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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in lauriel's LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009
6:46 pm
Test of a 3D environment for work... (originally created via Friendster app interface)

Saturday, April 11th, 2009
6:00 pm
Finding a job in today's economic and technological environment
Here are the thoughts, strategies, and mindsets that I found invaluable in my job search. I've been laid off before, but the market and job-searching techniques were remarkably different from the economic and technological environment we are currently in. Gone are the days of monster.com, dice.com, hotjobs.com, and dances with head hunters. Here is my personal take of the best way to maneuver and strategize your path in today's market, based off of my recent experiences.

What to do when you find yourself unemployed.

1) Give yourself a day off to enjoy your newfound freedom. Do something cultural (museum), active (run, bike ride, something outdoors and invigorating), indulgent (go out to your favorite restaurant - one meal won't kill your newly-restricted budget), and/or social (spend some quality time with your closest friend(s) or even better, those who have been laid off the same week as you - you'll enjoy blowing off steam and commiserating). The important thing is to keep things light and optimistic. You're getting yourself ready - mentally and psychologically - for the days ahead. This is the first new page of your next chapter in life, and you want it to be a good one!

2) Hit the ground running. This is the single motivational statement that my bf drilled into me over and over again. It was key. It got my brain working on overdrive, my black book filled with activities, my presence known to the general community, and provided impetus to maintain a steady stream of action. And it's key in this economy, when there are so many talented people out there, and you want to make your best impression before there's potentially even more to compete with.

3) Make a list of things to do for your job search. See the following steps to see what your list will comprise of. Choose and perform those applicable to your industry/interests. The only non-negotiable one is the networking one (obviously).

4) Strategize how you want to sell yourself, who you're selling yourself to, and how to best get what you want out of both 1) your "spare" time between jobs and 2) your next job. Which, as I like to see it, is your next career evolution, not just a "job". Everyone's looking for a job. Everyone will try to fit their individualistic polygon shape into a round hole to fit the job's needs. That won't work - there's too many people doing the same thing, and if anything, it only smells like desperation. Just like dating. :) You want to really focus on the potential career opportunities that speak to your key, unique expertise(s) and that you are truly excited and passionate about. Why? It'll be immediately obvious to the people you're talking to, whether it's a hiring manager or a friend, and they'll be able to better steer you in the direction you want to go. Some of my best mentoring conversations have come from hiring managers - complete strangers over a phone interview - who were looking for a different skill set than I offered, but gave me invaluable advice and networks of others to reach out to.

Selling Yourself

5) Update Resume: Update it and get several friends (both recruiters and those in the professional field you are aiming for) to critique it. This resume will be submitted for job openings and also posted immediately on your LinkedIn profile (for each job, job title(s) + 1-3 bullet points about responsibilities/results).

6) Get LinkedIn recommendations: Once your resume is uploaded, ask former co-workers to write recommendations for you. If you get recommendations unsolicited, kudos! Return the favor! (I have to follow my own advice here - have been slacking, my apologies.) The more recommendations the better, but one speaker said to aim for at least five recommendations.

7) Update LinkedIn status: Update your previous job status to be complete so that all of your work experience is in the "Past" category. Your "Present" plans should be blank. This will alert company-internal recruiters that you may be available. They ARE searching, and they will contact you. I got five phone/in-person interviews from internal recruiters. These are the people you want to attract to your profile, and to contact you (fish and reel in!). But just like dating and reverse psychology, the recruiters want to feel like they found you. There's something far more alluring to them in thinking that they found "hidden treasure" in you, rather than you as the over-eager (and desperate) job-seeker soliciting them. As ridiculous as it may seem, you want to simultaneously give off vibes of being "available to talk" but not "searching". Sound like flirting? You bet. It's a game, gotta play it. ;)

8) (Do not) Populate LinkedIn update: Honestly, I would leave this blank. Status updates are extraneous social material for Twitter and Facebook. If you automatically populate LinkedIn with the same updates, you run the risk of looking unprofessional or negative (if you post news of the weak economy and ever-rising job loss rate) to recruiters who surf past your profile. And as a humorous note of the importance of being cognizant of what you post online: one person who got a job at Cisco posted on Twitter, "Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work." Word got back to the hiring manager with typical internet speed, and the offer was revoked.

