It'sSomeone just asked me how it's going. Usually people, including me, respond with, "great!" ---> I didn't this time. Thought I'd share with you verbatim what I actually said and how I'm actually doing (and with continual appreciation to my dear husband Daedalus who's been my rock, so steady and unwavering in his support of this person that is me):
"My heart is heavy. I think I'm on the brink of tears at any given moment. I'm still hopeful (I don't know why). :)"
I posted this on Facebook earlier today. Yes, there's a smile-y face at the end of it. Both feelings at the same time, positive and negative, happiness and sadness, hope and despair, ... I'm feeling all scrambled eggs inside. It's been tough, especially this past week. My family is going through some very challenging times.
Well, it's the end of the end of the day, and out of nowhere, all these people, some close, some random, some far far away, and some acquaintances commented. I'm kind of in awe. Awe. ... or like, "awwww....."
So this is what love is, right? This is what being a community is about, right? Is this real? I feel like there's real hope for humanity. Conservative, liberal, green, blue, tall, old, young, city person, world traveler, small town, man, woman, ... we're all in this thing called life together.
I picked a really hard one to go after. Really hard. Every investor or advisor or whomever I meet with has told me so. I believe them. I'm 10 years in on this journey and we're still going. This is our story.
This is my first time telling this story - actually put it together from scratch the day before. And it was so refreshing to share it.
Thank you. Feedback welcome.
I wrote this post because often I find that we silly humans can get carried away with expectations around what's really important on "holidays". Whether you're single or coupled, the most important thing to remember is the value of the relationship with those most important in our lives. It's not about getting a gift of a fancy $800 shoes from your husband or a $500 Valentine's Day dinner at an expensive restaurant or romantic diamond jewelry. It's not. (Though, if that's what makes it real for you - go have fun and enjoy for sure.) For many others, let's remember to keep it real. It's all about the simple thoughtful gesture to the ones we love in our lives.
1. Embrace your inner cheese.
Seriously. Keep it simple. Simple. Get or make a sweet card for the one (or ones) you love. Who says Valentine's Day has to just be about significant others, and spouses? Send some love to your girlfriends, your guyfriends, your favorite siblings and teachers, bartender, concierge, coworker and/or mailman. :) (Ideally, buy/make/prepare the card in advance.) ---> And a simple <3 text is a great gesture, too. That's super easy to do, so go share the "<3" and text away to all those you love.
2. It's the thought (and hug) that counts.
There's really NO need to break the bank for Valentine's. Unless you REALLY want to go all out, THEN GO ALL OUT. Sweet crystal stud earrings, small delicate bracelet/necklace --- all nice. Just as nice as half a dozen beautiful delicious macaroons or a small box of 4 decadent chocolates. Or go eat at your favorite dessert place - get that big slice of white chocolate strawberry cake. Or hell, grab a bottle of wine, cuddle up with your fluffy dog, your babe (or BFF) and watch a movie. It's the planned thought and the time that counts, NOT THE DOLLARS. A really big big big warm snuggly hug is super amazing, too. :)
3. Have your plan ready.
About 1-3 days before, ideally, have your plan ready for Valentine's Day. Don't leave it to the day of or last minute because that's unnecessarily making it stressful to both you and the recipient(s). Whether it's for your girlfriend or wife or a bunch of BFF's, know what you're going to do. Send her/him/them all a loving text message or voicemail at the start of the day to tell them you're thinking about them. Have the card ready before Valentine's Day. Know whether you're going to cuddle someone with a glass of wine and watch an old movie, go out to get some delicious dessert, or go all out with dinner out on the town + roses + chocolates + and then some. (Stressing should not be part of the plan.)
Alrighty. Don't stress. Valentine's Day is simple - just follow the above 3 steps.
Inspired by recent events
We've started #theredscarfproject as foundhers and founders to take action in making a difference. :) A lot of us, we see the challenges, we've experienced some of them, and we feel like we have the power to help make it better. Even a little, for at least someone out there.
We're working on getting it off the ground. To share with you a little bit about the mantra, it's about being a shining light of what is possible. We want to help inspire others to not just point out what's wrong, but take it a little further to help action what "right" is. And as we all know, often it takes a few iterations until we all really figure out what "right" really is. Our current focus is on spotlighting heroes in our communities who play by paying it forward. Doing for others what you wish someone had done for you.
Our initial thoughts on what it means to be a part of this:
If you'd like to keep in-the-know of what's going on as we launch this, please LIKE our new Facebook page.
We're working on building our humble startup fund, so if you'd like to donate as we work on our website and building the team, we'd LOVE you forever! Please DONATE here. (Any amount helps: $5, $20, $50, $100, $1000, $1Million). Thanks in advance! :D
More updates to come.
We all rise when we lift others up.
It must be the season or something. I feel like there's just too much noise. There are too many distractions. This is the home screen on my iPhone 6plus phablet BEFORE I made the change.
