Back away from the coffee, ma’am.

I am a Supertaster who loves coffee.

I’m not “supposed” to like bitter foods like coffee but I have a workaround, thanks to to the assistance of Splenda and cream.

As with most food items in my life, I am picky about how I take my coffee. I’m very much Sally from When Harry Met Sally with my preferences:

  • Has to be bold, flavorful, HOT coffee. I can count on one hand the number of restaurants I go to for their coffee.
  • I prefer my coffee in a cup and saucer at restaurants but a mug at home.
  • I have to have half ‘n half or cream in my coffee. 2% milk is barely tolerable and skim milk in coffee is so bad, I’d rather not have it at all.
  • I choose an artificial sweetener, such as Splenda (well, ONLY Splenda) to put in because it’s technically sweeter than sugar so I can use less, and it dissolves like a dream. There is no sinking of Splenda to the bottom of the cup.
  • I can drink coffee with cream and no sweetener but usually only if there is a sweet dessert present. I can’t drink black coffee, with or without sweetener. So you see what really takes precedence.
  • If the coffee cools too long, it becomes undrinkable and it goes down the sink. There is absolutely a Point of No Return with coffee temperature.

BUT!

Because I am so discerning with how I doctor my coffee (ratio of cream and Splenda to coffee is of utmost importance), my biggest pet peeve when dining in a restaurant where I’m happily sipping my coffee is to have my cup refilled before I’m ready.

It really gets my hackles up to sit there enjoying my food and a waiter or waitress comes along and before I can say no, s/he gives me a “warmup” with fresh coffee, thereby completely ruining the precious, perfect combination of coffee, cream and sweetener.

<Insert slow motion “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” here.>

Because I am a shy person who doesn’t want to bring attention to myself, I rarely speak up for myself in these instances, and my perfect cup goes to crap, forcing me to re-doctor my coffee all over again.

I’ve even pretended to be mid-sip so that the waitress will think I don’t need a refill. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. If I were a server, I would definitely wait to get a response before taking the liberty of filling up my customer’s cup.

Coffee doctoring takes precision, people! I even have pictures to prove it. Yes, I’m that person.

Polished Silver

Cold cream awaits the coffee.

Coffee_altered

Perfectly good coffee in a saucer receiving cream.

Clouds in my coffee

The cream begins to work its magic.

Coffee and spoon_NYC

The swirls of deliciousness unite.

Doesn’t that just make you want to get yourself a yummy cup of joe? It does for me. But that delicate balance of java, cream and sweetener can be ruined in a heartbeat with the addition of extra coffee before it’s consumed.

So servers, I beg of you: back away from the coffee. Wait for a “Yes, please!” before you give that warm-up.

It’s also with a heavy heart that I inform you all that the place in which I took these photos earlier this year has now closed. It’s one of the only restaurants in my town that served really wonderful hot coffee (with cold cream!) and I am sad to see it gone. R.I.P. Uncle Jack’s.

Perfume That Doesn’t Cut the Mustard

After purchasing some perfume in May that I had been drooling over since I first rubbed it on myself from a magazine, I have made the decision to give it a negative review.

It pains me to do it. I really wanted this perfume to be right up there with my go-to scent, Premier Jour by Nina Ricci. (Aside: I have been told that this has been discontinued but I have not had a problem finding it online for years now.)

I adore perfume. I love having at least five or more different scents available to me year round so I can spray on some ‘extra personality’ for the day. I don’t go crazy or anything but wearing perfume definitely makes me feel more feminine and pretty, even when I’m not wearing makeup.

I ask for perfume every year for my birthday and at Christmas. I always have an on-going list. Nine times out of ten, I prefer an eau de parfum over an eau de toilette, since I prefer having more “scent” in my perfumes, enabling them to last longer. There are a handful of EDTs out there that are pretty solid, though.

However.

I can now officially name one EDP that I will strike from the Zoe Recommends list. And, it is definitely not worth $80+ (retail). In fact, I paid over $90 when I purchased this particular bottle when I was in Seattle.

The perfume in question is:

Narciso Rodriguez for her - eau de parfum

How pretty is the packaging? Would that the contents were worth this bottle!

