Jan 3
New Year, New Work

This is my last entry in this blog.

There is a change in my career - rather than running an image consulting business full time, I am only available on a very part time basis. Reason? I've landed an opportunity to work for a cosmetic leader in the training department. The role is to coordinate and design training modules.

How funny it is that it is my entrepreneurial experience that lead me to this job. Without prior experience in cosmetics and image training, I wouldn't have come across this opportunity. I really do think that pieces of our lives fit - as long as we are patient enough to watch how we grow and piece it together slowly.

Those of you who are loyal readers, thank you for reading this blog. And thank you everyone at Know More Media - for the opportunity to contribute to this great source.

For now, good bye!

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Dec27
Boxing Day: Anecdote

I'm never one for Christmas Shopping nor Boxing Day Shopping. This year, because I have the time, I did both. Not shopping as in buying things, but shopping as in walking around and see what's interesting. Living simply for me has reduced the need to buy many things.

In both Christmas Shopping and Boxing Day Shopping, people don't smile. Christmas Shopping has an air of stress and anxiety, as people are making last minute purchases. Boxing Day has an air of craziness - crazy greedy and grab. I notice the Boxing Day attitude in women more than men. It does make me wonder why a woman - who would normally be so nice and gentle and polite, would turn into a shopping monster and ravagely go through racks and racks of clothes (and food) on deals.  A person I know who works in retail said: during these times people are so rude! The attitude is "I don't want to miss anything". 

Men, if you want to ask a woman out on a first or second date, try Boxing Day shopping - I guarantee you will see a woman's true face. Truly observe her attitude during this shopping frenzy and decide whether you can live with this the rest of your lives. If she passes the test, good! If she is one of those who can't miss a thing...watch out!

Women - if you are on a first or second date with a man, do also try Boxing Day shopping with them. If the man is so much into his dear electronics and gadgets rather than paying attention to you, you know you are in trouble!  

 

Dec18
Ideal Clothing Store

Christmas shopping frenzy - this is how I describe people walking madly about in shopping malls. I've not so far been one of those, because I do not believe in gift giving in Christmas time. Usually I stay away from malls and shopping centres at this time of the year. But, I've had some time this weekend, so I went for a stroll at one of the better ones in Toronto.

Finding parking was crazy. As my mate backed into a spot that he has been waiting for a long time, this guy who drove a pick up truck drove real up close to us, stopped the truck, jumped out and stomped over to us. He said: I have been waiting for this spot for a long time. I'm GIVING your the spot, so that you know. My mate and I were speechless. As the guy finished talking, we continued backing in. That guy drove all the way to our lane from an aisle over - I wasn't sure why he thought he could get the spot while he was all the way over there while we were backing in. I guess the guy knew that he sounded ridiculous, because he didn't accuse us of anything directly, and he just spoke and went away. Strange.

And so we strolled in the mall. Sales people jumped out whenever we entered the mall, saying things like:

"Hi, how are you"

"Is everything OK?", etc. These phrases make me run out of the store fast. 

Retail salespeople should know by now that a customer who just walked into a store wants to explore, not to be bothered by a salesperson. Unless we ask for help, or looking around for help, please leave us alone! I loathe pushy salespeople.

My ideal store would be like this:

  • no sales people, just robots
  • sample clothing displayed on mannequins, no racks of clothing available
  • computer screens available for us to choose our style, size
  • mannequins then bring out clothes for people to try on
  • computer screens can recommend potential matching items to go with the items a person has chosen
  • self check out, or check out by robots
I think it will be wonderful to replace annoying salesepeople with robots and automated processes. Don't you?
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Dec14
Alterations: Updating Your Wardrobe

If only I can sew things properly...I've learned how to sew in grade 3, and grades 6 through 8. Yet for someone as clumsy as me, sewing something together is a hopeless disaster. I remember my stuffed frog in grade 7 turned out to be an mash of something unrecognizable, and a skirt I made in grade 8 had a waist that was bigger than the bottom (it was a knee length skirt). Just the other day I had to quickly patch up a hole in one of my sweat pants - the job was a mess. Hopeless me! I guess sewing, drawing a straight line, cutting straight and folding papers properly are not my forte. Image consulting is much easier for me than these tasks, believe me!

Thank goodness for alterations. For the coming year I will be in a training role, where I may need to wear my high quality suits. It has been a few years since I really needed to wear them - my usual work is professional casual, not formal corporate. And then I lost a few pounds. Those suits are now baggy.

I took these suits to my tailor today. After pinning the clothes here and there, the suits already looked fantastic - as if I was getting a whole new wardrobe. These clothes look timeless, because they are simple in style - plain or subtly striped. And they are good quality clothes - made of fine wool. 

This is another reason to get clothes as high quality as you can - so that they can be taken in and out properly. Clothes that are low in quality - the seams are not very generous and tailors cannot let out the clothes as needed. Great clothes are investments - buy for the timelessness if you are to put lots of money in quality clothes. Do not look for ones that will only last a season or two - these are clothes that are big, bold and colourful. Seasonal trends are best if you they are low in cost.  

