Beautiful

The beauty of this city is overwhelming. Tears have come into my eyes 3 times on this trip. Granted, one was because the sales clerk at a store was mean to me and I was running on 4 hours of sleep and I was frustrated that I couldn’t (still can’t) communicate in this language. The other two times were different though. Today, I finally made it to Notre Dame, and I stood in front of the towering building letting it all soak in. The history, the strong stone, the crowds of people waiting to get a look inside. It was so powerful. Even now, just thinking of it, my eyes are starting to water. Because as many pictures as I take, I cannot capture the beauty that was and is Notre Dame. I cannot take it with my physically, but I will remember the feeling forever. The other time was this evening. As I was walking to the Eiffel Tower, trying to collect a few night time pictures for the scrapbook I will inevitably be making of this trip, I passed yet another incredible building. I have multiple photos of buildings just like this one- the light colored stone and broad front face make it look so elegant, so proud. But seeing this building, École Militar, lit up like the majestic SOB it was, gave me that same feeling. The one I had gotten earlier in front of Notre Dame. And it was at that point that I realized what was so special about this city. It’s not the portraits or the sculptures, the gardens or the landmarks. It’s the feeling that this city gives you. It’s the feeling of the beauty that makes you fall in love. And yeah, that feeling comes from the art, the people, the buildings, the shops. But it’s something more than the physical. It’s intangible. This city breathes beauty; it oozes from every crack in every column, from every alleyway and every small detail, and yes, honestly from almost every person- Parisians are gorgeous humans.

I wish I could make you feel the way I’m feeling right now with the photos I take or the words I write, or that I could draw a picture or sculpt some kind of masterpiece. I feel the beauty like an idea, and it soaks through to my core. I’m choking back tears as I write this because I have to leave in 3 hours and I wish I knew a way to keep just this high going. If you’ve read any of my other posts, especially my travel posts, you’ll find that beauty is a common theme. My happiness stems from humor, from beauty, and from love. And while I’ve always been able to find the beauty in the small things, there is beauty here in everything. So maybe that makes sense to why I am so overwhelmed. I honestly can’t write anymore because I’m just not doing it justice. My love letter to Paris yesterday was understated. I cannot express in words how I feel about this city, but I can say that I will be back. My hope in life is to be able to create something beautiful, that will make others feel the way I do right now, and my fear in life is that I won’t be able to pull it off. So before I start crying in my hotel lobby, I’ll leave you with a quote from our very own 3rd president, Thomas Jefferson. He seemed to understand…

“A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life.”

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Dear Paris,

I have to admit, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The entire world speaks of you in high regards, calling you the city of love, the city of lights. But I have also heard from your critics, those doubting Thomases who defile your name by uncovering your dirty little secret: that you’re dirty. I see you differently, though. Sure, you’re a little rough around the edges. To be honest, my first impression of you came from my train ride into the city from the airport, where I was not too impressed by your trash-covered weed-covered hillsides. I had all but written you off when at last, the tan buildings and distant smokestacks came into sight. The history surrounded me all at once and I understood why you had earned your more flattering reputations.

The city of love and lights. I was skeptical at first, as any twentysomething young woman is when she hears the word love. On the train, a couple got on and proceeded to share their love with each other shamelessly. I briefly forgot the history I had just seconds ago admired, as fear set in that this may be a vacation full of couples gazing into each other’s eyes and kissing under the eiffel tower. But it hasn’t been. The love I have felt in this city has come from the narrow alleyways, from the Christmas decorations lining the streets, from the palaces around every corner, and from the beauty I’ve found in the language, the laughter, and yes, the lights.

Your sprawling plazas have drawn me in, your friendly waiters have made me feel at home, and any filth I have seen has only served to make you more human. Every city I’ve visited has had its flaws and its quirks, but to me, those only serve to enrich its history. To be in the city that I have read about since childhood, to feel the stories all around me, and to imagine what these cobblestones have once seen is one of the most incredible feelings in the world. Thank you Paris, and as I’m sure you’ve gathered by now, I love you.