The notes of this particular perfume are: pink pepper, lavender, patchouli, violet, amber, and woody accord. So very Zoe. It even has a pink smell, which is appropriate, considering the pink pepper and it’s beauteous glass bottle. I really love the hint of woods or musk. (Favorite musk perfume? Chance from Chanel. To die for.)

Unfortunately, despite the hefty price and it being an eau de parfum, this one doesn’t cut the mustard. I wanted it to so badly.

The perfume does not last. It goes on slightly heavier upon first spray but dissipates quickly. No matter how many sprays I get on to my left wrist – the one that emanates smell more out of my two wrists – no scent lingers at the end of the day. If I spray some on my neck and a little gets on my clothes, which is part of the point to perfume, the scent that remains on my shirt hardly even resembles the original.

It’s entirely too light and non-lasting for a very expensive bottle of perfume. It doesn’t match up to my mantra of “you get what you pay for.” And I really hate being wrong, but especially about something like that.

Last but not least, what I can’t get from this perfume I can get from Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker. Which I already own!! The notes from Lovely are: amber, lavender, orchid, musk, and apple. Similar overtones and you would think that Lovely would smell lighter or not last as long but it beats out Narciso by a mile on both accounts.

To add insult to injury, so to speak, the sprayer for this bottle – at least mine – sucks. It takes entirely too much pressure to depress it for a single spray. I do like that it comes out in a nice, light mist. You aren’t doused. But because less is more when it comes to perfume, I still feel as if I have to pump the sprayer ten times to get any kind of decent scent. See photo below for the sprayer – nothing unusual.

As I’ve said, regardless of how much one sprays initially, the scent will not last. And it does go on quite prettily, I might add.

Sucky sprayer

I feel as if I’m saying something really controversial here, which is SO SILLY. There are infinitely more shocking and actual awful things in the world. But to read the reviews of this perfume (especially the ones who say the black bottle and pink box, the EDT), you would think that Narciso invented the sense of smell.

I’m sorry to say I am the whistleblower on this one: save your money and buy something else. Take my word for it.

You get what you pay for and other -isms

If ever there were a catchphrase that embodied me, it would be, “You get what you pay for.” I have stood by this time and time again and it continually rings true. That isn’t to say you can’t get a sweet deal at Dollar Tree – you can. (Especially at Christmastime – wrapping paper and tags helloooo!) But you know you’re not going to throw a fit if you buy a glass from Dollar Tree and it breaks in a week because hey, it was just a dollar. You can go back and get another. You can laugh and go, “Well we got a dollar’s worth of use out of it.”

I have yet to find a situation or product to which this aphorism is not apropos. When I bought my first real designer purse a few years ago (a Coach, if you must know), I got my money’s worth. There is a huge, vast difference between buttery, hand-crafted leather, heavy zippers, silk or satin lining, and quality hardware on a purse versus what one can buy at Target, Kohl’s or Marshall’s. And I rocked a purse from Target in New York City when I first lived there. I got my twenty-five bucks worth and then some; and then I was able to throw it away when it fell apart on me.

I purchased my very first Kate Spade bag in May and it’s everything I thought it would be and more. Totally worth making my credit card cry. It’s been a dreamboat of a handbag, if that makes sense. And! I know that by properly taking care of it, I will get years of use out of it.

My dearest dude Kevin thought I bought into this whole thing a little too much but even he has had to concede the point much more as of late. Like my search for good moisturizer, he has been seeking out a pair of sunglasses that don’t crap out on him within two days. He went through two different pairs in a week before he relented and let me take him to a couple of places where he’d have to actually drop more than $30 (or $80, or $100) on sunglasses. I know what you’re thinking. At a certain price point, sunglasses become overpriced plastic. And you’re right! But there is a “sweet spot” with sunglasses and dropping $100-150 for a pair isn’t unheard of. These designers know what they’re doing.

Though we tried and tried and tried to find something at a reasonable price, there was nothing to be found that would fit him well, be comfortable and be worth the money. We landed at Sunglass Hut where all the designer sunglasses strutted their stuff and eventually he settled on an “inexpensive” pair of Ray Bans. $160 later, he is the hap-hap-happiest cool shades wearing guy out there – and they look great on him, too. Anytime I see them sitting out, I nudge him (by mentioning their price) to put them back in their hard case. It’s very motivating.

