1. Be Better at…Getting What You Want.

    First off, I have to say…

    I am not good at many things. 

    I’m not prettier, funnier, more athletic, or smarter than most of my peers, BUT…

    One thing I have mastered is getting what I want…usually for free. The “only child” thing could have something to do with it, but I think I’ve figured out the “why” of why some people get what they want more easily than others.

    Here are 5 tips and tricks to getting people to like you, help you, and maybe even give you something for free:

    -Stop Using People, Befriend Them: This is first on my list, because it’s certainly THE most important. Just about every morning, I get free beverage from the espresso bar near my office. It wasn’t always this way, and free coffee was never the goal, but over time, I got to know each person that works there…I’ve kept up with pregnancies (real and scares), tough breakups, shopping woes, and running jokes. Now, I have an iced coffee and morning chatter with friends rather than employees. All that to say, it’s not wrong to know what people could potentially DO for you, but if that’s your motivation for interaction, you will fail miserably and I will watch you crash and burn while drinking my free iced redeye. When you focus on the need more than the person, that makes you an asshole, and no one wants to help an asshole. Take genuine interest in human beings, I promise it helps. 

    -Say My Name and Touch My Body: No, these are not just awesome songs by Destiny’s Child and Mariah (clearly they are also that), they’re things you should certainly consider when dealing with people. I try and ALWAYS ask someone’s nombre, it makes people feel A+ (it works especially well at CVS when the cashier looks like they want to keel over and die, you will really catch them off guard) and if you remember it next time, I can almost guarantee that pop pop will get a treat. Try using it frequently in conversation to drill it in your pin head, and then recall will be a lot easier. In addition to name repetition, I almost always venture to give someone a little skin to skin contact…and no, not just hot Tim Riggins-esque dudes. Ladies, I will still probably rest my hand on your arm/back and tell you I like your hair (and mean it). Of course you don’t need to be giving people crotch high-fives or anything, but a simple arm graze, hand shake, or knee pat will do wonders, unless you are meeting Howie Mandel, in that case, DO NOT TOUCH HOWIE.

    -Make Vigorous Notes: I’m risking sounding like a total type-A butthole here, but this works people. Make notes with facts about people you meet (yes, notes). I have a whole section on my iPhone devoted to different bars, restaurants, stores, etc with names of employees and ways to remember who is who. Example: Hipster Paradise Tiki Bar= Patrick with clear frame glasses-bartender, Siam…half asian with moderate gunz works M-W, Rosie O’ Donnell…door girl who likes aged gouda.

    It’s that easy. Then, next time you go in, you can call them by name and just watch the good times roll. This always equates to the best treatment and as a by-product, I can almost guess your drinks will be free and that Rosie will bring a complementary aged gouda platter over to the table. 

    -Don’t Fear Asking: The other night, I had a 27th birthday party and hosted cocktails for over 40 guests at a Lower East Side cocktail bar…the plan was to move the party to a lounge/club down the street for some late(ish) night dancing. When we arrived, there was a veleveted-rope line around the block and a tight door, but we were there and i had friends that wanted to move their bodies to the rhythm of the night…so what to do? I walked up to the door and simply asked if my friends and I could come in and not wait in line.

    Sure, they hesitated when I told them it was 40+ people but then, on we went, bypassing the ropes and bandage-dressed hopefuls…all of us (mostly dudes). This was BEFORE our promoter friend got in touch (James would have probably saved the day if needed)…it was a lucky NYC moment fo sho. BUT it was a perfect example of just asking and if it fails, it fails…but most of the time it doesn’t. Being friendly, respectful, and plain asking for them to help you almost always works in a pinch. 

    -Assume People Will Like You: Why wouldn’t they, right? When you think you are worth liking, others tend to concur. I mean, don’t make merch for yourself or anything (I did this already), but know your worth and assume that people are for you, rather than against you. 

    Good luck out there and if you see me out…you should probably bring me a cheese platter soonish.

    xo Chinae

     


  2. Be Better at…Meeting People.

    I am very aware that I am about to get a lot of panties in a bunch with this post. But, ladies and gentleman, stay with me. Unclench. Breathe. 

    At one time I was mystified, when seemingly hot, normal, fun friends of mine would never get approached by the gentleman kind…and then why some who were less-hot, significantly less funny, and kind of a bore, would be beating men off with sticks.  I think I have some ideas of why this can happen.

    Now, so I don’t get virtually put in the naughty corner for this post a couple of disclaimers:

    1. These are not ways to engage in a long lasting relationship
    2. This is totally about being approached, I can’t do anything about your awkwardness, or inability to communicate after the initial ”hello”
    3. Again, these are not long term dating tips, and no I am not stuck in the 1950’s or in some weird anti-feminist movement…I’m speaking from experience. That’s it. 
    4. If you want to say these don’t work, that’s fair. But get used to buying your own drinks. 
    5. There are ALWAYS exceptions to every rule. You might find that some guys aren’t like this…but I’m speaking in generalities here, and if you are looking to dedicate your entire lifestyle to something you read on an idiot girl’s blog, you have larger issues. These are general guidelines, take them that way.

    OK..let’s get down to business.

    5 Small Reasons You Aren’t Being Approached By The Male Species:

    -Red Lipstick: Let’s start small here ladies. I am with you on the red lipstick bandwagon. I love it and think it makes you look striking, classic, and fashion forward. But guess what? No guy wants that shit near them. It’s scary..like tampons, crying fits, and drop-crotch pants. Even if you just met, they are still thinking that if they kissed you, they would end up looking like Heath Ledger as the Joker (RIP). You might warn them it’s the color stay kind, or that it’s a lip stain…they DO. NOT. CARE. (and do not understand what lip stain is, thank God) They might think you look beautiful, but it’s a hurdle that most are a little wary of. Save the red lipstick for girl’s night or when you aren’t looking to have male interaction. No one wants the Scarlett Letter on their face at da’ club. 

