Saturday, June 30, 2007

MBA from ASU

Arizona State University has a fantastic online MBA program that I would LOVE to be a part of. In fact, I would apply tomorrow for the January cohort if I had a willing "sponsor."

So, if you are a millionaire who would love to fund an eager, intelligent young woman in her twenties - please do give me a call.

Or - we can work out a deal. I will work for your company for free if you pay for my graduate school tuition and my membership to the Public Relations Society of America, Greater Tucson Leadership, United Way Young Leaders Society, National Speakers Association AZ, and National Speakers Association. A subscription to the Wall Street Journal would be nice too. Any takers?

Vote on New Blog Topic

Adventures of SS is my general blog - my every-day thoughts on family, faith, politics, education, business, motherhood, fashion, and career.

I am considering starting up a more specific, professional blog in addition to this one. And I'd like your help in determining the topic. What would you like to read about?

Here are a few of my ideas:

All Things Tucson - the people, places, politics, and public happenings in and around the Tucson-metro area
All Things Vail - similar to above, but zeroing in on the Vail/SE Tucson community
Free Money for College - scholarship postings, ways to save, etc.
Career Advice- what to major in, interview tips, advancing in your field, etc.

More to come...let me know if you have other suggestions.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Book Review: The Audacity of Hope

I just finished "The Audacity of Hope" by Barack Obama. Here's what I wrote immediately after I closed the pages:

Well-written and educational, yet also authentic, honest, personal, and moving. Obama presents core issues in a reasonable, balanced way - and he is not so arrogant to pretend to know the answers to all questions or the cures for all of society's failings. He shook my conscience and challenged my beliefs with his postmodern and progressive perspectives. And I actually think I might vote for this guy if he secures the democratic seat. I certainly don't agree with him on everything, but he seems fair-minded, family-oriented, and future-focused. I will watch with eager intent as Obama pursues the 2008 presidential seat.

Here are a few clarifying questions to those who might ask:

1. Isn't his book just popular because he is in a position of power?
Probably, but that makes his journey all the more intriguing to me. I am always fascinated by how successful people start out and what principles guide them as leaders.

2. Do you agree with all of Obama's stances?
Not all, but many. His discussions about foreign policy, faith and politics, and family especially resonated with me. I also enjoyed reading his ideas about reform in the areas of education and the workforce.

3. Aren't all democrats immoral schmucks?
Wow, that's harsh. Read this book. We need to be more focused on our commonalities as humans and less divisive when it comes to political party affiliations. Yes, we should debate and speak our minds (that is the beauty of democracy, after all...), but we should enter into our disagreements as listeners and not only persuaders.

4. Why would you consider voting for Obama?
I appreciate his honesty and authenticity (willing to admit that he doesn't always know the answers), his commitment to his family, and his love for our country. That said, I need to do A LOT more research before I cast my vote. After all, I read his book - so it is, of course, just a bit biased in his favor.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

You're a Nerd If...

Write "agree" or "disagree" next to the following statements:

1. I love school and would constantly be pursuing a new degree if I had the money to finance it.
2. A Ph.D. is in my future.
3. Attending conferences is fun.
4. I watch political debates and enjoy them.
5. If a local coffee shop hosted a "Coffee with the Candidate" event, I would attend.
6. I regularly browse the local university's website for the latest news about research projects and new degree programs.
7. The library and the bookstore are two of my favorite places.
8. My idea of an amazing birthday present is a gift certificate for an online bookseller.
9. When I receive my Alma Mater's alumni publication, I read it thoroughly.
10. I have written a letter of compliment or complaint to the President of the United States, my local representatives, and at least five businesses.

If you answered "agree" to all ten, my husband Tim would say that you are most definitely a nerd. I, on the other hand, would simply say that we could be fabulous friends.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Generation X or Y

Online dictionaries say that Generation X consists of people that were born between the early 1960's and the mid 1970's while Generation Y groupies, also known as the Millennials, are people born between 1978-2000. The exact dates fluctuate from site to site, but, in every case, I seem to stand almost right at the intersection of X and Y since my birth date falls in 1982.

It turns out that I am pretty accurately placed in my generation when it comes to my technology use as well. Penelope Trunk has posted a great survey on her blog that allows readers to determine what generation they fall into based on their use of technology. In my case, it was extraordinarily accurate. I scored 11 points, meaning that I use technology like a Generation Xer, but I am on the verge of using technology like a Generation Yer.