This is my NEW home screen on my iPhone 6Plus phablet. I focused on only keeping apps that I 1) use every day or should use every day, or 2) apps that I really enjoy or want to prioritize up in my life. Somehow, Amazon.com has made the cut but they just make it too freaking easy to get all those shopping errands (household items, diapers, etc...) done with 1 thumb. And, dudes and dudettes, I love Words with Friends. :) Turned off the notifications on most of the apps. I just don't want to know. I have to do that to email too. I generally don't enjoy emails, text messages, ... actually, I DESPISE Facebook messenger, and voicemails.
Screen #2 = Random stuff I may keep.
Most of this (80%)... will get deleted if I don't try it within a few months. Even if I do try it, if I don't use it again, it will get deleted. A few items are just "hanging out" here. The Settings and the Calculator are exceptions - it's just I don't want them on the main home screen.
Screen #3 = Evil stuff I want to do a LOT LESS of.
And yes, there's our baby Lentil's face there, reminding me that there's much MUCH more to life than social media or online videos.
There REALLY is such a thing as TOO MUCH. Too much noise in the world today. We're all paying attention to the wrong details about what matters. We'll see if this helps me. I'll report back in a few weeks on this.
1 year old. Some milestones or highlights going on right as I type this:
We recently celebrated our 5 years of marriage. Time has just flown by - Looking back at ourr wedding photos (the cool ones above were done by Thom Milkovic, an amazing creative), it brings back so many memories. One of the most happy memories I have to this day - LOVE our wedding. Everything about it.
We planned our wedding in 2 weeks (we had the benefit of me having done event planning for over a decade). Dae proposed and we told everyone about our engagement officially on December 1, 2011, and about 5 weeks later, we had our wedding day. Crazy fast. And still to this day, I say I LOVE our wedding day. We did it differently - like the way we are living our lives, from what's expected normally in society - and it was just perfect for us.
How we did it differently (memorably, and efficiently):
Ah love. It's a journey. This year, for our anniversary, we went out to a steak dinner (we rarely ever eat steak, like ever~).... and then both of us ended up with food poisoning for 3 days. It's been a fun week. Benefit to that is that we'll forever remember our 5h wedding anniversary. :)
In 2017, I am OFFICIALLY committing to do 1 blog post a week. #postaWeek2017
LET IT BE KNOWN.
Here we go. Post #1. ... I need to queue up some blog post ideas.... 2017 really crept up on me. I don't know where 2016 went. All I know is that I have created the most precious being of my life with the most awesome husband of all, the Lentil. Lentil is now almost a year old. A little over 30 inches tall, a little over 25 pounds, says a handful of words already, stands proud, has been taking his very first few steps and is already working on walking. Well, since I'm letting everyone know about this #postaWeek2017 challenge, I might as well share some other "resolution" thoughts I've been working on this week.
Not in any prioritized order, here are five "resolution" top-of-mind thoughts:
That's all I got writing today. :) Thanks for reading.
Seattle is the hub for Pacific Northwest entrepreneurial innovation. As you walk down the street, you’ll see Starbucks, a company founded here. Look up to the sky and you may notice a Boeing plane fly by— another company founded here. It’s no wonder entrepreneurs are flocking to Seattle to find talent, inspiration and a vibrant startup community. Though there were many places I considered building GiftStarter.com, I chose Seattle for the countless resources and benefits it provides entrepreneurs.
1. There’s a community of support.
If you talk to any startup founder in the Emerald City, they’ll tell you about the tight-knit community of entrepreneurs and startup enthusiasts. Whether you’re looking for feedback on an idea or an introduction to take your business to the next level, you can count on Seattle to be supportive of your endeavor. Every week, you’ll find a wide range of networking events and resources to help you build something incredible. Some of my favorites include Startup Poker 2.0 with Startup Haven, New Tech Seattle Meetups and Startup Grind. There's even a plethora of co-working spaces to choose from like the SURF Incubator, Impact Hub, WeWork and Galvanize.
2. You can find inspiration in nature.
When we embrace the outdoors and our natural surroundings, we often become more creative and have better ideas. In Seattle, we have beautiful lakes and mountains just a quick trip away. I find solace in nature and often use long walks and fresh air to recharge my batteries after a stressful week. You can, too by joining Geeks on a Trail, a startup community that goes on weekly nature walks together.
3. There’s a rich talent pool.
Giants like Amazon, Google and Facebook all have offices located in Seattle, and there’s a good reason for it. Seattle’s rich pool of tech talent makes it a great location to a build a technology product. At GiftStarter.com, we were able to find great talent just through networking and referrals from friends. In fact, we have some great talent-sourcing-related startups in Seattle, like Jobscan and JobWorthy.
