behind the scenes | margherita missoni + target

great video with margherita missoni sharing the rich family history behind the label and the inspiration for the collaboration with target:

i spy some home items that i didn’t see in the supposed complete look book!

models + dance central for lanvin campaign? um. awesome!


i love this dorky video for lanvin’s fall 2011 campaign by steven meisel showing models raquel zimmermann and karen elson dancing to pitbull’s “i know you want me (calle ocho)”…i’m also pretty sure that the choreography’s the same as the one from the xbox 360 kinect game dance central.  and one of the best parts is that alber elbaz makes a cameo himself at the end.  also, seeing these gorgeous models look pretty silly while they’re dancing does give the ego a boost.

on a different lanvin tangent–loving these lanvin wedges cameron diaz wore to the mtv movie awards back in june:

fuzzy potter!!

boyfriend just sent me this site for the fuzzy potter gifs but OH MY GOSH SO CUTE!  i love cute things, i love fat things, i love rodents…AUGH SO CUTE!

this is totally me

so fat and so squishy!

i’m not really a cat person but i love this fat cat!  now i realize it’s an illustration but it’s based off their real pet…although i’m sure i like the illustrated one more.

historical disney princess series

illustrator claire hummel recreated some of the disney princesses in historically accurate period costume.  some look pretty different from disney’s versions, while others look pretty similar.

16th century german snow white

17th century powhatan pocahontas

mid-1860's cindarella

pre-islamic middle eastern jasmine

1485 princess aurora doesn't look like disney's sleeping beauty, but she looks like her mom

ariel in an 1890's evening gown with a bouquet of...seaweed...haha

boy, 1770's french court fashion belle sure looks haughty

ok, i gotta ask…where are tiana (the princess and the frog), rapunzel, and mulan?  #needguyaokistat


wanted | $1m reward | pizza planet delivery truck

if you don’t know, now you do–pixar has included the toy story pizza planet delivery truck in all of their films except for the incredibles.  this is always something fun to look for in their movies.  and their upcoming film brave will also have a hidden cameo of the beat up truck.  but brave is set in medieval scotland so it might be pretty difficult finding it–or really easy.  but i’m guessing hard since director mark andrews is promising one million dollars if you can spot it.  of course it’s in “play money, goofy dollars”, not real money–but still, i’ll take it!

warehouse sale | isabel marant | 8.25.11 – 8.26.11

thursday (8.25): 10 am – 4 pm
friday (8.26): 10 am – 3 pm

cooper building
860 s. los angeles street
suite 1100
los angeles, ca 90014

also including etoile and jerome dreyfuss accessories.  cash and credit card only.

giveaway | kaplan gmat 800 book

i posted that i’d do my first giveaway, so here it goes.  a couple years ago, a former colleague lent me a gmat prep book since he had already taken it and knew i was thinking of applying to business school.  i never actually even opened the book and i’m done with the gmat now so my friend told me to pass it on and share it with someone else since he has no use for it anymore.  i can’t attest to how good the material is and i’m afraid that since i never really looked at the book, i didn’t realize how old it was so i am sorry that the giveaway isn’t something more current.

up for grabs!

kaplan gmat 800: advanced prep for advanced students (2004-2005 edition)

so it is used and kind of old but i think it could still be helpful.  the reviews (for this edition and the current) are pretty favorable on amazon–it seems to be a good advanced set of practice problems for those targeting a high score.  i will cover the postage though (for us residents)!  it’s in very good condition though–no writing on the inside.  there are post-its on some pages that i’m keeping in because i figure they’re probably important things to learn/remember.

the rules:

  1. the first person to comment on this post with the answer to this question: “what are all the business schools i’ve gone to campus to visit so far?” wins.  hints: there are 5 and the answers can all be found in one older post.
  2. you must live in the us, or have it shipped to somewhere in the us, to play!

ok, go!

sample sale | tokidoki | 8.27.11

i think i’m too old for tokidoki now but it sure is cute…if only i was 15 years younger…

this saturday (8.27): 8 am – 6 pm

5655 w. adams blvd.
los angeles, ca 90016

cash only

a study plan

so i’ve been getting some questions on btg for what my study plan was so i’m going to write about what i did.  but to be honest, i don’t think i did it that effectively so i’m going to follow that by what i think i could’ve improved on.  and i’m only going to talk about what i did this second time around since that’s when i scored 730.

