Monday, December 20, 2010

Where The Heart Is

Those of you who know anything about me know that I am completely and utterly in LOVE with the city of La Crosse, WI. Seeing as it was my home away from home for six amazing years of my life, it's where my heart is. That being said, you can probably imagine my excitement when I found out that I was going to be reunited with my old stomping grounds for a work conference at the beginning of December! People outside of the higher education world probably have no clue what these conferences consist of, so I'll briefly explain the one I attended. It's called WI-ACE (Wisconsin Association of Colleges and Employers), and the purpose of it is to bring career services professionals (like myself) as well as employers together in one organization in hopes of developing ways that we can work together to help students succeed in their internship and employment searches. Sounds exciting, right?! Well, this is the third time I've attended this conference, and let me tell you, it IS exciting! Call me a geek, but I love this stuff! I have met so many wonderful people, and these are professionals from schools all over the state. By getting involved and keeping myself visible, I'm not only creating some awesome working relationships, but I'm also ensuring that my name will be a familiar one if and when I ever start looking for a new job. Mind you, that's a long time down the road (if ever), but it's great to have this opportunity to network with people who have a passion for the same things I do. Anyway, enough geek talk and onto the rest of my trip. I was originally only supposed to be in La Crosse from Tuesday, 12/7 to Thursday, 12/9. Well, good 'ol Mother Nature decided to rear her head that Thursday, so instead of going back that day, I ended up stranded in La Crosse until Sunday. Thank goodness for my friend and former co-worker who allowed me to bunk with him for 3 more nights than originally planned. Betcha he didn't expect that. ;) And notice how I used the word stranded like it was a bad thing. Quite the contrary, my friends! Being "stuck" there gave me the opportunity to spend even more quality time with some of the best friends I've ever had, and I loved every minute of it! Not only that, but I got to eat at some of my favorite restaurants (i.e. Tequilas), drink at some of my favorite bars (i.e. Bennetts), and shop at some of my favorite stores (i.e. Dale's). What more can a person ask for on a "work" trip?! Gotta say, being in La Crosse for nearly 6 days felt pretty surreal. It kinda felt like I never left, and I'm already thinking about my next opportunity (or excuse) to go visit! The only downfall of being stranded there? Not being able to get home to meet my beautiful new niece Drew Elise Smith. She is the first of my 6 nieces and nephews that I didn't get to meet in the hospital, so that was a little tough for me. But thankfully, the holidays are upon us and I get to meet her in just a few short days. I seriously can't wait! Add it all up and we have an awesome conference, an extended stay in La Crosse, a new addition to the family, and a highly anticipated holiday vacation on the horizon. Sounds like a pretty stellar two weeks if you ask me. :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Wishes!

Sorry for the long break in blog action, folks. I spent almost the whole last week in La Crosse (a topic I hope to write about soon), so I haven't had much time to write. But, with Christmas rapidly approaching, I've decided to be selfish and look at a bunch of things I like! Normally, I don't get too into the whole Christmas list idea, but since I'm flat broke at the moment, I thought it might be fun to create a list of things that I want for myself, but that I can't afford because I don't need them right now. I'm not sure what the purpose is of making this list public, but I just wanted to share some of the things I'm interested in at the moment! Beware, the list is quite random. Also, many of the items will contain links that take you right to where they can be purchased (hint, hint)! Ha, just kidding! :)

- The Sopranos (The Complete Series)
- Sons of Anarchy (Seasons 1-2)
- Dexter (Seasons 1-4)
- Entourage (Seasons 1-6)
- Law and Order: SVU (Seasons 1-11)
- The Office (Season 6)
- It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia (Season 4 and Season 5)

- Inception
- Eclipse (Twilight Series)

Books (I prefer hardcover.)
- Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss & Gain by Portia de Rossi
- Decision Points by George W. Bush
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

- Greg Jennings jersey (size Youth M)
- Brewers sweatshirt (size XS)

Gift Cards
- iTunes
- Target
- Victoria's Secret

Other Stuff
- iPod speaker system
- TV trays
- Quotable cards
- Floor lamp for bedroom (no specific one picked out)
- Piccadilly Notebooks (My favorites: Garden Pop - Size L; Anime Flowers - Size L; Ink Flowers - Size L; Orchids on Brown - Size L)

So, there ya have it... Greedy much, Renee?! ;)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Apartment!

Not too long ago, I shared some before and after pictures of my bedroom in the new apartment. Well, since you've seen that part of my living quarters, I figured I might as well share a few more photos of my place in an attempt to give you a sense of what my entire apartment looks like. It's a pretty standard apartment, but so far it's definitely doing the trick! And if you really want to know what it looks like inside, just come visit. I love visitors. :)
View of livingroom when you walk in.
View from livingroom into kitchen area.
Kitchen area. It's a little messy, sorry! :)
Hallway. (That's a mirror on the wall.)
2 bedrooms on the left, bathroom and linen closet on the right.
Spare bedroom. (Currently serving as an "office" and storage room.)

Bedroom. (A little more complete with pictures and the new "tv stand.")

