All posts in: Life

16 Mar 2019

Last Summer’s Weddings

My month long summer vacation ended with two back-to-back weddings. I’m not talking two weekends in a row; I mean consecutive Friday and Saturday weddings. Believe it or not, one of my best friends decided to elope that same week as well! While I wasn’t jumping at the chance to have three weddings in a row (hers was Thursday) if logistics had worked out, I would attended. I hate to miss anyone’s wedding, but what can you do?

I’m headed to my first wedding of the year in two weeks – for that girl ^^ so the timing is perfect. Both of these summer weddings were quite different from each other so I wanted to use it as an opportunity to try out two looks. For the first wedding, we stayed local in the Presidio. That black and white polka dotted dress with bell sleeves only cost me $8 at H&M. It was the best “steal” I ever landed! I don’t know what prompted me to pull it off the rack because normally it’s not a dress I would gravitate towards. It had also been years since I had stepped foot into H&M. This dress combined with the high pony and yellow clutch is going down in history as my favorite wedding guest look.

For the next night, we ventured east to Livermore in wine country! It was so warm that I needed something light and breezy. Finding a dress for this wedding turned out to be more challenging for me. We actually landed on it the day before and because I was in a pinch, I went with something I knew would work: Reformation. Readers, have you ever worn a dress to a wedding with a white base? I had deep anxiety over this and almost didn’t follow through with the dress. Since forever, my rule has always been no white to any wedding. I’ll admit, I never once forgot that the base of my dress was white the entire night and it bothered me. As much as I love Reformation dresses, I didn’t quite feel like myself in this one. The H&M felt much more in our wheelhouse!

Since it was the last two weddings of the summer, I also decided to splurge on working with Glamsquad. For Friday’s San Francisco wedding, I had their assistance for the high pony. You all know I could never do that myself! And for Saturday, I hired them to help with makeup. This isn’t something that will become routine for me because it’s not like it’s cheap. However, I think when there’s a certain look you are trying to achieve, but can’t, they are who you want to call.

So far, we’ve just got two weddings on the agenda for the year. I’d love to try out new trends as they come for the wedding season and am taking recommendations now!

16 Mar 2019

Managing Your Inbox And Keeping It At Zero

When I first transitioned into startups, I had no idea that my inbox would be one of the things I would have to start getting used to. I was migrating over to Gmail from Outlook which seemed easy enough. However, because of the nature of my job, I was going from inbox zero all the time to constantly having 50 different messages to get through every day. It has been 5.5 years and today, I’m still trying to manage, but I would like to think that I’ve gotten better over the years.

Turn it into a game

Your goal is to get to Inbox 0 by the end of the day or at any time of the day. When you look at your inbox, if there are emails that don’t require any action from you or are just an FYI, archive them immediately. Don’t let them sit in your inbox any longer and get them out of there. For anything that does require a response, respond and take action. If you can’t, set aside time for when you can get to it. Another helpful tip is blocking times on your calendar for when you have designated time to process emails. Do you want to tackle emails in the morning before work or in the evening?

Unsubscribe / Politely Decline

As a recruiter, my email address gets circulated to so many companies. Every week, I’m hearing about a new tool that will allow me to do my job more efficiently or a new agency that wants to partner with me on a search. I know that none of these are feasible at this time. I could continue to archive each email as I’ve been doing, but that takes energy and time too. Like mute is to Instagram, unsubscribe is to my inbox. For anyone trying to do business with me that I know I can’t partner with, I email them back after their first email. If I never respond, the emails will keep coming. However, if I politely decline and let them know I’ll reach out if my situation changes, they know that I’m a) responsive and that b) I’ll get back to them when the time is right.

Canned Responses

There are a number of different tools online that you can go to, but I just use my own templates within Gmail. This has been a life saver! Since I’m mainly writing emails to people, it can’t be copied and pasted word for word, but I do my best to fill in as much as I can. This shaves minutes off of my work days especially for repeated emails. Relatedly, there’s another tool that acts as a shortcut for your keyboard that will complete sentences, even paragraphs for you.

