Corn Cakes, Paella, and Chocolate Milkshakes, Oh My!

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to partake in a food tour with Columbus Food Adventures. I was attending a two-day company meeting, and many of our Swiss colleagues were in town. Our meeting planner wanted to show them that Columbus has good food too – it’s not just in Europe! So she scheduled a customized tour with Columbus Food Adventures. All we had to do was hop in the bus, and they took us around to three trendy restaurants for three tasty courses – and taught us about each one along the way.

Course #1: Hors’ Devours and Cocktails
Till
This was my favorite course of the evening. Although I live within walking distance of it, I had never been to Till. Previously a vegan restaurant called Dragonfly, the owners decided to mix things up a bit with a fresh name and fresh concept. Everything is as local and homegrown as possible – they grow their own herbs and produce on their back patio, and even compost! Our first course was this unbelievable corn cake. That’s an anchovy on top – I didn’t care for it (too salty), but the cake was rich and flavorful. It was served with dry champagne and Riesling – a perfect combination.

Till
Mouth-Watering Corn Cake at Till

Course #2: Entrée
Barcelona
I have been to Barcelona number of times, so I wasn’t as excited about this course as the others. However, it was the perfect spot for a quick and tasty dinner, and the non-locals loved the warm atmosphere. We were served an antipasto plate and a giant cast iron skillet of their signature dish – Paella. Along with a full-bodied Cabernet, it was perfect. My only complaint with this course was that we didn’t have enough time – one of the challenges of a food tour. It was in and out.

Course #3: Dessert!
DeepWood
Surprisingly, I wasn’t that full at this point. I think it had to do with the moderately sized portions and spreading out of the courses – I was pleasantly full and ready for some decadent dessert – my weakness. The atmosphere at DeepWood was a little formal and stuffy for my taste, but man was the dessert GOOD! I am a sucker for chocolate, and we were served a trio of chocolate and caramel. The milkshake was by far my favorite – rich but not overwhelming. Dessert was served with port, but I am not a fan of port and had had enough to drink for night (and a hangover the next day to prove it).

Chocolate Milkshake Heaven

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, our experience with the Columbus Food Adventures was unique and tasty – I highly recommended it for any group activity or even just with a friend or special someone.  Thanks, work and CFA!

Fall Favorites

I’ve always wished that I had my own blog in which I could just muse about whatever I wanted and somehow people would read in awe.  I read a few blogs like that, and I’m always jealous of the writers.  So, indulge me a little with a blog post that pretty much has nothing to do with the WPMBA program or Fisher or even Ohio State – but it does have something to do with living in this part of the country so, yes, it does have something to do with “being here.” 🙂  After a (very) hot summer, I am finding myself enjoying fall even more this year.  Here are some of my favorites:

  • Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Lattes at Starbucks:  I know most people are obsessed with the Pumpkin Spice, but I prefer the cinnamon.  Sipping one on a crisp fall afternoon is perfection
  • Sleeping with the windows open and a million covers on the bed:  So. Cozy.
  • Boots:  Sorry, gentleman, this one’s for the ladies.  I am pulling on my camel-colored mid-calf flat boots again, with skirts and jeans.  Love.
  • Tailgating:  OK, confession – I haven’t done this yet this football season.  But the biggest and best tailgate of the year is fast approaching (the Nebraska game), and I can’t wait!  Hotdogs, buffalo chicken dip, day drinking…need I say more?
  • Running: I’m not a warm-weather runner.  I’d take running in 40 degree temps over 80 any day.  But the perfect weather for running is what we have right now – 50s, 60s, and sunny, with the leaves crunching at your feet.  Leave the iPod at home and just enjoy.
  • Chili:  I made a big pot of turkey chili with lots of beans and cumin last week – best served with sour cream, cheddar cheese, green onions, and crackers on top.  It freezes well and gives me a cozy lunch or dinner long into the fall
Starbucks
mmm Starbucks

What are some of your fall favorites?

