Baby steps...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I Can't Stand Regina Spektor


My lack of posts over the past three weeks was purely to elicit flattering inquires from you all as to why I haven't written anything, and not for lack of material...or laziness. Just the opposite actually. Since my previous entry, I have experienced the entire range of human emotion. And by entire, I mean that I've been largely frustrated, pissed, stressed, overworked, and wistful (friends moving away, shakeups at work, ex visiting from London, contemplating law school/career change, etc) but intermittently inspired and entertained (some entertaining and random happenings, meeting random creative people/entrepreneurs, a Boston mini-break, etc.)

The human body is just amazing. I never thought I could work 16+ hours a day (8am - past midnight), five days a week, for over two weeks, without collapsing...but what do you know, I am still alive. Around 11PM every night, I start contemplating law school or being one of those perfume-spritzer girls at department stores who just have to stand there and smile.

So what do I do when I get out of the office at 9PM last night? Catch up on sleep? No, I went out, of course! At my friend's birthday dinner at Butter, three friends of friends of the birthday boy drop by. No one knew why the hell they sat down, but I made small talk to diffuse the awkwardness.

Party crasher girl 1: Talking to someone in Polish about perogies and her love for Polish Kitchen.
(I'm really amused that she's talking about the first two things that come to my mind when someone mentions Poland. Well, other than Belvedere I guess.)

Party crasher girl 2: Tells me she dabbles in music, film, writing, fashion styling for photo shoots, and hangs out at Freeman's Alley. When I ask for details (these dabblers fascinate me), she can't name a single source where I can see her work (or should I say "work"). When I ask her what kind of music she/her band plays, she tells me,

" hip hop funk pop electronic, retro, ya know?"

No, I do not know. Nor did I know what she meant when she said,

"I've known him (points to the guy she came with) for years. We randomly met one night at Freeman's Alley. But sometimes you know someone and sometimes you KNOW someone, you know? I like to really know people."

Verbatim, I swear. And no, I don't know or care.

But wait, it gets better. She proceeds to ask for an extra dirty martini (I'm rolling my eyes!!! ha ha hahahaha) and pull up a chair for dinner, and helps herself to my napkin (ew, but I will give her the benefit of the doubt and assume it was a mistake)!!

Party crasher Guy: Actually went to my high school freshman year, until he transferred after moving to the 'burbs.
He tells me he's into web design, but doesn't have a card and cannot name a single site he's created. Uh, make any sense to you? Can anyone say poseur?

All this (and several warm jelly donuts, almost as good as the ones at Stanton Social) gave me indigestion, and I was in bed early - that's 1am by my standards.

Only in New York, yup.

That's all I've got at 5am!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Men Require Patience!

Sorry for the lack of posts! I know you all turn to me for shallow, mindless entertainment to help you get through the day at your unfulfilling jobs. Oh wait, that's just those of you who work in finance...ha ha ha

Anyway, I haven't been bothered to write anything lately as I've been busy with a lot of things - getting back on track with a few personal and professional goals, but balancing it with some amazing times with friends. Cue Toca's Miracle =)

The past three weeks have been an insane mash-up of mid-Saturday afternoon parties at Bagatelle, sweating it out at PS1 Warm Up, late night backgammon games at the lounge above downtown Cipriani (closed until Sept 2, tear), goodbye dinners, renting a ridiculous Zipcar to go Philly just for the Coldplay concert (and a cheesesteak!), happy/hookah hours, great reunions with old friends, breaking lampshades at Bijoux (it's too dark, I couldn't even take a picture with my BB!), rooftop cocktails, underground mixers, noodles (Momofuku, Ippudo, Soba-ya, Matsugen have been covered thus far!) picnics and naps in Central Park, surprises, disappointments, dalliances, run-ins...and much, much more! Now, I'm just craving some time at the beach with a book and one of those coolers with the cup holders on top!!

My dream is to fly...