If any of you do not believe that “you get what you pay for,” I’d love to hear why not! If you do, what are you willing to pay a high price for? Sheets? Makeup? Silverware? (For me, all three.)

~~~

Writing about that catchphrase got me thinking about other colloquialisms and aphorisms that are pretty common – some more applicable than others.

  • When it rains it pours. Pretty self-explanatory. And something I am currently dealing with, if I’m gonna get all personal. It can’t be just one thing, it has to be a slew of things happening all at once, right?
  • Everything happens for a reason. I want to punch someone when I hear this one.
  • A stitch in time saves nine. Whatever.
  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. This one I actually kind of buy into, as well, because I am definitely a person who’d rather not take the risk and have something guaranteed, rather than gamble on gaining more.
  • Right church, wrong pew. I don’t quite know what this means but it’s funny and a friend knew it off the top of her head.
  • Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Yes! Though hardly anyone “gifts” horses anymore, if you do get one, don’t check its teeth. Just say thank you.
  • Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face. A little confusing but basically it boils down to not doing something stupid and self-destructive out of revenge or hatred, because it’s just going to do you more harm than good.
  • Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. My mother LOVES this phrase. It is irritating to hear when I want to overgeneralize and overreact, however.
  • There’s more than one way to skin a cat. Ew. But…also true.

Add in your favorite in a comment below!

“Happy” Tuesday – at least I hope you all are having a good one. I’m still mucking it up in the rain.

I need a scientist…

…to explain to me why microwaved coffee gets flat and nasty and awful. It’s barely drinkable!

It doesn’t matter if the coffee is fresh and it just needs a quick pick-me-up. It will turn into the dreaded flat, bodiless beverage I can hardly choke down.

This is not happy coffee, folks. No siree.

No. You didn’t SEEN anything.

Um, can we talk about something serious for a moment?

There is an epidemic in this country – an epidemic of extremely, extremely ignorant grammar, speaking, and writing skills. I understand colloquialisms. I do! I say ’em, too. But when you write these things out as your actual manner of speaking, it just puts the nail in my tightass coffin.

I don’t like to preach a lot about grammar here and if I can help it, I won’t write another one of these for a long time, if ever again. But I can’t help it this time. No, it’s not the You’re vs. Your thing; which is appalling, by the way. “Your welcome” always makes me want to say, “But is it my welcome?”

The issue at hand is the misuse of the word “seen.”

Seen is a conjugation of the verb “to see,” which means that if you want to use it, you may do so in the present, past and future perfect voice. Which also means that there is always another verb in between subject and the word “seen.”

Examples:

  • You have seen
  • I had seen
  • We will have seen
  • They had seen

and so forth. There is absolutely NO conjugation that has subject + seen. None. Zip. Really! If you say, “I seen with my own eyes” or ask, “You seen it?” I strongly but gently advise you or your friend who does this to go back to elementary school grammar and brush up on this verb. (I won’t comment on, “You done seen it, too?”) I don’t know why this one thing in particular motivated me to write a post about it. I mean, yes, I can write bitchy rants, and I know that many people frown on those who take time to write stuff like this, but it just cooks my cactus – whatever that means.

It gives us, as Americans who speak English, an even worse reputation than we already have for being (proud) uneducated morons.

I am not without humor – clearly – so I am also posting one of my all-time favorite Friends scenes here with Ross and Rachel having yet another one of their epic fights, in which Ross corrects Rachel’s grammar in the letter she wrote to him. If for some reason you have never seen this, you’re welcome.

Thank you for reading my rant when you could have been doing any number of other things on this lovely Sunday afternoon.

Sorry I’m A Safe Driver, and: I Hate Minivans

I have a bone to pick with minivan drivers. What is the deal? You either drive way too fast or way too slow. Can’t you just drive normally? I can’t help but feel like some of the rude driving I’ve seen happen with these vehicles is because there is pent up rage from owning one of these ugly things. I’m in the minority in that I am a woman who has no desire whatsoever to have one. My male counterpart couldn’t want one more, inexplicably.

I can’t even count how many times I’ve been on road trips and the cars that are going 85 and being obnoxious are minivans (usually male drivers). I smiled the other day when I was coming to an intersection and saw that a minivan had been pulled over, presumably for speeding or having just run the light. I couldn’t help but feel vindicated for what had transpired earlier that same day. Shall I relay the story?

