Special K(T)

sports, smarts, arts… and other random thoughts

Eye-tracking heat maps show branding/marketing — October 23, 2016

Eye-tracking heat maps show branding/marketing

Check out this cool article titled “These eye-tracking heat maps show what people really care about.” A startup, called Sticky, tracks consumers’ eyes to see if a company’s marketing/branding is working.

For example, Tropicana’s new packaging was a disaster for brand recognition. A consumer spends the majority of the time viewing the ‘100% orange’ phrase instead of the brand name.

photo cred: Sticky
Person of Culture Update — October 22, 2016

Person of Culture Update

You may have thought that I forgot about rereading the classics. Well I did… that is until this past month.

Right now I have a 2 hour commute to work Mon-Thurs. The drive is quite long; however, I gained 4 hours for listening to audiobooks. And I am flying through audiobooks! While I am trying to knock out the classics, I also through in a few popular books for my sanity.

Audiobook List for End of September/October

  1. Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict
  2. Tale of Two Cities

  3. The Help
  4. The Adventures of Huck Finn
  5. Water For Elephants
  6. To Kill a Mockingbird

‘The Help’ and ‘Water for Elephants’, I highly recommend. Same with ‘To Kill  a Mockingbird’, I was entertained. As for Huck Finn, by and by you get sick of the book.

Steepling: the newest craze in the power move department.  — October 9, 2016

Steepling: the newest craze in the power move department. 

As a woman who went to many a Women’s Career Development seminar, I know all about body language in business. Speakers always say women are less confident (or perceived as less confident) in the workplace when compared to their male counterparts. The solution, they say, is to execute a “power move” such as putting the hands on one’s hips or, more ridiculously, standing with feet spread apart and arms open in the shape of a Y over one’s head.

But steepling with your hands is a more natural, less aggressive gesture that suggests confidence, wisdom, and the power to make decisions. Don’t believe me? Exhibit A:

photo cred: Wall Street Journal

and Exhibits B, C, and D:

photo creds: Trump, Obama, Cumberbatch

Like personal appearance and clothing, body language DOES make a difference. Sometimes due to time constraints, opinions are created based on first impressions. But for the most part, I just find the human mind cool, and secretly wish I were a consultant who helped solve crimes by reading body language then using technology and mind games (cough, cough the ‘Mentalist,’ ‘Lie to Me,’ or ‘Bull‘).

Regardless, I definitely tried out the hand steeple this week on the job, and I approve. For more power moves, check out the Wall Street Journal’s article How Your Body Language Can Tell People If You Are a Leader- or Not.

How I Stopped Washing My Hair Daily — October 7, 2016

How I Stopped Washing My Hair Daily

Two months ago, I was a shampoo addict. Since my hair is thin and blonde, any grease is quite noticeable, hence I began the habit of washing my hair everyday. Soon, it got to the point where even if I showered at night, my hair was greasy by morning. It was terrible. My hair was so dry. It had to stop.

Now I am not a beauty expert in the least, so I googled ‘how to stop washing your hair daily.’ After reading multiple articles, I got the gist that you just have to pick a week or long weekend when you can hide your hair, and go as long as you can without shampooing. Then you establish a routine in which you wash your hair every other day or every few days depending on your hair thickness and greasiness, and dry shampoo as needed on the days in between.

This was back in the summer when I still had a week before I began my job and no other obligations, so the hair hiding part was not too difficult. I went three days without washing my hair before I gave in, and then began to wash my hair every other day.

The results were extremely positive! It took about 2/3 weeks for my hair to fully adjust, but my hair is definitely less greasy and less dry. A couple of tidbits on breaking the daily shampoo habit:

Tidbit 1: Dry Shampoo… buy it.

I also did a ton of research on dry shampoo since I had never used the thing before. I ended up purchasing Dove Refresh+Care Invigorating Dry Shampoo, which seemed to have the best results to price ratio (Batiste Dry Shampoo also appeared to be a good option). The two major negatives in the products reviews for the Dove shampoo were (1) the strong smell and (2) white residue left in the hair. Honestly, I don’t mind the smell and since my hair is lighter I don’t notice any whiteness. I think the product works nicely. 

