Most Awesome 2 Months Ever // 11.13.11

Today I’m celebrating the most awesome week two months ever.  (Yeah, so I’ve been slackin on my gratitude posts, but it’s not because I ain’t feelin it!)

won a prize from Sillygrrl’s bday giveaway! // kickin ass and takin names at school // got a new FULL-TIME job // began residence at U-M’s startup incubator TechArb // spent some quality time with the fam // successfully re-branded a global campaign // spent several hours on the phone with my locked-up homie Wes // finally cleaned out both cars // rocked my niece to sleep // sold some shit on ebay // pulled off my first Bentley tea-time // Black Sabbath is back in the studio! // Hand to Claw’s inaugural album is nearing completion // bought some much-needed clothing // played in the leaves // got my snuggle on with the pup // much, much more that I can’t really remember

What awesomeness are you celebrating this week?

xo Em

Awesome Find // Birthday Giveaway

Y’all know Sarah at Sillygrrl, right? Wellll, she’s havin a fun little giveaway in honor of her birthday, and ya might wanna get yr butt on over there and get in on the action.  Her mad design skills and some ad space are up for grabs… ain’t she sweet?  She’s one of my favorite bloggers and a fellow Michigander, so you KNOW I got love.  You should, too!

Happy birthday Sarah!

xo Em

Awesome Eats // 2 Step Crockpot Chili

Bowl of chili

Chili is the quintessential autumn food, is it not?  Warm, hearty, spicy–I love it to DEF.  Mmmmmnomnomnomnom!  It’ funny because once upon a time, I hated chili.  My mother would make it for dinner and I would require a separate meal.  She was so good to me.  Now chili is firmly in the things-I-used-to-hate-but-now-love category, keeping bell peppers and asparagus company.  One of the best things about chili is that there are a million different ways to do it.  This recipe here is the quick and dirty version that shows up often in the Team Bowman household.  It is LITERALLY two steps.  Could not be easier.

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef, turkey, or whatever
3 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
2 15 oz cans of kidney or chili beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
2 tablespoons dale’s steak seasoning or worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons barbeque sauce or ketchup
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
  1. Brown your meat of choice in a skillet over medium-high heat; drain.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a crockpot and set for 6 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
  3. Top with your choice of chili accoutrements and enjoy!

xo Em

On Friends and Loneliness

Do you read Penelope Trunk?  Because you should.  It’s funny though, as a “career expert” she does very little writing that is explicitly about careers.  It all relates to careers somehow, but she mostly just writes about things we don’t want to acknowledge about ourselves and about life.  Like how you shouldn’t do what you love, you should pay more attention to sex than money, and no, women can’t have it all.  Despite sounding like something you don’t want to read, her blog is something you SHOULD NOT MISS.

Penelope Trunk has Asperger Syndrome and just about every other month or so she has me thinking I do too.  This is partially due to the fact that I have a slight case of hypochondria AND that people with Aspergers have a lot in common with introverts, which if you haven’t already guessed, I am.  In her latest article she talks about loneliness.  And about how difficult it is for people with Aspergers to make and keep friends.  Naturally my identification with this trait has me thinking that I’ve gone 31 years without anyone acknowledging that I OBVIOUSLY have Aspergers.  Damn doctors.

Really, though, it makes me want to admit to the internet that I am lonely too.  Cue the tiny violin, y’all!

Not lonely in the “I have no friends, I want to kill myself” kind of way, but rather in the “Make new friends? Ehhh” kind of way.  I already HAVE friends.  Great, wonderfully fantastic friends.  With fancy gang names–like the Gulf Coast Kooter Brigade–and a vast collective memory of good times and wacky aliases.  They just happen to be–with the exception of the hubs–living very far away from me.  And while phone calls, Facebook chats, letters, and care packages can take me pretty far, sometimes a girl just needs someone to hit a happy hour with, ya feel me?

Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.

Here’s my problem: having a long-time, close-knit group of friends who totally and completely get me makes it HELLA hard to find new friends that can live up to my expectations.  Not to go all Virgo on you, but I generally have pretty high standards for the folks I spend my time with.  Must have smarts without arrogance, personal style without being materialistic, and one hell of a sense of humor–ALL kinds of humor.  No self-proclaimed hipsters, born-agains, or all-around douchebags. Anyone who watches The Bachelor on a regular basis or Jersey Shore without shock and disgust need not apply.  Last, but certainly not least, we gotta CLICK, baby.

While I’ve certainly come across a cool chick or two here in Michigan, it’s that last one that screws everything up. Making friends can be awkward, and I don’t play that.  I’m so grateful I’ve got Jeffrey… as long as I’ve got him, I’m good.  Just hoping one day I’ll come across some kindred spirits in Michigan who appreciate my nerdiness, can get down on a decent brew, and can tell a good joke.

