Two Months into My Spending Freeze

I almost slipped yesterday and bought a shirt. My internship took us on a tour of a professional sports team’s stadium, and I found a shirt from the gift shop that reminded me of one my boyfriend has.

dollars-19782_640After trying it on and deciding I wanted it, I remembered – oh yeah, I’m not buying anything for my wardrobe for four months.

So here I am, two months in, so far so good.

You might recall that I initially toyed with the idea of a capsule, but decided against it because I didn’t know what the dress code would be like at my internship. It turns out the dress is way more casual than I imagined, so I packed away my business professional and have about 40 items in my closet. Yesterday my roommate asked me how I survive with so few clothes.

Honestly, I have run into a few snafus in my freeze:

  1. My black flats are peeling. I’ve been wearing these all year and I think they are reaching the end of their life. I will try my best to wear different shoes, but these are just so easy.
  2. My black belt is separating. Meaning, the two pieces of pleather that are holding it together are coming apart. Unlike the black flats, I don’t have an alternative, and my go-to outfit is a button-down shirt tucked into my pants. I’m hoping if I’m gentle with it, and limit my uses to once or twice a week, it will make it to almost the end of the summer.
  3. My jeans are wearing thin. In the crotch. It’s not an area where I could discretely put a patch and still call them business casual. I got these jeans second hand, and since they are my only pair they get worn a ton. I suppose a solution to this would be shaving my legs more often and wearing skirts. I’m just so lazy.
  4. My cream cardigan has an ink stain. I’m going to continue to wear it because it’s my only neutral, but it looks shabby.

Well that’s about it! Everything else has been easy peasy.

When my freeze is over, I’m buying a new pair of jeans. Does anyone know where I can find some that are actually jean material? All I find in stores these days are stretchy, and I can’t wear those to work.

Does anyone have a capsule wardrobe? How’s it going?

Anyone else tried a spending freeze?

And where do I buy real jeans (not stretchy ones!)?

Brand Management = Data Analysis

Unbeknownst to me prior to beginning my MBA, marketers spend their days analyzing data. This has become increasingly more obvious during my internship, and finally the hours I spent last semester staring at spreadsheets are coming in handy.

I realize that marketing doesn’t necessarily equal data analysis when you reach VP or CMO levels, but for the rest of us on the brand, data is life.

The scary thing is that I earned a Bachelor’s in marketing and still didn’t realize what marketing really is. According to my undergrad professors, marketing is the 4 P’s, AIDA, advertising, and that’s about it.

'Remember, you're NEVER a stranger in this store because we've got LOADS of shopping data on you!'
They do. It’s true. And I’m learning allllll about you!

Well, well, well, my friends, if you want to be a brand manager, you’d best be ready to spend your days digging in databases.

Although I had no clue what I was getting myself into when I signed up for an MBA with an emphasis in marketing, I actually love it. I’m an organized person, I do well with structure, and I like drawing conclusions from cold, hard facts.

I also find it interesting that marketing has a reputation for being “soft” and touchy-feely. When I am comparing promo and non-promo dollars to base and incremental dollars to decide what type of in-store display causes the most lift, it sure doesn’t seem touchy-feely.

Maybe it’s time for an overhaul of society’s belief of what marketing is. I feel confident that as big data continues to pervade our daily life, marketing will become increasingly analytical.

What comes to mind for you when you hear “marketing”?

Does anyone work in marketing where it is touchy-feely, or there isn’t much data mining?

If you’re in school, are your marketing classes preparing you for data analysis?

Full Wheel and Fire Ants

Remember how excited I was to get back onto the mat? After weeks off of my foot, I’ve recently hit the studio like a madwoman.

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Who’da thunk that such a small creature would put me off my feet for so long?

Then, on Saturday, my happy yogi world came crashing down. A fire ant bit me, and I’ve had a horrible allergic reaction. My foot looks like a slab of spam and my toes look like Vienna sausages. The swelling goes up my whole leg and is pretty painful.

I finally went to a clinic today (when I resigned to the fact that it was getting worse rather than better), and they sent me to urgent care. Now I’m on orders to stay off of my foot while taking meds for the allergic reaction as well as an infection.

vienna-sausages
Vienna sausages? Or my toes?

But really, everything hasn’t been doom and gloom. This weekend I got to visit with my goddaughter who is six years old and suddenly very in to gymnastics. I pretty much blew her mind when I got down in the grass and did a full wheel with her! I honestly blew my own mind, too, because I had only done a couple before my initial foot injury, and I hadn’t done one since I’d started practicing yoga again.

Nothing like a spritely six year old to help me up my yoga game!

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Yoga in the Corporate Gym

I’ve resisted joining a yoga studio in the town I’m in this summer because the corporate gym at my company has free yoga classes twice a week.

corporate_yoga
I don’t know which is more terrifying: The prospect of falling off of a desk during a balance pose, or that khaki suit.

I’m not going to lie – the classes aren’t what I’m used to. I’ve been pretty spoiled with the studios I’ve frequented around my b-school, and I think I’ve become accustomed to fancy-pants teachers that can do handstand scorpions while chanting in Sanskrit… or cutting their toenails… or doing whatever they want, really.

But on the other hand, it’s refreshing to practice yoga with a different crowd. Instead of being surrounded by bendy ladies, I’m doing downward dog next to Phil from the research department. It’s a nice reminder that practicing yoga is less about fitting some expected mold and more about individual growth.

Aside from that, I’m enjoying the classes because they’re free, they’re two minutes from where I work all day, and the teachers are really friendly. No one competes for most expensive yoga mat or longest handstand, and everyone just flows.

