Monday, December 31, 2007

The Details

I'm a week out from my Darden interview and I must admit, I'm a bit nervous. For some reason, I have a strong feeling about Darden and things working out, but I can't explain it any better than that. Of course, it could be a false sense of security and simply hope on my part. Ever since I walked into the San Francisco information session, I've had a comfort feeling when it comes to the people at Darden and I'm hoping it works out. I still have yet to hear from Ross and although they say Ross can still request an interview, my outlook is glum. I await a decision from Georgetown as well. I have confidence in my essays, but don't feel as strong about my interview. Definitely something I would have changed in my process...interview after essay completion.

I have my flight booked to BWI on Friday and I'll be hanging with Mack in DC this weekend. It should be a blast, but I have to make sure I don't go overboard with the alcohol on Saturday night (not that I ever do). Sunday, I pick up my rental car from the DCA airport and drive the supposed 2 hours to Charlottesville. As of this moment, I have yet to book a hotel, which is my goal today before I head out this evening. Sunday, I don't have plans and Monday, I plan on exploring Charlottesville and the UVA campus (any suggestions would be greatly appreciated). I figure on Monday night, I'll find a local pub and watch the national championship. Tuesday, I have down time in the morning and then my interview is at 11 am. Finally, my flight home is out of the Charlottesville airport at 4 pm.

My interview preparation has been nonexistent. Yesterday, I printed all my essays and added them to my packet of Darden information I had printed a few weeks ago. After some searching, I found the Darden brochure mixed in with a stack of brochures I haven't touched in months. I've read through all my correspondence with Darden staff, students, and alum. Next up, review notes I took at the information session and start writing down MY story. What do I want to say about myself in the 20 minutes or so I am given to talk? Of course, this depends on if the interview is blind or not. I shouldn't cover similar topics to my essays if they've already been read. At that point, I need to disclose 'additional' information. Time to prepare for both scenarios!

Happy 2008!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Misc Update

And so it goes… 4 applications submitted, 2 interviews, 1 interview invite, and 1 silent. 1 DING, 1 completed, 1 plane ticket purchased, and 1 silent. This has been my world for the last 10 months. I’ve written more essays since September than I did in 4 years of college. After careful consideration and the realization that I was “done” with applications, I did not apply to LBS. The excuse of the weak dollar was easy to announce, but it came down to this, I didn’t want to write another six essays, do you blame me?

Everything I have planned for the next 8 months is banking on acceptance to business school. When people ask which school I’d like to attend, I tell them, whichever one lets me in. It’s true, I’d be happy at any one of the schools to which I’ve applied and currently, I’m crossing my fingers. By February 1st I will know if I’m matriculating to business school next year. If I am, it’s time to find a replacement for me at EC Mgmt so that I can travel the world over the summer. Sounds glorious huh? I suppose there’s the alternative as well, if I don’t get in… hmmm, I’ve tried not to think about that fact. I wish I could say I’d start this process again from scratch, but after consuming my life for so long, that’s not exactly a horse I want to get on.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Business in the Philanthropic World

Most of us as MBA applicants know how important it is to be a well-rounded individual and as this type of individual, many of us participate in various forms of philanthropy and charity outreach. I consider myself lucky because I'm not only a participant in philanthropy, but I also help with the tactical design of an individual's philanthropy. During the time in which I have been a member of my firm, we have launched a philanthropic platform which helps individuals structure their charitable giving so that the individual receives greater tax benefits and their gifts provide greater impact to the nonprofits they support. Win-Win situation if you ask me.

My boss keeps a slightly personal/slightly business related blog called Tactical Philanthropy. It's a great source of education for many philanthropic vehicles and a melting pot of ideas from the philanthropic community. Every so often, I read posts from his blog and this post reminds me why it is important for business to be in the philanthropic world. Granted, charity is about helping a cause, but it seems too often that people forget how important it is to effectively help the cause. The repost on his blog is from a thread where he posed this question:
Is the Red Cross Effective? I don't mean do they have low overhead
expenses or some silly measure like that. I mean do they take donor
dollars and use them to fund an organization that produces high levels
of social impact? If the answer is yes, I'd love to know about any
data that backs this claim up.

Thanks to anyone who can help.

The response to the question in my opinion missed the point. The question was simple, essentially, how you measure success as a nonprofit? In the for profit world, we often discuss numbers, increased client retention, sales etc... But we don't measure the nonprofits on the same level and perhaps we can't. However, we should be able to measure nonprofits on some level - whether it's appropriate to measure the number of people they help with a certain amount of money, or do they effectively increase the number of people helped either with the same level of money or perhaps the same duration of time. I'm not sure what makes a good comparison, but there should be one. There are too many nonprofits that essentially cover the same realm of causes, the ones that are inefficient should be overlooked, so those that are efficient may thrive.

Frosty the Snow Man Could Live by Me

We look ridiculous in parkas, hats, gloves, and scarves! After all, it is California. Even if it is Northern California, there's some sort of taboo because to all the East Coast transplants, 31 degrees is not THAT cold. However, to me, even after living in Colorado for 4 years, 31 degrees is cold, so I walked out of my house this morning with a 3/4 length down winter coat (and that's not the sleeve length). You'd probably think that I had been picked up and set down in Boston, but no, I'm just slightly south of San Francisco.

My favorite Christmas present this year is probably the overly expensive earmuffs my mother gave me. Granted, she paid for the label, but they are adorable. Actually, I probably should have worn them today.

Yesterday, I had to fight the wind coming off the Bay when I arrived at work. First thought, maybe not getting into Kellogg was a blessing. This morning, my thought was, what's the weather like in Virginia? I never got around to checking, until now, a calm 51 degrees to my "feels like" 42 degrees.

Where's the hot chocolate and fire place when you need 'em? I'm preparing for snow. ;)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Family and Friends

Please excuse any scatter brained ideas as I presume I had one too many glasses of wine last night.

The holidays are slowly coming to a close, although for whatever reason, I haven't felt like they were here. Of course with 2 Christmas trees, packages galore, a 20 pound turkey, and holly hanging with our staircase, it's difficult to say that it doesn't look like Christmas.

Yesterday, my brother and I rolled out of bed sometime sub 11 am. My parents had been up for hours making stuffing and getting our gigantic turkey ready for the oven. We opened presents as a family, which is always fun because we concentrate more on the laughter than the actual gifts. However, I scored big with the capri length hot chilly's I got dad for Christmas. My brother's gift to each of us may have been the best yet, a picture of him, at 23 years and 6'3", in a red shirt and Santa hat, sitting on the "real" Santa's lap. PRICELESS! Next, we cleaned up and made breakfast as a family. Dad manned the bacon, I made pancakes, mom picked up the wrapping paper, and my brother shuffled bags downstairs to the garbage. Great group effort! For a quick second, my brother and I argued over who would peel potatoes and who would cut green beans, but the time ended up being about even, so I suppose it didn't matter. I must admit, it was fun working together. Specifically entertaining to watch my brother inspect the green beans and trash the ones that HE wouldn't eat.

Dinner was at an early hour of 4. We had a friend's family of three join us and my straggling friend AA. Invitations were accepted by a few other friends, but at the last minute, they decided not to join us, which was a bit rude in my opinion, but it still worked out well. After dinner, with beer and wine in hand (depending on the individual), the younger generation took to the pool table for what became multiple games. Definitely a grand time! Overall, I couldn't have asked for a better Christmas with family and friends! Next up, NYE, for which I haven't currently solidified plans.

Also on the horizon, Darden interview, for which I need to start preparing. Lately, I have been on the lazy side - both for grad school as well as the gym. Granted, the gym is because of my unrelenting injuries. Conversely, I need to focus on this interview because it would be nice to respond with an "I've been accepted..." when someone asks which grad school I will attend. People seem so surprised when you indicate how long the process is. Furthermore, I fly out to DC on Jan 4th and highly doubt I will get any work done in DC. Thus, I have about a week to prepare with NYE and a weekend in the mix...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Stolen Quotes

More to add to the long list of quotes I enjoy:

'No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.' (Aesop)

'There are two ways to lead your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.' (Einstein)

Merry Christmas to all! (And happy holidays to everyone who does not celebrate Christmas, may your dreams come true.)

"Family Business"

Last Friday my older boss was sick and asked me to drop off some reports at his house. Granted, it is not substantially out of my way, but it is out of my way nonetheless. As I was ranting to my mother about getting a call from him saying he was going shopping with his wife and to leave the package underneath his front bench (I figured he should pick up the package), she said something profound. He views this company as a family business and you're part of the family. In that sentence, I understood everything. When we hired my co-worker, it was important to find someone with the right "fit". Not only in skill set or vision, but also in personality and mannerisms. We emphasize customized PERSONAL service. If a client calls, there WILL be someone on the other line and if they wish to speak to their portfolio manager, that person WILL be available. This is simply the way it is and perhaps it is the reason I have difficulty justifying leaving for any reason other than an MBA, even if I am ready.

This fit is the same in the MBA world. Each school constructs a class of diverse people who will work closely together and ideally become lifelong friends. In fact, I chose each school because I perceived there to be a true fit. Not a fit based on stats either, but based on programs, opportunities, culture, and people. As I write, I think it may be possible to incorporate some of these thoughts in my next interview, which means I need to start my research for Darden. Hopefully someone else sees in me what these two gentlemen did many years ago.