9) Populate LinkedIn photo and applications/links: If you wish, put up a flattering, professional-looking headshot of yourself. Make sure that this is the same photo you use across networking and professional platforms to promote a consistent, recognizable image of yourself. LinkedIn is a great way for people to see a much fuller, richer picture of you than a resume. Work it. Set up a wordpress blog in which you post and discuss anything relevant to your desired industry (in my case, design and creativity). Also, check the BlogLink application to make sure that your personal blog(s) have not been automatically associated to your LinkedIn profile. The last thing you want is your party/nightlife/dating blog to be one easy click away for interested parties. That is, unless you're applying for a gossip column position at Cosmopolitan or GQ. Lastly, if you have a website or portfolio that showcases your abilities well, make sure to hyperlink them on LinkedIn, and rename the text link to reflect the content (don't keep it "My Website").

10) Import Contacts Into LinkedIn: Grab all of your social, family, and random webmail contacts, and import into LinkedIn. Likely, you have a random assortment of work acquaintances in your LinkedIn network. Now is the time to expand that network and with it, your visibility and industry maneuverability. And more importantly, this is your opportunity to send out a mass message of everyone saying something to the effect of having moved on from your previous position, your current desire to look for position [x] with [y] characteristics in [z] industry, your hopes of keeping in touch with them (include your contact info - email, phone), and your appreciation of any tips or thoughts they may have in your job search. Here, and always, keep your tone positive!!! This outreach will get you back in touch with valuable contacts, give people something to keep in the back of their mind in case they come across the perfect opportunity for you, and exponentially expand your network. And in the best-case scenario, your newly-refound friend will glance at your updated profile and write "hey, such-and-such at my company is looking for someone like you"... and they'll follow up with a recommendation/intro to the hiring manager for you! I've had several wonderful people do that for me, and I was 1) touched by the generosity and support shown and 2) amazed at the influence and respect that my friends have achieved in their respective careers. It has been truly eye-opening and inspiring for me to realize this.

11) Update your Facebook account and all other social/networking platform profile pages to reflect your professional and (appropriate) personal interests. You'll be getting out there and doing a LOT of schmoozing, so you want your profile information to be coherent and comprehensive for your new contacts. Also, join the fan/group pages of companies that you want to work for. Companies aren't posting jobs to the job search engines as much because that takes $$$. Recruiters are setting up company Facebook pages and posting there, as well as on LinkedIn. Search regularly on both sites!

12) Get a black book for your schedule. Or iPhone or Blackberry, but I'm old-skool and enjoy having a monthly/weekly view of my schedule, as well as assorted notes and contact information. I highly recommend moleskine books for their portability, robust but elegant design, and various schedule layouts. You'll have a lot to keep track of - interviews, research for interview preparation, conferences, conventions, presentations, one-on-one meetings and informational interviews, etc., and this will be invaluable. Plus, you never have to recharge it!

Launching Yourself

13) Attend all of the SOCIAL networking events you can possibly handle. I know you're thinking "social"? "I've got better networking things to do than attending the latest happy hour or singles event." Guess what though? If you can present yourself compellingly (have a 20 second elevator pitch about your key points, business cards to hand out with your contact points and a personal quote/design to distinguish yourself, and can find a common bonding point of interest between yourself and your fellow conversationalist), it doesn't matter what the circumstances are. You'll meet quality contacts everywhere; be on the lookout for them and don't be afraid to ask those in the know about the social 'weather' and to identify the individuals you'll want to 'bump into'. I could write a whole other post on social networking and what works for me, but you should test and identify your winning combination. Never-fail tips: dress comfortably but stylishly (to look put-together and to stand out in a good way), smile a lot, have a warm and confident handshake, be sincerely interested in the people you're meeting and don't worry about promoting yourself immediately - you'll get the chance eventually, exude a positive attitude, and enjoy the moment. It also helps to have a conversational prop. For me, those were naturally my dSLR (almost always with me) and my zazzle/moo profile cards. These were convenient because the moo cards represented my photography interest and personal philosophy and the zazzle card (ejector) is a physical example of my design abilities. Although this was unique to my circumstances, you'll want to design a card that specifically reflects you. It is a personal statement and one of the first impressions you'll make on someone. And in a world where it takes approximately 50 impressions to get a concept/brand to stick, you want to make every one of your impressions count.

So a little more about the social events and why they are absolutely crucial to your job search success. You already know the saying "it's all about the connections". In a job environment where managers regularly get 500-1000+ resumes for a job opening, you NEED that personal connection to get you in touch with the hiring manager. His/her best friend, trusted accountant, ex-coworker, or business school classmate. And you never know who you meet who will be that key connection.

