Posts Tagged ‘summer’

Celebrating a most excellent day

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What a wonderful day it turned out to be. I woke up a little anxious because I had a lot on my plate, including my first presentation to a VP at work. I took it one step at a time though, and make it through a crazy day with some great wins.

I started the morning working in a small team on survey questions for a group intern project before doing a run-through of the presentation with a colleague in Engineering HR. I then had to focus on other aspects of the group project (an interview guide) and then it was time to go volunteer at a Party on the Patio event. There happened to be an intern expo happening in the same area, so I swung by and was able to get a really nice leather notebook! That made me happy.

Then while volunteering, we biked to blend smoothies, handed out patriotic bead necklaces, and encouraged people to enter the raffles. I met some cool people and the time felt nice and long, giving me a mental break from everything else. I earned a free t-shirt and lunch for my time, which was nice.

I geared up for work again, returning to my building and meeting about some data around diversity. I met with my Eng HR buddy again to go through the presentation again and it was really coming together at that point. We took a break to listen to Bryan Cranston (some famous dude you may know) talk to Chuck Robbins (our CEO) for the closing keynote of CiscoLive! out in Vegas. Another colleague in Eng HR had put together a viewing party complete with cake, milk, popcorn, and other snacks! Nom.

I left that party early to get into gear for my meeting with the VP, which started a little late and with a slightly frazzled audience. She had just wrapped up another meeting that didn’t seem to leave her in the best of moods. Luckily, the presentation went off without a hitch and she really liked it, with just minor comments and a great dialogue around what the intention and purpose of our work was. I was happy to hear her say she ended up in a much better mood after our meeting. 🙂 My team was incredible in getting me prepared for such a successful meeting!

On a high, I went to chat with one of the advisors we have who has been through our internship and the rotation program. She and I had a great conversation before I returned to the intern area and began to prep for my evening interview. I had signed up to conduct the very first interview we’d use for the group intern project. I tested out the technology with some colleagues, worked out some kinks, and then got ready for the conversation. My interviewee was in China and such a fun, vibrant woman! I had a lot of fun talking with her and I think it was wonderful content.

I was pretty drained by the end of the day, having been at the office nearly 12 hours. I got home to rest and was about to go to bed when my host texted to chat. He and I ended up discussing the terms for the rest of my stay and I’ll be moving to a new location this weekend! I’m absolutely pooped now but I wanted to remember this day when I got in quite a few wins. The past two weeks have been intense and I’m looking forward to a slightly slower pace through next week as everyone peaces out for the holiday weekend.

And now I’d like to go pass out, thank you very much. I’ll reward myself by trying to sleep in a bit tomorrow.

Summer work life

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I’m starting to settle in to my role at Cisco and create a few habits. I generally get to work around 8 (ugh) and wrap up around 5, with lunch at 12 with some of my fellow HRLPers (Human Resources Leadership Program interns and full-timers). After work I go to the gym to work out and then relax in the steam room and sauna before showering and heading to dinner. Some evenings I have happy hours or other events to attend.

Later in the week, the interns in other Cisco departments tend to get together for dinner. They also try to coordinate lunch together, but I work in a building about a mile from them so it’s too much of a hassle and I like having some time to my own intern cohort and potential workmates.

I usually get home (to my AirBnB) around 8:30-9:30 and sometimes I chat with one of the other tenants. There’s a South American working for a wine company, a Chicagoan who works at the ER at Kaiser, a traveling consultant, a Chinese girl and her friend, plus one mystery guy who I have yet to meet. I then spend the rest of the night in my room grooving to music and doing a variety of things online before calling it a night.

It’s a rather peaceful yet somehow still busy life. I feel a certain amount of stress making sure I do a good job this summer at work and I also want to ensure I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to explore the area with a variety of friends. This past weekend we went to the redwoods and Santa Cruz, which was an amazing time. I held my very first banana slug!! I’m sure there will be more to come. I should also try to reconnect with old friends who are working up in the SF area, but it feels oh so far…

On My Mind, episode 11: summer plans

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I don’t do a lot of journal entry type posts here, but there are some things going on that I just wanted to share. Sometimes there is no specific topic; it’s just about life in general.