So that same morning, as I was sitting in the left turn lane at a busy intersection – and I was the first car in the turn lane, mind you – there was no chance for me to turn left against the regular green light, so I knew I was going to have to sit through another cycle before I got the arrow. Right as the light was about to turn, a minivan drives around me from being in the turn lane and proceeded to go out into the middle of the intersection, turning left against the red light. Thank God s/he had the turn signal on or it would have been REALLY obnoxious.

You can bet your sweet bippy I honked at this foul offender, whilst also spewing some choice epithets after him/her. (I’m assuming it was a man but who’s really to say.) Pretty much, this was my face:

When I told my boyfriend the same story in a really appalled tone, he took the opportunity (after agreeing that it had been a dick move) to say, “But you know, if you’d been pulled out into the intersection, he wouldn’t have done that.”

What ensued after this statement was a huge debate about whether or not it’s illegal and/or courteous to pull out mid-intersection to turn left. This must be a “Champaign thing.” Where I grew up in St. Louis, there are very few lights which do not have green arrows, so we know exactly when we can turn. Having to sit at a busy intersection with no green arrow is not only infuriating, but basically encourages this crappy driver etiquette. And this was a light where we had a green arrow! It only lights every other cycle for some odd reason, though. Being rush hour traffic, I really had no opportunity to turn.

Anyway, although we are both good drivers, the boyfriend and I disagree on several driving habits, this being the main one. Apparently I’m the jerk for not pulling all the way out and waiting for the light to turn, even if it’s when the light has turned red and I just have to get out of the way; whereas I can’t help but feel like an a-hole if I pull that stunt. It happens so often here and yet, I still hate doing it. I feel like I’m basically running a red light when I do this. Kevin insists it is perfectly legal. I have not been swayed. Our debate escalated to the point where, in a very frustrated moment I blurted out, “Sorry I’m a safe driver!”

You just never know who is going to do what when crossing an intersection and I don’t like sitting in the middle of the action when I can sit behind my safe little white line that was designated for this purpose. Am I right or am I right or am I right?

Okay, back to my original diatribe about minivans. I find them ugly, bulbous, and too similar looking. They’re everywhere. Plus, I don’t want to turn into Shitty Minivan Driver. I understand that if one has lots of children, these are probably Dream Modes of Transportation. Since I have zero children, this definitely accounts for the strong bias. I just don’t understand what a minivan has that say, a nice-looking SUV or crossover doesn’t have. I’d really like to know. Being the aesthetic person that I am, it’s more of a looks thing than it is a stereotype thing, but the stereotype does play into my dislike. I also know that there are folks out there who SWEAR by minivans and would never drive anything else. I’d like to hear from you!

For whatever reasons that Kevin adores minivans – all of them practical, I assure you – we have actually gotten into a heated debate about why we may or may not purchase one in our future solidified life together. I am adamantly opposed (has that been made clear?) and he is insistent on changing my mind. He finds them to be the pinnacle purchase in adulthood, I think. Strangely enough, Kevin’s best friend is also the one in his relationship who prefers to have a minivan and his wife is the one that has the same knee-jerk reaction I do: Yick! So they have that to bond over, which is cute and funny.

If anyone out there can shed some light on the intersection debate or tell me all the merits of owning a minivan, I’d love the feedback! I can’t fathom changing my mind about ever wanting to own a minivan but never say never, right? I think Justin Bieber never says never. Or he just says, “Never Say Never.” One of those.

In the meantime, I will bask in the glory of sedan ownership.

**Edit March 2017** — a couple of weeks ago, I was at an extremely busy intersection during the 5 o’clock rush home. I needed to turn left across two oncoming lanes of traffic, and the intersection is quite wide. It’s easy to underestimate how much time it takes to cross those lanes with two lanes of traffic barreling down on you. Because of the heavy traffic, I stayed behind my little white line at the light. A woman raced up behind me and, when she realized I wasn’t going to move out into traffic, shook her head at me. She was older, perhaps in her 50s or 60s. I saw her grimace and shake her head in my rearview mirror. I decided to fight her crankiness with silliness and I happily waved at her. She saw me waving and lightened up (slightly) and half-heartedly waved back at me. (I like to think that she felt a little embarrassed, perhaps thinking I knew her, and she is only comfortable doing that to strangers instead of people she knows.) The light went red and we sat through another cycle until I was able to safely cross with a green arrow. My husband still asserts that he sided with the lady behind me but I like to think that being cautious saved myself and possibly the woman behind me from making a poor driving decision and getting into an accident. The “Sliding Doors” theory, if you will.

The Art of Interwebs Conversation