Not only do I owe the majority of my job interviews to social connections, both established and newly-found, I owe my next career step to a fairly-new friend who I recently got to talk to at a happy hour. I had already been recommended to the hiring manager by a close friend and applied for the position a month ago. But I didn't hear anything back, and I had given up hope. That is, until my friend mentioned he worked with the manager and played hockey with him regularly. He made the intro, I had a phone interview the next day, a 4-hour in-person interview the day after that, and a job offer the next morning. Wow! After having gone through sessions of 5-6 rounds of interviews spanning just as many weeks, this was an adrenaline-inducing gust of wind spinning me away like a giddy kite. So from this, I can honestly say that you cannot predict where your break will come from, and you have to make yourself available for all possibilities.

14) Keep Learning. Look for and attend all of the talks, conferences, discussions, and groups in your geographical area that deal with the industry you're interested in. There are a surprisingly large number of free events always going on; you want to find the email and online networks to get wind of all of them. Not only will these events expand your knowledge of your industry, but you'll get to see the latest technologies and start-ups and update your technical jargon, as well as meet all the key players that you want to get in front of. Listen well to the VP of design at a panel or the keynote speaker at a conference, and approach him/her afterwards to communicate your appreciation of his/her talk, as well as share some thoughts about the talk. After a few minutes of intelligent conversing, it's almost guaranteed that the speaker will ask who you are. Time for your elevator pitch, with lots of optimism and energy, and absolutely no desperation/"I need a job" vibes!

15) Use alumni connections. This may seem obvious in places like the CA bay area, where everyone has an impressive educational track record and alumni club events and email listings are a part of everyday life, but you want to make sure you're signed up on all the active local email lists and subscribing to alumni job postings. I've also noticed recently that universities are stepping up their professional educational/job-hunting resources for record numbers of seeking alumni; check out relevant websites. And on a similar note...

16) Attend local reputable university career fairs. It's springtime, and that means career fair time! Search your local university website (career development center?) for upcoming career fairs. Career fairs are aimed at current undergrad/grad students, but are generally open to the public. Take the opportunity to make an in-person impression! It is less likely that you will meet a technical (vs HR) rep for a larger company, but at a startup booth, you may very well meet the VP of Product Management and hit it off so well that you become friends! (as I did with the VP of Product at brightroll.com, the world's largest video advertising company) For local people, the Stanford spring career fair is April 15-16.

17) Search creatively for jobs online. I'm talking about Craigslist. You can find cheap stuff for sale, lost connections, and rooms for rent. You can also find great, esoteric local job openings. Again, remember that companies are cutting back on costs, including recruiting costs. They'll post anywhere that's free, so that's where you should be looking!

18) Have a mental list of "dream job" companies to reference to friends. Casually rattle them off when people ask you. They may have a connection they can put you in touch with. If they offer to, ask them very nicely to make an introduction and prepare to ask for an informational interview.

19) Compile a presentable collection of your work. For designers, this is a portfolio of graphical, product design, rendering, and/or UI work. For others, it may be an example spec, example MS Project schedule, excel spreadsheet, etc. In the course of my interviews, I was asked to write specs for FB apps, create wire frames, do concept mock-ups, and preliminary competitive research. On one hand, you could see it as free labor for the company. But those exercises were great for me to demonstrate my thought processes, and were invaluable references for other companies as samples of my (non proprietary) work. Which brings me to another key point: no matter how many hoops companies make you jump through (and they will because they can be that picky), stay optimistic about it and see it as a learning opportunity to show your best abilities. Heck, you could even call it independent consulting for these companies, which it is, particularly the brainstorm sessions I performed with one such company, the logo redesign I did for another, and the detailed wire frames I provided to yet another.

That's everything I've learned in the past two months. Granted, the interview process is the clincher and all I've mentioned here are the opening steps. But in a chaotic environment where pessimism, jadedness, frustration, desperation, apathy, and a sense of self-loss abound, I certainly hope that these tips help to keep these at bay.

Believe in yourself, establish your valuable traits and promote them, keep yourself busy (between getting yourself out there socially and professionally and volunteering if you have time, you should be more than booked on the weekdays), and stay positive!!! Everyone you meet, from company reps to strangers on the street, will pick up on your personal tone and you want to focus on making a great first impression on anyone you interact with. Plus, it'll be fantastic for keeping up your emotional well-being.

Good luck, and please feel free to forward this to anyone who may benefit from it! I've learned quite a bit from my experiences and others' wisdom and imparted advice, and want to help anyone else who finds themselves in a similar situation. :)
Monday, August 4th, 2008
2:01 pm
Exercise, updated
I'm becoming a gym rat.

It's weird, I never thought my body would ever do this, but it's actually craving to be challenged and stressed now. When I don't work out one day, I start feeling antsy.