what i did

i signed up for btg’s 60-day study plan but i never really looked at the emails.  i think i read the first few but didn’t even have the materials that they were recommending.

i was taking the veritas prep course which meets twice a week for3 hours each session…that’s a lot of time but make no mistake, even though you’re in class and learning, it’s not the same as doing the work on your own.

since i had gone through almost all of the veritas prep books the first time around, i didn’t really use them this time.  that’s not to say they aren’t good books, if i had enough time, i would have done all my quant books again.  i remember i was very frustrated and struggled a lot with the quant books because i didn’t know how to do a lot of the harder problems and i would look at the back for the answers and “solve” it that way…i didn’t learn anything by doing that.  verbal was easier for me but i reacted in pretty much the same way, when i missed the problem, i looked at what the correct answer was but i don’t think i truly understood why it was correct.

during the class, instead of working through the veritas books, i was going through the total gmat math book and i thought it offered good strategies but it really didn’t have enough practice problems or too many difficult problems.  each section of the book has a practice drill and a practice challenge…the drills were always really easy and the challenges were harder but usually not too bad.

i also tried to take a practice cat exam over the weekend.  initially, i was hesitant to take one because i didn’t want to know my score.  throughout the class i scored between 640-660, which was really frustrating because that’s what i was scoring last year and even though i was concentrating on quant, my score was essentially the same.

i eventually also bought the og and tried to do timed sets for at least 30 minutes (30 minutes to do 15 problems, 60 min/1 hr for 30 problems, etc.).  i started off with the first section, problem solving, and i was doing really well with that…like 30 problems in less than 15 minutes, but those problems are easier since the difficulty generally increases.  i thought that it’d be good to spend less than the average 2 min on those questions so that it’d give me more time for the difficult questions.  which wasn’t too bad of an idea but i later realized that i wouldn’t have that many easy questions i could carry over time from on the actual test since it’s cat.  i started the og pretty late into my veritas prep course and i had scheduled my gmat exam to be several weeks after the course concluded.

about a week before the exam i decided i should reschedule from july 12th to august 9th.  i was still scoring around 660 so i knew it was unlikely that i’d get 700+ on test day.  when i rescheduled the exam, i began to take my study a lot more seriously.  that’s not to say i wasn’t studying before, but i’m such a procrastinator and i’m so bad at self-discipline that it was really half-assed.  especially working full-time and having class 6 hrs a week, then taking a 3-4 hour long practice test on the weekend, it feels like you don’t have much time/energy left to study.  i think i only studied maybe 2 hrs a week during this time and still went out with my friends and watched a lot of tv/movies.

when i rescheduled, i realized that i needed to really kick it into high gear.  i stopped going out with my friends on the weekend, unless there was something really important like a birthday party or engagement or something and i also cut back on my tv time considerably (although i didn’t eliminate).  and i tried to make myself study even when i was tired–even if it was only for 30 min.  i’ve read that it’s better to study for 30 min to an hr each day instead of like 8 hours over the weekend.  this definitely wasn’t easy for me.

during this time, i read all of my veritas quant gmat books (but didn’t do any problems) and finished total gmat math and did about half of the og ps problems.  i decided i wanted the highly recommended mgmat books and borrowed what i could from my friend.  i think at this point, my test was about 2-3 weeks away.  she gave me all the quant books except for equations, inequalities, & vic’s because someone else still had them and word translations because i had purchased it through amazon to get the mgmat 6 cat exams.  i stopped working through the og to concentrate on these books and when i had about a week left, i purchased the advanced gmat quant book.

i was also working through the magoosh quant problems as much as i could.  the last week before my exam, i had done most of the mgmat advanced quant, finished the og ps questions, and finished the magoosh problems as well as went through my incorrect and flagged pools again.  i was also able to go thru my “flagged”/incorrect og ps questions once and i think i did the first 30 ds questions.

throughout this period, i also was signed up for btg 60-day quant and verbal questions and would attempt mgmat’s 700-level challenge problems that they post on their blog.  i also increased my cat exams to about twice a week, on saturday and sunday but later on i stopped taking as many because i had read that you don’t learn much from the cat’s besides knowing your pacing/timing and about what your score will be.  i could be spending that time studying, especially since cat’s tire you out and as a result, you’re unlikely to study much afterwards.  and i posted before about how my scores wildly varied from 620 to 750 at this time but on the last 3 tests before, i was consistently getting 700+.  it was then i realized that not only was the 750 not a fluke, but something i could possibly get.