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Stranger's Advice

Everyone always wants to throw in their $0.02. Often, I listen because you never know what advice may help in the future, however, I remember to take all advice with a grain of salt. Granted, I am also one of those people that gives advice when warranted. That said, I was a bit thrown off tonight when a guy, many years my senior, started giving me advice about an MBA.

My friend J works at a local restaurant named Rocca. After dinner and drinks with the family and my friends who are in town, we headed to Rocca and took a seat at the bar. As the night winded down, J introduced me to what seemed to be a kind man with whom she shared her table. I suppose it was previously mention that I graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Indeed, he also had a daughter who graduated from Boulder. He told me a story of his daughter and her friend, a Berkeley graduate, who was so stuck on the arrogance of graduating from Berkeley, she almost forgot about the power of a "real" major. As he put it, communications as a major is a waste of time. Luckily, I wasn't a comm major and he seemed slightly impressed with my degree in Finance and Accounting.

Only problem, he wasn't as keen on the fact that I work for a small company. He immediately said I need to get out, join Franklin Templeton or Wells Fargo. Then he asked what was next, MBA? Surely I thought he would be happy to hear I was already on that track. Next up, my stats? It never fails that someone wants to know what yours stats are, how did you do on the GMAT etc...I confidently told him and he retaliated with, can you retake it? In my mind, I'm content with my score, perhaps, even beyond content. And how do you tell a man you barely know that having a score over a 700 is not mandatory, though that is what he believes? As he asked what schools to which I applied, I hesitated. I rattled off the schools I haven't heard from, then proceeded to mention Kellogg and my Ding. I still am not quite sure how to tell people that I didn't get accepted and perhaps, I should start avoiding it all together. Nonetheless, he knew nothing of Virginia's reputation and claimed that Kellogg had fallen by the wayside since the Enron scandal. He also mentioned that everyone cheats in business school. The conversation drew to a quick close as the family wanted a ride home. I was a bit relieved, but also wanted to convey some misconceptions he had, however, maybe tonight wasn't the time and place.

This is one stranger's advice I will immediately forget.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Out with a Bang!

Good morning...I've been at work for almost 3 hours and my productivity level is balancing between zero and negative. Last night, we had our company holiday party and as we are a very small company, the intimate setting is fun, yet intimidating. Sitting at a nice table in the private room of the Village Pub were four couples and 3 singles, which is entertaining as there are only 4 employees of my company.

It is no secret that I have applied to business school, but as my younger boss spoke of how it is going to be difficult to replace me and how proud they are of me, I got a bit teary eyed. I've said for some time now that it is time to move on and take the next step in my life and career, but I can't discount how lucky I am to work with the people I do. After college, I joined this company, which is now almost 4 years ago, and I know I have become a pinnacle of our organization. The plan is to hire someone at least three months in advance as to provide enough training time. In addition, I also want to travel this summer, so I figure I will more than likely only work until the end of May. Since my leaving is essentially conditional on acceptance to business school, I have opted not to apply to LBS. Not only am I done with applications, but also the decision date is far too late to do all I want to do and not leave my company hanging.

My next dilemma is work. As noted, I have been highly unproductive today and I once read something that when you leave a company, you should leave with a bang and on a positive note. Should you ever want a reference, you never want your service with the company to be influenced by the last two weeks of your employment or perhaps the last two weeks of unmotivated work. Granted, I'm not leaving tomorrow, but I still feel I should put my best foot forward. My semi annual bonus will be in January and I'm not sure if I will still get my year-end raise, so I don't want my lack on concentration to influence thoughts of my progress over the last 6 mos or even year. Nonetheless, I need to stop daydreaming of a good rest or of celebrating the holidays with family and friends, I need to concentrate. So perhaps ignoring the blog-o-sphere until this afternoon would be a step in the right direction.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Why DID the Chicken Cross the Road?

I received this email from my boss today. It's great for an afternoon laugh as it touches on some of the most famous public spectacles today. :)

Why did the chicken cross the road?


The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on 'THIS' side of the road before it goes after the problem on the 'OTHER SIDE' of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his 'CURRENT' problems before adding 'NEW' problems.


Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.


We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.


Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road...


We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road!


Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.


That chicken crossed the road because he's GUILTY! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.


To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.


No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Mark et to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.


Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.


To die in the rain. Alone.


Because the chicken was gay! Can't you people see the plain truth?' That's why they call it the 'other side.' Yes, my friends, that chicken is gay. And if you eat that chicken, you will become gay too. I say we boycott all chickens until we sort out this abomination that the liberal media white washes with seemingly harmless phrases like 'the other side. That chicken should not be crossing the road. It's as plain and as simple as that.


In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.


Isn't that interesting!? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its life long dream of crossing the road.


Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.


It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.


I have just released eChicken2007, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your check book. Internet Explorer is an integral part of eChicken. This new platform is much more stable and will never cra...#@&&^(C% ........ reboot.


Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?


I did not cross the road with THAT chicken. What is your definition of chicken?


I invented the chicken!


Did I miss one?


Where's my gun?


Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Civic Duty

I'm sorry judge, my story may sound silly, but it's true, some guy did thrust his forehead into my finger. To say I'm not keen on my civic duty would be an understatement. It's not so much that I have better things to do as much as it is, I'm busy. Between Christmas, work, MBA applications, soccer, and sleep, I barely have enough time for me. And here some judge wants me to sit in a court room for the 4-5 days prior to Christmas to determine the fate of some woman I could care less about. To say that I can completely refrain from any preconceived notions, would be lying. To the best of my ability I will keep my personal reservations and morals to myself, but I often wonder why these "criminals" don't have any. Of course, perhaps, I'm passing judgment too soon...

Back from the court house, we walked in, sat down, and the judge proceeded. He indicated that he "accidentally" omitted some very important information, he has to be in Sacramento tomorrow, which means the case cannot be completed by Christmas. Although quite content with the decision to free us of our duty, I was a bit irritated that I sat in traffic for 30 minutes in the pouring rain for nothing. So instead of returning to work, I went to my mom's party. What a nice Tuesday afternoon.

BTW - Congrats to all those who have received acceptances to Chicago!! As they say, you only need one. :)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Accumulating Injuries

As an avid soccer player, I never fail to injure myself. Every week, I assess the weekend's bruises on Monday morning. Often, I plan on taking a few days rest because of ankle injuries, and recently, a hip flexor injury. Well, it's time to add one more to the list, which is making this post entertaining to type. I jammed my knuckle into some guy's forehead in my first game yesterday. I'm still not sure what he was trying to do, but nonetheless, my index finger hurts. Luckily, I'm left handed, at least for writing and eating, although I still use my right hand for a lot of activities, for instance typing. I can barely turn my car on with my right hand as it shoots immense pain as I apply pressure against the finger. Talk about a bummer.

Subsequently, I believe I'm done with applications. I've jumped back and forth as to whether I would or not turn in a LBS application. Even though, a lot of the material overlaps with previous essays, I'm not in the mood to write another 6 essays. In addition, hopefully I will receive an acceptance from another school. By the time LBS decisions for even interviews arise, I hope to be planning my summer travel schedule. It's scary to think, I should receive decisions from all schools by February 1st. That's definitely enough to induce a slight panic attack, luckily, I've never had one.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Friday Night... you can't write stories like this

Good afternoon, I just rolled out of bed after one insane Friday night. This was one for the record books. After a few late Christmas parties on Thursday night, I did not sleep much, so I planned a nap before the girls and I went out on Friday night. We had to wait for J to get off of work, and I was surprised to get a call from her around 7:30 pm. She called to say, she had met a girl, also named J, at her restaurant and invited her to come out with us. I'm laid back and often an advocate of the more the merrier and when I heard this girl's short story, I thought, we are just what she needs. The girl recently got out of a relationship, moved to the South of San Francisco from the North, and has no friends. In fact, she practically broke down sitting at the bar. Chance would have her walk into J's restaurant because she was uninterested in waiting in the horrible congestion from her office - home. She simply picked an exit and got off for a drink, which led to a bottle of wine later. I'm not even sure she would recall the exit if asked.

The girls arrived at my house at 10 o'clock, but we were still waiting for VC, who apparently ran out of gas and did not have any cash on her. Additioanlly, VC managed to get lost on her way to my house, even with GPS, but she finally arrived and we were off to pick up CS. First stop, Circa on Chestnut. The group of five of us walked in, met up with Matt, and headed to the bar for drinks. The other J headed to the restroom and the rest of the group decided she did not need the cocktail we purchased for her, but it was handed to her anyhow. After talking with some friends and moving around the crowded bar, we decided it was time to investigate a dance floor, but we were one person short. The girls posted as I circled the bar looking for the illusive J, our new found friend. Thirty solid minutes of searching still left us empty handed. As we were pushing one AM, the executive decision was made, call her, tell her we went dancing, and to call us immediately. What more could we do??

We walked a few short blocks to Hi-Fi and somehow, side stepped the $5 cover with a simple, "can we get a deal?" The deal was free. I don't mind paying a cover, if I plan on being at a bar for the entire night, but when it's one in the morning, I try to avoid it. Within minutes, J lost her wallet. Instead of trying to search the dark floor, we waited until the lights went one. With her keen eye, CS found J's wallet. At least that was a positive.

