Rachel Discovers Happiness

my life and road to happiness

Archive for the category “Happiness Project”

Photo-A-Day 2012: Week 11

Happy day after Saint Patrick’s Day!

Yesterday was a long day of craziness.

But this post isn’t about that.

Nor is this post about SXSW which I still haven’t had a chance to write about.

This post is just another boring photo-a-day post. But I hope you enjoy it anyway 🙂

March 10 - flying Southwest to SXSW. Remember when you were a little kid and you used to be able to go visit the pilot AND he gave you the little metal wings? Man, times have changed.

March 11 - so true!

March 12 - taken in my SXSW photo camp 🙂

March 13 - Austin, Texas

March 14 - red velvet cupcakes at work to celebrate birthdays

March 15

March 16 - who says going to work can't be beautiful?

March 17 - the only way to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day... Jameson!

How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun to celebrate the holiday?

Photo-A-Day 2012: Week 10

You are going to have to just bear with me as I update my blog 18 times a day until Wednesday.

Sorry about that 🙂 but not really hehe

Here are my photos from the past week (and some extras just because it’s spring time and the world was beautiful this week):

March 4 - wandering around Downtown Danville

March 5 - I loved my outfit this day (and I'm so humble about it too...) - I got a lot of compliments at work which is an even BIGGER compliment, especially considering the women at work are some of the best dressed people I have ever met 🙂

March 6 - "5 o'clock" - March Photo-A-Day hosted by @fatmumslim on Instagram

March 7 - coffee catch-up chat with Kevin Hines 🙂

March 8 - flower stand in San Francisco

Note: I took a picture on March 9, but it was terrible and I didn’t like it so I deleted it. My bad.

March 10 - waiting for the bus, the first leg of my trip to SXSWi in Austin!

Macaroons at La Boulange - so pretty

yummy! Patries at Madeline's

Spring has sprung in Walnut Creek

Roses for my cousin - she wrote a play and it was performed at Stanford this past weekend 🙂 so proud of her

Cabbage leaves from my dad and step mom's garden

snail friend from said garden 🙂

All photos were taken with my iPhone.

Photo-A-Day 2012: Week 8

Normally I don’t post twice in one day, but earlier today I said that I would do my Picture-A-Day post that I neglected last week. I wasn’t about to go back on that commitment.

February 18 - our first home made meal at the apartment (of course it was spaghetti)

That is something I’m trying to work on – sticking to things that I say I’m going to do. Now, I’m not a complete flake, in my professional life I’m very good at getting things done by a deadline. I’m dedicated to my work, and I come by that naturally (both of my parents are very dedicated to their jobs – it’s genetics). But in my personal life, sometimes I say I’m going to do something and then end up getting too tired, or I forget, or whatever, but I’m trying to work on that. It’s something that bothers me about other people, so I feel as though I should change it in myself as well.

February 19 - my receipt.. I've never seen my name spelled like that... ever.

Here’s another confession, as if I haven’t revealed enough of my shortcomings today, I didn’t take a picture one day last week – February 20 to be exact. I could come up with some sort of excuse about being ridiculously busy and having a bunch of other stuff to finish (like finally getting my apartment completely set up and worked out), but the fact is, I simply forgot.

So sue me.

There’s no reason to beat myself up for missing the photo opp. In order to make up for it, though, I tried to take more pictures throughout the rest of the week. I’m disappointed in myself that I broke my new year’s resolution, but it was just one day and the point of the exercise isn’t necessarily to take a picture every single day – it’s more to use a camera more, whether it be my Canon Rebel or my iPhone.

February 21 - a rip in my tights 😦 and I love those tights! oh well

February 22 - I decided to walk to work and took pictures along the way

February 22 - China Town

February 22

February 23 - the staircase in my building

February 23 - one of my favorite buildings in San Francisco

February 23 - view of Alcatraz from Union St

February 24 - my new friend on my desk at work

February 25 - "breakfast" at Ikea (before we went shopping to finish decorating our apartment)

February 26 - meet Teddy, I've had him since I was 25 days old 🙂

February 27 - "because the best monsters are actually good on the inside" (makes me think of Monster's Inc.)

And a bonus one from my wanderings around San Francisco.. just because I like this one 🙂

How was your weekend? Did you do anything special?

I hope your Monday went well!

A Change

I’ve decided to make a change to my blogging strategy.

If you are a normal reader and have followed me since I started this blog (only about 2 months ago), you know that I had all these grand blogging goals set up for myself coming into 2012. You also know that I haven’t been doing a very good job at accomplishing those goals. I’m trying to do everything at once, but I think I just put too much on my plate.