    -Clothes That Girl’s Like: You’re getting ready, you’ve got your floral shirt on, buttoned all the way up, shredded denim vest rocking, striped skinny pants looking fly…heavy on the jewels…hair in some braided coiffe. You feel amazing. If you were in Soho, surely the Sartorialist would ask you for a photo and millions would be inspired. Your girlfriends can’t stop talking about how “chic” you look tonight. And then what…you go out and NO ONE TALKS TO YOU. Except maybe that girl in the bathroom, who asks you which Opening Ceremony location you got your shoes from, because they were totally out of those platform wedges at the LA store. So what’s your problem? YOU ARE WEARING CLOTHES THAT GIRLS LIKE. I mean, don’t get me wrong…I know lots of guys who appreciate cutting-edge style and daring fashion, but even the most apprecitave guy will be intimidated by all of “that” at first. Also, there are a lot of dudes who just won’t get it (they might still be awesome). I am all for being an individual and dressing outlandishly, trust me, but if I was going somewhere in the hopes that someone was going to chat me up, I certainly wouldn’t be trying to channel Tokyo street style in that moment. As crass and shallow as this sounds, men probably want to see you in something simple, showing off your best assets, so they can really see YOU, not just spend 10 minutes trying to understand if that’s a shirt or pants or some siamese shirt-pant. Show some leg, wear colors that flatter you, and be stylish, not ridiculous. After you snag the man, wear whatever you want…by that time, he’ll be warmed up!

    -Gaggle of Girls: Who doesn’t like girls night, right? Well, that’s all great, but if a man has to tuck and roll to penetrate a wall of 15 of your “besties” singing “We Are Young” at the top of their lungs…he’ll probably just pass. You have created a Berlin wall of estrogen. No man wants to traverse that. The easiest way to meet people is when you are in groups of 3-4…not your entire adult sorority/book club/AA group.

    -Hair Up: Wear your hair down and add some volume. If that sounds shallow, it totally is. Again, this is just a tip for the first meeting, not for the rest of your life. It’s just plain pretty when it’s down and flowy, and if you have short hair, do something with it that doesn’t involve attaching birds or headbands or scarfs. PLEASE. 

    -I Can Do Everything: Change your attitude. If you give off the vibe that you know everything about everything and you can get your own drink, and move your own furniture…that’s great. Just get used to doing that for the rest of your life. You aren’t being helpless, but you are creating space for men to be men and help you out once in a while. I bet that “We Can Do It” girl is still out there, single and wearing that damn headscarf. 

    NOTE: If you are a pissed off woman or man after reading this, please see my disclaimers above and take things on the internet a little less seriously. Oh, and send all hate mail to bebetterblogger@gmail.com!

    Happy Thursday Nugs!

    xo Chinae

     


  3. Be Better at…Money.

    UPDATE #2: First Week!

    I have been slacking…I now write for a handful of other blogs, have a full-time job, and a very full-time social life so I apologize, this post is WAY overdue!

    (If you need some backstory, see the idea behind the Single Benjamin Project HERE.)

    My week started out with a bang, getting grocery shopping outta my way, and getting things prepped for being the girl who cooks, brings her lunch, and pre-drinks heavily before going out.

    To be completely transparent about my spending, I logged everything I bought into a running list, so you can see all the gory details:

    • Trader Joe’s Grocery Shopping Trip: $41 ($59 left)
    • Coworker’s Birthday Contribution: $5 ($54 left)
    • Bus Fare to NJ: $10 ($44 left)
    • Gorilla Coffee: $2 ($42 left)
    • Toilet Paper: $1 ($41 left)
    • Gorilla Coffee: $2 ($39 left)
    • Grocery Store: $12 ($27 left)
    • Charitable Donation: $10 ($17 left)
    • Beer: $6 ($11 left)
    • Becky Birthday Drink: $7 ($4 left)
    • Scratch Off Lottery Ticket: $1 ($3 left)
    • Winnings of Said Lottery Ticket +$3 ($6 left)
    • One More Scratch-Off: $1 ($5 left)

    SO…Drumroll….I HAD $5 bucks left at the end of my seven day stint! 


    Now, I have to say, it’s annoying as sh*t to think about every penny, but here are some things I learned during my first week that’ll make next time MUCH easier.

    Pay Attention to Waste: After the first couple days of “Chinae’s Survival Camp”, I realized how much I waste on a daily basis. Having to think about things in a more specific, planned way made me realize that I should be more thoughtful of the things I buy, what motivates me to buy, and what I do with what I’ve got. I learned to cook only what I am planning on eating, revamping old clothes into new looks, and to finish that last gulp of drink before moving on to the next. 

    Ask Twice: I don’t live super extravagantly in general, BUT I noticed and realized that I don’t ever question myself about purchases or treats that are less than $20 bucks. I put a lot of thought into spending more than $20…but as long as it’s under that level, I don’t blink a fake eyelash. This is probably the most disconcerting thing I realized about my spending habits. A coffee here, a drink or three there, a random on-sale piece of clothing….REALLY ADD UP. Not only do they add up, those minor luxuries were eating my entire paycheck without me even realizing it. It really was mind boggling to make myself stop and think twice about forking over my hard earned moolah. Most times when I asked myself if I REALLY needed something, the answer was a big, fat NO. And when it was a YES, I felt confident spending that money on something that was worth it.

    Still Be Good To Others: To break the cycle of bad money habits, I think the main thing is not allowing the need for money/things to rule your life on some level, it gives wealth and the obtaining of things WAY too much power. This can be overspending & the maturation of debt but I realized that obsessing over frugality can also start to rule your life in the same way as spending can. The only way I know how to fight against both sides, is to continue to be generous with what you have. It may be on a smaller scale with a lessened budget, but joyfully giving, showing kindess to people you care for, and helping those who need it…was the only way that during my week that I was able to balance frugality with freedom. 

