"Every fragrance is an opportunity to make an impression. Choose your liquid courage."
What an awesome play on the phrase ‘liquid courage’! It’s still alcohol, but not ingested to alter the state of mind physically. It’s more about the confidence generated in your mind from the feelings made from the scent. Does it still count as a form of mild inebriation? From this marketing ploy, sort of. In any case, I still love it. Go Sephora!
I recently completed my first business trip as a working adult woman in New York for Pinrose, and boy, was I completely exhausted (physically) and energized (mentally) from the ten days away from home.
Here are some professional-world lessons I learned/had reinforced on the trip:
- Know your stuff.
At one of the factories we visited, this was made loud and clear: engineers know what they’re talking about. Businessmen don’t. Fumbling is obvious and embarrassing. If you don’t get how something works on the most basic level, do not be in charge of it. Get someone to explain it to you before you call yourself the lead.
- Have an agenda.
The vast majority of meetings are essentially negotiations, and coming into one without an agenda means you’re at a major disadvantage. The other side isn’t necessarily trying to screw you, but you’re screwing yourself out of potentially great opportunities if you’re not taking the time to make the most out of the meeting.
- Expect delays.
Plan to get there early. Being late is so damn tacky. I came three minutes late to a meeting and felt terrible. I spent the meeting with my mind slightly distracted. Another time, someone came late to a meeting and spent the entire time making up for it. It was actually really interesting to watch. Get there first and you own the space. Get there late and you’ll waste time meandering around what’s been colonized, trying to figure out your place.
- Talk first, business later.
This is debatable, but was so strongly drilled into my brain by this amazing perfumer I had lunch with that I believe this. Research shows that in conversations, leaders are not always talking business and making cool things happen, but rather, they spend the vast, vast majority of their time connecting with the person emotionally. Vito (the perfumer) told me to never rush to business. I used to (and still tend to, to be honest) cut right to the chase because I hate – HATE – wasting time (I blame The Phantom Tollbooth). But I understand better now. To achieve something or make an ambitious exchange, there has to be a certain level of trust between two parties. Both sides are sacrificing something in the hopes of extracting more value than what is presently available. While that trust can be enforced through a contract, an emotionally established trust rather than a trust based on the threat of force or severe consequences produces much greater results. Be nice and talk.
- Bring your travel pillow.
Your neck will thank you.
It was such an eye-opening experience. There are so many pieces that go into the formation, production, and distribution of a simple product.
So excited to delve deeper into this industry!
Today’s the official last day of summer. Here’s a short reflection.
This summer has been a lot of things. Above all, it’s been a transformation of priorities.
I thought adult life was gonna suck. It started off sad - depressing, really. I’d just ended the four most intense years of my life, and was losing the community most close to perfection I would ever experience. To cope, I traveled, reconnected with old friends, and started spending time with new people. I forced myself to look forward and stay positive about the impending doom that was lonely adult life.
I was totally wrong. Somehow, new experiences, deeper friendships, and a different magic bloomed. As someone dear said to me: it’s a new kind of happiness. Something quiet. I’m not used to this, but I like it. I’ve constantly found myself wondering how I got so lucky and if all of this is real. These things don’t happen - especially to me. It’s funny; many have asked about what’s been going on (and got real personal about it - boundaries, people!), and I’ve found myself smiling like a goofball and not being able to articulate much properly. I’m in a good place.
Professionally, I’m in a weird space. It’s almost unhealthy how I am constantly tempted back into something I know isn’t right for me long-term. It’s an immediate vs. future gratification sort of deal. Kind of feels like falling back into an old flame where it’s so wrong but feels so right (actually I don’t know what that’s like, but I think I might have an inkling due to pop music). But don’t worry, I won’t follow the money. I won’t follow what’s easy. I’ll stay grounded.
I’m over it (I think). I’ve started to recognize this ridiculous thirst in me to learn and understand things that I thought was particular only to my pre-college years. I’m placing less value on old sources of excitement like going clubbing and whatnot with friends and more value on absorbing and synthesizing content, discussing interesting ideas, and having one on ones. I haven’t gone out since I moved into SF (traveling too damn much and staying too long every day at work), but I’m happy. I think I’m done with the rage-your-face-off lifestyle.
Who do I care about? One enormous struggle of adult life is selecting who to spend time with. I’ve gotten a lot of advice on this, but it seems that an unwritten list of priority friends is necessary to maintain sanity. Being a yes girl will only result in failure, and there is no way in hell I’m letting that happen.
Adult life rocks. So, folks, I’m as sleep deprived as ever, but I have so much freedom. Freedom to choose what I do and who I see. There’s no red tape and no rigid structure to how I live (I see you college). Priorities have changed drastically. And now that I’m not in a different state every weekend, let’s see how things evolve since I will actually start spending weekends in San Francisco and not on airplanes. Stability, I’m ready for you.
PS - I’m in love with my bamboo steamer.
I’m laying in bed with a small bag of lavender sending emails. Aromatherapy is real. I am so, so relaxed.
