Rachel Discovers Happiness

my life and road to happiness

Archive for the tag “friends”

An Elegant Affair

This past weekend I finally got to go down to Southern California to visit my  big sister and stay at her pinspired apartment. Not only that, but I also had the honor of attending her best friend‘s wedding.

mehndi

The wedding was beautiful and Ayesha and E were absolutely stunning. I had never seen anything quite like this event and the only word that comes to mind is “wow.” They both wore traditional Bengali wedding outfits (I apologize for not knowing the correct words to describe the traditions, outfits, etc. but I will do my best) and most of the women in attendance wore beautiful saris. Ayesha’s hands were stained with mehndi – better known as henna in the US – and she wore the most stunning red sari and gold jewelry*.

the stunning bride

Throughout the night I got the opportunity to talk to E at dinner (he is one of the most intelligent people on this earth and just graduated with his masters, he is now looking for a job), dance to Bengali and American music (how those ladies of all ages were dancing so well in their saris I will never know, but I admire them), and generally admire the love that Ayesha and E have for each other and their new families. I won’t go in to all the details about the wedding because you should really read Ayesha and Caitlin’s posts about the event which I’m sure will be a lot more detailed than I can put into words; I will tell you, however, that I seriously felt so loved and blessed that Ayesha thought to invite me to her Bengali wedding.

To Ayesha, thank you so much for inviting me to attend such a magical night. You really did look absolutely beautiful and E looked wonderful in his elegant outfit as well. Seeing him dance with his brother was one of the highlights of my  night – it was so amazing to see how much fun they were having. I hope you enjoyed the night as much as I did. Can’t wait to read/hear about your thoughts now that the weddings are over and you officially get to start your new life. I already told Caitlin that you two (and Dev if she wants a break from med school!) need to find a weekend to come up and visit me in San Francisco so we can do a girls’ weekend together. I can’t wait ❤

Caitlin and Devery

*I tried to take pictures at the wedding but the lighting was very weird and I couldn’t figure out how to get the right color balance. Also, I gave up after a short period of time because I wanted to enjoy the wedding and take everything in without looking through the lens of my camera. I have it on good authority, however, that the photographer they hired is very talented and I’m sure she took some wonderful photos.

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A Letter To My Blog Friend

Dear Social Media Friend (you know who you are),

I just thought I would tell you that I’m having mixed feelings about you getting married this weekend. I mean, I’m totally excited for you and E and that you get to spend the rest of your lives together and that I know you will be so happy, I truly am thrilled for you and all that, BUT…

I’m also going to miss the wedding blogging and all of the updates I get to read about week by week. It has been so much fun to watch the plans develop over all these months.

I know it’s kinda selfish, and I suppose it’s not so much that I am going to miss your wedding blogging (although I will miss it), but it’s more that I hope you continue to pin/post about all the beautiful crafts/decorations you talk about now. I realize that you still have the Bengali wedding in a month or so which means that I get to hear about that wedding until then, but what will I do once it’s all over?! I’m definitely going to miss it.

Now that I think about it, though, just because you’re married doesn’t mean you will stop blogging…

So I guess what I’m saying, in a rather convoluted way, is CONGRATULATIONS and I can’t wait to hear about the wedding(s) and read your future posts about married life and all the adventures you two will go on together.

Love and wishes of eternal happiness to you and E 🙂

All the best, Rachel

P.S. I’m thrilled that Weddingbee selected you as a blogger – it means that the wedding mania gets to be even just a bit bigger and that I get to read about it just a bit more for at least a little while 🙂 congrats! (For the rest of you, look for Miss Genie, that’s her pen name!)

The first two days

Tuesday was the last day of my internship at SHIFT Communications. It’s kind of surreal that those three months are already over!

I have spent the past two days relaxing and trying to figure out what happens next. Here is what I have decided the following weeks will hold:

  • Updating my resume
  • Applying for jobs – public relations or event planning 🙂
  • Writing more
  • Taking more pictures around San Francisco

I realized that I haven’t written very much over the past few years even though writing used to be something that I not only enjoyed, but was also pretty good at at one point.

Since I haven’t posted photos recently, here are some that I’ve taken over the past few months.

iPhone macro

San Francisco street art

My favorite building in San Francisco!! And the Transamerica Building

view from the park as I relaxed in the beautiful SF weather

Lafayette Park, SF

At&T Park

Dolores Park

call me old fashioned, but I firmly believe that honey should be the only thing sold in a bear.

Hopefully I’ll be posting more photos too – they seem to be what people respond to most on this blog ❤

On Taking Risks and Making Your Own Luck

I have recently been practicing the act of spontaneity. I have been doing things that  scare me, things that I’ve never seen myself doing. I’ve been taking chances and making decisions all in an effort to make myself happier.

This guy saw me taking a picture and said "hey, take a picture of me!" so i did, begrudgingly. Turned out pretty awesome, actually. (contest photo)

I kind of like being spontaneous. It allows for me to step into somebody else’s shoes, or to be the person I could be if I didn’t have so much damn anxiety.

There’s something to be said for bravery and taking risks, embracing chances. You never know what will happen when you do something on a whim.

My photo of the Austin Sky (contest photo)

That’s how I won tickets to SXSWi. I signed up for a sweepstakes on Twitter and somehow won. I chalked it up to a fluke; I’m not a lucky person. I don’t win things. This kind of experience doesn’t happen to me.

Until it did.

Free lunch with Katie, one of my photo companions. (contest photo)

While at SXSW I decided to do a bunch of things that scared me. Simply being there was anxiety enough, but navigating Austin by myself? Well that was downright terrifying.

But I did it.

Katie's photo of me crowd surfing with Skype (contest photo)

I went to panels , listened to speakers, participated in workshops, ate free food and simply did whatever I decided to do. I didn’t really have an agenda or anywhere I had to be because anywhere I went would have been amazing.

One workshop I went to was PhotoCamp. It was all about taking quality photos with your iPhone. I met some pretty cool people in that workshop, some of which I’m still in contact with.

Photo by Katie - artists painting on canvas. She won one of their original pieces! (contest photo)

One of the great things about that session was that we took a chance and entered a contest as a group. There were four of us and the perimeters were simply that we had to use a specific app (RingReef) and collaborate on a photo project about SXSW. Our photos had to be cohesive and reflect how we viewed the event. There could only be 20 photos.

One of the most provocative marketing campaigns at SXSW (contest photo)

We were able to whittle down our submissions, although it was super difficult since we had so many good pictures, and somehow we won.

Frankie's photo - part of the Let's Get Naked campaign (contest photo)

Some of the photos included in this post are ones we won the contest with. What we won with those photos is pretty awesome – we each get a special phone cover that is magnetic and has different lenses, some other iPhone photo stuff, and last but not least, the new iPad.

Crazy, huh?

These kinds things don’t happen to me.

Ike's photo of a DJ at a party (contest photo)

I also entered a scavenger hunt contest with a company called FoundIt! which was based on Twitter. I won that too. I don’t know what the prise is, but it should arrive next week.

When I told Madeline at work the story about winning the ticket, the photo contest and the scavenger hunt and said that these kinds of things don’t happen to me, she laughed at me and said, “I don’t think you’re allowed to say that anymore.”

Another one of Ike's photos - I like the perspective. (contest photo)

And in that moment, when I said they don’t happen to me, I realized something: these kinds of things don’t happen to me because I never let them. I never enter contests because I don’t think I’ll win. I never put myself out there and take risks. I never make spontaneous decisions.

But look at what happens when I do! Maybe some people are naturally lucky. I think that, more likely, these are the people that make their own luck. They are the ones who show up and go for it, whatever “it” may be.

The Skype party

The bacon truck we rented for a client

TED Talk with Nikol, Robert and Phil - cross it off the bucket list!

a photo I took in our photo workshop

You know the Wayne Gretzkey saying, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” ? Well, as cheesy as it is, I now know what he meant.

I think I’ll start taking more risks and making more of my own luck. Apparently that’s the best way to do it.

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.

You are you. Now isn’t that pleasant?

Isn’t it nice when you get to work, check your email, and see that you have a happy email rather than a long to do list of things that need to be finished before 5 (or 7, or 9… depending on when you leave the office which, in the PR world, could be any time)?

That’s how I felt today. I got to work, checked my email, and had an email from my best friend/roomie with a visual presentation of Dr. Seuss quotes. I liked it so much that I thought I’d share it with you 🙂

A little note about Roomie: she is so NOT touchy-feely, warm-and-fuzzy or drawn to inspirational stuff at all, but she knows I am; whenever she sees something like this that she thinks I would like she sends it along. And let me tell you , she finds some pretty awesome stuff!

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!

Photo-A-Day 2012: Week 7

Wow, I haven’t been doing too well on this whole “post every Friday” thing… but to be fair, I was going to post my weekly photos yesterday, but I am still trying to get the internet in my new apartment figured out (the apartment is set up down a long hallway and I am on the opposite side of the apartment from the modem which doesn’t make for very fast connection speeds).

Anyway, this week was my first full week at work. I actually had my own responsibilities, figured out how to do certain things in the industry, and learned a lot from my coworkers. I won’t get into everything from my week, but if you want to read about it, you can check out my post here: Things I Like About My Job, part 1.

Because so much was going on this week I took more pictures than my normal one-a-day. Well, let me rephrase that – I always take more than one picture a day, but I don’t always like them. This week it’s different – I like more of the pictures I took. It was kind of exciting. Not to mention the fact that my obsession with Instagram has gone from the minor leagues to the major leagues (if you have the app, follow me – my screen name is rockegan 🙂

February 12 - my old room... now a guest room at my dad's house (that kind of made me sad to type)

February 13 - basically tells you how my Monday morning went - (don't worry, only one of them was a latte, the other was a peppermint soy hot chocolate)

February 14

February 14 - Happy Valentine's Day! (can you tell where the Valentine's cards are located?)

February 15 - bagels and lattes for breakfast 🙂 two of my favorite things!

February 16 - my new bedding! red sheets with a red and white patterned comforter (it's gonna take some getting used to - so girly!)

February 17 - cool 80's style boombox left on the sidewalk

February 17 - awesome graffiti art in SOMA

February 17 - happy hour with my coworkers at Sens

I hope your week was wonderful.

What are your plans for the long weekend? Do you have anything exciting going on?

Confession: I’m a Hopeless Romantic

Alright, brace yourself, I’m about to blow your mind with three facts about myself:

  1. I’m single
  2. I love Valentine’s Day
  3. Yes, I still love Valentine’s Day even if I don’t have a special someone of the opposite sex to spend it with (or same sex, depending on who you are, I don’t judge)

" So today I was in Hallmark buying my mom a Happy Birthday card when I noticed this old man stnding in front of the Valentines card section contemplating which one to get. I decide to go over and I ask him “Are you getting a Valentine’s Day for your wife?” in which he replies 'No my wife died 3 years ago from breast cancer but I still buy her roses and a card and bring them to her grave to prove to her that she was the only one that will ever have my heart' " (via Facebook)

Okay, that’s enough, lift your jaw off the floor. And if you are just going to respond to this post by saying that Valentine’s Day is a commercial holiday that was developed by greeting card companies in order to increase revenue, I will say that I don’t care and if you really feel that way, you can stop reading now. That also goes for all of you who complain that Valentine’s Day causes more problems than it’s worth and that it forces an obligation for couples to go above and beyond when it comes to giving gifts and topping whatever it is that they did for the previous holiday – not to mention the couples who have been dating for only two weeks, or don’t have a title, or whatever. I’ll say it again, I don’t care.

The only argument that I will address is this: Why should there be a specified holiday for showing the one that you love that you do, in fact, care about them and want to be with them? Shouldn’t you do that every day?

The answer is: yes, you should do that every day, but that doesn’t mean that you always have the ability to do so. Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, etc. are great opportunities for people to set aside time, be with with sweetheart, and spend time just the two of them.

There doesn’t have to be all the added pressure that society has added to the day. I love seeing men (or women, whatever) walking down the street with roses (or their significant other’s favorite flower) in hand. I liked going to Papyrus yesterday on the search for a birthday card and seeing all the people standing in front of the card display, picking up and putting down cards in the search for the perfect words. I love getting texts from my family and friends saying “I love you” or, in the case of my father about 30 seconds ago, “Happy valentine’s day! Love daddy.” I don’t care what you say, I like the sentiment and I think it’s sweet.

When I was younger and had more money than I do now (I’ve had a job since I was 16 which means that I was saving a bunch of money what with not having to pay for rent, utilities, food and whatnot) I used to go all out for Valentine’s Day. I not only dressed up, but I also made Valentines for my friends (yup – made), baked cupcakes, and always did something special for the guy I was dating. When I was 17, my boyfriend at the time, Mike, and I decided that, instead of buying each other something, we would make each other a memory box and put things in it that reminded us of the other. I decoupaged a wooden box, filled it with candy and pictures of us, plus a few other things that I can’t remember right now. It doesn’t matter that we broke up a couple weeks later – I still look back on that fondly.

But now, get ready for another confession:

  • Although I love Valentine’s Day, this year has been a different story. It’s not that I’ve dreaded its arrival, I just completely forgot about the holiday all together… the dread set in after I realized that it was, in fact, going to occur this Tuesday, AKA today.

I don’t know why I have this feeling this year. I have tried boosting my own spirits by dressing nicer than normal today(substituting the stereotypical pinks and reds for a nice, pretty, girly lavender instead), smiling at people on the street, wishing people Happy Valentine’s Day, etc. but something has happened today that has never happened in Valentine’s Days past – my happiness and good spirits for the day have felt (gasp!) fake.

I know, it’s a shame. And it makes me sad. I don’t think it has to do with the fact that I’m single and don’t have someone to spend it with (well, besides my roommate and Jameson). I think it’s just more that I am not worried about that part of my life right now. There are other things in my life that I am happy about, and Valentine’s Day/romance in general seems kind of… I dunno… trivial right now?

That doesn’t mean that I don’t love a good romantic movie (hello, The Notebook is still one of the best movies ever), or want prince charming to sweet me off my feet, or whatever else goes along with being a romantic. I’m still happy for friends when they are in healthy relationships, still get excited when someone tells me they are engaged (for the most part), etc. But I have also become a lot more cynical when it comes to relationships*.

In any case, this doesn’t completely change the fact that I want to spend Valentine’s Day with a special man in my life. Unfortunately, I don’t have a special person in mind. Because of this, Christine and I will be spending this day of love with our special man friends: Jameson and Jose.

What will you be doing for Valentine’s Day? What are your thoughts on the holiday? (Despite earlier rants, I promise I won’t jump down your throat.)

*Note: What I mean by this is that I am a lot more judgmental and get more frustrated with people who don’t see others’ true colors, or only see what they want to see. I have also adopted a mentality of “if they refuse to listen to what others have to say and/or continue to put themselves in a situation where they know they will get hurt, I have no sympathy for them.” See: Bachelor Ben and Courtney (“My feelings for Courtney are strong and I don’t want to let external forces get in the way … It’s amazing to see how deeply the women felt about their dislike for Courtney, and it’s equally amazing not to see any of that coming through in her actions with me.” uhhh hello? She’s a manipulative bitch. I know the kind. She’s crazy. Don’t let her get to you. But I digress…) Or Best Friend and Jerk Boy she dated this past summer (a story which I will not get into.)

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