Yours always,

Mollie

The things I did

I fell out of love with a winner, fell in like with a loser, and fell off of a hoverboard.

I traveled across the country to see friends, down to the Shores to celebrate being young, and back to my Chile to work my ass off.

I applied for a few jobs, applied for a Fulbright scholarship, and applied for graduation.

I decided to go abroad again for a J-term, decided to live in Chicago after I finish at Drake, and decided I’m honestly not great at making decisions so let’s cross our fingers for the previous two choices.

This year was honestly not the best of my life but that’s ok. I didn’t work out as much as I wanted, I worked for no pay for an entire summer, I spent that same entire summer in winter, and I read a total of 3.5 books. But there were some wins too. I argued my way to an A in a class (giving me a 4.0 year holla), I learned more about what I want to do after graduation, and I visited the coolest city in the world (Buenos Aires wow).

Looking forward though I can’t wait for what 2016 will bring me. Tomorrow I leave for Europe (Paris & Amsterdam & Duseldorf & Salamanca) for three whole weeks. After that, I turn 22 and say goodbye to my most reckless age yet. Then I have a full semester to celebrate all my college lasts with some of the best people I’ve ever known. This includes our SB Mexico trip, where we get to kick back on a beach and forget the fact that we have to actually figure our lives out this year. Which brings me to my next upcoming event: searching for my dream job (International Marketing, Chicago, if you have the hookup don’t hesitate to hook it up). In May, after I graduate, I get to stand in one of my best friend’s weddings and choke back the jealousy that she found her perfect match before the rest of us (except I’m genuinely so happy for her and I can’t wait to see the awesome things they both accomplish in their lives). The rest of the summer is a mystery. In fact, every month after May has a big cartoon red question mark covering it due to my total lacking of planning and the general uncertainty this life brings. But mostly my lack of planning.

Feel free to continue to follow my life as I’m sure it can only serve to make you feel like a more put-together person. I’ll keep you updated on all of my questionable decisions as I stumble into my last semester, across the graduation stage, and out of Des Moines.

Waitressing: A Resume Builder

There has always been some debate over whether or not waitressing is relevant for a business professional’s resume. While it’s not as relevant as many other experiences, my waitressing job has taught me enough that I would be happy to discuss it in any interview.

The first thing waitressing helped me to develop was my people skills. I’ve always been a people person I think, but being a waitress means you deal with a new type of person every night… The person that is on their phone through the whole meal. The couple that is actually in love and it’s cute. The dad that tries to joke with you (I’ve perfected my polite laugh). The family that actually vibes with you and you enjoy serving. The woman that complains about everything. The man that orders for his girlfriend (a salad) (gentleman here’s a tip for me: it’s only romantic if you’re ordering me a filet). The pre-teens that haven’t yet learned how to tip. I feel like I’ve met every type of person imaginable, and it’s fun to learn how to interact with each of them according to their personality. Sometimes my jokes don’t land, and I’ve learned to recover quickly from that. Meeting new people every night requires perfecting the art of small talk, which will be invaluable for me down the line.

I’ve also learned how to work with different types of managers. At the risk of one of my managers discovering this blog, I will refrain from going too much into detail here. But I will say it has been very interesting for me to work under three individual managers with very different (and very strong) personalities. Different not only from each other’s, but from my own personality as well.

Waitressing has also taught me about multi-tasking and time management. To be efficient, I have to be doing multiple things at once, and timing is everything. There is a method to the madness of serving 4 different tables 4 courses at the correct time. This will be helpful in an office setting, when I’m working on multiple projects for various clients.

I have also learned about flexibility and teamwork. My scheduling manager has been so flexible with me in regards to my school schedule, and in return I’ve tried to be flexible with their needs. If someone needs to trade a shift and I can make it work, I’ll do it. If my boss needs me to come in at a different time or get cut early, I’ll be understanding. Within the actual job as well, it is important to be a team player because everyone needs help at some point in the night. Because one table will order 3 side Caesar salads and a milkshake and you will not be able to do it all.