Tidbit 2: You need to be flexible with your shower schedule.

I shampoo on MWF mornings to maximize the workdays which I have clean hair. Then I pick one day on the weekend to wash my hair. For me, showering in the mornings is a necessary evil. I hate getting up earlier to shower, but my hair gets pressed against my scalp when I sleep making it extra greasy. I have also found sleeping with your hair in a loosely tied high pony tail keeps the hair further away from the scalp.

Tidbit 3: Don’t expect to feel fresh and clean on non-hair washing days.

Even with dry shampoo, your scalp and hair just don’t have the same feel as being freshly washed. On non-hair washing days, my face is more greasy. I look forward to the days I wash my hair. It’s only on those days that I feel truly clean. 

Welp, on that depressing note, everyone should start shampooing their hair less! The end.

Another terrible debate: Windows vs. Mac — October 5, 2016

Another terrible debate: Windows vs. Mac

In keeping with the spirit of the election season, now seemed like the perfect time to debate a topic that is actually affecting me on a daily basis…

Mac vs. Windows. Battle of the operating systems.

Background: I have always been a Mac person. For my 18th birthday I got an iPad. It was awesome. Best present ever. Now I have an iPhone 5s and a Macbook pro laptop, and I love my Mac products. They have lasted me 4 years and counting through rigorous college use, in which I would go months without restarting my computer without any crashes.

However, now my work laptop is Windows. And duel operating systems are hard!  If I hit fn + c on my Mac keyboard, (in an attempt to copy because that is where the crt + c is on my Windows laptop) and erase EVERYTHING I HAVE JUST WRITTEN one more time… #privilegedproblems.

Anyways, here is a breakdown of my pros for each operating system:

Pros for Mac

  1. Track Pad- I like swiping left and right to go between open applications.
  2. Screen Capture- (command + shift + 4) In a swift movement a cursor appears allowing you can take a screenshot of any part of your screen. Then the screenshot automatically saves to your desktop. Such a time saver over having to search for Snipping Tool all the time on Windows.
  3. Seamlessly Syncing all devices- I can use iMessage on my computer. My notes on my phone sync to my laptop. And now I hear you can copy on your laptop and paste on your phone thanks to macOS sierra’s universal clipboard. 😱
  4. Yearly Updated Operating Systems- Every September, you basically get a new phone/computer, because Apple releases new operating systems with new features. Some are pointless or hated, but most advances are exciting and fun! And the updates are free. ‘Nuff said.

Side Note: The new lock screen on the iOS10 iPhone update is driving me crazy. People unlock their phones a bazillion times a day. Apple told us to unlock your phone, you swipe right and enter your passcode. But not anymore, says Apple. Let’s just mess with everyone’s brain, says Apple. Now, if you swipe right, you get notifications. Instead, to unlock your phone you have to press the home button. People are outraged! Even the Wall Street Journal wrote an article about this monstrosity.

Pros for Windows

  1. Split Screens- Windows knows how to do split screens. Simply drag the window to the side of the desktop and it prompts you to select another application to share the screen. Simple. On a Mac, you have to press and hold the green circle, plus split screens are not accessible for all applications, notably Microsoft Word.
  2. Delete Button AND Backspace Button- Because sometimes I like to erase forwards, what can I say?
  3. Touch Screens- I know Mac has an iPad for a touch screen, but it is just useful sometimes to be able to scroll with your finger on a laptop.


Planes, Trains, & Automobiles — October 2, 2016

Planes, Trains, & Automobiles

I don’t discriminate against public transportation. For the past 48 days since I started my job as a consultant, I travelled using the following methods of transportations for both business and pleasure:

  • Subway: ~30 trips on the subway
  • Car: ~2,000 miles driving
  • Bus: 2 bus rides
  • Train: 24 commutes via train
  • Airplane: 4 flights in a plane
  • Uber: 6 treks in an Uber
  • Black Car (NYC limo): 1 trip in a black car
  • Ferry: 4 boat rides on a ferry

See below for all the places (a grand total of 7 states) that I have been since August 14th.