This weekend, I was very excited to get a shipment notification from Baubax, which I backed on Kickstarter back in September. I had hoped to get it in time for Thanksgiving. So much for that! They originally anticipated being able to get them completed by November, but their campaign exploded way beyond they ever expected. The product is a travel jacket, which they designed 4 of. I chose the red bomber jacket because it seemed like a nice balance between dressy and casual. I hope it fits me well!!

Panda and I have been looking for someone to rent a room in our home. His organization has interns that will be coming next month and they always need a place to stay. There are a few students we’ve considered and I look forward to finalizing details. We’re happy to earn some extra money to help fund my MBA. I’ll be leaving halfway through their stay to get ready for my program. Things are going to be crazy the next couple of months! Maybe in the future we can consider listing a room on Airbnb.

Panda got the Whole Dang Thang, which included fried fish, scallops, gator, calamari, shrimp and more.

Panda got the Whole Dang Thang, which included fried fish, scallops, gator, calamari, shrimp and more.

About a month ago, Panda and I went out to dinner with Calavera for cajun seafood. As I was cracking away at my crab legs, I didn’t realize I was weakening part of my tooth and on the drive home, I noticed that my tooth had chipped. Prior to that, I had noticed a tiny little indentation along the bottom of the tooth, so it must have fractured along that groove. I needed a teeth cleaning anyway, so I scheduled a dental appointment and was told I should get a crown. Since dental procedures are expensive in the US and I plan on going to China this summer, I decided to wait until I go there to get it done. In the mean while, I look silly sometimes with what looks like a gap in my teeth that then shows itself as a missing chunk. At least a gap would look normal!

Now that I know what program I’ll be attending in the fall, it’s all about getting to know what they have to offer. I received a call from an MBA Ambassador today, but I was working and then wasn’t able to reach her later. I’m compiling questions about the program, life in general, and other things to know before I start school. There are four more people I should reach out to (two friends and two ambassadors, one who interviewed me). I think I’ll learn a lot at Admit Weekend next week and I can’t wait to start meeting people, learning, and thinking about what I’ll do. All this looking to the future has me distracted from what I should focus on, but I’m still making good progress at work. Still, I’m itching to train someone up and start handing things off, though it looks like that won’t happen for another month.

I’ve always been interested in helping uncover resources and make them more readily available, so I created an unofficial employee handbook using Trello. Tomorrow I get to train a new girl on it for the very first time! I can’t wait to see what she thinks, get feedback, and hone it into a lasting legacy that I will leave here. I’ve got quite a few projects that I hope will continue to live on when I’ve moved on. I know that our use of Slack will certainly be one of those.

There are so many things buzzing around in my head these days. With my obsession with Trello, I’ve put together various boards to help me track everything I should be doing. Now I just need to get better at checking them… 😛

Homegrown Collective June 2014 review

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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I am constantly amazed at how the folks over at the Homegrown Collective come up with these awesome projects month after month. This box comes perfectly timed for the summer months and I was so eager I started one of them even as we left for Pittsburgh Thursday night.

The Homegrown Collective GREENBOX is $39 per box + $9 shipping (or as discounted as $429 for an entire year, with options in between) and comes with fun and easy projects to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral program you can apply to join.

inside of summertime & the livin's easy homegrown collective box with the info sheets on the inner lid contents of the homegrown collective june 2014 box with summertime & the livin's easy theme

cat sniffing aloe included in homegrown collective june 2014 box with summertime & the livin's easy theme

Smokey was a big fan of this box too.