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Elf Yourself

I do this every year, and it NEVER gets old. I spend hours on Office Max's "Elf Yourself" site creating funny videos of my family, and I literally cannot stop laughing no matter how many times I see them! Same faces, different dances. There are more video options on the site, but these are a few of the better ones. I honestly can't pick a favorite. They're ALL too good!!! Enjoy! :)

THE 80'S



Directionally Impaired

Since I've moved to Milwaukee, I've pretty much carried my Garmin everywhere with me. Those of you who know me really well are fully aware of the fact that I'm very directionally impaired, so my GPS has been a lifesaver to date. Lately, I haven't been taking it to work with me because I've been traveling the same way for two weeks and at least know how to get there and back. Today, I had this weird thought that I should bring it with me, but I was running way late for work (I blame the flu) and didn't grab it when I left. Well, apparently I should've listened to that little gut feeling. No, not the "Hurry to the bathroom, there's food coming up!" gut feeling, but the "You should bring your Garmin just in case," gut feeling. Why should I have listened? Because one of the roads I take to get onto the freeway on the way home was unexpectedly closed. The result? I got extreeeeeemely lost! At one point, I was on I-94 going in the direction I would take to get to Colby (the opposite direction to my apartment). At another point, I was in the middle of downtown. How on earth?! Normally this probably wouldn't have been that big of a catastrophe, but this unfortunate directional mishap occurred at 5:20 p.m. (i.e., the heart of rush hour). I somehow managed to pull up a map on my phone while simultaneously trying not to die in traffic, and after about 45 minutes of wrong turns and ending up far, far away from my apartment, I managed to get to a recognizable spot. Funny thing is, that recognizable spot was SO close to my work that I wanted to cry. I accidentally ended up miles in the wrong direction when I was only a few blocks away from going the right way. Awesome. Sad thing is, I was so freakin' nervous that I didn't even pay attention to road names or where I was in relation to anything familiar. I don't become observant when I'm lost. I become a panicky freak. Not a good recipe for getting home safely. Anyway, I've learned two things from this experience: 1) I still suck at directions just as much as I always have, and 2) The Garmin WILL be traveling with me again, at all times.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mo Money, Mo Problems

Many of you have probably heard of the song "Mo Money, Mo Problems" at some point in your life. While I wish I could relate to that song, I'm having the opposite issue. My life is currently translating into NO money, mo problems. Let's just say I am not happy with the HR office at my job at the moment. The way the payroll schedule works is that we get paid on the 15th and 28th of each month. I started on the 18th, so I was all jazzed to get to work yesterday and pick up my check. One problem: there was no check. Wait, what?! I neeeeeeed that money! So, I contacted HR to figure out why they messed up. Originally, I was told that the paychecks are on a two-week lag (i.e., the money I earned from the 18th-28th wouldn't be given to me until the 15th). As angry as that made me, I could accept it because some places do that. Here's what I cannot accept. They were wrong. The two-week lag applies only to hourly employees, I'm salaried. So, basically, they told me they messed up and didn't get my paperwork submitted in time for the November 28th pay period. I just about crapped my pants right there in their office because I specifically turned the forms in right away to avoid something like this. I wanted to scream obscenities but I held back, only because I knew there was nothing they could do. This lack of a paycheck has pretty much killed me because I was banking on that to cover my $750/month rent payment (which is due tomorrow). Well, in looking at my bank account last night, I discovered that I have $851 to my name. Um, okay. That covers rent, but pretty much nothing else. And in case you didn't catch it, I don't get paid for another FIFTEEN days. How on God's green earth do they expect me to live and pay all my bills on $100?!?! Not possible. I don't do it unless I absolutely have to, but I had to ask the parents to help temporarily bail me out of a jam, and they graciously agreed to do as much as they can. Such a hit to the pride. I'm almost 25 years old and I have a freakin' Master's degree, yet somehow I am currently sitting here with $100 to my name and thousands upon thousands of dollars in student loans to pay back. Not ideal. Needless to say, this predicament has forced me to suspend any and all plans that I may have had for the next two weeks. Damn. On the bright side, the check I get on the 15th will be for a whole month and then I'll get paid again two weeks later. But that "bright" side doesn't really help me right now, so I'm very frustrated. Grrrr! If you don't hear from me in the next two weeks, send a search party. I may have died of starvation by then.


What's worse than having the flu? Having the flu and not having cable. I was perfectly healthy all day yesterday, but around 11:30 last night, it all started going downhill. And the funny thing is (well, it's not funny, but the timing is), my boss was home sick for part of the day yesterday too. I just got done telling my best friend that I've been really lucky so far this year in terms of staying healthy. And sadly, when I told her that, I even said, "I'm afraid I'm jinxing myself, but..." Guess I was right! :( I feel terrible having to be home from work already since I just started, but as you've all learned, my boss is extremely understanding and was more than willing to let me have the time off to recoup. So far, I haven't moved off my couch except to use the bathroom for flu-relief purposes (I'll spare the dirty details). Lovely day. And this is what I mean about it being torturous not having cable. All I want to do is flip through mindless television shows, but instead I have to constantly be changing out movies or TV on DVD. Normally I wouldn't care, but I just want to lie here and not do anything, and still have something on the TV to distract me from the fact that I feel like I'm dying. That's where my blog comes in, I suppose. If I feel better later, maybe I can back track and talk about my good time at home for Thanksgiving, but for now, I'll just be thankful that I could write this without a vomit interruption.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