Yay travel.

4 Cool Things from the Internet — September 19, 2016

4 Cool Things from the Internet

1. Even if you don’t engage in online political rants, Facebooks assigns you to a political party.

The New York Times gives you instructions to check out whether Facebook labels you a liberal, moderate, or conservative. I found out that Facebook also knows that I “recently moved” and am in a “long distance relationship.” Scary.

2. The only reason I would want to go back to high school…

Painting your assigned parking space! Super cool!


3. Actually forget high school, second grade would be great too

The American Girl Dolls ranked by betchiness… nuff said. Except I had a MyTwinn. Or if you like Disney Channel better, I present Disney Channel Shows Ranked by Betchiness.

4. I want to be Grace VanderWaal.

This twelve year old is cooler than you. Vintage/hipster style + candy bracelet + raspy voice + ukulele = utter awesomeness. Please just google her so you can listen to all her songs. Also provided are links to her Twitter and Facebook page for further stalking. You will not be disappointed.


Work and Work Clothes Update — September 18, 2016

Work and Work Clothes Update

It has already been one month since I have started my job as a consultant! I know this because I got an email telling me that it has been one month since I started work and that I should take a survey to let HR know how my first month went.

Had I not received the email, I would not have known. With long days, getting up early, and traveling, this month has been a blur. I have finally finished up training and have begun to start some real assignments, which is nice. Also, I am looking forward to staying home this weekend, and establishing a more permanent routine (*fingers crossed*).


5 Things I Learned My First 2 Weeks in NYC — September 1, 2016

5 Things I Learned My First 2 Weeks in NYC

1. Your workout options are limited.

If you live in an apartment without a gym (aka ME… and I’m pretty sure most people), it is either free or super super expensive to workout. Expensive options include gym memberships or Class Pass which typically run around $100 a month. Free options primarily consist of running… in Central Park, up apartment staircases, or weaving your way through traffic on the sidewalk. All three types I did last week.

One cool thing the city does have, is that free fitness classes are available, as long as you are flexible with your time and location. A lot of workout stores (Nike, Lululemon, etc.) host free run clubs one night a week. This past Wednesday I tried out the Lululemon 66th and 3rd run club. It was awesome! We did six 800 meters in Central Park.

The nice thing about the Lululemon run club is that they let you leave your stuff in their store while you run, and you can use their dressing rooms to change if you are coming from work. Talk about clutch! But since I live in Midtown (a non-residential area around 34th street), I had to walk/ride the subway 30 blocks to the store.

2. Live in a residential area.

Residential areas are nicer, cleaner, safer, and hence more expensive. But I honestly think it is worth it. Midtown is a bit sketch. There are more people (unfortunately including more homeless people), more stores, more loudness. Residential areas like Chelsea, the Meatpacking District, and obviously Upper East and Upper West side just have so much more charm. I enjoy walking around those areas.

3. Catch onto the neighborhood lingo.

Directions are very simple here. If you are going to Lululemon on 66th and 3rd Avenue and are starting from work at 50th and 5th, you go north 16 blocks and right 2 blocks. Genius. Genius, I tell you! What is not so easy is when someone tells you they live in Union Square, or Lincoln Square, or Hell’s Kitchen.

The key is to know where Central Park is located. And hint: It’s pretty centrally located (see map below).

West of Central Park is the Upper West Side. East of Central Park is the Upper East Side. You don’t want to go North of Central Park, because Harlem is sketch. And then directly South of Central Park is Times Square (Midtown). Continuing south grows increasingly trendy/hipster/chic in areas like Chelsea, Greenwich Village, and Soho, until…. BAM you turn all business professional in the Financial District. And if you keep going more south then that, you end up in the Hudson River. 💁🏼 f73c19cfb3981dac4b2013345f4e0452

4. Navigating the subways are a breeze… once you figure out how to work the Metrocard machines.

Subways are simple. To find a station, use Google Maps. If you put in where you currently are and where you want to go, Google tells you what train to take and where to find the closest station. Once inside the station, you pick if you are going “uptown” (aka North like I am at 34th street and want to go to 50th street) or “downtown” (aka South like starting at 66th street and heading towards 20th street).