Coldplay concert in Philly
Chris Martin is not just another punk from UCL!

The promotional (and cheap) Prius zipcar we rented.
You can't see me, but I'm behind the monkey...we got a few looks.

Perfect night
Perfect skyline from The Frying Pan

Isabelle, my friend who came to visit from DC
She's still recovering from that weekend b/c I'm an excellent hostess! =)

PS1 in Queens
(little known fact: AMAZING street meat truck by the entrance)

The crowd at PS1 for Au Revoir Simone 
(or was this from LCD Soundsystem?)

I love Central Park Sundays

Laughing at "Bowery Lounge"

(You'd be that happy too if you were ON VACATION in NY 
and LIVED in the Bahamas!)

Snow & sparklers!!


A few weeks ago, I was digging through an old box of junk and came across a photo of my parents and me - I'm an only child, as if it weren't obvious - taken in Montreal in 1989. I was four at the time, my dad had just finished his Ph.D. and started teaching, my mom was still doing her residency in neurology. They were new to the city, and probably had no money and few friends - just a lot of hope for the future and especially for me. Since I pretty much look the same as I did at that age, and this blog is anonymous, I'll just have to describe the photo to you. It's a candid shot of them in a park, probably near McGill University.  It was probably at some time in the fall since the foliage in the background is a wash of yellow, orange, and red. I had just broken my left arm, which is in a sling and pitiful pink cast. He and my mom are totally ignoring me (typical!!) and laughing about something - and not just laughing, but laughing-from-the-gut-until-you-cry-laughing.

I stole the photo from a family album because it's my favorite picture of my parents. Theirs is the most enviable relationship I know, not just because it's withstood difficult times, including a near-divorce when I was in fourth grade, but because they're never boring and always have fun together. They wake up everyday with a different attitude than most people I know - everyday, even bad days, are fun with them and they never go to bed upset at each other.  They are each other's best friend; whenever I swear one of them to secrecy about something, the other finds out within an hour.  The photo struck a cord with me because lately I have been so frustrated with dating in this city! I really just want to be single, but of course, my life is situational irony at its best (or worst?). When it rains, it pours.  Everytime I meet a nice guy (yes, they exist in NYC!), I lose interest in about two seconds because I find him...boring.  And there is nothing worse to me than being boring.  Guess I just like the crazy/cocky/workaholic/alcoholic/model-aholic/player guys, and they sure do like me! Sigh...

But earlier this week,  I got an email from I couple I met at Bagatelle that dispelled any cynicism my hopelessly romantic self may have developed recently.  Bagatelle is a restaurant in Meatpacking, managed by the same people behind Kiss & Fly, the club next door.  It is the only restaurant I've been to repeatedly where I have no interest in the menu. The chef is last in command there - after the DJ, the bartenders, the (mostly) cute waiters, and the energy on Saturday afternoons.  Where else are people dancing on tables and chairs, banquettes and the bar, at 3pm?! Rain or shine! Where else are bottles of champagne delivered by a waiter in a Superman cape carried by six guys with sparklers?!

This Saturday, I was at Bagatelle, in the restroom line, when I met a really sweet woman, Viviana. She was probably in her late 50s/early 60s, not exactly the general demographic at these parties. Screaming over the music, she told me that she and her husband were in town for the weekend visiting their four kids who all lived in the city.  When I got back to my table, I noticed she and her family were next to us - their kids had convinced them to stay  after their actual (civilized) brunch, but they felt slightly out of place.  It's akin to dragging parents to a club, except replace the strobe with broad daylight, and the vodka with magnum bottles of rose!

Bagatelle "brunch"
(a speaker caught had on fire, and no one stopped dancing or noticed it was removed)

Bagatelle champagne delivery!

Of course, I'm all about everyone having a good time, and somehow convinced Viviana and Andres, her husband, to dance on chairs while I took videos of their family.  Turns out, they have been married for over 30 years, and were the liveliest, funniest, most interesting, successful, and chic-est couple over 60 I've ever met.  (When I grow up...)

