USC Own It Conference 2016

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This Saturday, I spent the day on campus at the inaugural USC Own It conference. It’s targeted more towards undergrads, but was still a good opportunity to meet women.

Lots of goodies! 

The morning panels were women in high leadership positions and then media/news.

We split for breakout sessions before and after lunch. I went to both tech ones.

Power pose time. :)

The afternoon panels were women in tech and then entrepreneurs.

Prospurly July 2016 review

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Still playing catch-up here… this is a look at the July box, which I’ve had for some time. I’m hoping my schedule will allow me gaps on the weekend to get back into a rhythm with blogging.

Prospurly is just under $45 per box (with code for 10% off your subscription – use my referral links from this post) and comes with artisan foods, bath & body items, home products, and other sustainably crafted items. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral program that earns you free boxes.

prospurly july 2016 box open with products showing prospurly july 2016 info card with product details

Essential Oils for Beauty, Wellness, and the Home book – This will be a great resource for me as I explore different types of home remedies. It’s full of recipes for all sorts of things ranging from digestive health remedies to kitchen cleaning to personal care.

St. Tropica Coconut Hot Oil Hair Mask – I look forward to trying this out on my hair soon, since it’s been a bit dry. I’ve never tried hot oil before, so this should be interesting! I’ll have to dig out a shower cap from my hotel soaps stash.

Masala Mama Chicken Jardaloo spice kit – For now, I have no time to cook, so I’ll have to table this until I get some more time. I look forward to having a little cooking party sometime to try this out though!

Lotus Naturals After Sun Body Spray – I’ve had some activities recently that were out in the sun and I should have tried this after. I’ll put it out so I remember next time I’m out in the sun, which I’m sure will happen somewhat regularly now that I’m back in LA.

feedingsmiles Divine Facial Steam – This smells fabulous and I kind of want to make tea from it, but I’ll resist and use it for steaming my face as recommended. I look forward to taking some time to pamper myself with this and a face mask.

Wildflower seed bombs (bonus item) – I’d gotten this before and it looks like they included it as a bonus item this time. I think I might go get a little pot to plant these in. Or maybe I’ll throw one in the yard when I’m visiting my parents next time!

SudsBucket island punch bath bomb bundle – How cute is this packaging?! It looks like little peas in a pod and I love that I get a little face/hand towel as part of the bundle. These smell amazing and I can’t stop sniffing them.

MyChelle Refining Sugar Cleanser – I’m a fan of this brand and I’ve been using this cleanser at home, so this will make a great travel companion.

I’m pleased with the variety of products and I’m happily incorporating them into my life, one by one. What do you think of this month’s box?

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. :) All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

Julep September 2016 Collection review

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Julep is celebrating 5 years! I’ve been with them since December 2013, after resisting the temptation for a long time. I’m happy to say I’ve been a Maven for more than half of their existence now, so I couldn’t resist getting this celebratory box.

Julep ranges from just under $25 to $40 per box based on tier (or as discounted as just under $20 to $35 per box when prepaid three at a time) and comes with combinations of nail polish colors, skincare products, and beauty products (depending on your style profile choice). They offer plenty of upgrade and add-on options too. Boxes are sent monthly unless you choose to skip. You also have the option of gifting your box to a friend. They offer a referral program that earns you $15 store credit per referral.

julep maven september 2016 collection box contents

September 2016’s collection of Cheers to Five Years! box

julep september 2016 collection products open

no limits Luxe Hydrating Creme, Cheers to Five Years! Lipstick Mini Trio, get in line Invisible Lip Liner

julep september 2016 collection card and mini lipstick trio

Quote card and Cheers to Five Years! Lipstick Mini Trio

julep september 2016 collection card and note from ceo card

The September 2016 Collection cards.

get in line Invisible Lip Liner
How cool is this?! This lip liner applies on clear so you can use it with any lipstick and prevent bleeding/feathering issues. I think this is fantastic since I don’t have to worry about having different shades and if I apply it a little off, nobody would ever know. I’m not the greatest at drawing lines on my face and this allows me a pretty generous margin of error.

no limits Luxe Hydrating Creme
Ok, I have to admit I got this purely for the cool design. You press on the big round button and the lotion starts oozing out from the small circle! How fun is that? The formulation is also great for hydrating without leaving a residue. It feels great on my dry elbows! I got this as an add-on to the box that I used points to redeem.

