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Life, Lifestyle

Gift Guide for the Homebody

December 6, 2017

gift guide for the homebody

I cannot believe Christmas is in less than 20 days! I’m so happy that I’m all done with my Christmas shopping. There were some amazing Cyber Monday deals this year, so I purchased everything online! I have created holiday gift guides for him and her the past two years. This year I am going to do something slightly different. I tend to hibernate during the winter, so I thought it’d be fun to come up with a gift guide for the homebody like myself. I would also love to hear your product recommendations!

Planner // I just purchased a 2018 planner and I cannot wait to start writing things down. Of course I probably won’t get around to doing most of the things I dream up, but as long as I have a plan, I will get around to at least half of them!

UGG Slippers // My feet are always cold, so I live in these slippers all winter long. I love the soft sheepskin and have bought several pairs over the years. Here is a version for men.

Barefoot Robe // Of course I have to recommend my favorite robe! These are the most luxurious robe I’ve ever worn. They are incredibly soft and feel like you have a cozy blanket wrapped around you all day.

Eye Mask // I purchased this eye mask from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale a couple years back. It is made with copper which is supposed to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. I packed this for our family vacation to Alaska last summer and it did an amazing job of staying on all night and blocking out all the light.

Candles // If you’re going to stay in, then scented candles are a must. I love Nest candles because the smell lingers throughout the entire apartment. Even though Nest is quite expensive, the candles will last a long time. The last one I had lasted for about 6 months!

Electric Kettle // This is on my Christmas wish list! On weekends I’m often boiling a pot of hot water on a sauce pan to make tea, drip coffee, or hot chocolate. Having an electric kettle would be so much faster and you can set the temperature based on the type of drink you’re making.

Crockpot // I love spending weekends baking and cooking. People say slow cookers are perfect for busy work days, but who even has time to prep in the morning?? I never use the slow cooker on week days. This All Clad slow cooker is one of my favorite items in the kitchen. I prep everything in the late morning, and then I can go about my day doing other lazy things around the apartment before dinner is ready.

Humidifier // A humidifier is great in the winter because it helps prevent dry skin and the spread of airborne viruses, but it also helps relieve cold/allergy symptoms. A much cheaper option is from Crane, though it is meant for just a small room.

Face Mask // My Sunday nights are reserved for face masks. I am loving this charcoal mask that will shrink pores, firm skin and strip away dead skin. When I need extra hydration, I will put on a sheet mask.

Hulu and Netflix // We recently canceled cable! No more Chopped or Real Housewives for me… Instead, I will be binge watching shows on Hulu, Netflix, or Amazon Prime.

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Life, Lifestyle

30 Things I’d Tell My Younger Self

October 25, 2017

 

I turned 30 today! For a while, it seemed like this day would never come. My first thoughts this morning were: “I’m old! Time for some anti-aging creams.” and “I need to get my life in order!” I spent the day reflecting on my 20’s and realized there are so many great lessons, accomplishments, and memories from my 20’s. Even though I’ve been 30 years old for less than a day, I already feel wiser and ready to tackle the challenges ahead! Here are 30 things I’d tell my younger self, and also want to continue reminding myself going forward:

  1. Be curious, try new things.
  2. Make time for the important relationships in your life.
  3. Take time daily to unplug from technology.
  4. Do NOT over-tweeze or wax those eyebrows!
  5. School is important, but you don’t need to get straight A’s. Go have some fun!
  6. Be a good role model to those around you.
  7. Listen more.
  8. Get rid of toxic / negative people in your life.
  9. Tell the people you love “I love you” often.
  10. Forgive those who hurt you.
  11. TRY waking up earlier.
  12. Stand up for others, even when it’s hard.
  13. Eat healthier, spend the time to meal prep.
  14. Always put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
  15. The guy who makes you cry is not right for you. And don’t worry, your heart will heal.
  16. Travel as much as you can. Go see the world.
  17. Reflect on your mistakes and learn from it.
  18. Be proud of your body.
  19. Don’t let anyone else’s perception influence your choices.
  20. There is never the “right” time to do anything. Just go do it!
  21. Ask for help when you need it.
  22. Be selfish with your time–don’t overcommit.
  23. Celebrate the small victories in life.
  24. Always put money into savings, no matter how small.
  25. You are your own worst critic–no one can see your imperfections the way you can.
  26. Don’t do things just to please others.
  27. Be patient and persistent.
  28. It’s not only OKAY to say no, but it’s a must sometimes, so get comfortable with it.
  29. Dream are not out of reach, so dream big.
  30. Life is great. Not always, but things always get better.
Life, Lifestyle

Puppy Announcement – First Two Weeks of Having a Puppy

February 20, 2017

I am now a pup mom! My husband and I brought home an Alaskan Klee Kai puppy and we are so in love! Her name is Minne, named after our home state of Minnesota. She is growing fast and it has been so fun observing and contributing to her development. I can’t believe it has only been two weeks because it feels so much longer. Here is what I learned the first two weeks of having a puppy:

Books cannot prepare you for the real thing.