Hopped off the plane a few hours ago, took the bus and a metro with Troy to Taylor’s place. He has this amazing apartment that is so intricately decorated but not stuffy. It’s got views into Spike Lee’s humble home across the street. Taylor made this analogy to himself - that he was like a high-end prostitute, very eager to please. I thought he was exaggerating until I discovered two types of toothpaste made available for me in my own bathroom. He’s so nice.
The three of us stayed up late into the night. We sipped Hennessy, caught up on small things, and ate a freshly-baked (frozen) pizza as we watched Louis CK be the giant loveable asshole he is. Such a good night. Those two boys are now playing X-box in the other room. Me? I’m heading to bed. Soon.
Getting up in 2.5 hours to train for an hour and a half to help lead a full day of sorority events. It’s going to be rough but I’m so excited. Looks like the incredibly late nights don’t stop after college.
This morning has been too amazing. I can’t think straight and this Philz caffeine is coursing through my veins, so I must release this somewhere before I explode. If you’re reading this, don’t get too excited - this stuff might not sound like the coolest shit ever but to me it’s making life an absolute ten right now.
For time’s sake slash your sake, I’m fast forwarding through awesomeness from the moment I woke up to the moment I stepped out of my door this morning. I grabbed coffee with someone awesome, and walked to work - my usual 15 minute stroll through SoMa.
I sometimes walk with Jon (my roomie) to work since my office is on the way to his but since his ass was still showering/getting ready (he got home at 4AM the night before… #investmentbankinglife), we got coffee without him. He’s also never been to Philz (wtf?)… but whatever, moving on.
Anyways, I usually run into Cooper almost every morning because our commutes cross paths. Cooper is this adorable guy from Stanford my year, and we always say hi and exchange tiny sound bytes before resuming our days. Today, he texted to say the Muni was late, so we’d probably miss each other. BUT because I was getting coffee with said awesome person, I ended up being late too, and we were able to run into each other! He told me how he picked up our mutual friend from the airport (someone also freaking adorable) and that he had to send me a video (which I need to go watch right now). Amazing part of my morning part two? Check.
And then I downloaded “A Thousand Years”, the Glee version duh, and listened to it as I walked to work. One of my absolute favorite songs right now. Part three.
BUT THEN! But then. I was at around minute 10 of the 15 minutes when I hear in my ear: “hey betch.” I turn around because what the heck? AND THEN IT’S JON! #dying because it was hilarious. I freaking love Jon. I told Dian about this moment and she died because it was so ridiculous. Part four.
Then I got to work and gave my bosses a presentation on all the work I’ve been pouring my heart and soul into these past few weeks. They thought it was fabulous and we jumped straight into my next project - a freaking huge undertaking that no one in their right mind would give to some Stanford Chemical Engineer, BUT since I’m excited and they trust me, I’m doing this work that, on paper, I am severely underqualified for. But it’ll be great! I am SO PUMPED. Totally going to kick major ass. Part five and six!
And now I’m typing this all out because I want to remember this morning forever. This little morning that could have been described as: “I got coffee, walked to work, saw Coops, saw Jon, gave a presentation, got a huge new project” turned into a giant blabfest on Tumblr. Life is awesome. Feeling like one of the luckiest human beings alive right now to be surrounded by some of the most wonderful people in the world with a job that I (and only I) love. Not sure what I did to deserve this but gosh I love everything!
Hugs and kisses to the world <3
I’ve always been fascinated by flash friendships – those chance encounters with strangers that range in length from mere seconds to hours that can change you forever. These past two weeks, these types of friendships were not only what made the trip more spontaneous and educational, they were the most meaningful. Over time the palaces and museums began to all look the same, but the people and conversation remained distinct in my memory.
When I travel I actively pursue conversations with strangers. And with this trip to Korea culminating in an extended layover in Japan, I spent the last 36 hours meeting a handful of people that left me in awe. As some people know, I’m an impatient person. I hate waiting. I’ve never had to wait more than 45 minutes on a plane before taking off, and in those instances I was positively itching to leave. This time, however, I sat in a plane for over 4 hours before taking off. They didn’t let us off that plane (for over 14 hours in total, and as curveball after curveball was chucked at us (caterer and engine problems), we waited, not knowing when our plane would take flight.
Sounds like a nightmare, right? But it’s funny - it was actually the most fun I’ve ever had on a plane. It felt like I was living in a summer camp. Because most of us had been volunteers who gave up their seats for a free night in a hotel and giant travel voucher, we all had something in common and the sort of impulsive, bright personalities that made it easy to chat with one another. By the end of the flight, we were all chatting voraciously like we were long-lost friends. But we weren’t, so when we said goodbye, it was goodbye.
People I met on this particular Japanese layover:
The Canadian – Chris was the guy that I volunteered my seat with pre-Japan adventures. He was a tall and extremely buff guy with a serious hangover. We kept each other company as the negotiations and paperwork took place, and planned to stay up for the next 24 hours in Tokyo and exploring Japan. He’d traveled throughout Southeast Asia and was ready to go pass out for about 80 hours. But after we got to the hotel, I was ready to eat all night in the buffet and pass out, and he, conversely, was all ready again to go rage in Tokyo all night. Major kudos to that trooper. We saw him the next afternoon looking like absolute shit. But I know it was worth it. He got to pass out on the plane for the solid 14 hours. He was the epitome of YOLO.