Sometimes I feel like this (stock image)

One of the main things I’m struggling with is the fact that I have two blogs running at the same time. I have one for my personal life (this one) and one for my professional thoughts (RachelHelen). I didn’t want to have a combination blog because I wanted to cater to everybody’s interests, speak to my demographic, all that good stuff.

That just didn’t work for me. I didn’t even get my Photo-A-Day post out last week! (It will come soon… hopefully tonight…)

I have tried scheduling certain days to write in one vs the other, I have tried duplicating posts, I have tried just about everything. One of the main reasons this doesn’t work is because I am no longer working from home – I have a real job, in a real office that I go to every morning at a specific time and come home at a specific time (generally exhausted from that day’s work and not wanting to look at the computer anymore). Because of this, I have decided that I will no longer have two blogs.

Instead, I will be keeping this blog and discontinuing the other one. This means, I’m sorry to say, that even if you are not interested in public relations/social media/the internet world, I will be blogging a bit about that here. I don’t want to lose any of my readers, but I also want to be able to update on a regular basis and updating TWO blogs instead of one just seems so daunting. Right now, instead of keeping up with one or two, I’m keeping up with none.

This is just not okay in my overly-dedicated, perfectionist and multitasking-driven mind.

I would absolutely love any input you can give me on my writing, what you would like to hear more about, and what you could do without.

This blog isn’t just for me, it is for you, and for all the other readers out there who haven’t yet discovered my awesomeness (kidding… kinda. But share with your friends! The more the merrier also works in the blogging world.)

Anyway, so those are my thoughts on this subject matter. I will be trying to combine the two blogs (AKA import my posts from my other blog to this blog…) and write more frequently.

I hope to see more of you as I continue to write here.

Have a wonderful Monday!!!

I Would Make a Damn Good City Girl

AKA Save Me San Francisco

You’ve been sitting there with bated breath, waiting for me to write about the big things that have been happening over the past few weeks. I’ve been so secretive, keeping you in suspense, driving you crazy with all the mind games. (Just go with it…)

Bay Bridge

The past few weeks I have been spending a lot of time in San Francisco. I have been driving out there (and BARTing out there) at least 3 times a week for many different reasons – coffee with friends, doctor’s appointments, apartment showings, meetings, interviews.  I have been applying for jobs, talking to companies, scheduling informational interviews, and a whole lot more. It has been getting exhausting, not to mention expensive.

Baby, whatcha doing today
What are you doing later?
I don’t know my way through a maze
Of gray skyscrapers
But I’m willing to learn

-“Manhattan from the Sky” by Kate Voegele

But as of last week, all of my hard work paid off. In a matter of 24 hours I not only got a call that the apartment we saw on Sunday was ours if we wanted it, but I also got a job offer! On Thursday I signed a lease to an apartment in Russian Hill and then, on my drive home, I got a call that SHIFT Communications wanted to hire me for their three month internship position. It was the best day of my life. (My dad argues that the best day of my life was the day I was born, my counter argument was that Thursday was the best day of my memorable life.) By Friday I had signed a lease, signed my offer letter, and started packing for my new apartment on the fourth floor of a 1920’s style building with no elevator.

Yesterday we got the keys to the apartment, showed Christine’s parents and my mom and step dad, and moved some boxes in. We will get all of our furniture into the apartment next weekend. I can’t wait!

Every day’s so caffeinated
I wish they were Golden Gated
Fillmore couldn’t feel more miles away
So, wrap me up return to sender
Let’s forget this 5 year bender
Take me to my city by the Bay

-“Save Me, San Francisco” by Train

I can’t wait to move to The City! My mom saw my apartment on Saturday and a) didn’t have anything bad to say about it (which was  a HUGE deal) and b) she almost cried because she was so nostalgic about the nine months she lived in San Francisco. She said that she absolutely loved living in San Francisco and she was so happy that I was going to live there now. I was shocked.

If I could wish upon a star, I would hitch a cable car to the place that I can always call my own. - Train

Since I’ve been in San Francisco so much lately (and permanently starting this upcoming weekend!) I have been able to take a lot of pictures on my iPhone. Some are of pretty views, some are from Christine and my accidental trip into the Marina, some are from walking around, and others are just random. Here are some that I’ve been saving up to share with you, they all make me so happy.

I sent this picture to my friend Kara telling her that our apartment is right over this club.. she believed me. Nope, it's definitely not.

BART on my way to my interview!

Take me to my city by the bay - Train

I can’t believe I will be a City Girl in less than a week! I have never lived in a big city like San Francisco, and I just can’t wait to move in and figure out what the city life is all about.

Now the big question: to match or not to match my bedside tables. (I know, I know, really? That’s my big issue now? Life is pretty great!!)

But in all seriousness, should I match my bedside tables or not? Different colors and different styles? Same color but different styles? Same style but different colors? What do you think? Seriously.

