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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, Misc

2015 Highlights and 2016 Goals

January 5, 2016


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, Misc, Style

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!





Liebster Award!

June 18, 2015

liebster-award-logoI have been nominated for the Liebster Award by fellow blogger Emily at Always Emily. Thank you so much! I am so honored! Honestly I never thought maintaining a blog would take up so much time. I started my blog 3 weeks ago during the middle of finals and thought I’ll have more time during summer break, but it has been difficult with a full-time job. Most days I am up by 6m and don’t get home until 8 or 9pm. I’ve been working really hard on content and I’m so touched by the kindness of the blogging community. It has been so much fun discovering new blogs and making new friends. Thank you for the warm welcome! Continue Reading…


Hello! Welcome to Ditch the Heels!

June 5, 2015

Hello! I’m Emily, creator of this blog. Here are some facts about me:

  • I am married to the most loving, patient, and generous man, Ted. We are approaching our 2 year anniversary this August
  • I am “aunt” to the cutest Alaskan Klee Kai, Balto. He resides in San Francisco with my brother Jason and has the Instagram account @baltosf
  • I am a graduate student living in Chicago
  • Prior to school, I was a marketer for a large consumer product goods company
  • I love international travels. In the last 2 years I have traveled to New Zealand, Fiji, Peru, Turkey, China, and Japan
  • I am learning how to swim with the goal of completing a triathlon next year
  • I watch way too much TV!

Emily and Ted


I have always wanted to launch a beauty and lifestyle blog, but fear stopped me. There are amazing bloggers whom I admire and they’ve set an extremely high bar. My family and friends gave me the courage to pursue this passion, and I am thankful for their support.

Why Ditch the Heels? The name fits my personality and the content of this blog. Ditch the Heels is about effortless beauty, self-confidence, adventures and explorations, and bliss.

Why beauty and lifestyle? My friends often come to me for makeup and skincare advice, and I could spend hours talking to them about different products and applications. I have a curious mind and strong desire to learn new things so I am constantly looking up things, from ingredients found in beauty products to self-taught calligraphy for my wedding invitations. I have a deep passion in photography and travel, and I want to improve my photography skills by practicing through this blog. This blog will contain content that inspires me, and I hope to share with you the joy and happiness. Most of us are extremely busy in our everyday lives so we get stuck in a routine. I am guilty of letting weeks or even months go by without working on a project that excites me. This blog is a way of keeping me in check, and I hope it inspires you to make time to do something you love!

Thank you for coming to this blog and I would love to hear your feedback and suggestions! Please follow Ditch the Heels on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and BlogLovin’ (all the links are in the icons)! You can also subscribe to new posts by email using the form on the sidebar.