In the past week, I have done:
Monday: nothing (felt antsy. and guilty.)
Tuesday: 1 hour Kick-boxing, 20 laps of swimming
Wednesday: 80 laps of swimming in 1 hour (only stopped because I had a work mtg, otherwise I think I could have totally done the 100, because I wasn't even tired!)
Thursday: 1 hour Kick-boxing
Friday: FIRST TIME rock-climbing! 1 hour class, and then 3.5 hours of belaying/climbing with a partner. Found I am a 5.9 climber, although my hardest successful climb was a 5.10a. Whoo!!
Saturday: Stretch, stretch, stretch (upper back shoulder blade muscles feeling effects of rock-climbing). 2 hours of freestyle dance. Social dancing in evening @ wedding (that doesn't count though) :)
Sunday: Stretching and not much else (Aloha Festival: ate much, relaxed much)
Monday: Stretching in morning, 1 hour of Sport Sculpting

And I've eaten, with the exception of Sunday, on a daily basis:
2 fruits (e.g. banana, apple)
1 Luna nutrition bar, split in half and eaten for breakfast, then lunch
1-2 cups non-fat milk
1 bottle vitamin water
something relatively healthy for dinner (fajita, fresh japanese ramen, thai, poke/rice, sandwich, and sushi)
green tea (optional)

Weight: 117-118 lb range (jumped back to 119 after Aloha Festival, haha). Not as dramatic a weight loss as before. But I can really feel and see the muscles really coming out now, so I know that a lot of flab has departed the premises. :)

Oh, and talking about the Aloha Festival, I found a brand-new baby! Here she is, curiously checking out the hardware. :)

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008
10:14 am
Zazzle new product launch :)
I wasn't involved in this project (my project is a long-term one, and related to what I first started designing a few years ago, if you remember my drawings and excitement from back then.. :) ), but I just had to share this. :)

This is the first of its kind - custom color-block shoes have been available from Reebok and Nike ID, but they've always been restricted to that, with no consumer-contributed graphics/text. Why? Because of the inevitable shoe that will say "I hate [company name]" or something similar. Whereas Zazzle has the content management resources available since all submissions get reviewed... so this made this project plausible for us, whereas it would be impossible for a more traditional company. And then, we have the huge advantage of having one of the leaders in mass-customization being at Zazzle - the guy responsible for Reebok and NikeID's customized offerings!

So there you have it. :) One of several SUPER exciting product launches coming out this year!!!

Saturday, July 19th, 2008
10:49 pm
... was the day he planned to propose to me.

I'm trying to be fine, but I can't help from being sad and crying.

p.s. thank you so much for your comments to my previous post and emails... I appreciate your thoughts and support so much, and I will respond if I haven't already done so. I've just been elsewhere. Cleaning, mostly. I'm attacking that activity every spare minute, most likely because it's the one thing in my life that I have control of right now. So that's what I'm doing, all on auto-pilot.
Monday, July 14th, 2008
10:59 am
I've been told that I'm strong for making the decision that I did, in ending a fairytale-like, 2.5 year long relationship. I try to remember that every day, because invariably, I end up being the poster child for the exact opposite - I flood over with helpless tears until I fall asleep from emotional exhaustion, and then wake up several hours later and stumble around the quiet room to brush my teeth, wash the dry, salty trails off my face, and turn off the lights.

I don't feel strong at all.

I feel wretched, pitiful, and the one conscious thought overriding all else is my wish that I could crawl back to the warmth of his arms and heart.

Even though I was the one to end it, this separation period has been enormously difficult.

Mostly, it's because we've spent every weekend of the past 2.5 years together, and we lived together for 1 year. We know each other inside and out, and it was more than just comfortable, it was everything that meant reassurance and safety and belonging. To rip that away has left me with this gigantic absence of self. He was so much of me and my life, I honestly don't know how to define myself anymore.

And then there's the fear. The fear of that biological clock ticking, and knowing that there isn't an unlimited selection of choices out there, much less someone who is the best match for me, and I for him. I'm an romantic idealist teetering on the brink of cynical realist.

I'm trying to cling to the reasons why I initiated this break-up, but up against the overwhelming wall of sadness and self-loss, they only flutter briefly at the edge of my mind and then disappear, forgotten.

Yesterday, I didn't have contact with a single human being until I called my mom for my nightly phone call at 11 PM. The depression that self-perpetuated from this experience was incredible. I had no idea what it would be like. I was totally ready to break down and call the one person who would understand me. But by the rules, he's the one person I'm most not allowed to lean on.

Now I know why older, single females meander on for so long when they capture you in conversation. They're so desperately thankful for the human contact, they want to prolong it as long as possible. I'm so scared of becoming that.

I'm now 119 lbs. Here I thought that I was going to have problems getting down to 118. Oops. Maybe I should re-set my goal for 115.