I got this email from them on Monday:

Dear CM:

We had a great time at Bagatelle on Saturday and were very glad to meet you.  You are a very lively and lovely woman.  You will find love when and where it is least expected.  Men require patience my dear! I will upload the pictures from Bagatelle and send them to you soon.

I hope we can do it again sometime soon.

Stay in touch,

Andres & Viviana 

To get to the point, uhhh...I'm not sure if this story had a point.  If it does, I guess it would be that I just like hearing stories about great, fun relationships like my parents or Andres & Viviana have, even if it's far removed from my life! Also, men require patience!

One last pic for Bruce, who suggested more male-friendly content: Enlighten me as to whether or not these are the same...and why anyone would want two of the same?!

Friday, July 25, 2008

How to Pack for a Hamptons Weekend in 10 Minutes With 1 Regular-sized Longchamp Bag

In case you were thinking this is just another blog of partying stories and existential's something useful for the girls :)

Friends always on your case about over-packing for weekend trips?

Do they not understand that you need daytime/nighttime/dress/shoe/purse OPTIONS and cannot possibly predict what you will feel like wearing 48 hours in advance?

If so, I feel your pain, and after several weekends out of town, I (think) I can now survive an entire weekend with only the contents in a regular-sized Longchamp bag. The key is to be a leech off – uh, I mean, to share with - other girls going with you. Remember, don’t bring anything someone else will be bringing, which means you can bring more clothes with fewer annoying comments about how big your bag is!

He's ready for the weekend!

Here’s your to-bring list for a late Friday to late Sunday trip to somewhere beachy with nightlife, like the Hamptons (but also works for Miami and St. Tropez). You can pack this list in 10 minutes flat.

-flat, cute sandals you can walk in (not flip flops)
-heels, black

-2 dresses in minimally wrinkle-able material, in a style that does not require bras, which take up more space
-underwear (nude colored, in case you wear white clothes)
-2 bikinis
-2 daytime sundresses (again, non wrinkle, non-bra required preferred)
-1 slip to sleep in (extra points if it can double as a daytime dress for Sunday)
-evening clutch (doubles as a wallet)

-DO bring: toothbrush, mascara, lipgloss, safety pins, Advil, bobby pins, hair elastics, cash, credit/debit cards, ID, deodorant, perfume, contacts case, extra contacts (!!)

-DON’T bring**: jewelry (you will definitely lose it); shampoo, conditioner, face wash, toner, eye cream, floss, cell/camera chargers, body wash, toothpaste, blowdryer, sunscreen, any linen clothing (requires ironing)

-Wear: shorts, tshirt/tank, hoodie, sneakers, sunglasses, ipod, cell, camera, a book (the OCD girl will definitely bring magazines) and use your beach towel as a pillow in the car.

**There’s always an OCD girl who will bring everything you could possibly need. Remind her that sharing is caring.

Have a great weekend!

160 Characters or Less

Just a few recent texts/bbm messages from my endlessly entertaining friends.


Hey! Slight change of plan...I'm off to Cuba to learn salsa. Our dinner will have to wait another week I'm afraid.

-a friend from London who was originally going to be in NY this weekend

Anyway, I was thinking Sunday night might not be the best time for us all to do dinner since Chris and I will probably just be having massive amounts of sex all night long.

-good reason to change dinner plans

Can I get you PIN?

(ok this wasn't a text, but this guy asked for my BB pin instead of my number. Cultural milestone?)

You're the kind of girl I'd try to talk to at a bar, but who'd turn around and ignore me.

-My boss, 10 minutes after we first met. He's cool, just extremely awkward.

June 12, around 9pm:
Julie (Juuulie, French): Where are you?
Me: Going home, need to finish packing tmrw!
Julie: Boo! Smoking pot and cigar in backyard. Come!