    Don’t Stop Doing Life: The problem with most diets are that you can’t very well live that way forever, because it doesn’t fit in with REAL LIFE. It’s a short fix to a long-term problem. I think this sort of money “diet” can make you experience something similar. You feel like you are chained to your house, because that’s where you’ve stockpiled your food like the end of the f*cking world was coming, you don’t want to go out and NOT have cocktails, and you try and avoid temptations at all costs. Well, that diet plan is either going to do two things: you will turn into a communication-inept bridge troll due to spending that much time alone at home, or you will become frustrated and go hog wild at the first chance you get, like a meth-head at a Sudafed factory. I kept my sanity this past week by still engaging in normal life, and spending plenty of time with people. Yes, eating before or after a dinner, sucks. Yes, pre-drinking at your apartment, sucks. Yes, JUST window shopping, sucks. But you know what doesn’t suck? NOT WORRYING ABOUT MONEY. 

    Tell People: It’s always easier to do something with a good support system. You also are less tempted to cheat on your challenge if everyone around you knows what you’re doing. Don’t go all Tony Robbins on everyone and start giving motivational talks…just let those in your inner circle in on your plans and they’ll hopefully help you stick to it. Hey, they might even treat you to a drink or two. 

    Hope this encourages you to get off your ass and do something about your budget…don’t worry, you have someone doing it right along side you, bitching all the way.

    xo Chinae

     


  4. Be a Better…Waiter.

    PREFACE:

    Now, before all you waiters/servers/etc get all nasty with me…please note that I worked in the food industry for 2.5 years, and loved it. I loved the ridiculousness of the characters that make up the staff/kitchen/clients…I loved working at night and taking home fistfuls of cash. I didn’t even care that I smelled like a lobster boil everyday. So yeah…I’ve been there. Also, I’m going to use the word waiter…though I know people these days want to be called a “server”…you know what I mean.

    5 Ways Food Service Could Be WAY Better:


    1) Small Talk: This is a tricky one…because I HATE when servers don’t tell you their name or try to be moderately personable, but also…when Sharon wants to tell me about her drag-out fight with her boyfriend last night in the Applebee’s parking lot…I am at a loss. I wish servers would feel that balance just a little bit more and move in which ever direction the customer is leading them. If I am face down in my shrimp salad…you should probably stop bashing your management and telling me how you’re gonna get that job at the office supply company if it’s the last thing you do. 

    2) Be a Good Suggester: When I was a waitress, I perfected the disappointed glare. This facial expression is perfect and should be used frequently during the ordering process. But beware my friends, use with caution. This was my go-to move when someone is obviously ordering the wrong thing. How it plays out:

    ME: “And what will you be having today?”

    Customer: “I’ll take the sh*t sandwich combo, please.”

    ME: (DISAPPOINTED GLARE) 

    Customer: “umm…Should I not get that?”

    ME: “Don’t do it. Can I suggest something you might like better?”

    This is where a big tip can be earned people. We don’t know what the hell we want most times…you work here so I kinda trust you. You also are the Tree of Knowledge when it comes to which menu items aren’t being impregnated by the weirdo cook in the back…so suggest away. Unless they look like a regular, because then they’ll just get offended when you tell them their ordering procedure SUCKS.

    3) Free Shit: Giving people free shit was the way that I made TONS of money. And everyone…even super rich people…love feel like they are getting a deal. As a waiter, there are always things you can give away if you want…and no one is the wiser. Free beers may not be an option, but free after dinner coffee? SURE. 16 types of salad dressing on the side so they can do salad suicides all lunch long? SURE. At one point, a woman told me her pooch loved bacon…so what did I do?  I brought a woman a bag full of chopped bacon and she showed her gratitude with a big, fat, $40 tip. I’m not advocating STEALING from the restaurant, but maximize the things that are pretty much free game and I promise your tables will love you. 

    ** Protip: If you work at a mexican or italian restaurant…just bring more bread or chips and salsa…NO ONE DOESN’T WANT A REFILL. Just do it and if you make bottomless a reality, we will love you forever. These words have never been spoken:

    "That restaurant was pretty good but you know what sucked? That asshole waiter brought us WAY too many free refills of chips and salsa"

    4) Honesty: If you forgot something…just be honest. Sh*t happens and customers get that. You know what’s really annoying though? You blaming it on the poor kitchen staff when in actuality, you forgot to put the order in because you were doing shots of vodka smoothie at the bar with that mildly attractive bus boy.

    5) Open Your Eyes: I f*cking hate when people ask dumb questions…especially when it’s interrupting an actual conversation that I’m having. Yes, it’s great to check in with people, but you asking how the food is, before I’ve even had a bite means you aren’t paying attention to the situation. Look around and observe. If I’m doing the Exorcist/owl head spin move…I’m LOOKING FOR YOUR ASS. If I’m longingly looking into my boyfriend’s eyes and close talking…I probably do not want the dessert tray shoved in between us at this point.

    All this to say…be nice to your servers, people. They work hard, get paid nothing, and survive on your tips and tips alone. That goes for bartenders as well. 

    Cheers to the Soup of the Fucking Day,

    Chinae

     


  5. Be Better at…Business.

    Warby Parker Edition:


    My brand crushes are usually related to a swoon-worthy product, sexy marketing, or a great customer service experience. Well. I think I’ve died and gone to brand heaven. And no, I didn’t get free glasses or money for this post. 

    I know that everyone underneath the sun has written about Warby Parker as the new, hot, sexy eyewear company on the block…and here I am, joining the masses. 

    Not only was my experience with Warby Parker simple and painless, but it was actually enjoyable. Imagine that…handing over my hard-earned money with a certain amount of joy in the process. 

    So why was it such a good experience? And how can more companies and personal brands follow suit? 


    5 Things Warby Parker Did Right:

    1) Clear Communication and Idea: Warby Parker is just about as transparent of a business structure as you can find. The ability to sum up what they are about, in one sentence, makes it easy for brand advocates (such as myself) to pass along their message, sucinctly and clearly. 

    Warby Parker sells well crafted, trend-driven eyewear at $95 and donates a pair of glasses each time a pair is sold. 

    Boom. 

    2) Sexy Marketing: They understand that a pair of $95 dollar glasses can still feel sexy and aspirational. And they don’t dumb down their marketing efforts, website, or advertising to feel inexpensive and affordable. The idea the buying process feeling luxurious, even if the product is cheap is of major importance in their strategy. 