More Official Every Day

Each day I'm in the office, I end up with one or two more things that make me a little more "official," and I love it! The other day? My own official name tag. Yesterday? My own official business cards. And today? My name has officially been added to MIAD's Career Services website as the new Career Services Coordinator. Perhaps the average person wouldn't find these things to be that exciting, but I tend to appreciate the very small details that remind me that I'm finally in the field I want to be in! I'm still transitioning from the "I feel like a student" mindset to the "Holy crap, I'm a professional" mindset, so each little reminder I get makes it that much easier to remember that my hard work has paid off! :)

On a different note, here are a few things I'm thankful for today:
1) I only work until noon and have off until Monday!
2) The cable company is finallllly coming to get me set up today.
3) I get to go home.
6) I get to see the whole fam VERY soon!
4) I'm celebrating a friend's birthday with some of my ladies tonight!
5) Tomorrow's Thanksgiving!
6) I get to watch football all day tomorrow!
7) This one's completely unrelated, but after talking with HR about benefits yesterday, I found out that I get December 24-January 3 off from work. Everyone here does. So, I essentially get a vacation without having to take a vacation. Happy birthday to me!!!!
8) I'm alive. I think I'll always include this one. :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Will I Hate My Job?

"Will I hate my job?" Hmmm. Interesting question. I don't know... No fear, folks. This is not ME wondering if I'm going to hate MY job. At this point, I'm so far from hating my job it's not even funny! :) But, this was literally a word-for-word question from a student who came into the office today. She was essentially asking me to guarantee that she won't hate the job she gets after graduation. Let's back up. This girl has almost 2 years of school before she graduates. Two years! And really, how on earth am I supposed to promise her that she will just love her job that doesn't even exist yet?! Okay, I don't mean to sound insensitive. I, of all people, am fully aware of how painful and scary the whole job search process can be. And perhaps because I've recently been through it is the reason I was able to provide a rational voice of reason that helped calm her down rather quickly. I must say, I do give her credit for thinking about the future before it arrives--many students don't have that foresight. However, there's a line between thinking ahead and trying to control the world, and she had definitely crossed that line. The biggest thing I noticed with her throughout the entire conversation was that she was extremely worried about things that either 1) she can't control; or 2) haven't even happened yet. As evidenced by the beginning of this entry, there's a huge part of me that wants to criticize the shit outta her. And now that I'm thinking about it, by criticizing her, in a way, I'm criticizing myself in the process. I swear to God, I am the world's biggest worrier. In fact, I have a running list of quotes that all have something to do with either worry or the desire for control. Kinda makes me wonder why I had such a strong reaction to her approach to the conversation. Maybe because even though I worry A LOT, I've never once went to someone and asked or expected them to guarantee my happiness in any given situation. It'd be nice if that were possible, but let's be real, it ain't happenin'. Fortunately, because I have experience working with students who are fearful of the job market, and because I've also had several people advise me on how to let some of my irrational worries go, I was able to have my first succesful student appointment at the new job today. Wahoo! She left feeling better about her future, but I can guarantee you that I'll see her again, and I can guarantee you that she's not done worrying. But rest assured, I still cannot guarantee her a job that she loves or her infinite happiness. ;)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

2 Days Down!

So... I've gotten A LOT of questions about how the first day days of work went, and I've gotta say, so far, it's been grrrrreat! (You know, like Tony the Tiger great!) Take a look at the pictures below to see how I was welcomed. Seriously almost cried. The welcome included the following: a big welcome sign; balloons; a bunch of MIAD gear; candy; and a huge vase full of flowers. Who the heck ever gets a welcome like that?! Up until now, definitely not this girl. Note to self: If I'm ever in the position to hire someone, make them feel THIS welcome. A positive first impression on the first day of work makes a world of difference, trust me! As for the actual work stuff, I suppose that's been good too. ;) The first two days involved a lot of logistical things (i.e., setting up my computer and email, learning the phone system, getting a parking permit, etc.). I also met an insane amount of people. I tend to be terrible with names, but according to my boss, I seem to be doing very well with that. I'll take any opportunity I can to impress people, ha! My second day involved a lot of observation. I sat in on a few appointments, viewed several emails that my boss sent, listened in on some phone calls, and even met some prospective students who are considering transferring to MIAD. My brain sort of feels like mush right now because there is SO much to take in, but I feel oddly calm about it. I like the people I've met, and I feel like I'll pick up on things pretty well. I know that's a big assumption to make since I've only been there two days, but sometimes when you know, you just know! :) Next week is another short week and then I'll be home for Thanksgiving. Can't wait!

View when you walk in my office door.

I'm officially a staff member! And yes, I took a picture of my permit. :)
I know it's a weird picture, but the tiny clothes pins are SO cute!
View when I'm sitting behind my desk!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mission Complete

I'm not sure if any of you were skeptical about my ability to clean and organize that beast of a bedroom of mine, but I DID IT! And I did it last night like I said I would, believe it or not! If I were you, I would've been skeptical too. It wasn't a fun project by any means, but it needed to be done. Unfortunately, I woke up rather late this morning (go figure, on my first day of work), so I didn't have time to post the pictures of the newly cleaned bedroom before I left the apartment. No fear, though, I've posted them now. Hope you're all as impressed with me as I am! :) And just a quick side note, there will definitely be some additional redecorating happening in the bedroom since it's far too "bla" yet, but for now, this will do the trick!

