moda vivendi

I'm just talking to myself. We do that sometimes, me and myself.

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How to justify anything

I’ve recently found myself in the need for a budget. Now, I’ve done this before, but not on a grand scale. During that first budget experience, I learned a valuable lesson: I can justify anything. Are you ready for this ground-breaking piece of information?

It’s called… Cost. Per. Use.

I have a friend I met Sophomore year in school who operated with this as well and we found great success with this model. Here’s what you do: buy something.

Now note the cost. Divide by how many times you think you’ll use it. If you purchased shoes, divide by two (because you have two of them). Done!

Here’s a real-world example. I was shopping with my friend in college (this was our first shopping trips together; after that, I knew we’d always be friends) when20130605-201315.jpg I spotted these cute gray ballet flats at the Gap. I thought they were marked down, but as fate would have it, they were full-priced shoes set on a sale shelf and the salesperson wouldn’t give me the sale price–isn’t that illegal?–but I liked them so I bought them anyway. They were $40. I figured I’d wear them until the weather changed; in State College, I either had 6 days or 26 days until that happened. To begin the CPU model, I assumed I’d wear them at least 10 times before said change occurred. So we’re down to $4 per wear. If you want to go even further, divide that by 2 (because there’s two of them) and we have $2 per wear. I can tell you that I’ve worn these shoes way more than 10 times; I purchased them in 2009 and still wear them, as you can tell by the state of the soles. I’d say I recouped my investment.

It’s a very useful tool if you don’t need something but really, really like something. This is especially useful for good quality products (“I’ll have have this for years”) or a fun splurge (“I’ll just wear this 50 times and then it’ll be $1 per wear”).

One exception: nail polish. Let’s say a bottle of polish costs $5. You have 10 fingers, so you’re already at $.50 per use. If you paint your toes too, and repeat this twice, you’re justified. At this point, you’re at a negative cost per use, so why bother figuring it out in the first place. Just buy the polish and look pretty.

Your guilt has been expunged. You’re welcome.


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Types of people you see at a concert

Last night, I was treated to one of America’s favorite past-time: a punk-pop concert.  I had the pleasure of witnessing all sorts of characters.  And they weren’t even with the band!

You will see…

The Girl Who Insists on Flinging Her Arms Wildly in the Air.  This girl is probably blissfully unaware of just how entertaining she is.  Along with the arms, you’ll also be treated to foot-stomping, forceful hair-shaking, and lots of woo-ing.  I’m all for you having a good time, but I’m pretty sure you just slapped the guy next to you who hasn’t washed his hair since the band went on hiatus in 2008.

Coinciding with the Girl Who Insists on Flinging Her Arms Wildly in the Air is the male equivalent.  He’s a little more spasmodic, a little less drunk, and not as entertaining.  Chances are, you won’t be able to place a bet on whether or not he’ll slap his significant other.  Pro tip: you can bet on the girls; odds are you’ll some unintentional (and intentional) contact.

The Guy with the Knit Hat.  Sir, do you realize it’s 80 degrees outside?  I’m sure you do, as you’re wearing a t-shirt, shorts/rolled-up jeans, and flip flops.  So please explain to me the knit slouchy hat.  Have you, too, given up washing your hair?

The Girl/Guy with the Phone.  This is probably the single most annoying person you could encounter.  I’ll endure 1,000 Arm Flinging Girls if it means my eyes aren’t assaulted by bright flashes of someone’s phone every minute, checking the latest on Facebook and Instagram.

The Girls Who Talk the Whole Time.  This usually coincides with the Girl with the Phone.  I’m sorry someone is playing music over your conversation.


5 Reasons You Hate Your Job (Redux)

I’d like to preface this by saying I like my job about as much as the next person.  Usually I’m doing something that I think is helping the company.  I have worth!  I have talent!  I have stress-relief balls all over my desk! (My favorites are a light bulb and a penguin.)  But this “article” that I read is just begging to be satirized.  It’s called “5 Reasons You Hate Your Job.”  I’d tell you to go and read the full thing here, but let me break it down for you.

You’re Unorganized

I’m proud of my organizational skills.  Okay, my desk at home looks like a hoarder and a pack rat got together and threw up all over it, but in the grand scheme of things, it could be worse.  And at work, I’m the best, most color-coded, Type A, Post-It-Noted person in the office.

So really, maybe I’m too organized.  There’s no clutter to make me crazy so I am crazy in other ways.

You’re Stressed

Reason number two is because “I’m stressed.”  Well, yeah, of course.  When you are told to re-do something 10 times and it turns out that Version 1.0 is the winning choice, or they ask you to do something 10 times and your contributions still aren’t implemented, you tend to get a little frustrated.

You’re Not Taking Care of Your Body

Actually, I’m training for a half marathon.  If I want to eat a cookie, I’m eating that cookie.  Next!