Next, we decided to get a late night snack at Johnny Rockets. It look longer than we expected, but at around 3 am, we headed home with one wallet lost then found, and one less person. It's a bit comical if you think about the fact that we took some drunk girl to SF and lost her there. On our way home, J tried calling once more. Proving unsuccessful, she tried the first bar, Circa. I'm sure the GM was laughing this morning when he received her message.

The message began simple, this is J and I was at your bar tonight, but I lost my friend there. Her name is also J. By the end of two minutes, the entire car was laughing uncontrollably as J asked if the GM could call her if he found her friend. On some level, I feel bad. In 10 years of going out in SF, I have never left a person, nonetheless a person I didn't know. Most nights, I play sober driver and I'm very aware of my surroundings and the people I drive, but it seems last night, I was no match for the J's disappearing act. Hopefully, she is ok. From now on, we're getting the number of our mysterious guest, their best friend, and perhaps a local sibling.

Update (12/15/2007): Lost friend is alive and well.

Friday, December 14, 2007


As noted, I received my first ding yesterday, Kellogg. Although not unexpected, that sort of decision is never welcomed. In my head, the thought was simple, "ok, moving on", but here is where my dilemma arose. How do I tell my parents? I know it is silly to worry about how they will react, but I'm quite close with them. Additionally, it was not exactly their reaction I was worried about as much as it was what they would say. I didn't want many words, a simple "ok" would suffice. So with that in mind, I took the passive approach and emailed my mom, within minutes the office phone was ringing, she said I'm sorry two or three times, told me she loved me, and that was the end of our conversation, but reality struck. All of a sudden, I comprehended what just happened and returned to a slight freak out mode. What if I don't get into any of the schools to which I have applied? A realization I almost try to keep at the forefront of my mind when everyone else tells me not to worry about it, but of course, a general concern nonetheless.

I consider myself a qualified candidate as many other people applying would. My GMAT is solid, not quite a stellar 760 like other bloggers, but I definitely was not disappointed. Furthermore, my score is evenly distributed with a slight tick to the quantitative. My undergrad GPA is acceptable, but nothing to write home about. Next, my work experience is quality, though it can be hard to articulate because I work in such a small company. Over the last three plus years, I have been handed many projects and tasks that were once the responsibility of the firm principal. Basically, I make the company run - in portfolio management, the only aspect of the business to which I am not involved is stock picking. My extra-curricular activities are spread between avid soccer player and wannabe philanthropist - both in which I have been involved over many years. Finally, I consider myself personable as I am constantly meeting new people and building friendships with them. So there it is, a gist of my candidacy, no numbers. When I think about my applications, I try to remember each of these facts, and with that, somehow my day pressed on and turned out positively, however, I'm a bit tired from having only 4 hours of sleep.

I grabbed dinner at Rex's on Polk in San Francisco with a fellow candidate. (If you ever get a chance to go, get the Fried Chicken and Waffles... heaven.) He had already received his Kellogg ding, so it was a quick mention, and we moved on. It is interesting to talk with other applicants about their future aspirations and why they want to attend business school. Granted, our entire conversation did not revolve around that, but it is not to say it didn't take up a large chunk. Dinner was fabulous, the company was good, and I wrapped up my night with a stop at a friend's Christmas party. I danced a little, but made myself head home as it was a little after one in the morning and my alarm starts blaring at six. Unfortunately, my hip flexor was a bit sore on the drive home, so hopefully it isn't a problem for my last two outdoor games of 2007 on Sunday.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Train has Left the Station

...and won't be returning. It's official, DING, Kellogg is out of the picture. I have the desire to click on the Kellogg folder in my inbox and press delete. I'm not exactly sure what that would do for me, but perhaps I would feel some sort of redemption for all the hard work I put into their application. Granted, there are many tweaks I would make to those essays if I were submitting them today, but I didn't want to wait until Round 2. From here, I can only look forward, which is to say, I still have 3 other schools to hear from, although Michigan's silence worries me a bit. In the past, I did not carefully consider any Round 2 schools, but on some level, I feel I should have. There is still time, but if I don't have the drive to write essays for LBS, I can't imagine having the drive to write essays for any other school. My oh so happy Thursday just became a little ho-hum. I will skip the coffee chat - already sent that email off. There is not reason for me to waste their time and mine. Tonight I have dinner plans and a few holiday shindigs... hoping those will brighten what now seems to be a damp Thursday.

Gloves, a Necessity

Never thought I would type: Gloves are a necessity in the Bay Area on chilly mornings. Lately, I have been contemplating the locations of the schools to which I applied. Granted, I have yet to receive acceptances, so I am trying not to get ahead of myself, but if I think SF is cold right now, I can't imagine how I'd feel in Evanston, Ann Arbor, Washington DC, or Charlottesville, which is probably the warmest of them all. Now I spent 4 years in Colorado, so I know I can live and survive the dry snow, but if you know anything about Colorado weather, you also know it can snow today and be 70 degrees tomorrow. The motto: "If you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes", is incredibly true and although I had experienced it many times, it never failed to amaze me when it snowed in September or May. Note that I typed, DRY snow. Part of the reason I only glanced at Midwest/East Coast schools for College is their winters and for grad school, I didn't consider winter.

Let's return to yesterday morning and this morning. I work quasi market hours, which means it's dark when I wake up and the sun barely crests the horizon when I leave for work. At 6:45 am, it has been approximately 35 degrees and because a sick friend borrowed my gloves at a soccer tournament last Saturday, I decided they need to be washed leaving me without them. I probably do have another pair, but the effort to locate them has been lacking, although I did make a poor attempt on my way out the door this morning. Trivial features like a heated steering wheel do not seem like a bad idea as my hands are numb just being outside. Other features, like my heated seats, reinforce their use on these mornings. As I wrapped my extra scarf around my steering wheel this morning, I thought, am I crazy? Not because I was wrapping my scarf around the steering wheel, but because in about 8 mos I hope to be moving to a different city, each of which have winters worse than those in San Francisco. However, does the anticipation of a bad winter make it easier? Would I be better prepared if I were in, say, Chicago? It seems silly to me to wear a parker over my suit jacket to work, although it would probably keep me warmer in the morning. Conversely, I would likely always have a pair of gloves if I expected to need them.

I'll admit that location did not play a huge factor in my choice of schools. As I think about the process, I was influenced by program focused research and the people I met from the different programs. In addition, after attending Colorado, I think another football school would be fun.

On another note, I'm attending a local "coffee chat" with a current Kellogg student this evening. I have yet to receive a decision from Kellogg, but believe it would be beneficial to speak with someone regarding the school should I receive an acceptance in the future. As I have committed one email address to all MBA communication, I get a bit nervous every time I have a new message in that mailbox. Thus far, I have not received anything profound.

Furthermore, I booked my flight to DC in January. I will spend a weekend with friends, then drive to Charlottesville for my interview. Excited and a bit nervous.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Immune System Busters

Full list can be found here, but below are two that caught my eye:

3. Avoid Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation has a powerfully detrimental effect on your immune system. The perfect example is college students who get sick after pulling all-nighters cramming for exams.

If you're tired when you wake up in the morning, you're not getting enough sleep, or maybe not enough quality sleep. Either way, your immunity is probably compromised. Poor sleep is associated with lower immune system function and reduced numbers of killer cells that fight germs. Killer cells are also the part of the immune system that combats cells that divide too rapidly, as they do in cancer. Lower their numbers and you may be at greater risk for illness.

Studies have shown that chronic sleep deprivation also contributes to heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, and other medical illnesses. One study on the effects of sleep deprivation showed that a group of men restricted to 4 to 6 hours of sleep per night experienced changes in hormone function and carbohydrate metabolism that mimic aging changes; the lack of sleep was making them older faster.

10. Use Laughter to Beat Stress

Researchers have found that the positive emotions associated with laughter decrease stress hormones and increase certain immune cells while activating others. In one study conducted at Loma Linda University School of Medicine in California, 10 healthy men who watched a funny video for an hour had significant increases in one particular hormone of the immune system that activates other components of the immune system.

So how can you add a little humor to your life? Simply find reasons to laugh. Rent a funny video; read a book of jokes. Have lunch with a friend known for her sense of humor. Lightening up can really light up your immune system.

Hope everyone stays healthy this holiday season!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Essay Creation and the Interview

As I ponder how to prepare for my interview, I think about the admissions process. By no means would I consider it fun, however on its own, its a bit life changing - even with the acceptances and dings. I am not the same person I was when I first started writing business school admission essays three months ago. Each question from each school has given me new perspective on how to approach the next essay as well as a new perspective on myself. When I hear about the adcom reading essays that have the wrong school name, I wonder how these applicants did it. No two essays of mine are alike and although they may share some of the same ideas, they were each written from scratch and tailored to the specific school to which I applied. Please don't miss interpret this, at times, short paragraphs referring to my background could be copied and pasted. I wrote essays based on deadlines, but in a way, that order actually help me. Kellogg was a good start because with a defined page length instead of word limit, I cultivated more ideas (of course, in retrospect, I could have been more concise). The next essays I tackled as one set instead of two, alternating days between the two schools - Virginia and Michigan. There was almost no question overlap and minimal idea overlap, but working on the essays concurrently kept me interested and created a solid picture for each school. Plus, I finally understood the word limit issue. Finally, I tackled my Georgetown essays, which proved to be quite difficult initially. After being used to a 300-500 word limit per essay, 750 words seemed like an eternity. What more did I want to say without simply adding filler words and BS? Somehow, I figured it out. This set of essays is where I think I discovered my idea and definition of Leadership. Not to mention, they ask you to specifically define it in your own words. It look me a lot of hours to fully wrap my head around the concept, the story, and the articulation, but after writing this set of essays, I feel I am a better candidate and can hopefully articulate it in my next interview.