    3) Focus: Warby Parker is not for everyone. And that’s ok. They get that not everyone is going to vibe their style, and the rest can go elsewhere. Broad but specific. It’s a beautiful thing in the world of massive product lines and splatter-effect marketing. A well curated brand and focused product mix is the key.

    4) Customer Relations: When I bought my first pair of Warby’s (about a 8-9 months ago), I had no trouble making an appt at their Union Square showroom, and was greeted personally by name at the door by a sales person, Mara. Yeah, I still remember her name (this matters). I probably spent a total of 15 minutes there, but left feeling taken care of and cared for as a client rather than just an order being process in a sea of customers. Then the next day, Mara personally called and told me that my invoice was being sent via email, and she complimented me on how wonderfully, the pair of glasses I picked out, suited me. It was that extra phone call that solidified for me, that great follow-up can really build great brand karma and will transform the most cynical, jaded consumer (me) into a brand ambassador for life.

    5) Well-Managed Expectations: I was told I’d be getting my new sexified glasses in about 10 business days. They showed up 3 days later. That may have been a fluke, an issue of having multiples on hand or another circumstance, but the fact that Warby Parker surpassed my expectations, made me feel like a precious part of their business.

    4 Things Companies Can Learn from Warby Parker:

    1) Admit When You’re Wrong: Use issues as an opportunity for proving the kind of business you run. It’s pretty easy to change an angry customer into a pleased one, so just act quickly and aggressively and they’ll repay you in spades with additional business and great word of mouth.

    2)Go the Extra Mile: When starting a company, pay attention to detail when interacting with the public. Think on a small scale and your company will grow large because of it.

    3) Do Good: Give back in some way to the community you serve. Not every company functions like TOMS and Warby Parker but every business can give back a portion of what they take in, for good. Not only are you helping your brand look “nice” but we as consumers always feel better about being charitable, especially when you do all the dirty work. 

    4) Build Brand Ambassadors, not a Client Base: I can honestly say, that I’ve probably spread Warby Parker’s story, products, and my personal experience with the company at least once or twice a week, since my initial buy with them. Being able to freely talk about a brand you had a great experience with, is the best advertising a company can’t buy. This is how Warby Parker continues to grow. They have thousands of influential brand ambassadors, doing their marketing FOR them. And all it takes is a little extra effort. 

    Visit Warby Parker HERE.

    To Seeing Clearly in Business,

    Chinae

     


  6. Be a Better…Communicator.

    How to Deal with Bitches Edition:

    Girls are like wild animals. We’re sometimes placid (after we are fed, loved on, and well taken care of) and easygoing and then all of a sudden, we go all Bitchmode Irene on you.  I.E. cause a lot of trouble when there’s nothing to cause trouble about. (see what I did there? OK give me a break…It’s Wednesday and I’m making weather jokes apparently) 

    Here’s a handy dandy How-To Guide on how to deal with 3 types of bitchdom:


    The Pseudo Girlfriend Bitch Moment:This one is tricky, but I’ll say…you did it to yourself. Let’s break this down.

    What guys think: She’s awesome (for someone else to date), she gives me all the attention in the world without having to commit, we made out that one weird time at that Tiki Bar, she is the best +1 because if I meet someone, she can’t be mad…etc. 

    What she thinks: He’s totally going to fall in love with me one day. And now I wait.

    Soooo here’s the problem with that guys, it all sounds so easy until she goes nuts one day. And it WILL happen. Every gal you date, every time you call her “dude”, and every double G+T she orders you at the bar, hoping for the moment where you change your mind…will eventually rear it’s ugly, beachy waved-red lipped-sad girl head and you’ll be left with an Exorcism moment happening. 

    How to Deal: If you have any inkling that you may have a Crazy Christy on your hands…you need to back away. Make sure she knows that it’ll never be like THAT and YOU need to stop being so damn selfish and feeding into her needy ass. She may be going into bitchmode and may start acting like your girlfriend, but can you blame her? GET A FUCKING CLUE, YOU’RE THE ONE ACTING LIKE SHE’S YOUR GIRLFRIEND. 

    ProTip: Set her up with one of your friends.


    The Actual Girlfriend Bitch Moment: As much as you love her, she’s going to moments where she goes OFF THE RESERVATION. 

    How to Deal: When we want to complain about something (not you)…we just need you to listen and support us. We don’t necessarily want your advice (although I’m sure it was decent). Sometimes we need to fly off the motherfracking handle and then we are A-OK. So unless the problem involves you, just be a good listener and I assure you, you’ll gain brownie points for keeping your lips zipped. 

    Protip: Bring her a cocktail. It’ll help, trust me. Unless she’s mad at you, and then you might have a whiskey-in-the-eye situation.


    The Boss Bitch Moment: They are a real nightmare but they also pay your over-priced rent on the smallish brownstone you reside in. 

    How to Deal: As long as it’s work related..you’ve gotta suck it up or get a new job. BUT if it’s personal on some level, you have every right to fight for your right to party work in peace. Set up a meeting to discuss how you feel you are being treated by them, and be prepared with some examples of specific times its happened. Also, don’t go reverse bitchmode on them, bc that isn’t going to ever work. Ask how you can alleviate stress or tension in the office and be sure to see where you are messing up too. They’ll for sure respect that you stood up for yourself and are willing to take on a little blame too. 

    ProTip: Make a powerpoint about it. (just kidding. no, seriously. don’t make a powerpoint)

    Straight from the bitch’s mouth,

    x Chinae

     


  7. Be Better at…Business.

    Taking the Shame Out of Self Promotion Edition:

    We all have those people in our lives who think the axis of the earth is actually aligned with their bellybutton and annoy the living hell out of the rest of us with that factoid (usually actually not the case). BUT if you are a freelancer, plan on having your own brand, or want to further yourself in a creative field, you sometimes have to toot your own horn a little. TOOT TOOT. So how do we self promote without being viewed as self-obsessed, pretentious b-holes?