What about you?  Have you ever had a hard time making friends–by choice or otherwise?  Where’d you score your posse at?

xo Em

Come Play With Me

Thanksgiving 2010
CC BY-NC Flickr user peroshenka

Woohoo!  Welcome to November!  I don’t know about you, but I am SHOCKED that we are a scant 2 months away from 2012.  Let’s hope that whole 2012 being the end of the world thing is a bunch of bull mess or it’ll be here before we know it.

Autumn is my favorite time of year.  The combination of sunny, cool days, bright-colored leaves, and the promise of good times with the ones I love from October 31st through January 1 has me dwelling on my gratitude more than usual.  Well, except for any time I have to go to the mall.  There is NOTHING I loath more than holiday shopping.

But I digress… along with beauty and merriment, this oh-so-glorious time of year also comes with a metric shit-ton of delicious foods in which I love to imbibe.  And while I would NEVER change that (cider doughnuts, fried turkey, casseroles, holiday cookies, mmmmmmm, how could you!?), I’d like to try to maintain some semblance of control over my health as I ride the rest of this year on out. Ya feel me?

Enter: Health Month.  It’s a health-related goal setting game that you can play with your friends!  There are points and spirit animals, teams and badges… it looks like a ton of fun and a very simple way to stay motivated to at least do a few things right by your body through the holidays.

There are different brackets for people who set different numbers of goals, so you are only competing with folks that you could actually beat.  I’m only doing 3 goals, because it’s free and easy.  I mean, why take on more than you have to? Here’s what I’m workin on this month:

  1. Limit soda to 7 glasses per week.
  2. Drink 56 glasses of water per week.
  3. Track my food intake each day.

Easy enough, right?  Actually, it’s probably gonna be hell.  I have a serious diet coke addiction that needs cracking.

Think you got the goods to battle me? Come join me on Health Month!

xo Em

Creating an ePortfolio for your Job Search

In honor of the beta release of my portfolio site–embowman.net–and crossing off lucky #17 from my 101 in 1001 list, I’ve decided to share a post I wrote for the SI Career blog last year about building an e-portfolio.  Even if you’re not in a tech field, I highly recommend having one.  At the very lest, it makes you look like a BOSS cuz you can make a website.  Woohoo!  Have other tips for job seekers?  Share ‘em in the comments!

 

Although artists, designers, and architects are the traditional users of portfolios, just about any professional can (and should) have a portfolio. In our current age, this means developing an electronic portfolio; a website or page that showcases the skills and abilities you have gleaned from your past work. These sites are appropriate for all professionals, but are almost required for job seekers in technology fields.

Building Your ePortfolio

While there are plenty of options for the less tech-savvy–Carbonmade, Krop, Portfolios.com, and Coroflot are a few–those with some technical ability would be well-served to show off your prowess by building your own. Especially if web development is a marketable skill for your field, go the old-school route and built it from the bottom up. Using a content management system such as WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla! might be a great option, too.

What to Include in Your ePortfolio

Before working on the content or the design of your ePortfolio, spend some time researching your ideal job descriptions at your ideal employers. What kind of skills are they seeking in a new hire? What responsibilities are emphasized? Having an idea of what is most important to your ideal employer will help you in crafting the most appropriate site.

When planning for what to include in your ePortfolio, you must decide how you want to organize it. Will you organize your content by projects? Skill sets? Will you organize things chronologically? Put a little effort into the content mapping on the front end; it will make building your site much easier. Keep in mind, how you organize your site may be influenced greatly by your industry or desired career path.

Some of the most common and appropriate content for professional portfolios fall inot the following categories: an introduction, contact, or “about me”, professional/educational projects or accomplishments, skills, work experience, extracurricular projects or accomplishments, relevant hobbies or personal interests, and a complete resume. Here are some of the things you may want to include in those sections:

Professional/Educational Projects or Accomplishments

  • Courses completed
  • Scholarships
  • Letters of recommendation from faculty members or peers
  • Course papers, projects, and presentations
  • Conference presentations

Skills

  • Software you are proficient with
  • Professional methods you know and can apply
  • Languages you speak or understand

Work Experience

  • Samples of your work, positive evaluations, or accomplishments
  • Recommendations from supervisors or project group members

Extracurricular Projects or Accomplishments

  • Flyers, programs, awards, letters of appreciation, certificates

Relevant Hobbies or Personal Interests

  • Awards, certificates, photos
  • Travels
  • Blog and/or work website

Be sure to include an introductory personal statement to demonstrate who you are, your values and philosophy, and a summary of the contents of your site on your home page. For each section or page, write a brief summary of the contents and their relevancy to your role as a professional. Visual elements are also strongly encouraged. As you amass experience, take the time to gather photos, screenshots, and PDF’s of your work (in process as well as finished products) to add to your site.

