Life, Lifestyle

Lessons Learned From Business School

June 23, 2016

Lessons Learned From Business School

Last weekend I graduated with my MBA! I vividly remember the torture of studying for the GMAT, the exhilaration of getting accepted into business school, the overwhelming sadness of starting a long distance marriage, the anxiety of moving to a new city, and the excitement of starting a new chapter. Two years flew by and it was an unforgettable experience! I made lifelong friends, shared laughters and tears, learned to overcome failure, and celebrated successes. I am grateful for my time at business school and the people I have had the chance to meet. I want to take a moment to write down some lessons learned from business school:

Dig beneath the surface – People come from all walks of life and experiences, and the only way to learn more is to show genuine interest, ask questions, and listen. A week before business school, I traveled to Peru with 24 classmates. During the trip there was one rule: we cannot reveal our alma mater, major/concentration, job before business school, where we lived before business school, hometown, relationship status, and which program we were accepted into at school. This was extremely difficult because when two strangers first meet, they are bound to talk about one or more of those things!! But this rule forced us to throw out preconceived notion, dig beneath the surface and get to know each other at a much deeper level. During the trip, we passed around a notebook to write clues and predictions about each other. This was eye opening because it showed people’s first impression of me and how well they were listening. Below is what my classmates wrote about me. When I asked my classmates about it later, they thought I went to an ivy and/or was a consultant because I am well-spoken and come across as extremely intelligent. One person gave the example of when we were waiting in a long line at Machu Picchu and I made suggestions of how the line could be more efficient. I did not attend an ivy or was a consultant. This made me wonder if I had revealed that I went to a Big Ten school and worked in brand management, what would have been the preconception?


Remember how you got here – Sometimes when a dream is achieved, one forget the difficult path it took to get there. During convocation, our dean told us to turn around and thank the people who supported us. My eyes welled with tears thinking about all the people who supported me over the years. I have faced many obstacles and could not have achieved my goals without their help. When the itty bitty shitty committee in my head tells me “I can’t” and to give up, my family and friends let me vent and then tells me to persevere. During my two years in business school, I was also shocked by the strangers who helped me, whether it was to give up their interview slot because they know I wanted it more, or to inspire me to dream bigger.

Never stop exploring – There was a portrait project this year with the theme “A message you would like to remind yourself of 10 years from now.” My message to myself was to never stop exploring because I have learned that I’m happiest when I am continuously learning, finding new passion and things I love, traveling to new destinations, and opening myself to new opportunities.

I am excited to be done with business school and to start another new chapter. As I look to the future, I hope:

  • To never lose touch of a friend/family because of time or distance
  • To inspire others around me
  • To follow my dreams and passion

never stop exploring

Beauty, Makeup, Nails, Skincare

May Beauty Discoveries

June 8, 2016

may 2016 beauty favorites

Three days ago, Ditch the Heels celebrated 1 year since its first post!! I cannot believe it has been a year already. This has been an amazing journey of learning and I plan to continue posting! I will actually have a longer post about this next week, so for now, lets talk about my May beauty discoveries since I am so behind schedule on this 🙂

For those new to my blog, every month I write about new beauty discoveries instead of monthly favorites since my favorites don’t change very often. I try to use these discoveries for the entire month in order to write a fair review. Here are some new products I used throughout May:

MAC Fix+ – This is a mist packed with vitamins and minerals to give the skin a boost of hydration. It is a cult favorite that I purchased recently. It doesn’t make my makeup last longer, but it hydrates the skin and creates a dewy makeup look. I also like to spray this on makeup brushes before putting on eye shadow because it makes the colors more vibrant.

Estee Lauder Sumptuous Infinite Mascara – I would say this is an average mascara. It is long wearing and provides volume and length, but got clumpy after just a couple of weeks.

LUSH Lip Scrub – I recently ran out of the Sara Happ lip scrub, a scrub I’ve been using for 5+ years, and I thought I should try something new. I like that the castor sugar in the Lush scrub is extremely fine so it’s not as rough on the lips, but the scrub does not have enough oil to hold everything together, so every time I apply it, sugar just goes everywhere. It is not as effective as the Sara Happy scrubs either, so I would recommend purchasing the Sarah Happ scrubs instead!

Benefits Cosmetic Hoola Bronzer – I never used to apply bronzer, but I have been in a bronzing mood this Spring! This is another cult favorite that I decided to try out. It is absolutely beautiful!! It looks very natural and subtle on my skin, but if I get any tanner this won’t show up on my skin anymore. I will be switching to a different bronzer and will save this for the winter months when my skin is lighter.

Ciate Sundays Nail Polish – I’ve been wearing this color for over a month now!! It is a beautiful light pink–perfect for Spring/Summer/wedding. The formula is long wearing, shiny and easy to apply.

ciate sunday nail polish

ciate sunday nail polish

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Food, Lifestyle

I Survived My First Juice Cleanse!

