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What I read in January

I thought it would be fun to do quick reviews of what I read each month this year. Let’s see how long I keep it up.


 

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein

I honestly had no previous knowledge of Carrie Brownstein’s life, so this was a surprise. Enjoyed how open it felt.

4/5 stars


Nerd Do Well by Simon Pegg

Hilarious and nerdy, this autobiography includes interludes of fanfiction.

4/5 stars


Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsberg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik

Packed with info and artwork, this bio on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a must-read.

5/5 stars


People I want to Punch in the Throat: Competitive Crafters, Drop-Off Despots and Other Suburban Scourges by Jen Mann

Funny shorts on life as a suburban mom. Didn’t think I’d like it since I hate kids, but the author is just as cynical as I am.

4/5 stars


Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe

Had to read it for book club. I dare you to find one chapter where someone isn’t crying.

2/5 stars


Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

Heartfelt hilarity with Carrie’s crass voice dancing vividly throughout. Read this as we wait for her next book.

5/5 stars


What Would Lizzy Bennet Do by Katie Oliver

Interesting Austenesque story. Not bad for a beach read.

3/5 stars


Strike! by Larry Dane Brimner

Easy read for anyone who wants an intro to the farmworker movement.

3/5 stars


Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Gag. Two people love to hate each other and drive everyone else into ruin for kicks.

3/5 stars


Star Wars: Ships of the Galaxy by Benjamin Harper

For kids, but a good introduction to the main ships in the Star Wars films.

2/5 stars


Star Wars: The Force Awakens Incredible Cross-Section by Jason Fry

Glorious photos with info about the characters, locations and ships in the newest Star Wars film.

3/5 stars


Luke Skywalker Can’t Read: And Other Geeky Truths by Ryan Britt

Geekery reaches its peak in this collection of shorts ranging from sharp studies of genre to amusing observations.

5/5 stars


Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary by Pablo Hidalgo

Filled with great details about The Force Awakens. I loved that we got a chance to learn all the random things about main characters and background folks.

4/5 stars


 

The Perfect Weapon by Delilah S. Dawson

READ. THIS. SHORT. It focuses on Bazine Netal, a character we see for all of five seconds in TFA.

5/5 stars


 

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

I’ve been single-handedly promoting this book every since finishing it. A fairytale for adults who adore a good story with amazing ladies.

5/5 stars


Star Wars, Vol. 1: Skywalker Strikes by Jason Aaron

Just reading to fill the void while we wait for the next Star Wars film.

4/5 stars

 

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You never forget your first Austen

Today is the 203rd anniversary of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice being published. In honor of this book birthday I wanted to share the story of my first copy of the book.

  
I bought this at a library book sale when I was in elementary school, but I don’t think I actually read it until I was 12. At that age, I was too young to appreciate (or understand) what was happening. It wasn’t until later, after a few rereadings and maybe a little heartbreak on my own part, that I really started loving the book. It’s a testament to her work that every time I read her books I take something different away from it depending on what my life is like at that point. 

An interesting aspect of my copy is the careful handwritten notes throughout. As a used book it came to me much loved. I once looked up the previous owner (she had written her full-name and I couldn’t resist) and found out she was a involved in a lot of local organizations. I often wondered if she read the book for a class or for fun, and if she found her Darcy.

Valentine’s Day for spinsters

darcyI love Valentine’s Day. If you know me, then you know I adore Jane Austen, worship Nora Ephron and have pinup tendencies that are not to be ignored.

 

So Valentine’s Day is a holiday I naturally embrace, despite being perpetually single.

I try to send Valentine’s cards to people every year, and really, I’m more fond of this tradition than I am of sending Christmas cards.

This year I bought blank, recycled cards and made my own, unique cards for each person. It was a great excuse to have craft nights.

I also (finally) had enough income to have a sweet treat delivered to people I appreciate. I have cupcakes delivered from Cako to two of the offices I worked in last year. It was my way of saying thanks and just knowing that it was a surprise for people made my day. Sure, I’d love to horde the cupcakes for myself, but knowing that others had a pick-me-up made me happy.

So yes, I am cheesy about at least one holiday. I’m shameless about my affection for heart-shaped anythings, and I’m happy to share that with other people during this time of year.

Don’t let Valentine’s Day become a thing that makes you feel bad about being single, or stresses you out about gift-giving. Own it as a day to celebrate love in all its abstract forms, not just romantic.

Also, dream of Mr. Darcy.

Career Shower!

When I landed my adult job that successfully put me on my career path I threw myself a Career Shower.

careershower

What is that? It’s just like a Wedding Shower or Baby Shower, but for my career. It’s a way to supply my home and home office with the necessities I needed when I moved away.

It really just consisted of me registering at Target (wedding registry, because Target doesn’t yet have a category for celebrating my own success) and having a farewell dinner.

