Posts by Angeline
One of the most common questions I get about Miami from my non-Miami friends is “Is Miami expensive?”
Yes and no.
It’s a huge metropolitan area, so it really depends on where you are.
Since leaving my parents’ nest at 18, I have lived in Irvine, New York and Davis before making it to Miami. So how does Miami compare?
Miami v. Irvine
Apartment complexes in Miami’s suburbs are cheaper than in Irvine’s were in 2002. There are college dives near UM that are also pretty comparable to Irvine’s eats. Proximity to the beach is comparable, but Miami wins in the city department (because it’s actually a city city).
Miami v. NYC
You get way more bang for your buck in Miami real estate compared to NYC, and the condos and buildings are generally newer here. Miami weather is awesome, but New York’s amazing subway system, walkable grid and abundance of cheap good eats beats Miami’s any day.
Miami v. Davis
Davis is by far the cheapest place I’ve ever lived, in terms of housing, food and gas. It is also the most inconveniently located, except in its proximity to outlet malls. Two (pretty good) outlet malls within 45 minutes is pretty cool, but the 2 hour drive to the closest cold windy beach? Not so much.
Miamians—how does Miami compare to your past experiences? Non-Miamians—are you ready to move to Miami yet?
In the past month, I’ve read two books centered around one-year projects: The Happiness Project and Julie and Julia. In each, the writer picks something to tackle with a 365-day deadline.
It’s pretty ingenious, actually. One year is an easy chunk of time in which to try things out.
A year is:
- Long enough to be challenging
- Short enough that it’s still pretty temporary
- Long enough to see results
- Short enough that the finish line is always in sight
- Long enough to form a new habit
- Short enough that you can revert to your old habits later on
I’m currently testing the freelance waters for year (results TBD), but that’s more of a minimum than an end-all. For all I know, this could just be life as I know it from here on out. But these books did get me thinking about some other one-year projects that might be fun to try.
- Cutting out certain food items (processed foods, refined sugar, etc.). Or, more realistically, cutting out something different each month for a year.
- Exercising regularly. A lot of people already do this (and last more than one year…gasp), but this would be a real challenge for me.
- Reading the entire Bible or other tome. Shakespeare’s entire library would also be a fun project.
- Making your own clothes or thrift shopping.
- Cutting out reality TV.
- Growing out your hair (laziest one-year challenge ever)
- Reading one book a week.
- Doing a photo-a-day challenge.
- Writing and sending birthday cards to friends and family (on time…ahem).
Come to think of it, I’ve already done a one-year challenge—in March 2010, I joined The Great American Apparel Diet and swore off buying new clothes for a year. And I blogged about it. I wonder whether that would make a good book…any takers?
I’ve got a beef with Sports Illustrated, and it has nothing to do with the annual Swimsuit Issue.
It has to do with the fact that I would love one of those team windbreakers they offer for renewing your subscription, but I do not wear a mens size L, XL or XXL.
Sports Illustrated is one of my favorite magazines, and is the one I’ve subscribed to the longest (my husband prefers getting his sports news online). I also subscribe to Lucky and few other more “girly” magazines, but if you look at the way I spend my money, you’ll know…in the past seven months I’ve had one $20 haircut but been to three professional sports games (totaling hundreds of dollars). My bucket list includes some personal goals and a list of sporting events I want to attend before I die (and not a single Fashion Week). I’m unabashedly girly (hello…fashion blog?), but also unashamed of being a sports fan.
Why SI? It’s the stories. Sports Illustrated is one of the few magazines that still runs 10,000 word sagas (though fewer now than before). Many of these pieces bring me to tears with heart-wrenching stories and beautiful writing. No kidding—I cried over the latest issue just this weekend. Sports stories aren’t just about what happens on the court or field (or green or ice or track), but about life…growing up, facing challengings, making hard decisions and constantly learning and growing.