Photo-A-Day 2012: Week 5

This week was pretty crazy! I’m still not ready to share all the news with everybody out in Cyber Land… but I promise I will fill you in this weekend or on Monday. I promise.

But before my photos and Tweets from week 5, something adorable:

And now for the photos:

January 29 - the touristy part of San Francisco

January 30 - sometimes Target has the coolest pillows

January 31 - basketball game at my high school alma mater, things sure have changed

February 1 - my dad brought my Aunt Judy's Tiffany engagement ring back from Pennsylvania. She passed away 11 years ago. (No, I'm not engaged)

February 2 - I love arm chairs. They are so stylish and comfy. At a café at Polk and Washington

February 3 - tea time at Sideboard Coffee

And finally….

**Squeals!!**

Happiness Project: Status Update: January

Wow, I have been epically failing on my schedule to post on at least one of my blogs every day. So, that means that I haven’t been doing well on at least one of my resolutions.

It doesn’t get better from there.

In January I was supposed to focus on my finances – making sure I didn’t spend frivolously, save money, etc. Welp, that didn’t quite happen.

Sorry Mr. Hamilton (image via: DreamsTime.com)

I did manage to save some money, but not as much as I’d hoped. Since I am entering into the work-world, I have had to drastically improve my business-professional clothing collection. It doesn’t help that I loooooove business-professional clothing and that every time I see a cute blazer, pencil skirt or pair of heels my wallet just jumps out of my purse, my credit card swipes itself on the little machine, and I can’t control my hand as it picks up the pen to sign my name on the receipt. It is completely out of my control!

Okay, so I might have a problem. But at least it’s a fun one!

In any case, as you can probably tell, January did not go the way it was supposed to.

That doesn’t mean, however, that I haven’t done well on some of my other goals. If you are a regular reader of my blog (as you should be, hehe) you know that I have taken a picture every single day of January and plan to continue that for the rest of the year. (You should value my dedication to this. It is an even bigger commitment than it would have been last year. Not only do you get to see 365 photos as you would any other year, you actually get 366 photos because it’s a leap year. Lucky you!)

Other things that I have succeeded in are as follows:

  • Eating healthier and spending less money at restaurants than I did before – this is made easier by living at home with my parents who do most to all of my grocery shopping, cooking, paying when we are out, etc.
  • Applying for a job/internship and setting up informational interviews with people who are in positions that I would like to be in some day
  • Spending more time with my parents and attempting to talk to my sisters as often as possible (I could probably do better on the sisters part)
  • Focusing on my friendships with my girl friends rather than getting wrapped up in boy drama (the year started out a little bit rocky, some minor frustrations, but that’s about it thus far)
  • Apartment searching
  • Not biting my nails – I am doing soooooo well on this. It has been something that I have had a problem with for my entire life – you wouldn’t have wanted to see how short my nails were. It was one of my nervous habits, and since I get stressed/anxious really easily, I was always biting my nails. It wasn’t just biting either, I would pick at them as well. Not a good habit. I have not bitten my nails in so long, I keep them painted, I have nail growth stuff, etc.
  • I have started taking vitamins on a regular basis (a multi-vitamin, biotin – for nails and hair, vitamin D and calcium)
  • I have put together a schedule for myself which has helped me manage stress, anxiety, and worry

Even though I haven’t made as much progress as I would have liked thus far, I am really looking forward to the rest of 2012. Normally I start a new year with low expectations – it is just part of my nature. In my attempt to be more optimistic and think more positively, I came into 2012 forcing myself to believe that this year would be better than the rest. So far, I’ve been right. Although it is difficult to change who I am and how I feel about certain things, I am trying my hardest and I think I will be a better person for it.

How ’bout you? What progress have you made with your resolutions and goals? Has your 2012 started out well? What are you looking to improve on this year?

Photo-A-Day 2012: Week 4

Wow, this past week has been pretty crazy. I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to post my Photo-A-Day yesterday. I have barely had any time to breathe, much less do anything besides work/job search. I was in and out of San Francisco all week, as well as attending meetings and completing/starting projects.

Despite the fact that I sometimes get stressed, I actually like weeks like this. They allow me to stay busy and feel like I’m getting things done. I like having a full to-do list, especially when I can find enough hours in the day to complete them all.

I don’t want to jinx anything from this past week, so I’m not going to tell you all the things I’ve been up to, but I promise I will fill you in as soon as some things start to come into fruition.

Now, without further ado, your weekly pictures/Tweets 🙂

January 24 - a night with the girls... and all our Apple products

January 22 - nachos for Sunday football - Go Niners! (sad they lost)

January 23 - droplets on my parents' vegetable garden - love this photo 🙂

January 24 - Thai food with Dalia in Fremont - it was delicious! (pumpkin curry, pad Thai, and chicken satay)

January 25 - in the waiting room - zippers and boots

January 26 - is it weird that I love office supplies?