Project #1, after-sun aloe lotion bars: Ducky molds?!! I LOVE IT. How playful and fun are these? I really look forward to making them and playing around with my little ducky lotions. So adorable! And of course these will be super useful in the summertime to help soothe the bites and scratches that seem inevitable.

the homegrown collective june 2014 project after-sun aloe lotion bars info card the homegrown collective june 2014 products for after-sun aloe lotion barsProject #2, all natural insect repellant: This is the project that I already have underway and just need to finish up today. What perfect timing – Panda and I went out catching fireflies last week and got bites all over, so next time we go out we’ll have protection against those bugs. I sure hope this is super effective at repelling mosquitoes since we both seem to taste extra good to them.

the homegrown collective june 2014 project all natural insect repellant info card the homegrown collective june 2014 products for all natural insect repellant

Project #3, all natural organic sunscreen: Woo hoo, a third project again! I hope they keep this up so I can play around with even more projects. Making my very own sunscreen is fantastic. I wonder if it will have that “sunscreen smell” that we’re all too used to? I doubt it, and that is a very good thing indeed. I had no idea soybean oil could be so useful for bug spray and sunscreen! Fascinating.

the homegrown collective june 2014 project all natural organic sunscreen info card the homegrown collective june 2014 products for all natural organic sunscreen

Can you say summer soothing in a box? This is amazing. I can’t wait to see how effective everything is! And those ducky molds are precious. I feel like making jello with them… 😛

the homegrown collective june 2014 aloe vera info card

You know you want to get in on this action! Just subscribe to the Homegrown Collective and you can enjoy these fantastic projects too. 😀

[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!]

Yuzen Summer 2014 edition review

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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It always seems like I sit on my Yuzen boxes for a long time before I finally get the review out. Don’t know why that keeps happening, so I’m finally getting this done before summer is truly upon us! I filmed the video for this a week and a half ago and it should be showing up on Yuzen’s YouTube channel in a few days. But hey, you get to see what comes in the box here!

Yuzen is $33 per quarter (with boxes sent Feb, May, Aug, and Nov) and comes with around 7 or 8 eco-friendly beauty, skincare, food/snacks, and home products. Boxes are sent quarterly with no option to skip, but you can get one-time gift boxes too. Sometimes there’s a waitlist to get the subscription. They do not offer a referral program.

unboxed summer 2014 yuzen box with contents shown

ShamanutiSeaweed Toner: I’m a huge fan of sprays and mists, so this toner is just fantastic. It has a light scent that is wonderfully relaxing and has a very soothing effect. I like how it’s ocean-inspired with the kelp they use. Some great skincare comes from the ocean! I did accidentally overspray myself at first because one push of this sends out a lot of product. I learned to hold it at a much further distance to get better coverage. Use code yuzenlove by 8/31/14 for 20% off at Shamanuti.

Kerstin FlorianLavender Body Spray: Wow, this was a major surprise when I tried it. I thought it’d just be a normal spray, but what I got was a sheen of ultra-moisturizing amazingness. A gentle rub into the skin and felt soft and smooth. This is fabulous! I love how the spray head allows me to quickly moisturize my skin with a spray and swipe. That’s all it takes to absorb and heal my skin. I’m very impressed. Use code ZEN20 by 9/30/14 for 20% at Kerstin Florian (restrictions apply).

KneippHerbal Bath in Lavender: What a relaxing bath additive. Lavender is the perfect choice for a bath and this bottle of concentrated goodness promises a most excellent bathing experience. Of course I still need to get around to drawing a bath in the first place… I’ll probably end up doing that within the week, since I’ve been so drained and I could use a good soak. Just smelling it in the bottle is helping ease my mind already. Use code Yuzen14 by 12/31/14 for 10% off the full size product at Kneipp.

MyChelle  Ultimate Lash and Brow Serum: I like this brand and I certainly like the idea of increasing my lash length. This is a small tube, but I’m sure it will last quite some time since you barely need any each time. I’ve applied it to my lashes and I hope it works! It doesn’t smell or feel like anything, though it did tingle a bit when it was drying. The consistency is liquidy enough to come on easily and we’ll just have to wait and see for results. Use code YUZEN25 by 2/1/15 for 25% off at MyChelle.

Aromaflagefragrance & insect repellent: Ok, this has got to be the most unique thing I’ve seen! Taking a fragrance (aka perfume) and making it an insect repellent too? What a brilliant way to make something I’d never care for (perfume) into something I’d actually consider! The scent is very special, with a warmth and citrusy notes. When the bugs start coming, I’m totally using this as my insect repellent. I mean, who wants to go out smelling like bug spray, right? Might as well disguise myself as a fine lady with this scent. It smells more down-to-earth than your typical perfume fluff too. 🙂 Use code Yuzen2014 by 7/31/14 for 15% at Aromaflage.