During a drive on Saturday, back down from the city, I was taking in the geometric, multi-hued boxes of the architectural landscape and taking mental pictures in my mind. This may seem cheesy, but when I was with him, I never really saw any of it even though we drove past it countless times. I was always focusing on him, with the background blending into an extraneous entity. Without that focal point, now I'm forced to really see again. Blinking, focusing, taking in, taking away.

And not only do I have to see, but I have to drive myself, because no one else is there to carry me along.

I need to learn how to drive again.
Wednesday, July 9th, 2008
3:58 pm
Most boring posts ever coming up. So I had a large emotional change in my life recently, and when that happens, the workouts get kicked up a LOT. Just as well, since it's swimsuit season.

Inspired by benlbr and his pre-wedding routine (which in turn was inspired by Ryan Reynold's-Blade Trinity transformation *swoon*), here's my pseudo-serious attempt to tighten up and lose a few lbs.

I'm 5'4", and as of 6/24, was 126 lbs (bleah, my heaviest in a looooong time). Now, 2 weeks later, I'm 122, and my goal is ~118 Less is good too, but I seriously think I'll have a hard enough time maintaining/increasing muscle and getting down to that.

Intake today:
Breakfast: oatmeal, four apricots, water
Lunch: Indian samosa (I know, fried is a no-no, but they looked really good. It was worth it.) and small salad, water
Snack: 1/3 bag of Sun Chips, 1/3 bottle vitamin water
Dinner: non-fat milk, GABA brown rice (courtesy of my brand-spanking new Zojirushi Induction Heating rice cooker!), steamed spareribs, lotus root soup and broccoli (eating dinner with my neighbors and they're making the soup and veggies)

Exercise today:
40 laps across length of junior olympic swimming pool

(Goal: 100 laps by end of summer, depending on time availability, as this is done during the work day)
Thursday, April 3rd, 2008
10:00 am
Heard this song on the radio this morning, and almost started crying just because it brought up wispy thoughts of the past. All the stories of those who have contributed, for better or worse, to my life and to the perspective that I now have. It's a self-strong, calming song that would be good for those break-up periods, although it's rather limited melody-wise. All in all though, one of the few songs that actually catch my attention.


No matter what you say about love
I keep coming back for more
Keep my hand in the fire
Sooner or later I get what I'm asking for

No matter what you say about life
I learn every time I bleed
The truth is a stranger
Soul is in danger I gotta let my spirit be free
To admit that I'm wrong and then change my mind
Sorry but I have to move on and leave you behind

I can't waste time so give it a moment
I realized nothings broken
No need to worry about everything I've done
Live every second like it was my last one
Don't look back got a new direction
I loved you once needed protection
You're still a part of everything I do
You're on my heart just like a tattoo
Just like a tattoo
I'll always have you (I'll always have you)

Sick of playing all of these games
It's not about taking sides
When I looked in the mirror didn't deliver
It hurt enough to think that I could stop
Admit that I'm wrong and then change my mind
Sorry but I've gotta be strong and leave you behind

I can't waste time so give it a moment
I realize nothings broken
No need to worry about everything I've done
Live every second like it was my last one
Don't look back got a new direction
I loved you once needed protection
You're still a part of everything I do
You're on my heart just like a tattoo
Just like a tattoo
I'll always have you (I'll always have you)

If I live every moment
Won't change any moment
Still a part of me in you
I will never regret you
Still the memory of you
Marks everything I do, oh

I can't waste time so give it a moment
I realize nothings broken (yeah)
No need to worry about everything I've done
Live every second like it was my last one
Don't look back got a new direction (don't look back)
I loved you once needed protection (no, no)
You're still a part of everything I do
You're on my heart just like a tattoo

I can't waste time so give it a moment (i can't waste time)
I realized nothings broken
No need to worry about everything I've done (no need to worry)
Live every second like it was my last one
Don't look back got a new direction (don't you ever look back)
I loved you once needed protection
You're still a part of everything I do
You're on my heart just like a tattoo

I can't waste time so give it a moment (i can't waste time)
I realized nothings broken
No need to worry about everything I've done (no need to worry)
Live every second like it was my last one
Don't look back got a new direction (don't you ever look back)
I loved you once needed protection
You're still a part of everything I do
You're on my heart just like a tattoo
Just like a tattoo
I'll always have you

Just like a tattoo
I'll always have you (I'll always have you x3)
Thursday, March 20th, 2008
2:55 pm
Never a dull moment
So I get this call last night saying that I may have to go to Shenzhen, China to work with our vendor (speaking of which, anyone have any fun contacts in Shenzhen?), and to apply for a visa this morning. Not a problem, I figure. A slight inconvenience in terms of timing, as it would have been nice to get a little more warning, but hey, it'd be fun and I just might be able to try out the Shenzhen branch of Din Tai Fung! So I'm excited. I grab passport photos from a nearby Longs, download the application and fill it out, and set the alarm clock early to drive into the city before the Chinese Consulate opens.