P.S. As I mentioned, today was my first day of work, but I better hit the hay rather than go on and on about how awesome it was! :) Plus, I was greeted by some pretty sweet stuff in my office this morning, so I'm a TOTAL geek and want to take pictures tomorrow (yes, I'm going to take pictures of my office) before I give the full explanation of how freaking welcomed they made me feel! So for now, this girl's off to bed. But tune in tomorrow evening to hear all about my first two days on the job! :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Beast of a Bedroom

All right, folks. Please brace yourself for what you're about to see. As many of you probably know, moving into a new place is not the easiest or quickest thing in the world to do. Unfortunately, the unpacking and settling process takes even longer. Well, let me just tell ya, this has been by far the fastest moving, unpacking, and settling process I've EVER encountered, and it ain't been been pretty. And yes, I just said ain't. I hope those of you who know my freakish grammatical tendencies can appreciate this. :) Proof that it happened fast? Last Tuesday, I drove down with my brother to find an apartment. On Saturday, I moved in to an apartment. And now I'm living in the apartment. Yeah. Anyway, while I am anxiously waiting for tomorrow to arrive (the FIRST day of work!), I've decided to try and tackle my beast of a bedroom before I hit the hay. Now, now, I know it sounds--and looks--like an impossible feat, but I think I can do it for a couple of reasons: 1) I am incredibly determined; and 2) I'm wide awake and have a feeling my nerves won't let me sleep for awhile yet. So, take a look at these pictures and judge for yourself. Can I do it? I think so!!

View from my bedroom door.

Walk-in closet (aka: heaven).

View from inside the closet. Yikes.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


After being inspired by my future sister-in-law's recent blog entry, I've decided to take a few minutes to talk about some GOOD things that I have to be thankful for right now. Because life has given me quite a few tests of strength over the past couple weeks, it would definitely be easy to sit around and complain about everything that's going wrong. However, if I do that, I feel like my mentality will never change. So, here are a few things from today that I will focus on in an attempt to remember all the good things I have in my life! :)
  • The shower in my new apartment has great water pressure!
  • Today--11/16/10--was 51 degrees and sunny in Milwaukee!
  • I have a dishwasher.
  • I found a stellar grocery store less than 1 mile from my apt.
  • I found said grocery store WITHOUT the help of my Garmin.
  • The neighborhood I live in pretty much rocks.
  • I start my job in approximately t-minus 36 hours.
  • My newest niece or nephew is due in 3 weeks, 5 days! Eek!
  • I spent 2 hours on the phone tonight with 2 dear friends.
  • I'm alive. Yep, that's a good one. :)
Okay. That's enough for right now. Still a rough day, but this list of things serves as a reminder that I still have a lot to be thankful for, no matter how bad it seems sometimes. And as this list proves, sometimes it's the little things that make life seem so much better.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ladies First!

For once in a long time, I've decided to write a blog entry that's NOT related to my job search or moving. I've been organzing lots of things lately, including my pictures, so this entry will focus on some good times (and pictures) from the past! Because I usually get together with my ladies over Thanksgiving break, and because I miss these girls dearly, I decided to take a little trip down memory lane tonight. Below I've assembled a collection of pictures from the many times we've gotten together over the past 6 or so years. As you'll quickly notice, the oldest pictures are first. Ahh, good times. Can't wait to see these chicas again in less than two weeks! :)

Never Grow Up

When I first heard the song "Never Grow Up" on Taylor Swift's new CD called Speak Now, I thought of my little nieces. It's a really pretty song that talks about wanting to preserve the innocence associated with being little. Interestingly, as I listened to it a few more times, I started to think of my own life right now, and some lyrics in the song really stuck out to me. She sings, "So here I am in my new apartment, in a big city, they just dropped me off. It's so much colder than I thought it would be, so I tuck myself in and turn my night light on..." If I wanted to put my current thoughts into a song, I probably would've written something almost identical to that! Crazy, I tell ya. Anyway, take a listen. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do! :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010


53207. Yep. That's my new zip code! :) It's offical folks, I am now a Milwaukee resident!!! Pretty much never imagined until recently that this place would ever be "home" to me. But alas, it is, and I'm feeling pretty excited! Unfortunately, I don't have a link to my exact apartment, but if you go back to my apartment hunting blog entry, it's in the same building as the third apartment on my list. For the most part, the concept is the same, but the one I actually chose is on the third floor and the layout is a slightly different. I love, love, LOVED the older apartments on my list, but they didn't make sense for a few reasons. The biggest reason? They were in Shorewood. Awesome village, no street parking. What?! How can you not have street parking?! Even I wouldn't have my own parking spot (unless I paid $75 more per month and was willing to walk a couple blocks to get to it), and for me, that's pretty huge. I definitely plan to have as many visitors as possible, so the thought of having to try to work out those logistical things didn't really sit well with me. Hence, I made the apartment choice I did. Surprisingly, the move went really well. For the first time since I've lived away from home, my whole family was along to help me move. Having mom, dad, AND the bros all here made the unloading process go really fast, and I can't thank them enough for all their help! My brothers headed back home right after putting together a shelf for me, but my parents stayed over night. We did some exploring of the area, and it was a lot of fun! I can't remember the names of most of the places we went, but we did check out the Horny Goat Brewing Company. I enjoyed it. And random, but a guy who brought us some of our drinks was originally from Wausau (he recently moved here), and he has some family in Colby that we know. Um, small world! I'll have to go back there again. He could be my first friend in Milwaukee! :) Anyway, the 'rents took me to get some essentials today (i.e., trash cans, a shower curtain, goodies), and then they headed out of town. So, now here I am, all by my lonesome in my new apartment. Wouldn't be so bad, but the cable company can't come for over a week yet. Ahhh! It's moments like this when I can justify having hundreds of dollars invested in movies and TV on DVD. Right now, it's "How I Met Your Mother" time! Since I still have a lot of settling to do, I haven't gotten too bored yet. I'm sure that will come soon enough considering I don't start work until Thursday, but it will be nice to just relax and familiarize myself with the area. Something tells me the next few entries will include little tidbits about fun discoveries I make, instances of me getting lost, and a few random emotional breakdowns. Stay tuned for all that! :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Oh, The Irony!