Make Your Inbox Work For You

I wouldn’t consider myself a pro when it comes to my inbox. I’m not using all of the features that are provided, but I use what I know works for me. A few of those examples are folders and labels. Folders keep me organized and everything that I need in one place. When I’m unable to find an email I’m searching for on the first try, I know I haven’t done a good job. It’s because there’s so much in there living in the archives. My labels are broken up into four categories. I’ve got your standard Important and Unread and Everything Else. For my job, I also need To Do and To Schedule. When these areas start to look to bulky, I know I’ve got some work ahead of me. Like keeping my inbox to zero, these are two other areas that I like to keep to a minimum.

Hold Yourself Accountable

I generally find that it’s helpful to create an SLA (service level agreement) with yourself. Not only do you have to think about getting those emails out of your inbox, but when do you want to get back to people? As a rule of thumb, 24 hours is my standard. Anything longer, unless you’re on a vacation, I might consider that individual to be slightly unreliable. It’s a courtesy to be able to get back to people in this time span and knowing this and sticking to it will keep your inbox manageable.

10 Mar 2019

Summer Travel: Antelope Canyon

It’s the last post in my “Summer Travel” series and as I write this, I am reflecting on how grateful I was to have taken time off. This isn’t something that everyone can afford to do and I recognize that. I’ll also say that when I had my heart set out on a month, that I could have been better at planning this financially. Sorry Mom and Dad. Each week of my time away from work had its own intention. By the end of our summer travel, Antelope Canyon was the last thing on my list.

If you can try and shove how touristy this place is to the back of your head, you’ll do just fine. Leslie and I picked the end of the day because a) availability b) we could take our time with the tour c) different kind of light. I kind of believe that there likely isn’t a wrong time to go and with editing tools these days, you can make your photos look like anything.

If you have ever seen any photos of Antelope Canyon, it’s exactly what you would imagine. It’s quite an incredible sight to see and there’s so much history tied to these tours. Your guides are also on point for their Instagram shots and will likely teach you a thing or two. I guess when you do these tours all day every day, you kind of become an expert.

Curious which tour we booked? Check out [Kens Tours] for the exact one we used.

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09 Mar 2019

Happy International Women’s Day!

I’m a day late, but I have a perfect excuse! To celebrate International Women’s Day I went out to dinner with two of my favorite former colleagues – both of whom I’m extremely proud of. I met these two ladies at my first start up when they had joined right out of school. Today, they are both engineering managers at their respective companies.

It’s not like this was the first ever International Women’s Day, but the celebration itself felt more powerful than ever. It overtook my entire Instagram/Twitter/Facebook feeds and I couldn’t get enough of it. The recognition of women not only in tech, but in other industries across the nation and the world was overwhelming. It was inspiring.

At my current company, this is the first time that I’ve been a part of the Women’s Employee Resource Group. There were activities of course, to celebrate women, but that welcomed the men in who were there to show their support. And that support was resounding. When the work week felt a little blah this week, this was the kind of thing that lifted me up.

24 Feb 2019

Summer Travel: Las Vegas

Y’all might be surprised, but my first time experiencing Las Vegas post age 21 was just this past summer. Of course, I’d been to Vegas when I was much younger, but of course was too young to really know what it was about. While planning our travels, Tommy, Leslie and I could have flown straight into Arizona, but knowing that I hadn’t spent much time in Vegas, we figured that this was the better starting point. In one day, we were able to experience both a pool party and a night club. It’s pretty much the most partying I’ve done in one day since I could last remember. Okay – the last bachelorette party I went to.

The best way I could describe my experience in one word is: distracted. At all points during the day, I felt like I was on sensory overload. My attention was being pulled in so many different directions. There were many characters and I couldn’t seem to find myself focused on any one thing. I also found this part of my vacation to be the least relaxing out of all the spots!

