20 November 2009

Meteors, Legends, and the News

Three major events happened in Utah this week.

A meteor (or small asteroid, scientists are still debating) crashed through the sky near Provo breaking the sound barrier and lighting up the whole sky. Meteor hunters, yes they do exist, are crawling all over the area now because supposedly that piece of space rock is worth a bit of money. The governor may or may not (I learned sarcasm from Scott) be entertaining movie proposals. So watch for something akin to Twister in the movie theaters in 2012.

In-N-Out opened it's first stores in Orem and Draper officially yesterday, though we saw large crowds there Wednesday evening. Could In-N-Out have been behind the "meteor shower" as a public relations campaign? I can see it now... In AND Out of the atmosphere. These burgers are out of this world... I don't remember reports of an In-N-Out banner floating behind the asteroid (meteor... whatever). Maybe it fell off? In any case, Scott saw the never ending line of cars and packed restaurant yesterday and thought to himself, "I could have been a millionaire! Why didn't I bring In-N-Out to Utah my Freshman year?" Story of our life!

And the last big piece of news is that we are moving apartments! We were playing card games with friends and I was ranting about the many, many, many flaws of our apartment. They mentioned that the Relief Society president was desperately looking for tenants for her basement apartment. It's a cozy place, with all utilities included, and there are no interesting neighbors (in every sense of the word). So look forward to pictures of our new place and maybe a house warming party after the holidays.

17 November 2009

Peer Pressure

You know how I told you about clicking on MyPoints Ads? Well this is one I came across this morning...

Never thought I would ever see the phrase "Everybody's Doing It" in a professional ad. I had to laugh a little bit. Have we really resorted to this, marketers? Do you think that will work on the chain wearing, black male athlete/ MC Hammer lover population?

Then again...

12 November 2009

Watch Out Turkey Bowl!

Scott and his team, The Cougs, played in their first playoff game of the BYU Intramural Flag Football Season tonight.

(The action in this clip starts around 34 seconds)

The Cougs won 27-6 and their next game is on Saturday.

I'm very proud of my football-obsessed husband who flies like a butterfly, stings like a bee, and grabbed the interception in the back end of the opponents end-zone at the end of the game.

(The action in this clip ends around 22 seconds)

10 November 2009

Primary Program - Take 2

I am the Primary Chorister for our church ward, which means that I teach church music to children every Sunday for two hours. Most of the year's worth of Sundays are spent in preparation for the Primary Program - a half hour event during the beginning of church where all of the little kids in our ward read their one line part in the script and sing songs about Jesus and family. Putting the program together is kind of a daunting task for the chorister, pianist, and Primary Presidency.

This year though we were pretty laid back about the whole thing. I knew I wasn't the best music teacher, and that all the congregation really cared about was watching their own child on the stand and looking at the Sunbeams (4 year olds) sing and sway to the music. So I taught the children to memorize notes and words the best I could (we even threw in some actions for good measure) and chalked the rest of the program up to cuteness.

When Primary Program Sunday came, the program was VERY successful! The kids sang better than I've ever heard them practice on a normal Sunday. One girl tripped over the awkward steps on the stand, got up stunned, but continued to sing while her eye became swollen. (I saw her last week, and she had no scars, no bruising. Blessings of courage!) But other than that, the program went without any glitches. After that Sunday, I thought no more about the program or programs-to-come and decided for the rest of the year that primary children would be rewarded with Sundays full of fun songs. No more practicing...

Well... apparently my subconscious mind was still thinking about the primary program because I dreamed about it a couple of days ago.

In my dream, I got to church on a normal Sunday and I was informed that the Primary Program was happening AGAIN! We were going to perform the same script, same songs over again for kicks and giggles. Perturbed, I got up on the stand to sit in my usual spot and noticed that our pianist was missing! She hadn't come to church that Sunday! So we called some random woman up to play the piano, even though she hadn't practiced with us before. Needless to say, that didn't go over well and the program turned a cappella style.

The next part is very unorthodox, but also ingeniously capitalistic. Someone in the congregation could tell the program was in trouble, so they called in back up. Yes - a rent-a-primary program, singing and dancing group showed up to our aid. The group of young singers and their rather large, male, bearded director came into our chapel with their red polo shirts and pasted on smiles. Half the group was dancing in the aisle ways while the other half sang primary songs on the stand with choreographed moves.