 

Time Management for Working Professionals in the Fisher WP-MBA Program

I guess I’m lucky that my 1st week at Fisher coincided with a long weekend for Labor Day holiday!  However, I know this is not always going to be the case, which means, I need to work better at time management to ensure that I am staying ahead with this rigorous program.

So I am giving you some advice on how to manage your time and stay ahead of the game, while still enjoying somewhat of a personal life.

1) Cook in bulk on Sundays so that you have enough food for the week.  Make sure you pack your meals so you are not wasting time and money on food

2) Keep up with your reading and homework assignments during the week (on the days that you DO NOT have class)  Trust me, if you keep up with the work during the week, you can enjoy some free and personal time on the weekends!

3)  Make time for the gym, either before or after work!  You will have more energy to combat those long sessions!  On days where I don’t have class, I go to the gym after work for about an hour.  On class days, I either skip the gym, or go in the morning before work.  Either way, make time for it and you will be HAPPY you did!

4) Use Saturday and Sunday mornings for catching up on reading and any remaining assignments you were not able to complete during the week.  This way, you have the rest of Sat/Sun to enjoy the football games, and other personal activities of your liking!

5)  Don’t stress!  If you manager your time efficiently and plan ahead, you will not need to worry about playing catch up or feeling stressed!  I had an amazing 1st week and I know that planning ahead will ensure me staying on track and enjoying this program!

Good Luck!

My 1st day at Fisher as a WPMBA student

I made it through my 1st real day at Fisher and my 1st class last night.  I was a little nervous and wasn’t 100% sure what to expect.  I am very outgoing by nature, so didn’t think I’d have a tough time making friends, but it has been years since I was last in school, and the thought did put some butterflies in my stomach.  To my excitement, everyone was friendly and many had similar concerns about the 1st day.  We had Economics last night, and I already formed my team for the class group project.  It was very easy to strike conversations with your fellow students.  Professor Campbell is also very engaging, funny and witty.  I am  pretty sure this is going to be an interesting class!

Everyone in the Working Professional program is going through similar circumstances and you’d be surprised to see how many work colleagues are actually in your class.  That’s why it was an easy and comfortable 1st day.  Please be warned, the ease was in networking and making introductions, not in the class work or the program in itself.  That I have yet to gauge… of course we were all told in orientation that it’s a rather rigorous program and that you must stay on top of readings and assignments, especially that it’s now on the Semester system, which only means, same work load and less time.  I will certainly write a blog on the actually program once I have more experience under my belt to share.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed my 1st class and 1st day and the connections I made.  I am looking forward to Accounting tonight, since almost everyone I met in Economics is going to be in my Accounting class as well.  So that just eased the introductions for this course.  Now I can focus on deciphering all these Accounting formulas 🙂

Barely have time to breathe? Get an MBA!

FREE BEER!

Before I start with the real deal, you should know that if you carefully read my posts you will learn about FREE BEER! And who doesn’t like FREE BEER? Of course, not every post will have FREE BEER in it, and I may even not talk about beer at all, but chances are one day will be your lucky day and the nectar of the gods will be bestowed upon you.

OK – now that I have your attention, back to business …

If you are like the “old me”, you barely have time to breathe. You probably work about 70 hours per week, not because you have multiple jobs, but because at your only job if you don’t do your tasks nobody will, and even more your colleagues come to you for help and you help them all the time. Oh, and that moment at the office when the unspeakable happens and the fan is hit… that means you’ll be there over the weekend too, to fix the problem. Vacation? You’re not exactly sure what that means. You didn’t have one of those in ages, but you remember reading about them in a newspaper. Or did you see it on TV? Things are blurry and unclear if this “vacation” thing is even real, or just a figment of your imagination. And then it happens.

