Monthly Archives: March 2011

Are you ready to interview?

As school is nearing the end for me (light at the end of the tunnel) I am facing the daunting task of interviewing for a “real” job. I’m scared. I have seen the unemployment statistics, heard the interview horror stories, heard my friends who have hired people laughing about mistakes the interviewees made, and know that when it comes time for me to interview I need to be prepared. I need to be more than prepared, I need to rock it outta the house and back– Marie Raperto, a corporate headhunter, has great tips on what you should think about for interviewing and then I added a few comments at the end of each of her suggestions:

  • Respond to questions briskly and concisely. (Nothing is more annoying than someone who sits there saying “uhm…”)
  • Be certain you understand the question. Don’t be afraid to ask for  clarification. (Better to ask and understand than miss the question entirely.)
  • Respond to the question asked. Don’t volunteer information. (Do not ramble on! Remember the 7 second rule-a lot of employers will sit quietly after you finish answering the question just to see if you will cave under the pressure of silence and start rambling on. Don’t do it.)
  • Watch for opportunities to ask questions, especially those that show you have done some homework on the company. (Employers like to see that you have taken the initiative and time to learn about their company-it shows dedication.)
  • Be sensitive to the interviewer. Take stock of their style and try to respond to questions naturally. (Some interviews will be formal, some not so much-you can miss out on a great opportunity by being inflexible with your style of communication.)
  • Strive to develop a natural dialogue and rapport with our interviewer. But, remember, they are in control. (Be calm. Be polite. Compliment something about them or the company-this helps ease tension and hopefully gets them talking!)
  • Avoid the use of negative terms in your answers. Instead of problems, talk about challenges or opportunities. (Never use negative comments, not only is it a complete turn-off to most employers, it also shows that you may not be a team player or difficult to work with.)
  • Get as many relevant details about the position. This way, you can determine if it is a position you truly want. ( Don’t waste your time or theirs if it is not something you are truly interested in.)
  • Prepare, but don’t over-do it. Your answers should come naturally, not sound like a script. (Practice interviewing techniques with a friend.)
  • Thank the interviewer the end of an interview. (Don’t forget to send a handwritten/email thank you note. It shows that you are classy and polite and that you have social skills-like manners! I always write thank you’s and I’ve only ever heard how much they were appreciated-so take a minute and write one.)
Remember to be calm, try your best, and know that you win some and lose some, and that every interview can have a kernel of education you can analyze afterwards. But, don’t beat your self up for mistakes, just try not to make them again. One last thing…..Good Luck:)

Do you have any suggestions for interviewing techniques? Tried and true practices that have always landed you a position? Have a website or article to share? I welcome your comments, questions, or suggestions.
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Not Ya Mama’s Baby Shower: A modern girls guide to choosing fun baby shower games.

Ok, we have all been to more baby showers than we probably care to think about. The common theme to most of the ones I have been to is that they are all pretty boring and I can’t wait to exit. Now, I have used my powers of perusing hours and tons of websites devoted to choosing fun games to enhance your a-maz-ing baby shower. Every friend is unique, and when throwing a party to celebrate their happy moments you want it to be memorable (in a good way) and fun for guests, plus you want to show your bff how special she is to you.

My least favorite baby shower game I ever EVER ever played included someone handing around diapers with baby food smeared inside to look like poop, and we were supposed to use a spoon to scoop a small bite out and eat it. Yes. Gross. Not only did I not want to play, I can be a bit germ-a-phobic about sharing food with 25 other strangers all dipping their spoons in too. So-lets find some games that can not make your guests feel queasy 🙂

1. How Many Baby Items Can You Name: (Materials- pad of paper and pen for each woman). Have each woman write down as many baby products as they can name (bottle, blanket, pacifier, etc) within 3 minutes. Sure it is easy at the beginning, but towards the last few minutes, the women will start racking their brains for more 🙂 Give a prize to the woman who gets the most baby products named!

2. Who Can Make The Mother-To-Be’s Baby: (Materials – Baby magazines, Scissors, Glue, Paper). Have the women group up into teams of 3 and give each 3 baby magazines. Have them cut out pieces of different baby qualities and put together a picture of what they think the Mother-To-Be’s baby will look like. Have the Mother-To-Be pick which baby would possibly look like hers the best! Give prizes to the winning team! A quick tip to be frugal is to purchase the magazines at a thrift shop. Typically they sell the magazines for under a quarter each!

3.Baby Bingo: (Materials- Pens, Pre-Printed Bingo cards that use the numbers of how many people attend the baby shower) Prior to opening the baby shower gifts, number each gift on the box starting with one. If you know that 15 people will be attending your shower, pre-print bingo cards with numbers 1 through 15 and randomly place them on 15 cards. When the mommy-to-be’s decides to open the presents, she grabs the present she wants to open and reads the number out loud. As soon as someone receives bingo, they win the baby shower game and the baby shower prize.