I’m all for the internet, in case this has escaped anyone’s attention. I’ve dated from online, I’ve met friends online, I pay bills online, I read online. You get the point. Me and Internet are BFFs.

What I don’t get is how the online users – that is, people just like you and me – can be so clueless about how to conduct a conversation. I’m not talking about the chat room stuff or even really poor use of grammar, sentence structure, and “LOLspeak,” whatever the hell that is. I’m just referring to two people holding a conversation keyboard to keyboard; regular folks who know one another.

Having an online conversation through some kind of instant messenger client is not really all that different from conducting one in person. The only difference is you have to be up front about when you’re not at the keyboard. The same rules apply from a real life conversation where you try not to interrupt and you reply accordingly, and most importantly, you reciprocate and ask questions. I’m going to repeat that: reciprocate and ask questions.

This isn’t a woman thing. This is just “how it is.” In order to keep conversation going, one must have the ability to take what someone has said, make a reference point, and either ask a follow-up question or ask a question that s/he doesn’t know about the other person. Even if it’s as simple as, “How was your weekend?” If you don’t know the answer to the question, it has merit and should be asked. And if you run out of questions, cite anecdotes.

If you ran into a friend in a coffee shop or someplace, you wouldn’t run up to that person and start yammering on about your woes and your life and then not ask that person what’s going on with him or her. It’s rude! (And if you do do this, I would not be your friend.) The exact same thing that is rude in real life is rude on the Internet. Yes, it’s easier to blow someone off when you’re online. But the kind of etiquette I’m talking about here is only relevant to people who converse regularly, in case I’m not making this clear. Hearing from an ex or chatting with someone who only contacted you because s/he’s bored doesn’t count. We know these conversations aren’t going to adhere to any kind of guidelines.

So, if conversation stalls, ask a question. The key here is that each person must actively participate. It cannot be one-sided. Conversation is not meant to be one-sided. I could talk to a wall if I wanted no response.

I have several friends with whom I chat online daily. We have a routine. It’s comfortable. And for all I know, this is a “birds of a feather” situation. Like attracts like. Conversation flows easily with no awkwardness. But there are times when I chat with a person and I am reminded that not everyone is up to speed with Conversation Etiquette 101.

At least from my perspective, silence/no response on the Internet is just as egregious as a non-response face-to-face. I’m not talking about if a person is at work and has to dash away from the computer. But if you’re actively talking and a person just drops the conversation altogether, or leaves the computer and comes back with no reply to what you’ve said 30-40 minutes prior, that makes no sense to me whatsoever. What has just been said is still lingering and you can see it on the screen. If I want to type and get zero response, I’ll write in my journal.

I can’t stress this enough. Reciprocity, my friends. Word of the day, week, year, life. Ask questions. Respond accordingly. Engage with your fellow wo/man, preferably who also knows and uses The Rules. Guaranteed satisfying conversation will ensue. I know I don’t enjoy breaking out my “WTF” face because yet again, I’ve conducted a conversation that has turned out to be meaningless.

The back and forth, give and take nature that I speak of is applicable to “IRL” conversations. Most of the time when people say a date went horribly bad, it’s because conversation totally blew chunks. See faces of the two people below, enduring awkwardness, especially the guy on the right.

It’s about courtesy, respect, and an enjoyment of the dialogue occurring between two people. Some people might call that synergy. There’s a reason there is an art to this. It’s not arbitrary.

Go forth and have meaningful conversations.

Merci pour votre attention.

An Open Letter to Big Employers in this Crap Economy

Dear Large Company and/or Corporate Giant,

My name is Zoe. I am not currently looking for work (thank the Lord Jesus) but I am writing to express my grievance about a particular concept that has infuriated me and countless others since its inception. I am sure that when it was proposed at the Important Management Conference in [fill in outrageously ritzy location of your choice] some number of years ago, that it astounded, awed, and the person behind it got a really colossal bonus. Or at least a standing ovation.

I am talking about the decision to construct an online employment application process through your own particular company’s website, one in which each person who is interested in applying must create a User Name that can not be one’s email address and a unique password consisting of at least ten characters, with one uppercase, lowercase, symbol, and Alt code included. You know, something “easy to remember.”

