Where I Was Months Ago Is Not Where I am Now

Posted by Lady Mel On Monday, August 22, 2011 1 comments

Today I start my second full-week of work! Yes I said work. Last month, I was given a full-time, 5 week temp job at the same department that I have working in for the past year. My confidence and professionalism paid off. Now I join the millions of grown ups across the world that are paid for a certain amount per month to get by.

I should be excited and I am. Do you know what it is like to be unemployed for over two years? MADNESS. But like a smart person, I have to keep my options open. I want a career with a layer of unpredictability and spontaneity even when I am doing administrative tasks 10-5:30pm five times a week. I must keep the passion alive or I will continue to burn out. As much as I enjoy this opportunity, my dream opportunity is around the corner. The green is not always greener on the other side. The grass is any color you set your mind to. I thought about applying to graduate school this fall, but I took a back side and decided I was not ready financially and intellectually to head back to school. But when I am ready, the grass is golder on the other side. Why did not learned this sooner?

Happy Fourth of July

Posted by Lady Mel On Monday, July 4, 2011 0 comments

I have been though so much
Since May,
I'm coming back to the blogging universe
In a new, constructive way
I have fewer volunteering hours
So I have more time to get my life together
And more time to blog.
So celebrate this momentous occasion
And get ready for the next installation
Of Lights.Camera.Drama!

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Video of the Week

Posted by Lady Mel On Friday, May 20, 2011 0 comments

Facebook COO Sheryl Sanberg was the Commencement Speaker of Barnard College's Class of 2011 graduates. Ever since I saw her TED Conference talk, I fell in love with her. She is an inspiration to every woman on the planet. I hope to do what my mother and her mother and her mother could not do: dream big! Grats to the Class of 2011 and welcome to the workforce!

The Race for The Cure

Posted by Lady Mel On Monday, May 16, 2011 0 comments

Omg Christina. Where have you been? Funny that you have asked...

I've decided to take a year off and apply to graduate school in the Fall of 2012. My lack of HCI/ UX Design experience. My lack of research experience in the field. All the information recruiters and professionals need to ignore me or just say no. I have contacted several professors in my area about potential research assistant/volunteer opportunities, only to get rejected and I do not know why. I was estimable in my emails. No harsh words. No rudeness. But I was persistent with my responses. Since when has persistence become the new n-word? Take persistence and your drive to succeed out of the equation and what would you have left? Absolutely nothing. All I hear right now is dead silence on the other end of the line.

Also, I think social media is not a good outlet for job hunting. Social networking is good for "finding" pages and pages of job listings, but it limits the way people go about looking for work. Yes, I can tweet or use InMail to track down a employer about a career opportunity or job inquiry, but will that person contact me back?

Ok, I am having a hard time finding a research position. What is the closest thing I can do to get my top schools to look at me as a future M.S. candidate? I'll take an user experience internship for 500 points Alex Trebek. So I paid $30.00 (as an experiment) for the LinkedIn Job Expert account. I read that with this account, unemployed job seekers are placed at the top of the online applicant pool and job search results. So far, fewer people have checked my LinkedIn profile than before the upgrade. My summary and marketing pinch are sweet and concise to the point. I participate in several LinkedIn groups. I even posted this blog's url link and published work. If I could get my money back, I would. What are you recruiters waiting for?! Are you anxiously waiting for the perfect candidate to appear at your online doorstep?

Next stop: online job postings. BIG mistake. No one likes my applications. No one reads my applications. No one wants to interview me. I am just an inexperienced pawn in a recruiter's game of chess. Yet recruiters do not know that I am ten steps (pun attended) ahead of them. Is hope all lost? Not quite. 

I promise to attend more networking events this summer. Last week, I attended my first job fair; the 2011 Essex County College Job Fair Expo in Newark, NJ. I met future employers and landed some job training and job leads. I plan to attend another job fair next week. Drawbacks? I do not know the names of the employers and companies that will participate beforehand. It must be a Newark thing. Benefits? I pushed my boundaries and got my name and brand out there.