Whenever I do something, I always put a lot of time, thought and effort into it. It was both exciting and scary knowing we will be responsible for another living being. If we are lucky, Minne will be with us for the next 15-20 years, but that is also a lot of responsibility and commitment. When we decided to get a puppy, I read a few books, talked to friends/family who have dogs, and talked to dog trainers. A lot of the information were consistent (crate training, potty training, socialization, food safety) but not all of them have matched with our experiences.

  • Potty training: we are very lucky that our breeder trained our puppy to go potty in a litter box. She told us to use Yesterday’s News, which is made from recycled newspaper and is non-toxic. Even though Minne is litter box trained, we always try to take her outside so she won’t think it’s okay to potty inside. We are supposed to take her out first thing in the morning, after every nap, after every intense play, after eating/drinking, and before bedtime. So that is like 6-10 times a day! In the beginning we took her out every 2 hours and would wait outside for 10-20 minutes but she wouldn’t go. Now we know she doesn’t have to go out that often, even though all the books told us she would have to.
  • Keeping an eye on her: the biggest surprise is how much we have to watch her because she could be chewing on furniture/shoes and eating random things. When she is awake and active, she is usually up to no good! I took a couple days off in the beginning to help her adjust and crate train, and it was mentally exhausting! I was not prepared for this but I am adjusting. No more 8-step skincare routine unless Minne is occupied in the crate or my husband is watching her!
The days of sleeping in are over.

In the beginning, we took Minne out every 2 hours during the day and once at night since her metabolism slows down when sleeping. The first few nights we took her out once in the middle of the night (2-4am) and then again early in the morning. She would make a noise if she needs to go out. Now we don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night anymore, but still have to get up between 6-7am to let her out.

Minne’s energy level is highest in the morning, so that means after we take her out in the morning, she wants to play so we cannot go back to sleep. I usually play with her for a little bit and then get ready for work while she is eating breakfast. I miss sleeping in and getting my 8-9 hours of sleep!

Minne has a more social life than most people.

Puppies need to get 3 sets of the DHPP vaccination and they usually don’t get the last shot until 14-16 weeks of age. They are not supposed to be taken outside because of the risk of parvovirus. The challenge is that the prime time to socialize puppies is before they turn 12 weeks old. Since we cannot take Minne to the dog park or even walk her around the neighborhood in a big city like SF where the risks are higher, we have to take her to puppy socials and puppy day school, which are safe environments for her. This has taken up a lot of our time but it’s the best way for her to socialize. Last week when I went to pick her up from puppy day school, I noticed a guy carrying three crates and asked him if all of them are his puppies. He told me he runs a taxi service for pets! It’s crazy all the services that are available to people living in a big city.

Here are some of my favorite pictures of Minne. You can see more on her Instagram account @minne.akk

alaskan klee kai puppy

alaskan klee kai puppy

alaskan klee kai puppy

alaskan klee kai puppy sleeping

Life, Lifestyle, Travel

2017 Bay Area Bucket List – Top 10 List

January 28, 2017

2017 bay area bucket list

Minnesota is awful in the winter, so I had to leave. Instead of creating New Year’s resolutions this year, I created a bucket list specifically for the Bay Area to encourage me to go out and explore during our first year of living in the Bay Area. Here is my top 10 list!

Places
  • Half Moon Bay – Great hiking spots and seafood restaurants
  • Yosemite National Park – May and June are great months to visit to see the waterfalls
  • Lake Tahoe – Combines mountain and beach activities in the summer
  • Big Sur Coast – Absolutely stunning; my husband once said the cattle in Big Sur must be the happiest in the world
  • Napa and Sonoma
Activities
  • S’mores and bonfires year round on my brother’s rooftop
  • Hop on the swing on Billy Goat Hill – Instagram worthy picture
  • Paddle boarding in Marin
  • Listen to music in Golden Gate Park
  • Outdoor brunch

If you have any suggestions for places to visit within driving distance of San Francisco, please leave a note below!