You Don’t Like Your Colleagues

The author suggests that I understand that they have personal lives and stresses in those personal lives, just like me.  Okay, I understand that for them, but why don’t they understand that for me!?  I don’t want to be at work while you stand around and eat your cookie.  Do that at home, not on my time.  I eat my cookies at home after I train for a marathon.  See, I’m understanding.

Your Finances Aren’t In Order

That’s why I have a make money.  So I’d say my finances are getting in order.  They aren’t as tidy as my organizational skills, but I balance my check book.

I’d like to offer my own 5 Reasons You Hate Your Job:

  1. You’re Given Too Much Work and Not Enough Money (Look, that kills Reason 1, 2, and 5)
  2. You Don’t Like Your Colleagues (That one was pretty spot-on the first time around)
  3. Your Business Casual Clothes are too Binding (Casual Friday should be Casual Every Day That You Have to Put On Real Pants Day)
  4. You Have to Wake up Ridiculously Early (I’m a morning person, but not a crack-of-dawn, before-the-birds-are-chirping person)
  5. There Isn’t Enough Coffee or Whoever Made the Coffee Today Must Have Put Ashes in It (It isn’t that hard people. I know I was a barista, but come on, this is a home-brew machine, it doesn’t say “Go gather a unicorn’s tears and fill the water reservoir with them” on the instruction booklet)

And sometimes there are days when you only have 1 Reason You Love Your Job:

  1. Your Chair Swivels

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Diners, drive-ins and botched orders

The morning started innocently enough.  After a few scares of “food panic,” that anxiety that sets in when the waiter comes by and asks if you are ready and you’re not, but also don’t want to send him away for fear that it’ll be an hour before he’s seen again, our three-top had most of our orders all figured out.  I wanted a veggie omelet, but four egg omelet featured on the menu was a bit excessive, even for me.  The waiter assured me he make a supposed-to-be-four-egg omelet with two eggs.  “We actually do have a two-egg omelet,” he said and pointed to the “Two Egg Cheese Omelet with Hash Browns and Toast.”  Perfect.  I said that I wanted that, but with veggies.  “No cheese?” he asked.  And cheese, yes.  That should have been our first clue that something was amiss.  I take it back, the first clue should have been that he was a fledgeling waiter and actually our second server of the morning.

When the last-to-order person placed her last-to-order order, it included, but was not limited to, toast.  “How would you like that?” asked the waiter, like it was a 64-ounce steak that’s on the menu on Wednesday nights.  Medium?  Rare?  It took a while for her to find an answer, which is impressive in itself, as she usually is able to fire off something catchy instantaneously.  That, my friends, should have been the second clue.  We ribbed the waiter a bit, all in good humor, and settled down to drink our coffee and tea.

Finally, a parade of servers marched down the aisle to our table, each brandishing plates enough to feed a circus.  My delivery person sat down… a cheese omelet, with toast, and corn.  Corn?  What?  I seemed to be missing my hash browns and the veggies that were supposed to be inside the omelet.  I really don’t like making a fuss.  If I get carrots instead of broccoli at a restaurant, I just accept that maybe I need more beta carotene in my diet.  But I really wanted a veggie omelet and hash browns.  “I’m sorry,”our server simply said, and began to walk away.  He then reconsidered, came back, and asked, “Do you just want a new omelet?”  Thankfully, a seasoned waitress (our original server of the day), and one person our of our group, intervened.  The solution was simple enough: just bring the veggies that were supposed to be inside the omelet the whole time.  And the plate of hash browns that, according to our server, were sitting in the pass.  The poor guy couldn’t figure out where they were supposed to go.

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Manager of Lightbulb Moments

One day, I want that to be my job title.  Manager of Lightbulb Moments.  There could be worse things to call myself and aspire to.  According Rupal Parkeh in his Ad Age article, “Confirmed: Marketing, Digital Advertising Boasts Weirdest Job Titles,” there are many people in the digital arena calling themselves “Marketing Rockstars,” “Dream Alchemists,” and “Digital Overlords.”  Granted, that does sound a lot better than “Account Executive” and “Website Manager.”

In a world where there is already so much competition and similarities among resumes, we do need something to make ours stand out from the pack.  If a fabricated, “Fancier Than Thou” title is what does it, then so be it.  But that just means it’s going to be the next thing that we need to one-up everyone else with.  Just recently, I was turned down for an internship in lieu of another candidate who went to the same school as I did, took the same classes, graduated at the same time, and lives in the same city, yet probably was savvy enough to amp up her resume with snappy titles.  I can see future employers everywhere thinking, “Forget relevant skills and job experience, that person calls himself a Conversation Architect, not to be confused with a plain old Digital Marketing Manager.  Clearly he’s the better candidate for the position.”  Kudos to them, though.  Clearly, they figured out the rules to the game and adjusted quicker than me.  It’s a Darwinist world and we’re just trying to work in it.

As for me, I’m going to revamp my resume with fancy names for the positions held.  And here I thought adding “coordinator” to my receptionist job was classing it up.  Instead of “Note Taker, I’m going to call myself a “Conversation Converter.”  “Intern” will now be “Caffeine Purveyor,” not to be confused with “Barista.”

So now, instead of aspiring to be a simple copywriter, I will work for the day that I get to add “Manager of Lightbulb Moments” to the lineup.  It really does give it a little something extra, don’tcha think?


18 things I want

I was inspired by this gem I found on Thought Catalog while at work browsing the internet the other day and knew I’d have to steal the idea.  So, I give you The List.  (Some of these are my own creation, others I liked so much from TC that I borrowed them, as noted with a *).

  1. Unlimited coffee*
  2. A dog that is exactly like Snoopy, who turns into Joe Cool and a Flying Ace, but then also who tells me about it, not just communicates with his bird-friend in thought bubbles and dashes.
  3. A 60s-inspired mod dress in the style of Suzy Bishop in “Moonrise Kingdom,” as it will make Halloween a lot less stressful once I know I have the right outfit.
  4. A Shazam app for smells*
  5. A white duck named Bob.
  6. Season tickets for the Pens.  Or partial season tickets.  Or just going to a few games this season.  Y’all know how excited I get, even if it’s just preseason.
  7. To feel like it’s okay to skip a workout and not have my body rebel against me.
  8. A job that I like.  Preferably a career that I like.  Shouldn’t we have the right to say, “This is what I want my life to be like, and I don’t want to be hiding under the covers every morning a la Bridget Jones, panicked and chain-smoking because it’s Monday and the work-day is approaching.”
  9. A partner.  Not someone who is better than me (so that I’m always trying to impress them) or worse than me (so I get complacent and think that they’ll never leave), but an equal.
  10. Ctrl + F (or Command + F because I’m a Mac nerd now) for my car keys*
  11. An arsenal of high heeled shoes that are cute AND comfy.  (Michael Kors knows his stuff, though, so this is on the way to being checked off.)
  12. Unlimited access to any book, any time.  (Like a nook, but for those days when I leave mine at home.)
  13. A TV crew to follow me around for a day.  Andy Warhol said that everyone should get their 15 minutes.
  14. To see friends who don’t leave near to me on a regular basis.  Same for family.
  15. Access to a beach.  Can we just blow up Jersey already?
  16. A back-up camera for those times when I’m stubborn and think I can carry everything into the house in one trip.  “Did I drop something important or just a water bottle?”
  17. Wine juice boxes.  Wait, they already have this one.
  18. To go back in time and meet Lucille Ball and Julia Child and all those other amazing women.
  19. World peace??*

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Lately it seems that there is an epidemic sweeping the nation.  It’s a terrible disease.  It affects the brain, specifically, the part of the brain that registers common decency.  Symptoms include: lack of tact, lack of caring about fellow human beings, and saying uncouth things in public.  I don’t want to see this disease claim another victim, so I’m taking a stand.  From this day forward, I will champion the cause.  Bring back respect!

It just seems like people are fending for themselves* more often than not, blatantly throwing consideration for others to the wind.  It appears to prevail greatest amongst my generation.  The biggest pet peeve about this disease that I have is lack of respect for others’ time.  While I occasionally will have a relapse, I typically like to tell people that I will be at X place at Y hour.  Others don’t feel the need to return the favor.  I end up waiting for people and when I finally hear from them as per what they plan on doing, they throw in an “Oh, by the way, will you also do this other favor for me, even though I didn’t tell you about it beforehand and you may have other things to do today that don’t include me and you’re already doing me a big favor to begin with.”

*Being self-centered

Another way this disease rears its ugly head is by not caring about other people’s feelings.  You can tell you’re affected if you say things like, “I don’t have to pitch in, I’m better than this.”  Wrong!  For example, at work we are all expected to pitch in and ensure that certain things are kept up with during the day.  I’m sure your company expects this as well.  Is it fair for a few people to always make sure that these things are taken care of?  It is not.

There are ways we can reverse the disease though!  If you feel yourself slipping back and saying, “I don’t care about anyone else,” or, “It’s not my problem,” or, “This isn’t my responsibility,” take a second and think if you can help to make someone’s day easier in any way.  I say, have some respect and pitch in!  Pick something up off the floor instead of walking by it (even if you didn’t drop it in the first place), offer to carry a box instead of watching someone else struggle (even if you didn’t order 50 cases of toner), hold open the door for a mother loaded down with kids (even if you don’t like children and believe it was her fault for having so many).

If we work together, maybe we can put an end to this epidemic.  With just 5 minutes a day, you can help a starving child in Africa–oops, wrong PSA.  But really, the lack of respect that some people have for their fellow human beings makes me sad.  No one deserves to be treated like dirt.  No one deserves to play second-fiddle.  A little compassion goes a long way.  That’s all I’m asking for; 5 minutes of your time to think about someone other than yourself.