Go take it - and tell me where you end up...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Making the Most out of High School, Tip #10

Tip #10 Apply for scholarships and enter contests.

Why? Here's the countdown.

3. Winning scholarships is an incredible thing to put on your resume.
2. Many scholarships and contests offer more than just money. They offer an experience ( an all-expense-paid trip, an internship, or a laptop computer.)
1. Of course, the biggest benefit of all is a free college education.

Entering and exiting college without debt will put you one big step ahead in the path to success so don't miss your chance. Apply and apply often...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Making the Most out of High School, Tip #9

Tip #9 Get a job (maybe).

Getting a job in high school can be a good thing for many students. It's a great way to learn about responsibility and money management.

That said, if you have implemented all of the other tips (get good grades, play sports, volunteer, join a club or two, etc.), your schedule is probably pretty full. So it might be a good idea to put off the part-time job thing until college. Going overseas during the summer, volunteering at a children's shelter, and shooting for straight A's will benefit you much more than flipping burgers for minimum wage.

Note: if you are in the position where you need to get a job to pay for gas, car insurance, or even food/clothes, do try to get a job in a reputable place. If possible, avoid fast food. Ask your parents or your friend's parents for referrals. Stop in at local offices that interest you and just ask.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Making the Most out of High School, Tip #8

Tip #8 Take a foreign language.

Knowing a foreign language is a major asset in our increasingly global world. Why not begin in high school? If possible, take a foreign language all four years. If you can't fit it in your schedule, try taking your foreign language the last two years of high school as opposed to the first two years so that the language is fresh in your mind when you head to college.

Need a few great reasons to study a foreign language? Knowing a fl is linked to better test scores (think: SAT/ACT) and you will have better job opportunities in the future.

Which language should you study? Any will do, but consider that Spanish is the second language of our nation and that Chinese is the most widely spoken language according to many reports. That said, if you know a lesser known language, you will be in high demand for high profile jobs. Plus, it's pretty cool to speak, say, Arabic or Russian.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Making the Most out of High School, Tip #7

Tip #7 Get to know your guidance counselor.

Your guidance counselor has a wealth of information about scholarships, careers, colleges, internships, and jobs. Do be a "regular" in his/her office. Stop in to say hi. Ask if there are any relevant scholarships. Check out the resources in the career center.

Guidance Counselors LOVE to help students - and they are often called upon to nominate students for various scholarships and awards. If they know you, they'll think of you first - especially if you have stellar grades and are actively involved in your school (hence, prior tips...).

Stop by your GC's office today! (Well, not today, it's summer...but you get the gist...).

Making the Most out of High School, Tip #6

Tip #6 Volunteer/Get Involved.

Whatever you do, don't be passive during your high school years. Volunteer - serve at a soup kitchen, sort cans at a food bank, teach safety classes at your local Red Cross, perform your musical instrument at a nursing home, or build a house with Habitat for Humanity.

It's a very positive and important thing to get involved at your school and in your community. Do be involved in at least one club on-campus. Try one or two- National Honors Society, Future Business Leaders of America, Student Council, Mock Trial/Debate, the Optimist Club, Key Club, Media Productions, JROTC, or Newspaper/Journalism. If there's not a club that interests you, start up a chapter with the guidance of one of your teachers.

The point of this tip is to be proactive and passionate when it comes to your free time. Don't get stuck in a rut.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Making the Most out of High School, Tip #5

Tip #5 Go overseas.

International travel will open up your eyes to the world. It will help you to see things more globally and to be more grateful for the things in your life.

You can plan a trip with your family or venture out on your own with a reputable student organization like People-to-People, Explorica or the American Institute for Foreign Study. Better yet, go serve in a country overseas with Teen Missions or Teen Mania.

Traveling to another country will give you a new outlook on life - and will also mature you. Plus, it's a very impressive thing to mention on resumes, in job interviews, or to family & friends - "I went to Romania to help in an orphanage this past summer." How cool is that?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Making the Most out of High School, Tip #4

Tip #4 Play sports and take P.E.

Regular exercise is linked to many positive outcomes...
  • reduced risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes, and obesity
  • helps relieve stress and anxiety
  • increases energy and endurance
  • helps you sleep better
  • boosts your IQ
These are well-known benefits, but did you know that thinner people make more money? Yep, the facts don't lie.