I don’t exactly know how the transformation was triggered. I know I decided I really want my MBA sometimes mid-January (why I want it in a future post). I scheduled my GMAT exam in 8 weeks from that date, and I started to study every day for 2 hours. At first it was more like 1 hour, because I would start looking over the study books close to midnight, when my nine-to-five job allowed me to get home and then I was too tired. But then, day by day my priorities started to shift. I still finished all my tasks in time at work. I still helped all my colleagues that asked for help (probably not always taking the task from them and doing it instead, but pointing them in the right direction, on what/where to search). I started to get home sooner and sooner. At 10pm. Then at 9.30. Then at 8, and then at 6.15pm.

I got a pretty good GMAT score, and I applied on May 15th (that was the last day one could have applied for the fall semester). I got accepted (best day of this year, so far). I even had time to go to a VMware training course and a week-long Cisco conference. Somehow, without finishing any less tasks at work, and without neglecting anything important in my life, I am now reserving anywhere from 1 hour (weekdays without classes) to 5 hours per day (days with class or weekend days) for my MBA, and I still have more time than I had at the beginning of the year.

Maybe it’s just me, maybe starting an MBA will not clear your schedule. It did clear mine. I think the best decision I took this year so far was to start my MBA.  And did I mention now I also have time to get my FREE BEER?

What a difference a year makes

I’m officially done with a year of the WPMBA program!  It really has went by pretty fast.  Sarah’s post is really true.  Her last bullet for me was the hardest to get used to when I started.  (Don’t obsess about grades…) When you start the program, you soon learn that you have to maintain a 3.0 average in all of the core classes.  Which is a B.  When I first started a year ago, that really intimidated me.  What if I get below a B?  Or how much work is it to get an A?  As I began to learn, B’s are ok.   There will be classes in which you know you may never use the material again and are just doing what you can to get by; but even in those classes, there are still tips and information that is valuable to learn, or enough to at least sound like you know what you are talking about in conversation.  Most of the classes incorporate current/local events into the topics which helps the “Why do I really need to learn this?” question.  Virtually nobody will know (unless you share) what grades you get and employers (for the most part) will not ask to see your transcripts, just that you have graduated.

To go along with Sarah’s list, I have a couple more bullets to add after a year in the program:

  • Commuting an hour (or more) is doable.   Patience is needed when dealing with traffic on a regular basis.  I don’t know how many times I came to class complaining about the traffic on 315, but it was a lot.  It helps to be open and accommodating when it comes to group projects.
  • Take time to exercise.  The first couple of quarters, most of my free time was spent on studying and that came back to bite me.  Treadmill time and reading articles is a great combo!
  • Beware of the vending machines.  Buying a candy bar and pop before or in between classes every day is not good for the weight or the wallet.
  • Meet as many classmates and get to know them.  Networking is such a great aspect with classmates and it helps later on when you need to form groups or need expertise in a specific area.
Enjoy your summer break!

 

First Year = Check!

Last night while we were enjoying beers and basking in the post-finals glow at the Varsity Club, one of my friends pointed out that we were officially “one year down” in the WPMBA program.  I’ve thought about that before, but for some reason, hearing him say it made it real.   I survived four whole quarters!

Now, notice that I don’t say I’m “halfway done” – because I’m not.  The program will take me ~2.5 years to complete, which means I am not quite halfway there.  But hitting the year mark is really something.  That’s one year of four hours, two nights a week, for 40+ weeks.  And during all that time, I’ve learned some things along the way that are worth passing along:

  • You get used to the schedule, but it never gets easy
  • It’s OK to occasionally (ok, more like rarely) skip class in favor of a beer with your friends – or a night with your couch
  • Always bring a sweater to class – the rooms are cold!
  • Packing your dinner takes away the stress of having to stop somewhere on the way
  • Work in groups as much as possible – it makes doing homework much more fun, and you might learn more than you would on your own (I know I do)
  • It takes some time to establish your group of friends, but once you do, the program takes on a new level of fun
  • Don’t obsess about grades like you may have in undergrad.  Grad school is all about learning, and getting an B doesn’t mean you didn’t learn

Here’s to the next 1.5 years!