i wasn’t able to finish a lot of good, important books–such as the og–and i feel that i could’ve done better on quant.  during this time, i only focused on quant but my verbal score shot up to be in the 90th percentile pretty consistently.  i’m not sure what i did for this to happen since i didn’t really study for it but i’m really happy that it did because i wouldn’t have gotten a 730 without it and i’m relieved that i only had to study for one section–the quant.

it is somewhat disappointing that my quant score didn’t improve more even though i focused solely on it, but i think this just goes to show how difficult it can be to raise your score.  in the 4-5 weeks between when i rescheduled my exam to taking it, i think i spent about 13-15 hours per week studying and taking cat exams.

what i wish i had done

so now you know what i did…but here’s what i would do if i had to do it again.  now, this plan is considerably longer as well, like maybe 3 months or longer, which i know most of you don’t have.  i would’ve started with all the mgmat quant books–including the one i didn’t have at all (inequalities).  if i had enough time, i would’ve also done the veritas prep quant but this was less of a priority for me since i had done them the year before, but i would’ve definitely did the advanced quant and possibly the math essentials books because i had never done them before and i would imagine that the advanced quant would be good material.

then if time permits, i’d go through total gmat math followed by the og questions, possibly starting with ds first since that was a weak point of mine.  data sufficiency is unique to the gmat and is pretty difficult question type because it’s so new to most test-takers.  the gmac has been increasing the number of ds questions throughout the years, especially for high performers so it behooves you to really get familiar with it.

and i would’ve continued doing magoosh, btg 60-day questions, and mgmat 700-level questions from their blog during this entire time as well.  it’s still a lot and i didn’t really change my materials, just the order i did them in and how much time i spent with each.

i would’ve also made it a point to go over all the questions i missed or didn’t understand multiple times until i finally got them right.  i think this is important to do and wish i had time to do this more when i was studying.  and although i never did this, i recommended it in my tips section–see exactly what areas you’re weak in whether it be probability/combinatorics or algebra and really focus on those.  and also be aware of how much time you spent on each question.

i would recommend taking a gmat cat in the beginning to see what your score is, followed by a diagnostic test to see where you’re weak, and taking a practice exam maybe once every other week (mgmat, veritas, etc.), and taking the last gmat cat maybe 1 to 2 weeks before the exam to see how you improved and where else you can still improve.

and wish i had been more self-disciplined…stopped checking facebook, my rss feeds and other sites i visit, and a lot more tv still.  it would’ve been good to do about 20 hrs of study a week i think.  it’s significant but not killer.

gmat materials + resources

i think i get a little over zealous and bite off more than i can chew sometimes.  i bought a lot of books and spent a lot of time (and still do) checking out resources, and not enough time doing the actual work.  so in the end, i wasn’t able to finish going through all the books and let this serve as warning not to follow my example: it’s important to have good resources but spend more time studying.

veritas prep

i did a gmat prep course with them and i think that they do a good job.  i really liked that they offer a free course retake, which i counted on and ended up doing.  you can choose to do your retake as a full course (like i did) or for people with less time, do the intensive weekend crash course (a popular choice).  veritas offers the most in-class hours and practice exams than any other prep company (17).  be aware that the practice exams they offer aren’t all theirs–2 of them are the free ones you can get directly from the gmac; 5 are from 800score, which you can also purchase from them; and only the remaining 10 are veritas…that’s still a lot though.

they also have a ton of great resources like diagnostic tests, online lectures (helpful if you miss a class), etc…and i personally think they have some of the better looking materials/branding (not that that’s important to your score in the least).  i’m not sure if they’re still doing this, but since veritas offers admissions consulting services as well, you could also enroll in their one-day consulting seminar where you meet with some of their consultants, learn admissions strategies, and can ask questions.  when i went last year, i heard they were thinking of discontinuing that because they said it was cutting into the consulting business.

by enrolling in the course, you have access to all those resources and get a complete set of books.  there are 15 books and you go through 13 of them in-class.  each book alternates between quant/verbal and the class structure also follows this format.  the 2 books that aren’t gone through in class are both quant–book 0: math essentials and book 14: advanced word problems & quant review.  i didn’t finish all the books but i thought they were good materials and remember struggling a lot with the quant questions.  i didn’t go through any of these books when i took the gmat the 2nd time.  i had planned to with book 14 but never got around to it (too many books!).

in my 2 classes i had 2 different teachers and i really liked my first teacher matt douglas.  he’s so goofy and dorky and just made the class kind of fun.  so if you’re in the san diego area, try to get him.  i’m not sure how the other instructors differ, but between him and my other teacher mia mciver, matt spent most of the class going through problems from the book whereas mia had a slower pace and tried to spend a lot of time teaching the concepts.

prep course advice

as i mentioned before, i wanted to take a class to keep myself accountable.  these classes are not cheap…at all.  some of them offer free trials where you can sit in on a class on the first day and decide from there whether to enroll.  i know both veritas and manhattan gmat do that.  when i retook my veritas course, one guy was doing the trial and asked me for my input on whether he should fork out the dough and enroll.  i told him then, and i’m telling you all now–the classes will not do anything for you unless you put in your due diligence.  even though i told him this, toward the end of the class, he lamented that he thought his score would dramatically improve.  there are plenty of people who self-study and do very well on their own…a prep course is definitely not needed.  if you are self-disciplined and studious, i would say you don’t need to take a class.  and even if you’re like me, you still need to self-study.  like i said in my previous post, the average top bschool student put in an average of 100 hours on the gmat…that’s a lot of studying.

there’s also some debate over who the best test prep companies are.  kaplan is probably the most obvious choice since it’s the most well-known and people had already heard of them from the sat’s in high school.  from what i’ve seen, the most highly reviewed and recommended companies are manhattan gmat, knewton, and veritas.  there are others but that’s just what i’ve seen.  i did the trial class for mgmat and thought it was good but was wary of the price tag and at the time, thought veritas was supposed to be the best so i enrolled in veritas.  i now know that mgmat is supposed to be the best but it’s all relative.  i don’t have any experience with knewton and i never even heard of it until later but it’s an online prep company.  i preferred to do an in-person class but i’ve heard good things about knewton.  i think they have their students take diagnostic tests and they deliver a customized course load based on your weaknesses…something that the big prep companies would never be able to do, including mgmat and veritas.

the official guide for gmat review

everyone stresses that you must use this book in your studies.  this particular book covers both quant & verbal and they also have separate quant/verbal books if you need it.  these are the only books from the creators of the gmat, the gmac.  and they are the best representations of what you can expect on the exam since they’re retired questions.  and that’s the main reason that these books are so valuable.  a lot of other books are only simulating what they think is a gmat-type question but the og questions are the real deal.  now, the books are question heavy so if you need to learn the fundamentals, you won’t get any help from these so you probably need more than just the og.  also be warned that the questions in the og are easier than the actual exam, especially if you’re performing at a high level.  unfortunately, i never finished this crucial book…i did all ps but very little of ds (my weak point).

manhattan gmat

i had heard such great things about mgmat and their materials so the 2nd time around i wanted to study from the mgmat quant books.  my friend had taken the course a couple years ago so i borrowed what i could (she had let someone else borrow her collection).  from my experience with that trial intro class and the materials, i think mgmat prep is pretty solid and is more strategic than veritas’.  i’ve also heard that mgmat’s practice exams are supposed to be the closest to the real exam on the market.  i have heard if you’re a high performer that you run out of 700-level questions though.  like veritas, you can buy their materials without taking the course, including the cat exams.  but what’s really nice is that you can buy one of their strategy guides to get access to all 6 cat exams…this is a better deal than buying just the cat exams since a book is like $22.  mgmat is also more cautious about their subscription lengths; both veritas and mgmat access expire after a yr, but each book also come with an online question bank that expires after a year too.  if you buy the books separately, you need to look at the inside cover and scratch off to reveal the security code.  when you redeem it online, it even asks you to flip to a certain page and give them the first/last word…pretty heavy security.  since my friend’s books were a few years old, not only did i not have access to these questions, but the books also reference og questions to help your studies and hers referred to the 11th edition instead of the current 12th ed. that i have.  i also purchased their advanced quant gmat strategy supplement (note: this doesn’t give you access to the tests) and found it challenging; it’s a good book if you’re trying to bring up your quant score.  i was running out of time when i started the mgmat books and wished i had started with those first…i especially wish i had spent more time with the advanced quant book, i think i started it the week before my exam.


