Rachel Discovers Happiness

my life and road to happiness

Archive for the tag “san francisco”

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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Sailing Haiku

The Trip

Monday sailing trip.

Under the Bay Bridge two times.

Good times had by all.

The Boat

Make sure you steer straight.

Look out! We are going to tack.

Smooth sailing from here.

The Experience

Sail beyond ball park;

Great views of San Francisco;

Ignore cold weather.

The Others

Found: pirates on ship.

Big red sails keep them moving.

What’s their business here?

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 ❤

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!!

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!

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?

Things I Like About My Job, part 1

I have officially been an intern at SHIFT Communications for a week and a half now and it has been pretty great! The first few days were spent being introduced to everybody in the office and figuring out which accounts everybody was in charge of… That along with trying to keep up with all the acronyms thrown around in emails and everyday speech wore me out.

Luckily, after diligently shadowing a few people on their accounts, I’ve been able to catch up a little bit and have even been handed some of my own responsibility. That’s pretty exciting, but I’m glad that I’ve had a bit of time to get used to the type of work I would be doing and the office environment.

It’s not that I haven’t had jobs with real responsibilities before (hello, I was a nanny for 4 years – if that’s not responsibility, I don’t know what is), but I’ve never really worked in an office like this before. By that I mostly mean that I’ve never had coworkers my own age – one of the things that I was really looking forward to when I entered the “real world.”

Having coworkers my own age isn’t the only thing that makes me happy about where I am right now. Here are some things that make me smile about my job:

  • I work in San Francisco (which is pretty awesome)
  • It’s nice to see so many people are around my age that have accomplished so much – it makes me believe that I can accomplish those things too!
  • Everybody is super nice
  • I get to say things like “I’ll be back soon, just gotta run out and grab something for a client”
  • I actually have clients (or at least am working with teams that have clients)
  • The office is laid back and professional all at the same time
  • Thus far I haven’t been bored (yeah, I know, I’ve only been here for a week and a half… but that’s a good start!)
  • We are all in cubes which means people just stand up over their cubes and talk to each other
  • Sometimes you can hear people talking on the phone… to somebody else in a different cube across the room – this makes me smile
  • I have coworkers my own age (I had to include it)
  • …and a majority of them are women which means I am able to pick up on their impeccable fashion sense
  • I get to spend time reading recent articles about things that I’m interested in – and it’s all part of the job!
  • Everybody is hilarious, which means that people will be in fits of laughter at random times throughout the entire day

There are more, but those are the things that come to my mind right now. Is there anything better than a job that you enjoy doing, makes you smile, and combines so many of your passions? I think not!

What do you like about your job?

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