The interviews I have had to date have been...interesting. I felt that I was under prepared for the first interview, but particularly because I did not analyze the Georgetown questions as I should have. Additionally, I didn't write my essays for those questions until 2 months after my interview. The thoughts were better constructed by then. My Kellogg interview with a local alum was more interview and less conversation than I anticipated. A slight miscommunication had me thinking we were meeting for brunch, when in fact, it was simply an interview at a restaurant at brunch time. Overall, the interview had flow and I was more confident when he related his experience to my own. Next up is Virginia. This will be the first campus I visit. At times, I see people attending sessions and campuses a year or two before they intend to apply. In some ways, I envy them and contemplate what I would change about my personal process, but then reality hits, I DO NOT want to do this again next year. The sole action I would change through the entire process is I would have visited campuses. Although I have the funds, the time was not there by the time I narrowed the schools and realized the Round 1 deadlines.

ClearAdmit Wiki has some good comments on interviews. For the most part, I don't feel interview preparation is anything more than knowing your personal story, preparing for the generic questions, and knowing the school. And as a wise adcom rep once told me, remember, it's ok to pause (and in that pause, have silence).

Upcoming decision deadlines:
Kellogg - January 7th
Ross - January 15th
Georgetown - January 25th
Virginia - February 1st

Application Deadlines:
LBS - January 4th

Also, one last end note - because this is primarily a personal blog, you will see posts about all sorts of subjects, I apologize in advance to those who primarily want MBA applicant information.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Not So Lazy Sunday, But Also, Not "Productive"

I'll admit, I miss the lazy Sundays. Those days when you honestly had nothing important to do and it could all wait until tomorrow. Today was definitely not one of those. Last night was the Spinsters Holiday Ball, which was indeed entertaining, but I "worked" more than I would have liked. The volunteers last night were helpful and yet, completely annoying at the same time. I had a person here and there not show up, but perhaps it worked for the better. Who knows? Afterwards, some friends and I did a little dancing at Bruno's in the Mission, then I carted everyone home and crashed around 3 am.

Although the sun is not rising at three, it is late considering I had to be up, yet again, at 7:30 am for soccer. I truly love and enjoy the sport of soccer, but sometimes I wonder if I should give myself a break. My hip flexor is still bothering me and after the tournament on Saturday, I'm sure the THREE games I played today didn't help. Additionally, I have returned home after a day playing in SF and I'm exhausted. At the rate I'm going, I'll probably be asleep by 8 pm. However, I STILL have not started my LBS essays and with each passing day, I have less enthusiasm to complete them. Granted, it's not required that I apply to another school in Round 2, as I have finished the rest of my applications in Round 1. Furthermore, if I apply at all, I want to put my best foot forward. All I need to do is sit down one night and get the first drafts complete, but like other applicants, I'm having trouble focusing. Even now, my shoulder aches as I type, and the thought of another 4 hours on the computer makes me sleepy.

I read and glance over various blogs in the student and applicant world of MBAs. Receiving my invite to interview at Darden has definitely made me excited, but knowing that I'm only waiting for an answer from BOTH Georgetown and Kellogg puts me on the verge of crazy. Ross noted that they can request an interview up until their decision deadline, but the more I hear about others interviewing, the more worried I get. Also, I have read that people are getting DINGs from Kellogg and actually a personal friend in SF, the only other person I actually know that is applying to business schools, received his DING. Three months ago I did not know what a DING was, and here I am discussing the logistics of one. I guess it's natural that you won't be accepted to every business school to which you apply. We often empathize with other applicants and sincerely wish them the best of luck, but truth is, we hope that luck is ours as well. I need to book my flight to Virginia for my interview and work out the details of my weekend in DC. I have close friends in DC and thought seeing I'm flying to the East Coast, I might as well make a trip out of it...

As much as I know I should start typing essays right now, I think I may change into some sweats that don't smell like soccer, turn on the tube and relax. Hopefully I can focus tomorrow.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Frank Abagnale

A man most known for the crimes and deception he committed as a young boy between the ages of 16 and 18 years old, Frank Abagnale fooled the public into believing he was 10 years older than he actually was. With creativity, he created opportunities for himself to survive, although those opportunities were not always lawful. He convinced the public that he was a flight attendant, a doctor, and even passed the bar after an 8 week study course in Louisiana. Some would say he had a gift and brilliance, he simply believes he was young, foolish, and trying to survive. Most people may know this part of his life story as depicted in the blockbuster, "Catch Me If You Can", but Frank doesn't define his life like that.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of watching Frank speak in my backyard, the local performing arts center that held my high school gradation. He had charisma, showed great humility as well as a fantastic sense of humor. Today, he defines himself by what he has done in the last 32 years as an FBI agent trying to defy the very type of criminal he once was. At 16 years old, Frank walked into a courtroom and up to a judge, who quickly read from a sheet of paper that his parents were getting a divorce, and he must choose which parent with whom he wanted to live. Frank turned around and ran out the door, this was the beginning of his adventure. He was quick witted and learned that in order to be believable in any disguise he tried, he had to be knowledgeable - talking and walking as every other member of that profession did.

After years of looking over his shoulder, Frank eventually got caught. He spent years in a French prison, followed by a Swedish prison, and lastly, resided in an American prison until he was finally offered a job at the FBI for the duration of his prison sentence. He has spent 32 years at the FBI and met his wife there with not a dollar to his name. He claims who he is today is because of her, because of his sons, and because of the crimes he's been able to stop. He has never been proud of the crimes he committed.

On that note - here are a couple of tips I picked up to help protect you from identity theft:

1. Write as few checks as possible. In today's world, information is open for the taking. Just think, your check contains your name, address, phone number, and often your driver's license number and birthrate are written on the check. That's a lot of information to be in public view, so instead, it's suggested that you use plastic, but not debit cards. Debit cards are similar to using cash and in a crisis, it's hard to get that money returned if it is stolen. Conversely, credit cards are actually using the credit card company's money, while your money sits in the bank and earns interest. Pay the CC off at the end of the month and get a card that gives you something back. This, in his opinion, is a safer way to pay for things. You can dispute charges or cancel and change credit card numbers should you be a victim of identity theft. Meanwhile, with each on time payment, you're actually building your credit score and history.

2. Shred. It doesn't matter what it is, but most mail provides more information than you expect. At the least, own a cross cut shredder, but for highly sensitive information, a micro-shredder is preferred. The average cross-cut shredded page can be pieced together by the FBI in 8 hours.

3. Keep your social security number private. Federal law states that you only need to disclose your SSN to the federal government, your employer, and yourself. You must also disclose it when you are receiving a line of credit, so if someone who is not one of those entities and who is not giving you a line of credit requests it, you may decline disclosure.

4. Be weary of who is asking for information. Frank gave us a quick version of theft 101. When people call asking for wiring instructions, be weary of who they are, what they intend on wiring you, and why. Otherwise, you are simply giving them your bank account information, including account number. The information is out there and often free, so if you are not the one initiating the call, follow your intuition.

Overall, Frank seems to be an incredibly smart man. I feel fortunate that I got to hear his story, told his way.

Frank has 3 boys and is proud to say that he is their "daddy". He emphasized that each child is entitled to a father and a mother, which echoes my mother's comments of it's the parents that mess up their kids.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Darden Interview

My heart skipped a beat, maybe it was two. Every time I open my Mac email, which has been set aside primarily for MBA contact, I take a deep breath and cross my fingers. With .Mac, you view the number of new messages before you can view who they are from. It's an added step, but over time, I've found that I like it. The enhancement of anticipation is almost welcoming, thought nerve wrecking.

Sure enough, today I opened my email to receive a Darden email message with "account status change". This is where the stomach locks, I had to look up my login information for the Darden website, the whole time praying, please please please, let this be good news. And for some reason, I thought it would be. I signed on and in the right hand corner it states: "Call/Hold for Interview". I released some pressure on my gut with a deep exhale. As I understand it, I have been invited to interview! WOW! By far, I was most happy with my Darden and Ross essays. Although the Darden essays were different, I thoroughly enjoyed the introspection they provided.

The interview is required to be held in Virginia - on campus, which I think is a good way to gage the interest of a candidate. There are set interview dates in December, before Christmas and in January, shortly after New Years. I kindly mentioned to my boss that I received an interview and he noted that January would be preferable because of our business.

I don't touch on work very often other than noting that I went to work, did something, and came home. I guess part of that is because I would hate someone searching for Ensemble to run across my personal blog. At one point, I changed my myspace profile because it would show up in a Google search - third from the top. I'll touch on work in another post, but the reason it is preferable for me to be here through Christmas is because the busiest time of year in our Philanthropic sphere is right before year-end. Conversely, year-end statements are our largest quarterly mailing of the year. It's a lot to ask to be gone for one if not two days.