This post should've been done a few weeks ago, but I still feel the need to address it because I thought the timing of the situation was very ironic! As you know if you've kept up with my blog, there was a LONG stretch of time where I was having virtually zero luck with the job search. Fortunately for me, everything worked out and I am now starting my new job in a WEEK from today, ahhh! Well, the same day I accepted the offer for my position at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, I received a call from SUNY Adirondack requesting an interview for their Career Planning Specialist position. Okay, people. I applied for that position in July. JULY! And you're contacting me on October 29?! Had they kept the candidates updated, I wouldn't have been so shocked, but I hadn't heard a peep from them since I applied, so I assumed the position was long since filled. For those of you who don't know, SUNY schools are in New York, so yeah, I think it's probably good that I got the MIAD job. I'm freaking out enough about moving 3 and 1/2 hours away. Imagine what I'd be doing if I had to pick up and move across the country! But isn't that ironic? I hadn't heard anything from anyone in forever, and then the day I finally get to accept an offer, I'm presented with another potential job opportunity. Gotta say, it felt pretty good to tell them I was no longer available... Funny how things work out! :)

Monday, November 8, 2010


"I know God will not give me anything I cannot handle. I just wish that he didn't trust me so much."

Big Day Tomorrow!

Tomorrow's the day I will hopefully be finding my new apartment in Milwaukee! I'm nervous because it's going to be a LONG day, but if all goes according to plan, hopefully I will leave the city with a signed lease and an apartment to my name. If not, I'm kinda screwed because my first day is the 18th and I obviously need to get moved down there before that! I have a good feeling about my odds of finding a place, so hopefully that's a positive sign. The plan is for me and Jacob to head out between 8-8:30 tomorrow morning, probably stop for a bite to eat on the way, and then arrive at my work (ahhh!) at 12:30. My boss is going to drive us around to all the places and show me some other areas of town too. My last apartment viewing isn't until 6:45 tomorrow night. Ick. I told my boss that he certainly doesn't have to stick with us that whole time, but he said he's more than willing. I tell ya, I'm going to get spoiled in this first job because he's SO accommodating! Gotta love it. I can't lie, I'm still freaking out. Once I get moved and start the job, I think I'll calm down a lot. Until then, I'm just going to have my periodic breakdowns and hope for the best. :) Hopefully I'll be able to report some good news about an apartment within the next day or two, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Yep, it's official. Searching for an apartment in a big city that I'm completely unfamiliar with is NOT fun. Holy cow, it's impossible to even know where to begin! I've spent the majority of this week searching online for places that match my criteria for location and affordability. Unfortunately for me, most of the apartments in a good location cost too much and vice versa. I either have to pay a butt load of money or I have to live a fair distance from my work. Thank God my boss is so helpful--here's what he did for me yesterday. He called me, and we both pulled up the same map of Milwaukee. We literally scrolled all over the map and he pointed out areas of town that are really good, pretty decent, and completely off-limits. Just having street names to identify with and knowing some landmarks that signify changes in neighborhoods made searching for apartments WAY easier. I've never really used Craigslist before (perhaps it's my subconscious freaking me out because of that psycho who killed a girl that responded to his post), but let me tell ya, in terms of the apartment search, it was like God's gift to me! I found several apartments through the site, and now I have a solid number of places to view when I go down to Milwaukee on Tuesday. Clink the links below to see a couple of the places I'll be viewing. The first one's my favorite for some reason! Here's hoping I get a good apartment! As nervous as I am, I am also super excited to find a place to live. The rest seems easy after that (although I don't know if my dad would agree, haha)! Just think, in two weeks from today, I will just be getting "home" from my first day of work. Holy crap!!!
I'm still waiting to hear back from some other places, but at least I have a solid start. Jake is coming down with me, so it'll be nice to have him along (both for company and a second opinion). My boss is going to drive us around town, so that should be interesting! I asked him if it was okay that Jake came along, and he ensured me that it was fine, so my guess is that it'll all go smoothly. I'm just excited now that I have some potential options. Wish me luck!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Goodbye Colby, Hello Milwaukee!