Try this - go through your closet, and try on clothes that are simple in style that may not fit you. Then take them to alterations. You'd be glad for it, I promise!

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Dec 8
Women's Emotions At the Workplace

This post has the potential to make me look like an anti-feminist, a women hater (I am a woman though).

Women in the workplace. I think women has some of the best potential to manage people. Afterall, women are in general more sensitive, caring and nurturing than men - they are wired this way. In modern times, where companies strive to keep their employees, women play an important role in staff retention, using their natural borne ability of nurturing people.

However, out of my work experiences, I experienced mostly the opposite - most women who worked as my superior, did not have enough control over their emotions. So when tasks were not carried out properly by their subordinates, what did they do? They lashed out at them. Talked condescendingly at them. Threw temper tantrums. I think I have yet seen a woman manager who didn't do some or all of the above.

The worse is someone may have carried out the task properly. But out of hatred for whatever reason, the manager would lash out at the subordinate anyway, trying to make him/her quit. Or deliberately giving out instructions in an unclear way so that the tasks are guaranteed to be carried out incorrectly. This I have seen with horror.

Men may be insensitive, but they seem to have better control of their emotions - at least at the workplace.

I guess I should have known how women would behave in a workplace. I went to an all girls' high school in the past. The cattiness and sneakiness don't just go away after the teenage years. Put these characteristics into someone who has even just a bit of power - a manager, and these traits will show up. Somehow women are not brought up to communicate in a straightforward manner - they are always shown by their mothers and their peers, how to get answers the sneaky way. Likely they think that by being straight forward people won't tell them the truth. But sneakiness backfires - people can feel it, and it builds distrust.

Some people may say: oh, but women have a lot on their plates. They have work and family. I say that is not a good reason for dumping negative emotions on people. Women have work and family to take care of - it is a choice. Deal with it. don't expect people to understand your negative emotions, especially if you use it to lash out at others. People who are lashed out by them will almost never understand, and will almost always have resentment.

What is a woman to do?

  1. Improve on the Emotional Quotient is one way to manage habits of displaying negative emotions.
  2. Another way is to increase compassion for others - people don't want to appear dumb, stupid, or incompetent. They need to be shown a better way. Perhaps compassion will let managers to step into the shoes of subordinates and see where they come from. Woman are are naturally compassionate - if they are not laced with jealousy that results in being competitive.
  3. Try not to assume what has happened. Perhaps what happened wasn't what you thought. Presumptions can be dangerous. The way to find truth is not to accuse, which comes from presumptions. But inquire diplomatically. Find evidence if you must. But interactions must be professional and not laced with contempt. This is a good source that teaches people how to question everything.
  4. Just be straightforward - not blunt, but say what you mean. This lowers the chance of miscommunication.

My best mentor so far isn't a woman. It's my father, who has shown me the way to manage processes and people - without having to lash out at others. My second best mentor is a woman. She had negative emotions, but was always ready to apologize if she was wrong. The rest of the women I've worked with - I've only learned how not to be from them.

Dec 5
Hello, how are you?

"How are you?"

I dislike this question.

English is my second language. Even though by this time most people think that it is my mother tongue, I still feel uncomfortable with a few things about this language.

"Hello. How are you?"

Most common greeting - yet it is the most uncomfortable ever. Why? Because people who ask this, do not really mean it. So here are some situations that I have come across when people ask me how I was:

* before I can answer "good" or "fine", already the person who asked me has walked away (but I thought the person cared enough to ask "how are you"?!)

* if my answer is anything other than "good" or "fine", then the person will proceed to look shocked - wow, so there is some other choice of answer other than good or fine!

* I could ask "how are you" and the person would reply back "how are you". What is this? Why answer a question with a question? Seems rude, if you ask me.

Another phrase that is popular - when I am introduced at a social gathering, say, as someone's friend. The person who gets the introduction would say: oh, how wonderful!

My inner voice would go: huh?

How wonderful? What kind of a reply is that? How is anyone to reply to that?

Isn't it all better if we would just say what we mean! Do not say "how are you" when you are not ready to genuinely listen to how the person was. Don't ask "how was your day" if you do not mean it. I personally feel shitty when someone asks me "how are you" then walk away immediately. There is no closure to the conversation. It's still hanging - without a chance to conclude.

And if you are being introduced to someone, don't say "how wonderful!" It is much more proper to say: nice to meet you.

If you ever see me on the street and ask me how I am, don't be surprised if I appear to be astonished. After spending so many years in an English speaking country, I am absolutely uncomfortable with a question that is asked out of politeness and nothing else. Better to say "hi" or "hello", not follow up with a "how are you".

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Dec 2
Fashion Trends

The other day, someone asked me whether I knew fashion trends.

"Yes."

The person further asked "how do you know what's trendy and what's not?"

"Simple. Watch TV. Read fashion magazines. Observe people on the streets."