May 31, 2016

juice cleanse

Two weeks ago, I decided to try a 3-day juice cleanse. During a juice cleanse, juice and water are all you consume. So no coffee/tea and definitely no solids. It’s something I’ve been wanting to try for a while because I wanted to see/feel the effect of the detox on my body. I did a lot of research prior to the juice cleanse and learned that most people do the cleanse to improve digestion, decrease cravings for sugar/salt, increase cravings for fruit/vegetable, brighten skin, improve sleep, and elevate energy. Although most people lose about 5 lbs during the cleanse, it’s only temporary so I did not weigh myself before/after the cleanse.

3 day juice cleanse

I purchased my juices from Peeled Juice in Evanston. I had to drink 6 juices per day for 3 days. Lets talk about the juices:

  • Green Lantern x2 – Multi-vitamin with the combined nutrients of 5 full servings of raw, nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. It contained kale, romaine lettuce, spinach, parsley, celery, lemon, ginger, cucumber and apple.
  • Haute Lemonade – Sweet, sour, and spicy! Lemon sweetened with agave nectar and maple syrup. Also contained cayenne pepper to cleanse the intestinal walls of the digestive tract.
  • Maroon Five x2 – Health boosters and nutrient-rich energy provided by beet, carrot, apple, lemon and ginger.
  • Cashew Dream – Cashew milk with maple syrup, agave, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Here is a brief summary of the things I ate and day-by-day progress:

Day Before:
Most blogs advised people to start consuming raw food and produce, to drink plenty of water, and to avoid fatty food the day before cleanse. I finally got the chance to get lunch at the Purple Pig, so I went crazy and ordered 5 items to share between my husband and I. For dinner, I had a shrimp lettuce wrap. I also snacked on dried mango and bubbled tea.

Day 1:
Had my first drink at 10:30am, followed by a drink every 1.5-2 hours after. Walked 2 miles to go to Dunkin Donuts with hubby, which was torturous, and I waited outside to avoid smelling the donuts! I did not feel hungry but it was difficult drinking the juices because I did not find the green lantern and maroon five tasty. The entire day I kept thinking about cheeseburger, Chipotle, and chocolate.

Day 2:
Started at 9:30am. I felt energized and full the entire day. Even though I still did not find the drinks tasty, I did not have as much adverse reaction to the drinks. I learned the best method is to drink as fast as possible. I noticed that my stomach was no longer bloated. I kept craving for fried eggs with salt and pepper. The low point of my day was during night class from 6:30-9:30 because students all around me were eating dinner while I sadly drank my Maroon Five.

Day 3:
Started at 10am and again I felt energized and full throughout the day. Again, my stomach looked great as if I’ve been working my abs. I started wondering if I still remember how to chew since I had not used my teeth in days. I was tempted to snack after drinking my last juice, but instead I went straight to bed.

Day After:
Surprisingly I did not immediately go to Chipotle the next day. I had blueberry oatmeal and fried eggs for lunch, and Chinese takeout for dinner.

Overall I am happy that I tried and survived the cleanse, but will definitely NOT be doing it again. The biggest pros: got rid of my bloating and saved a lot of time by not cooking/eating complete meals. The biggest cons: the taste and cost.

Let me know if you’ve done a juice cleanse or have any other questions about it!!

Beauty, Hair, Skincare

Play by Sephora – May 2016

May 25, 2016

play by sephora may 2016

I love beauty subscription boxes, so imagine my delight when I finally got off the Play! by Sephora waitlist! When the subscription box service was first announced, it was only in limited markets but now they’ve started to move people off the waitlist. It’s only $10 a month and I love that all the brands/products are carried at Sephora. One of my biggest issues with beauty subscription boxes such as Glossybox and Birchbox is that sometimes the brands are unknown and it’s hard to even find product reviews so I don’t get as excited to try out those products. I’m really pleased with the products I received in my first Play box:

  • Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick – I already have this in 4 shades because I love the formulation! I was pleased to get this shade in Kimchi, though I won’t wear it too often since it’s a bright bright pink shade.
  • Tarteist Lip Crayon – This is a lip pencil in the shade latergram. It is gorgeous and I plan to fill in my lips completely instead of using this as a lip liner.
  • Korres Wild Rose Brightening Sleeping Facial – I’ve actually used this before. I did not see any brightening effect on uneven skin tone after using the entire container so I did not repurchase, but I love the smell and it is very moisturizing, so I was happy to receive this in the box.
  • Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair – This is a deep conditioning hair mask. I can’t wait to try this!
  • Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask – This is an amazing product and I’ve gone through several bottles of it. I love applying this at night during the winter time because it keeps my skin well moisturized. This is also a great product to apply right before a flight!
  • Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask – I’ve also used this in the past. It is a great mask for oily skin and clogged pores.
  • Origins Maskimizer – I have seen a couple YouTubers talk about this product so I was really interested to try it. This is supposed to be sprayed onto face prior to applying on mask to prep your skin for the mask. However, I did not see any difference after several usage. Make sure to close your mouth because it tastes awful!!
  • Atelier Orange Sanguine Cologne – This is a lovely scent and I like this small sample size to keep in my purse.

