Mercedes Chloe Randall

How to Find an Apartment in NYC: One Fashion Student's Advice–Part II

Posted by LIM College on Jul 30, 2013 11:56:00 AM

Google "How to find an apartment in NYC" and 124,000,000 results come up in .14 seconds and you think you've found the answer to your question. Well, not quite. If you are studying fashion in New York and looking for a place to live, finding the right apartment can be confusing, overwhelming and time-consuming.

mercedes 073013

1) It's common to use a real estate broker when finding an apartment in NYC. If you know exactly what neighborhood you want to live in it's usually best to find a broker there so that they can show you around and give you a true feel as to what it would be like to live there. Most brokers have websites where you can view available apartments, including some photos and detailed descriptions. Just make sure, for safety reasons, that when you go to visit somewhere you take a friend with you.

2) If you want to steer clear of hefty brokers' fees, you can also find an apartment by word of mouth or advertisements. Big newspapers like The New York Times, Daily News, and Newsday all list apartments. Now that most newspapers are posted online, it's easy to view their classified ads section that way.

3) Explore. When I'm walking around Roosevelt Island I see so many "For Rent" signs posted, so it can definitely pay to walk around the neighborhood you want to live in. Just keep your eyes wide open!

4) Apartment referral service. Ok - I'll admit that before doing research for this post I wasn't quite sure exactly what this was, but it seems as though some of these (take the time to find a reputable one) can be really helpful and are a growing resource for savvy students (like us). If you're comfortable with the Internet, a small monthly fee will provide you with a list of apartment rentals as soon as they become available. The research comes to you - not vice-versa!

Good luck!

Topics: NYC apartments, apartment shopping tips

How to Find an Apartment in NYC: One Fashion Student's Advice

Posted by LIM College on Jul 23, 2013 11:34:00 AM

So you're a fashion student who has finally made the big move to NYC and now you're looking to find your own place. So where do you start? Google can only tell you so much, but the most important thing that I learned when searching for my apartment is to not get your heart set on one place.

I live on Roosevelt Island and I like to joke around with friends that it's Manhattan's best-kept secret. Surprisingly, it seems as though not many people know you can live here. It's also important to know that there are many other places to live outside of Manhattan, such as Long Island City (in Queens), Williamsburg (in Brooklyn), Astoria (in Queens), or even Hoboken, New Jersey, which can have about a 15-minute commute, depending on what part of it you are coming from and where you are going within Manhattan.

mercedes 072313
Calculate how much you're paying per square foot. Understand the differences between each area. The Upper East or West Sides of Manhattan can be much more expensive than living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which is also a beautiful area, and an easy commute. This is because you're paying for the name. I'm sure living in Manhattan is every young girl's dream, but price-wise a loft can be equivalent to a two-bedroom apartment located in places such as Long Island City, Brooklyn, or Astoria.

Don't form opinions based on what you see in movies. Especially if you're new to NYC, explore and judge for yourself. I can certainly tell you that Astoria is up and coming, along with Long Island City and Roosevelt Island (as they start to renovate and restore old buildings). Everywhere seems to have it's own ambiance and individuality, but as they say: never judge a book by its cover. Just because you might have heard that living downtown isn't as glamorous as living uptown, it doesn't mean that's necessarily true. It's supposed to be the best fit for you, especially at this time in your life.

When you get your first apartment, convenience and accessibility should be your number one priority. Remember that we are fashion students and individuality and creativity are important. We can make the best of wherever we live while studying fashion in New York City, with whatever we have.

Topics: city life, Roosevelt Island, move to NYC, Astoria, UWS, UES, NYC

Frugal Fashion for Fashion Students

Posted by LIM College on Jul 15, 2013 12:44:00 PM

Fashion. Our school is a runway in itself. My biggest tip here is confidence. You don't need to spend $5,000 in Barneys or Bergdorf's to look or feel like a million bucks. Although it may seem competitive at times, at the end of the day we go to school to get an education in the business of fashion.

Shopping for a bargain

One of my visual merchandising displays in
Fall of 2012

Lots of stores around New York City carry designer names at discounted prices, such as Burlington Coat Factory, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, etc. I'm not endorsing buying yourself an entirely new wardrobe each and every week, but learn to mix and match clothes. Invest in the basics and don't be afraid to show who you are in your clothes. If you know how to sew you can even start your own fashion trends and make your own clothes or alter some of your old clothes into brand-new ones. I know plenty of girls who do this and have no shame in sharing it.

There are also great boutiques in SoHo (like Mystique) that sell the latest trends at great prices. They even have $10 and under clothing racks. Then there are H&M, Zara, and Forever 21. Some people have such a bias against shopping at "cheap" places, but I'm someone who believes that it's the way you wear the clothing, not the label or price tag. You can get such cute accessories at Forever 21 or H&M. $3.25 for a pair of earrings is less than a coffee at Starbucks!

