Saturday, January 28, 2012

Panties in the lobby!

Laundry day is something I think I will come to dread now. It takes real agility to swiftly transport undies from the washer to the dryer up the elevator (with people on it) back to the safegrounds of home. Standing fourteen floors with everyone hovering over your (at least clean) pile of lace and push-up bras isn't something I think I'll come to enjoy. Eye contact is a taboo.

During the laundry process, I kept forgetting things and running back up the stairs, like three times too many. It was meant to be. I ran into our neighbors across the way who were moving out of the Africa! Phil is the U.N. chief security for the Democratic Republic of Congo and is moving to Africa before returning to his wife, ahhh forgot her name, in Virginia. They insisted on giving me their cleaning supplies; I also said ramen noodle soup is popular amongst college students. I got a sympathy laugh out of that one. They ended up giving us boxes and boxes of stuff.

Leaving our apartment tonight would have been a better idea?

Last night I went to a huge church service at St. George's Episcopal church for a combined service with several churches from around the city. While it was a little long for me, (and I got there 45 min. late, bad Christian! :/) it was a pretty awesome experience to hear hundreds of people crying out for unity in Christ for their city. I felt a little uncomfortable during some parts (I can never find the words for public prayer) until I sat down, put my head in my hands, and talked to Christ like he was my best friend. That guy's pretty cool, and it makes everything so much easier that way. I'd like to find a church while I'm here. Put that on the list with the perfect job and the perfect man? :)

Some bonding has def gone down with our apartment. Last night we had a nail party when we probably should have been out in the city... Seriously, it was a Friday night. Erica, whose boyfriend is studying in Egypt, always says she met the perfect man when she wasn't looking. Our apartment was then filled with shouts of "I'm not looking! I'm not looking...?"

In all seriousness, how can you find someone you want when you're not even sure what you want? I'm pretty firm set that I'm not looking for a job with my internship. While I'm enjoying it more and more, I couldn't survive on 28 grand a year (apparent pay) and I am a faces person. My passion is for people. I have to be interacting with people, face to face, public speaking, etc. to be satisfied. This office does some of that, and there are always people walking in and out of the conference room (a big table surrounded by pink chairs), but mainly ladies are addicted to their emails and AOL's IM(bringing back middle school mems anyone? LOL, BRB?) is a utilized tool throughout the office, even for those sitting a few chairs down... While I'm here, who knows, I could turn a 180 and go to law school, or turn to non-profit PR, or move to Europe (I'm not looking? (: ha...)

The beauty team (which I'm on) had an AWESOME meeting on Thursday. We discussed our intern duties with our mentors which daily will include sending out product to editors, bloggers, makeup artists, celebs, etc.; unpacking products we recieve from our clients for publicity uses (there's literally THOUSANDS of awesome product in shelves, desk drawers, closets...); and we also discussed some of what our team does as a group. Trends (Valentine's day, red carpet events, etc) is another component to monthly PR media packages and so is taking client calls. I offered my note-taking skills in trade for the ability to listen in on client phone calls, meetings etc. I'd like to get a feel for the interaction, client requests, and all that goes along with maintaining client relations, and my mentor would like to gain feeling in her fingers from typing so much, so we're square. We also discussed events, and (YESSSSS!!!!) fashion week is definitely something that interns will be useful for. I said I will hold jackets, run coffee, whatEVER.... Pretty sure I'll be able to go to an event or two. Fashion week is Feb. 9-16. Stoked.

One of the interns recently quit and moved back to Florida after only a couple of weeks. And so, the day after her emailed announcement, (she told management she found another job, she told us she was overqualified and unsatisfied) the girls of the office got together for a meeting to discuss the interns.
In the middle of the showroom where I was working. "The interns..." "We need to utilize the interns..." "Well they need need to" "The interns..."

Awesome. So excited I could participate from the outside, complete with subtle glares and whispers. Awkward.
Ugh. Interns.
The upside to that is that management is pretty in-tune to the interns wants and our value of free labor. We are here to work and to learn the craft, and from this point on I think everyone is more willing to enable our goals of that. Joe, our professor here, said that was pretty awesome and rare that that kind of initiative is taken for the improvement of internship relations and responsibilities. After the meeting, I told my mentor, Danielle, that she was doing an awesome job and I really appreciate her working with me, because well... I do. As an ex-intern herself, she's pretty awesome with giving me responsibility and being very available for guidance, even if it's just to shadow her daily work.