You can see the Sephora unboxing video and additional photos below to learn more about the products!

play by sephora may 2016

play by sephora may 2016

play by sephora may 2016

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Beauty, Skincare

Morning Skin Care Routine v2

May 16, 2016

morning skincare routine for oily skin

I realized the last time I wrote about my morning skin care routine was almost a year ago, so it’s time for an update! I don’t tend to change my skin care routine often–once something works for me, I tend to stick to it! However, when I reviewed my old post, I realized there have been many updates, so here are the products I have been using every morning:

Step 1: Cleanse
Since my face is already clean in the morning (no makeup), I love using this PeterThomasRoth Gentle Foaming Cleanser. I apply two pumps on my hands and then gently clean my face in circular motion. This cleanser is super gentle, is fragrance free, the wheat amino acids help to hydrate and strengthen the skin, and vitamins A, C and E provide powerful antioxidant protection.

Step 2: Tone
Toners are used after cleansing to restore your skin’s pH balance. A great toner will also help your skin look refreshed, brighter, and smoother. I started using the Kate Somerville Clarifying Treatment Toner a couple months ago. This is particularly great for oily-skin. It is alcohol and fragrance free, removes dead skin, and lightens discoloration.

Step 3: Essence
Essence is a new step to my skincare routine. What is essence? Essence have highly concentrated antioxidants, vitamins, organic acids, and sometimes fermented probiotics, all for the purpose of enhancing your skin from the inside out. It specifically targets wrinkles, fine lines, and dull and uneven skin tones. With regular use you will notice smoother and brighter skin. I have heard so much about the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, but it is EXTREMELY expensive. $99 for a 2.5oz and $290 for a 11oz. Crazy, huh? So I started looking for a dupe and found the Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence. This article has good information on the fermented yeast extract used in both of these products. If you’re new to essence, I would suggest using the Missha Essence first. Also, if you live in Asia this product is significantly cheaper.

Step 4: Serum
There are hundreds of serums in the market and they do different things, so it’s important to do the research. I have been using the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum for over a year. It is a high potency serum with vitamin C to help brighten, boost collagen, and minimize fine lines and wrinkles. Ole Henriksen is an amazing natural skincare brand. If you haven’t tried the products, I would recommend starting with this mini bundle set.

Step 5: Moisturize
The Origins GinZing Moisturizer was mentioned in my last skin care post–I can’t believe I still haven’t used this up yet! I guess one container will last almost a year! This moisturizer is extremely light weight and helps to brighten my face. For eyes, I have been using the Clinique All About Eyes Rich cream for over 5 years! It is extremely hydrating and minimizes dark circles.

I know there are a few products/steps, but it takes less than 5 minutes to apply all of these! My morning skin care is actually much lighter than my night time routine. I will post an updated night time routine soon!

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Favorite Surprise in a Box! May Rocksbox

May 11, 2016

may rocksbox

Back in January, I wrote about my first Rocksbox and how this subscription box works. Since then, I’ve received 4 more boxes and this has become one of my favorite subscription boxes to receive! I don’t own many pieces of jewelry and my taste changes regularly, so Rocksbox is great because it allows me to select and try different jewelry. Here are some pros and cons:


  • Ability to add pieces to a wishlist, and each month at least one of those pieces will be sent
  • Extremely fast delivery. For example, when I send a box back, as soon as the tracker gets scanned, Rocksbox will immediately send a new box out. It’s possible to get 2-3 boxes in one month!
  • $10 credit added to the account each month (expires in a month so you cannot keep accruing)
  • Amazing customer service
  • Super convenient


  • Only receives 3 pieces per box. This may be plenty to some people, but I would love to receive 5-10 pieces in a box because it’ll allow me to layer and combine
  • The inventory seems to be from past season because whenever I search online for specific pieces, they are usually out of stock or replaced by new colors, especially the Kendra Scott pieces
  • Limited brands. I think there are only a handful of brands, and only a couple well-known ones. I wish it carries more brands and variety
  • The discount to purchase jewelry is not great–about $10. This amounts to ~15% off. Since all of these pieces have been worn by other people, I would rather spend an additional $10 to purchase it brand new from another retailer

Here are the three pieces I received this month and the cost to purchase:

  • Perry Street Patrice Necklace $54 – Gorgeous statement necklace and I love the lilac stones. I don’t own any statement pieces, so it was fun to try this out
  • Gorjana Taner Bar Mini Studs in Silver $32 – Pretty stud but I already have something similar
  • Kendra Scott Elisa Silver Necklace in Platinum Drusy $52 – Love love love this! I wore this almost every day and thought about purchasing this from Rocksbox since it was slightly discounted and I have a $10 credit. However, there were some imperfection on the stone and I prefer to purchase this new, so I purchased a rose gold piece directly from Nordstrom

If you want to give Rocksbox a try, you can use coupon code emilybff1121 to receive a free month!