The congregation for the most part was not pleased. They were there to see their kids pick their noses and say their scripted part that their parents had helped them memorize. My part as chorister was taken over by the leader of The Foundations - that was the name of this rent-a-program singing group. As the awkwardness and broadway-quality singing continued (Remember THIS IS A DREAM), I got up the courage to end the program and Sacrament Meeting early.

I stood up, approached the mic, and one of the sunbeams sitting in the front row, Bishop's seat lowered the mic. (More like played with the mic controls, but that's beyond the point.) I said, "I'd like to thank The Foundations for the talents they've shared with us today. I hope you've gotten a glimpse of our Primary theme this year, My Eternal Family. I'd like to turn over the remainder of the time to hear a few words from our Bishop." The bishop was relieved that I had stopped the rent-a-program, and closed the Sacrament meeting with a few words... thus finishing my dream.

... To paraphrase one of my favorite quotes from Empire Records,
Who knows where dreams come from? They just appear.

09 November 2009

Bored? Here's some Free Stuff

A few weeks ago my friend, Heather, sent me an email about free downloadable books on DeseretBook.com. I meant to pass this on to you before, but forgot. Heather received the news as a forward email from John Hilton, the first author on the list below. There are nine books available for free download:

1. Please Pass the Scriptures by John Hilton
2. What I Wish I Would Have Known When I Was Single by John Bytheway
3. Sisters at the Well by Richard and Jeni Holzapfel
4. Digging Deeper by Robert Eaton
5. 10 Secrets Wise Parents Know by Brent Top and Bruce Chadwick
6. Growing Up: Gospel Answers About Maturation and Sex by Brad Wilcox
7. Saving Kristen by Jack Weyland
8. The Hidden Path, by CB Andersen
9. Finding Peace, Happiness, and Joy by Richard G. Scott

Deseret Book has also advertised a free Christmas song, "Simple Gifts" sung by Hilary Weeks.

THEN! I found this rebate where you can get board games at Toys "R" Us for $2. Why wouldn't you want CandyLand, Battleship, and all the beautiful game memories of childhood?


06 November 2009

What You Should Get Me for Christmas

I start thinking about next years Christmas presents on Dec 26. I think about them for other people when I'm shopping throughout the year, and I make a list of things I feel like I could use or want. I already have a lot of the Christmas presents we are giving already picked out for this year, and in many cases purchased and shipped. Scott and I decided we would make a big purchase this year for our apartment as our big Christmas gift to each other, but we are still doing stockings. (By the way, Christmas this year is in Alaska! Yay! Maybe the last Alaskan Christmas I'll have, considering my parents are retiring for sure.)

So I thought I would share with you the purchases I tell Scott I'm really needing and itching to own. It may seem a bit arrogant to write about what you should get me for Christmas, but let's just be honest... some of you really wanted to know. Or maybe you want the same things.

#1 - Classic Yo-Yo Ma CD
I have seriously wanted this CD for years. No, joke, I've asked for it before for Christmas and never received it, nor gotten it for myself. I should have at this point, because it is no longer a want it is a need!

Yo-Yo (because we're obviously on a first and middle name basis at this point) and his rendition of Cello Suite No. 1 In G Major are very near and dear to my heart. I get much peace from that song and absolutely love the cello (Matt Kartchner should play it more often!).

#2 - Yoga Outfit

Going along with Yo-Yo and my stress-relieving activities, I've recently done some yoga on my tv, in addition to my pilates dvds. I feel like I need to look more professional in a chi way when doing my Yoga. WARNING: I already told Scott I am expecting this to show up in my stocking.

I would also like this yoga model's biceps and triceps if you can arrange that...

#3 - Freelance Writing Books

I'm bound and determined to at least get one article published next year when I'm a medical school widow. Scottie is going to be off studying forever and I will have plenty of time to begin my career as a successful writer. I have a running list of books I want at Amazon.com, and while most are not freelance advice books they could help me with specializing. I've already read Writer Mama, and very much recommend it. Now I need, Writer's Market, or so the book says.

#4 - An Immersion Blender

Soups I'm creating will never be the same after I receive an immersion blender. Not to mention the other amazing culinary delights that will come forth, though I can't think of any other applications right now because what I really want is soup.

#5 - Kneaders Gift Certificate

Turkey Bacon Avocado on Focaccia... need I say more?

Notice how Kneaders mis-spells avocado, but no one cares because it looks so yummy!

03 November 2009

3 Things NOT to Do When Preparing for Your Job Interview

I've had a few interesting experiences lately in the office that have inspired me to think that I need to write a blog post for all of you readers who are looking for jobs. Being in a Career Services department and in a job directly related to recruiting and interviewing, I'd like to offer you some advice by learning from people who are making mistakes in front of my very own eyes.