Perhaps the title of this post will be more appropriate when I actually move, but this is my way of telling you all that I GOT THE JOB!!!!!! You are now reading the blog of the future Career Services Coordinator at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design! This will come as no surprise to anyone who reads my blog because I'm pretty sure I managed to tell everyone on the planet already. However, I just wanted to document this joyous day since I have officially accepted the offer! After a couple long talks with my dad about budgets... and living expenses... and health insurance... and deductibles... and co-pays... and retirement plans...I finally learned enough to determine that it's possible for me to make this job work. Money will be t.i.g.h.t., that's no secret, but I am finally to the point where I see the benefits outweighing the costs. I am so nervous about everything, but it's also a very exciting time in my life! Lots of people have offered me advice about how/where to search for apartments, along with some other various tidbits about Milwaukee, so I feel very blessed to have such knowledgeable people in my life! :) Because my future boss is so accommodating, I don't have an exact start date. He knows that I need a little time to pull my life together and find a place to live. He said ideally I'd start sometime around Thanksgiving, and provided I get my act together in a reasonable amount of time, I don't think starting then will be too big of a problem. I still kind of want to pinch myself. It's one thing to talk about it, but it will be a whole different thing when I'm actually living in Milwaukee and working at my first big-girl job. Ahhh! Stay tuned, that's all I can say.

The Jane Bradley Pettit Building (where I will be working).
The back of the building. It's right along the Milwaukee River and Lake Michigan. Gorgeous!
(Photos courtesy of Footlights)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


A few weeks ago, my computer started showing multiple signs of imminent doom, meaning I knew immediately that our remaining time together would be short-lived. I have had my laptop for over 4 years, so I can't complain because it has done a fine job up until recently. Unfortunately for me, though, it has decided to pretty much die at the time in my life when my funds are as low as they've been in a long time! :-/ I can't access the majority of my documents and programs because my computer decided to work only on a temporary profile. Well, what good is a damn computer if you can't access any of your files?! I've been talking to mom and dad quite a bit about the need for a new computer, but I've been putting it off. Until today, that is. While many people hate Dell computers, I have had virtually no problems with mine, so I decided to remain a loyal customer and purchase another laptop from them. My biggest issue with my current laptop is that I ran out of free disk space, so my choice for the new computer was one with a MUCH bigger hard drive. After consulting with my brother about what he thought were necessary features for a computer, I decided to purchase the Dell Inspiron M501R. While the initial price of $749.99 seemed reasonable, by the time I finished customizing it with all the "necessary" features, the total came to almost $1100. Yikes! I still decided to do it, and I signed up for a payment plan with Dell so that my monthly payments are reasonable enough to justify the purchase. When you're my age and you're looking for jobs in the profession I went to school for, a personal computer is pretty much a must. I really didn't want to spend the money, but honestly, I'm just so excited to get it that I don't even care right now! :) For all you Mac lovers, I know, I know... Shame on me for getting another PC, but at this point in my life, a PC is just a trusty comfort that I know and love, and right now, I don't have the patience or energy to deal with the added stress of figuring out a Mac. A few things I'm really excited about include a 10-key and a webcam, two things my current laptop doesn't have. All in all, I'll just be excited to have a working computer again! Let the countdown to its arrival begin!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fifty Percent Odds.

As you know, I had my second interview on Thursday for the Career Services job at MIAD. I was really happy that their director agreed to meet me halfway that day because then I didn't have to leave at the crack of dawn. I left Colby a little after 10:00 with the knowledge that I'd be arriving early (as usual). Well, about halfway through my drive, I got a call from their director. Oh boy. Here he thought we were meeting at 11:00, so he was already there! Thank the good Lord it wasn't MY mistake, because that would have given him a terrible impression of me. He was very apologetic, which I actually found humorous because it really didn't affect me in any way. It actually worked in our favor because I arrived around 12:20, so we got started a little sooner than originally planned. As I suspected, it wasn't much of an interview at all. He pulled out a piece of paper with a bulleted list on it that highlighted the primary daily duties of the position (in the order they occur most frequently). He went in depth about each item and then allowed me to ask questions. Of course I had no shortage of things to ask. :) Anyway, while we ate lunch, we had a really nice conversation about a lot of non-work related stuff, so that was enjoyable too. He also talked about the characteristics he seeks in someone taking this position, and I feel like it described me pretty well! After talking with him, I am SO much more excited about the position. Not that I wasn't before, but obviously I had some reservations, so I am really happy that I met with him because it made me feel like the job would definitely be worth taking if I get the offer. Speaking of an offer, if everything goes through HR smoothly, I should know sometime this coming week if I'm getting the job or not. He told me that it's down to me and one other person, which is awesome, and then I had the revelation that my odds of not getting the job are just as good as my odds of getting it: 50%. Scary! Watch, it'd be just my luck that I'm finally jazzed about this position and then I won't get it. Wow, would that suck. I got a really good feeling from that day, so hopefully that's a good sign! Not gonna lie, just about everyone bone in my body is f-r-e-a-k-i-n-g out about this, but it's now or never! I don't really feel like spending the next how many months packaging bacon, I can tell ya that much. So anyway, after all this time, while everything is still uncertain, maybe this is finally the point in my life where things fall into place the way they're supposed to. We shall see. Just wish me luck, no matter what happens!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Good News!