On another note, I also got invited to be a member of the Membership Selection Committee for Spinsters, which in my opinion, is a high honor. :)

London - Round 2?

COMPLETE - as I typed that word what seems to be many moons ago, it felt good. The significance is, I intended Georgetown to be the last of my business school applications. Granted, I always said that I would apply to 5 schools, but after the procrastination bug got me, I ended up completing 3 essays in essentially 4 days. Not only was it a lot of work, but it was also taxing on my body as I did not sleep much. If it wasn't for Dom, I'd had been SOL. Of course, he's already warned me that with his new job, he won't be able to do that again. (Dom, Thank you for your help... I will be coming to CO and buying you dinner.)

London - Fabulous school and the pinnacle of an international experience, which I dearly want to have. London's essays are short if I recall correctly and many of them are similar to essays I have already written, but if I choose to write them, this means I continue on the my journey in essay land. A land with which I was expecting to be done. The good news however is I would not be so focused on hurry up and wait. So perhaps, returning to essays would be mildly beneficial.

If I start this lot by Sunday, I will apply.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

imagini Update

Last year, I took an online test called Visual DNA. It describes you and your personality based on a series of pictures you select. Each picture is associated with one definite statement. Here are my most recent results.

This is what imagini Christmas Gift Finder says about me:

You're a bit of a party animal at heart. You love the holiday season cos it's a great excuse to eat, drink and be merry with friends and family. Some may say you're a bit of an adrenalin junkie. And it's true that even during the festive season, you have to get your hit of exercise. Your idea of a good game is one that's played with your mates, that's chilled and not too energy consuming! No doubt there'll be plenty of opportunity for that over the holiday season.

And here's my updated Visual DNA:

Personality: Moods: Wild Cat

You're a bit of a romantic and like to get back to basics. The expanse of the wilderness is inspiring and you like landscapes that make you feel calm. When it comes to art, you're definitely unconventional. You like to think differently, always from another perspective. You have a good sense of humor. As for music, it rules your weekend. Sweaty clubs, bangin' parties, you're social and love going out, meeting up and 'avin it. Your choice of treat shows you love being a little bit naughty. Being good all the time is a bore. You've got a good sense of fun and maybe an infectious giggle.

Personality: Fun: Escape Artist

You love to be far away from your everyday life. You love the sun, and like to live life at a slower pace than most - you know how to take things nice and easy! For kicks, you like to experience life at full volume with the lights on full. You're extremely passionate and emotional, and a bit of an exhibitionist? You express yourself and don't mind who's watching. When it comes time for holidays, relaxing and spending time with friends and family it what it is all about. You like long lazy Sundays - coming back home rejuvenated. What grosses you out? Nobody is perfect but some bad habits are unacceptable; you realize that health is wealth.

Personality: Habits: New Wave Puritan

Even if you have a healthy approach to life, you still have your little vices that keep you going. It's all part of the routine, you're a creature of habit. Clean and pure - your choice of drink shows that on the whole you care about your health and make sure you're putting the right stuff in. As for the home style is not really top on your list - you're too busy with other things in life. Functional meets all your needs.

Personality: Love: Love Bug

You're a bit of a softie. Love is unconditional and loyal. When you think of freedom - you think of being in charge of your direction. The open road and a full tank can pretty much take you anywhere.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Beat up and Bruised

Doesn't it always seem, if it isn't one thing, it's definitely another? As noted, my applications are complete. Gosh, that feels good to type: COMPLETE. On Friday, I celebrated Andrea's birthday with a very drunk Andrea (she was sick at midnight and rallying shortly after). Indeed, she is a trooper, but it makes me wonder how good that sort of abuse is to an individual's body. Technically, one gets sick because they have a mild form of alcohol poisoning and that is the body's indication to SLOW DOWN. To each their own. At 4 am, I finally drifted off into a slumber after spending two hours with Jackie playing "catch up". I still can't believe she lived in St Thomas for a year.

Saturday, I slept and that's it. I rolled out of bed around 4:30 pm, caught some football, grabbed a snack, and got ready for the night. Saturday night proved to be interesting, but I won't say anymore.

On Sunday morning at 7:30 am, my alarm started blaring, reminding me that I had to be on the field and ready to play soccer by 9 am. The first game of my day was rather mellow. Although I was bumped into on numerous occasions, I don't feel I suffered a lot of direct injuries from contact besides putting my right leg in front of a few shots. At the end of the game, I had the ball imprints to prove it.

Shortly after my first game, a men's 8v8 game started. I was about to walk out the gate, but one of the guys asked if I'd be interested in playing because they were short. After 30 minutes, I decided to leave the boys to their testosterone and continue across the city to my 1 pm match.

Indeed, I did warm up, but it was likely with reduced effort. I can't say it was solely because I was tired from the morning's activity, but additionally, my muscles were tight. Unfortunately, that tightness seemed to hinder my game or at least, my hip flexor. By halftime, I was playing with noticeable pain. I stepped out of the game for a moment's rest until one of my players ended up injured and had to be replaced. Through the end of the game, I worked. It helped that Mike would remind me to jog it out of the back. As an seasoned defender, I know that we need to clear the back ASAP, but the strain prevented me from following my own instructions. Despite the effort the team and I put in, we suffered our first loss of the season - game 9 of 11. OUCH. I wouldn't say the other team's win was clean, but we could not shoot anything on frame. Our only goal was scored as a ricochet from a penalty kick I took. However, their second goal was off my knee as I got hammered in the back because I was perfectly positioned on a cross. Granted, I realize it's not my fault, but as a player you can't help but feel that you should have made that play.

The day was full of activity, however I returned home for a short baking session and some much needed R&R. Hopefully this injury is temporary and next weekend is more fun.

Friday, November 30, 2007

OMFG... I'm done!

It is Friday November 30th and I have had 8 hours of sleep in the last three days, but I feel renewed excitement as I just clicked the "submit" button to what I'm hoping will be my final business school application. This long process started sometime this past February when I decided it was time to attempt the GMAT, a test which I had put off for a solid 11 months. Initially, I purchased a book from Borders with a gift card I received for Christmas last year. My boyfriend at the time was a full-time student finishing up at a university, which made studying together an easy and productive activity. Even though I took a Kaplan class in 2006, I knew I needed more materials if I was to succeed on the GMAT. Thus, I purchased 7 books off Craigslist for $100 and with these books came 10 minutes of the Brit's time - an invaluable 10 minutes it was.

I put myself on a self-study schedule and commencing in May 2007, I quit drinking for practically two months. However, I did not restrain myself from continuing to enjoy my life. Although I was disciplined, studying each day after work during the week and 5-6 hours each day on the weekend, I still went out every weekend and played soccer regularly throughout the week. Additionally, I focused on getting back into peak condition. Basically life was soccer, gym, studying and work.

July 16, 2007 was the date I set for the GMAT. This day was a Monday, two days before my 25th birthday. I had forgone researching schools because my original plan was to score a 600 and attend the University of San Francisco part time MBA program. Needless to say, I outdid myself and walked out of the testing center with a glowing smile. Consequently, I had thrust myself into a whole new ballgame with endless options.

I started basic research utilizing rankings, school websites, and other search engines. The first information session I attended was that of Wharton. Though very interesting and an inviting program, I chose not to apply because of the level of competition. In the end, it probably doesn’t matter. The most valuable resource I found was the San Francisco MBA Tour. A number of schools attended and presented 30 minute presentations about their programs. Furthermore, the fact that the MBA tour was early in year was an incredible benefit. There were approximately 8 different session times with about the same number of choices in schools for each session. The schools were cascaded so that you may attend 8 different schools for the day, or only see the schools to which you are interested. Subsequently, I chose to attend sessions for Michigan, USC, UCLA, Duke, Texas, and Georgetown. As my interest piqued, I continued in depth research of each school and viewed their list of Bay Area information sessions. For the majority of schools to which I applied, I had at least two instances of direct contact with officials, students or alumni of the school.

After four applications and a few more than a dozen essays, it is safe to say, I'm spent. I can no longer adequately pretend that I enjoy watching which words I type, which conjunctions I utilize, if I add a comma or not, if my transitions present sufficient flow, if I need to delete a word because I'm over limit, or whatever other minute details seem not to matter at this moment. Luckily, I should not have to resume this sort of analysis.

Now however, the waiting game begins. With my Kellogg and Georgetown interviews complete, I simply await answers. Conversely, I await answers from Virginia and Michigan, but hopefully in the form of interview invites.

Here's hoping, wishing, and all that jazz. Best of luck to other candidates of the hopeful MBA classes of 2010. Thus far, it's been an experience. On that note, I'm signing off for the weekend. My shoulder hurts from immeasurable hours on the computer and my body desires a long slumber.


It took me four business school applications, fifteen essays, and four complete essay rewrites on my last essay for me to articulate Leadership. For some reason, I had difficulty wrapping my head around a concept with which I have great familiarity, but this is what I finally understand.

While leadership is the ability to organize, motivate, and positively influence a group of individuals to work collaboratively in order to execute a vision or attain a common goal, it is ultimately the bigger picture. Leadership is effectively defining purpose for a team, group, or organization - for profit or not.