4. Investors offer more than just funding.
Seattle has a community of angel investors who are not only investing in the future of technology but able to provide great insight to budding entrepreneurs. In Seattle, I’ve been able to raise funds for my company and learn from so many experts with great advice to share. Some great pitch events you can participate in include Angels, Startups, Pitches & Beers, Seattle Angel Fund, and The Alliance of Angels. Seattle also has some active venture firms, like Maveron, Trilogy Equity Partners, Ignition VC, Vulcan VC and Founders’ Co-op.
But beyond funding, you’ll find there’s a legacy of experience building great companies — both consumer and enterprise. Along with Starbucks and Boeing, Seattle is the home of Nordstrom, Microsoft, Amazon, Julep, Porch, Clarisonic, butter London, Twilio, Costco and REI. Many early investors placed big bets on these companies; many experts helped build them from the ground up; many early customers were a part of the amazing journey.
5. People always come first.
With all of this amazing history and innovation everywhere I turn in Seattle, what I really appreciate about the Seattle startup community is the focus on people, whether they be customers, partners, entrepreneurs, mentors or investors. Here, people bet on people. One of our investors once said, “Reputations are hard to come by, but easy to lose.” I’d contend that, to date, all of GiftStarter.com’s early investors have been 99 percent attributed to the people involved with the company. Most investors, whether early or later stage, are betting on people who they believe in and want to work with. Lasting relationships are an important part of the culture in Seattle.
I’m proud to be building a business in Seattle, and I recommend the city wholeheartedly for any company looking for a startup hub to be successful in.
Originally posted in The Huffington Post.
I'm blogging my #firstsevenjobs. I've seen several people share their first seven jobs and smiled the other week - now, I'm sitting down and sharing.
#1: White Hair Puller: As a school child (9-10 years old?) during one of my summer vacations, my aunt would pay me $.10 for each white hair I pulled out. After a month of hair pulling, she ran out of white hairs to pull, I was out of a job.
#2: Piano Teacher: This was an awesome job that I created for myself during my years in middle school to high school. I first started by going around the neighborhood asking parents of children aged 4-6. I figured I could take on 1-2 kids a day on top of all my extracurricular activities and interests, so I lined up students through word of mouth marketing. By the time I graduated high school, I had enough saved to make a nice big dent in my new college expenses (I was a full-ride student, so every little expense was a challenge to over come during my years in college.)
#3: Assistant at a Carvel Ice Cream Store: I had this job for 1 day - helping mop floors, greet customers, and random things they tried to think of for me to do. The second day I went back, they told me they didn't need me. I was shocked. I learned that if you're working a job that isn't really needed or bringing value, best go find another job fast.
#4: Candy Store Cashier: I needed a second job on top of the piano teaching because I wanted some additional work experience working outside the safety of my home and in a mall like other high school students who were always hanging out at the mall.... so I found out a great friend "Mikey" had this job at the Candy Store and they were hiring. The first day, I got paired up with this much college girl from the city (I was from the 'burbs of the 'burbs, a tiny hamlet). Oh man, she went to town bossing my nervous butt around. Told me to mop - saw how I mopped and she would exclaim, "there's no jobs here for a baby princess!" She taught me how to really mop a floor. She taught me how to get dirty to get a job done right. She eased up on me once I showed her that I was teachable - started teaching me about the politics and the going-ons of people at the mall. Who was dating who. How to spot a shop lifter. How to manage up to a boss. I got paid $5.13/hour and I learned so much in this job.
#5:Baby-sitting: I, like many teenagers, also babysat as needed. The pay was meager. $3 an hour, per child. It was also a great way to get exposure to American culture. (Side note: While I was born in the United States, and very Americanized in many ways, I actually grew up quite culturally sheltered from American culture. I spent most of my free time reading, practicing an instrument, at church, taking care of my brother or working.) While babysitting, I learned about Apple Crisps. WOW, THAT STUFF SO DELICIOUS YUM!!!
#6: Teaching Resident Advisor: Being a geek meant I excelled at a lot of things in nerdy genres. I got to be a Teaching Resident Advisor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's (RPI) summer program for genius high school kids. It paid awesome - and I applied the money earned there to my college budget needs. We taught math, computer science, HTML, stuff like that. In the off hours, I got to be a big sister to the program attendees and/or hang out with other smart geeks from other parts of the country. I think I made my very first Chinese girl friend that summer named Kristine.
#7: Albany Ambassador: Being a super shy kid about to go off into the big world with very little social skills, particularly speaking in front of large audiences, I decided to become an Albany Ambassador giving tours of the Capitol. I spent hours memorizing facts, dates, random trivia. Well, by the time I was ready, the State decided to cancel the need for a tour guide, so that was that.
Funny, all of my first seven jobs happened before I got to college. I had at least seven jobs in college, too - from concert event organizing, to being a Resident Advisor, and from waitressing to being an Actuarial Intern.