4.Baby Shower Lotto (Materials- Calendar with large calendar month dates, highlighter pen, and normal pen). Have the calendar of the month that the mother-to-be’s baby is due at the front door for guests when they arrive. Each day is divided into two parts: am and pm for the guests to choose from in picking the date and general time the baby will be born. Make sure to have the due date highlighted. Guests can “buy in” to a lotto ticket for a certain day (am or pm) that they think the baby will be born. The guest who guesses closest wins a baby shower gift, of course given after the baby is born. The fun part of the game is that the lotto tickets can be purchased by using something other than money that is useful to the parents. Instruct guests beforehand that a lotto tickets may be purchased with a diaper pack, baby bottles or baby wipes, etc. (Thank you to our visitors who gave us this great baby shower game!)

5. Fingertip Feel: (Materials: rice, a bowl, small baby pins) Fill a small bowl with uncooked rice and mix 20 small closed diaper pins in. Then the guest is blindfolded and has 1 minute to pull as many of the diaper pins out (without the rice) as possible. It sounds easy, but without being able to see it is very difficult to feel the difference between the pins and the rice!

6.Baby Shower Thank You Card Draw – (Materials: Thank you cards and envelopes, pens, bag) – . Once the baby shower attendees arrive, give them each an envelope (that goes with the baby shower thank you cards you purchased) and have them write their name and address on it. Put them is whatever you would like and draw an envelope for a baby shower prize. Now momma to be has all the name and addresses and can send out Thank you cards more easily!

7. Baby Shower “Guess What’s In The Bag” Game (Materials: Paper Bags of different sizes to fit different size items, items listed below, pen) –

You will need 10 paper bags. For fun, use colored ones. On the front of the first bag put a letter “B”, the second “A”, third “B”, fourth “Y”, and so on spelling out “B A B Y S H O W E R”. Inside each bag is an item for the baby beginning with the letter on the outside of the bag. Guests cannot pick up the bags. Display them on a table so they can see how big the bags are. Whoever guesses the most correctly wins. Here is an example of what you might put in the bags:

B – Bottle, brush, booties, burp cloth

A – Aspirator, apple sauce

B – Bib

Y – Yellow Rubber Ducky (you may have to give a clue for this one)

S – Spoon, soap, shampoo

H – Hat, hanger (baby size), headband

O – Onesie, oil, Ora-gel

W – Wipes, wash cloth

E – Ear syringe, ear ache medicine

R – Rattle, receiving blanket, rash medicine

8.Baby Shower Memory Game (Materials: Poster Board, paper, candy bars, pen, tape) – Take a large piece of poster board with 20 small (3×5) pieces of paper lined up in number order (1, 2, 3…) with five across and four down. Under each paper was a word has a match under another paper. Example: 1 was “Baby Girl” and 20 was “Baby Girl”. The players choose two numbers, trying to match the words. Each match was given a prize. “Baby Girl” received a Baby Ruth candy bar. “Laundry” received a Mounds candy bar, “Daddy” received Sugar Daddy candy, “Breastfeeding” received Milky Way, “Contractions” received Good and Plenty, “Epidural” received Lifesavers, “Bottle” received Baby Bottle Pop candy, “Crying Baby” received Screaming Sours candy, “10 pound baby” received Whoppers. (Find candy at the candy store, and make up your own words!) Everyone loved this game! We didn’t know what candy was going to be given out, so it was fun to guess while people were playing the game.

9.Baby Scrapbook (Materials: Scrap book, ribbons, stickers, colorful pens etc) – A real neat baby shower activity is to make a baby scrapbook for the parent’s to be. Give everyone a page to create borders, pictures, and little sayings so you can place them all in the book for the mother to be to use when taking pictures of the birth and on. It is a great way to have everyone participate in the memories. It is even fun to take a picture at the party of every baby shower participant and place it on the back of the page so you know who did the page for you and who attended the baby shower. Plus we all know how hard it is to make time to put together an album after the baby is born! This gives the parents-to-be a place to put photo’s without any work at all:)

A separate idea that can be a fun reminder of your event is to use twitter. You could even give a prize to the person who tweets the most updates during the party.  If you and the friends attending the party like to use twitter, then you could ask each of them to post updates about funny comments, pics, or nice thoughts as the party ensues. Now, Melissa Miller posted stats on Twitter users across the country and she found that the top three states to twitter (per capita) are: Massachusetts, Washington, and Oregon. So, if you live in these three states-tweet about the party you are at! It will be fun for the hostess and the baby-momma to read all her friends nice comments and funny stories after the event is over.

