I guess I could learn something from this

Nothing stings quite like missed opportunities. Not that it matters now, but I just had one of those. And now I keep kicking myself in the face or the verbal equivalent, bursting into “Arrrrrrgh” whenever I think about it. I could have had an immeasurably better Sunday night. What makes it worse is that we both thought about it!! Why didn’t either of us do anything!?? Arrrrghhhh!!

At the same time, a missed opportunity opens up to such great and wonderful potential, provided that you plan far enough in advance to take that next opportunity. We’re back in action. It’s exciting now.

It’s also a good teacher. Lesson learned: do not lose contact with certain people on any circumstances. I know it’s vague, and this is kinda for me anyway because I just need to get this out of my head.

Unrelated: So I just Googled myself (image search) and pictures of me and graphics I’ve made for journalism-related things pop up on the first page! Um, thanks Google.


Nothing like confusing a killer whale and a delicious dish

My mom is hilarious and I will miss conversations like this. She and I were discussing the city of San Diego one night over dinner.

Jess: It’s cool there. They have the beach, Legoland (not as cool as the real one in Denmark obviously) and Shamu!

Mom: Oh, you mean like the drug?

Jess: There’s a drug called Shamu?

Mom: Yeah, like Shamu-Shamu??

Jess: What are you talking about?!?

Hilarity for hours! Upon further research, I think she meant shabu shabu, which is delicious Japanese hot pot.

Another reason I’ll miss her is because she knows how to shop. Or as we call it, “investing.” I know I said I needed to cut back on my investing, but I argue that it’s almost my birthday (Feb. 25).

After church last Sunday we decided to go to Nordstrom Rack. With Rack, it’s clearly hit or miss. One day, there will be so many things (all the stuff you wanted in the main store but didn’t want to pay full price for), and the next day will have nothing. She went to get some shoes for herself and while she’s wandering around, she finds these gorgeous purple/reddish Frye Harness boots for $119! In size 6! Oh man, it was just like the wise men finding the Christ child.

Love these already!

The going rate for these fabulous leather boots is about $200, and for good measure. They’re well made and will last for years. The Frye company is the oldest American shoe company still in operation (since 1863), supplying boots for soldiers during the Civil War, Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders and hippies in the 1960s (gotta throw those history tidbits in — it’s a given). They’ve had nearly 150 years to perfect the art of making the best boots.

I’ve only seen them in black and tan in the Nordstrom stores, so it was weird to see the plum already at the Rack.

But what makes things even better is that my mom let me use her $20 Nordstrom note, which brought my boots down to $99. Luck? Or divine intervention?

As the Nordstrom guy said, my mom and I have “black belts in shopping.” That doesn’t even begin to cover it. You may as well call her the grand master. She innately knows how to find the best deals on anything and hold on to her money as much as possible, which makes me believe that my frugal Asian mom and my future Jewish mother-in-law will get along nicely.

I’m also busy working on a Web site for a friend and staying positive about my life.

This is good. If anything, I have perfected the domestic arts. I can make excellent soup, do laundry, iron and navigate public transit.

Or if all else fails, I could end up taking this guy’s approach.

My life just took a turn for the first

I never had it this busy or this good in so long.

My job situation is looking better than it has in a long time. All I can say is I’m so blessed to have such a wonderful network. Maybe not jumping into a company right after school was actually a good idea. I’ve had time to reevaluate and reflect on what I really truly want in a job and how to get there. Obviously, I want and need a job. Those college loans, though not terrible, are still looming. And until I get one, I know it’s out there.

Jess in time (portfolio/clip repository) has been back in action, reloaded, updated and ready to go: I put it in a grid style (the designer in me LOVES this) with a header and I included more than just j-clips, because I’ve got to market myself as something more than just a journalist. I have the basic journalism skills plus more (in my case, creativity and Web skills). I’ve also tagged my clips for more organization, but lately the tagged posts keep changing and Tumblr seems like it’s acting up.

The creative process never ceases, so I redid my resume yet again and have received great feedback! Most people who have seen it like it, but I did have some corporate HR people that found it confusing and hard to read. I’m blessed to have a career coach as a family friend, so she looked over my cover letter and resume and passed the resume over to one of her friends in HR. He wasn’t impressed. I get that. He does HR for hospitals. He don’t care if your resume looks pretty, he just wants to make sure you’re qualified enough to operate on and stick needles in people. But the newsies somehow get it, which is why I think my life would be unfulfilled if I wasn’t working in news in some way.

I also got a Formspring! I actually think it’s part of a fascinating social experiment. If anonymity was guaranteed, would people be as much more candid in their questions as they are with their words on online forums? Those of you who have to moderate reader comments know what I’m talking about.