Life, Lifestyle, Misc

2016 Highlights

January 6, 2017

2016 was an eventful year! I am sure it will be one of the most memorable years of my life because of all the life changes. I record and color code everything on my calendar–meetings, classes, errands, date nights, travels, errands/chores, etc. It took a couple hours but I enjoyed going through all of my calendar entries and photos from 2016. Here are some of my top highlights!

2016 Highlights:
  • Ditch the Heels hit a couple of milestones: one year anniversary, 100+ blog posts, and collaborations with brands such as MAC Cosmetics, Rocksbox, Kaplan MD, dermae, and sara happ. My brand is slowly evolving as I grow and transition into a different phase of my life, and I hope to redefine the brand in 2017.
  • I traveled to several places: Puna Cana, Taiwan, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Philadelphia, Minnesota, and California several times. One of my favorite trips was traveling to Taiwan with two of my best friends. We went there for a class project but had some free time to explore Taiwan, such as the hot springs and Taroko National Park. Another favorite trip was to the Grand Canyon over Thanksgiving break. The Grand Canyon is one of the most beautiful places on earth and left me speechless.
  • I graduated from the Kellogg School of Management with my MBA! I cannot believe how fast the 2 year journey came to an end. It started in Peru with 24 strangers who quickly became my close friends. I learned from amazing professors and classmates. I cried and laughed and argued. I found new hobbies and interests. I made lifelong friendships.
  • I found a job in San Francisco. My previous work experiences had been in traditional CPG marketing, but I took the leap and transitioned to tech marketing. It has turned out to be the best decision and I love the work, people, and company.
  • I moved from Evanston to San Francisco and my husband moved from Minneapolis to San Francisco, ending our two-year long distance marriage. It was one of the happiest days of my life and I hope we will never have to live apart again. We are currently living in Nob Hill and have a great view of the city from our apartment (middle photo above). We are spoiled by our 10-15 minute walk to work.
  • We are loving the Bay Area and have had the opportunity to explore. Even though we are new here, San Francisco is starting to feel like home because of the friends and family who live here. I am thrilled to be living so close to my brother Jason and his dog @baltosf.

I already know 2017 will be a big year for us as well! I hope you’ve all had a great start to the new year!

Life, Lifestyle

3 Failures I Learned From

October 3, 2016

img_3858Scarf: Burberry  // Leg Warmer: Grace & Lace

I recently started a new chapter of my life and it has been wonderful so far. I am excited about life because I am happy with my job and relationships. However, life is full of challenges and rollercoasters so I have been reflecting on my past failures. My personal failures have helped me grow, mature, adapt, appreciate, and learn. Here are three failures I have learned from:

Finances

Four years ago, I worked for an e-commerce startup. The company struggled with fundraising, ran out of money and couldn’t make payroll. I was in my early 20’s and this was unexpected. I relied on the paychecks and had not saved up for a rainy day. Luckily, the startup secured funding 5 weeks later and we all received our backpay. I learned that no matter how hard working and ambitious you are, there are always external factors that could impact your financial well-being so it’s important to save up! Thankfully, this lesson of financial planning and managing financial risks was one that I learned very young.

Career

I spent my last year of business school looking for a job. The job search was an extremely painful, eye opening, and humbling experience. I knew what industries, function, and companies I want to work for, but it was difficult getting offers. I learned a lot about myself and was surprised that I have so much perseverance. After graduation, I moved to San Francisco without a job but quickly received job interviews and offers. Being in the target city really helped since I was able to meet hiring managers in person and employers knew I would be able to start immediately. In the end I accepted an offer with a great company, and I now know I had to go through all the painful rejections to finally get to this point. My advice to job seekers is to know what you want, set realistic goals and targets (your experience should match the job requirements), and to not give up! The easier route is to accept an offer with a company you’re not excited about or to stay at a job where you’re not growing/advancing, but you’ll just be unhappy and unsatisfied.

Relationships

I’ve had many failed relationships over the years, whether it’s just letting the relationship grow distant over time or falling out over disputes.  Maintaining strong relationships with family and friends is the hardest, but also the most important. I still struggle with this every day, but I have learned that if someone is important, then treasure this person and never walk away.