Cheers to Five Years! Lipstick Mini Trio
This adorable set has three bright shades – bubbly, fizz, and pop. They all sound very champagne-esque and celebratory, don’t they? I’d say that’s appropriate for the occasion. :) The consistency of these are wonderful and apparently you don’t need lip liner with it.

Happy anniversary to Julep! I had fun with this box and I love the continued innovation they have for a variety of beauty products. My skin has never been happier and I look forward to what else they’ll surprise us with in the years to come.

Join as a Julep Maven to get polishes and/or beauty products sent to you monthly! Use code FREEBOX or FREEMAVEN to get the first box free (you pay shipping).

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. :) All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

Small successes

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Today was pretty successful in my book! I tried some sips of 5 Hour Energy for the first time and managed to stay awake in class. I seem to nod off for a few seconds no matter what, so the energy boost helped me get past that. Then I got to do an informational interview for a student position I’m interested in. I’ve spoken to quite a few people about their experience in the role and I hope my application shines!!

At lunch, it was time to claim free hot dogs for lunch. Pink’s Hot Dogs was on campus giving out free dogs. Each person could claim two, as well as chips and drinks. On my way out, I ran into a second year who I’d been meaning to talk to (“Superman”) and had a nice interaction with him and another second year (“Caser”) who came over. My friend and I then proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon attending meeting after meeting together.

First up was case competition training, complete with catered lunch boxes. I was able to chat up a classmate I hadn’t officially met yet. He recently got a product (coconut cookies) into Trader Joe’s, which is awesome! After sitting down, I swapped cookies with the classmate next to me because he had chocolate chip and I had poppyseed. I call those small wins.

The next meeting was training for case interviews, which I hope I don’t have to do. I got called on by Caser to talk through one of the slides during the live demo. I talked a bit more than I needed to but ultimately got a decent point across and didn’t make a (complete) fool of myself! At the start of the meeting I was able to set up time to talk to Superman about two roles I am interested in. We met up at the mixer following the event to chat about his experiences. I hope I get both roles!

After the mixer, it was off to yet another kickoff meeting. Here I was able to score some Jimmy John’s sandwiches, as well as the platters they came on, which I plan on using as serving trays when we host parties at our apartment. :) To wrap up the night, our quiz #2 scores were posted for the Data class and I managed to pull off another 90! I’m pretty sure the professor accidentally copied my quiz #1 grade – I had no clue what I was doing!! 😉

So all in all, a good day. Now if only I could put my sore throat and “under the weather”ness behind me…

Prospurly June 2016 review

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Well, I got this box while I was out in China and then things have been so hectic with school that I never got around to reviewing it… so here it is! I’ve already had the July box for a month and the August one is on its way, so hopefully I’ll get those up quickly.

Prospurly is just under $45 per box (with code for 10% off your subscription – use my referral links from this post) and comes with artisan foods, bath & body items, home products, and other sustainably crafted items. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral program that earns you free boxes.

prospurly june 2016 box open with products showing prospurly june 2016 info card with product details

Mr. G’z La Jarra Spanish EVOO – The timing of this was perfect, since I was able to bring the olive oil and vinegar with me to my new apartment. The olive oil is a rich flavor that’s perfect for dipping bread in. Mmm, mmm! Now I can enjoy these flavors at home, which is great.

Mr. G’z Balsamic Vinegar – This vinegar is tart with some sweetness, which is quite nice. They suggest trying it on ice cream and I can actually see how that would taste good. If I ever get ice cream, I’ll have to try it. For now, I must go get some bread so I can enjoy them.