I get it, though. Women are simply not their target market. Echo Media estimates that 77 percent of SI’s print subscribers are male. To be honest, this surprised me…I expected the female proportion to be larger than that. But it’s much easier to convince men, who are socially pressured to like sports, to subscribe than to convince women, who are socially pressured to do the exact opposite. It’s just not worth the time or marketing money to create a new audience when you have a huge one sitting right in front of you.
For a while, SI was pursuing the female market. Their idea? Sports Illustrated Women. Womens sports for women. It lasted 20 issues, folding in 2002. The NFL launched an initiative to reach out to women viewers a few years back, and it included Football 101, interviews with football wives and feminine gear. Granted, they only had one sport to push, which is a much easier sell. But even that was short-lived; nfl.com/women now redirects to the NFL shop (gone are the articles and anything other than clothes).
The female audience does differ, though. Women who subscribe to SI are already very interested in sports. We’ve identified ourselves as fans and subscribe based on an existing interest. We don’t subscribe because of cool windbreakers or chesty women, but because we genuinely like sports. Because our interest goes beyond those gimmicks, we renew year after year with little reward while the guys get the goods. Why would they reward us if we keep coming back anyway?
I don’t plan on letting my SI subscription end anytime soon, but for all the money I’ve poured into that publication over the years, a windbreaker isn’t too much to ask, is it? Dallas Cowboys, womens size S. Thanks.
After many, many recommendations, I finally got around to reading The Happiness Project this month. I was pleasantly surprised. Gretchen Rubin doesn’t offer a one-size-fits-all formula, and in fact acknowledges that one just doesn’t exist, but it is really interesting to follow along her own project. I’m usually a little skeptical of these “stunts” (I also recently read Julie and Julia, which wasn’t nearly as good), but Rubin exudes a smart self-awareness that I think many project undertakers lack. I usually list books on online swap sites once I’ve finished them, but this one is a keeper…I wonder what will stand out to me when I pick it up again in the future.
I’m generally a pretty happy person. Almost too happy, if you ask some people. Part of me is just wired to be unbelievably optimistic and smiley (joyful, you might say…but more on that further down). But even so, happiness doesn’t always come easy. I do think that you can take actions to make yourself happier…it isn’t something you should leave up to other people. Some of the points in this book really can be useful for applying to your life when you’re feeling slightly down.
Here are some of the points that really stuck out to me.
Find more fun. Rubin mentions a subway poster as a reminder to explore your surroundings.
“It was a photo of a Chinese food take-out container sitting on top of two videos. The caption read, ‘If this is how you spend your time, why are you living in New York?’”
As a Miami newbie, I try to remind myself of this regularly. This city is amazingly diverse and just about everything is new to me, but it’s so easy to sit at home with my laptop and Netflix.
Help people think big.
One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.
True and true. Criticize if you want, but I think the whole “fake it ’til you make it” shpeal works pretty well. I’ve even convinced myself of things I didn’t think were true until I tried it.
Maximizers v satisficers
Maximizers want to make the best decision and will research the heck out of something before taking action, while satisficers take action quickly once their (sometimes very high) criteria are met. I believe everyone has some mix of both; I know I do. In clothing shopping, I’m definitely a satisficer…if it’s in my size, in my mentally-fixed price range and fits the requirements I want, I’ll get it. I’m a super-fast shopper. To a point. Larger purchases I’m much less sure about and want to maximize my purchase. I’ve spent the last six months searching for the perfect wall art to go above my couch…so long, in fact, that some of my original options are no longer available. I’ve been living out of plastic dressers for the past 10 years, because I find it hard to commit to furniture (it just feels so…permanent).
But I tend make quick decisions on what I want in life, on a large scale. I made the decision to quit The New Professional in about two hours. I made the decision to bring back the blog in about the same amount of time. Granted, the consequences of these decisions were in no way life-changing. The decision to go freelance was made in about a day, and I’m withholding my next life decision until I’ve given myself a full year to really make the most of this opportunity. I’ve made some permanent life decisions pretty quickly, too…K was the first guy that asked me out on a real date, and I’ve never looked back.