The End of the Quarter System

The end of Spring Quarter will be the end of an era.  The end of quarters and the start on semesters, Ohio State has had quarters ever since the college started back in 1870…back when Ohio State was strictly an agriculture and mechanical college.  Initially, when I found out semesters were coming, I was not very happy.  Going from 10 week classes to 14 did not seem all that exciting.  What if I don’t like a class?  I’m going to have to sit through it even longer.  But, the WPMBA program has made many of classes half term which will be seven weeks.  This will give us more opportunities to take elective classes that fit our interests.

Another change that will happen with the semester switch is only taking one class per night.  I’m really excited about this.  Many times, over the past year, I have neglected reading in one class for doing homework in another.  Or, like this quarter, having two midterms on one night….that made for a long four hours!   So only one class that will last from 6:00 – 9:15 will be a welcomed change.

So as we move to semesters, there will be plenty of uncertainties, confusion, and trying times.  But we should all embrace semesters with some patience because everyone in the university will be new to this system.  Good bye Quarters.  Hello Semesters!

Balancing Act

This past weekend was a great example of the balancing act that is life.  The weekend before finals (for some) corresponding with a holiday weekend.  Three days to study?  Great in theory.  However, that wasn’t the case.  On Saturday, my sister-in-law graduated high school and is now a Buckeye!  The superintendent had five things that not only the graduates, but everyone, should do every day: pay someone a compliment; do a good deed; be yourself and love what you see in the mirror; do something for yourself; and make a memory.   Such good advice.

On Sunday, I was able to fit in some studying and attended a “Dave Boone FUNance study session” which was very helpful!   On Memorial Day, we had a homecoming luncheon at our church and then had my sister-in-law’s grad party.  Busy, busy weekend.

After a year of being in this program, there will be busy weekends like this one and there will be others that aren’t as busy.  My advice is plan ahead.  Plan out your weekend and know when/if you can fit in studying.  Also look ahead and realize that if you have an upcoming busy weekend, try to do homework or readings ahead of time.  Helps lessen the stress of trying to do all the readings and homework at the last minute.

 

I’m going to be a M.O.H.

M.O.H – Maid of Honor.  That’s a title I’m donning for the first time in my life this year, for my best friend Ashley’s wedding (and no, it’s not going to be like the movie).

Ash’s wedding is August 25.  While August 25 may seem like a long way away, my MOH duties began long ago.  Dress shopping for her dress and the bridesmaid dresses, dress fittings, many discussions of wedding details, and the best part – the bachelorette party!  Ashley will be a bachelorette for another 4 months, but we chose to start celebrating early to accommodate her busy schedule as a second-year medical resident.  As a former member of the Ohio State Equestrian team, and lifelong horse lover, she wanted to attend the races at Keeneland in Lexington, KY – similar to the Kentucky Derby, but much more affordable.   Planning your best friend’s bachelorette party is no small task – especially with an already packed schedule like the ones we have as WPMBA students.  So how did I do it, you ask?  By tapping into the planning and organization skills I have acquired both at my job and at school.

The planning started with scheduling.  Finding a weekend that would work for both Ashley and her 12 friends attending the party was not easy – starting early, so that everyone could set aside the weekend, was key.  Then came the big things, like finding a hotel, scheduling transportation to and from the races, and buying tickets.  Once those critical items were crossed off the list, I started delegating.  I asked another girl to be in charge of making restaurant reservations.  I asked everyone to bring food and drinks for the hotel room.  I bought fun stuff for weekend, like blow-up stick horses – which were a really fun way to look like a bachelorette party!  I took a cue from my experience planning trade shows and meetings at work and rather than ask everyone for input on certain things, I made the call and communicated what each girl needed to do – without being “bossy”.

In the end, the girls told me how appreciative they were of my planning – they knew where to be when, what to bring, and what to wear – all the things that are key to a successful bachelorette party.  And a success it was!  Despite the lousy weather, we all had a fantastic time – especially the bride.  MOH success #1!  Now for the wedding shower (which, luckily, her mom is planning most of) – and writing that speech!

Horse Races!
At the Horse Races!