Hugo NaturalsVanilla & Sweet Orange soap: This is a brand and scent I’ve tried, not as a soap, but as a lotion. Funny enough, that was the same box I got my first taste of MyChelle from too. This is a generous full size bar that will last me ages! I’m saving it until my current soap is done so it doesn’t lose any of its scent or go through too many cycles of drying out and getting wet. I like the sweet scent of this bar that’s perfect for cleaning my body and giving me a fresh smell. Use code VSO20 by 8/31/14 for 20% at Hugo Naturals.

Sencha NaturalsPink Dragonfruit mints: How random that just after receiving these, I was in a store and saw them being sold! Was it just that I had never paid attention before? Granted, it was a completely new store I was in at the time. Whatever the case, funny timing. I love the leaf shapes they use and that they incorporate green tea to help with bacteria (and of course give you some antioxidants). This flavor is sweet with a mint that comes later and lingers nicely. Use code YUZEN15 by 7/31/14 for 15% off at Sencha Naturals.

I definitely feel more prepared for the warmer months, what with insect repellent and super healing products for my skin. And hey, I might just get some longer lashes too! What items are you most interested in from this box?

*Disclosure: As a super fan, I was invited to be the Yuzen Ambassador to help them spread the word about their brand. I now receive the boxes for free. I was not compensated otherwise and all opinions are my own, irregardless of my relation to Yuzen. I just happen to think they’re awesome (as does everyone else I’ve heard from). 🙂

Sunday Social: anniversary edition

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Sunday Social

Ok, so I was totally going to skip this week’s Sunday Social and join in for next week’s (what can I say? I don’t want to bore you with answers to questions that I don’t have interesting answers for) BUT then I saw they are doing a giveaway to participants. I can’t say no to a good giveaway and I’m particularly interested in a custom blog design. I’ve been itching for one but don’t want to spend the money. Here’s to hoping I win! 🙂

1. What is your favorite social media outlet?
Hmm, I guess I’d have to go with Facebook since it’s the most useful for me. I like the versatility of it – I can put up pictures and videos, tag friends, connect with brands, keep track of events, etc. It also happens to be the one I use the most. All others are sort of just there to help extend my blogging efforts.

2. Do you subscribe to any daily news reads? If so which ones?
No… I probably should, but there is way too much for me to read/do as it is. I usually get my news from Panda since he’s a lot better about staying up with the times. Me? I may as well live on the moon for all I know about current events.

3. Favorite magazine to have by the pool?
See that’s the thing – if I am poolside, I have a book and the title varies each time. I never have a magazine. I haven’t bought magazines since my teen years and I rarely ever read them (except for online articles).

4. Favorite summertime song?
A happy one. I’m having way too much trouble trying to think of one (sadly all the songs I can think of are melancholy). Yeah I warned you these answers would be boring.

5. Best summer concert you’ve been to?
Well, I’ve only ever been to one concert, which I was volunteering at and it was The Killers at the Hollywood Bowl. It was fun, but I didn’t know most of the songs so I wasn’t screaming and excited like most of the other people there. I also didn’t spend who knows how much to get in!

Cat’s life: summer lounging

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My cats sure know how to enjoy themselves in the midst of these summer days. 🙂

cats lounging in summer heat, one inside doorway and one outside - both laying in same position

Hehe, they often mirror each other when they sit or lay around.

missy the cat sleeping with her legs splayed, belly facing up

Oh she knows how to get comfortable alright.

molly the cat laying on couch pillow with arm dangling down

She owns this sofa!

Summertime in the east

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It’s hot out in the eastern part of the states! With summer in full force, we went to enjoy the neighborhood…

synthetic ice cubes

At the clubhouse, iced tea is offered with these funny plastic ice cubes keeping it cool.

cluster of female ducks hanging out by edge of pond

The girl ducks were out tanning in the sun.

dragonfly takes a break on plants by edge of pond

Even this dragonfly needed to take a break in the heat.

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