Plus, I can attest from personal experience that many CEO's and successful leaders work out regularly. It seems to be one of the secrets of the inner circle. The people in the boardroom are swimmers, hikers, and marathon runners.

What better way to foster a good habit than to play sports in high school? Pick a sport and try out. Soccer, volleyball, basketball, golf, track, cross-country - just play.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Making the Most out of High School, Tip #3

Tip #3 Appreciate your teachers.

It's important that your teachers know you, like you, and want you to succeed. And, believe me, that doesn't happen by chance. Your attitude and your actions have everything to do with it. So...

Greet your teacher when you walk into class. Say "good-bye" on your way out. Say "thank you" if your teacher helps you, stays after school to answer your question, or gives a particularly inspiring lecture. Nominate your teacher for an award. Send your teacher a thank-you note. Give your teacher a gift or card at the end of the year. Bake a cake and put it in the teacher's lounge.

If you take the time to build relationships with your teachers, it will pay off in a big way in future years. They may write stunning letters of recommendation for you, nominate you for awards and scholarships, or refer you to your first big job.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Making the Most Out of High School, Tip #2

Tip #2 Be college-prep ready.

Although requirements vary from university to university, most of them require a core set of classes that looks something like this:
  • 4 years of English
  • 3-4 years of math
  • 3 years of science
  • 2 years of social studies
  • 2 years of foreign language
To be on the safe side, you should also take at least one full year of a fine arts class (drama, choir, art, painting, etc.). Additionally, you should strive to have a 3.0 GPA at minimum (that means getting a "B" average)...but the higher your GPA, the better off you will be in terms of getting admitted and getting scholarships.

Throw in a few honors and AP courses for good measure and you'll be on your way to success.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Making the Most Out of High School

Attention all soon-to-be-9th graders! Here's a blogbook on how to have an incredible high school experience. I'll unveil one tip every day for ten days.

Tip #1 Get good grades.
How? It's actually a relatively simple formula.

A. Make a good first impression.
Be sure to stand out on the first few days of class. Be prepared with a notepad, writing utensils, and any required books or equipment. Sit near the front of the class. Make good eye contact, smile, nod your head, take notes. Introduce yourself to the teacher at the end of the first class session. Say something simple like, "Hi. I'm Anna and I'm really looking forward to your class."

B. Exceed your teacher's expectations. If the assignment is to read chapters 1-3, read a little bit ahead. If you're studying about Asia, bring in an authentic Asian food for your teacher or the whole class (with your teacher's permission). If you have to give a presentation, dress up, use PowerPoint, and have a related visual aid. Go above-and-beyond. Do more - and you'll score!

C. Always submit your homework on-time. If you don't know how to do a set of math problems or if you just don't get how to write an essay in a specified format, don't go to class empty-handed. Try. Fill in every blank. Answer every question. Turn your work in anyway. Prompt and complete homework will automatically set you "above the pack."

D. Study for tests. Do spend some time studying. Make flash cards, do the study guide, quiz yourself, create a sample exam, look back over your homework - do what works for you, but do something.

E. Learn to love to learn. Don't just go to class and do your homework out of obligation. Find something in every subject area to get excited about.

F. Ask for help, when needed. Go to tutoring. Stay after school. Call your extra-smart Uncle Dave.

There you have it! Straight A's are on the way!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Dear Kayla,

You are nine months old today. You've changed from a beautiful infant to a smiley baby to an active explorer (note: you are still beautiful and smiley). You're crawling like a pro now - zooming around the house on all fours - in and out of all of the bedrooms. You are active, fast, and fearless.

Your favorite activities are (1) reading books (seriously, you never seem to tire of especially love Green Eggs & Ham and anything that rhymes), (2) being thrown in the air, (3) being tickled, (4) playing games with dad and mom, and (5) dancing along with the radio (If I turn on music, I am guaranteed a huge smile and wide eyes). You also enjoy taking walks and looking in the mirror.

On the flip side, you despise being alone (you, social butterfly!) and riding in your car seat for long periods of time.

You're not particularly interested in toys, but you do like to get into almost anything that is deemed "not for babies." You especially are fascinated by shoes, cords, and paper...and you love banging on mama's laptop. If you are forced to choose a toy, you will probably go for your soccer ball, football, or anything that you haven't seen before.