So I am not getting a job anytime soon. How can I or anyone in my situation improve his/her skills? UX Designers are in high demand. So during this summer, I plan to self-teach myself Adobe Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Flash, and Illustrator so that by the fall, I am more marketable. I am going to continue reading about HCI and possible look into vlogging and open-source projects to keep me busy and awesome. If I can walk a three mile race for breast cancer without any prior experience, I can do anything ....as long as I am not stopping myself short.

And so my life after Smith College continues... what are your summer plans?
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I'm Clearly Winning This Week, Join The Challenge!

Posted by Lady Mel On Friday, April 15, 2011 1 comments

Hi guys! It's been over a month. I know, I know. Forgive me, but I brought you a basket for your patience!

Ok while I was away, I entered the 2011 UMDNJ Employee Health and Wellness Weight Loss Competition. I initially aimed at winning the grand prize; a FREE three-month gym membership at the Newark YMCA Center at UMDNJ. During the contest, I drank more water, cut down my carbohydrates, ate more fruits and vegetables, and walked more.

The contest consisted of three weight-ins from January 15th to March 25th, in addition to a free nutrition session by a licensed UMDNJ nutritionist that helped participants with their bad eating habits. 35 participants and 11 pounds less later, I came in second-place! I was not even disappointed because I was already a winner. The hardest part now is to continue losing weight and eating right. If you are interested in losing weight, I advise the following tips:

1. Take it slow. Progress does not come overnight. To avoid depression and eating disorders, take it one pound at a time. I was competing with myself, not with my peers.

2. DONT and I mean DONT weight yourself. The only times that I did this were during the scheduled weigh- ins with the University Hospital (UH) Food & Nutrition Department. I don't want people to feel self-conscious about their bodies every single time they weigh themselves. You must have a clear mind and break this habit. I trained myself to not do this from the get go and it paid off.

3. Eat what you want and then some. Learn how to balance your favorite food with healthier supplements. For lunch now, I will buy a container of salad and a small plate of chicken wings and French fries. On every other weekend, I will buy Chinese takeout but I will make sure to eat my vegetables and burn calories by walking the next day. If you want to slowly lose weight, you can try this approach. Otherwise, talk to your doctors about other drastic options. 

What's next? Apply the very same determination towards my graduate school applications. Oh what a night! Are you up for the challenge? How are you losing weight?

Breaking News: I'm Going to Graduate School!

Posted by Lady Mel On Tuesday, March 1, 2011 4 comments

I have decided to head back to school this fall and I am very excited. It is the time to find what I am really passionate about. I have been researching several graduate school programs so far and talked to a couple of admission representatives. My only concern is paying for graduate school so I have started applying to scholarships and grants. This post is my entry to the New Threats to Freedom Short Form Contest. The deadline is March 31st and I encourage anyone who needs scholarship money to apply. Post your comments below and have a wonderful week!

New Threats to Freedom: The Freedom to Fail
By Christina Brown

I agree with Mr. Goodwin’s points on American meritocracy and the current state of our nation's educational system. But he did not address the root problem: institutionalized discrimination. Think about it. Institutionalized racism, sexism, and classism have been put into place to deter individuals from certain backgrounds from receiving the best education possible. Thus, our obsolete educational system must change to meet the needs of our growing multicultural and multidisciplinary society.

American society has failed to appreciate the hard work and commitment of our educators, unlike other industrialized nations such as Sweden and Japan. Many teachers fail to truly educate our future innovators because they do not have the discipline and right skill set to teach them the right reading, math, and science skills to succeed. There are fewer women excelling in math and science and running Fortune 500 companies because of gender expectations and a lack of mentoring for young women. Many parents are not invested in their children’s education because of centuries of socioeconomic and racial oppression.

However, students do not have the freedom to fail because they were never given that right in the first place. Most students are expected to get good grades, attend top-tier colleges and graduate schools, and get well-paying jobs. When students get bad test scores or fail courses, they are often punished by their parents and teachers; some even have taken their own lives because of this pressure to be perfect. As Mr. Goodwin pointed out previously, people will never achieve real success unless they are not exposed to the set-backs and wrong turns in life. This is a part of growing up. Students should be encouraged to take risks so that they can be more prepared for these high-profile positions in technology, health care, and education. If we as Americans teach our children of all ways of life the true value of a good education, we will regain our position as a superpower.