I made the decisions a long while ago to not have babies or get married. (I’ve had people argue that I may get married one day, but since I’ve prioritized my career I won’t be getting married soon. I feel even more validated in having a shower now, when I’m starting off and trying to get settled, than when I’m older and will probably have enough money to provide my home with simple things like lamps and plates.)

My career is my baby. Think of it that way if it helps.

I’ve given my career YEARS of love, money and mostly tears. I think I’ve spent more time on my career than most people do planning a wedding or a family.

(Cue sounds of a gauntlet being thrown.)

I’ve had numerous people argue this, but the fact remains that the society I live in still doesn’t accept the life-choices of young career-driven ladies as easily as it does men.

I want Career Showers to become the norm. I want society to celebrate female success that doesn’t involve a baby or a spouse.

I’ve been told that Sex and the City tackles the career-woman issue in much the same way. Carrie has a friend with a baby that just doesn’t respect her life decisions in the same way she respects that woman’s family planning choices. It’s sad that not much has changed since the episode aired in 2003.

And I totally took note of the people who didn’t contribute to my shower. Those people aren’t getting shit for their weddings or babies.

Career Tip #2: Don’t give up.

That was my last tip in the previous post, and it’s true.

Real-talk: I was working holiday retail with a master’s degree from a well-known university months after graduating. And I applied for every job I could. I never stopped trying.

“But applying for jobs is HARD!” I hear you say….

Yes, it is.

journalismSomeEcard

In fact, applying for jobs is a FULL-TIME JOB! (Cliche as it is, it’s true.)

Until I had slightly more solid employment I had the same routine:

  • Wake up. Make coffee.
  • Finish applications I didn’t get to the previous night and search job sites for new listings. (There weren’t usually a lot of new jobs listed in the mornings, I assume because HR people haven’t gotten in to post them yet.)
  • Go to work/internship.
  • Start looking through job listings on way home (via handy apps) and send self links that I can open and respond to on my laptop.
  • Get home. Eat. Pop on a DVD or Netflix and finish going through my regular sites until I had every single job I qualified for in my queue.
  • Apply for as many as I can before sleep takes over.

Really. That was my daily life. Weekends were grand because there weren’t usually new listings so I actually got to go outside and enjoy sunlight.

Everyone has a different method, but here are my favorite sites:

  • Indeed: You should get the app. Login to save your searches, create alerts and have resumes on hand for instant applications.
  • Craigslist: Not as great as Indeed for jobs, but I found a pretty groovy internship through it, so give it a try. Also has an app.
  • MediaBistro: Great for media jobs. Great variety for the industry (art, photo, etc.).
  • Journalism Jobs: Same. Good media jobs, mostly papers and broadcast.
  • Idealist: Mostly non-profit, do-good jobs. Random communications jobs sneak their way in.

I also went directly to the source. When I was living in Los Angeles I was searching directly on the Disney Careers site and network sites (like CBS, NBC and Fox). A lot of sites will let you subscribe to a mailing list that will notify you when new listings come up.

Pro tip: Have multiple resumes and cover letters saved on your desktop. I had sets made up for a variety of jobs I was applying for. My production assistant resume was very different from my sustainability assistant resume. My general cover letters were reserved for jobs that didn’t require a cover letter, but accepted them. I always had a general template for different industries and inserted company names, position details and highlighted different qualifications as needed.

Don’t reinvent the wheel every time you apply for something. If you’re applying for 30+ positions a day, you just don’t have time for it. (But make sure you proofread. That’s essential.)

spongebob2

Yes, this all gets overwhelming and there will be times that you can’t believe you’re applying for some jobs (HOLIDAY RETAIL!), but if you need to make rent, you won’t question it. No job is below you because, like Drake, you can sing about how you started from the bottom one day.

*This is mostly helpful for media-centered jobs. Don’t ask me about teaching or science jobs. I’m out of my element with those.*

Career Tip #1: That Intern, Temping, Free-lancing game

cryingThere is no shame in interning. There is shame in not being paid fair wages (but that’s a discussion for a different day).

I spent the year and change after graduating from USC bouncing from internship to internship to free-lancing to temping opportunities. (In that exact order.) It was a rough road, but I feel like it ultimately helped me get to where I am.

What I learned from those non-permanent positions has stayed with me.

1. Overachieve like a bandit. Cliched as it is, don’t let any chance to shine pass you by. Are there editorial meetings you could attend? Are there blogs you could write that will highlight your journalistic prowess? Can you use your fab multi-media skills to create a great portfolio piece? Do it.

2. Make friends. Most likely to other interns and free-lancers are feeling your struggle. You don’t have to become besties, but you never know where you or your peers will end up, so stay cool with your cohort.

3. Network. This is something I was wholeheartedly against in school. I even left an all-day “retreat” when I saw a networking workshop coming up (it didn’t help that I was hungover). Shamelessly add everyone on LinkedIn. Become coffee-buddies with your fellow caffeine-addicts. Become allies at work and that should help you follow-through on assistance when you need it.

