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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.

Life, Lifestyle

What’s Next for Ditch the Heels

September 12, 2016

lower nob hill

Happy Morning! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. I have not blogged in a couple of weeks so I just want to share some life updates and talk about what’s next for Ditch the Heels.

New Chapter in San Francisco

When I first started this blog, I was a student in business school and my husband lived in another state. I recently graduated and moved from the Midwest to San Francisco. SF has been a target city for many years because it has the jobs/companies I am interested in and I also want to live close to my brother. For a while I did not know if the move will happen, but my husband and I both found jobs and this dream has quickly become a reality. I received the keys to our new apartment (picture above!) last Wednesday and the movers arrived on Thursday. I am excited for my husband to arrive tonight and to finally live together again! Now he can be an Instagram husband again!

What’s Next?

I have been extremely busy the last couple of months with the move and new job. I used to post 2-3 times a week, but lately I’ve only had time to post once or twice a month. I have learned so much and have met amazing people since starting this blog, and I am still passionate about blogging, so I want to continue. However, I want to set realistic expectations for myself so that I won’t feel stressed or sad if I am unable to blog. I plan to post once a week–targeting Mondays since I have the weekends to work on content. My focus will still be beauty and fashion, but I will also try to do more food, travel and life posts.

If you have any comments or feedback–including anything San Francisco related–please leave it below. Thank you and I hope you have a great week ahead!

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?

kwest

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