June 11, around 9pm:
Me: I'm're not coming?
Julie: Still in back yard. Guitar just brought out. Trying to get pot delivery. Bad news overall.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cain: A Retrospective

I love my friends, really. Even when they tell me everything I write here sucks and/or is so boring they can’t get past three sentences. Or think it’s stupid I put up random photos, like Daphne Guinness in Alexander McQueen. When I was in middle school, while other girls plastered their walls with boy band posters (ok, I had a Take That poster), I had a wall devoted to Alexander McQueen. But mostly, HELLO, I work full time. In finance, where my creative writing skills put to the test daily by creating Powerpoint pitches that people never read (but do recycle – we are a green company!) Putting up a photo is kind of a cop-out to writing.

Doesn't Gary Barlow (2nd from left) look like Mr. Mazzoni (my high school Calculus teacher)?

Anyway, I haven’t gone out much recently…ok, I haven’t gone out much during the past two weeks. Let's take a moment of silence to regret not going to the Paper Mag party at Santos last Tuesday. The aftermath of moving and this past weekend's hyperactivity is overwhelming. But last night I put on my favorite dancing shoes (Sigerson Morrison peeptoe wedges…in a dusty rose color…sigh, beautiful) since Steve Aoki was DJing in NY for one night. At, of all places, Cain. I have a love/hate relationship with Cain and other Chelsea clubs.

Ooh, sponsored by Hypnotiq...I thought people were just tacky

My introduction to the mess that is Marquee/Bungalow/Pink/Guesthouse/Home/Cain (and now Mansion and Suzie Wong's) was two summers ago, when I was a new and wide-eyed resident of NYC. I remember a friend of mine advised me that the best places to go in NYC were Double Seven, which I guess never reopened, and Cain, which he said was “the Rumor of New York.” Rumor is a club in Boston where some of my friends frequented a lot in college (*cough* spent the majority of their college career *cough*). I’m not sure if that meant a lot of our mutual friends went to Cain, or it was full of European/South American/Middle Eastern/other international kids with drinking problems and an affinity for sparklers – it was both actually.

One random night, a girlfriend of mine and I were out, and in the unfathomable days before I had internet access on my phone, I was at a loss as to where either Double Seven or Cain were. I think we just kind of knew there were clubs in Chelsea and just wandered around. My phone was dead and I couldn’t call anyone, but we found our way to the 27th St strip. Rachelle only liked to dance to hip hop, so we quickly exited Guesthouse (and Pink as well?), frightened by the identically suited bankers inside, and by the old French doorman in the purple/blue/80s tracksuit – anyone else remember him?

We explored further down the street until we stumbled upon an oasis in clubland: Cain. The music was good, the people were hot, and the place just had a good energy. Mostly I liked that it was small and not crowded. I also ran into a few kids I knew, and a good time was had by all. But like many clubs, Cain has since suffered an undeniable slide into trash-dom (aka Phase 2). I won’t comment on the people who you’ll find there (that’s not my style), but let’s just say it’s not as full of eye-candy it used to be. The upside is that if you’re with a lot of friends (read: guys), it’s pretty easy to talk your way in sans hassle or bottles.
Anyway, back to last night. The last time I went to Cain was also when Steve was DJing, in late May.

Why are these parties (Wednesday nights at Cain) called Bunny Chow? Is that someone’s name? Huh? The music and crowd were awesome that night, but unfortunately I had dallied away my time at 1OAK and Tenjune, and didn’t get to Cain until 2am, nearly my weeknight-if-going-out-bedtime.

