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Bye Bye Bye

Like N'Sync I'm letting you know.

A town. Stay down.

Sike naw, I'll be back in due time. However, as you can imagine, with me leaving on Saturday there is much to do. I'm hanging out with the girls tomorrow night. I have a surprise night for them and they are super excited!

Then once I get home I have a weekend to relax with Monsieur N and fam before I deal with all the drama at HU regarding my account and housing. It's amazing how people's responses to you change once they know you are a certain persons daughter (my dad is an auditor at HU). Random but I just thought about it. I try so hard to do things without "daddy" but when you have no other options who else do you turn to for advice? Argh.

Okay, for real I gotta go now. Don't know how soon I'll be back but I'll be back (think Schwarzenegger).

xoxo
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Art's Cool: Pt2

So we're back where we left off...

Claude Monet

This dude is très famous for the scene above called "Lily Pond" which (according to my audioguide) he painted 18 times in 1899 alone. That explains why I see it in almost every large museum I go to! In general though he spent oodles of time painting scenes from his garden - which he spent even more time working on, not to mention money. I gotta give it to him though, if his gardens look half as good as they do in his works, then it must’ve been absolutely amazing. He especially loved his water lilies as it is made obvious through all of his beautiful paintings of them. I also adore his "Girl with Parasol." painting.

Okay so the next three painters I like for two reasons: technique and use of color. It's fairly obvious that these folks were influenced by my impressionist friends such as Monet. However the technique used in these paintings are unique and thus striking...

Georges-Pierre Seurat: "Bathers at Asnieres"


Henri Cross: "Canale Ponte Lungo"



Paul Signac: "Port St.Tropez "


That's all folks. But hey, do you have any favorites?

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Art's Cool: Pt1

I did some more touristing today. And, yes I just made up that word. Can we move on now please? I went to the National Gallery of Art. This is the second thing on a list of three that I keep saying I will do the next time I’m in London yet I have failed to make the time for. Now all that’s left is the super cool Victoria and Albert Museum. No seriously, its 'spose to be cool so don’t make that face.

Anyway, I went by myself - which was per.fec.tion. I really enjoy looking at art without the nuisance of other people influencing your pace. I must say that while the National Gallery of Art is really nice, my favorite gallery of all time is the Musée D’Orsay. So if you like art and you somehow, oh i dunno... find yourself in Paris, I encourage you to only spend an hour or two max in the Louvre and spend the rest of the evening enjoying the Musée D’Orsay - which by the way has a fabulous collection of impressionist works.


Back to the topic at hand--- After spending a couple hours walking around, I realized that only about 1/3 of the art on display were of interest to me with the other 2/3 boring me. It took less than 30 min for me to walk through those and walk out once I had seen my faves. That’s when I realized that even though I am really open to modern and funky art, there is only so much of old art that I really can stand - far less enjoy. And most (not all) of those are from the 19th century by Impressionists or other artists influenced by the impressionists in some way – whether it's the strokes of their brush or the vivid use of color. So I have decided to share my favorite artists with you. Oh and they are in no particular order:

Henri Rousseau

I don’t like him so much for what he painted but for the vividness of his works. His paintings are always eye-catching and they often immediately make you step back and think (unlike most which I simply spend time admiring). Shown above is "The Sleeping Gypsy.” I assure you, his works are only impressive if you see the original work.

Pablo Picasso

There are so many people who will shoot me when I say this… Picasso is NOT my favorite artist. He barely makes it on this list of those I adore. Yes, as shameful as it is, it must be said. As a matter of fact, none of his well known paintings are my favorites either. I am not a fan of distorted and crazy looking objects/people in paintings. But I am a fan of anyone with the ability to make use of amazing colors and capture an emotion almost effortlessly. Seen above is the painting “Child with a Dove.” This is the painting that paved the way for his name on my list today.

