Rachel Discovers Happiness

my life and road to happiness

Archive for the tag “about me”

Tomorrow

A year ago tomorrow – June 11 – I graduated from college with my degree in journalism, concentration in public relations and minor in Spanish.

I wish I’d known then that, in exactly 366 days – gotta remember Leap Year! – I would be starting a real job at a real public relations agency with real coworkers and real clients and all that cool big-kid-real-life stuff I’ve been prepping for my entire life.

That’s right, you read me correctly, I got hired on a week ago at a PR agency called Horn. Starting tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. I will be at Horn’s San Francisco office for my first day as an Assistant Account Executive. I can’t wait to meet all my coworkers, find out about the clients I will be working with and get into the type of PR I’ve been longing for since starting my education in the industry.

I’m so excited!

This is one of the biggest steps of my entire life. It’s kind of the equivalent of moving away to college and starting out on my own – only with benefits and a 401(k) plan. Eek!

I found out that I got the position a week and a half ago, but I didn’t want to share my big news before signing the contract and all that good stuff.

Wish me luck!!

A little bit about Horn (from the company website):

HORN is a digital communications agency that combines PR, social media and interactive services to help companies build their brand and move their business forward. 

Named “2011 Technology Agency of the Year,” HORN works with Fortune 500 global brands and hot emerging growth companies in technology, media and consumer markets. Established in 1991, the agency is independent, with offices in San Francisco and New York, and is co-founder of the Oriella International Network.

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Lather, Rinse, Repeat

You want to know how I know I’m a grown-up?

photo from poundingtherock.com

Because I can’t afford to buy shampoo that I actually like.

When I was living at home my parents always bought whatever shampoo and conditioner we wanted, even if this meant buying three different types of hair products because we all had different tastes. I never realized how expensive that is until I moved in to my own apartment… that is, two and a half months ago.

In an effort to be environmentally and fiscally friendly, I decided to try a different type* of shampoo – a type that claims to be 94 percent biodegradable and also happened to be one of the cheapest ones on the shelf per fluid ounce. I’ve used this brand before and liked how it made my hair feel so I figured this would be fine.

I was wrong.

I feel a bit like this sloth (photo from memegenerator.net)

The first time I used it I noticed that my hair looked and felt dirty about half way through the day. I figured I didn’t rinse well enough.

The second, third and fourth times I used it, I noticed the same thing.

When I decided I didn’t want to use the shampoo anymore, I realized that I couldn’t just stop using it… I’d spent $4 on each of those bottles – that’s $8 of my hard earned money and there is no way I was going to just waste it!

Instead of wasting it, I had to figure out a way to make it work for me. I figured out that if I wash my hair with shampoo, then use conditioner and then use the shampoo again, it ends up faring pretty well. Plus, if I shampoo twice every day, the bottle will run out quicker.

How pathetic am I? Have you had any experiences like that – the type that really opens your eyes to the fact that you are a grown-up living on your own?

photo from animal-space.net

Some day I will be able to afford the kind of shampoo I like to use. Until then, I will continue to lather, rinse, condition, rinse, lather, rinse.

*I purposefully left out the brand of not only the brand I am using now, but also the brand I prefer. My hair is weird and gets oily really quickly which means I have to wash it every day. It also reacts weirdly to certain types of shampoo/conditioners as you can probably tell from this post. I don’t want to put anybody off of purchasing any type of shampoo because it didn’t work for me. I hope that the biodegradable shampoo works for somebody because I believe that sustainability and eco-friendly products are very important.

Photo-A-Day 2012: Weeks 12, 13 & 14

Happy Tuesday!!

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.

Nerd-fest 2012: The Waiting Game

AKA South by Southwest Interactive 2012 or Southby or SXSWi from hereon out.

In case you are lame and didn’t read my previous post about this, I recently won a ticket to SXSWi on Twitter. Those tickets go for over $900, are completely sold out, and are the gateway to a wonderful week of networking, start-ups, technology, and mingling with nerds. Nerds just like me!

Looking at me you wouldn’t think I was a nerd – I like to think of myself as a closet nerd and this upcoming SXSWi experience as my Nerd Coming Out Party. (Is that a politically appropriate analogy?)

Anyway, I struggled a lot with whether to go to SXSWi or not. I was nervous for a lot of reasons – money, going out of my comfort zone, being alone, not fitting in, not being nerdy enough (weird fear, right? but totally valid!), etc. but I decided, after 99.9% support from friends, family and strangers, that I would attend. I fretted over the cost of the plane ticket, but thank goodness for Southwest airlines (fitting, isn’t it?) and its low fare calendar, because of that I was able to get tickets to Austin for a fraction of the cost from other airlines. Whew.

I talked to my mom about it a lot – she brought up the cliché “do one thing each day that scares you.” She then told me that, if I went to SXSWi like she thought I should, I would rack up about a month’s worth of “things that scare me” and hopefully get over some of my anxiety and debilitating fears (there are so many that I’m staring down right now that I’m not even going to get into all of them). But okay Mom, you’re right, I should go. I even got an e-mail from her this morning saying:

South by Southwest has been getting HUGE press in the SF Chron business pages – articles yesterday AND today.  You can google that if you are interested and/or have time before you leave today.  It should be an amazing experience.  I am so proud of you for grabbing this opportunity!

Thanks Mom. I really appreciate the support. Really. Now can you pay for the flight? Kidding. Kinda…

I have spent a lot of time this past week talking to just about everybody about what SXSWi is going to be like, what I should do while I’m there, etc. I have been actively posting on Twitter, Facebook, other people’s blogs and just about every other social media site I could think of in order to prepare myself.

I have come to the conclusion that no amount of blog posts, Twitter hash tag chats/follows or conversations about how amazing it’s going to be can prepare me for what I will experience over the next four days.

Although I don’t think all of my research can adequately prepare me for this (what I believe to be) life-changing event, here are the conclusions I’ve come to out of all of my anxious energy/excitement:

  • In going to SXSWi I am reaching so ridiculously far out of my comfort zone it isn’t even funny. I only won one ticket to the conference, which means I will be attending things, gasp!, alone! On the plus side, according to every single person I’ve talked to who has been, that’s the best way to do it! It forces you to get to know people and network. Apparently, going out of your comfort zone is what SXSWi is unofficially all about – who woulda thought!
  • I had no idea what to wear – does it matter? I’m such an over-packer and this event is definitely no exception. Also, I’ve never been to Austin, or even Texas, so I don’t know what the culture is like. If I brought my cowboy boots would people think I was a crazy poser? Since I had no idea what to wear and from convos with a good friend of mine, I just decided to pack everything I could think of. Maybe I’m stupid, but Swouthwest allows you to check one bag free of charge, so I’m golden.*
  • I have no idea what panels/presentations/events to go to because all of this happened so fast and I haven’t had time to research everything. But you know what, that is just part of the experience!
  • I’m not nerdy enough for this event. One of my major fears. Which is complete BS because I am a super nerd and technology and startups and electronics and design and HTML and CSS do interest and excite me. Maybe I’m not an expert like a lot of other people will be, but so what!
  • I never do anything spontaneous which means that this better be good. It could probably make or break my spontaneous side. Kidding (and this time I really am). I’m really excited that I’m being so spontaneous! It is a quality that I always see in other people and really admire, so I guess this is my turn to develop that same quality in myself and hopefully I’ll inspire somebody else who is scared of spontaneity and not having a plan.
  • WHERE WILL I STAY?! Okay well lucky for me, my friend Nikol over at Who’s Austin moved to Austin a few months ago (hence the blog title) and has a floor (or couch?) I can sleep on while I’m there. This means that a) I don’t have to pay for a hotel room (much less find a hotel room since they are all sold out) and b) I get to spend some quality time at presentations, networking events and parties with an old friend (Nikol and I lived on the same floor freshman year of college)
  • Similar to the previous thought, when will I sleep? I’m pretty sure those who go to SXSW don’t get very much sleep. At all. Like, maybe 3 hours a night. I barely survive when I only get 6 hours of sleep a night, so I’m basically planning on being exhausted and getting sick for 2.5 weeks after this event. But hey, that’s all part of the adventure, right? Right?!

My motto over the past few months has been “Be Brave” and that’s exactly what I’m going to be over the next few days (and beyond!)

I know I sound ridiculous, but I’m nervous! So cut me some slack.

Now, as per the title of this post, the waiting game starts. I am currently sitting in those uncomfortable airport chairs at the San Francisco airport waiting for my flight to Austin via Las Vegas (yay slot machines!) We were supposed to leave around now, but the flight was delayed. So i’m just sitting here. Hanging out. Researching SXSWi.

Life could be worse.

P.S. Thanks to Brad King (The Bradpocolypse or @TheBradKing) and everybody else who has written articles/blog posts about how to survive SXSWi – you have been the main instruments responsible for maintaining my sanity over the past 48 hours.

P.P.S. Thank you to everybody who commented on my previous post, everybody on Twitter, all my friends and everybody at work for encouraging me to go – and not really leaving me a choice 🙂

P.P.P.S. If you are going to be at SXSW, let’s meet up! Comment on here or find me on Twitter (@rockegan). Let me know what your favorite part of SXSWi has been and share any advice you have! Looking forward to meeting you 🙂

*I read in a few blogs about what I should and shouln’t pack – t-shirts were on the “no pack” list because apparently there are free t-shirts just about everywhere. I didn’t listen to this. I shamefully packed two t-shirts into my suitcase. Two t-shirts that are probably taking up space from all the other t-shirts I will receive while I’m there. Oops.

SXSW Dilemma

Okay, so here’s the scoop:

I won tickets to a convention called South By Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) in Austin, TX. I entered a contest on Twitter* not thinking that I would win, but I did.

The ticket only covers the entrance (something that I could never afford on my own), which means that I’d have to purchase a plane ticket – I have a friend who lives in Austin, the lovely Nikol over at Who’s Austin, which means that I would stay with her and not have to worry about a hotel.

It’s going to be expensive (plane ticket and food), but would it be totally worth it? It sounds like the kind of thing I would absolutely love – start-ups, tech presentations, networking, social media – all things I love!

A few thoughts:

  • I would be going alone, which means I would be completely out of my comfort zone.
  • I never do anything spontaneous which means that this would be kind of a first for me.
  • I made a decision that I want to be more outgoing and likable.
  • I never win anything, so to win something this big is kind of intense.
  • I’ve never been to Texas.

Would it be crazy if I went? Would it be crazy if I didn’t go? Thoughts?

*The contest I entered and the company I won from are completely unrelated to any clients I work with.

Photo-A-Day 2012: Week 9

And, once again, I am late on my Friday “Photo-A-Day” post. Would you expect anything less?

On that note, I have decided that I will no longer limit myself to writing my Photo-A-Day posts on Fridays.. Instead, I will just say that it will happen during the weekend sometime. Maybe Friday, or Saturday… or even Sunday! You’ve just gotta have an open mind and read it when it comes 🙂

February 28 - it was a tough day so I stopped on my way home and got Oreos and peanut butter (don't pretend like you didn't try that and love it when the Lindsay Lohan Parent Trap came out)

February 29 - Happy Leap Day!

March 1 - I showed up at the office before anybody else did... it was eerily quiet

March 2 - I came home for the weekend so I met my dad at his office in Oakland so we could drive home together. Saw this on my walk from BART to his office building. Kind of cool.

March 3 - I was shopping today and there were flowers everywhere! This is just one of the many pictures I took as I was wandering around.

Anyway, I already told you I was home for the weekend (lots of stuff – seeing my dad and step mom, my little sister came home for spring break, my other little sister came home for dinner, I went to my cousin’s play, taking Pookie and my mom to see the apartment tomorrow….) but more on that later.

What plans did you have for this weekend? Were you going to try to accomplish anything big? Did you get done what you had planned? Did you get to relax a bit?

Not Another Cliché Leap Day Post

Happy Leap Day everyone!

I wasn’t going to write today, but I figure, since February 29 only comes around once every four years (as we are all well aware) I have to write because, well, not every day is Leap Day. Then I was going to write about the nostalgia of childhood because I’ve been feeling it lately, but that didn’t seem to be enough.

Morning bun from Starbucks trip #2 (see bottom of post for more details)

You see, today isn’t just Leap Day… today is my very dear Aunt Judy’s birthday. She would have been 56 (or 14) today had she not died from cancer 11 years ago. I miss her every day.

Aunt Judy was unique. I’m not talking the way we are each our own people and different in our own right simply by existing or having variances in our DNA or whatever; I mean that Aunt Judy was a really special and amazing human being. She genuinely cared for every person she came in contact with every day.

I wish I had a photo to share with you, but I don’t have any on my computer. She passed away before digital cameras were a “thing”.

She lived across the country so we only saw her once or twice a year when we went to visit her or she came out here to visit us, but those visits were full of exciting adventures and parties. Tea parties, beanie baby parties, scavenger hunts, pool parties, picnics – you name it, she made it incredible. She couldn’t have children of her own so she treated her nieces like princesses. She would have been a wonderful mother – her child would have been the luckiest kid in the entire world. Unfortunately, she never had that chance.

When my grandmother stood up at my aunt’s funeral and spoke about her daughter, it broke my heart. I couldn’t tell you what she said (I was a wreck and hardly remember anything that anybody said to me that day), but what I can tell you is that my grandparents’ hearts break every single day from the loss of their daughter.

beautiful leap image (via vi.sualize.us)

The past few days have reminded my family, in very real ways, how short life can be. Yesterday, my step mom got news that her step sister passed away from a bad case of pneumonia (sadly, my family members are no strangers to how devastating pneumonia can be – and how awful the ICU can be for months on end). Last night was the first time my step mom had ever heard her step dad cry. Talking to her about it this morning broke my heart.

No parent should ever have to bury a child – no matter how young or old that person is.

Losing people who are close to you really makes you value how important every single day is – sometimes things happen that really make us open our eyes and take a good hard look at the world around us and realize how incredible this world is. Sometimes those things are good (like getting an apartment and a job all in the same day), and sometimes those things are devastating (like losing a loved one – especially when their life is cut short by tragedy); What’s important, though, is that we don’t take life for granted and that we really appreciate everything that surrounds us.

That is why I have spent today being thankful that I have one more day – one extra day – to appreciate the people in my life. Even though it seemed like just any other Wednesday – I got up, went to work, stressed about deadlines, came home, ate dinner, and now I’m sitting in bed – it really was so much more than that. It was one more chance, 24 more hours, to hold my head high and live life the way my Aunt Judy lived it all 45 years of her life – with passion, excitement, love, and hope that I can (somehow) make the world a better place.

Of course, now I’ve turned my “Happy Leap Day” post into a rather sad post, but sometimes that just has to be done. Because I made this post so intense, here are some happier Leap Year thoughts to end you with:

Leap Year Fact #1: Did you know that, because we have Leap Years, the calendar year and the solar year are just about a half a minute off. At that rate, it takes 3,300 years for the calendar year and solar year to diverge by a day. That should help you sleep at night 😉

Leap Year Fact #2: A New Jersey woman and her daughter were both born on Leap Day. The odds of that are 2 million to 1. That’s pretty crazy, huh?

Leap Year Fact #3: All of us in my mom’s immediate family were born in Leap Years. Pretty crazy, huh? What are the chances of that? 

  • Piffy – 1952
  • Prey – 1956
  • Philo – 1980
  • MJD – 1984
  • Me – 1988
  • Pookie – 1992
  • MJ – 2008

(To see which name corresponds with which person, visit the Characters page)

Besides valuing the extra day, I celebrated in a few other ways as well:

First I went to Starbucks three times before noon. Can you say addicted?! (Soy latte, morning bun, and iced coffee with nutmeg…. YUM!)

Then the Cupcake Fairy came to work today – something that only happens once every 4 years – and we were all pretty excited.

Present from the Cupcake Fairy

And, as if today wasn’t unique enough, there were actually open seats on my bus ride home. That is unheard of at 5pm on a Wednesday in San Francisco.

Empty bus seats 🙂

How did you spend your Leap Day? Did you do anything special?

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!

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