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Life, Lifestyle

What’s Next for Ditch the Heels

September 12, 2016

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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?

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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

Life, Lifestyle, Misc

2015 Highlights and 2016 Goals

January 5, 2016

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Hello 2016! I know I’m a little late, but I’ve been super busy transitioning back to school. My one month winter break was wonderful but went by way too fast! I had a great time with family and friends in Minnesota and soaked in some sun in Costa Rica. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and New Year. I love spending the new year reflecting back on the past year’s highlights and starting the new year with a clean slate of things I look forward to!

2015 Highlights:

  • Starting Ditch the Heel was one of my proudest accomplishments. When I first started, my goal was to share my passions and I thought only my close friends and family will read it. Now 6 months later, I have over 3500 subscribers/followers across my channels and I have collaborated with several brands. I am learning every single day! I’ve also made many blogger friends and we share stories about our Instagram husband, juggling blog/school/full-time job, etc. It feels like a sisterhood and I love all of the support we give each other!
  • I love to travel and was fortunate enough to visit many places in 2015: Turkey, China, Japan, Costa Rica, North Carolina, Washington DC, New Jersey, New York, Washington, Oregon, and California. My favorites were visiting my husband in Turkey and our West Coast anniversary trip.
  • I was not a fan of raw seafood until I traveled to Japan. During my one week visit, I had sushi almost every day and even tried raw crab (and it was amazing!). This is a great reminder to always try new food because you may end up loving it!
  • I am loving my graduate school journey and the endless opportunities! Last year I was selected for the Super Bowl Ad Review, where a group of students watched the Super Bowl together to review all the ads based on a framework we learned in class. There were reporters and media networks there, which created a lot of excitement. I also competed in an international case competition and my team took 2nd place at the final round in NYC. It was a great opportunity to practice presenting to a large group of people and I learned a lot about leveraging each other’s strengths during a time crunch.
  • My brother got a puppy @baltosf and I’ve loved seeing it transition from a shy, scared puppy that hid under the bed when I first visited into an energetic, happy puppy that loves to meet new people and explore his surroundings. I just love him and I wish I could see him every day!

Every year I think about new year resolutions, but this year I focused more on my personal goals and things I look forward to in 2016.

2016 Goals:

  • One item on my bucket list is to compete in a triathlon, but I don’t know how to swim! I did take a couple private lessons in 2015, but learned only the very basics. My instructor didn’t even teach me how to tread water. I would like to continue with group swimming lessons in the Spring.
  • It’s surprising that I have never traveled to Europe (unless you count Turkey), so after my graduation this summer I am planning a Europe trip with my husband. We are thinking 2-3 countries, but haven’t decided which ones. I would love to hear your suggestions if you’ve traveled anywhere in Europe!
  • My husband and I are living apart while I attend graduate school. The #1 thing we look forward to is settling down so we can plant our roots. I can’t wait to find a permanent home where we could live the next few years and furnish it with nice things!

I would love to hear your 2016 goals/resolutions and what are your favorite countries to visit in Europe!

Life, Lifestyle, Misc

10 Things You Can Do On Sundays To Have A Productive Week

November 29, 2015

10 Things You Can Do On Sundays To Have A Productive Week

Thanksgiving break is almost over and for most of us, that means it will be back to school/work tomorrow! As much as I want to take it easy today, next week is going to be a busy week for me, so here are some advice on things to do this Sunday to have a productive week ahead!