The same can't be said for Audrey's mentor, who we passed this week on the street on our way to Bread&Butter (Awesome, awesome salad, soup, sandwich place) for lunch. I sweetly smiled which was reciprocated with an "Ugh...interns." to her equally gorgeous friend. Mean girls take two.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Shameless. the life of an intern as she changes from high heels to flats in the middle of Duane Reed pharmacy. And in the middle of the street. And in the lobby at work. I told Steve, the doorman who greets me in the building where Alison Brod is, not to judge me, as I shoved my sore arches into shiny gold stilettos. He said if he did, I'd pass with flying colors. He's a pal.
So the whirlwind of my first week is over...exhausting and exciting. This lifestyle is going to look great on me. Alison Brod is a daily fashion runway, a blur of sequins, 6 inch pumps, blonde hair extensions, and women who could all make a living in modeling. I showed up my first day in formal business attire. My mentor who I will be working with the most, showed up in a leather mini skirt. Wardrobe update pronto.
My first day I packed up boxes for TIGI to ship back. While that's not super glam, getting to take home whatever I wanted out of those boxes is. Hello hundreds of dollars of hair products and makeup. Awesome.
This past week my biggest project was working on media lists, as ABPR is trying to take on a L’Oreal Hispanic hair care line. I talked to different magazine and newspaper editors on the phone, updating contact info... some in Spanish. Thank you Madrid. Granted, I began talking to one editor in Spanish and he immediately handed the phone to his English-speaking supervisor. (Need to work on my accento?)Thank you dropping my Spanish minor immediately after studying in Spain.
Each Christmas break, I watch the entire season of Gossip Girl. Fab show, I'm fanatical, and living on the Upper East Side someday would be a dream. So when Kelly Rutherford, the mother (plays Lily) of the show's main star, Blake Lively (plays Serena Van der Woodson), walked into ABPR the second day of my internship, I was beside myself with joy. Really just pure joy. Did I make the intern rookie mistake of asking for her autograph? No (regret??). But I did move my computer into ABPR’s main showroom, which is lined with clothes, jewelry, shoes, jars of pink candy, and couches with colorful pillows, so I could discreetly glance up at the actress with what probably was an expression of “star-struck.” Rutherford most likely came into the office for samples of various products of our clients that we carry on-hand. ABPR can pay celebs to wear our clients’ shoes, jewelry, dresses etc. to land good publicity.
One of this work week’s highlights for me was a brain storming session on wigs.  ABPR is taking on three new lines of hair pieces, extensions, and wigs and some gals piled onto couches to discuss what could be done to market wigs to make them more daily-wearable for the typical woman. The goal is to climb over the thought of “I’m wearing a wig, this is weird” obstacle and turn hair pieces into a daily accessory. They also discussed planning a getaway weekend in Mexico that would take a week after to become sober again. I’m pretty excited to start making new friends.
…including a magazine editor on the subway. She lives in my building, and we walked to the subway together after her 15 month old blue-eyed son was “flirting” with me in the elevator. She gave me her card, and offered me a potential babysitting job. I’m already broke, so this could be a GREAT thing…and a fantastic contact. She has worked at a wine tasting magazine and is currently a senior editor at Parents Magazine.
I work with seven or eight other interns and am enjoying getting to know them via lunch dates. This one gal is from Barnard College and interned with Opah’s magazine last semester. While she never was able to sit and chat with the woman, she said Oprah smells wonderful? Other gals are from Florida State University, Iona College, South Carolina…….
Fridays I have off from my Mon-Thurs internship. Jordan, a gal in our group, is interning at 30 Rock for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and so we went with her to watch Jimmy’s monologue before he begins filming for the actual show. Fallon tests out jokes and decides what to use based on crowd reaction. I was laughing so hard the whole time, especially during a Newt Gingrich/Susan Boyle comparison. The studio he films in is the same studio Johnny Carson and Jack Paar had their Tonight shows in back in the day. The Roots were there as well and had their own comedic contributions as they played soft music while Fallon read thank you notes. “Thank you people that wear flip-flops with socks. You demonstrate that you don’t know how to use either of those things.”
Saturday we had a class trip to the Museum of Motion Pictures where we sat in on a talk with movie director, David Cronenberg, and afterwards watched his film, The History of Violence. Cronenberg is mostly known as being one of the originators of the venereal horror genre. That was blatantly apparent after his movie about a mobster killer creating a separate identity after wanting an out from his previous life of violence. Also in the museum are the original muppets and an exhibit of their genius creator, Jim Henson. Pretty cool to see Miss Piggy in the flesh (cloth?). In class (Topics of Contemporary Cinema) this week we analyzed a muppet clip with Manamana. Theme song of the trip--people shout "Manamana" at random times and everyone chimes, "do, dooo, da, do do."
The Baylor group I'm here with is AWESOME. "I love us" is an overly used phrase, and the past week has been filled with bonding. We're in this together. These people are my future contacts, and I think great relationships will come out of this program of 17. Saturday night we went out to a Greek restaurant, Uncle George's, for a family dinner. A man that my roommate Audrey and I had met on the subway the day before told us about it, and ironically and hilariously we ran into him and his girlfriend there. Small world New York.
Nightlife is fantastic. Friday included flaming bottle toppers, drummers onstage, a trail of Cheetos and many Persians. Saturday men were dancing on a bar countertop in wigs and robot helmets resembling LMFAO's "I'm sexy and I know it" music video. A gal at work said her first months out of college in the meatpacking district took years off of her life. I don't want to get old anyways (OH! Kidding mom).
Today was kind of lazy day. Audrey and I ventured into Chinatown and Little Italy, and even though my aunt Kim will disown me for buying a Gucci purse from canal street, it's pretty!