Ask me anything and receive fast, timely, relevant and  accurate answers (or if not, a close jess-timate, haha). And go.

Resume redesign, or crisis begets creativity

What does it take to get a good job in news (or media in general)? That’s the $4000 question swimming in my head right now.

I will even make my resume look remotely like a newspaper–complete with flag, skyboxes, sidebars, datelines–designed with copy editing principles in mind (and also inspired by Plaid’s awesome Merry Newsinator, but a bit less merry).

This started out as something to relieve the stress that has been simmering since I finished my internship in September.

Working on it was a delightful break from the monotony of checking emails, reading job boards and mining my address book for any contacts I have not yet exhausted.

As much as I hate being in this situation, I believe crisis begets the best kind of creativity, which is something I learned from this trash artist that we interviewed for our in-depth reporting project on the closing of a county’s landfill. She said that much of the best art she’s seen comes from some trauma that the artist experiences. To me, crisis forces you to stretch yourself and ask questions like “What have I not tried yet? Why not?”

Doing this also made me realize that I want to be doing something creative with my life (and getting paid for it). I know I don’t have any formal design training (i.e., a degree in graphic design or experience other than designing for personal sites and laying out dummy pages) and I don’t want to automatically call myself a designer just because I know how to use Photoshop or InDesign, but I just love it.

Or it could be just that I like big type and I cannot lie. You other type nerds can’t deny that when type is on your screen in all caps and 72 px, you get sprung.

Which leads me to further refine my ideal job: some marriage of reporting/writing and creativity/design, such as an online multimedia producer, marketing specialist, or some publication’s layout editor.

On the upside, I’m still counting my blessings. I saw the sunrise today and I took a picture, but even that doesn’t do it justice. It had  these colors:

Another sunrise is another day to get where I need to go. It’s like the rest of my life is waiting for me to get my act together and start living.

Because I never say it enough…

Facebook, from when I went to Germany in 2007

I always told myself to recognize when I’m happy. I feel like our lives get so busy and crazy and there a million more things that make us say, “f my life” that we forget what it means to be joyful.

Today, I went to church, learned something new and now running with it.

I cleaned and rearranged my room for the new year, and I finally hung up my picture frames. I had picture frames full of my college friends and my study abroad adventures and since I’ve been back home, they’ve just been sitting in a pile on my floor.

It took me forever to hang them on the wall because I didn’t think I’d be there for very long. I’d think, “Oh, I won’t be here for long, so what’s the point of hanging them up if I’m just going to leave?”

So instead of enjoying them, the picture frames just sat in a pile. Until now, when I realized that I just need to enjoy whatever situation I’m in. It might not make sense, but it was kind of a big deal.

Then I decided to go for a run by the waterfront, which is the best running spot ever (seriously PDXers check this out), especially in the fall, when the trees look like they’re on fire and it’s reflected on the water. It’s gorgeous.

I drove to waterfront and was about to start running when I was interrupted by a phone call from a long-lost friend, which was completely worth postponing the run after a day of phone tag with a friend I haven’t talked to in like 3 years.

After a very good long talk, I finally started running, put on my music and the most perfect songs I actually wanted to hear played on shuffle as I ran.

And then I got a new 2010 calendar (not this one unfortunately, but something little more sophisticated).

I love it when my days are just full of infectious joy. Absolutely love it. The even better news is that it can last! You choose to create joy in your days, regardless of what happens.

It’s 2010. What do you see?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/platinum/4003277/ My future’s so bright, I’m going to need sunglasses.

Ugh, I’ve been away for much too long. I feel like my mind and spirit (crazy, but good crazy) have been awakened after sleeping for so long. Now that 2010 is upon me, I’ve got to ask myself, what do you see in 2010?