Paul Gauguin

This was a funny man – another thing I remember from Aesthetics class. Not funny in a humorous way or a homosexual way, but in his own funny way lol. I know that makes no sense but whatever. At a point in his life – I won’t bore you with dates/details – he moved to Tahiti. Practically all the paintings I’ve ever seen by him and arguably his most famous paintings are from this period in his life. If you ask me, he was obsessed with painting Polynesian women. I mean, they are the subject of everyone that I’ve seen. While the art is nice to look at, I almost think I like the oddness of the artist behind the painting more than anything as well as the fact that his style/subjects are so unique that one could point them out anywhere. One of his most famous ones, "Arearea" ("Joyousness") is shown above.

Degas

I love this man’s work. Like Gauguin he loved painting females, but Degas spent many of his years painting ballerinas. I love just about all of these ballerina paintings and I absolutely adore the statue ballerina.

Although he obviously had a love for the art of ballet (or maybe little girls, but whatever) there are other paintings of his such as "The Absinthe Drinker" which are so different from the ballerina paintings. "The Absinthe Drinker" has so much mystery behind it that I’m intrigued each time I come across it. It was nice seeing it for the first time while in France. The audio-guides give you really good background into each painting and the artist.

I came across this piece of his today that is so different from anything I’ve ever seen by him. It was really large and the use of the red is beautiful. It’s called “Combing the Hair” or “La Coiffure.” And please don’t ask me how they both can be the title if they aren’t direct translations. I’m just the messenger.


Paul Cezanne

I studied Cezanne back as a freshman in high school in Aesthetics class – we had a semester of art and a semester of music. Since I didn’t really appreciate what I was learning at the time, all I can remember about the dude was that he was weird. I also remember that he spent most of his time in French countrysides painting landscapes, particularly mountains. But i don’t get too much credit for that fact because it’s obvious every time you look at one of his works. Well I don’t like all of his paintings but there are quite a few that always catch my eye.

The one shown above is “Landscape with Poplars.” Such a unique name i must say. He’s one of the many artists who have inspired my yet to be produced painting entitled “The Yellow Crayon.” I’ll let you know when I get it up in a gallery for you to see.

...to be continued because I'm sweepy and I still have a few more artists to share with you. Night night!

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Tourists Smorists

Aargh. Have I ever told you I don't like tourists?

Well I.don't.like.tourists. They are always in the way, taking up space, stopping at the wrong time... completely oblivious to the real world they are disrupting. To make things worse, I am constantly encountering these.. these.. people since I am always living in touristy cities - DC, NY, and London. Thank goodness I decided not to study in Paris last semester. I don't know how much I could take.

Well of all things I decided to do today... I joined the tourists. **shudder**

It's alright. I'm home safely now. All the tourists are in good condition. I promise I didn't hurt anyone.


I went to the Tower of London to do the tour (aren't those souvenir lollipops just adorable). I wanted to do this since my very first visit to London last year but it never quite worked out. I keep hearing how great the tour is plus I just couldn't live with myself if I'd gone home without seeing the Star of Africa and other crown jewels that the British stole from the rest of the world.

On top of that, on my way I was forced to walk three miles underground between connecting stations. I believe that if the map says that two stations offer connections, the City of London should inform me that I will be forced to suffer through a total of four three-story-high escalators, 10 stair cases, and 10 miles of walking. On top of that, what makes them even think that two stations that are each 20 square miles each could be connected? I mean, subjecting a poor innocent tourist - *cough* much like myself - to a 50 mile trek is just WRONG. I don't think they want me to write them a letter of complaint, do they?

Anyways... after the tour my friend and I did our weekly thing at the Häagen Dazs restaurant then went to see the musical Chicago. My dessert was fantabulous as always (I've been getting the same thing since I became a usual in the Häagen Dazs in France lol) and the musical wasn't all too bad either. I think I like the movie more though.

Well that was my Saturday for the most part. It's a holiday weekend so I have two more days to go before the official FOUR DAY FINALE (dum dum duuummmm). September 1st British Airways flight 23444 to Dulles HERE I COME!

am I overdoing it?