    Here are 5 ways to Be a Better Promoter of Your Personal Brand: 

    image

    1) Be Humble: This is first on the list because it’s absolutely the one point on this list that is MUY IMPORTANTE. If you listen to none of the rest of these rules, (I don’t blame you), listen to this one. The biggest turn-off in business or otherwise, is when you can smell the bullshit in the room when you are around someone that is self promoting. The truth is, no matter how much you think people like your ass, when all you do is talk about the EPIC things that are going on with you (personally or otherwise), they are going to be annoyed. While most of our annoyance stems from insecurity and a little jealousy (yes, im jealous that your client is asking you to travel the world to look for inspiration for their Fall 2012 collection), the rest of it is ACTUALLY because you are irritating in the way you communicate. It’s smart to share exciting news, but figure out how to do it in a way that’s palatable for the masses (side note…most of what you think is NEWS, is not). Also, streamline what information you release…share certain things with your inner circle (who have to love you by default), and then when things are actually big moments, your larger network will be ready to celebrate with you. If in doubt, don’t share. Also, talk about what you are doing, but first ask what others have going on. People love to talk about themselves, and trust me, they will be more open to hearing about the rad things you’ve got cookin’, once they get a moment in the spotlight.

    image

    2) Know Your Weaknesses: We all know where we just KILL it, so let’s take a moment and really suck at in relation to your brand or career.

    (moment)

    Next, surround yourself with a group of people who ARE good at those things. When a situation, job, or opportunity arises that you think might be out of your range, identify who may be better for the job and pass it along or suggest a collaboration of sorts. Yes, you might lose out on money occasionally (dolla dolla billz), but when it comes down to it, you weren’t the right fit, and you probably would have sucked the big, fat one in the end. The person needing something done will appreciate you for your sense of community, will respect that you are willing to sacrifice moolah for their well being, and trust, they will come back to you for something that IS your thing. Also, that person in your network will forever be grateful, and they WILL return the favor and may even buy you a lot of vodka..oh wait…that’s just me. Doesn’t it feel good to not have to be everything to everyone?

    image

    3) Support Outside Vision: Investing in the people around you first and foremost, is vital to keeping your personal brand afloat. I would say that 90% of my freelance friends would say that the majority of their work comes from people they know, have met, or have been recommended through. Get involved for realz with what your contemporaries are up to, support their personal brands and figure out ways to collaborate together or at least share tips and tricks with each other in navigating the big, wide, world out there.  Most of all, be genuine in your desire to create relationships with your peers and only get involved if you actually want to be there. No one likes a faker. PLUS, people always get tired of you talking about your stuff jerkface, so when you share something exciting that someone else is doing, it solidifies the fact that you aren’t just looking out for #1.

    4) Create Buzz: Figure out concretely what you think about things, what your style is, and stick to it. You can’t be pleasing to everyone and usually success comes with some sort of extreme. No one wants to talk about the very palatable photographer who just does run of the mill work and will do whatever the client wants. It’s a fine line in holding your creative vision and being flexible, but I would say if you have to compromise your vision, don’t get involved. 

    image

    5) Follow Up and Follow Through: Do what you say. All the time. That said, don’t take on more than you know you can manage with your time, skills, and finances. Be clear in communicating when you are overwhelmed, feeling stretched, or under compensated. Letting bitterness take root in your relationships will only make you resent them, and yourself so be honest and clear right from the start.

    Business Chinae OUT!

     


  8. Be a Better…Dater.

    Asking Someone Out Edition:

    Why is this so complex you ask? Well, I have no f*cking clue. People always seems to struggle  with the concept of getting the nerve up to ask a lady (or man, for you “I am Woman, Hear Me Roar” types) out, but I think we are getting our manties/panties in a twist for no reason. So unravel that situation, and let’s navigate this like Ponce De Leon and his discovery of Hispanola.

    Here are some tips and tricks to Being Better…At Asking Someone Out.

    -Perspective: It’s JUST a date. You aren’t proposing peace treaties with Kim Jong Il on a North Korean military base at gunpoint, you are asking someone to go drink house vodka with you at some bar, whose name you will both forget if you have enough house vodka. Worst case scenario, she’s on her period and turns you down, BUT in that case you probably weren’t going to have a good time anyway, and now you have $12-15 bucks to spend at your next Dave and Busters outing. Prizes!

    -Timing: Be specific, and give a few options. You know what annoys me? Having to plan my own date. Here’s how the conversation sometimes goes (and shouldn’t):

    Guy A: ” Um…hey..we should hang out sometime!”

    Me: “Yeah, sounds great! I’d love to….just let me know.”

     (a couple days pass)

    Guy A: “So, yeah. Let’s hang out. When do you want to do that?”

    This sucks. You know what would be better? THIS:

    Guy B: “Hey, I’d love to take you out for a drink sometime, just you and I”

    Me: “Yeah, I’d really like to do that.”

    Guy B: “Well, how’s Friday night at 7? If that doesn’t work, we will get something else on the schedule but I’d like te see you before the week end.”


    There are so many good things about this. Specific times make us feel like we are making plans, not that we are just throwing out some bullshit grey-area talk. It also means you are trying to lock us down into actual firm plans that we can then put in our schedule and totally freak out about it later (in a good way). Also, you are giving us a time and date suggestion but also letting us know that if that doesn’t work for us, that you are ready and willing to make up a backup time with the end point being the weekend. We want to know that you want to see us again like Lohan wants to see her dealer ok?

    -The Plan: Now that you’ve suggested a time, make sure you add in some more specifics about what you want to do. If it’s the first date, whoever asks, should plan. Instead of saying let’s hang out (which is hyper ambiguous and totally annoying amirite?), be direct in where or what you want to do on said date. We don’t know if we are going deep sea fishing or going to the local dive bar…enlighten us.

    Here’s the perfect scenario:

    "There’s this great cocktail bar that I’ve been wanting to try called HouseVodkaHouse, are you available on Friday to have a drink with me? Say…7pm? If Friday doesn’t work, let’s pick another day this week that works for you."