  1. Working at my *REAL* job (one that uses my journalism degree, my creative and technical skills, in Washington, DC and even better than I could have ever possibly imagined). I will accomplish this by keeping the dream alive (keep it before my eyes and in my thoughts) and most importantly, believing God’s promises and plan for my life and continuing speaking it into existence.
  2. Begin paying off my college loans. My plan is to get those out of the way in 2-2.5 years or less.
  3. Staying healthy. For once in my life, I’m starting the new year on a healthy foot and I need to keep it this way.
  4. Being a grownup. To me, so far this means to make those tough choices and take responsibility for the choices you make and making the best of the situation.
  5. Making more to do lists to get things done. Now that an app like TeuxDeux has dropped, there’s no excuse.
  6. Curbing my shopping. Outrageously cute stuff + the deep discounts brought on by the recession = monetary policy disaster for Jess. This means shopping my closet (the glut still astounds me) before I buy something, now that a majority of my finances will be spoken for. What if I didn’t buy any clothes/shoes/accessories for a month? Two months? Three? The possibilities are endless. I just need to be more financially prudent.
  7. Keeping up my blog. 3 posts a week. Minimum. On anything.
  8. Having it the other way. I don’t normally take risks; I play it safe. I hate gambling (not just money, anything really). But what if I took more risks?
  9. Not taking no responses personally. While I would love it if every place I applied would send me some reply (whether negative or affirmative), I know that’s probably not going to happen. It might be policy. It might be lack of time. Whatevs, since that is no longer going to get me down.
  10. For God’s sake, get me to the church on time. Now no longer just a song in My Fair Lady, but a literal aspiration. I need to stop being late to church every Sunday!
  11. Choose not to let what people do negatively affect me. Most of the time, I don’t think people realize what they do/don’t do can offend someone. So since they usually didn’t do that out of malice (we all forget stuff unknowingly and don’t wake up and think, “I’m going to forget to call Jess back just to ruin her day”), I’m going to choose not to be offended by that.
  12. Maintain my relationships. They’ve taken a backseat while I drove around in circles via the job situation. I’ve realized that I’ve been isolating myself for the past few months because I felt inadequate about not finding a job right immediately at the end of my internship. So, I need to get back out there and repair my relationships and keep them up, because I can always use some encouragement.
  13. Keep doing something towards what I want to do. I might not have a specific job title in mind, but I know what I enjoy. For me, this means keeping my skills fresh by just doing random projects that exercise them. Number one on my list? Making data visualizations/plans using readily available data.
  14. Not letting the little things get to me. Clearly, there are so many things I want to accomplish in 2010, so I don’t have time for that.

This is your year. What do you see? Take it and own it.

I had a wonderfully low-key season this year and spent the major days (Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s) with family and close friends. Hope everyone enjoyed their past few weeks.

After some reflection, in the spirit of resolutions and starting my year off right, I’ve decided to undergo a full-on media fast for the first 6 weeks. This means no Twitter, Facebook, NetNewsWire, TV, movies and things like that. The media (in general) saturate our lives so fully that we don’t even realize we’re addicted to them. Now that I’ve sufficiently fed my body and soul (with the media), I’m going to focus on feeding my spirit and putting it before the other two.

I’ve been given the gift of another year, and this time, I can’t waste it. It’s my year (and yours too).

Thanksgiving from the trenches

Lately, I’ve been MIA and it’s been a crazy fight. I’ve seen a few of my friends who are in similar situations (underemployed j-school grads) coast towards depression, anger and bitterness and I’m determined not to be one of those casualties.

One way I fight it is to keep reminding myself of what I’m blessed to have (and not have) and especially on Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for:

  1. Family/Friends – I am so blessed to have these people in my life. I am so grateful for their love, faith, support and trust (in their own ways). I’m not sure where I’d be without these people who made such a positive impact on my life. They’ve taught me to live, to forgive, to trust in God and myself, how to have fun, and so much more. Though many of them are not with me on this day, I’m still thinking of and thankful for them.
  2. Change – I am definitely thankful for the fact that change is an inevitable part of life. Even when I’m not in the best of situations, I am comforted knowing that it will change eventually. I know I won’t stay where I am forever as long as I keep trying to change it.
  3. Health – I’m so thankful that I’ve been blessed with great health. My body and my immune system are strong. Screw healthcare; it’s not like I need it anyways, though obviously it would be nice to have.
  4. A Job (though not THE job) – Yes, as much as I complain about my job, it’s good to have one in this economy while I’m waiting on THE job (the one that uses my journalism degree). At least I’m making some money instead of wasting away.
  5. Being done with collegeTuition hikes?! Not on my forecast. I’m glad to know that I won’t have to live in fear about my university increasing my tuition (at least until I seriously consider graduate school).
  6. The Fame Monster – Gaga has done it again!! I just got this album yesterday and it has been spinning on the ‘Pod. My fave tracks (other than Bad Romance) are Alejandro, Monster, Dance in the Dark and Telephone (feat. Beyonce), but really all the tracks are good stuff.
  7. Where I live – Okay, so living at home is not my favorite place to be at this time of my life, but I can’t complain against no rent/food expenses, perfect, humidity-free summers and driving 10 minutes to Portland to buy stuff sales tax-free.
  8. Nordstrom – In all seriousness, words cannot express how awesome this retailer is. Ordering stuff and getting it shipped to me for free? Free alterations? Easy returns? Great customer service? Reasons why I buy almost everything I wear here. Yes.
  9. My REAL/RIGHT job – I know for sure it’s out there. It’s just a matter of timing–when it’s ready and when I’m ready for it at the same time.
  10. That this list is always growing