And let’s be honest, it’s always a conversation starter when in the locker room you see that Nancy from accounting has a tattoo on her left butt cheek.

Does anyone else practice yoga in a corporate setting? Why or why not?

Ripping Off the Yoga Soreness Band-Aid

When I first started yoga back in January, I was only attending one difficult class a week. This meant that every single week for approximately two months, I limped between classes at grad school because I let the soreness monster linger.

I was practicing at home a few times between classes, but my 20 minute YouTube videos didn’t compare to the hour and fifteen minute Ashtanga class.

In the last three weeks I have attended only two yoga classes. For the four weeks prior to that I attended zero as I waited for my foot to heal. Now that I am officially healthy, I knew it was time to get back in the game.

I decided I didn’t want to tussle with the soreness monster for many moons, as I had the first time around. This is why this week I decided to rip off the yoga soreness Band-Aid. I attended three classes in four days.

71GBQfbAs I write this to you I am lying in bed slightly whimpering as I feel as though I’ve just spent the last several days battling with wildlings. My butt cheeks feel like I StairMastered to the top of the Wall, my shoulders feel like I had a bow and arrow shoot off with Ygritte, and my arms feel like I wielded Long Claw against the Lord of Bones in a battle to the death.

If I were at home instead of in this college housing, I would be in a bath with Epsom salts faster than you could say: “the white walkers are coming.”

So yeah, I’m sore. I’m thinking that although I’m feeling rough now, it will be better than the ongoing soreness I experienced the first time around.

How do you guys deal with soreness?

How often do you experience it when practicing yoga?

I’m especially curious about how often seasoned yogis get sore. I’m thinking that soreness will never be fully eliminated since we are always trying to grow our practices.

I’m Not Purchasing Clothing for Four Months

Several weeks ago I blogged about minimalism and my wardrobe, and since then I have taken a few steps to analyze how my shopping habits fit into the consumerism puzzle. As I mentioned previously, yoga and minimalism have a strong tie, and as I practice yoga I become more interested in different facets of minimalism.

dresses-53319_640I’ve cleaned out my closet, donated clothes that no longer work for me, and decided to go on a four month spending freeze for clothing (that’s one third of the year! 123 days!). I’m more than one month in to this freeze, and so far I’m feeling great! I decided this was a good path for me because above all else, I want to be more conscious of the items I have and the items I need. I also want to reduce my waste and contribute less to the fast fashion retailers.

I opted out of trying a capsule wardrobe for two reasons. First, I didn’t know what to expect to wear at my internship this summer – I had no clue how formal or casual it would be so I needed to pack both types of clothing. Second, I like my clothes, and it seemed wasteful to hide gorgeous pieces away in a trunk for the whole summer when I’ve already paid for them and I know I will wear them.

So far I’m happy with my decision to buy no new pieces this summer. I’m also being conscious not to shift spending to other areas of my life where I like to purchase items (such as backpacking/camping gear).

Is anyone else thinking about or committed to a shopping freeze?

Is anyone using a capsule wardrobe this summer?

How is it going, and why do you choose to buy less or have less?

Week 1 MBA Internship Recap

The Training

The first week on a new job is always training and acclimating oneself – and this week has been no different. I got my computer log-on, attended training on the company values, listened to panels led by directors, and participated in Q&A sessions with entry-level brand managers.

All things considered, I’d say the company did a great job. The training leaders managed to break up the monotony of computer trainings with more interactive sessions, and I feel like I learned a good amount about the company.

The Other Interns

The competition for being hired full-time is fierce. All of the interns seem like genuinely kind, funny, intelligent, and hardworking people. I have to say that this company knows how to recruit! Of course, this puts a ton of pressure on me to perform this summer. I guess it should also make me feel a little better about if I’m not selected, knowing that everyone seems really deserving.

Also, this group of interns is fun! When we are all together it doesn’t feel competitive – I think it’s going to be an enjoyable summer.

The Company Culture

I’ve been blown away by the kindness and approachability of the people at this company. Directors that oversee brands that are number one in their categories are no less approachable than new hires, and my specific brand team seems hilarious so far!

I will say this also makes me a little nervous. I’m not sure it will be easy to gather signals that I’m doing something wrong, or that I’m not getting an offer. I will definitely have to ask for honest feedback on a regular basis.

The Projects

Oh man. This is where it gets real. My projects are NUTS. The easier project involves creating a marketing plan for a new product launch, and the difficult one will be examining competitor’s promotion strategies and making a recommendation for what direction our company should head. Although they are both data driven projects, the second one will be much more analytical and involved, and frankly I’ve never done anything quite like it. Although I’m really nervous and I’m struggling to even imagine a starting point, I know that whatever I learn will be invaluable moving forward. I also know that I will of course try my best, and even if I don’t get the offer I can’t be frustrated with myself because I will have done everything in my power to be successful.

The College RoommatesIMG_7830

I mentioned in a previous post that I was subletting from college students and that one or two would be in the apartment this summer. Wellllllll, this here picture shows the amount of rotten food I cleaned out of the fridge that no one would claim. So yeah. College life.

Heading Into Week 2

This coming week I will start digging into my projects, working with my team, and learning about my brand. I can’t deny that I’m ridiculously nervous – this might be one of the first times in my life I just want the weekend to be over so I can get started on my work week. What’s happening to me?

Has anyone else started an internship? How’s it going? Any similarities or differences? Hope everyone’s summer has been off to a great start!