A good leader will balance risk versus reward in undertaking risky or difficult situations. As well, their traits, will include a high level of integrity, be confident, decisive, proactive, dependable, and selfless.

The Last

It's only been 2.5 hours since my last post, which isn't bad considering the additional essay revamp Georgetown two just received. I think I'm finally confident about my essays. It's a great feeling seeing that I was highly confident with all my essays when I hit the submit button on my last two applications, 3 weeks ago. It's time to give the rough drafts to dad for last minute changes. Additionally, my reviewer received one more copy for comment. Subsequently, I think I may have to fly to Colorado and take him to dinner, you will never know the value of a good reviewer unless you go through this process. My gratitude seems unrepresentative of how he has helped me. Lastly, my boss needs to finish my recommendation. Talk about cutting it close. ;) Perhaps we truly do have something in common seeing I sent the recommendation to him in September. I will be amazed if this is all completed by tomorrow night - the due date. Phew, off to get my ... less than... 3 hours of sleep. OUCH!


HORRAY!! My heart is beating incredibly fast. I sent a preview of my Georgetown two essay to my reviewer, and he thought that I was on the right path. Although it's a double edged sword, on the right path is good, but it seems I need to think bigger. As comical as it may seem, you can tell I'm in operations. I'm too caught up with the daily details removed from the bigger picture. Write, read, delete, and rewrite.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Drawing Board

And so it seems, my attempt to rewrite Georgetown essay two last night was stamped with an "F". With the deadline looming, I'm running out of ideas and options. I'm tired, which is expected with the solid three hours of sleep I got last night. I'm stressed, but it is mostly self induced. And finally, I feel that I'm on the verge of a breakdown for which I don't have time.

Practical and positive, can those words be correctly used in the same sentence? Every time I think about my future, I try to be "practical", but if you're shooting for the moon, don't you need something bigger than practicality. There I go, discussing vague terms. I guess it's time to rocket out some essays.

Hours Left

As I lay in bed last night, I thought how instead of counting down days until my application is complete, I should count hours as there are not many left. Today, I am exhausted because I spent many of those hours fixing my Georgetown essay drafts and eventually, I hit the pillow a few minutes sub three in the morning. Any 'normal' person would probably drown themselves in coffee as it is 7 am and three hours of sleep doesn't remotely crest the sleep needed to function. However, even over three years in investment management hasn't made me a coffee junkie, so why start now.

By now, I'm sure you're thinking, enough of your rambling, yeah - I know, I apologize for being overly tired. You want the meat? Here it goes. On Monday, I was fortunate enough to find three victims to review my Georgetown essays. The most in-depth analysis came from a faithful friend in Colorado, who always seems to have an eloquent way to divulge all information. Let's just say, he "destroyed" what I wrote, but isn't that the point of a good review? Granted, a solidly demonstrated story or position does not need to be saturated in red ink, which leads me to assume, my paper was not such.

In the first of the three essays, I liked many of his suggestions, but I enforced what had already been written by adding numerical results to demonstrate my accomplishments. Next, I tackled essay three, which did not stray from the base story, but is now substantially cleaner than before. Finally, I resumed work on essay two, the outlier. After reading his comments, I felt even less confident about my choice of topic for Leadership because I feel I chose a topic that had the title, but did not necessarily display the leadership characteristics I wish to exhibit. Naturally, I did what any other applicant would do two days away from the due date, I scraped the entire essay but a paragraph and picked a new topic where I embodied the characteristics of a leader. I fear that this new essay will not be met with positive feedback, but here is hoping.

On a work note, I received a powerful email yesterday, which discussed "leaving your job". Most employees provide their employer the standard two weeks notice but as employees, we often forget that we may need our employer for a future reference or better yet, a general connection at some point in the future. Subsequently, as the days of your notice wind down, always remember to put your best foot forward and go out with a bang. You want to be remembered as a fantastic employee, who put in the effort until the end, instead of that employee that slacked off their last week.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I <3 Quotes

"In this time of your life, live so that in that wonderous time you shall not add to the misery and the sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the inifite delight and mystery of it."
-William Saroyan

Want to expand your vocabulary, and at the same time feed the hungry people of the world? Check it out: Free Rice.

Review Me

It is Wednesday and I'm 3 days away from my due date. I received the first of my reviews today and I'm feeling uneasy. Not because my reviewer pointed out anything that was untrue, but more because almost everything he wrote is true. I'm not exactly sure where I am going in my Georgetown essays and perhaps that has simply my pitfall. This is why I procrastinated so long on completing the first draft. I realize as this is the first draft, that the essays will drastically change over the next few days, but do I have time to change them?

Leadership. What a word that encompasses so much, yet nothing at all. I think of myself as being proactive and truly a leader at heart, but do I have the experience of a leader. Titles are easy to throw around, except I don't have many. My experience with coordination seems almost second rate right now. Honestly, I'm not good at negotiation and I lack delegation experience, so what is it that makes me such a good, I'm not sure.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Vulgar, but True

'The relationship is not over until you're done fucking.'

Stay Away from the See's Candy!

It's that time of year again when all your vendors feel the need to send you yummy treats that add pounds to the scale output and inches to the waist. It's no wonder so many people declare some sort of physical activity as their New Year's resolution. Think about it, we basically start eating over Thanksgiving, and among family get togethers, holiday parties, and the vendors of the world shipping sugar filled gift boxes, we eat, we drink, and we are merry for an entire month! After Christmas, we all tell ourselves that it is one more week and then, only then, will we take charge of our lives and get our bodies moving again. After the faithful month decline, that plan never works well until Summer is on the horizon and thus, everyone struggles to get those well maintained bikini bodies back.

Well, I have an idea. It may seem simple, yet silly on the surface, but say, just for a moment, that we continue our work out regime through the holidays and try to limit ourselves to one brownie and two pieces of chocolate instead of the entire bag or box. Then we may all fit into those beautiful NYE dresses and dashing black tuxes. On that note, I need to get into the gym and stay away from the See's Candy box in the back room that is begging me to open it.

More Drafts...

You would think this would all be completed by now, but with a long "break", I am back to scrambling to complete my Georgetown essays. Had I not taken that weekend off... I may have had this completed weeks ago, but... I guess it isn't worth going into. Fact is, I procrastinated for 2 weeks and I have found that I focus better when I'm at home. I attempted to write my drafts in West VA, but between family, the wedding, eating gorges of food, football, and resting, I just couldn't fully wrap my head around the questions. I'll get off my soapbox now.

"Live life by design not by default"

Monday, November 19, 2007

Comment - B School Essays

I left the below comment about essays here today. It made me think that perhaps I can use some of my own advice, seeing I'm in the final stretch, working on my last set of essays.

Few things - first, I'm by no means an expert. I have been fortunate enough to get past the "mess" stage and submit a few applications. That being said, here are a couple of suggestions based on your post.

First, if you need to rewrite - go for it. The hardest part of the essays, imo, is the content. Once you get the content, you can fix the transitions. So figure out what you want to write, what makes you special.

Second, get a first draft complete. Yes, it won't be perfect, but when it's YOUR writing, sometimes it's hard to see the big or outside picture. Find a close friend that is good at editing and let them review it. (Two ways to review, just give it to them and let them tell you what they think or specifically ask them if you have answered the question and mark up syntax errors/grammar/spelling, etc.) In addition, another way to personally review your essay, esp. essays with word limits, read each sentence, make sure it relates to the question, then if it does, see if it's necessary and important. You'll be more concise.

Finally - remember, this is a process. And sometimes it's easier to leave an essay and come back to it later.

One last minute addition - from a very wise admissions guy named Jett. First draft - drink a beer, glass of wine, or even tea and just write. You can fix it later, but put words on the paper. Second, make sure you are writing about YOU, not what you THINK the adcom wants to hear. If a question asks about YOUR definition - don't google everyone else's because that is what the rest of the prospective students will do. Literally, define it in YOUR words.

My Body & WW III

Monday morning is always interesting after a weekend full of soccer. It's the day I get to truly assess all my injuries. Saturday, I had a "make or break" game for my women's season.

Here are the logistics: I play in division 1 of the GGWSL. There are a total of 6 teams in division 1. At the end of this season, there are two teams challenging into the GGWSL - one is challenging into premier and one is challenging into first. Automatically, the last place team in each division gets relegated - moves down to the division below the current division they are in. Thus, these challenge matches will be played against the second to last team in each division. Essentially, if both challenge matches are won, two teams from premier and three teams from first will get relegated. Basically, this means, Rip Tide, my team, must place 3rd in order to guarantee we aren't relegated.

The Game: We warmed up on a foggy, misty San Francisco afternoon. We were pumped, knew what we had to accomplished, and everyone was determined not to risk playing division 2 next season. There shouldn't be a stigma with division 2, but in essence, there is. The competition was laid out, the defender that shot the most - on frame - would win. That defender was me, drilling the second of three goals into the back of the net from 30 yards out (with my left foot). The ball arched, and skimmed the back of the net, all the way down. WOW! What a feeling. Pulling off the 3-1 victory was just the beginning of a GREAT Saturday.

After my game, I swung my Mary's to see friends and have chips and dogs. Next, I went to Sam's to wish him a grand ol' HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Finally, I met up with the group at Circa for Kym's birthday. A new friend, came by, as he said we would and a group of us went dancing at HiFi. Jenna and I then grabbed shakes at Johnny Rockets. What an AWESOME night!