There are also consignment stores. Before this year I never really understood shopping for someone else's clothing or accessories. That was until I entered Beacon's Closet in NYC. It's located on West 13th Street between 5th and 6th Aves. I initially went there to blog about my first consignment store experience (on mercedeschloe.com), but once settled in I felt like I was in designer heaven. I've seen almost every designer name in there, from Yves Saint Laurent to Dolce & Gabana. Of course, like every store, it's hit and miss, but there is something exhilarating about digging (or browsing) through racks for hidden treasure!

I found this headpiece at H&M for $5.95. I love it!

Topics: budget nyc, fashion budget, designer clothes, consignment

Living on a Budget as a College Student in NYC – Part III

Posted by LIM College on Jul 9, 2013 12:14:00 AM

1) Enroll in loyalty card programs at stores like CVS and Duane Reade. They offer so many benefits. I once got a $25 off coupon for CVS. I was so excited! Just make sure to check coupon expiration dates.

2) Always, and I mean ALWAYS, check your receipt. I worked behind a cash register for one of my internships. If you're ringing up a lot of things sometimes it's easy to accidentally charge someone twice for something. So always pay attention when they are ringing you up. And if something is supposed to be on sale and comes up full price, don't be afraid to point it out.

3) Skip those gym fees. Hello - we have a free gym that LIM offers us at the residence hall (even for those students who don't dorm-like me)! We also have extracurricular (free) activities, clubs, and free yoga classes. A gym membership in Manhattan can cost over $200 a month. In the summer, you can always take a run around your neighborhood or in Central Park with a friend and in the winter if you don't want to utilize the gym you can always grab a workout DVD. Amazon sells them for $5-10.

mercedes 070813
4) Buying textbooks can be really expensive. Make sure you do your research to see if you can buy a used one, or rent one before going and purchasing a brand-new one. Projects throughout the semester can also add up quickly. A Visual Merchandising instructor from LIM College told our class about a store that sells cheap supplies. It's called Jack's, and is located right near our 5th Avenue building on West 45th St. between 5th and 6th Avenues. You can pick up props, poster boards, school supplies and even some other great things at great prices. I recently discovered that they have a small food selection on their second floor - including Lean Cuisine meals for $2.99. That's a good price no matter where you are!

Topics: eating on a budget, budget, budget nyc, coupons, college, free gym

Living on a Budget as an LIM College Student in NYC – Part II

Posted by LIM College on Jul 1, 2013 12:46:00 PM

Know your prices- this is so important! Never go up to a coffee or fruit stand without asking how much something costs. If they think you're naïve or a tourist they will try to rip you off. Perfect example: yesterday I went up to a Mr. Softee ice cream truck. When I didn't ask how much the ice cream was (usually $2.50), he just handed me the delicious-looking ice cream and charged me $6! That's equivalent to an entire tub of ice cream. I learned my lesson.

It's the same with supermarkets. Although they have a set price, be wary of which places are marked up. As I mentioned in my last post, I really like FreshDirect because it is convenient, but in the summer I get my fruit from fruit stands, which saves me a ton of money.

Farmers markets and fruit stands always have good deals

A Fresh Direct delivery - and a few items I picked up on sale from looking at weekly circulars. This will last me a while!

I also check out weekly circulars online so I know where to get the cheapest cereal, drinks and snacks each time I go shopping. You would be surprised how far a little research can go. Supermarkets have different deals each week and pharmacies even have weekly circulars too. Why pay $5.99 for a box of Special K in Gristedes when I can get three boxes at CVS for $9?

If you're looking for international goods, then head to Fairway. They have a ton of international food at reasonable prices. For those international students who may miss certain items from home, there are also websites that sell food from all over the world.

If you're looking for some fancy food at an amazing price, then go to Trader Joe's. I never went into a Trader Joe's until this year and I found the most delicious truffle mushroom ravioli for just $3.99. I also picked up some salad, Moci ice cream and margarines for dessert, and two drinks. When my boyfriend came over it looked like I had cooked a five star $100+ meal – all for under $15!

Make your own salad instead of eating out

Make your own food instead of eating out.
You will save a fortune!

Topics: eating on a budget, budget, budget nyc, coupons, college, Fairway, Trader Joe's

Living on a Budget as an LIM College Student in NYC – Part I

Posted by LIM College on Jun 24, 2013 12:27:00 PM

The words "NYC" and "budget" just don't go well together. But budgeting is part of growing up, and it's important to realize that college students stress about budgeting wherever they go to school.

Knowing where to shop and where not to shop when living in Manhattan is vital. Your own exploration and research can only show you so much, so I'm here to share my secrets.