Lotus Naturals Dreamscape oil – I’ve never had a lucid dream, though I’ve gotten close to thinking that a dream was a dream while I was in it. I don’t know how this is supposed to help dream recall, but that sounds intriguing. I won’t be trying it until I feel more rested, since whenever I have dreams I don’t sleep well.

Bubbles and Botanicals Dear Aphrodite Bentonite Clay Mask – I’m always happy to have clay masks, since they help bring out toxins and clear pores. The powder formula should be really good for my oily skin.

SimpliMandi Brighten Up skin brightening serum – I’ve never been sensitive to dark spots and I don’t know if that’s because I don’t have them or I don’t notice them. I’ll use this for fun, but I don’t know if I’ll notice any changes!

SimpliMandi Honey Butter gentle mask + exfoliator – Ooo how fun – this mask sounds exotic and nice. It’ll be a nice thing to slather on on the weekend.

I look forward to trying all of these. I’ve got some products I’m still using, but I’ll get around to opening these eventually. What do you think of this month’s box?

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. :) All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

An ocean of work

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Yikes! I’m getting worse at staying on top of things here. With two full weeks of class behind me, I’m in the thick of things and just trying to stay afloat. It truly feels like a tsunami is behind me and I’m trying to swim to stay ahead of it. Every time I get past a wave, it’s a relief but then I look back only to find the massive waves have not receded.

Just about every single day, we either have a quiz or some sort of homework or project due. Next Friday we’ll already be done with two classes. How crazy is that?! Three intense weeks of class and they’re over. I’m still not sure how I feel about that at this point. On the one hand, we are basically going through recruiting boot camp so we are prepared as polished professionals as soon as we begin looking for internships.

(In case you’re not familiar with MBA life, you basically starting the recruiting process in the fall, where recruiters from various companies come on campus to seek interns for the summer. These internships are done in the summer between 1st and 2nd year and often can lead to full-time job offers to start after graduation. Much of the focus is on what internship experience you can get, since the whole idea of business school is to prepare us to be leaders in corporations.)

This week was pretty brutal, with long days dragging into long nights. It culminated in an all-nighter Thursday that lasted until nearly 5 am on Friday. I ended up sleeping for an hour and a half. Surprisingly, I was pretty functional for the day and didn’t even sleep early last night. This morning it was tough getting up though, so thank goodness it’s the weekend and we have a little bit of breathing room. I still feel pretty stressed since there’s a lot to do – research for two projects, studying for a quiz on Monday, reviewing for a quiz on Tuesday, conducting an informational interview and doing a write-up on it, plus a bunch of readings.

There are some boxes I really want to review but I just don’t have the bandwidth yet! Hang tight and I’ll hopefully get around to them later this month and into next.

MBA time

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Orientation is in full gear and we are buuuusy! (In fact so busy that I started drafting this days ago and never finished posting it… til now!!)

They’ve kept us busy, with days starting either at 8 or 7:20 and “ending” around 6. Afterwards, we’d have group meetings and homework to complete before the next day of jam packed activity.

usc marshall mba orientation bbq

Sunday was our first time ever as a full class of 228. We had a BBQ to kick things off and meet each other and our SOs/kids.

balloon animal usc trojan horse

The kids and staff got to request balloon creations! Someone had this awesome horse.

brand new lecture room in fertitta hall at usc marshall

We took the opportunity to visit the new building, which is meant to house much of the undergrads at Marshall. This is one of their big lecture rooms.

usc marshall mba welcome sign with balloons

Monday morning, we got in before 8 to start our lives as MBAs.

usc marshall mba orientation folder with name tags, schedules, and other documents

My orientation binder contained tons of material and name tags. The big laminated one is for class, the small one was for getting to know each other this week, and the gold one is for networking and professional events.