Lastly, I think I’ve really learned how to be gracious. Not graceful, don’t misread that, I’m still so clumsy. But gracious to coworkers who accidentally take the bread basket I just cut, or gracious to the customer who sends back their salmon for being “too fishy.” Patience has never been my strong suit, but this job is forcing me to roll with the punches and be more understanding.

This has been one of my favorite jobs, and while it isn’t featured on my resume, it is front and center on my Linkedin (due to the fact that for once in my college career it is the only job I’m working). I would happily convince any HR manager to hire based on my experience at Baratta’s Italian restaurant.

 

“he reminds me of an ashtray”

There’s a boy that I know who sucks. He sucks because we had this “thing” (my family hates this phrase, they want to know who I’m dating, not who I’m talking tosnapchatting, or whose instagram posts I’m liking… but like dating is just not really a possibility for my life right now tbh), and now we don’t. Like, it’s neither of our faults, except for his.

My friend Taylor told me she doesn’t like him. And when I asked why she told me “he reminds me of an ashtray.” I thought maybe it was because he’s a little bit scruffy, and informed her that he doesn’t even smoke. But apparently Taylor is a poet, and she meant it more analogically. “He just goes around collecting bits of people” <beautiful, like art almost> “and trying to make a new, whole cigarette.” <more of a stretch, because I don’t think that’s how ashtrays work>

Either way, it was a cool comparison I thought. The problem is, I keep dealing with this same stupid ashtray. And the amount of pieces of me he’s collected is absolutely crazy. Because I know he’s not trying to do anything except bop through life, figuring out how many cigarette butts he can get his grimy ashtray hands.

I’d like to also point out that he is not actually smooth or cool or suave or any of those terms that attract the opposite sex. The amount of cigarettes who he convinces to put out in his tray are minimal (NOT THE SAME AS PUTTING OUT MOM, IT IS JUST AN ANALOGY OF CIGARETTES BEING PUT OUT). But it’s still annoying that he can’t just figure out what he wants, and stick to that instead of trying to buy me a drink after 2 months of not talking.

Taylor just told me another analogy while I was writing this very eloquent post. (Professor Fleming I know this doesn’t fit my personal brand but sometimes, I just need to vent so this should not affect my grade, ty). Her new analogy: ashtray boy is not just an ashtray, he’s also a kid in a candy store. He walks up to the gumball machine, pays the price and easily gets his gumball. She says when I’m with him, I’m a gumball. He’s interested for 5 seconds until the flavor is lost, and then he discards me and finds another quarter for the next easy score. But the thing is, I am not a gumball. According to Taylor, I am that pink bear in the claw machine. The bear that you have to put in quarter after quarter, spending countless hours in an attempt to achieve success and win your prize (the prize being idk, like a date with yours truly). And the pink bear is so hard to get that once you have it, you have to AT LEAST keep it for like a month before you let your mom donate it to goodwill. But I’m waiting for the right person to come along, snatch me up, and want to keep holding on. The guy who won’t get tired of me after 5 seconds (or 45). The guy who won’t discard me for the next sexy stuffed hippo that crosses his path.

Writing about stupid boys makes it less annoying and more like a funny story from someone else’s life. As a disclaimer, this ash tray is actually not a terrible person but maybe just a little lost. He is a boy after all. But I’ve now officially procrastinated my 3 final projects for as long as possible, and need to divert my attention there.

xoxo.

Clueless is my favorite movie and I don’t feel bad about it

Clueless is a timeless classic. Cher, the main character 90210 beauty that everyone wishes they were, is one of my favorite movie personas ever. What I learned last night made me love her, and the movie, even more.

Clueless is an adaption of Jane Austen’s novel Emma. Last night, shortly after midnight, when I was exploring my bookshelf for something to occupy my sleepless mind, I stumbled across a gift my mom bought me last year for Christmas. It’s the smallest ever summary of all of Jane Austen’s books. This is a nice complement to the present my sister bought me a few years back, the complete extensive anthology of all of Jane Austen’s books. I read a grand total of one of her stories before real college classes set in and I lost anything that even closely resembled free time. I’ve always wanted to continue exploring the detailed lives of the characters Jane created, but honestly those books require a lot of commitment, and I don’t have the time to devote to her right now. Sorry Jane it’s not you it’s me.