It's really important to know how much you have to spend a month. If that seems overwhelming, cut it down to per week. Then remember, not only do you have to buy a $112 Metrocard per month to get around NYC, but you also have to buy the necessities (like detergent, dishwasher liquid, toilet paper, paper towels, etc.)

My biggest tip here would be to buy in bulk. Buy the biggest, to last you the longest.  It may seem expensive at first, but if it lasts you're actually saving money. Two websites I personally love are FreshDirect and Soap.com. Mainly because they offer next-day delivery, and in comparison to other supermarkets around Manhattan, have great prices.

A Fresh Direct delivery

A Fresh Direct delivery - and a few items I picked up on sale from looking at weekly circulars. This will last me a while!

You would be surprised to know that even Amazon sells everything at a reasonable price. If you have Amazon Prime (for which there’s a yearly fee) they ship within two days for free! It costs around $70, so it's not cheap, but keep in mind that they sell everything. From printer ink-laptops-project supplies-textbooks and even designer clothes! I find it really useful, and in the long run, I have saved money from Amazon's great prices and lack of shipping fees.

Don't be afraid to look for coupons. Or use them. Some of the wealthiest people in the world use coupons, and it's probably because they know how to save their money. Two websites that I love are groupon and living social. You get deals around Manhattan at very discounted prices. We all need a little pampering once in a while, so having a mani and pedi for just $13? yes, please! (Not that I'm endorsing spoiling yourself!) But in comparison to places that charge $60 and up for the two treatments, you have yourself a bargain.

The other thing to do is just go out and buy a good bottle of nail polish. I love the quick-dry ones, because I don't have to sit and wait for ages while they dry! I'm so bad at painting my own nails, but having a manicure and pedicure each and every week is an astonishing $2880 per YEAR. I would rather buy a new bottle of nail polish every few months. Essie (which they use in nail salons) usually costs around $8 and the bottle lasts for more than a week (unlike a manicure that chips) You can even invite friends over and trade colors.

Topics: eating on a budget, budget, budget nyc, coupons, college

A Day in the Life of a Fashion Student

Posted by LIM College on Jun 17, 2013 11:40:00 AM

It's 7 on Monday morning and my first class (Spreadsheet Applications) starts at 8:30. I usually try to grab the 7 subway train, which drops me off at Rockefeller Center, and then I walk to Maxwell Hall on East 45th Street and 3rd Avenue. Everyone says I'm mad for not hopping on an additional subway in order to get to class, but while balancing a job and school, it gives me a good half hour to just stroll, observe and concentrate on everything that I need to do. It also really wakes me up so that I’m ready for my class.

After my Spreadsheet Applications class is over I have a 20-minute break until my next class. To energize myself I go to the Good to Go café in Maxwell Hall and grab a cup of black coffee. I quickly drink it before entering my Accounting class, and after about an hour and 15 minutes it's time to head over to the LIM College Townhouse for my third class of the day.

One of my visual merchandising displays in Fall of 2012

One of my visual merchandising displays in Fall of 2012

We only have 20-minute intervals between each class, so usually I need to speed-walk to the Townhouse (or run!) to make sure that I'm in class on time. At the beginning of the semester I explained to the professor that I'm coming from Maxwell Hall, so if I'm a few minutes late once or twice I'm not penalized.

After school it's time to work on my CAD online class. Some people really like online classes, while others are not so keen on taking them. I find that it's usually a personal preference based on the way that you learn. Freshman year, I only took one hybrid class to see if I liked it and succeeded at it. Once I knew that I could handle the responsibility of an online course, I went ahead and took one my sophomore year. I did really well in the class, balanced the work, learned how to use Blackboard (this is vital!) and now continue to take them.

I wouldn't jump into an online class without knowing the guidelines. They are usually quite self-explanatory once you have the hang of it and read through the student handbook/syllabus, but if you're someone who learns verbally or through explanation, it's probably better to take classes in person. It's a lot of work to keep up with, but as long as you stay on top of assignments, quizzes and tests you should be fine.

After I'm done with some CAD assignments due on Friday, I look at my Research and Analysis course syllabus and realize we have a test on Wednesday. So I start studying everything we have learned while finishing up some homework.

Last, but not least, it's time for dinner. I used to spend SO much money on eating out, or even grabbing lunch at quick cafes, but it all really does add up. Now what I do is cook myself a meal or grab a Lean Cuisine meal to heat up in the microwave. It's cheaper and healthier than takeout and only takes a few minutes.

A day in the life of a fashion student is never a dull one!