usc marshall mba binder

I sat at a gold table, which foretold the core I was split into (we are divided into 3 for classes). Core A is gold!

usc marshall mba orientation welcome

We were greeted by many, including Assistant Dean Bouffides seen here in Town & Gown.

uscard table at usc marshall mba orientation

During lunch, we had a chance to pick up student IDs/parking permits, ask about the fitness center/health insurance/financial aid, etc.

usc marshall mba box lunches provided by usc hospitality

The lunch boxes were quite good! I devoured just about everything. I love the Marshall mints. #branded

Starting Tuesday, we were split into our cores. There are three with 76 students each – Core A, B, and C. I’m in Core A! (Best one, of course.) I like to call myself an alpha female. Each core is then split into 13 groups (11 with six people and 2 with five people). My group is A6 and we have one other female, who is international. Of the 4 men, one is international and the other 3 domestic. These folks are going to be like family in the coming months, as we will have TONS of class work, teamwork, and other interactions.

usc marshall mba students walking to classroom

The next morning, there was coffee with the deans, bright and early at 7:20. We then walked back to Popovich Hall for class and more orientation.

The next couple of days was a blur of class, assignments, reading, group stuff, and more orientation sessions. We were trained on everything from teamwork to career management to elevator pitches.

usc marshall mba core a in class

Yesterday, it was TAM day in the afternoon (Teamwork at Marshall) so we got to dress down.

In our strategy class shown here, we set the tone by whooping the other two cores in the cola taste test challenge! Our team got 6 out of 9 correct whereas the others… got 1 each. Core A has stellar taste buds!

usc marshall mba tam day

We got out on the field and competed in a variety of challenges. Here is Core B in their grey shirts, waiting for Core C to show up.

usc marshall mba tam day activity

Activities included this one where we had to get people to “islands” without touching the ground.

We started off with a hula hoop challenge (sending two down the line without letting go of each others’ hands), then did an egg drop before splitting into smaller groups. Each core was split into 4 and we rotated through challenges. Our team did the marble challenge, getting 4 in the bucket (2nd place). The first rotation took us to the water challenge, transporting as much as possible (we won). Then it was a word game and the one shown above, both of which we lost. Luckily it’s based on overall performance across all teams!

usc marshall mba tam day core a pride

To wrap up, we had the water balloon toss. We did quite well but my partner and I got eliminated about halfway through. This is my attempt at an “A” symbol.

usc marshall mba core a

Our team did really well and had the last team standing!

usc marshall mba tam day group photo

The professional photographer took a big class photo for us.

usc marshall mba coffee with deans morning breakfast

Finally, today we had another coffee with the deans to kick off the day.

usc marshall mba networking event desserts

To wrap up the week, we did a mock networking event complete with hot food, fruit, cheese & crackers, and of course, dessert.

It’s a relief to be at the end of the week, but there’s so much to do. Tomorrow I have a social event where I’ll get to meet some 2nd years and I need to prepare work for Sunday, when my group is meeting. We’ll work on group stuff, discuss some things, and go hiking together! I also need to fit in filming a box opening for Yuzen.

It still feels surreal that I’m (shh) technically a Trojan now… I think at best I can be a Brujan. I feel a connection with Marshall and “the network” and the people, but somehow not the generic Trojan image. Once a Bruin, always a Bruin I guess. Have you felt a stronger affiliation to your undergrad institution, if you continued your education too (and went somewhere else)?

Easing into student life

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It’s the first official day of taking a course at my MBA program and I’m glad that I signed up to take the JumpStart for Accounting. It’s not as fast-paced as I was afraid it might be, so it makes me feel like I can handle the material, even though there’s already stuff that confuses me. This is a quick refresher course that is just 2 hours a day for 3 days. Official classes start next week for us, before any other students are even back on campus.