4. Dress for the job you want. Again, as an undergrad I would have rolled my eyes at the very thought of eschewing my tie-dye and jeans in favor of slacks and a neat jacket. Oh, how times have changed. My closet is now 90% office appropriate wear. I take inspiration from Nasty Gal and H&M. Invest in simple separates that are easily interchangeable and you will thank yourself. I dressed like I was going to a job interview as often as I could at my internships. I know using appearances to judge people is the devil’s work, but I honestly think it makes you stand out. It makes you seem like you’re taking it seriously and you’re smart enough to dress like you don’t stay up for $1 tacos after brews with the bros.

5. Observe. See how the overall operation works. Notice where the papers you file end up going, or how they got there. Part of interning is working toward understanding the inner-workings of the industry you want to break-into. Become an expert on the mechanics of the place. Doing that helped me see the qualities of good producers (and bad producers) over a year before I would get to produce.

6. Remember what it was like. Don’t forget how frustrated you were when people grouped all the interns as one, when that one high-ranking staffer always messed up your name or the terrible rudeness you endured as the underling. Remember that so when you get into a position of power you never treat the newbies like that.

7. Don’t give up. Just don’t.

Journalista: What’s to come

GPOY
Via http://partylikeajournalist.com/

I’ve been stagnant on the social media front (GASP!), at least in terms of my personal accounts.

I finally landed a dream job so live has been a whirlwind of change. I’ve had a lot of blog posts sizzling away on the stove-top over the last year and I think it’s finally time for me to get back to blogging and vlogging.

Stay tuned for more regular posts.

5 Things: In which I attempt to give job advice

I’ve been job-hunting a lot since graduating a year ago, and it seems I might actually get a decent position, so why not bestow some advice?

1. Be open – I want to be a producer at the BBC, but that’s not going to happen overnight. Or over a decade. Instead of limiting myself to specific jobs I’m open to anything that could help enhance my journalistic skills. So, always try to apply for the jobs that can help you land that dream career, even if that means utilizing one skill at a time.

2. Be shameless – This applies to networking events and calling in favors. Sure, I always feel awkward as an avocado having to ask someone if they’d be down to be a reference, or nudge their buddies to look at my resume, but I think all people are aware that job-hunting is synonymous with desperation.

3. There are no small jobs – If you land a job you need to run with it, especially if it isn’t your dream job. What can you do in your current position that can help you move in the direction you want? Recently, I was filling in for someone and I just went wild with the social media expansion. I created pitches and strategies and pretty internet things with cats. No, that wasn’t in my job description, but there was nothing that said I couldn’t do it (plus everyone else on staff was completely behind me).

4. There is no such thing as free time – I’m a workaholic. I’m aware this is a problem, but it’s no sleep ’till BBC for me, so I try to pack my non-work time with projects that keep me creative. I help admin at Drunk Austen, attempt to finish my film and read as much good reporting as possible. If you’re in school you should dip those fingers and toes into every bit of experience you can get. For me that included volunteering at the radio station, tv shows and zines.

5. Own it – Don’t let the job descriptions scare you. It says you need a minimum of five years experience, but you have three and you KNOW you can do the job? Apply anyway. Write a strong cover letter and highlight your expertise. What’s the harm? You get called in for an interview and they don’t hire you? In that “worst case scenario” they know your face and see that you want to work. Next time you apply at that company you’ll already stick out.

 

Misc. tips

– Have multiple resumes to suite different jobs you’re looking for.

– Dress for the job you want. (Sure, this is shallow, but I was the best dressed intern at one place and was told that really helped solidify how seriously employees took me.)

– I don’t know if LinkedIn really helps or not.

Indeed, JournalismJobs and MediaBistro are my BFFs.

– Cookies help with image. Just sayin’. (No, you can’t have my super secret Wookiee Cookie recipe because I changed it for maximum delicious.)

5 Things That are Keeping me Busy

sweetDylanMoran via http://billybobjackson.tumblr.com/

  1. Work – I know I’m just an acting editor, but dear-baby-raptor-Jesus there’s so much to learn and work on.
  2. Dance – I’m actually glad I have dance because it’s regular physical activity that I would not be partaking in otherwise.
  3. Getting it on – I said it. I went there. After a years-long dry spell I have something going on and it takes time out of my week to maintain that relationship (of sorts).
  4. Chores – My gma pretty much leaves all major cleaning to me. I just got over the Flu and the kitchen floor looks like the grossest bathroom in Scotland, if you take my meaning.
  5. Sleep – When I get off work I don’t want to spend my hour+ commute reading (especially since I most likely spent hours doing that), so I veg out to podcasts and music. When I get home I have to clean up other people’s junk, then I have dinner and try to catch up on my Netflix queue like any modern woman. But I mostly just curl into bed and hope my insomnia abates.

 

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