And then this morning as I'm driving up, I hear that "an incendiary device has been thrown at the door of the consulate". What horrible timing!!

So I park (half a mile away it turns out, since I have no idea where on Laguna the Consulate is), trek over, and find myself in front of a mob of police cars, news vans, and lots of bright yellow tape. And a burned metal door, which is believed to be caused by a molotov cocktail of sorts. :P

It's a long wait, and I stand there for over two hours while idly switching between reading and texting my manager about how he'd better appreciate what I'm doing. Around 9:30, the news crews pull apart from the door vicinity and make the rounds of the crowds to do interviews for the news. The crowd, curiously, shrinks back, shaking their heads silently when asked to say a few words. I'm on the opposite side of the spectrum, and say sure, why not. And so I get interviewed by Channels 7 and 11. :) I *feel* like I did one of those air-headed Ms. America responses where you don't really give your true feelings, but rather, what you think will sound good to others. But it's probably for the best, because 1) I didn't remember at the time what horrific things happened in Tibet (although belatedly, I remember being outraged at the violence shown by China against the Tibetian monks) and 2) I don't think a country that hears me on the news (referenced by name, no less!), being critical of their country's governing method would really want to give me a visa.

So instead, I give my vague and ultimately empty response of "it's unfortunate that this happened but I can understand that some people are upset about what's going on right now" and content myself with taking the above photos.

And that made for an interesting morning. :)
Wednesday, March 5th, 2008
10:00 am
Zazzle Profile Cards!
I've been here 9.5 months, and literally (cheese ahead) everyday, I find something that gives me this warm glowing euphoria about having found this uberfantasticspontaneousdizzyinglyfun career niche. I love my job! ^___^ I mean, how could you not love a place where you have company-wide meetings while lounging on 5-person beanbags, holiday parties where the founders play a mean (and looooud) game of beer pong, afternoons spent playing RockBand or swimming in the pool (come summer, that's me!) when not in meetings, and the walls are coated with floor-to-ceiling murals of some of the most talented graffiti artists to Padame from Star Wars?

And then for what I do personally... I play! Ideate, draw, cut out prototypes of packaging from transparency sheets from OfficeMax... I'm quickly getting a creative rep here, and I love it.

In the time that I've been here, I've learned SO much about everything from fashion, textiles, paper, apparel, printing, brainstorming, arts and crafts, and just... anything that's remotely linked to aesthetics. I revamped the apparel packaging (so if you've gotten anything in a translucent metallic envelope, that was me), and today... my very first product launched!!!!

Zazzle Profile Cards

Forget boring, work-related business cards. Imagine instead, three sizes of cards - Skinny, Classic, and Chubby - that represent your multiple personality aspects. Skinnies are the fun, trendy social handouts, although everyone we've shown them to, including multi-million $ CEOs, love them and want to use them for work. ...! Classic is well, classic. And Chubby is the same size as trading cards, so if you wanted to make a profile card with a headshot (any models out there?) or just wanted to make an impression with a card that stands out 1/2" higher than all the rest of them, that's the one. The fun part about these is 1) the papers - we had soooo much fun testing, sourcing, choosing, and naming the papers, 2) the designs - there's a ton already on Zazzle, but you can design your own! and 3) the EJECTOR for the skinny cards!

That translucent, sleek container shown above is my baby, the culmination of 4 months and 40+ prototypes and re-designing. I'd be sick of it, if I wasn't so proud of it. :) Basically, it has this cut-out where your thumb pushes the card out of the container for fast, "quick-draw" handout of your cards. What makes it different (and caused the most pain for me) is the fact that cards won't fall out of the container, so you don't have to worry about cards all over your purse/pocket. And it has this wonderful feel.. something permanent (but recyclable), yet small and very portable.
Monday, October 29th, 2007
10:02 pm
Zazzle + Myspace!!
Whee! This is what I've been waiting to talk about for the longest time! :D Still at work, putting in some fragment of hours that my co-workers have been putting in, and SUPER SUPER excited to be able to share this~ ^____^ Will be leaving for launch party in LA in 14 hours~ WHOO!

" LOS ANGELES and REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Oct. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- MySpace, the world's most popular social network, announced today a music merchandise deal with Zazzle, the only on-demand retail platform to offer billions of retail quality, one-of a kind products shipped within 24 hours. The distribution partnership will empower the more than 6 million musicians and bands on MySpace to sell unlimited music merchandise to the MySpace community instantly. The announcement also underscores MySpace's commitment to offer tools and services to the music industry that benefit artists and consumers alike.