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I Can See!

To quote the good book*:
On the Tuesday God said, "let her have sight."

Since I'm doing a miserable job of catching you guys up with my life over the last few busy and crazy weeks, I have obviously failed to mention that I am now a glasses wearer-er. Since I started work I've been getting these terrible migraines. They started off pretty infrequently and slowly worsened in intensity and frequency. So I went to the useless nurse we have in our building...

Throughout the converstaion she is serious and seems to be concentrating real hard - like she's bout to say something intelligent the next time she opens up her mouth
Nurse: So how many hours do you work in front of the computer
Me: Well, the whole time I'm here so about 12 hours
Nurse: How much sleep do you get?
Me: Unfortunately I go to the gym which cuts down on sleep ... so on average maybe like 5-6 hours but sometime 4.
Nurse: That's not good. You need at least 6-8 hours. You should try to get some more sleep.
Me: (thinking...okkkaay, and I know this!? Besides, your a nurse in place notorious for long work days... what kind of advice is that WOMAN?) I've never really slept that much while working or in school unless it's the weekends yet I've never had this problem.
Nurse: How old are you?
Me: (thinkin... urgh?) 21 later this year
Nurse: Well maybe it's catching up on you.
Me: (for those of you who know me well, put my facial expression...) HERE.

Then she proceeds to ask about the lighting on my floor - which apparently would only give me a constant headache and not any of the other dozens of people who sit under the same lights. She probably asked some other stupid stuff but the best thing she said during that entire session was that if I slept more and tried to stay off the computer for a couple days (don't know how she thought that made sense seeing that ALL you do is on a computer!!!!) then maybe I should get my eyes checked and/or see a regular doctor). GENIUS. I could've freakin consulted myself.

Thank the good Lord it was free.

So I went and got an eye test later that week and found out that by straining my eyes in front of documents and a computer all day - not to mention the leisurly reading to and from work as well as weekends - I was getting the migraines. These past two weeks were the worst. What I have to go through to read through the glare of the screen is worse than the torture I put myself through of getting up early in the morning to go to the gym before work.

I've literally gone through migraine medication to the point where today it wasn't even working and I couldn't take the pain anymore. That's why I'm so happy the glasses came in today. I was allowed to slip away from work and pick them up. And guess how much they cost me? NO GUESS!?


£20.00

Yes! IIII knowww! £55.00 including the prescription. Your girl not only got a hook up on a voucher from work but she also bought the cheapest pair that looked decent... the kids glasses LOL.

If I must say so myself, I didn't do too bad!

*ok so that's only in my book but whatever

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More About Me Mondays

Let me let you in on a little secret that very few know.

I’m a geek.

Though a bit prettier than that dude I hope.

I’ve always known I was a bit abnormal with the way I get all excited about international business studying and finance homework – despite the fact I still procrastinate on the work BUT learning is more fun when you don’t have to do it ok!? That’s besides the point.

It hit me all at once last Friday when the Fed cut the discount rate. As you know I’m working in finance in London so I’m generally a bit disconnected from what things are like over that side unless it’s in the Wash Post or the free part of the Wall Street Journal. But the craziness that’s been going on in the US markets are reaching us all over here as well as in Asia with a frenzy. As they say, "when America sneezes, the world catches a cold." So unless you’ve been living under a rock, there is no way that you haven’t heard of the current situation. Just in case though, allow me to share…

Last Friday the Fed cut the discount rate in order to increase liquidity in the markets thereby hopefully calming the current volatility (aka the crazy fluctuations in stock prices). For those of you not into finance I can break down the less obvious. Be aware that is the most concise and simplestest yet all-inclusive explanation I can give. What basically happened was that several weeks ago, a hedge fund that invested heavily in securities whose values derived from the value of mortgages with a high risk of default (subprime mortgages) announced that their investments had practically lost all value. People/newspapers often refer to it as an “implosion.”