I hope you have enjoyed some of the ideas listed above and I hope that your next baby shower is filled with fun!

As always I welcome your comments, ideas, or suggestions. Thanks!

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Grab your partner and get active in Eugene: A guide to free activities you can do together.

Last night I had the pleasure of watching a local Eugene Generals hockey game at the Lane Events Ice Center located near the fairgrounds. I have never been to a hockey game before. Let me tell you-It was an experience! People bang on the plexiglass windows, encourage the players to use rough behavior, and cheer for penalty box time served. The variety of people there is expansive, and the players are between the ages of 16-20. It was a total blast! The air is filled with excitement, my husband is cheering with a beer in his hand as he teaches our six-year-old to bang his hands on the plexiglass and yell for the Emeralds. My son is smiling, laughing, and having fun. Then the epiphany hits me: Great date idea.

So, of course, it lead me to write a column about free and inexpensive active dates you can take with your partner in the Eugene area. I’ve included general costs and information and hope that it helps you plan a spontaneous date night/day out.

1.Eugene Generals

PO Box 25624
Eugene, OR 97402
(541)359-4154 voice/ticket office
(541)255-3323 fax

Our Home Arena:
Lane Events Center-Ice
796 W. 13th Avenue
Eugene, OR 97402

Tickets are completely affordable. Kids age five and under are free. Students and Seniors are $5, and adults are $8. They also offer package deals. Normal concession stand food is available, but it is a bit pricey. I recommend bringing your own snacks/beverages with you in a bag to save not only cash but also calories! The best part of going to a hockey game with your partner is that you get to spend time together watching an exciting and fast paced sport that you don’t particularly have to fully understand in order to enjoy it 🙂 It’s about camaraderie and fun. A Perfect date.

2.Fern Ridge Reservoir

Fern Ridge is a great place to go year round. During spring and summer months the expansive grassy areas, picnic spots, and playground are favorites for locals. In the fall and winter (when the US Army Corp of Engineers) partially drains the reservoir, it can be surreal to walk into the middle of a drained lake and see what is along the bottom of the lake. The cost for this activity is minimal. Parking is $3 (or use your Lane County Parks Pass), bring your own food and beverages. There are bathrooms facilities and garbage bins. Boating, swimming, and lots of space to walk around. A great place to lounge in the sun, or hold hands as you walk the lake.

3. Cinemark Movies 12 and Appetizers at Applebee’s

Gateway St., Springfield, OR 97477

Movie lovers unite! Cinemark Movies 12 has the best ticket prices in town.

On Mondays if you buy 3 or more tickets to a single movie, the tickets are only $.75 each. Seriously. Every Wednesday the tickets are $1.25 all day long! The rest of the week the tickets will range between $1.50-$2.00 each. Exceptional value! Prices for the concession stand are normal, but they will allow you to bring in a bottle of water.

Now, here is the trick to keeping the cost of eating before or after the movie at a minimum-Appetizers and beverages are half-off after 9pm at Applebee’s, which is located in the parking lot of the theater. Or choose one of Applebee’s  2 for $20 deals that give you and a date a complete meal. You could literally have a movie/dinner date night for under $30.

4. Dog Park it with your sweetie.

Eugene has amazing off-leash fenced dog parks. Plus it’s a free date you can do together while bonding with Fido. All of the parks have nicely maintained walking paths and information is typically posted about the length of each trail. It’s a terrific place to let your dog socialize and to meet other people. Plus, it’s a place where there aren’t a lot of outside distractions, just you, your partner, your pet, and nature.

5. Fiddler’s Green

91292 Hwy. 99N
Eugene, OR 97402
Call Toll Free: (800) 548-5500
Or Local: (541) 689-8464

Fiddler’s Green is a small course near the airport. While playing the course can be fun and inexpensive (9 holes is only $7-9 dollars!) I prefer to hit the driving range. I love getting the gold tokens for $1.50 (yields about 30 balls) gathering my little easter basket looking bucket loaded with balls and finding a stall not close to other parties (mostly because I suck at golf and only want my husband to see my silliness), and then hit away. My husband gives me tips, he can show me how to square my hips, we can talk and laugh, and there might have been a bet for $5 if you could hit the fully enclosed ball picker-upper-golf cart. Which, uhhhmm I might have accidentally gotten lucky enough to do 🙂 The sound of laughter and high-fives were the highlight. Golfing together, even just practicing gives you time to decompress and just enjoy your time together.

Whew. Sorry this blog was a long one, but I hope you have gotten some great ideas and info to plan a fun, sporty date with a special someone!

Please feel free to leave a comment, or idea for another activity.

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