    -Be Clear: I don’t hear anything more frequently than girls who get asked out to “hang” with a guy, and end sitting around, eating cheetos with their gal pals in their underwear, trying to figure out if they are going on a date, friend hangout, or if it’s a legit business meeting (OK maybe not the last one, if he send you an iCal event, it’s probably a meeting), or if they are recruiting for their new BFF. Just say it’s a date! OR if that’s too much pressure, just make it clear that it’s just the two of you. Speaking from personal history,  I seriously have shown up, thinking I was going on a date, and ended up doing sake bombs with said guy and his room mates. SO…you get the point. It’ll save us a lot of crazy-girl thoughts.

    So that’s pretty simple yeah? Put itinto perspective, be specific about date/time/activity, and be a clear communicator. If we can follow these simple tips, it’ll make all of our dating lives better and we might even make it on to date #2!

    Helping your game, daily.

    xoxo Chinae

     


  9. Be a Better…Communicator.

    (Part 2 from yesterday…) Pick-Up Artist LADIES Edition:

    So…I am around A LOT of women in my life, that and I am the proud owner of my own girly parts. Between Simultaneous-Period phenomenon conversation, and talking about how we are going to make a million dollars to fund our desire for a beach house with exactly 3 shirtless cabana boys… I get to overhear and take part in a lot of talk about the men folk and of course some mild bitching.

    Here are some of the most common things I hear regarding men and the pickup process:

    -“Guys never approach me!” (not with that attitude they don’t)

    -“What’s there to talk about with a stranger?” (umm…hello…you’ve never met. this is going to be the time where you have the most to talk about)

    -“They probably are just out for sex and nothing serious…” (oh c’mon, let’s not renew our Manhaters Magazine subscription so quickly)

    -“Can I turn flirting into a bar, into an actual date?” (it can and DOES happen…they may turn into a crazy person though…I can’t guarantee this will not happen..and it’s more likely than not)

    -“I think men are intimidated by my strong personality/good looks/job/etc…so that’s why I don’t get picked up” (false. unless you are Heidi Klum, and if you are Heidi Klum and you are reading this blog…tell Seal hello.)

    -“How do I chat up a guy without him thinking I’m desperate?” (If you are desperate, it’s obvious whether you open your mouth or not…it’s like the smell of freshly cooked bacon to a vegetarian (smells good but wouldn’t put it in their mouth for a million)

    SOME TIPS AND TRICKS to Expert Lady Game (minus the game playing):

    -Problem: Poor Positioning….If you are sitting in the corner of a six person booth, no drink, stuck on level twelve of Angry Birds on your iPhone or talking to your friend in an intense convo about how no one “understands who you really are”…no guy is going to talk to you. Not because you aren’t pretty, or interesting, or because they’re nervous…but because you’ve positioned yourself as inaccessible. This isn’t American Gladiators. They should not have to fight Nitro and Storm with pugil sticks and then hand-bike their way over a foam-filled trench to get to you. 

    -Solution: Guys are lazy. If you are a single gal, you’ve gotta learn pick-up positioning. Instead of sitting in the corner of the booth, let your married friend sit there (she is having regular sex), and sit at the edge of a table and face the flow of traffic (this gives the maximum amount of eye to eye contact possible and if the guy does want to approach you, he doesn’t feel like Storm is giving him the stink eye for leaning over her to try and offer you an adult beverage). I think the best place to post up is near the bar….now don’t be one of those annoying people who (at a busy place) are saddled up to the bar but are pretty much requiring you to do the choreography from the Bump and Grind music video to be able to order my Absolut on the rocks (two limes). 

    Another easy positioning thing is to open your body up to the main part of the room or who you’ve got your eye on… even if you are seated at a table with people, angle your chair toward the center of the room, I don’t know think NASA has done any research behind this, but speaking from trial and error…it works.

    -Problem: No One is Approaching You…Well the mentality that men should be the only one’s making first contact is absurd. If this your thought process.. (fast forward 30 years), you’ll be sharing a bowl of Cherry Garcia ice cream with your hairless Persian cat Mr. Weebles, watching Designing Women re-runs in your Lot’s o’ Coverage cotton undies. Now look,  I’m Southern and I do believe men should make the first move to ask you out but we are talking about striking up a conversation while you’re out…you aren’t inviting him on a romantic Parisien vacation.

    -Solution: Get over your insecurity and talk to someone. Buy a guy a beer (wouldn’t that be shocking?). Introduce yourself. Be bold…and I can guarentee most guys will think its insanely refreshing to not have to handle all the dirty work and you’ll probably gain major points for being confident enough to make the first move. 

    -Problem: Conversation (What the heck do we talk about?!)… Alright, so he came up and offered to buy you a drink. He has dimples. Sh*t. That’s distracting. He sorta looks like that Werewolf kid from that vampire movie I never saw. I wonder if his abs look like that Werewolf’s?….. OK YOU MUST SNAP OUT OF IT. This is the time that you have everything in the world to talk about so make the most of it. You’ll probably get to the stage where you are both 85 and are just staring into space over the dinner table but that time is not now. Engage!

    -Solution: Get your brain in the game. Come up with your go-to questions for these times when you are all flustery due to the potential of Werewolf Abs. Think about what you’d want to be asked…be original and don’t ask Yes or No Questions, you’ll feel dumb when they answer and you have to ask another question making you feel like a tube-top-wearing Regis Philbin on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Be really good at talking about a couple of topics so you can hop right on over those uncomfortable silences. 

    Also, keep it short. Excuse yourself, say you loved talking and that you hope to talk again, and go do something else, if he comes and finds you to continue conversation..you’ve made it to BONUS ROUND!

    -Be a little mean sometimes. This is my typical mode of operation. Keep it playful but a few little jabs can let them know that you are interested and they’ll usually respond with a zinger right back. Let’s be honest…we all can use reverting to 3rd grade hair pulling once in a while.

    Three Cheers for Summer Love,

    xoxo Chinae

     


  10. Be a Better…Communicator.

    Pick-Up Line Edition:

    Picture it. Winter in NYC 2011. Walking through Times Square with my ladies. Heading over to Dave and Busters to engage in some antics (this is why I love my lady friends, we aren’t watching re-runs of the hit WE Network television show Bridezillas together, we’re dominating Skeeball/Dance Dance Revolution with the other creeps at D&B).