This was a result of a surge in mortgage defaults, nowhere near what was "predicted" so to speak. In finance you learn “high risk = high return.” Well with subprime mortgages, people with really bad credit are given loans to help them pay for homes. Thus the risk is evidently high from the start but with the rise of interest rates people began finding it harder than ever to pay their mortgages. Thus people who – in theory – put bets on these people’s abilities to pay off their mortgages were no longer making a “high return.” Rather they saw the value of their investments disappear.

So when the Bear Stearns hedge fund “imploded” people began freaking out because it was considered a bad oman of things to come. It then started a “flight from risk” in which people wanted to get out of any and every investment that seemed risky. Slowly more news of hedge funds and banks' exposure to subprime mortgages began to come out. This obviously continued to fuel the frenzy.

You have to think about it this way... If people can't pay their mortgages that means that they aren't going to buy many goods either, right? That is considered a bad sign for the US economy in general.. thus the world economy as well! All together, this led to the increased volatility in the markets and the current chaos. Whew, I hope that made sense. Like I said, it's more complicated than this but I don't want to bore you with more details. I mean, this post is about me you know.

So back to Friday, when the Fed cut the rates I sent a message to Madmoiselle T who is working as a temp on the other side of the trading floor. People were yelling all around us yet she didn’t have a clue what was going on. I sent her some links to newspaper articles discussing the current situation. She is getting prepared for the 2008 internship interview process this Fall so I’ve been giving her some hints/advice. In the email I told her how lucky she was to not only be at an investment bank while this was going on but also on the trading floor! I told her that she should take notes of everything since there was so much to learn and way too much to internalize so quickly and that I was learning tons as well. She responded saying that she may have to reduce the amount of time we are seen together in public. Jokingly, of course.

Well, to say the least, there was no more hiding my inner-nerd. It was all out and documented in the Lehm.an internal email system. Now I figure there’s no point in keeping it from you guys. On top of that, I spent the rest of the afternoon explaining and researching the Federal Reserve system to one of my friends who is working on the US stocks sales desk - since it obviously directly impacts her group. We then went around looking for various people in the bank to answer our questions regarding the current situation and its relationship with the foreign exchange markets and other good stuff. There's no point in lying. It was so much fun! So shoot me.

The truth is (can you handle the truth?) most of us are nerds. Yes, even you. In my opinion, in order to have what is considered a passion in life, you must have a somewhat geeky obsession with something. Even if something isn’t necessarily your passion, if you go about doing it with an enthusiasm that the average person doesn’t share then, guess what! You are letting your geek-dom run free.

So I say, go on! Let it run, I tell you! Embrace it. And join my side.

For you fellow finance geeks out there with questions regarding the current market crisis, feel free to ask me! I love explaining what I know and researching what I don't know. Email me or leave a question in the comment section.

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Be Inspired

This is my all time favorite quote. It seriously speaks to me and my beliefs. Yes, most of us are familiar with it from Coach Carter or Akeelah and the Bee. I spoke at an event last spring for the non-profit I volunteer at and I shared this quote with them. From what I hear it spoke to many of the young kids I work with as well. Obviously this made me happy and I hope it inspires you.


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

by Miriam Williamson (Return to Love)
also quoted by Nelson Mandela in his 1994 inaugural address

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Friendship

I'm sure many of you have heard this before. If not then let me share some wisdom that was once bestowed upon me.
“Friends are the family we choose for ourselves”
Edna Buchanan

My boyfriend always makes fun of me. He says that I want to go [think mocking voice] everywhere and just meet everyone.While this is not entirely true, I will admit I love meeting people. I believe you just never know when you will meet somebody who will bless your life.

I've always thought a lot about friendship. Even though I say that I love meeting people, I've never had tons of friends (in the true relationship sense of the word, not someone you are friendly with). I just never have for whatever reasons. When I got to Howard I finally found a best friend for the first time in my life. I mean a best friend. We'd both never met someone before - especially another female - who we could truly confide in and understand, who understood us, who we could have tons of fun anywhere/anytime, etc. If there was ever such a thing as a soul-friend, Mademoiselle V would be mine.