Topics: balancing life and school, Fashion student, eating on a budget, Good to Go cafe, online classes

Getting an Internship in Fashion – Part II

Posted by LIM College on Jun 10, 2013 11:11:00 AM

If you plan to try and get a fashion internship on your own, you should first make sure that your resume is up to date.  The LIM College Center for Career Management frequently sends out emails about career counselors being willing to help us set up the perfect resume. The offer is there, so why not utilize it?

The layout of a resume is really important. Even the words you use to describe your past work experience are taken into serious consideration when companies are deciding if they want to interview you. Make sure your resume is reviewed by LIM; our professors and career counselors are here to help us.

You also need to make sure that you are confident. Don't be shy to go in stores and ask if they are looking for any interns. I always make sure that I have an LIM College business card and a resume with me wherever I go. If they're not looking for interns, just go to some other places that would be your dream places to intern at. You won't know unless you try!A photo from my internship at promgirl

A photo from my internship at promgirl

Topics: fashion internship, resume, center for career management, career counselors

Getting an Internship in Fashion – Part I

Posted by LIM College on Jun 3, 2013 10:49:00 AM

As LIM College students we are lucky to have a class that prepares us for our first college internship. We learn how to write a resume, cover letter and thank you letter, as well as what to wear and what not to wear to an interview.

Finding an internship can be really difficult or relatively easy, but the process is always quite nerve-racking, especially when you know that you have a deadline.

The best thing you can do is believe in yourself and your capabilities. If you don't believe you're capable of getting an internship, then why should anyone else? Sometimes the biggest success comes from failing, so if you happen to do terribly on an interview, just learn from your mistakes and move on.mercedes 060313

I remember my first interview. It was with a manager from Henri Bendel and set up through pure luck. Long story short, all of the interview slots filled within minutes.  Somehow, a fellow student canceled and our instructor sent out an email to see if anyone was interested in interviewing.

I was beyond nervous to not only go on my first official interview, but to have that interview with a manager from Henri Bendel. It took my anxiety to an entirely new level. I was interviewing with such a famous company. Before I went to the interview I read through my resume and labeled key points I excelled at in my previous jobs. I also thoroughly researched the company and typed notes as to why I should be hired over other candidates.

When it was finally time to go into my interview  I was so nervous that even my interviewer (who ended up being my future boss!) told me to take a deep breath and calm down (embarrassing, much?). I was positive that I didn't get the job, and walked out absolutely mortified. But within two days I got a phone call that they wanted to have a second interview with me. I was ecstatic and determined to get the job.

After my second interview it took about four days until I got offered the brilliant internship. I was thrilled to take it and after training, reading through guidebooks and filling out lots of paper work, it was time to officially start. Even though I felt pessimistic that such a high-end company would hire somebody without any retail experience, my manager said that she saw I had the qualities to succeed with their company, and she was right. I was even lucky enough to get offered a job after my internship hours were complete.

Topics: LIM College, fashion internship, Henri Bendel, internship, interview

Fashion Student Survival Guide: Freshman Year Internship

Posted by LIM College on May 27, 2013 11:19:00 AM

mercedes 051013
So it's your freshman year of college, you're finally learning what a syllabus is, memorizing your student ID number, and now, while reading down the course credit list, you realize it's time to find an internship for college credit.

Your first internship at LIM College has to be in retail, so a personal suggestion I would make is to get an idea of the places you would like to work and see if they are hiring interns. Leaving anything to the last minute is a bad idea, especially in college. So get ahead of the game and see if the places you would like to intern for are looking for any interns. The worst they can say is "no."

Luckily, as LIM College students, we have the advantage of having a Symplicity account through our Center for Career Management. It shows us what places are hiring and lets us send companies our LIM-approved resumes.

It might take more than one interview to get an internship, but don't get discouraged. Just think of each interview as a learning experience. Focus on what you could have done better and be prepared to fix it for the next interview that comes along. I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason and whatever is meant to be will be.

If you're juggling school, a fashion internship and work, it's inevitable to feel overwhelmed. But keep in mind that every internship in fashion is one more step in the right direction to get your dream job once you graduate. LIM College really prepares you for the real world. If you need to cut down on a few hours of work per week in order to complete your internship hours, just explain that to your boss. I always say that school is my number-one priority. Yes, we all get stressed now and then, but nothing is impossible. Keep your head up - keep calm and carry on!

It really helps me to keep an agenda. I even write notes on my phone so that if someone needs to know my availability, I have it ready to share. This is especially important while looking for an internship.

My Dad always told me that if you're doing something that you love, it's not work. This is why it's important to find a company you're interested in while interning. You have to be enthusiastic, confident and willing to work hard.  Finally, remember that each day is a new one and you can make a fresh start. Take a deep breath and just remember that one day all of this hard work will pay off.

Topics: work experience, reaching goals, fashion internship, internship, freshman year, interview