Hello all! Perhaps you're wondering why it's been awhile since I've given a job update. Well, I didn't have one to give, that's why. But... Now I do, so here it is! On Friday, I was contacted by MIAD and was offered a second interview (which I graciously accepted). When I was told that there would be second interviews, I'll be honest, I thought to myself, "What on earth could they possibly have left to ask me?!" The hour and a half I spent in the first interview answering questions made me feel like I had answered every possible question under the sun! Perhaps I was right, because based on the email I received, this second interview isn't nearly as "interview-like" as one would expect. Here's the rundown. I'm meeting with the director (who was part of the phone interview and the first interview), and he essentially just wants to give me more specifics of the day-to-day nature of the position. Then he just wants to get my thoughts on everything and see if I feel like it's a good fit and if I'm still interested. And get this, in the email requesting the interview, he said, "I am sensitive to how long your drive is from Colby, so I am more than willing to meet you halfway." Um, wait. What? Do people actually do that?! I guess so because we're meeting at a restaurant in Oshkosh on Thursday. He told me that it'll take about an hour and a half (meal included) and that I don't really need to prepare. As casual as it sounds, I'm still really nervous. There are aspects of the position that I don't have a ton of experience in, so I don't want that to work against me. This is where I've gotta sell myself, I guess! I do have to say, the fact that he's willing to drive 2 hours to meet me just to tell me all about what I'd be doing in the job makes me feel like I'm pretty damn close to securing it! I don't want to be presumptuous, though, so I'll do what I can and hope that everything works for the best! As always, I'll keep you posted! :)

Go Bucky!

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to go to the Badger homecoming game with three lovely ladies! I've been to several Badger games, primarily due to the fact that Erin went to school there. The ticket prices for this game were rather insane, probably for a couple reasons: 1) It was homecoming; and 2) It was against Minnesota, so people are willing to pay more money. Anyway, we spent the weekend in Erin's cousin's condo (a big thanks to him for letting us use it), and overall, we had a complete blast! Check out the photos!

Staying in and playing games on Friday night to prepare for an early start.

Badgers vs. Gophers (we won)
The four of us at the tailgate party!
At the game!

View from where we were sitting!

Some photos with the ladies! :)

In the street after the game!

The cheer about "Section O." I was laughing too hard to finish it.

The last photo before my camera died. It's probably a good thing that it died. :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

I'm Pathetic.

The title says it all. I got a phone call bright and eary this morning from my papa asking (or should I say telling) me that I had to come into work at the shop today. Based on a conversation with him yesterday, I figured the call was coming. So, I begrudgingly got my butt up and headed down to the shop having no idea what the day would hold or how long I'd have to be there. I will take a moment here to mention the fact that I know I'm lucky. I don't have to work there every day, or much at all for that matter, so it's not like the end of the world when I have to go in. Plus, I should consider myself lucky to even have somewhere to work at all. Maybe it's just a pride thing, I don't know. It's just that I did this job for more years than I can count--during high school and beyond--so it's a little tough to stomach coming back to it after spending 6 years in school so I didn't have to do it anymore. The first half of the day consisted of running back and forth and back and forth to get the damn phone in between waiting on customers. I don't mind being on the phone with people, but I had a couple issues today: 1) It's been a long time since I've had to answer any and all meat-related questions, so I felt like a rookie; and 2) I talked to multiple people who had no clue what they were talking about, making it that much more difficult for my rustiness to wear off. Once the phone died down, we were buried in customer inquiries and endless amounts of summer sausage. Sounds like an ideal day, right?! But anyway, you get the drift about what kind of day it was. And this is why I feel pathetic: I worked from 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. (with a small break in there for lunch), and I feel 100% exhausted tonight! I guess I can give myself a little credit since 10 hours is a bit of a long day, plus that entire 10 hours minus the break was spent on my feet. So, there I feel like I'm justified. But folks, let's be real here. The majority of my days are spent dinking around NOT working, so it's a little hard to justify a bitch session after one long day of work. Eh, well. I'm allowed to feel how I feel, so while it is a little pathetic, I'm pooped, and I'm going to head to bed so that I can relive those good 'ol high school days of smelling like meat by doing it all again tomorrow!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Interview = Done.

Hey, yo! Well, I survived my interview yesterday! I was up waaaay too late on Tuesday night (long story), so getting up yesterday was a bit of a struggle. I shuffled my way around the house getting ready, which, let me tell you, is a lot harder to do when your nerves are making you feel like you're going to burst! Once I was showered and dressed, I sat down and reviewed a bunch of potential interview questions, again trying to ignore my nerves. I finally left the house around 8:40. MapQuest told me that it would take me 3 hours and 47 minutes to get there. My Garmin told me that it would take 3 hours and 16 minutes. Hmm. The interview process started at 1:45, so either way, I knew I'd have some extra time. I get super nervous about not knowing where I'm going, so I like to allow myself a freakish amount of extra time to find my way around. Along the way, I got really hungry, so I stopped in some random town and had McDonald's french fries and a shake. Good, nutritious interview food, right?! ;) The drive went pretty smoothly until the last 15 minutes or so. While I'm not familiar with the layout of Milwaukee or what is considered downtown, I'm pretty sure I was in the heart of it. I was kind of stressed out, and all I kept thinking was, "If I move down here, my mom will NEVER come visit me because she won't be able to handle this!" I made it throught that part, but then I ran into some construction that my good 'ol trusty Garmin didn't like too much. I was literally going in circles on all these freaky little back-ish roads. At that moment, I was thanking the good Lord that I gave myself extra time. I finallllly got myself where I needed to be, and I had about an hour to spare. So, I did more interview prep and just did what I could to keep myself calm. For the first part of my interview, I got a tour of of the main campus building, and it was really cool. Since it's an art and design school, all the majors involve some sort of amazing creativity that I completely lack. It was pretty much visual overload, but it was awesome to see. The building itself has a lot of history, and I felt like I learned a lot as we walked the halls. The second part of my interview involved meeting with 4 professionals from different areas on campus. While it was only an hour and 15 minutes with them, it was quite intense. They all had their own set of questions to ask, so it was a little overwhelming, but I think I handled myself pretty well! They're finishing up interviews this week, and if necessary, they'll do second interviews next week. If they don't do second interviews, then my guess is I'll know next week or early the following week whether or not I'm packing up and heading to Milwaukee. Wow, saying that still freaks me out! I want the job, but it's freaky to think how fast my life could potentially change. I guess that's what it's all about, though. So anyway, I will keep you posted as always!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Trust The Process.