The High School Teacher - He was a 21-year old trapped in a 55-year old man’s body. He booked a one-way fight to Dubai, leaving his entire family, to go on a solo trip around whoknowswhere. He ended up chilling in Japan because of a canceled flight to Houston. He was impulsive, intense, and a little sketch. I chatted with him and a university professor for over 3 hours at the dinner buffet. We argued. A lot. About shallow things and about deep things. About things I wouldn’t want to argue with anyone about because those things ruin relationships. But somehow we still liked each other at the end of the night.
He analyzed my handwriting and said a few things that were quite unnerving. Some things he said were pure BS. But overall it was interesting to hear what he had to say. The sketch part - after telling him the front desk guy requested that I cancel my Tokyo plans to drink with him, High School Teacher put his arm around me and then marched around the lobby to make the poor guy see. It didn’t work - front desk guy still contacted me afterwards and I was very honest about my gigantic headache and inability to consciously spend time with him after his shift. High School Teacher also only called me “sweetheart” or “Stanford”. Cooooool. I did like him though. Had a big personality. Confided in me some things about his beliefs and personality flaws. He showed me that finding yourself and being adventurous doesn’t end when you have a family. I wouldn’t pull what he did (felt like abandonment to me), but it shed new light on a fear I had about settling down.
Cal girl - Katherine and I met through High School Teacher. He introduced her as “Berkeley” and me, “Stanford”. #obnoxious. But she was a total badass and we hung out all day exploring Narita, the temple, and the rest of the little town. It was like having a really good friend but without having had years of history. We’re still friends and are hanging out when I move up to SF. She’s just awesome.
The model - Peyton was this 15-year old, gorgeous, leggy girl from Missouri who had just spent 6.5 weeks modeling in Japan for W magazine (it’s a secret! she announced to the plane). Her mom was an absolute tiger Jewish mother. Katherine and I watched them interact with awe. Peyton had none of the snobbery attitude I’d expected from someone who was so successful so young. I’d watch for her - she’s going places.
There are more people that I met over the course of those 36 hours (a CS guy from Boston, etc) but the ones listed above made the greatest impact on me.
How strange is it that in just 36 hours a group of people can become so close, and also so quickly remove themselves from each other’s lives. Flash friendships are the best.
I self-stalk. Often. It’s not a good idea. Makes you miss things and get all nostalgic. Like freshman year, or high school rallies. Wait, did I just say I missed high school? God, I really do look back on life through heinously pink, rose-colored lenses.
This is my first blog entry from Seoul, and it’s not about Seoul. It’s about a couple I met. This is their story.
Let’s first start with how I met them. Someone convinced me that I really needed to see this palace and take a tour of the secret garden in Seoul. I don’t normally love historical places, but I figured I’d give it a try because it’d build character, make me cultured, etc if I went. So I got up early, hauled my butt onto the subway, sat there for almost an hour reading Lean In (blog post coming), and headed off to be blasted with hot humid air and burned by the insane Seoul sun for a few hours.
I toured the ‘palace’ (more on that later) and had fun breaking into all of the places that had the sign ‘dangerous falling’ or ‘do not enter’. But it was also extremely hot and that, combined with the jetlag, was not making me a happy girl. So when I sat down to wait for the start of the 90 minute tour of the secret garden, I was not pumped. That was until this old man next to me started blabbing about how cool this whole thing was to his little wife. Thrilled that he spoke English and intrigued that he was excited to basically be given heatstroke over the next hour and a half, I asked him why the tour was so great. A few minutes later, him (a Stanford PhD - small world!), his wife, and I were besties - three peas in a pod and stuck together for the entire tour.
Here’s the story of Soren and Marcia.
Maricia was past thirty and wanted to get married. She didn’t want to have to look for a man and hated dating, so she resorted to writing a letter to ‘the universe’.
"What do you mean, the universe?" I asked.
"I wrote a letter to the universe and read it every morning and night for three and a half months," Maricia replied. "I asked for a man to be delivered to me. A good one that shared my values, and I didn’t want to have to date him first. Then one morning, he flew in from Norway and rang my doorbell."
"He was literally delivered to your doorstep."
"Yep, and he never wanted to get married until he met me. We were married three months later."
Stuff like that just doesn’t happen. Sure, my parents met and got married about two months after as well, but that just isn’t real life. Yet here was yet another example of love at first sight - or at first knock.
There’s a lot more to this couple and the story, but those are the bare bones of it. I was impressed at how they could trust each other and make that enormous life decision so quickly. I don’t know how easily that could happen these days - or maybe just to me because of my reluctance to trust 99.999% of people - but it was really beautiful to be given a renewed sense of hope. Maybe there is a Soren for all the Maricia’s out there, and all we have to do is write an honest letter.