While at Howard I've also become close to another fabulous person. We both worked at the IRS my freshman year and from day one we clicked. We don't see each other or talk often but we are without a doubt sisters at heart. Both of these girls are two of the greatest blessings in my life, and I'm forever grateful.

In December of 2006 I said my goodbyes to my HU friends (most don't live in the DC area) and that included V. We had talked several times about what it would be like while I was gone and I just knew that I wasn't really going to miss people terribly. I mean, I've never been the type of person to miss my family while away. Don't get me wrong, I shouldn't say that I don't miss them; rather I love them and nothing can replace them in my life but at the same time I don't need to talk to them or see them constantly. We are a very tight-knit family despite the fact that we are all dispersed across the world.

Anyway, so I knew I would die from missing Monsieur N. But I was seriously stupid to think that I could be away from not only one of the greatest relationships in my life but two. At the same time. And while in a completely new country and different language. I don't why I did though because, literally, T and I are inseparable when we are at HU. We have had most of our classes together, lived in the same suite, participated in similar activities etc. When people see one of us and not the other they immediately ask questions. After the first 3 or 4 months without her, I really started to feel it. God knows I miss her almost as badly as I miss my baby.

Well the point of all that banter is because over the last several days I've been thinking about how blessed I've been while away. I believe that God has continuously placed certain people in my life for various reason and allowed me to develop solid friendships with them. As a result, I feel like I'm starting to form a family, so to speak, of my own while away from home.

While I can't deny that this is a fabulous thing, it is also a bit heart wrenching for me as well. When I was studying in France, I became really friends with a Mexican girl. Just this week for the first time I was able to catch her online. With the time difference it's so hard to communicate with my friends. On top of that, when I get home at night I'm so exhausted and the only thing that happens is I check my email really quickly, talk to Mr. N, and fall asleep. I tend to keep my MSN and AIM messengers invisible because I feel bad for being too tired to talk to people other than close friends.

But by talking to her I realized how much things drastically changed from us kickin it everyday, being silly, and doing our work together to us not even seeing each other at all. It may be years before I see her again. It then reminded me of how suddenly me and V weren't sharing similar experiences any longer, which is not bad but so... new. Then, it made me think of the few people that I've really become close with here in London and how much I will be missing them once I'm back home. I was telling one of them today actually that I will really miss her. And that is rare but I know it is undeniably true.

I haven't talked about it yet here but I'm really having a hard time deciding whether I want to work in London or NY. It's a bit complicated and I'll have to share my thoughts (well, depending on if I get an offer to return at the end of this internship). But the friendships that I've formed over the last 7 weeks are making it even more difficult to say no to London -- Monsieur N, I don't want to hear it.

*sigh*
I don't even know what to think now. It's all just really bittersweet.

Well, that's about everything I had to say. I actually didn't plan this post. I just wrote what I was feeling so excuse the lack of conclusion. I got home early for the first time today (before dark!) because we had an intern "field trip" to this castle. We were only at work until 11am but I'm still exhausted. So I'm off to bed. Stay tuned for the next scattered and inconsistent post...
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Roadtrip!

Okay, I'm back people!!! I literally just got home from a road trip. I'm still hella busy (esp. with that derivatives book I'm supposed to have finished by Tuesday :S) but things have improved so much plus I'm just bursting with things to share!

I have several posts for you this week which include the inside scoop (makes me sound famous or something lol) to the fun stuff I've been doing, the not-so-fun stuff I've been up to, and the shows and movies I've seen recently.

I'll start the week off with my trip to Birmingham.

I went with a friend from work. She goes to school out there so her and her friends have a house (which in England really means more like a townhouse). The purpose of the trip was to go to her friend's wedding. The invitation said "plus one" but she brought along me and three of her room mates. She hadn't realized or thought about it until one of us mentioned it and all of a sudden she started feeling bad on the way to the ceremony. Lol, black people.