Rubin surmises that satisficers are likely happier than maximizers, due to the fact that they are more confident in their decision and get satisfaction from their outcomes much quicker. I can see how that’s true, since I am much happier with the things I’ve already taken action on (career, marriage) than the things I haven’t (those plastic dressers!). I don’t think people should rush into decisions they’re not comfortable with, but if you’ve already found what you want, why keep looking around? (This doesn’t apply to everything…for example, I don’t think one should ever stop keeping an eye out for career opportunities, even if they are happy with their current job.)
Think yourself happy.
You’re not happy unless you think you’re happy.
You’re happy if you think you’re happy.
That person with the job, comfortable living situation and loads of loving friends? They might not be happy. If that’s you, think about why you aren’t happy…the answer might be more addressable than you think. Yes, you can convince yourself that you’re happy. Don’t be a victim of your own mind.
Happiness should not be confused with joy, although sometimes they overlap. Happiness comes and goes, like a mood. Happiness can be knocked askew by tragedy or hardship. Joy is a state of the heart, something that emanates from within, and is much more than just plastering a constant smile on your face or chirping positive platitudes. I believe joy comes from God and that no person or circumstance can take it away.
This is not how Rubin defines joy, however; she identifies joyous people are those who are “consistently good-tempered and positive.” Though she doesn’t identify a source of joy, I think she nails some other points on the head about how people often want to unload their problems on joyful people or knock them down. It’s hard to watch other people be positive when you just know there’s nothing positive about a situation. But what if you saw things from their point of view?
In the end, Rubin asserts that yes, she is happier at the end of this project. How does she know? She feels happier. Good for her. And I feel sort of happier after reading her book. I’m not moved to try a Happiness Project of my own (check out her starter kit here if you want to), but the book did reinforce a lot of my opinions that happiness is indeed within your control. The key to happiness is to start doing. Doing what is up to you and your personal circumstances and where you want to be, but if you don’t change something, the likeliness of your unhappiness changing is also nil. You don’t have to set your own guiding truths, but just think about where you want to be, and one (just one) action you can do to help you get there. One step at a time.
So we’ve talked about finding an internship, getting the most out of the internship you do land, and managing interns. To wrap up this series, I’ve asked some of my fellow career bloggers and Facebook buddies to sound off on their best and worst internship experiences (oh, and I’ll share my experience, too).
What was your favorite internship and why?
One of my favorite internships was the smallest, or so it seemed from the outside of its tiny building in a small city called Lafayette, LA, where I went to college. But the experience and opportunities were even bigger than those I found in my post-grad internship with a global PR firm. My advice to college students scouring for internships: consider small nonprofits like I did where you can wear many hats and have your hands in a variety of projects to truly build a portfolio for the job of your dreams – not just add “making coffee” and “shredding paper” to your resume.” – ProfessionGal
Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History! I got to touch Caesar Chavez’s Jacket AND the Indian Jones costume. And other silly fun stuff (like the sex in the city laptop). Internships rock! – Sarah from Facebook (a college buddy of mine)
My favorite internship was with a city government’s public affairs department working on their year-long 150th anniversary celebration. When the in-house magazine editor left for another job, I stepped in and ran the magazine for a few months. Later on the same editor left her next job and, as a recent grad school grad, I again stepped in and took her place (this time as a regular employee). - Me
My favorite internship was by far helping my parents start their 3rd company. I learned more about business that summer than I did in college business courses. - Nicole, Ms. Career Girl
What was your biggest screw-up as an intern and what did you learn from it?
