Friday, April 30, 2010

Sick Day

I overdid it with the late nights... now have a lovely case of contagious bronchitis/conjuctivitis. Who wants a hug?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Late Night Rambles

It is late. I am overbooked with things to do. I'm taking two midterms in the next two days, neither of which I've studied adequately for. I'm incredibly behind in studio..

This is mostly because I redid my design. AGAIN. We're talking the sixth or seventh complete and utter redesign over the span of 14 weeks or so. But... I'm really happy with it. It's actually working out this time.

Remember how before I had random meaningless shapes as cutouts in my nook? Cool concept, boring execution. It needed meaning.

Enter meaning:

It's an anagram poem by the lovely and OTR-centered VisualLingual. So now my random shapes are lettters, that harken back to the neighborhood the library is centered in...

Just a screenshot of my Sketchup model, but you can get the idea, right? You won't actually experience the space like this, but it's cool to look at overall.


Okay. Back to work!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Diary of a DAAP Kid: Am I a Young Professional?

With the thought of Real Life and the Real World looming so quickly over my head, I have continued to deepen my social networking roots as I test the waters of Cincinnati's potential hiring ground for June 2010. For me, this goes beyond brushing up my LinkedIn profile.

Over the last year I've been priviledged to gain access to the incredible network of bloggers and Twitter folk in the greater Cincinnati area, and across the country. Forging these connections has led me to great opportunites - I've gotten freelance work, office furniture, heck, today I even learned a little bit about the house I currently live in!

A lot of people my age do not understand or appreciate the value of social networking in a professional context. In fact, I get mocked regularly (in a loving way of course) by my friends who just don't get Twitter. It's okay guys. I love you too, and so do the aliens that live in my phone and tell me where the best places to eat in Lexington are.

The point is, all my tweeting has finally paid off! This Thursday I get to be a part of HYPE Cincinnati's social media team for their big Bold Fusion 2010 event.

It's a conference-style event for Young Professionals, by Young Professionals, designed to get us thinking in different ways about our life, professional and personal. So then the first obvious question is... am I (a college student getting ready to graduate) a Young Professional? Wikipedia says it generally refers to a young person not in school who is employed in a profession or white-collar occupation. Well, crap.

I'm still in school... barely. But in reality, between working 6 jobs over the last 5 years in my field of study as a paid professional intern, I've got more experience than many recent graduates who have started their first "real" job. So, yes. Pretty sure I've got the whole YP thing covered.... except for maybe the whole power suit thing. Obviously I don't have it all figured out yet, and I'm really excited for Bold Fusion to help show me the way and connect me with awesome people!

If you haven't registered yet, and you want to... you totally should! It's only $35 for college students!! You can register online now or by calling (513) 579-3111.

If you're coming to Bold Fusion on Thursday, or if you're not and want to follow along, be sure and use the hashtag #cincyhype and follow along with my thoughts and ramblings during the course of the afternoon. AND please come find me and say hi!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Diary of a DAAP Kid: 50 DAYS! (+ photo project 1)

The title says it all.

I. Am. Graduating. In. Fifty. Days.

Holy cow. One of my classmates got a job offer at a firm in Chicago. She's the first one to go, and it's very exciting stuff. The challenge right now is to balance and focus on my school work, enjoy the time with my friends while I can, and top it all off with some job hunting. So far so good.

My studio project has evolved yet again! I'm really excited. I'll fill you in with a post on Monday, when it's a little more developed.

In the meantime, my first assignment in my Intro to Photography class was due yesterday. We were to focus on landscapes. These are the two I had printed at a large scale.

Spring Grove Cemetery

 Under the Bridge at Sawyer Point

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Just Gotta Be Me...

The journey that has been this whole "recycledbin" thing has been a great experience. However, I am more than 300 plastic bags melted together. My design ideas are a part of me, but I have let them completely define my identity.

With graduation soon approaching, it's time to take control of my online destiny... so, I've got to make some changes.

I yam what I yam..

My goal is to roll out a new website that will be a venue for my writings about sustainability, Cincinnati, and design, as well as a venue to showcase my design work and experience. I don't have a handle on this yet, but look forward to it soon.

For now, the big thing that has changed is my Twitter handle. I've given up the recycledbin moniker in favor of my real name. Alex Shebar recently posted some great thoughts on hiding behind crazy names on the internet, and it really got me thinking.

So, don't freak out - it's still me! Just... me.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Lorax Gives Yet Another Update.

Faithful readers may remember that I live directly across from an empty lot straddling Calhoun and McMillan Streets in Clifton Heights. Last year people got the bright idea to park in the grass, ruining a potential green space for those of us without yards. It was a pretty lame situation, and I got a little fussy over the whole ordeal.

Well, almost a year later, the property owners have finally got the situation under control. They installed a permanent chain link fence around the existing gravel parking lot, which is quite an upgrade from caution tape and post and chains that were easily torn down by asshole Jeep drivers.



And yesterday, I saw people hanging out under the single tree in the grass lot!! This is great news. If more people start using it as green space, there is potential for the developers to maybe someday use it as a park space.

This is your eternal optimist, signing off.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Compost Update

It has now been over a year since I have been composting at my home in Clifton!! You may remember how excited I was to embark upon my smelly little journey of fermenting my food scraps.

My happy little bin, one year ago:
brand spankin' new!


well used and well loved!

I am extremely proud to report that I actually have something to show for all my hard work: crumbly black (only slightly smelly) composted food soil!! It needs to be mixed in with some regular dirt, but considering my house is all gravel and broken glass, it will have to come from another source. Back in the fall a friend helped me with some fill dirt and dry leaves, which definitely helped.

 isn't it beeeeautiful?!?!