You are becoming more and more beautiful as the days pass by. Strangers oft comment on your amazing eyes (sparkling blue) and lengthy eyelashes. And, of course, you still have that irresistible smile and distinct button nose. Your laugh brightens the room and you are undoubtedly always the center-of-attention in every circle.

You have many nicknames...they seem to change hourly...but the latest include Blue Eyes, Gorgeous Girl, Boo, Goose (as in, silly goose...), Kay-Kay, High-Maintenance, and Irresistible.

When it comes to food, you are anything but picky. You will eat all fruits, vegetables, cereals, and breads willingly and eagerly. You especially seem to love water and cherry puffs (a Gerber finger food).

You will sleep serenely in your crib for nap time now and you start your evenings there as well. But you prefer snuggling in bed with your mom and dad. And you would be absolutely delighted if you could spend your nap times in our arms.

A few other small factoids before I finish this letter.
* You adore your daddy - the way you look at him reminds me of the way I often look at him - he's your hero.
* You are exceptionally sweet and happy and adorable...and your mama loves you with a fierce, intense, deep love that she never knew until she had you.

Loving you,

Friday, June 8, 2007

Google Named #1 in Fortune Magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For"

Did you know Google offers:
  • Maternity (12 weeks off at 75% pay) and Paternity (6 weeks off at 75% pay) Leave, plus $400 for take-out meals for the first four weeks after childbirth
  • Google Child Care Center, five minutes from main headquarters
  • On-site gym and fitness center
  • Free gourmet lunches and dinners prepared by a chef
  • Cool events throughout the year like company movie day, summer picnic, and health fair
  • Tuition reimbursement - $8,000 per calendar year
Remind me to apply there next time I'm in the running for a full-time job.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Key to Career Success? Specialization

I've been reading Penelope Trunk's blog a lot lately. Although she has many new and divergent perspectives, one that seems to be aligned with "old-school" career advice is the concept of specialization. She states, "the best way to ensure you'll always be in demand is to become a specialist" and "specializing makes you more likely to be hired and hunted." Although specializing is the goal, she cautions her readers not to limit themselves "too much or too early."

The professors that I met with at the UA handed out similar advice. They told me to focus in on one unique area of study and become an expert.

Successful authors also seem to follow this route. They are experts in one genre - money management, science fiction, romance, chick lit, etc.

Trunk suggests examining your gifts to find your area. Without trying to brag, I think mine are writing, interpersonal skills, and creativity/new ideas.

More on this later...

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


It is a wide-held belief that celebrities have an innate sense of style, a sneak peek into the fashion world. They are, many would say, inherently trendy and voguish.

I disagree. Celebrities are, of course, usually at the forefront of fashion. But not necessarily because of their obvious good taste. Instead, I propose that they look perpetually stylish because of the size of their wallets rather than their keen knowledge of aesthetics.

In fact, I would argue that a majority of people would be deemed equally as fashion-forward if they could shop in the best stores with no qualms about money - and a personal stylist to boot!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Book on My Wishlist: Brazen Careerist

Warner Business Books recently released Penelope Trunk's first book on 5-25-07. The book is titled "Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success" and it is definitely on my wishlist.

I stumbled upon Trunk's blog about a week ago and it is now officially bookmarked. Her posts are well-written, clever, and innovative. I love her new take on the business world and on career success. I often find myself nodding in agreement with her edgy and fresh statements.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

College Course on ABC's Lost

The Experimental College at Tufts University in Massachusetts offered a class this past semester entitled, "The Future is Lost: TV Series as Cultural Phenomenon."

I, for one, am a huge fan of the mixing of education and pop culture. Since the majority of people are already tuning into the boob tube on a daily or almost-daily basis, why not encourage active thinking and thorough analysis?

This course is one of many exciting titles in the Experimental College...
  • Obesity and Children
  • Human Rights and Civil Rights, Post 9-11
  • Experimenting with Philanthropy
  • Education for Active Citizenship
  • Media Law and Ethics
  • Television in the Age of YouTube
  • Making Movies
Where can I sign up? :)

Friday, June 1, 2007

1st Week @ New Job

It's going very well so far. Of course, I'm unable to write when Kayla is awake because she has become Miss Active and Miss Acrobat all in under two weeks. She rolls. She crawls. She stands. She dives. She finds her way into almost everything - especially anything that is not for babies.

But she is taking naps like a pro in her crib now and there's always the hours after bedtime. When she sleeps, I type.