Sunday was a little early for my liking. The alarm went off at 7:40 am after a little less than 5 hours of sleep. I contemplated not showing to my 9 am game, but I'm addicted to soccer, so I got out of bed and kept moving. We were down 0-2 at the half, but luckily we have "finishers" and won 4-2. I grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed to some high school at the opposite end of the city to help my old Sunday team with their final season game and first playoff match. I had solid tackles and a few nice clears, but I also got knocked a few times. In the second game - the playoff match - a guy leveled me. I'm not quite sure which direction he game from, but I was not expecting it at all and today, my shoulder aches. Hopefully it's only temporary.

Returning home after 3 soccer games, I knew I would be in bed early and I was - passed out by 7 pm. It felt very good! :D

I saw this quote on someone else's blog:

Il semble que la perfection soit atteinte non quand il n’y a plus rien à ajouter, mais quand il n’y a plus rien à retrancher.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Terre des hommes, 1939

It seems that perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wind, sand and stars, 1939

Thursday, November 15, 2007


My brilliant plan is conditional on one thing, getting into business school. This is not another post about how I seem to freak out about my future. Instead, I am talking about my glorious future and my plan. For months, I have discussed traveling Europe before I step foot on campus, but today, I actually thought about the possibilities. Ever heard of a Round the World ticket aka RTW? There's a great post on WikiTravel describing the logistics in detail. I took some time on the Star Alliance website to design a trip leaving San Francisco that would take me to 12 destinations, 3 continents, and a final hurrah in Las Vegas for my 26th birthday. I would cover 29000 miles in a little less than 2 months. Obviously I'd put more thought into where I want to go and what I want to see before purchasing a ticket, but what an opportunity. As I'm constantly reminded, I have the means, it's a chance in a lifetime. Of course, I'm still skeptical about wearing the same clothes for 2 months.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Everywhere you go, we measure productivity. The internet tends to increase productivity as much as it decreases it. We hire consultants to make sure our processes run smoothly. These consultants cut fractions of unproductive time by making processes more efficient. With that in mind, here is a great post about the necessity of unproductive gaps.

Progression...or Not

It has been at least four days since I have bothered to look at my Georgetown essays. I'm feeling more lethargic by the day. Additionally, I am not sure if I will apply to London Business School. The program is vitally international, which is what I desire, but the cost due to the decreasing value of the dollar is not something that I care to pay. I realize that the cost will be paid back with interest due to the education and experience, however, I can get a similar education for 50% of what LBS will cost. That's significant. I will just have to work hard to study abroad and perhaps work abroad. With this in mind, I'm 2 weeks away from my final D-day. I'm attending a Georgetown information session tomorrow and hoping that it will revitalize my lazy attitude.

On a positive note, I practiced last night and felt "on", although my knee is bothering me a bit today. I haven't had knee problems, which are common injuries in the soccer world, but after tripping over the ball twice yesterday, I felt out of sorts. I'm hoping it's temporary because our game this week is make or break for our season. There's a possibility that three teams will relegate this season, and I don't want to be one of them.

Also, I'm getting back into the gym, TODAY! After my ankle tweak over 4 weeks ago, I have skipped the gym more than I have attended. I particularly notice it in my playing and my endurance. Even though I don't have a problem playing the entire game, when I am working out, I feel better when I play. I realize this is the last game of the season, but I'm looking to make an impression.

On another note (this is the post of random thoughts), I can't believe that Thanksgiving is NEXT week. Once upon a time, I had to go searching for appropriate clothes for the Greenbrier. Luckily, I am now completely on the side of appropriate. I guess it is a sign that I am growing up.

And finally, another Vegas adventure is in the works. It's been about 7 months since I have been (which is about as long as I have... we won't go there), so I'm quite stoked to dance the night away and catch the 6 am flight home. Hopefully we won't miss it. Unfortunately, the price went up from yesterday. I'm hoping it regulates because I'm not in the mood to pay an additional $40.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Kellogg Interview

So it seems my Kellogg application is officially complete. I finished the last of my requirements and interviewed with a 2000 Kellogg alum yesterday morning. Saturday night was not super late, but I didn't sleep well for various reasons. Although, even with the lack of sleep, I still managed to get out of bed and be presentable.

Jason, my interviewer, and I had set a 10:30 am appointment on Sunday morning, which I assumed was for brunch. (I don't recall if we mentioned brunch or not.) Needless to say, I was thrown off when I found that we were not eating.

The conversation started as any conversation would - talking about where we live, how our weekend had been etc... Then he said that he was going to ask me some questions. The first question was standard - walk me through your resume. So I started at the beginning.

Other questions asked:

Why Kellogg?

Why MBA? Why now?

Describe a time when you led a team?

Describe a difficult situation with a co-worker and how you resolved it?

How would your people describe you professionally or personally?

What is your preferred leadership style?

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?

Anything you want to ask me?

I wish I could say that I felt good or bad about the interview. I felt hungry more than anything though. I had expected to eat and we didn't. I guess it's simply hurry up and wait now. Here's hoping.

On another note, my Georgetown essays are in a standstill. I have no desire and no drive to write them. Instead, I slept all afternoon and night on Sunday, and Saturday I took a 3 hour nap. Of course, I'm not quite sure it was simply tiredness or perhaps, it was avoidance that kept my in bed. Either way, Georgetown is do on Nov 30th and I need to get on top of them. I also have one more application for London Business School, I plan on completing, but at the rate I'm going with my Georgetown essays, I may pass. I guess I should work on one thing at a time. I also need to get into the gym. Perhaps that is why I'm so tired and nostalgic.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Who is JulyDream?

Perhaps this should have been my first blog post and over the past year, I've started this post multiple times, but I can never get it right. It's hard to convey who is JulyDream in one simple post. Nonetheless, figure out what it is I want to say about her, and in essence, me. JulyDream was my first online alias; started as a screenname that I created back when 56K was all the hype. Even though, the connection speed never seemed to venture over 28K. When I created JulyDream, I was roughly 11. In the midst of my middle school years, I never knew this alias would follow me as it has.

The Breakdown: I started with July because it is my birth month and for some reason a mild obsession of mine, much like birthdays in general. The latter part of the alias was construed from my love of dreams and everything that comes with them. I lived under a sea of stars that made my room glow bright for about 5 minutes solid before dimming to dreamland.

It all seemed logical at 11, and now, almost 15 years later, JulyDream still exists. I'll admit that I wait for the ridicule or the popped eyebrow when I tell someone my email address. Luckily, AIM names are meant to be ancient, so people just expect a name predating high school. Although I have tried many times to get a "grown up" email address, it never works. I have a short first name and nine letters in the last name is rather difficult. Additionally, I want something that I can tell someone with minimal spelling required. This is JulyDream.

So, who is she? She grew up a native of the Bay Area peninsula. After an uneventful high school experience saturated with athletics, she chose CU - Boulder over Arizona and San Diego. Her first semester she joined the CU Club Soccer team and can count on less than 2 hands how many times she went out drinking. Maybe it was a sense of responsibility, or perhaps it was simply that she enjoyed herself with and without the intoxication.

As the years passed in Colorado, she forged lifelong friendships, with which she continually keeps in contact. For the first 2 years post graduation, bimonthly trips were made to Colorado. Over the last year, those have dwindled, substantially. After an exciting homecoming weekend in October, she was quickly reminded why she viewed her Colorado experience as a perfect 4.

Post college, she moved home. Not just home in terms of the Bay Area though, but literally, home, the house in which she spent 7 of her growing years. If you've ever met her parents or even her grandmother and uncle, you'd understand what she means by, "her parents party more than she does." Her brother swears that if she leaves, he's moving out too. Hopefully, that plan isn't too far on the horizon.

Today her life revolves around work, soccer, and business school applications/essays. After completion of the GMAT two days before her 25th birthday, she researched schools. Her options narrowed to five schools - Kellogg, Ross, Darden, Georgetown, & London Business School. Her future plan is fairly specific, although completely conditional on business school acceptance.

More details:
Ice cream addict. Footy (soccer) player. Enjoys laughter. Pool enthusiast. Weak ankles. Independent. Caring. Honest. Flawed. Positive. Reliable friend. Traveler. Dancing queen. Organizer. Purist. Night-owl. Musically obsessed. Poet. Scarred. Tomboy. Baker. Patient. Outgoing. Sensitive. Loyal. Social. Sleep deprived. Pancake fanatic. Vivacious. Cuddler. Movie buff. Runner. Photographer.

I am JulyDream.

"Check It Out"

I am the type of person that always has the intention of trying something new. Subsequently, I save email blasts and rip pages out of magazines thinking that someday I will actually go to even one of these fun places. Unfortunately, over time, it's hard to keep track of these places, so welcome to a new section of my blog and
thus, a new label, "check it out". This is where I will add links, blurbs, and references. Feel free to add your ideas as well.

Seeing this is the first entry, it may be rather long.

Elevation SF
Bay Area Hiking Group
Fun newsletter covering various recommendations in and around San Francisco.
THRILLIST San Francisco Thursday Nov 8, 2007

Red Lantern
808 Winslow St, at Broadway; Redwood City; 650.369.5483

Opening a restaurant is fraught with hurdles, whether it's a pesky health inspector, or California Cuisine that critics conclude "tastes like Fresno". Overcoming the obstacle of "soul-crushing space", Red Lantern.

