Five Dream Jobs for Women writer

Go ahead, enjoy your coffee. Appreciate the coziness of your cubicle. Be grateful for all of the little things that make your day more pleasant.

After all, we can't all spend our work days jetting off to Africa or ordering every dessert on the menu in the name of research.

While the rest of us are cramped into cube farms, a few lucky people earn their livings by shopping for designer duds, eating ice cream or traveling the world. The following jobs, envied by women everywhere, are almost too good to be true:

1. Hollywood Wardrobe Stylist

Wardrobe stylists rely on their keen fashion sense to create outfits for on-screen characters in commercials, TV shows and movies. This means staying on the cutting-edge of fashion and plenty of shopping.

Jessica Replansky, a freelance assistant stylist who has worked on productions that include "Sex and the City" and "The Devil Wears Prada" movie, has had duties ranging from shopping and setting up fittings for actors to handling payments. Even her shopping assignments are diverse: Sometimes she's sent to Prada for a specific pair of silver shoes, and other days she is told to pick out whole outfits that fit a certain style.

While the job is glamorous, it can be inconsistent. "The downside is you never know where your next job is coming from," Replansky said. Wardrobe stylists can be offered multiple assignments at the same time, or could go through long stretches without work. Still, you'll always be fabulously dressed: Wardrobe stylists get to keep some of the clothes.

Salary: Ranges from $1,000 to $10,000 per week, depending on duties, experience and type of production.

2. Vacation Tour Director

Tour directors get paid for planning and taking vacations -- albeit for other people. Typically employed by travel clubs, tour directors are in charge of arranging dream vacations for their guests by handling details like the hotel accommodations and tours. Then, when it's time for the trip, they accompany their groups to serve as liaisons and ensure everything runs smoothly.

"It was wonderful because we got to travel around the world," said Julie Bardach, who traveled to places as exotic as Tanzania during her seven years working for Ambassadair Travel Club.

While working as a tour director, Bardach estimates she spent about half of each month traveling. "It's a perfect job when you're young and single," she said, but the travel schedule is hard to balance with a family. And don't expect go get rich -- the job is heavy on intangible rewards (seeing the world and meeting plenty of interesting people, for example), but low on pay. <

Salary: Typically $20,000 per year or less. Tour directors also receive a per-diem for their food and related expenses while traveling.

3. Ice Cream Creator

Tempting ice cream flavors -- like lowfat cookie dough and brownie in one carton -- don't just appear on the shelves. It takes teams of workers to turn a great idea into a mass-produced product.

Derek Spors knows a thing or two about ice cream. As an "ice cream scientologist" and senior product developer for Ben and Jerry's, he's responsible for creating (and tasting) new flavors for the ice cream company, including "Marsha, Marsha, Marshmallow" and "Karamel Sutra."

"When you develop flavors for Ben and Jerry's, there's no shortage of ideas," Spors said. The company gets 1,000 to 1,500 new flavor ideas submitted to its Web site each month. But he still needs to do some research -- for example, hitting trendy new restaurants and ordering every dessert on the menu for inspiration.

Although he can work long hours on his feet under deadline pressure and eats loads of ice cream, Spors says he hasn't gained much weight since starting at Ben and Jerry's six years ago. His secret: He just eats a taste of the frozen treat -- not the whole bowl.

Salary: Average annual salary for food scientists is $56,600, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

4. Concert Promoter

It's hard to get bored when you're a concert promoter -- it's your job to create the entertainment. Concert promoters bring concerts to cities around the country, selecting the cities and venues, selling sponsorships and working out all of the logistics from the number of police officers needed to the Porta Potty locations.

Concert promotion has obvious benefits -- including seeing major concerts and partying with the bands -- but the perks don't stop there.

"My favorite part is that it's ever-changing," said Grace Bouldin, a partner for Sound Events who has worked with high-profile artists including Sister Hazel, Hootie and the Blowfish and Norah Jones. "The industry reinvents itself all the time, and there are unlimited things you can do."

But concert promotion is not for the faint of heart. Bouldin says she works 70-hour weeks during the concert season between March and October, which can affect her personal relationships, and her salary depends on how well her company's shows perform. "The concert business is as risky as a game of blackjack," she said.

Salary: Varies widely, depending on experience and show performance.

5.Doll Fashion Designer

Doll designers create miniature fashions to be produced on a large scale. Like other designers, they study fashion trends, sketch clothing designs, pick out fabrics and colors and oversee productions of their designers.

Even as a youngster, Mattel designer Lily Martinez had an eye for fashion. "As a girl I would design one-of-a-kind outfits for my Barbie dolls using my ruffled socks that I lost the mates for because my parents couldn't afford to buy me fashions," she said.

While studying for her fashion design degree, Martinez was hired by Mattel as an assistant designer for Barbie. Eight years later, she is the head designer for My Scene, a doll brand designed for older girls, and is responsible for working with the company's design management and marketing teams to determine the aesthetic direction of the dolls.

"I guide the designers on identifying trends that are relevant for our dolls and customers as well as making sure the doll's aesthetic is followed throughout in the production process," she said.

Martinez credits her success to hard work, perseverance and passion. "Always listen to your heart and to your gut instinct," she said. "Do what you really love because that's what's going to make you happy."

Copyright 2006

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