    As we are walking down the street, I notice a stallion of a man, sitting on the sidewalk in a wheelchair with some of his equally stallion-like compatriots. He is rounding out at about 350 lbs, hasn’t showered in a minute or two years, and looks like he may be fused permanently to his mobile throne. He was turned around, with his back to me…but out of his malt liquor-glazed periphery, he saw me. Instantly he was healed from any illness or handicap and jumped out of his wheelchair…and then he said it. The best pick-up line I’ve ever been served up. 

    "Girrrrrl, I would drink your bathwater!" 

    I mean, c’mon people. It doesn’t get better than that. 

    A group of my friends and I were sitting on the patio of my favorite Williamsburg haunt this weekend and during our Budweiser-laced conversation (don’t judge, they were 2 for $5) pick-up lines came up as the topic of discussion. So that got me thinking…(I only think in blog posts now BTW)

    The do’s and don’ts of pick-up artistry…a simple guide for guys and gals:

    For the men folk (PART ONE)…

    -Focus: If we see you trying to pick up every moderately attractive woman at the bar (i have eagle eyes), we are not going to be impressed, nor are we going to want to be one of many. So just calm your inner 12 year old boy who just discovered boobs, act like you’ve been out in a social situation before, and when you see something that interests you, act on it, but be selective, choose wisely, and don’t be a total scavenger. 

    -If you want to pay a compliment, tread carefully: Now if you do this wrong it can really be a disaster (think relational ‘Nam), but if you master the art of the compliment, it can really be a slam dunk (sports reference FTW). As women, we want to have transparency and know that you’re interested. We spend way too much time trying to analyze you as a gender, trying to wade through gray-area behavior. In this early stage of the game, a good compliment can show direct interest and clear intent (we don’t want to try and figure out if you are just trying to chat us up to waste time in the bathroom line while you are trying to not do the Pee-Pee dance). Let me give you a hint here…we want to feel/look hot, but it’s mostly not for you (we want to impress our girlfriends) and when the first thing out of your mouth is that you think we are pretty/sexy/hot, it makes us feel cheap and unoriginal. We know you thought we looked good, or you probably wouldn’t have approached us.

     If you are going to pay a compliment to a lady, be thoughtful about it. Look at what she’s wearing, her best feature (that doesn’t involve one of her wonder zones), and her accessories. We love when you notice something about our style and the way we present ourselves. Don’t go all Will and Grace, starting by telling me you like my shoes and following up with asking for a recommendation of where you can get your own pair, but make us feel like you notice little things beyond the obvious. 

    -The Double Swoop: You notice her standing there, you like what you see and you want to chat her up. This technique is really going to help your success ratio. Don’t just barge in right away, walk by and catch her eye. Smile (this is important), and hold your gaze for a few extra seconds (don’t get all scary and intense) and see if she returns the favor and then walk away. We aren’t going to give you that sort of attention or extended gaze if we aren’t at least a little interested (unless you have some sort of crazy facial feature, in that case we are just trying to understand how you see past/through that overhang of eyebrow hair). Now you wait. We will be wondering why you didn’t stop and talk, that stare will be bugging us. Let it marinate. After a little while, go back and start the conversation. The great thing about this is that it feels like we’ve already sorta met and that it wasn’t just an impulsive interaction, but that you saw us, went away, and still were thinking about us. We like that.

    -Questions: Instead of using a bad line, just ask us a question. Some of the best conversations have just started with, “Hi, I’m ______, what’s your name?”. Also, ask their opinion about something. We love to be asked what we think and be able to be an expert on it. Let’s say we’re at a museum, and you see someone that looks interesting. Ask her what exhibit you shouldn’t miss…or what her favorite piece is. We want you to need us in a situation, just like you want to feel needed and depended on. 

    -Group Strategy: If you are approaching gals in a group, ask questions to her AND her friends. Make sure you pay her extra attention so she knows that she’s special, but engage with the people who are important to her, make them feel pretty and wanted and by the end of the night, all of her friends will be putting in their orders for “Team Steve” shirts. (Take some hints from the Spice Girls…”If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends”) In the situation of approaching a co-ed group, take a minute and watch the group dynamic. You should be able to tell who’s dating who within a brief period. When you go up to chat them up, acknowledge the guys as a sign of respect, introduce yourself and shake their hand but don’t let their presence lead you to the assumption that the girls are all taken or unavailable. 

    Picking up and being picked up, Ladies Edition (PART TWO)…coming tomorrow!

    Hoping your Memorial Day weekend was as awesome as mine was (but it probably wasn’t b/c mine was EPIC),

    Chinae

     


  11. Be Better at…Getting an Internship.

    It’s that dreaded time again, summer intern hiring time at my office. I’ve been putting this off for a while now, all the other staffers have hired their interns and here I sit, internless (standard). OK, I admit it, I hate reading your resumes and cover letters, they are the worst. If I see one more Microsoft Word templated resume with the crappy squares logo (which was probably pretty edgy and modern in 1995) in the lefthand corner, I’m going to go Jack Nicholson a la The Shining on you.

    We both know it’s mostly all crap that you’ve cut and pasted from the other cover letters you wrote to the 379 firms you applied to and I totally get it, I would hate writing those too. I also understand that your Long Island Jewish mother told you “No, you aren’t going to be spending weekends at the family’s Hampton’s estate this summer until you get an internship and make something of yourself and stop embarrassing the Levenson family name”, so now we are in the same position (minus the Jewish mother, Hampton’s home, and not having a job)…panic mode.

    Operation Desperation has set in and things have gotten sloppy. Your eyes have actually grown a second retina because you’ve been sitting in front of your computer for hours replying to mostly fake Craigslist posts, and that inquiry from the Nigerian King who has an 4.6 million dollar inheritance to give you, is starting to sound like a pretty decent business strategy. Also see THIS. 

    So before you give King Menkalek your home address, social security number, and bank routing information, let’s reevaluate and see how we can alleviate this internship/job application process from being mind-numbing to only mildly boring.