Once you have a site built, take extra care in checking your work. You may want to enlist help from classmates, friends, or colleagues.  Just as with a resume, any misspellings or grammar errors may immediately disqualify you as a candidate. So, spend the time to make sure your ePortfolio is just right. Other things to review: functioning links, consistent labeling, and smart and usable site navigation.

Sharing Your ePortfolio

Once it’s finished, your ePortfolio URL should be on your resume, included in your cover letter, on your business cards, and in your email signature. You may even consider an increasingly popular way to share online links in the material world: a QR code. QR codes allow for users to connect with your site directly by snapping a picture of it with their mobile phones. They can be printed on the back of your business card, added to your resume, or printed on a wide variety of promotional materials. Of course, if you choose to include a QR code, make sure you also include the full URL as well. And be sure your site renders well in a mobile browser!

Ten Tips for a Great ePortfolio

1. Limit your samples; do not include everything you have ever created – only what’s most relevant.  If you do have many examples, place your best designs toward the front/top of the ePortfolio.
2. To make it easy for people to find you, be sure to include full contact information somewhere on your site in a searchable text format.
3. When developing your ePortfolio, be aware of download times – try everything out on several browsers.
4. Include a logo and a tagline – every major company has both, so why shouldn’t you?
5. Have an ePortfolio-only website – don’t mix your freelance site with your job-searching site.
6. Be sure that your code is simple, clean, semantically tagged, and accessible.
7. For tech-oriented students, use more than HTML/CSS to develop your site.
8. Include your ePortfolio as part of your LinkedIn Profile – or create one using the Creative Portfolio Display tool.
9. If you have the know how to increase the search engine optimization of your site, do so!
10. Demonstrate your web presence: Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter, Blogs, and other social networking tools/sites.

Other Online Resources and Tips

Looking for more tips and tricks for building an effective ePortfolio? Check out the following resources:
Build A Killer Online Portfolio
5 Tips for a Better Online Portfolio
Creating The Perfect Portfolio
10 Steps to the Perfect Portfolio Website

xo Em

On Giving Up

This is the face I make to myself in the mirror each morning.

Outtake - Nooo! [Overwhelmed]
CC BY-NC-SA Flickr user andres.thor

And I wonder why the wrinkles keep getting deeper.

So even though I anticipated feeling overwhelmed by all the crap I have to do while classes are in session, it never really keeps me from adding more to my plate.  Y’all, I’ve got a SERIOUS case of that’s-awesome!-sign-me-up-itis.  Allow me to revel in the narcissism of this blog and list out all of the things I’ve committed to this fall:

  1. Twelve credits of graduate coursework.
  2. Two group consulting projects.
  3. Two part-time jobs.
  4. One fledgling tech start-up.
  5. Two business competition entries.
  6. One neglected husband.
  7. Dozens of ignored friends and family.
  8. One precious little blog ;)

Well, shit.  Now that I’ve written it down, it doesn’t look so bad.  Maybe if I write out every single class assignment or work deliverable you’ll have more sympathy for me?

WHO AM I KIDDING!  Y’all got your own shit to worry about, don’t you?

It’s not really that unique to be overwhelmed by life, especially if you are a graduate student.  We all gotta work.  We all have relationships to maintain.  For those of us who are truly engaged in the world, there is no limit to what can find its way onto our calendars.  But there are only 24 hours in a day; and when push comes to shove, you gotta be ready to make some tough decisions about what really deserves your time.

I’ve always been a gut instinct kind of girl.  Whenever I’d start feeling like I’ve piled it on too high, I’d just shake off the heaviest burdens and keep on movin.  Deep contemplation… pro vs. con lists… who needs em!  Just make up your mind and keep on winning.

Alas, times they are a’changin.  For some reason I am struggling to decide what needs to stay and what can go.  Do I drop a class and add it to next semester?  But that might overwhelm me next semester–the one in which I plan to be doing some heavy job hunting!  Do I drop my web app business competition entry?  What if I never have another opportunity to gather a group together to see my idea realized?!  I could be the next Zuckerburg, damnit!

I fear the time has come for a pro vs. con list.  How else am I to decide?  How do you decide when to give up on something?

xo Em

 

 

 

Awesome Finds // 10.19.11

So the past few weeks have been CRAY-ZAY y’all. I’ve been missin out on all kinds of blog posts, and I haven’t had a most awesome week ever in over a month! But I did manage to find a few awesome things over the past couple of weeks that can tide you over until my next rant. Enjoy!

So, what do you think about these Bundlr link round-ups?

xo Em