First week down!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

oh, that first comedian was a devil.

...well the airport scale said 56 lbs for my suitcase, but after the lady saw my face fall I think she had compassion and just let it go. NICEEE.

My mom and I boarded our delayed plane which consisted of many "Real Housewives of..." shows, and we landed in our Ravel hotel that evening. Let me take a minute to praise the Ravel, as the lobby people were exceptional and gave my mom and I many free glasses of wine and shuttled us wherever we needed to go in the area.
My mom and I on the rooftop of the Ravel hotel
The first night we ventured out to Laughing Devil comedy club on Vernon Blvd, where we walked in late and were, of course, seated at the closest table to the stage (The guy at the door assured us we wouldn't be a target...). So after the first comedian made the mistake of asking me if I had a boyfriend, (I had just been dumped the night before my big move to the city) which was followed by an "awww" of the crowd, the bartender made nice and not only gave me his number but also spruced up my vodka tonic. WHAT a doll. The following two comedians were hilarious, and the final act was the club owner who gave us a free ticket and drink with apologetic undertones for assuring us walking in late was "no big deal."
Me, Kim, and Mom in Central Park
My aunt Kim came into the city the following day, and we walked (and walked) around the city. She knows her way around most places, and comes up from PA to see her two sister in-laws who have lived and worked in the city for years. We found the building where I will begin work tomorrow, met the nice doorman, and had excellent guacamole and sangria at Dos Caminos, the Mexican restaurant under Alison Brod. I was scoping out who may be my future co-workers on their lunch break.
I moved into a room on the fourteenth floor of my apartment building yesterday. My everyday view is the Queens bridge and the gorgeous New York skyline. As I'm blogging I keep peaking over at the Empire State Building and the lit-up Chrystler building.
Audrey, a gal I have known over the years at Baylor (we met from my failed sorority), and I are sharing a room and bunk beds. But gooooodness this apartment is spacious with a kitchen, living room, another master bedroom/bathroom (for the other two gals and winners of the coin flip), and a balcony. I found out tonight it's apparently 3 grand a month, so I'll be downgrading to a closet apartment for around 1000 a month if I plan on staying here after May.

Tomorrow is my first day of my internship (MLK day-- "That's racist." is the joke a guy in my program keeps saying to those who are working). Audrey and I did a mini fashion show to decide what to wear. I've settled for a leopard print top and black pencil skirt (leather down the sides!) becuase it screams "Jessica."
My goals for this semester are to find out more of who I am and what I want for my future. I want to savor every opportunity (and diverse restaurant choices!!), meet incredible people, work hard and be able to give someone directions around the city by the end of spring...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

JUST under fifty.

So here I am again, surrounded by piles of clothes, beauty products and shoes galore with only TWO suitcases to contain my semester's wardrobe. Memories of panic attacks and atrocious airport fines begin to seep into my excitement for my New York City move as I recall the $500 spent on my journey to Madrid, Spain a little over a year ago due to my overweight baggage.
In 2012, baggage isn't really my thing, so I'm trying to go light. With the help of a luggage scale I nailed it at 49.7 and 48.9 lbs. Let's hope the airport scales agree as I try to keep it under the 50 lb max without a fine...

I am moving to Queens, New York tomorrow where I will be spending the spring interning on Park Avenue in the city with Alison Brod Public Relations. They are a fashion, beauty and lifestyle PR firm with a strong liking of the color pink. Aliza Bogner, the company's vice president offered me an internship position this fall, and after accepting I laid to rest my efforts at other potential internship positions at Madison Square Gardens, 5W Public Relations, CBS Publicity, Sax Fifth Avenue and more. After discovering and learning about the company myself through research, it was my number one choice. The pink candy dishes on each desk sold me.

I will intern Monday through Thursday each week, and will be taking night classes with a Baylor professor who began the study program about nine years ago, specifically for Journalism, Communications, and Film majors. Nineteen other students are living in my same apartment complex and have various internships ranging from the David Letterman show, to Madison Square Gardens, to Late Night with Jimmy Falon, to local news stations...and more. Baylor has made a good reputation around the city--let's pray we keep it!

Leaving all I know and moving to a big city isn't a new experience, however this semester will be QUITE different from living in Spain like I did in fall 2010. I am going to the city to perform, whereas in Europe I was going for travel, culture, to play. While there will be all of those components still, this internship could open doors, job opportunities, and teach me more about what it is I will be doing after my graduation date this May.

I am nervous, anxious, excited, terrified, confident. I know who I am, I know what I can do. But I don't know New York City... yet.

My mom and I are leaving tomorrow morning to start this adventure together (THANK THE LORD!) I am so happy she'll be by my side as I become acclimated to people running into me and not apologizing.

I am SO looking forward to getting beauty samples (fingers crossed!), tougher skin and another INCREDIBLE experience.
Stay tuned :)