My biggest screw up as an intern was thinking everything would be fun, meaningful, appreciated and glamorous. It was not, and today as a business owner, it’s still not. – Nicole, Ms. Career Girl
While working as an Account Management Intern, the Senior Account Manager went on vacation for a few days and assigned me several projects while she was out, and told me to work with another member of the team. I worked on the projects, and made lots of progress with the other team member, but I didn’t CC her on any of the emails! When she returned, she had no idea about the status of the projects, what was left to be done, or who to follow up with at the client’s company. She told me that in the future, I should CC her on the communication, even though I had a temporary person to work with. This taught me to be mindful of communication, and to think about what information my boss would want to know when they’re out! - Ashley, Consciously Corporate
My biggest screw-up as an intern was when I was reprimanded for spending too much time on personal email at work (pre-Facebook-boom) and had to tell him that I just didn’t have enough to do. Once we were on the same page, I was given a lot more responsibility, and gained a lot more confidence. Since then, I’ve never let spare time at work go to waste…if I can’t find something productive to do, I ask if there’s anything else I can start on, research, or help with. -Me
I love my apartment. I really do. And I REALLY loved our last apartment before we moved here. All 750 sf of it (never was quite sure, but our current one is smaller). That’s why I can’t watch HGTV anymore.
If I hear another couple with no kids say, “this kitchen is just way too small for us,” to anything with a built-in microwave, island, pantry or full-size stove-top, I just might throw something through the TV. And really, there’s no space in our apartment for us to have a TV that doesn’t work.
Because this is my kitchen:
That closet on the left is not a pantry, btw, it’s a dishwasher (thank goodness) and our a/c unit. So we have one narrow upper cabinet (all our dishes and drinkware), the cabinet below it (all our dry goods/pantry), and the two lower cabinets under the sink and counter (trash and supplies under the sink, pots/pans/bakeware under the counter). We do have a microwave, toaster oven, and Foreman grill, but they’re stored in the living room (we kept it there in our last apartment, too).
It’s small, but guess what?
I can make anything in this kitchen. Dinner for five? Done. Cupcakes for a celebration? Done. Homemade gnocchi? Done. Chili for K’s entire department? Done.
Would I take a larger kitchen if I had the chance? Sure. But I know that I can live with a small one. I’ve made K promise to pinch me if I ever utter the words, “this is just too small” when we start house-searching (whenever that might be).
We often confuse what we need with what we want. It’s smaller than you want it to be, sure, but than you need? Not likely. I can honestly say I was way more miserable in the larger apartments we’ve lived in compared to the smaller ones (but that could have been the pests and terrible landlords, too).
Perceived need (want): Gas range, island, counter space, pantry, range hood, garbage disposal, double sinks.
Actual need: A working stove, oven and refrigerator. And something to balance a cutting board on to use as a countertop.
[btw—what is with the obsession with stainless steel and granite? I just don't get it.]
I get asked by family and friends a lot about Miami. Many of them have only seen Miami on television.
Some ways I’ve described Miami to my California friends:
- Tropical LA
- Los Angeles with a lot more exposed skin
- Miami is its own country
- LA + NYC: Pretty beaches and bustling businesses
From what the media portrays, Miami is flush with party-goers and beach bunnies.
It’s true, to a point. I went to my first Wynwood Art Walk this past Saturday and saw several women with only long t-shirts and tights (not even leggings), as well as some girls in underwear and body paint passing out flyers. I can’t remember seeing any underwear-only clad patrons at Sacramento’s Second Saturdays.
This is by far the most social city I’ve ever lived in. There are socials every day of the week, festivals and parties every weekend. DJs on every street corner (and sometimes at the grocery store). It takes a five minute conversation for someone to begin cheek-kissing you at every greeting and farewell.
This presents somewhat of a challenge for me. I don’t drink, I’m not into the club scene, I’m on a budget and I wear clothes that cover my butt and midriff.
But I’m finding a happy medium. I’ve taken solace in the art scene and been lucky enough to have gotten free passes to several art fairs and gallery openings from friends and acquaintances. I’ve risen to the occasion and my casual outfits are a notch dressier now (I even wore heels to the mall once!). I cook more so I can splurge on good eats when we do go out.
I’ve heard that newcomers either love or hate Miami immediately. I’m definitely on the love side of that spectrum.
What are your impressions of Miami?
Some people change hair colors. I start, close and restart blogs.
After several weeks of careful consideration, I’m back at The New Professional. I’ll finish up the internship series here, but look for more of my usual professional talk and fun style stuff back at the old blog.
A re-introduction and introspective here: Things I know I know
I’ll still be milling around here with off-topic posts and musings on Miami.