We left late Friday night and got there around 1am. It was the first time all of them had seen their rooms since they left for summer break. They had simply dropped their stuff off and left. They didn't have a chance to unpack or fix up their rooms or anything since part of their lease agreement included several improvements. So basically when we arrived, all the ladies decided that they wouldn't be able to sleep until they figured out how they wanted their rooms setup. They knew they couldn't quite unpack yet since the place still had some work to be done on it and needed to be cleaned but they were determined to figure out where to put what.

Well who better than your girl was able to assist with that. We started with my friend T's room. She happened to get the smallest room in the house (the size of your average dorm room) but we were able to work it so that it looked spacious. I must say I have experience with small crappy rooms *cough* HU.

Then, T's friend came in and started saying that she couldn't figure out where to move her stuff.. that nothing looked right. So I was like, no let me figure this out. When I was done she goes, "ugh, now y didnt I think of that!"

Next, I moved on to the most challenging room of all of T's friend's rooms simply because of it's funky layout and large bay window since it is located at the front of the house. Not only that, the landlord had placed way too much furninture than appropriate in her room. Yet, within minutes I helped her come up with a great layout. She was like, "dag, you came all the way out to Birmingham with us just to rearrange our rooms all night!? You should go in to interior designing girl." I must say, I was flattered. It was one of those things I considered studying along with fashion but was quickly crushed by my mother who said, "unless you want to be making $20,000 when you graduate...." Before she even finished her sentence I had decided that I would do business. And yes, I know she was exaggerating, but I'm happy where I am now. But I digress...

On Saturday morning we went to the wedding. It's been absolutely FOREVER since I've been to a wedding and now I see why people say women always cry at weddings. I didn't cry at this one but I can only imagine if it was one of my close friends I woulda been bawlin people! It was absolutely beautiful. Two people exchanging vows, professing their love, all while looking absolutely stunning. Oh....

I kept thinking of my wedding. Me and Monsieur N talk about it quite a bit. Several of my friends have already mentally started planning it - as I've mentioned before. But I was inspired by the colors of this wedding. It was simple and very classy: gold and white. I've decided that instead of white, my main color will be pink - a very soft, pastel, easter-ish pink. But I haven't made up my mind if the complimentary color will be gold or silver. I'm thinking gold might win because I don't know if I want to wear white. I think I want to wear off-white and in that case gold will look fabulous. That means the official colors would be pink, cream/off-white, gold. Nice right? Mr. N said he doesn't care because he knows whatever I decide will look great. So now I need other opinions, lol.

Well after the wedding ceremony we had a few hours until the reception so we went to TGIFridays. For those of you unaware, N and I basically keep the TGIFs in the DC Area open for business. But this one we went to was the first one I've ever gone to where the food tasted bad. It was like they had stuff left over and microwaved it. Uh uh. I don't play that. But I promise I didn't act up.

The reception was held at this hall like place. It was lovely. The music was mostly old school jams with a few new stuff. It was great. Only me and T were dancing. After having a bit of fun, we all told the bride bye and made our way home. We got into bed rather early since we wanted to head back to London early this morning. And here I am!!

T and the bride -->

xoxo

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I know, I know!

Before I bring the bad news, I thought I'd share this lovely pic with you. I hope I'm not ruining/breaking any laws here by posting without approval. But I saw it on Facebook and I don't know the artist. I just know its beautiful.

Now on to the bad news...
I'm afraid I'll be M.I.A. again all week. I have some stuff I want to post but I have to take the time to translate the scribbles I've written on random sheets of papers in my purse, type it, then edit it. Clearly sleep comes before that.

As far as the weekend goes, I was too busy relaxin and enjoying myself to bother. But I do love you all berry berry much! So check back next week. Promise to have somethin new. Hey and if you have any suggestions or questions to throw at me for More About Me Mondays then do share! I'd be happy to use it for my next post.

Tata!
*muah*
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