The 5chw4r7z's have already laid claim to some of the dirt. I'm hoping to donate the rest to a community garden, or maybe YOUR backyard! Do ya want it? Let me know!!


I just realized that I've now been doodling around in this thing for over a year! It's been an insanely awesome year. Thanks for coming along for the craziness. I'm hoping to transition to a big girl website before graduation. I hope you all follow me there!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Women Need To Ask: Salary Negotiation

This past Thursday evening I attended a seminar sponsored by the UC Women's Center entitled "$tart $mart." It is a workshop teaching college age women about the need to benchmark and negotiating a starting salary. I have taken 20 weeks worth of classes on Professional Practice, and I learned more in Thursday's 3 hour session than I did during both of those classes. This information is too important NOT to share. So, here you have it:

(image link)
Start Smart originated by the group Women Are Getting Even (WAGE) and the AAUW. Their aim is to educate others about wage discrimination in the United States, (yes it still happens) and inform and empower women to stand up for the compensation we deserve.

Women make, on average, .77 to every $1 an equally qualified man makes in the workplace. That may not seem like a lot, but it adds up. Over a life time, a working woman will potentially make 1.2 MILLION dollars less than her male counterpart.

One. Point. Two. Million. Dollars. What the HELL??

If a man and woman start on the same career track in the same position, but the man negotiates to get a bigger salary, he will consistently make more across the board. His bonus will be bigger, pension will be bigger, and every raise will catapult his salary higher and higher. Add in deeply rooted stereotypes (albeit sometimes unintentional) and lower expectations on the woman's part ( "I don't need as much", "I'm not as well qualified", "I want to be liked so I won't make a fuss") and you have a formula that is unfair and needs to be changed.

It starts with the first salary after graduation. Oh hey, I'm graduating in June... so this is pretty flipping relevant to me.

The way to get what you deserve in the workplace is to know what you deserve to be making in the workplace. is a website that catalogs salary and benefits for practically every job in the US, and lists high, low, and average salaries in a particular location. So for a beginning interior design position in Cincinnati, the average salary is about $38,000. This is good info to know, especially since in the workshop we calculated a basic budget coming out to approximately $32,000 a year. Eep!

When you know what the median salary for your potential position is, set that as your benchmark salary goal for the position. If you're qualified for the job, you deserve the money! Do not let the economy scare you into settling for a salary. It will hurt you in the long run.

It's also important to know about and negotiate your benefits. Sometimes a lower pay will be worth it if the benefits (health, life, disability insurance, 401K contibutions, paid time off, vacations) are good. But if you don't know, you can't negotiate!

After you benchmark your target salary, you know what you are worth in the marketplace. Be prepared to justify the reasons behind the salary you want. Employers admire someone who has a clear understanding of their worth and how to explain it.

We also learned how to negotiate a salary, with tips and tricks, do's and don'ts.

* If you are filling out a job application, do NOT fill in a desired salary if it is requested. Put something like "negotiable." If it's online and you can't proceed until filling it out, then put 2% above your midpoint salary. But only if you absolutely have to.

* You can only start negotiating your salary AFTER you have a job offer. Not a peep about it before they want you to work for them. After they've offered you the job, they are invested in you and will be willing to discuss your needs.

* It's all about your tone. Be positive - you're starting a professional relationship with this person, no need to get defensive. It's a conversation. Don't be emotional. Be persuasive - put all the research you've done to use and let them know why you deserve to be paid what you deserve to be paid. But also be flexible - Know what you want (your target), but know what you need (the absolute minimum you've decided you need to live on). Listen to your employer's needs and brainstorm ways to meet their needs and your goals.

* Tactics: Let them offer a number first. Don't be the first to offer. Aim high, but be realistic. If you've got the skills, you deserve the money, honey. Tell them why!! Do your homework on the company and organization, so you know how you can fufill your employer's needs from Day 1.

* Tips: Sell yourself! - Don't assume they've read your resume, so be prepared to go through it and highlight specifics. Anticipate any objections they may throw your way. Be prepared to listen, and respond with how you can help them. And seriously... don't get personal.

An employer is looking for an assessment of your ability to get their job done and how you fit within their organization. They don't need or want a sob story of how badly you need the job.

If you get an offer, don't accept it right away. Don't be afraid to have a discussion. If they refuse to budge on the money you need, be prepared to walk. It wasn't the right choice anyway. Be sure to ask hard questions.

The bottom line: If you don't ask, you won't get it. You are not a bitch for asking for the money you deserve. Be knowledgeable. Be honest. Be professional. You'll come out ahead.

The UC Women's Center is an amazing resource, and they are super helpful if you have any questions or want any more information on this and other women's issues. You can go to their website or check them out on campus at 571 Steger (right next to Subway.)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Plastic Bag Love: Josh Blackwell

Major hat tip to the fabulous site Design Sponge who shared this great artist with her readers this morning. Josh Blackwell is an artist who celebrates the disposable by embellishing the lowly *my favorite* plastic bag.

He's been educated on both coasts and boasts a healthy resume of gallery shows, fellowships, and written work. I love how he's created beauty from something we consider ugly and easy to throw away.

My favorite thing is his studio. I can really relate.

Paper and Plastic
A Manifesto for Casual Use
Carelessness with carefulness
Soft-build not athletic
Vintage and future
Casual and formal
Mountains not beaches
Volume after flatness
Grace Jones and Leigh Bowery
Ballets before musicals
Demy and Tati
Trousers or sweaters
Oxford Bags and Nantucket Reds
Sandals instead of shoes
Booking versus tooling
Imi Knoebel and Donald Judd
Paper and plastic
- Josh Blackwell

all images copyright Josh Blackwell