Starting today, musicians and bands on MySpace will be able to create products and sell merchandise by putting the Zazzle Merch Booth widget on their MySpace profile. With Zazzle's new "Model Realview" technology, these artists can display their very own branded merchandise three dimensionally, on real models in their profile. The Zazzle Merch Booth widget will also enable placement of the artist's merchandise in a Zazzle gallery, their own websites, fan sites, blogs and more. MySpace users can also use Zazzle to create their own custom items for their favorite musicians and bands.

"MySpace will continue to evolve its industry leading music platform by developing new revenue models, partner integrations, and features that bring bands and fans together," Amit Kapur, VP of Business Development for MySpace. "Zazzle's on demand platform will enable music artists on MySpace to share merchandise with fans like never before."

Musicians and bands on MySpace will be able to sell their merchandise direct from their own online Zazzle Merch Booth, and have it produced and shipped from Zazzle in one day. No upfront costs, fees or contracts are involved.

"The landscape of the music industry continues to change at a rapid pace; merchandise and ticket sales are the one constant revenue source for artists on any level," said Jim Heckman, chief strategy officer, Zazzle. "We are thrilled to be working with MySpace to provide an accessible solution to bands large and small for their merchandise needs.""
Friday, September 28th, 2007
1:24 pm
Cutest diaper bag ever!!
A hop and a skip from Crate & Barrel is Land of Nod, for baby ware. Not that I'm personally on the market for these babies, but these are some of the cutest diaper bags I've seen.

Now if I could just grab one of the gorgeous ribbons at Artistic Ribbon (saw them at Material World, NY) to thread through, I'd be set to have a bag that always matched my outfit. :)
Monday, September 17th, 2007
11:50 am
More from the photo shoot :)

Here you can see the full range of my silliness/happiness/energy. :D And that of my co-workers too! Imagine working with 80+ people who have similar personalities, creativity, energy, and who all know how to have fun!
Friday, September 14th, 2007
3:55 pm
modeling is not my forte

It was spur of the moment, with no make-up, hairspray (to coax my waves into coiffed semi-organization), or other personal prep. I've been told I look like I'm 16. Oh well. :] It was fun spending an afternoon with my co-workers, dodging Canadian geese poop pellets in the grass, and taking ridiculous-looking photos on Monday afternoon. The ride back to the office was filled with personal stories, laughter, bad pictures of the poor person stuck in the back (non-passenger) portion of the van, and singing along to long-forgotten 80s rock songs. Felt more like a college road trip than part of work.

Check out Zazzle for our brand new layout (avec moi!) as of this morning, and read about our adventures at the MTV Video Music Awards: the Style Villa. :)
Thursday, August 16th, 2007
1:35 pm
Definition of design
David Ngo is a former dorm mate from MIT (Class of '02 and talented singer/performer, as evidenced by his rousing performances in our dorm musicals), went on to work at Lockheed Martin, and went to Stanford for its Product Design program. Pretty much parallels my story. :) (except I never took to the stage during my undergrad years)

He has since started work at D2M, the product design firm of one of my mentors (now the executive director of Stanford's Design school). And most notably, with his recent video definition of design, has been featured on core77, one of the biggest internet design sites!

Here is his appearance, which, based on his design talent and quirky charisma, I'm sure is the first of many of his in the design world.

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007
2:02 pm
design: soft
Maybe this design thing will become a daily thing. I'm certainly coming across a lot of inspiration!

When I was a child, I loved this life-sized maze called the Wooz. Made of hundreds of 5-6 foot wooden panels on wheels (the maze changed every month or so, so you could go back and experience a new one!) and combined with four free-standing towers in which you could get a bird's eye view of the maze... assuming of course, you could find your way to the towers in the first place, it was a brain teaser-come-true. I still remember running down a corridor that look like it went nowhere, and delightedly finding the exit, and then watching my poor parents and relatives wander around for another hour, trying to stifle their frustration at being unable to get out. That day I learned that you never know where the most unassuming path will go. It might just be the best way.

Statistically, kids got through the maze in about an hour, while the average adult took two-three hours. I think it was because adults used their learned logic skills to make assumptions that could lead to incorrect conclusions. Kids on the other hand, would just run around in explorative curiosity. Says something about our learning patterns, doesn't it? Whenever I approach something new, I try to think like my younger self. I think it's invigorating and keeps me open-minded.

Molo, a Canada-based design firm, has come up with an elegant, airy, organic interpretation of my childhood love.