Tip #1 - Entry Level with Bachelors = 1 page resume*

If you are just getting out of college, with little employment experience, and only a Bachelor's degree, I would recommend trying to keep your resume down to one page. Sure, it's okay if you run over a bit, but most interviewers want a short, concise summary of the things you've done. So DO NOT create a resume "packet." DO NOT include in your resume packet the article that was written for The New Era by your mom about your young women's achievement award or four letters of recommendation. Feel free to cite those great achievements or recommends on your resume if they directly apply in a professional way to the job for which you are applying. If the recruiter really wants to read those documents, he/she will ask you to provide them.

*Some industries or international countries may require a longer curriculum vitae (CV), and if you have more education and/or authored publications to site, these rules may not apply to you.

Tip #2 - Apply for jobs that fit your skill set, and customize your resume for each application

More and more articles have been written lately citing that today's graduates will have to work harder for their job. Please DO NOT interpret this statement to mean that in your job search attempts you should be obnoxious. DO NOT apply for any and all jobs that breathe. You look desperate! If you are not accepted to interview for a position, don't physically show up for the interviews asking if there are any open slots. And PLEASE, take the advice that recruiters give to you and DO it! If they say you need to apply through their site, and a phone call to the CEO wont help your case, you SHOULD listen and apply through their site.

It is true that graduates will have to put in a little more effort to get their jobs than graduates of the past (depending on your alma mater). Good tactics for jobs searching include: networking professionally, customizing every resume you submit based on the job description especially for online applications so your resume will be discovered by the database searches, researching the company before interviewing, attending company information sessions, and sending thank you cards after interviews. These are professional business techniques that will help the recruiter remember who you are, understand that you "know your stuff", and feel that you would be a great fit for their company.

Tip #3 - Watch your attitude

This tip could go to either extreme of the spectrum. I'd like to first address the most annoying of the attitude extremes - arrogance. When you approach a company for a job, I would not recommend going into the interview thinking that you are God's gift to creation. Heavenly Father loves you and thinks you're amazing, - Yes! But an interview is a time when you are contemplating how you will like the job/company you're applying for, and more importantly the company is contemplating if they would enjoy working with you and could benefit from your skills. No one likes working with an ego. Be humble, also known as teachable. Ask good questions and learn from what the interviewer has to say about your experience. Try not to act so much like this, even if your interview is as awkward and frustrating.

I have also heard plenty of recruiters commenting about the shy bunch of wallflowers that come in for interviewers. If you're LDS you may have the tendancy to be too humble when applying for jobs. Unless you are interviewing in Japan, DON'T be afraid to toot your own horn a little bit. Tell the company why you would uniquely be qualified for the position and ask them at the end of the interview what your next step should be if you're really interested in wearing that EMPLOYEE name badge. Be confident in who you are and where you've taken yourself. If you're not confident, take the time to think about what you want to change and do it, so you can smile and tell your next recruiter that you are a good fit because you've researched it out.

You probably can tell that I'm passionate about the subject. I've seen the failures, People, and I've seen how recruiters deal with them. If you want the job, try not to follow in these aforementioned footsteps.

Need more tips? Set up an appointment with a career advisor at your local university. Chances are they'll see you even if you aren't a current student or alumni. They can tell you if you're making these mistakes and/or others. In the meantime I'll be on the look out for more blunders at BYU to pass on to my friends.

02 November 2009

Retail Store Layout - A Marketing Project

Scott had to visit a retail store to analyze their marketing techniques the other day for his marketing class homework assignment. Of course, he wanted to bring me, a marketing expert, along to help him take pictures of the areas where the store was excelling and could use more work. The store Scott picked, Sports Authority. Are any of you surprised?

We entered the store and Scott first noticed the putting green in the golf section at the front. What was supposed to be a quick in and out of the store for the assignment turned into a golf lesson for me. Scott talked about how the putting green at Sports Authority was slanted towards the hole, so you made almost any put you attempted. Good marketing, he said, because then you think the club you were using helped you achieve that excellence and you would want to purchase any club that improved your game.

I pointed out how Sports Authority had a big BBQ Grill display in the store... for those of us who want to grill now that first snow has fallen? I also showed Scott how a lot of the kids toys were shelved too high, the playing cards were located for sale by the socks (?), and the footballs were hidden in the back of the store during football season.
Overall it was a fun trip to Sports Authority, we got out of the store without buying anything, and I got to reminisce of the days when I was in marketing class.