I have had some minor set-backs myself after graduating from Smith College during an economic recession. I thought that I had my life planned out. Was I wrong! Now I am making an enormous effort each and every day to find employment so I can start saving money for graduate school and start paying back my undergraduate loans. Yet, these set-backs have not stopped me from pursuing a career in marketing and computer science. I am a better person now than I was when meritocracy controlled my everyday life. I now appreciate the true value of hard work and adversity. These qualities will make me indispensable in today’s highly competitive, global economy.

Video of the Week

Posted by Lady Mel On Friday, February 18, 2011 2 comments

Miia Maria's rendition of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" single is magical. She is very talented on the piano for such a young age. I hope she continues to understand that whatever she does in life, keep on going. You were born this way to achieve greatness, the only thing stopping you is yourself. You go girl. I'm glad Lady Gaga tweeted this video. I hope you love it as well.

Lady Mel in the City: Valentine's Day, Grammys Recap Edition

Posted by Lady Mel On Monday, February 14, 2011 0 comments

This is Lady Mel, your favorite NYC fashionista and celebrity columnist. I had a wonderful Christmas and New Years in London and I am back in full force for 2011. Please submit your questions below for the next column.

@Bridget_Jones:  Did you see the Grammys? What were your favorite moments? Least favorite?

Yes! My favorite performance of the night was the Aretha Franklin tribute. Christina Aguilera overdid but she gave me "diva". If you are going to perform at the Grammys, despite the lack of good performers this year, you have to capture the audience. She even outperform Jennifer Hudson and Yolanda Adams of all people. Now the haters can't say anything after her Superbowl performance.

The Cee-Lo performance was hilarious. Gwyneth Paltrow tried to sing, but I will give her a pass. She actually sang better than Rihanna. Loved the muppets and Cee-Lo's red turkey outfit. Lady Gaga's performance was good, although it was over-hyped. I loved that she whipped her hair like Willow Smith and Beyonce. If I have not mentioned any one else, I did not like it. Oh, two more things. Justin Bieber. There is always next year. And who is Arcade Fire?

@PrincessVal: What ever happened to you and Gerard Butler last Valentine's Day? I wanted more! Can I be your Valentine's? :)

He was such a hottie but a douchebag at the same time. Extremely overconfident. We did have dinner and that was that. I would love to be your Valentine's this year. I am happily single, not Jennifer Aniston's type of single life.

@Makael86: If you had to pick any Grammy outfit, what would it be?

I have to go with Glee's Dianna Agron's Vivienne Westwood black dress. It was magnificent!

Seriously, I want your comments and questions. I can actually make this a real weekly column! Ask me anything. Well my alter-ego anything! Until next time! What did you think about the Grammys this year? And Happy Valentine's Day everyone! :D
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Picture of the Week

Posted by Lady Mel On Thursday, February 10, 2011 0 comments


The Best 2011 SuperBowl Commercials

Posted by Lady Mel On Monday, February 7, 2011 0 comments

I may not be a big football fan, but it was a good game between the Packers and Steelers. The Steelers almost had a chance at victory during the third quarter, but the Packers came back on top and won their fourth Superbowl championship. It was not the game that bothered me. 

What disappointed me this year is the lack of creative Superbowl commercials. Many advertising firms and companies lack the creative input to market their brands to new consumers efficiently. Screw the stereotypical gender and sex jokes. You professionals are not fifteen years old anymore. Why would I want to use Groupon or BigDaddy.com as online services when their commercials pretty much sucked? Do you want to know what was my least favorite Superbowl XLV commercial? Hint: It was not the Best Buy/Justin Bieber one.


I think I have lost more respect for Kim Kardashian when I had little to begin with. She whined about Ray-J posting her sex video on the Internet a couple years back because it violated her privacy and then recently, she whined on her E! reality show about W magazine posting her nude. Yet, she did not mind starring in this Superbowl commercial, 'faking sex' to try to get people like me to buy sneakers! Seriously, how much did Sketchers pay her to do this?! And this is the reason why I don't follow her on Twitter or take her seriously as a celebrity.

Volkswagen and Chrysler

I liked these two particular commercials because they represented two qualities every commercial should possess: realism and creativity. The Volkswagen-Darth Vader commercial was very sweet and funny because I love when brands incorporate a childlike imagination and whimsical nature into their advertising. Volkswagen knew this commercial would be a virtual hit because everyone loves Star Wars and no one can resist little kids. The commercial made people relate to the brand more intimately.

Plus I love watching little kids play dress up. I do that all the time (in my own special way) and it was funny to see how the little girl embodied Darth Vador's character throughout the whole commercial, especially the part where she thinks her imaginary telekinetic powers activated the Volkawagen when it was actually her father in the kitchen. I also like that Volkswagen played around with gender ambiguity. I thought it was a little boy at first, but you only see the stereotypical pink room in the house so I would presume its a little girl. If it is not, then it's fine. Little girls can still be Darth Vador when they grow up!

I also enjoyed the Chrysler commercial with rapper-superstar Eminem. It was probably the only commercial that addressed the real issues of this country right now: high unemployment and deindustrialization. I am glad that Chrysler put Eminem in the commercial because as a Detroit native, he embodies Detroit with his hardcore, poignant rap songs about his difficult childhood and love life. Perhaps Chrysler is making an effort to bring back car manufacturing jobs to Detroit. 

Chrysler probably still outsources their labor in places like Mexico and India, but it offers the American people a U.S product and the choice to buy the car to help stimulate the economy and the pockets of American workers who work at the Chrysler plants to make the cars. I think after writing that last sentence, I do not know if I should hate the company for potentially outsourcing millions of American jobs overseas, but nowadays most U.S companies do it. You just have to adapt to the times. What were your favorite and least favorite Superbowl ads this year?

The Hopkinson Report: Levi's Jeans

Posted by Lady Mel On Thursday, February 3, 2011 0 comments

You may be asking, why would you posting this for us? Well I helped conduct online research on the Levi's brand for this podcast called the Hopkinson Report as part of a short-term freelance project. Plus my name is included in the credits! I'm like almost famous now. Pun attended except I have not seen the movie. Anyway, it is all about how the Levis's brand has elevated from the it-kid of the 1980s to the red haired step-child of the 2000s with new market competition from other household brands such as Banana Republic, True Religion, and the Gap.

I am very excited because I finally get to work remotely with Mr. Hopkinson on his blog/podcast. Check it out here and subscribe!

Picture of the Week

Posted by Lady Mel On Saturday, January 29, 2011 0 comments

                                           Jackson Rathbone....
                                                  I only saw you in Eclipse 
                                                                     and now I am all over you.
                                                                                   Does this finally make me a Twilight fan? 

The Art of Standing Out in 2011

Posted by Lady Mel On Monday, January 24, 2011 2 comments

This is my New Years Resolution. Please ignore the last post. It did not happen. Here is what I've been dying for you guys to read. Enjoy!

I've done some extraordinary things last year. I've gotten a volunteer gig in April. I went to a Smith College networking event in October. I'm networking with people at my volunteer gig. I am learning what it takes to be a leader and trailblazer. But those were just small steps to my plan of world domination. I am still not financially stable. I am still looking for a job. I still don't have my own place. Yet these things will come in due time.

2011 is the breaking point of my post-college career . If I don't elevate myself to new heights, I am pretty much screwed. So my 2011 motto is standing out in the world. I believe in the power of good karma and doing good deeds. I believe that if I help more people through my talents, I can prove to myself and to others that I am someone worthy of their time, energy, and commitment. I did not do enough last year to get companies and recruiters to notice me and this year I will.

Yeah Time Magazine. Mark Zuckerberg was a good choice, but I would have made a better one! Anyway to achieve this goal, I have to do better. Speak louder. Move quicker. Work smarter and harder than I have even worked before. How will I do these things? By these three simple principles:

1. Network: Networking will become an even more pivotal part of my life in 2011. It is who you know that will take you to the top of your industry or field. I plan on finding a job, but I will not use networking to get me a job directly and I say this with brute honesty because people will see me as desperate. Networking will improve my self-esteem and leadership skills and give my contacts enough optimism and trust in me to possibly connect me to others, which can lead me to job prospects. Big difference. 2010 was all about  online job hunting which resulted in possible online frauds, dead ins, and ineffective recruiting. My New Years Resolution is about building my connections and knowledge of schmoozing and marketing. This is how I am going to network in 2011:

Offline Networking:
- Network with people I know through my volunteer gig, college, networking events,etc.
- Use Meetup.com, Twitter, and the Smith College Club of New York as resources to attend networking events and connect with individuals there.

Online Networking:
- Revisit my favorite Twitter chats weekly and get my name and brand out there from the grassroots level.
   - #GenYChat
   - #ForbesChat
   - #u30pro
   - #jobhuntchat

 2. Travel: I thought long and hard about this. I currently don't have a lot of money, but I want to travel the world and see new places and cultures. By the summer of 2011, I hope to save enough money to take part in an AmeriCorp or PeaceCorp fellowship. I know basic Spanish, French, and Japanese and it would be fitting to actually relearn these languages and others in their natural environments than in classrooms. I do not know where I would like to go but I am thinking of heading down to Asia first, particularly China or Japan.

World travel has its benefits. It fuels creativity and new ideas. Currently my creativity is running dry. Not in the sense that I am losing my genius, but the energy and thought process are at a standstill at the moment. One of the major ways that I can fuel more creativity is to travel outside my comfort zone.

3.  Acquire New Skills: Earlier I said that I know basic Spanish, French, and Japanese. I've taken language classes during most of my academic life. The problem? I have not been to France, Japan, or any of the Spanish speaking countries to improve my language skills. That is why I want to travel outside the U.S. I will continue to use LiveMocha and possibly Rosetta Stone for the time being to broaden and strengthen my skills. But hopefully by this year, I will actually visit these places. I am also at a disadvantage. I'm interested in pursuing a career in marketing and new media. Pursuing a MBA degree and start-up later down the road are also dreams of mine. If I ever want to work at a place like Google or Apple for example, I have to learn more technical skills. I am in the process of searching for affordable Adobe Dreamweaver and Photoshop courses this spring. With these new skills, I hope to stand out from the rest of the applicant pool. Do you see the connections here?

Through the power of networking, travel, and education, I will create new ideas and spread those ideas to the world. As Seth Godin said, the only way you will get noticed by others, especially in this day in age, is to be heard. As I retrospect on the times I applied to jobs, I should have pushed myself harder to get that extra phone call or email from the employer. I cannot just send a resume and cover letter and hope that someone will contact me. I cannot do that anymore. I must charge and make things happen. A new job. A new place to live. A way to pay back my loans. You see those things are the ends, not the means of hard work. Patience is a virtue, but being a go-getter triumphs all. 

What are your New Year's resolutions this year? How will you stay committed to your goals? 

New Year's Blogging Schedule, Ms.Career Girl, and More!

Posted by Lady Mel On Tuesday, January 11, 2011 1 comments

Good afternoon everyone! Happy New Years! Lets keep it moving. 2010 was the best and worst of times. I want to sincerely apologize to all my readers. I felt that I have abandoned you towards the end of the year. I came out with infrequent blog posts and on some weeks, no blog posts at all. I promised you that I will connect with you more in 2010 and I want to expand that promise in 2011.

Starting this week, I will promise to write at least one blog post every week. Seal. In 2009, I had more time to blog because I just came out of school. In 2010, I had less time to blog because of my volunteer work. Now in 2011, I will be even more busy and productive with volunteer work and other potential freelance endeavors on the side. But I will promise in 2011 my voice and my ideas and I also look forward from hearing about you and your new years resolutions and ways I can motivate you to empower yourself and others. You are always welcome to email me at christinabrown2009@gmail.com. YES WE CAN.

I also have interesting topics I want to talk about this year and to top the New Years with a bang, I have completed a guest blog for Nicole Crimaldi aka Ms. Career Girl. It will be posted very soon. I've been watching her blog for some time and I thought that my first blog post this year had to be special and awesome What a great opportunity to show the world that I am least a competent person (you will find out more about what I am talking about later). I will update this post in the next couple of days with an actual link to my guest blog. This one is quite special to me because it's my New Years Resolution. I am not going to going to give you a sneak peek, but if you have read my 2010 resolution, it can only get better!

If you have any questions, feel free to comment below. I am anxiously waiting! :)