  1. Make a cup of coffee/tea/hot chocolate and create a list of things you need to get done this week. This list can be organized by level of urgency, tasks by day of the week, or whatever method is most effective for you.
  2. Review and update your calendar for the week. By having a fresh memory of meetings, classes, lessons, appointments, etc, you will have a good idea of how much free time you will have to complete your list of tasks. If you have to, block time on your calendar to prevent others from scheduling meetings during that time.
  3. Clean your home/work space and take out the trash. There’s nothing worse than starting the week with a messy house. This can cause unnecessary stress at the end of a long day; meantime, a clean space can help you stay refreshed and motivated.
  4. Wash your sheets and clothes. I love the feeling of sleeping on clean sheets and having clean clothes for the week!
  5. Check the weather and plan out what you will wear. Incorporate your calendar–for example you may need to dress up for a presentation one day or need to pack gym clothes another day.
  6. For my bloggers friends, photograph pictures in advance! Set up and prep can take forever, so I usually like to photograph a couple weeks of blog posts all in one day. This is also to avoid any unexpected challenges that may come up, for example bad weather or not having enough natural light. That picture above? I made my husband take it a month ago because I had planned to do this post after Thanksgiving!
  7. Plan out what to eat for breakfast/lunch/dinner that week and go grocery shopping. Making this list enables a speedy shopping trip, enforces you to purchase only what you need, and helps to prevent forgetting an ingredient.
  8. Catch up on emails so you can start the week with a clean inbox. Some people don’t like to check emails on the weekends in case new projects/work come up, but I personally like to be prepared, even if this means deleting a bunch of junk mail that came in. I don’t like starting Mondays with a bunch of unread emails.
  9. Call family/friends/love ones just to say hi (and to avoid getting too many calls during the week).
  10. Have some “me” time. Take some time toward the end of the night with a little pampering session so you will feel refreshed and ready to conquer the week ahead!

By taking advantage of Sundays, it can be a great way to jumpstart the week and to reduce stress! Hope you’ve found this helpful. Now go get things done!

Life, Lifestyle

2015 Holiday Gift Guide for Him and Her

November 25, 2015

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the United States and Friday is Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year! My brother and I used to line up early in the morning to go Black Friday shopping. I still remember the long lines at Best Buy and Circuit City. It was rough shopping on Black Friday in Minnesota, where the temperature usually dropped below freezing. Nowadays, retails are making it easier to shop by having the same deals online vs in-store so I would much rather do my shopping online. Most people will begin their Christmas shopping this week, so I wanted to post a holiday guide for him and her. My suggestions are mostly beauty and fashion since that’s the focus of this blog. I also have some of my favorite online retailers below with coupon codes and will add to the list.

2015 holiday gift guide for him and her

Gift Ideas for Her:

  • Sephora Favorites Beauty Unmasked – Great products to cleanse, detox, boost, hydrate, and brighten. These are wonderful products to incorporate into a pampering session. This would also make a great stocking stuffer.
  • Hourglass Ambient Lighting – A palette that includes blushes, powder, bronzer, and highlighter. Great product for someone who is new to makeup or is looking to get great value out of a smaller palette to try first before purchasing these at the full size.
  • NEST Fragrance “Pumpkin Chai” Reed Diffuser – These diffusers are a great alternative to candles and will keep the house scented all day. It is also a great decor item.
  • BP Plaid Poncho – Super comfortable for the winter! Definitely a must have this season.
  • Club Monaco Textured Hat – I especially love the one in cream/grey. This hat will keep your head warm while looking stylish. Use coupon code EXTRATHIRTY for additional 30% off.
  • Knee-High Boots – I love the minimal look of this pair and it will go with so many outfits. You can wear it over jeans or with a dress.
  • Olivia Palermo Necklace on BaubleBar – Olivia is a fashion icon and I love some of the pieces she created as a “guest bartender” on BaubleBar. These pieces are great for a New Years Eve party. Join the mailing list to receive 20% off coupon.

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Gift Ideas for Him:

  • The Art of Shaving Kit  Four step kit containing pre-shave oil, shaving cream, after-shave balm, and shaving brush.
  • Herschel Duffle Bag – Perfect weekender bag or gym bag. It has a separate shoe section so that it won’t get any other items dirty.
  • Bonobos Sport Shirt – A great every day shirt. Can wear it by itself or under a sweater/blazer.
  • Everlane Belt – A classic belt made of 100% Italian leather.
  • Foot Cardigan Subscription – For the sock lover in your life! I saw this on Shark Tank recently and thought it was interesting. It’s also affordable at $9 a month.