January 27

January 28 - veggie plate (with apples)

Did anything exciting happen in your life this week? Any big changes? Did you do something out of the ordinary? Share your stories with me!

Photo Progress

If you haven’t already figured this out from my Photo-A-Day posts, I love photography. It is one of the things in life that I actually admit to being at least semi good at. It makes me happy.

Aptos, California - September 2010

It’s actually kind of funny that I like photography and taking photographs because when I was younger I hated them. I was that obnoxious kid who covered her face or crawled under the table when my mom tried to take a picture of me. Yes, that’s right, I did say crawled under the table. Who does that?

photo shoot with Christine - May 2010

Anyway though, in high school all of that changed. I ended up dating a black and white photography class my sophomore year and loved it. I loved that I had a hand in every single aspect of the photography process – the shooting, developing, enlarging, fixing, and framing – I got to do it all. I think one of the reasons it was so great for me was because I had the opportunity to use my aunt’s old Canon SLR that she got in the ’70s from my grandparents. She had passed away a few years before that, when I was 12. Since then, whenever Grandma gives me something of my aunt’s, it makes me feel connected to her.

Photo shoot with Stephanie - Spring 2010 (makeshift studio with sheet and lamp)

That year I also bought my first digital camera. It was a Canon camera with a one inch screen. This was right when digital cameras were becoming mainstream, so it cost just about everything I had in my bank account. It took forever to take pictures, but I took it around with me everywhere my friends and I went. I have hundreds of pictures from that year.

Granada, Spain - October 2009

Over the past 10 years I’ve come a long way from just using a point and shoot digital camera. I still have my aunt’s old Manual SLR, but I have it in its case and hardly ever take it out. In college I wanted to take photo classes so I could continue with black and white film photography, but my university’s photo classes were too impacted. I don’t even know where I could go now to develop film and print photos.

Florence, Italy - December 2009

I am currently on my second Digital SLR (Canon – same as all the other cameras I’ve ever owned in my life), and I love it. I have had the opportunity to mess around with my camera, doing photo shoots of some of my best friends. I have gone out and taken pictures of the plants in my backyard, messed around with a macro lens, and love figuring out composition and lighting. This past summer I even had the opportunity to take a photography class with my mom and step dad in New Mexico. It was in that class that I really became one with my camera.

Ghost Ranch, New Mexico - July 2011

Since then I haven’t had the opportunity to take too many photos, but recently I was asked by a friend to take some pictures of her for an article she was interviewed for (more on this later). When I talked to the photo editor, he was very enthusiastic about my photographs; he even offered to pay me! It is very exciting to know that my photos will be used in a magazine. I am really looking forward to doing more photo shoots in the near future (if I could ever find the time – the one photo I take every day is about as much time as I have for photography right now).

Kaitlin's magazine shoot - January 2012

Yesterday, as I was compiling photos for my portfolio, I was going through pictures that I had archived on my external hard drive and I found the ones from my months of studying abroad in Spain. It was amazing to compare the pictures that I took then, to the pictures that I took now. My style has really evolved. It’s obvious that, back then, I didn’t know how to use the settings on my camera to their full capabilities.

Ghost Ranch, New Mexico - July 2011

Although I have come along way since then and I am a lot more confident in my abilities as a photographer, I still only qualify myself as a hobbyist. I have so many talented photographer friends, whose work blows mine out of the water, that it is hard to compare myself to them. I wish I could be as good as them, but for now, I’m just figuring things out on my own.

Beekeeping Class - Fall 2010

I don’t mind self teaching – sometimes I even think that’s the best way to learn how to do something. I’m that nerd who reads the manuals of every piece of electronic equipment I purchase. In doing this, I’ve discovered things about my cameras that I never would have figured out. In a way, it’s thrilling.

Sevilla, Spain - November 2009 (indoor, low light)

So yes, I want to take my photography to the next level, but will it happen right away? Probably not. I do, however, feel like things are taking a turn for the better. Hopefully I’ll be pleasantly surprised by something in my professional life/photographer future.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco - December 2010

Cross your fingers for me.

Photo-A-Day 2012: Week 2

Welcome to the second week of my Photo-a-Day project!

January 5 - flower from the flower stand on Union St, San Francisco

January 6 - old friends out for Steph's 23rd birthday

January 7 - sushi dinner for Steph's 23rd birthday

January 8 - driving home from SLO

January 9 - by my bedside

January 10 - early morning quiet

January 11 - views from the swing set

January 12 - meet Kevin

January 13 - 64 box

And just because it is so important, I have included the following tweet on both blogs:

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: