Rachel Discovers Happiness

my life and road to happiness

Archive for the tag “resolutions”

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 ❤

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Photo-A-Day 2012: Weeks 12, 13 & 14

Happy Tuesday!!

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.

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?

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.

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?

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!!!

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?

Photo-A-Day 2012: Week 6

I’m way too exhausted to write anything else besides posting my Friday photos… on Saturday. Oh well, It’s been a crazy week. Got the keys to my apartment. Started work (yay). Emptied out the storage unit in SLO and got all our stuff home (double yay). And tomorrow we officially move in.

Here are the pictures from this week. Then it’s bed time. Triple yay.

February 4 - Darling... I don't know how to tell you this, but... there's a Chinese family in our bathroom...

February 5

February 6 - Is Lucky's really considered the "smile zone?"

February 7

February 8

February 9 - got to work early on my second day so I sat outside, drank a latte, and read. The weather was beautiful in San Francisco!

February 10 - sunrise on the way to work

January 11 - moving from SLO to San Francisco

And on that note, good night, I’ve got a big day tomorrow.

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