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 10.12.58 PM

Street Knowledge:  Streets run horizontal. So if you walk 34th street you are moving from the left side of the map to the right side of the map. Higher numbers are north/uptown. Lower numbers are south/downtown.

Avenue Awareness: Avenues run vertical. Taking a trip down 5th Avenue means walking from the top of the map to the bottom of the map. Higher numbers are on the west and lower numbers are on the east.

The red X on the NW corner of the box would be 70th Street and 7th Avenue. Mind=Blown.

Side Story on Subways: So I went to refill my Metrocard, which is how you pay for subways, and I insert my Metrocard into the machine and then I select how much I want to add to my Metrocard and then I swipe my credit card to pay. I complete the process, but then I don’t get my Metrocard back! The machine ATE MY METROCARD. I was absolutely perturbed.

So I storm over to the guy in his little subway booth and (politely) explain how the machine ate my card and I want a refund. Well he gives me a free ride to get home, and an envelope to request a refund and tells me to write down the machine number to complain. I returned to the machine, wrote down the number, and then started to buy a new Metrocard at the machine next to it, because I still had to work the rest of the week. I go through the entire process again and then pull out my wallet to pay, and MY METROCARD IS RIGHT NEXT TO MY CREDIT CARD IN MY WALLET.

Summary: Katie is not cut out for city living, and desperately needs to return to the suburbs. Anyways, on to more fun facts about NYC…

4. There are like NO grocery stores!

Residential areas do have a few grocery stores. But unless you can afford to pay for organic food or Trader Joes, you are left to eating out for every meal! I have heard you can order groceries online, which allows you to bypass 1) finding a grocery store and 2) carrying all your groceries from said grocery store to your apartment. Sounds like a ok option.

5. NYC is not actually as bad as a grass-loving, introverted, slightly-germaphobic person might think.

After you learn how to keep track of your Metrocard, figure out what areas of town are safe (and more importantly which ones are not), you might find yourself saying…

IMG_7679 (1)

Well, I mean obviously Boston is better… and Philadelphia… and Mishawaka… and Waco, TX is home of Chip and Johanna Gaines from HGTV’s Fixer Upper so I would rank that place above New York…

I really am trying. I promise.

Webster Apartments — August 27, 2016

Webster Apartments

When you work in NYC, you need some place to live. But because I am a consultant and could potentially be traveling four days of the week, I wasn’t going to be paying New York City rent until I was positive that I couldn’t commute from home. So I booked myself 4 weeks at the Webster Apartments until I figured it out.


The Webster Apartments is a women’s dorm located in the heart of Manhattan. The Webster houses students, interns, or business professionals within a certain salary range for up to 5 years, though most people here are foreign students/interns.

What you pay: Your rent is based on a sliding scale of what you make; hence no income = lowest cost.

What you get: It’s a dorm. Think a room with a sink. Shared bathrooms. Two meals a day. Solid wifi. 24/7 security. And a banging roof deck with an incredible view (see above)!

What you don’t get: Air conditioning (the first 2 days I almost died). Men are ONLY allowed on the first floor of the building, not in rooms. Location is loud, non-residential but you are a few blocks away from Time Square. A gym- there is no work out room. Water pressure- if you live on the 13th floor like I do, you will need to take the elevator to a lower floor to wash your hair.

IMG_7707IMG_7708 (1)IMG_7677IMG_7678IMG_7705IMG_7709

My opinion: For what you pay, this is an incredible deal. Rooms are clean and the building is safe. The roof deck makes the city a little more bearable for a suburban person :) My real issue is that I am not a city person. I like to run outside and see grass. I like to drive my car to Target or a supermarket (there are literally zero supermarkets near me).

The food is edible but really strict. You can have as much oatmeal/cereal/salad as you want, but everything else is served to you based on their portions. You get one piece of meat. You can chose between dessert or a piece of fruit. You cannot take anything out of the dinning hall (at least that they see😉 ).

Also I don’t know if flushing toilets is something unique in the US, but this sign is in every stall.


And still no one seems to read those signs. I will spare you a picture.