With just one class right now, I already find it hard to get the work done, but part of that is probably getting used to studying and learning so much again. Plus, I’m still doing a lot to get settled in to the apartment and I’m only about a third unpacked at this point while still trying to figure out the food situation (should I eat out and have leftovers or cook in bulk?). There’s also so much socializing to be done…

Oh, and there was a fire alarm today that was quite distracting. I wasn’t sure where to go and by the time I got downstairs, I saw people milling about but then the alarm ended as they tried to figure out who pulled the alarm. I had my “essentials” with me – purse with electronics, keys, phone, and skateboard. With the coast clear, we stood in line to get back up the elevators and I noted a ton of tiny dogs (and one cat).

The day was off to a rocky start after that and the glass thermos that I broke. I hope my dad can help me buy another one of the thermoses. Then to top it off, just as I was about to shower before heading in to class, I dropped my ring down the bathroom sink. I was able to turn off the water but didn’t have the tools to unscrew the pipe. I had to go off to class without it, which felt weird.

At school, I picked up my parking permit and went to park in the lot I’ll be using this year only to find you need your student ID to get in. So I had to go to a different structure that is also open to the public. I was going to get my ID after that, but I wanted to make sure I was early for class so I just went in.

My life feels a little off-kilter these days, with so many things going slightly wrong. I damaged the moving truck I used to bring my furniture. I couldn’t find my precious rock salt lamp that was a gift from Calavera (it took me 3 hours of searching, but I did find it). The car key batteries died so I had to use the key manually while trying to find the right size battery. I couldn’t find my extra car key, which my roommate will need sometimes since we are tandem parking. I then received the batteries today and managed to jab myself while trying to unscrew the tiny screws. One promptly fell into the fuzzy carpet and I had to run a magnet all over the floor to find it again. Plus, everything that happened today!

But you know what? None of these are life-threatening or anything that will impact my life in a major way. I’m trying to keep my head up, my hands steady, and focus on the business of being a student again. It’s not an easy transition and having to think so hard at night when I just want to veg will be a challenge, but plenty of others have been through the same. I have two awesome roommates splitting a great apartment with me and there are dozens of fantastic classmates ready to make this year incredible. I’m looking forward to our first social event as a class this Sunday!

Busy time

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Has it really been a week since my last posting?! I don’t think I’ve gone that long without writing something since I started blogging more seriously. Yikes.

This might be a preview of what’s to come with business school. Things have been busy with all the preparation and I can hardly believe all the traveling, packing, unpacking, and repacking I’ve done in the past three months. I’ve been on 20 planes, 11 trains, 2 long distance bus rides, and countless car rides. From Admit Weekend to a wedding to a full month in China and a Europe vacation to boot, I’ve covered a good part of the globe.

Since coming back late the night of the 20th, I’ve been working out the details of my move and trying to get back to PST. Luckily, it only took two days for me to get out of the jetlag funk and now I’m on a pretty normal schedule. I have now moved in as of yesterday and am settling in and trying to get my homework done before the start of the pre-term prep course.

There are also a bunch of administrative things I needed to do, like get my student ID, get books, pay for my parking permit… it’s all so overwhelming that I have trouble even picking which one to do first. I’m slowly chipping away at my to do list before it completely balloons into insanity sometime next week.

I have no idea how the workload will be once classes kick into gear, so postings may become rather sporadic. I’ll certainly try to continue with minimal interruptions!

The crazy cool insects of China

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During my stay in China, I’ve come across quite the assortment of exotic bugs. They’ve mainly been beetles, but there were plenty of others as well! Here are some I have pics of…

Such bright colors!

I thought the bush had a disease (and in a sense it does), but these are fuzzy powdery caterpillars!

This one reminded me of a ladybug.

This dragonfly on the porch was massive – a good three inches or longer.

My first atlas beetle sighting in the wild!!!

Such a golden fellow.

A more typical insect that made its way indoors.

Omg, such a large skinny beetle.

This had to have been the loudest cicada ever. There was a guy who put their larvae by the trees like this and they seemed to hatch and not leave the tree.

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