Truly, it is no rocket science. I don't take too much efforts in predicting trends. All I can say is, seeing how fashion goes, we have gone through the most extremes of the 80's dramatic fashion. We are likely to move towards the 90's retro minimalist sometime soon (I hope). Once the trend of having many layers and complexities are done (more like, us being tired of them), we will move into simplicity. And as people get tired of simplicity, they will move into complexity. And styles...as people get tired of tailored made, well cut clothes, they will move into loose fit pieces. And of course, they will go back to fitted pieces after that trend has been tired out. Everything in fashion moves in cycle.

I thought about it a little more, and remembered some more experience, and told the person:

"I do not know whether it is instinct or talent, but many times I'd pick up a pieces of clothing that I happen to like very much, and months later it becomes the "it" piece of the season."

So my point is, yes, fashion trends are important in that following them would enable someone to look updated. But just choose the new styles that suit you, don't just randomly pick out styles just because they are in.

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Nov30
Do I want a Millionaire Husband?

I remember telling my mate about the researched list of characteristics that rich men look for in finding their other halves. He laughed and said:

You are too opinionated to be one of those women!

And he's right. I have been opinionated as long as I could remember. Stubborn as hell too. Since I was a child, if I hear / see / sense something that wasn't right but imposed on me, I would point it out, even though it was against the culture where I was brought up in.

Never have been a quiet, supportive woman. And way too curious about things to stop asking questions. I remember at a very young age, more than one person, including a doctor and a herbalist, asked my mother: is this your daughter? She asks so many questions!

I would not adopt someone's idea or opinion unless the reasons are well explained and logically makes sense. It takes a lot for someone to persuade me.

I also believe that I have the ability to earn money on my own. Money buys much comfort and luxury. But in the end, given my personality, I would be suffocated to death if I have to fit into the list of what an extremely rich man wants.

Personality is destiny. People really don't have to go to tarot card readers or try other methods of divination. Look at the personality, and you can predict the results.

Nov28
Attracting a Millionaire Husband: Part III

After taking care of the appearance, women who want to marry for money should study this list of behavior - although there may be cultural variations - adapt accordingly:

  1. Make use of proper etiquette at all situations public. Dining etiquette, speaking etiquette, communication etiquette, etc. For example, when dining, know what fork / knife / spoon to use for each course, and know which glass and bread plate are yours. When speaking, be sure you are not using slangs, and do speak in a voice that is gentle but audible.
  2. Do not assert your opinion unless you are asked (this varies according to culture).
  3. Walk at a moderate speed - do not rush. You are a high class lady, do not forget!
  4. Walk elegantly - do not walk as if you are wearing flip flops - too many women do that!
  5. Do not reproach your husband in public - it is humiliating!
  6. Keep your manners when others serve you - meaning do not treat anyone like a slave. In stores, do not act like a spoiled child. Be reasonable with your request, and treat people who serve you with respect. No put downs.
  7. When making a complaint about those who have not served you properly, do so in a diplomatic way, not gossiping and backstabbing them.
  8. Drive with manners! An expensive car owner should not be driving recklessly, cutting off other people, tailgating other cars, or rev the engine to show off. Doing all that just shows others one thing: your ego. And, no "suped up" cars - most are done without taste!
  9. Learn all you can about real estate and investing. You don't want to just spend your husband's money, but help him grow some too.
  10. Keep your job, or do something that makes some sort of income for yourself. Afterall, if the marriage is not good for you, you can walk off without regret!
Nov15
Attracting a Millionaire Husband: Part II

I decided to change the title to Attracting a Millionaire Husband, rather than staying with the Virgin Bride, since preference for virgin brides may be from a certain culture's preference - it may not be widely agreed with. And afterall, I am talking about how to dress in such a way that gives a girl a better exterior. So, in this entry I will talk about dressing.

There is a difference in dressing and grooming styles between the cultured and rich, and people who are not so privileged. Here's a list of hints that will give a person the impression of wealth and culture:

  • think classy rather than trendy in style
  • colours: neutrals rather than bold. If bold, not too often, and not too many, unless you are in the entertainment industry. I've mentioned in the previous post how millionaire men, at least in China, do not want someone who flaunts herself in PR or entertainment industry. So dressing to be the suportive woman requires her to be subtle and classy
  • knee length to long skirts. Forget about minis
  • elegant pumps, rather than wedged heeled boots
  • fine knits, rather than sweatshirts and t-shirts
  • fine metallic jewellery, preferably gold, silver or platinum. Plastics and fakes are not cool
  • precious stones, peals and semi-precious stones. Please - nothing too big or obviously big.
  • sleek, sophisticated hairdos, nothing big, teased or obviously dyed
  • silk stocking is a staple. Not leggings
  • fitted, tailored clothing. Think of a tailored suit.
  • subtle make up that enhances beauty, rather than dramatic make up. For example, a fine well drawn line from eyeliner rather than a big, bold smokey eye
  • clothes made of luxurious, natural material, rather than plastic
  • classic perfumes, rather than popular, trendy perfumes. Think of Miss Dior or Shalimar rather than products from J. Lo or Hilary Duff.

In a nutshell, think timelessness, classy and simplicity rather than "in" for the season.

Role models? Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy Onassis.

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