Made of paper in a honeycomb design, and stretching out from a storage thickness of 5 cm up to 20 meters, softwall is a structural architectural beauty. I particularly love the way light diffuses through it, providing room delineation without creating the sensation of being closed off. I could see reinventing space on a daily basis, if I had a series of these. What fun they would be to play with!

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007
11:40 am
design: moo mini cards

Moo mini cards. The trendiest thing at work right now. I'm sure we'll get in on the action sometime, but for now, I'll just gush about moo's social networking cards.

These slick cardstock self-representations are surprisingly strong (they have a gratifying structural thickness, with a smooth plastic film finish), jump out with color, and are tantalizing glimpses of art and life through the eye of a friend. Users like to trade cards, but not in the sense of traditional business cards. These are part postcard, part art, part personal information, and a whole lot of personality. Users create collages of their moo cards, and have fun superimposing the card image with the original image from which it came.

You can upload up to 100 images to have printed on your cards (100 for $20), and can store them in sleek metallic Altoids-like containers. I still have the torturous task of selecting images from my collection (only because I know there will be hundreds), but I'll definitely be ordering from moo soon! Gotta be able to trade with my co-workers and friends. That is, if I'm even able to part with the gorgeous spritzes of color. They may just end up on my wall instead. :)
Wednesday, March 14th, 2007
2:27 pm
I'll probably be the only female writing this, but after gushing about 300 on two other (male-written) blog entries, I decided to capture my awe of it here as well.

I loved it.

I loved it so much, it's now one of my top movies of all time, along with (in chronological order):

Neverending Story
My Best Friends Wedding
Pirates of the Caribbean I
The Devil Wears Prada

I saw it at an IMAX theatre (if you were to see any movie on an IMAX screen, this would have to be it) with my bf, not expecting much, but hoping that I'd at least be able to watch half of the movie. I'm a total wuss when it comes to graphic violence. My entire body ached after seeing Matrix I because it was curled tightly in tension the entire time, and more recently, I saw what seemed like less than half of Pan's Labyrinth - burrowing myself into my bf's side - because I couldn't stomach the details.

But 300 had me staring at the screen in wide-eyed fascination as scene after scene of majestic, fantastical, horribly tragic beauty rushed by. Unlike the oppressive blacks and heavy-toned greys with slashes of white and lurid smears of red that defined Sin City, 300 reveled in its deep burgundy and rich ocher color palette. So many of the movie's screenshots could easily be mistaken for Renaissance-styled oil paintings, with their fine detail, hazy glow of light, and statuesque figures. That was much of the magic of the movie to me. That such images of death and war could be made artistic and glorified with a combination of arresting camera angles, oversaturated color filters, and dramatic use of light sources.

Accented with slow-motion scenes that drew out the breath-taking moments (such as an arrow's shadow floating across the abstract lines of a stair's profile) and combined with perfectly synchronized, high-energy, defiant strains of rock music, it was all magnificent. If you are a dancer, athlete, or artist, you will especially appreciate the choreography and motion of movement. The narration, too, was inventive and bound the storyline together seamlessly. The lines of pride, anguish, triumph, and humor... coalesced to define spirit and humanity, and they had me spellbound the entire way through.

This movie is pure immersive pleasure, that being the highest compliment I can offer to an experience that I admire. It is the opposite side of the spectrum from the seductive, enviable eye candy of NY Prada fashion, yet the two movies left me equally exhilarated and energized. Ah, but there is plenty of eye candy... for the females, in a slight role-reversal. :) And perhaps inspiration for the male audience. Nevertheless, that is not what grabbed my attention and took my breath away for two hours straight.

It was the magic of being presented with pure beauty in every visual and auditory sense. In a world where one oftentimes has to search out the beauty, this movie spills over... aches... bleeds... with it. I could not have asked for more.
Thursday, January 25th, 2007
2:26 pm
I'm a real word?
I've been dilly ever since my ninth birthday. I've had people come up and ask me if my nickname came from the more-recent song lyrics "what the dilly, yo?" (no, it didn't.)

But I never thought that I would be a real word! :O I get to be the word of the day for January 25, 2007, whee!

dilli or dilly: (DIL-ee) noun. Someone or something that is remarkable or unusual. [Shortening of delightful or delicious.]

Thanks to chutoy for providing me with a splash of delight, as he always does~!
Friday, December 8th, 2006
10:36 am
wii - rabbits
HAHAHA, too cute~!! ^_^ (link from my bf) I totally cracked up at the bunnny expressions and... the shaking bunny butts near the end were beyond hilarious! youtube behind cutCollapse )
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