To veer back towards my main point, after reading through the tiny summary, I discovered that Clueless was actually an adaption of Emma, Jane’s 1816 classic. This took away any shame that I had previously felt by my peers (those “intellectual,” clearly superior women that like movies such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Casablanca), who scoff and politely laugh when I proudly announce my favorite movie. Now when I reveal my fave movie in public, I can back it up by explaining the themes and characters that have translated so beautifully through time, from 19th century England to the 1990s in Beverly Hills. It’s like art.

Honestly, as dumb as Cher can come off as in this movie, my biggest takeaway has always been how happy she is. And yeah sure, the gigantic mansion and closet full of designer clothes is nothing  to be sad about, but she’s happy about other things. She’s happy to help an outsider fit in. She’s happy to help two people find love. She’s happy to give back to those less fortunate. And while she does it in her own, slightly airheady way, she knows exactly who she is and what’s important in her life. So I’ll continue to admire her generosity, work ethic, positivity, and ongoing effort to better herself and the world around her. If you’ve seen the movie and overlooked these character traits, watch it again without thinking of the gender roles it’s offending, or the underlying messages about social classes in the U.S., and look instead at the character traits of Cher friggin’ Horowitz, the coolest Emma to ever exist.

Future Plans

If one more person asks me about my future plans I will die. Or politely respond that I’m still unsure. Probably the second option but that fake smile that says “thanks so much for asking” is getting harder to and harder to create.

Here are our options (and I say our because I could use your input honestly):

Agency Life:

I could go work in a marketing/advertising agency. Here the long hours and uncertainty are countered by the exciting variety and fun work atmosphere (if I find the right place). I’ve heard both good and bad about agencies, so this is kind of up in the air. I think I would like the flexibility but hate the lack of free time.

Corporate Zombie:

I could go corporate. Wait every two years to get promoted. Map out my next 40 years and watch it all fly by me. Work the same workday every day. If I find the right corporation I know this wouldn’t be the case, but it still terrifies me. When I was considering the fast track at Target, I hated how everything was so set in stone. In 18 months you’ll become this and then in another 18 months you will die of boredom probably. I need some excitement. A fun atmosphere that encourages creativity and new ideas. If I did go corporate, I’m wondering what I’d even do. I enjoyed working in New Product Development last summer, so maybe I would choose this over straight up marketing. But who knows.

Teach Abroad:

The Teach in China program is looking more and more attractive every day. Travel, new things, excitement – those all seem like huge plusses to me. However, it is on the opposite side of the world, and it is a huge commitment. Although in the long scheme of things I know a year is nothing, I still worry about how this program might set me off-track. I’ll come back to the U.S. being one year behind all of my peers. I’m also worried that a lot of people view these teaching abroad programs as a way to put off making real decisions. Which yes. But I don’t want that to reflect negatively on me. I’ve also looked into teaching down in South America, returning to the countries that excite me and challenge me. That would be almost familiar, but still enough of a difference that I know I would enjoy my time.

Work Abroad:

I want to work in Buenos Aires. That is the beginning end and middle of my plans for next year. I would also accept anywhere in Spain or maybe even London. However, I’m not quite sure how to make that happen. I’ll be 22, fresh-faced, and often youth is not necessarily seen as a plus abroad. I want this experience before I go to get my MBA, and before I settle down and trick a boy into marrying me. But how to make it happen is the difficult part. And how to continue working on my Spanish when I’ve run out of eligible classes here at Drake is also troubling.

What do you think? While I still have zero ties, I want to get out of the US and explore the world. So obviously the second two options are of biggest interest to me. But how do I even get there is my biggest question. Next year is confusing but I know next semester I will be able to figure it all out… somehow it will all come together I think.