    1. Keep it short and sweet: Alright, I’m only reading the first paragraph in your cover letter and 99% of the time, in that single 3 sentence paragraph, there’s enough stuff that’s wrong for me to go ahead and push that delete button right away. Keep your intro short, and most importantly, I know you want the internship, or you wouldn’t be applying, so you don’t need to tell me that. More importantly, tell me within the first 3 sentences why you are different than all these other schmucks. Why I am going to want to put up with you for the three hottest, most irritating months in NYC, just tell me that.

    2. Spell Check and Grammar Check: It’s 2011 and we are still misspelling words? Unless your resume in in full out hand-applied calligraphy like the Constitution (in which case you would instantly get the internship), there shouldn’t be misspellings…that’s what that little button with the ABC and checkmark is. Use it. Love it. Don’t press send without it. But also…read that crap out loud. Your eyes are tricking you and you are seeing what you wanted to write, and not what you actually wrote. Yes, you spelled the word correctly but you wrote Breast instead of Best and now I’m uncomfortable because I think you’re referencing my female wonder zones in a cover letter. In short, be careful, have someone else look it over and take that extra 5 minutes you were going to spend stalking that kinda-hot professor on Facebook to double check your work. 

    3. Know what you are applying for: This is my biggest pet peeve. I would say that over half of the emails I’ve received in reference to a PR/MARKETING internship for our furniture design firm, have said “I can’t wait to further my experience with interior design and work as your assistant”. First of all, this is a PR/MARKETING internship…where did you get interior design from? This job is for Ass Kissers not Carpet Pickers…oh and by the way, this is an internship not an assistant position so calm it down tiger, I probably will barely be able to stand you for the three month period anyway. 

    4. Get a personality: Just like it sounds…get one. A fake one or a real one. Something! Give me more than facts about what you’ve done and can do. Tell me about who you are, things you love, and why the hell you’d work for free in NYC. 

    Best moments of InternSearch 2011™:

    "The internet is something I’m very interested in and I definitely know my way around it." (what’s the internet?)

    "My previous employment has allowed me to work directly with clients, having to satisfy their desires." (oh really?)

    "This internship will not be paid and it will be conventionned.  Yours Faithfully, ______." (I get it…you’re French)

    Yeah, so if anyone wants to come slave away the summer under my tyrannical rule be brave, be consistant, and just Be Better,

    Chinae

     


  12. Be a Better…Communicator.

    Lately I’ve been encountering some of the worst communicators in the history of the world (insert ANOTHER over dramatic statement here), which have some how crept into my life…can we all just get together at some sort of World Summit and decide not to not be these people? Like, ever? Also, if you think you might be this person in my life…this is your gentle reminder to cease and desist.

    Next step is me making flyers with your name and phone number listed as the owner of some free pit bull puppies that you’d like to give away, I’ll promptly distribute these by hand in the Bronx and that way you’ll be too busy answering your phone and won’t have any time to bother me!

    Don’t be these people in conversation:

    The Anti-Climatic Oversharer: I may be at fault on this one…[Honesty Box: I recently revealed on a date that I pee on these ketosis measurement sticks to see if I’m burning carbs/fat (also see *still dating this person FTW)] but this is the type of conversationalist that LOVES to reveal crap about themselves….everything is a secret that they are exploding to tell you about. 99% of the time it’s not that secretive or interesting. So if you are going to overshare…shock me, disgust me, dumbfound me…SOMETHING. Seriously. Let’s really go for it here people. Tell me about your recent fascination with nude planking on objects over 2000 ft. high or that you have just decided to reveal you are a Russian Czar and want to make me your leetle (Russian accent here) Czarina, or that you have a growth on your side, that is actually your long lost twin who shares your pancreas and has a nasty personality disorder and a penchant for adventure. The point is…I love someone who spills their guts, just know that it better be mildly interesting or we should just talk about the weather bc at least that’s unpredictable.

    The Too Much Too Soon Gal/Guy: We met last night, you are a friend of a friend (who I only kind of like)…we made mild plans to hang out in the future at some point. Step into my time machine and let’s fast forward 8 hours…I wake up, still in my pre-caffeine daze, mind riddled with thinking how I can propel myself to the coffee shop (would they notice if I didn’t put on pants?/would I get a free coffee?), look at my best friend iPhone, and reveal a facebook notification, a text message with the your name in the body of the text just to “make sure you don’t forget”, an iCal event invite to your Annual Stoop Sale to benefit Un-Wed Mothers, and a freakin’ LinkedIn recommendation request (I don’t actually know wtf LinkedIn does…let’s call it Myspace minus the glittery GIFS that say “Sexy Princess”). Listen, you were a decent human being, I thought I’d even like to be your friend, but really…you’ve got to calm down and get a handle on the appropriate timeline and protocol on how to make friends without them thinking you’re a serial killer. (Unless you are Michael C. Hall from hit Showtime drama Dexter, in that specific case I am willing to accept all this crazy serial killer behavior and we will move on to a longterm relationship ending in a 4 bedroom brownstone, one oppressively-hyperactive child and a Bernese Mountain dog named Dokes)

    The Over-Expressive Facial Expression Person: I understand you are listening when I talk…there is no reason to contort your face that way to convey that. You are scaring me and I can’t get through my pee stick story with your face all crazy and play-doh-like, it’s giving me nightmares.  (also see “Over-Enthusiastic Mid-Sentence Nodder”) 

    The Hyper-Networker: We all know one or ten of these little gems…you’re talking to…let’s call him Larry for lack of a better name, and the entire time you’re talking, he is doing 1 of 3 things. Checking his blackberry (it’s Saturday butthole, you’re fine), asking you about someone, referencing them as “one of your contacts”, and my favorite one is when Larry is talking to you, you get a little weirded out bc you’re like “why is larry staring at my left ear/shoulder, I got that thing removed”, don’t fret…he’s actually just looking PAST you at the other people in the room that he needs to “connect” with. Larry, you are a douchelord and I have a friend on LinkedIn that you should meet. 

    All that to say, being a decent communicator is pretty simple…listen fervently, respond with compassion-laden honesty, find your humorous voice, and be authentic (whether good or bad). We’re all going to get along better this way. 

    Apologies for a rant-filled Monday,

    Chinae