Thrillist - Red LanternRun by a chef+manager team from Betelnut, just-opened Lantern was the former home of Redwood City's social security agency, disbanded to thwart the first wave of Boomers to have their liver-spotted hands out. To chase away that legacy of drabness, the Lantern imported over $500K in Asian art, ranging from Tang Dynasty statues to Indonesian mahogany carvings to an ancient Cambodian ox-cart wheel (attn art thieves: what the latter lacks in value, it makes up for in instant portability). The Southeast Asian fusion's highlighted by Lamb Shank in Cardamom Infused Yogurt, Seared Foie Gras on Toasted Coconut Rice, and Braised Short Ribs w/ River Stone Cracked Garlic Black Pepper -- a far cry from the saltines and government cheese smuggled in the Member's Only pockets of the desperate and old.

Red Lantern will also sell original art by Phillippino street painters -- which will add spirit and decorative flavor when your empty retiree lock box forces you to spend your Golden Years in a Central Valley tract home.

Check it out at
THRILLIST San Francisco Tuesday Nov 6, 2007

83 Proof
83 1st St, at Mission; SOMA; 415.572.3368

Specialists excel because of their devotion to a myopic scope of greatness -- which is why heart surgeons don't worry about your feelings, and patent attorneys don't care about the guy you hit with your car. For the bar version, hit 83 Proof.

Thrillist - 83 ProofSpaciously classy, 83's nonetheless a defiantly no-frills watering hole, housed in a space that's hosted nothing but bars since the '20s (the last being Chinese mafia hangout Attitudes, a goldmine for high risk loans/Rush Hour extras). In an admitted attempt to repel the "restaurant crowd", 83's foregoing frivolous amenities like food/DJs/concept. But their bar menu reads like a fantasy spirits squad, e.g.: Louis XIII cognac (sold at cost), micro-distilled Clase Azul tequila, and Yamazaki Single Malt, the scotch Japan's been trying to perfect since 1923 -- when not pursuing the ultimate beer-serving-vagina-robot-cat.

As an after-work-friendly bar, 83 claims it'll have "strong happy hours", though it hasn't quite worked out the details yet -- not a deal-breaker, but still akin to the cardiologist who can't insert a stent, or the lawyer who let Suntori rip off your Super Brew Meow Love 3000.

83 Proof opens today
THRILLIST San Francisco Friday Nov 2, 2007

B&B Beverage Academy

Your average bartending class is a racket, charging $700 for a worthless diploma and a superficial understanding of the Purple Hooter. Learn the craft without the graft at Bourbon and Branch Beverage Academy.

Thrillist - Situated in B&B's semi-secret library, the Academy's a series of intimate, 16-student sessions, each focusing on a single spirit: gin, tequila, scotch, and whiskey (what, Midori's not a class of spirits?). At your own stocked workstation, you'll begin by learning the history of the liquor, how it's made, and relevant laws and rules, e.g., legit tequila must be 100% agave/illegit tequila must only be consumed in popper form. Then you'll go on to perfect/sample concoctions like the Manhattan, the Margarita, the Negroni, and the nigh impossible...scotch-rocks.

You can also book the BA as a group, or have them bring the class to your home, where the Official Bartender Certificate on your mantle will impress them even less than your flat Lavender Hooters.

Classes are filling up as you read this -- sign up now

THRILLIST San Francisco Tuesday Oct 30, 2007

1300 Fillmore, at Eddy; Fillmore; 415.771.7100

While history can enrich your life, it's tough to digest when it comes in the form of 9hr, drool-inducing Ken Burns docs. For a lesson that’ll make you slobber with gratitude, try 1300

Thrillist - 1300Paying homage to the 40s-era Fillmore Jazz District, 1300's decked out with wood paneling, leather club chairs and b&w photos of neighborhood legends that'll make you pine for a time you never knew existed. But 1300's not a theme joint: the kitchen's helmed by David Wallace, a Michelin three-starred chef who French-ifies classic soul food in dishes like Fried Chicken w/ truffle-oil potatoes, Maple Syrup Braised Short Ribs, and Shrimp Hush Puppies, affectionately known as "Devito Loafers". Further alienating actual history buffs, the candlelit 1300's date-friendly, and stays open nightly til 1am with jazz/blues on weekends -- when you'll further alienate your date with your spastic "air trumpeting".

Though 1300's steeped in the past, the lounge boasts free wi-fi and a mirror-fronted flat-screen playing old jazz movies -- making you salivate for the days when historic films were short, and the only long Burns were on the puffing cheeks of musicians.

Check out the menu

THRILLIST San Francisco Tuesday Oct 23, 2007
Bin 38

3232 Scott St, at Lombard; The Marina; 415.567.3838

Once the exclusive province of ascotted dinosaurs, appreciating wine no longer requires being an oenephile, or even knowing how to pronounce that. For the latest place taking vino off its pedestal, hit Bin 38.

Thrillist - Bin 38Opening tomorrow, Bin 38 covers the prerequisite bases with an onyx marble bar, cork walls, a gourmet menu (Steak Tartare, Grilled Quail, etc), and 125-bottle wine list that'll satisfy the snootiest swish-spitters. Bin also boasts a curtain-offable area for larger parties and sheltered nooks pairable with cloying intimacy, but they casual things up with a heat-lamp'd, picnic table'd backyard, complete with fire pit -- almost like a Zeitgeist, but smaller and with a job at a boutique law firm. Even more untraditionally, Bin serves 18 artisanal beers ranging from Healdsburg’s Bear Republic to Trappiste Rochefort; further, they pair these selections with food, allowing even suds drinkers to revel in the joy of being supercilious penises.

Bin also retails every bottle they serve, so you can bring a prized bottle home, don your silky neckwear, and imagine yourself to be a great oh-ee-na-file.

Check out the menu


ALLIED INFO Tuesday Oct 16, 2007

Flying's enough of a chore waiting around for security to determine you're not a madman, or a bearded madwoman. What you need's an airport Fast Pass: Clear.

Thrillist - Just arriving in the Bay Area, Clear's a nationwide pre-screening program that lets you zip past luckless fellow passengers and head straight for your gate. Sounds like a fantasy inspired by the very substances security routinely confiscates, but it's real: join, and get a fingerprint-authorized card granting access to a X-ray-equipped VIP security checkpoint, staffed by an attendant who won't prejudge you as a threat, or even as a nuisance. Instead of languishing in line behind doddering retirees in "Property of Alcatraz Federal Prison" t-shirts, you'll breeze through -- so you can depart much later for the airport, or show up at the normal time and still leisurely browse the newsstand/devour a 3lb sack of Gummy Tarantulas.

To enroll, just pre-register at, then head to either the SFO or San Jose airport for an in-person once-over. Once you're approved, you can use Clear in an ever-increasing number of cities -- so all that'll stand between you and maximum pre-flight efficiency is your inability to travel without an RPG-sized tube of Face Nair.

Learn more at
THRILLIST San Francisco Thursday Oct 4, 2007

Despite her culinary prowess, San Francisco's delivery culture is sadly lacking, with few resources outside of the menus elusive deliverymen rubberband to your doorknob. Expand your hunger's horizons with Grubhub.

Thrillist - GrubHubAlready huge in Chicago, Grub's aiming to list every SF delivery option, from Araujos Taqueria to Big Nate's BBQ (founded by 6'-11" Warrior great Nate Thurmond, who deserves a huge tip for folding himself into that tiny delivery car). Search by map or punch in your zip, and up'll pop every area spot willing to facilitate your unspeakable Mind of Mencia marathon, plus hours/menus/archiving capability. Unlike MenuPages, Grub also posts coupons (free Crab Rangoon!) and online order forms customizable down to the pizza topping -- you can even leave special instructions, like "extra salty", or "Nate, please autograph my Memphis Pork?"

Of course, there're the obligatory user reviews, but these mostly eschew foodie-speak for bluntness, e.g., "Good food. Guy showed up", or "I wouldn't feed this to my worst enemy. Well, maybe I would..." -- a thinly veiled reference to that ghostly deliveryman even now scampering away away from your door.

Get your grub on at
THRILLIST San Francisco Tuesday Oct 9, 2007
Parking Carma

In a city where people use every parking trick -- stalking bag-laden pedestrians for blocks on end, road-coning their favorite spots -- any advantage is key. Avoid the dirty work with Parking Carma.

Thrillist - Parking CarmaJust launched in SF, Parking Carma's database aims to list every available off-street parking place in town -- from public garages to the underutilized lots of restaurants, offices, and Tower Records desperately clinging to some sense of purpose. To get a list of options (complete with rates and directions), simply enter your intersection, address, or business; you can also request a preferred walking distance, from 7 minutes down to 0 minutes -- not suggested, unless your ultimate destination is "parking space". As a bonus, Carma'll even show you amenities in the vicinity, allowing you to follow in your father's footsteps by planning your entire night around where you can safely leave your Merkur.

If you've got a driveway or reserved spot you haven't used since your questionable electric scooter investment, you can also use PC to rent out your own real estate -- only to find your pavement marked off with crime tape once your cunning tenant's lease runs out.

Find your place at