Flight Risk

If you ask anyone in my family where I’ll be next year, they will be just as clueless as I currently am. However, with 100% certainty they will tell you I will not be in Iowa. I love to travel and explore, whether domestically or internationally. And I have been blessed with the money management skills to be able to adventure every once and a while.

My experiences domestically have shown me just how different people, attitudes, environments, and behaviors are just in this one country. Last year I visited the U of A in Arizona and got to experience the beauty of the great (Southwest) outdoors. Here in Des Moines, you have to make a serious effort to spend time outdoors, and hiking isn’t really a viable option. It’s not just geographical placement, however. Chicago, in Iowa’s neighboring state, is starkly different than my home town. They have been able to keep some of the classic midwest “niceness,” but in a more business oriented, city slicker type of way.

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Internationally, I don’t have as much experience as I wish I did. The experiences I have had, though, have shown me just how much the world has to offer. There is so much to learn, so many stories to hear (& to create), and so much life to be lived outside of the U.S. Beyond that, I have also learned that just because I was born in the U.S. doesn’t mean this is the country I will be happiest in. Denmark is named the happiest country in the world – maybe I should explore that a bit. The week I spent in Buenos Aires, Argentina, was one of the most blissful of my life – I wouldn’t mind at all going back there (and am actively seeking job opportunities for caucasian Americans with some Spanish proficiency and great English skills).

Overall, I know that travel opens doors and minds. Many people get stressed out during travel. But I am the most happy when I am on the road, or in the air, or stepping over cobblestones searching out the perfect cafe. This is how I know I won’t be settling down anytime soon.

My trip to Spain this Spring is looming and I’m anxiously excited. My plan was to fly into Paris, swing my Germany, and then head down to Salamanca for my three week Spanish course. With the recent events in Paris, however, I’m not sure I want that to stay the plan. I usually shrug off my mother’s travel advice, because she is a natural worrier and I naturally think of adventure as my first priority and personal safety as my last. However, what happened in Paris on Friday was not a silly riot that I could avoid by staying out of the bad side of town, or a one time unfortunate event. It was an attack on Paris, and an attack on each and every Parisian’s feeling of personal security. While I hope to visit the city of love someday, I’m not sure the environment I would be entering would be one of love, but rather one of paranoia, fear, and nerves. So I’m going to take my mother’s advice (we are all surprised but please try to stay calm) and attempt to switch my flight. Paris will be there in a few years, and hopefully that means we will be a few years closer to the extinction of terrorism.

Paris aside, I cannot wait to add a few stamps to my passport. Europe has so much history and art and beauty to offer, and I am fully ready to soak it all in. Where will you travel next?

Corporate Social Responsibility in the Garment Industry

As part of my personal branding blogs I’m keeping you up to date on a few of my classes. Marketing is fun because it comes easy(ish). I.S. is boring because computers/the inner workings of e-commerce do not interest me. Globalization is perfect in every way – how lucky am I to go to a school where I actually learn new things daily and have fun doing just that.

Finance though. What finance professor has their students write a 20 page paper (SINGLE-SPACED, 1 INCH MARGINS, 11 POINT FONT). Like if it was an English paper maybe. Even like psych class, maybe you’d expect that. But finance?

However, my paper is on Corporate Social Responsibility, which I chose after seeing the crazy videos our professor showed us at the beginning of the year (see my blog on Heavy Topics for my reaction to those). As an International Business major, I find it incredibly interesting to look at supply chain management, cultural differences, and CSR practices in multinational enterprises. As a Marketing major, I have seen the incredible importance of the positioning of your product or brand in your consumer’s mind, and the impact positive CSR practices can have on your public image. So basically I’m saying these two majors coincide perfectly to make this subject extra interesting to me, along with my unique combo of a capitalist drive and compassionate heart.