Another stellar quality of this idea is giving the potential employee the option of importing his or her résumé through your special “X Company Résumé Importer!” function. The person who writes your codes/algorithms must also be sure to omit something or add something extraneous that will make the user want to take a mallet to his or her computer – because of course the uploader will not work. Conversely, if it does work, it must import all of the information incorrectly so that one must manually go through and take more time to correct the errors than if one had retyped the résumé from memory into your convenient boxes. (As we all know, résumés all look the same because no one is an individual. If a person opts to use bullet points in his/her résumé, anything next to one will either show up in the Title area or be omitted altogether.)

(I liken the online employment form to Hell Week at a sorority or fraternity. You’ll do a lot of things you would never do in any other situation and you’ll proclaim that you enjoy it. It’s some BS rite of passage.)

Some brainiac also suggested not letting a person have any symbols in the text of one’s résumé (especially a / mark), uploading a cover letter is a joke, or it’s left as Optional. (Note to anyone who doesn’t exercise this option: it’s a test. ALWAYS upload or write in a cover letter!) If you get one of those boxes where it asks you to simply type or paste in your cover letter from an actual word processor like MS Word, the formatting will be so messed up that it completely erases a person’s chances of ever getting a call back. It’s physically painful.

By the time we get to the end of this nightmare, the relief is palpable. But then, you sneaky bastards, you have one more trick up your sleeve. Two options are before us job seekers: take a completely obvious, mandatory personality test survey or ask “interview questions” that are incredibly strange and limit a person’s response to 250 characters. Please – I beg of you – if you have to force us to do these things, at least spring it on us when we’re called in for an interview. It gives us some sliver of hope that this “system” works and we didn’t waste an entire afternoon spend all that time on your employment site for nothing. Spending an additional 30-45 minutes at home on a personality test with questions like this makes me grind my teeth into dust. (Who actually says Strongly Agree to “I can be cold and aloof.” ? Does anybody fall for this?)

I understand that you may be testing people’s basic grasp of following instructions and “computer skills,” but there are better ways of gleaning this information from your candidates. Also, please don’t resort to this tactic: don’t insert an easily overlooked instruction such as, “YOU MUST PUT Code 4UX937P in the reference area to be considered!” somewhere in the fine print of the description of the position. Throwing away someone’s application that took him or her two hours to complete because of an easy mistake like that is flat out asinine. You look like a jerk before you even get someone to apply. Wait until the third interview or the first day to reveal that you’re not that great of a place to work, in fact.

This is an employer’s market. Do you get that? You, the Big Corporation, can be choosey! You don’t have to put us through these ridiculous hoops! Please take the time to make it appear as if you give a single crap about the type of person you are going to hire. I don’t know about other people, but I avoid even applying for positions with companies that use these methods strictly on principle. I immediately put you on that list of Top 100 Douchebag Places to Work Every Single Year Running.

It is only under times of desperation that I have submitted to this process because I trick myself into thinking that it must work. Surely someone is attaining a job in this manner. However! I can’t actually attest to this because despite my being a very qualified person with more than reasonable articulation, not once have I ever gotten a call or an email back from one of these places. It always makes me wonder who is on the other end of these things. Is it some poor sap whose sole job is to sort through the barrage of poorly copied/pasted résumés and personality tests? Is someone reading these things line by line and highlighting those who put down Strongly Disagree that s/he can be cold and aloof?

Under normal circumstances, I am not this cynical. But let’s be honest: this market sucks whale junk and it’ll be years before it dramatically improves. We know you employers are going to be inundated with umpteen more applications per available job than you would have received five years ago. But one thing you can do is make it a teensy bit easier on those who desperately need work and are applying to as many positions per day as they can find: if you are not going to use a staffing firm or headhunter to scale down the applicants for you, simply set up an email address where people can easily attach a cover letter, résumé or CV. Not having the ability to read attachments is ridiculous. It’s 2011. And if nothing else, if you are unable to designate an email address at your company, e.g., jobs@bigcompany, make it a Gmail address. Sending in a résumé to Hotmail screams, “Please e-rape me.” Seriously.

I implore you to heed this advice from an experienced job seeker. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

Happily, gratefully employed,
Zoe