If you've kept up with my blog, you'll remember awhile back that I posted some of my favorite "Quotables" cards (see here). One of my favorite sayings from those cards is, "Slow down. Calm Down. Don't Worry. Don't Hurry. Trust the Process." I literally repeat this phrase to myself at least once a day. And right now, it's proven to be more important than ever. For any of you who have actually been around me over the past, I don't know, week or so, you're probably painfully aware of the fact that I'm FREAKING out about this potential job in Milwaukee. Don't get me wrong, I am so dang excited about the possibility of getting this job that I could fall over and die, but there are several factors that have come into play to make me nervous. No surprise to anyone, finances are the biggest concern. I won't exactly be raking in the dough if I get this position, so I've had to do a lot of budgeting and thinking about if and how I can make it work if I get the job offer. This has involved sorting through every possible monthly expense including, but not limited to: rent (without knowing how much it'll be); student loans; cable and internet; electricity; cell phone bill; credit card bill (I am still haunted by the fact that I had to rely on my credit card when I wasn't working for a semester); car insurance; groceries; etc. As sad as it is, I've never really had to consider all these things before. I mean, I have, but I either had help from mom and dad or I had extra financial aid money to pull me through. It's scary to say the least, but the more I think about it, the more I know I have to take this job if I get an offer. I need the experience and I want to stay in the field. I didn't get a Master's degree with the intention of turning down opportunities that will give me the experiences I want and need, ya know? I can make it work, I just have to learn how to be extremely efficient with my money. Should be interesting! As for the interview, it's tomorrow at 1:45 p.m. I'm leaving Colby around 8:30-9 tomorrow morning and will spend about 4 hours in the car to get to MIAD. The interview itself only lasts 2 hours, and then it'll be 4 hours back here. I love how I can say that the interview is only 2 hours, like that's nothing. But, in comparison to past interviews, it seems simple enough! I'm feeling pretty good about it, so hopefully that's a good sign. No matter what, it's still another interview experience, and the more of those I can tackle, the better off I will be. Wish me luck!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fest, Fest, Fest-y Fest!

As I mentioned in the last entry, I recently went to La Crosse for the grand 'ol Oktoberfest celebration. I've taken part in the festivities every year since I moved to La Crosse, so this was my 6th year in a row. I must confess, it was slightly difficult (or maybe odd is a better word) to attend the events now that I'm no longer a La Crosse resident. I missed not having my own bed to sleep in or being able to come and go as I pleased. However, I do have to say, it was still a great time! For those of you who are unfamiliar with Oktoberfest, it's essentially a week and a half dedicated to the celebration of German heritage. Why it starts in September is still a mystery to me, but I don't really care! The city is overtaken by brats, beer, parades, and partying. Good time, right?! I went to La Crosse with some girlfriends, and we all stayed in my friend Becca's apartment. Saturday's routine consisted of the following:

1) Get up at approximately 6:30 a.m. (hungover or not)
2) Pack up the goodies (goodies consisted of donuts, brats, chips, pickles, miscellaneous snacks, soda, various types of alcohol including beer, bloody mary's, get the picture)
3) Bundle up. It was cooooold.
4) Arrive to our parade spot at approximately 8 a.m.
5) Crack our first beers at approximately 8:05 a.m.
6) Play drinking games until the parade starts (at 10 a.m.)
7) Wait for the LONG parade to reach us at our spot (around 11 a.m.)
8) Dance to any and all polka music as the floats pass by.
9) Continue drinking.
10) Wait in line forever to use digusting port-a-potties.
11) Check the time and realize there's still 3 hours of parade left.
12) Take a seat for awhile to reenergize.
13) Continue drinking.
14) Shove down a brat to prevent early drunkenness.
15) Rejoice when the parade is actually over.
16) Stumble around to pack up and clean up.
17) Load the cars.
18) Walk to the bars.
19) Continue drinking the rest of the day.
20) Go to the Fest grounds (for those who were still awake).
21) Head back to the bars.
22) Pass out. I lasted the longest (1 a.m.)! :)

Okay, so that was a little more detailed than necessary, but that's literally how the day went. See some pictures below as evidence of the day. Thankfully, we got up early enough on Sunday to drive home before the exhaustion hit, but let me tell ya, I barely moved once I got home. Overall, I had a blast. Can't wait to go back for year number 7! :)

Colby girls at Fest!

Serious concentration (or confusion) during the card game.

Roomies reunited!!!

Some of us at Shooters!

Concentrated on drinking beer out of our shot class mugs! (Brothers Bar)
Taking a little siesta on the curb.
After everyone else wimped out, I met up with my fam at Top Shots!
(After this bar, I was done for the night!)