i had a subscription to magoosh’s online practice questions when they used to be beat the gmat practice questions (more on btg later).  i only did the quant and never did the verbal but i actually really liked it.  i had never heard of magoosh before but the practice questions have a timer, it can be computer adaptive, has video explanations,  and you have a lot of filter options–you could pick all the questions, choose a certain level (700+, 550-700, etc.), a study area (geometry, algebra, etc.), and you could even go through a pool of questions you’ve missed or flagged.  i think this was a really good tool and really good preparation for the gmat because of the timer, it’s on a computer, it’s cat, and the questions are mixed in subject area and level.  the questions from the veritas/mgmat books were good and hard but all the books are split up by subject area.  additionally, magoosh also mixes it with problem solving and data sufficiency so you have that factor of the unexpected.  mgmat books have both ps and ds in each but again, it’s split up so you can’t jump around easily.  the og has mixed subject area questions but it’s also split into ps and ds and it generally increases in difficulty.  i started this pretty late too and wish i had more time with it.  the service is quite good too…i’ve emailed a couple of times with questions and have always gotten a super fast response from one of the founders.

gmat hacks’ total gmat math

i thought this was going to be the book to save my quant score.  it offered a lot of good strategies and encouraged quick mental math but i don’t think there were enough questions and didn’t cover enough levels of difficulty.  i think this book would be good to look at after getting a solid base using veritas or mgmat first.

gmat 111: tips, tricks, & tactics

this is by jeff sackmann, the same guy who did total gmat math.  i think this is the only thing in my post i would completely advise against getting.  i think i bought it because it was cheap and needed to get free shipping on amazon.  this book gives you some tips but it’s really not worth purchasing, as cheap as it is.  and a lot of the advice he recommends is common knowledge.  the book is very thin, but it should be even thinner…the font is huge.  i read this book the day before when i went to the salon and got my car washed as some light reading and was so disappointed in how useless it was that i didn’t even want to look at it.

beat the gmat

btg is an online gmat/mba admissions forum.  it’s getting pretty big now and recently launched mba watch to supplement their mba admissions offerings.  it’s mostly a social message board type site–a lot of people share their stories of how they “beat the gmat”, ask for advice on the gmat and the mba, and there’s even a part of the site where current mba students answer questions about their programs.  btg posts a lot of articles and even gmat problems but they’re mostly all from other sources like the mgmat blog.  btg does have some study tools though: free flash cards and email subscription lists (60-day quant/verbal questions; the 60-day study guide).  i dled and printed the flash cards but only looked at them once.  the 60-day questions are not bad…they’re just questions from the forums that people post so they come from a variety of sources.  it can be a good resource though because it has a timer and you can see different explanations from all the responses.

gmat club

this is very similar to btg and i think was started first.  i didn’t really use this one much but they have practice questions and tests that you can purchase.  from the little i’ve seen on the forums, their questions/tests are supposed to be good.  like btg, gmat club is trying to incorporate the admissions process in more.

“wow, this is all so expensive”

yes, yes it is.  don’t discount the value of free resources:

  • btg and gmat club are both free (except when you buy their problem sets/tests).
  • don’t forget the incredibly invaluable 2 full-length tests you can dl from the gmac–these are the best practice tests and do use them wisely.
  • blogs!  mgmat and others have blogs with great advice from 700-level gmat questions to admissions essay analysis!
  • free trials: veritas and mgmat have the trial intro class and knewton also has a free trial.
  • borrowing: i’m sure your local library has plenty of prep materials, like the og.  or do what i did and borrow books from friends.
  • promotions/contests/giveaways: while not free, if you want to purchase anything, watch out for promotions.  sometimes this comes in the form of a discount code or through a contest.  contests/giveaways have been good for me so far.  btg has an annual scholarship where you can win a free prep course.  i entered last year and while i didn’t win, by even just participating, i got a steep discount to the veritas course and i haven’t seen anything similar since.  i also won my btg/magoosh questions which turned out to be pretty great.
  • amazon: both mgmat books i purchased were from amazon–cheaper than from mgmat directly.
  • used: used books are cheaper for sure.
  • waiver: the gmac offers a waiver for the $250 gmat fee.  i’m not exactly sure how you obtain one as it seems pretty difficult to come by, but it is an option.

i know my gmat/mba posts are long and boring but i hope they’re helpful!  next up…my first giveaway!