So last night, I decided to arrive early, midnight-ish. My friend Gemma (she of the Noodle Review – a post soon) told me that the night before she had a dream (nightmare) that we were at a club, but it was so empty we were helping the staff polish glasses. Funnily enough, that was pretty much the scene at Cain when I got there. It was so empty the photographer was taking still life shots of glasses and ice buckets. How sad. I attribute it to the rain and not me being lame for getting there so early. Luckily my friends soon arrived and we all had a good time. It’s not where you are, but who you’re with, right? =) I think Aoki came on around 1:30am (not 12:30, as promised), the music was good, the energy was great, but the crowd was just terrible. Too many people, and too many trashy people. I especially loved the crazy drunk girl who tried to have a heart to heart with everyone at our table, one at a time.

So, to get to the point, Bunny Chow Wednesdays are fun if you 1) go with a group of friends (that's my fun factor anywhere) 2) get there after 1:30, and 3) when a DJ you like is spinning.

Btw, I felt pretty bad for him. His father, Rocky Aoki, passed away recently. Clubs must be either a good distraction for him or the worst possible place to be when you are grieving.

Tonight…Matsugen. I might even write about the noodles...

Monday, July 21, 2008

There's actually a Wikipedia entry on "Meaning of Life"

Part II of my champagne induced jaw break story is coming up...


Last week I received this email from my good friend Claire:

I was talking to Gemma.. and I've come to the conclusion that I want to be you for a day.. no stress, I can get away w/ anything by smiling, people won't blame me for most of my actions "cause, it’s CM"...want to be stress free in my own little world!! hahaha.. ahhhhhhhhh!! I've reached my limit today.. and could easily kill someone from sprint through the phone!

Ha! So I apparently live in la la land, and my life is all butterflies and red velvet cupcakes…I wish! Actually, my sunny disposition belies my serious concern that I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING WITH MY LIFE. OMG, I’m almost 24. I know this is all pathetically cliché for people my age, but I can’t help but think -
Shouldn’t I have accomplished more, traveled more, seen more, learned more, done more by now?!

Lately, I have been a little disturbed by how hedonistic my and my friends’ lives are. Don’t get me wrong, I love (love love love) New York, and I’m proud that despite a hectic work schedule, I’m always doing something new, fun, or interesting. But it seems that recently, my biggest concerns everyday are so self-involved and trivial –
Should I go to the gym or get drinks with so-and-so? Should I go to this concert or to that party? Where should the girls & I go for dinner? When will this horrific haircut grow out?

Unlike a normal person who would be grateful to be free of problems, I actually feel guilty about it. Like maybe because I’m happy and healthy, have great friends and family, I should be doing more with my life. While I was moving, I came across a few books I read a while ago that collectively made me feel like an utterly worthless waste of space. The list includes Giving, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, Banker to the Poor, and The End of Poverty (Jeffrey Sachs' new book Common Wealth is pretty good if you're an econ geek...guilty!). Avoid reading these if you find yourself wondering how your career makes any difference in the grand scheme of human existence, because it probably doesn’t.

Anyway, I guess I have just been lost the past few months. The intellectual challenge and sense of accomplishment I used to get from my job has been eroded by stress after my boss left my team in March and my new, inexperienced boss stepped in. I’m all about working hard, but not when I don’t feel my efforts make any difference and aren’t appreciated. Outside of work, I have not been motivated to follow through with many things I’ve started, which is really disappointing because I have never been a quitter. Learning Spanish didn’t happen, taking the CFA didn’t happen, even running on a regular basis has been spotty.

So I decided last night that now is the time to make some changes! I’m joining a new team at work in two weeks, and from what I know about them now, it’s going to be great, personally and professionally. I also made a list of other things I want to accomplish in the short and long term. Overall, I like who I am now and I’m anxiously excited to see who I become.

So basically this was a pep talk to myself. Awesome.

P.S. Hi dad, it's kind of creepy you're reading this! =)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Beauty and the Beast

Daphne Guinness/Alexander McQueen/Michael Roberts
Vanity Fair August 2008
I stared at this for about five minutes straight, love it.

The aforementioned flamingo mirror/bar in my living room. I know, wow.