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Online Deals:

  • Ann Taylor – 50% off entire purchase with code CELEBRATE
  • Anthropologie – 25% off entire purchase with code SHOPTOIT
  • ASOS – Up to 60% off casual before 11/26, 30% off Cyber Monday with code BLESSED
  • Banana Republic – Half off sweaters and 40% off rest of purchase with code BRFRIDAY
  • Club Monaco – 30% off sale items and 40% off clearance with code EXTRATHIRTY
  • Cole Haan – 30% off entire purchase on Black Friday & Cyber Monday
  • GAP – 50% off entire purchase with code EARLY
  • JCrew – 30% off regular priced item and 40% off sale items with code HOLIDAY
  • Madewell – 25% off entire purchase with code CALMDOWN
  • Rebecca Minkoff – 25% off entire purchase + essie nail polish (Cyber Monday only)
  • Shopbop – Spend $250+ save 15%, spend $500+ save 20%, spend $1,000+ save 25% with code GOBIG15
  • Tory Burch – Spend $250, receive 30% off with code THANKS
  • True Religion – 40% off entire purchase from Nov 26-Dec 1

I would love to hear what’s on your wishlist or what you’re getting for someone special in your life! Hope you all have a safe and wonderful holiday season!

Fashion, Life, Lifestyle, Misc

One Year Wiser, Birthday Reflections

October 28, 2015

IMG_1824Dress: TIFF | Heels: Calvin Klein | Scarf: Burberry

My birthday was this past Sunday and I had a great time celebrating with my friends and husband! They asked me questions such as “What are 3 accomplishments from the previous year?” “What have been the high point and low point of the past year?” “What have you learned about yourself?” “What do you look forward to this year?” I realized in the past I have never spent time on my birthdays to reflect, so I have been thinking about these questions for the last couple of days. There have been so many changes and new opportunities this past year–I moved to Chicago to start business school, my husband and I started long distance, I traveled to a few international destinations, I spent time recruiting for jobs, etc. Overall, I could write pages on my answers to the questions above, but I wanted to highlight a couple of things:

Relationships matter. Treasure the people who are important. In business school, I have met so many amazing classmates. Many have shown incredible kindness and selflessness, many have inspired me and challenged me, many have lifted my spirit when I was down, and many will be my lifelong friend. Even though I am away at school, my family and friends are the most important people in my life. I talk to them regularly and love seeing them when I have a little bit of break from school. One year from now, my husband and I may be starting over in a new city, which will bring many exciting adventures, but I hope to never lose track of a friend/family because of time or distance.

Be proud of your own accomplishments. School has been a humbling experience. Never in my life have I met so many incredibly smart, talented and ambitious people. When I hear about the things classmates have accomplished or are working on, this often inspires and motivates me, but sometimes I question my own accomplishments. I have learned that this comparison is a waste of energy and time. Chasing someone else’s dream or following the norm won’t bring me happiness. It was a hard decision to spend 2 years away from my husband and to go into major debt in order to pay the outrageous tuition bills, so I’m going to make those sacrifices count by accomplishing my own goals!

Try new things. Get out of your comfort zone. This has not always been easy for me but it’s something I will always be working on. Launching this blog was going out of my comfort zone. When I first started, I told my friends that I will do some fashion posts but cut out my head because I don’t feel comfortable posting pictures of myself online. When I slowly started sharing this blog with close friends and family, one said “This is fantastic, why don’t you post the link on Facebook?” For me the blog has not been about gaining thousands of followers so I can become a full-time blogger (though I admit is is fun to think about sometimes!), but the blog was started as a creative outlet and as a way of learning more about social media/content creation/user engagement. It has been serving its purpose and I have been having fun at my photo shoots too!!

Those are just some of my birthday reflections! I want to thank my friends/family for thinking of me on my birthday, my lovely girlfriends for treating me to high tea, and my husband for making my birthday weekend extra special!

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