The articles I’ve read so far basically look at CSR implementation and the best ways to make that happen. It also looks at supply chains and how subcontractors often get the worst of these human rights violations because they can’t take advantage of these companies’ CSR initiatives. But why even bother with CSR? Gap has been caught again and again with human rights violations that they claimed to never even know about, and people still empty their pockets to buy a pair of boot cuts.

CSR is important for multiple reasons. On the capitalistic side – CSR is good for business. Responsible brands are trusted more, they’re respected for going the “extra mile” to ensure responsibly sourced clothing (or whatever). On the human rights side – CSR should be so duh. Labor laws exist in the U.S. for a reason. U.S. companies go abroad for the cheaper labor opportunities, but immediately ignore the laws they and their ancestors fought so hard to gain here. From this perspective, CSR is not the extra mile, but rather the minimum amount of care you’re required to offer up to qualify yourself as a decent human being (or corporation in this case).

So whether you’re a brand manager, a CEO, a laborer in Bangladesh, or a decent human being — CSR affects you. Pay attention to this. Because you know that some companies do not responsibly source, but you can never actually know the pain that the person who stitched your short sleeved button down (throw it away anyways) may have had to go to so that you can be clothed today. And if you hear that and think “man I better not buy anything from these irresponsible companies” but you don’t put any research into it, then you will continue to buy from them.

Hope this all makes sense and maybe makes you feel guilty. My term paper is about how to successfully implement these CSR practices worldwide, but this blog post is a little bit about how to successfully spread the word so that you stop buying things that an 11 year old boy wasted his childhood making for you.

How to be the right kind of girl. This post involves boys and rules.

Always go after what you want, but make sure it’s actually an attainable goal, sweetie. 

Always go after what you want, but make sure you play hard to get.

Play hard to get, but show some interest or else how will he know you’re interested.

Stand up for what you believe in, but don’t be a b*tch about it. 

Dress to impress, but don’t show too much skin, but also show enough skin to get noticed, but don’t forget to respect yourself as a human being.

Be yourself – boys like when you look natural, so make sure you put on enough make-up to really perfect that natural look. 

Be yourself – be your silly fun outspoken self, but also be coy, laugh at his jokes even when they’re not funny, don’t correct him when he’s wrong. 

Be independent and powerful and strong, but when dealing with boys, play dumb, because they don’t exactly like to be shown up by a girl.

Don’t be fake, but be nice to everyone even if they suck.

Don’t be fake, but wear synthetic eyelashes, get acrylics, dye your hair, tan your skin, and plastic surgery is never out of the question.

Do well in school, even though no matter what you’ll make less than the boy who copies off of your work for 4 years.

Reach for the stars, but if you fall it’s okay to cry because that’s really expected of you, girls do tend to let their emotions get the best of them from time to time. 

Be happy with who you are, but read this magazine to find out ten ways to get your dream body. 

Be happy with who you are, but why can’t you look like her?

Why not text him first – this is the 21st century after all, but make sure to maintain a little mystery, you have to play the game you know, boys don’t want what they don’t have to chase. 

Wait for the right boy, but when a woman reaches a certain age, darling, it’s probably time to suck it up and settle down. 

I’m writing this because I am fed up with all the rules and regulations of being a 21 year old girl in the 21st century. It’s really no wonder I walk around with this confused and angry look plastered onto my face, because I honestly don’t know how society wants me to act anymore. Don’t be too forward or too timid, don’t be too bossy but don’t let yourself be bossed, have an opinion but keep it to yourself, make yourself look presentable but don’t try too hard, don’t text him first but hey there’s no rulebook just text him first. It’s impossible to keep up with. And how do I succeed at this stupid game if I can’t figure out the damn rules, or if people keep denying there are rules. If I cut out the other players, maybe I can change the game. But something tells me that other 50% of the population can’t exactly be cut out.

So instead, I’m going to have to just make my own rules. Honestly, I’m tired of figuring everything out as I go, which is how most of my blog posts end (with me promising to keep working, to figure my life out, to sort out my mess of feelings and thoughts). I really know exactly who I am, where I want to go, what I want my life to be like. So this time, they (society, boys, my friends) can figure it out as I go.