It might be because I’ve been watching too much of the show “PEN15” lately, but in a place like Las Vegas, I definitely felt like an uncool person. It didn’t help that I showed up to the pool party wearing my swimsuit inside out or that I started the morning off with an enormous burger in my hand rather than a drink, but what can you do? Vegas is packed with some of the most beautiful people and the best bodies. It’s strange to share because I haven’t admitted this before, but being in this environment made me feel completely self-conscious. It was like being a fish out of water. What helped me through this was that at the end of the day it’s just a vacation. This is not my life 24/7 and when I return to my own life after this, so will everyone else.

Granted, I see the appeal. I completely understand why men and women love Vegas. One thing that I didn’t find to be true is that it’s not that much cheaper for women. Maybe I’m doing it wrong, but I did feel like we spent a fair amount of money. If I had gone to Vegas while I was younger, I think I would have enjoyed my experience more. This time around, I was clearly too old and likely too sober. That being said, I would not have wanted to do Vegas with anyone else other than Tommy and Leslie who are pros.

23 Feb 2019

Why It’s Okay To Slow Down

This week has been a particularly trying week for me. For the last 5-6 years working in tech, I’ve always had this sense of urgency looming around me. It’s something that I’ve also discussed on Yow Yow! from time to time. Even when I’m not working, I could always be working. On the weekends, I have to actively make myself stop. It’s not a concept that people outside of the Bay Area are familiar with – those people tend to think I’m crazy. Those working in tech though battle with similar complexes.

As of late though, that sense of urgency has lessened and while this is a good thing for me both emotionally and mentally, my brain had a hard time registering. I was able to leave work early this week. Somehow, I managed to beat rush hour – something that never happens! I made dinner at home with plenty of time to spare. And I had more than enough time to write on Yow Yow! but I didn’t use it all. Instead I started my bedtime routine early, fell asleep to a podcast and got more hours of sleep in a night than I could last remember on a weekday.

But why couldn’t I be satisfied? There were several moments in this evening where I remembered sitting dumbfounded and wondering what to do with my time. Was I bored for the first time? Why couldn’t I be happy having the extra time? Was there a particular reason why I felt like I needed to work even after returning home from the office? I figured, there MUST be something wrong with me.

tl:dr there’s not; but there is a reason for this. For the last few years of my working career, work has been non-stop. In the past, it has run my life. What this is is a blessing in disguise. This bubble that I live in tells people like me that you are only successful if you continue to give your life to your job. I have felt guilty in the past choosing myself over work. It will take me a couple of weeks (hopefully just one week) to get used to this feeling and to explore what could be my new routine. In the meantime, I know that things can pick up any moment. During this period, I’m excited to give more time to Yow Yow! I also planned my first vacation that is truly just for me since I’ve been a working woman. Next up? Taiwan this spring!

18 Feb 2019

Summer Travel: Lake Powell

Swimsuit – Oak + Fort

I’ve known about Lake Powell for years, but never dreamed of going there as a one time destination. Lucky for us, it fit well into our travel plans. Lake Powell is so close to Horeshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon that when we were planning, it made sense to go to all three. In fact, we were able to spend the afternoon there after breakfast and then do the last tour of the day at Antelope Canyon. I was told that to get the most out of the spot that you needed a boat. I’m sure that’s true, but it wasn’t something that we considered. My vision for passing through here was just to lounge and relax and it was my favorite part of the trip.

Apparently, there is a separate entrance that you can go to that is a bit more touristy, but can be costly. The woman at the front desk advised us to do as the locals do though. Leaving our hotel, we took a sharp right down an obscure road until we reached a small parking lot. It was a bit of a hike down made even more challenging because of the sun, but it was so worth it! We were able to just lay out our towels and enjoy the perfect water. The views of Lake Powell even from this one spot were absolutely breathtaking and like nothing I’ve ever seen before. If I could go back every year, I think I would!

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