30 Before 30

In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”

The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.

By 30, you should know…
18. How to quit a job, break up with a man, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.

Well isn’t this week’s List item just a bowl of sunshine?

I could keep my response as brief as this: If you’ve mastered any of these techniques, please let me know.

Instead, I’ll do as I do, and share a few (mostly unsuccessful) experiences of my own…

My parents taught us to never quit — if you commit to something, you see it through. So perhaps this lack of practice in my adolescent years could explain why I’m quite awful at quitting a job.

Example 1: I left my college retail job for a call center job (making double what I did at the mall), only to confirm within a few weeks that I was not meant to be in customer service or scripted phone calls. I was very fortunate to find an external role just two months later, which put my degree to use and was sure to grant me more success. The problem? I needed to start with two days’ notice to my current employer. And while I knew going into the call center that I wouldn’t be a lifer, I felt absolutely terrible. I ummed and ahhed my way through a verbal resignation, hanging my head as I handed over a poorly written notice letter. Was my manager surprised? Not one bit. But I felt like a doof all the same and swore I’d never fumble my way through the experience again.

Example 2: A few years later, it was time for me to move on and pursue a relocation opportunity in New York City. This dream of mine was finally going to happen, but I had to go through the nightmare of resigning first. This time, I was able to give plenty of notice — I just wasn’t sure if my employer would grant it to me or send me packing that afternoon. What happened, instead, was a somewhat more coherent resignation speech and letter to my VP, plus a personal Facebook post that evening announcing my relocation. I didn’t specify whether or not I was leaving my company (we had an NYC office), and my post was not visible to non-friends. I came into work the next morning to a message from my VP, asking to see me. They were upset because they “hadn’t accepted [my] resignation.” They lectured me about the importance of social media and not burning bridges, but I remained baffled. I’d already signed paperwork with my next employer, and felt I’d done my due diligence by giving as much notice as possible. I hadn’t disparaged my employer in any way, shape or form; and someone had clearly shared my post with my VP for them to even see it. My heart beats rapid-fire even now, more than four years later, at the thought.

If only I’d had these articles to guide me then!

Romantic breakups aren’t much easier, I’ve found. While I’m more often the dumpee than the dumper, it doesn’t feel good to be on either side. I’ve learned to focus on my own needs, while avoiding the “It’s not you, it’s me” babble. Wanting to part ways with them doesn’t make them terrible (necessarily); it makes them not right for me. And with hindsight always being 20/20, it’s safe to say that both parties in a breakup will eventually find the relationship had to come to an end — better sooner than later, right? Right.

I believe it was in Aziz Ansari’s “Modern Romance,” and if not, he’s getting credit anyway: Break up with someone how you’d want to be broken up with. Don’t be a dick, and relationship karma will reward you, because getting dumped unceremoniously suuucks. PS: Maybe it’s the term “dumped” that makes it all the more painful. Let’s find a different word for that.

Some more helpful tips:

Courtesy of TheLadyGang.com

Finally, there’s confronting a friend without ruining the friendship. Oof.

This, again, has been a struggle for me through the years. I’d like to think I’ve gotten better — in large part, because my career consists of giving and receiving critical feedback — but it’s still a hard thing to do. No one wants to make their friend feel like garbage when you’re expressing an opposing opinion or critical callout.

A recent example comes to mind: I knew one of my very best friends, whom I love and respect dearly, was planning to vote for Trump. I wholeheartedly disagreed, avoided the topic and figured we’d all laugh about this in a few years.

As the election drew nearer, then came to a close, I knew I had to say something. We live in different time zones and have opposite work schedules, so we often text first anyway to make sure the other can talk.

I approached her, first and foremost, with positivity. Our text history is too long to revisit, but I recall the conversation going something like this:

Me: I love and respect you and hope this doesn’t sound rude, but can you help me understand why you’re voting for Trump?
Her: Haha [laughing because she knows I wrote and rewrote that 20 times before sending]
Her: Explains her reasoning, which is thoughtful and not accusatory of Clinton — or me
Me: I appreciate you letting me ask… Explain my viewpoint, again without accusation or hate speech
Her/Me: When are we getting together next?

Crisis averted. We don’t need to have the same viewpoints to remain friends, although some of my peers disagree with that very statement. For me, our friendship is too valuable to let this end it — and if I do, I have a hell of a lot of family members to dissociate from.

Some ideas to manage the message:

Courtesy of Flavorwire.com

Phew! If you made it this far, I hope you’ve learned something or maybe even laughed a little.

Again, if you’ve mastered any or all of these techniques: Please comment with your tips and tricks!

WO: Weekly Obsessions

I can’t contain my excitement for what this week holds, so without any delay:

Image Credits Listed Below

  1. WO is 300!: That’s right, this post marks THREE HUNDRED weeks of obsessions! Aside from shouting “This is Sparta!,” I could use some celebration suggestions. And I owe you lovely readers a mountain of gratitude — there were plenty of Wednesdays I wanted to abandon this blog and hide from the world, but you’ve kept me going week after week. 300 thanks to each of you for sticking with me all this time!
  2. Bumble and bumble. Hair Color Stick: As the lucky recipient of two parents with early-gray genes, I dye my hair regularly to cover my roots. It’s an expensive hobby, but one I prioritize over most others. My stylist introduced me to this little crayon of wonder, and it’s been a lifesaver for those final weeks between appointments. You don’t need a lot — just a few dabs can do the trick to revive your tresses and your cashflow.
  3. “The Great British Bake Off”: I’d seen countless memes and lists of why GBBO was worth watching, but hadn’t committed until recently. Netflix has three seasons available, and I was positively hooked. Unlike most (American) competition shows, the contestants have a genuine love and respect for each other. That’s not to say there’s a shortage of drama, though. Presenters Mel and Sue, and judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood — those names! — keep it interesting and worth watching down to the last morsel.
  4. “The Toy Box”: My friend April informed me a while back about a show coming soon with the “Apparently” kid, and just shared this trailer with me. Hosted by lovable lad from “Modern Family,” Eric Stonestreet, juvenile judges put toy ideas to the test and the results are hilarious. It’s like “Shark Tank” with kids, but I think we’ll like this panel a lot more than Mr. Wonderful and Mark Cuban.

Images courtesy of: Know Your Meme, Bluemercury, Wiki, MysticArt Pictures

30 Before 30

In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”

The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.

By 30, you should know…
17. How you feel about having kids.

They sure aren’t making the second half of The List easy, huh? No softballs in sight, where I can say “Well, of course I know that!”

Stylist and entrepreneur Rachel Zoe writes this week’s reflection, providing her perspective as someone who became a first-time mom at age 38. She and her husband, Rodger, had been together for 20 years — always knowing they wanted kids, but never necessarily slowing down to do anything about it.

She was, admittedly, quite lucky to become pregnant on their first try. And despite having such luck, Zoe urges women who know they want to have kids: “Don’t wait! I missed the window of being a young mom, and I’m super envious of my friends who had kids earlier than I did, because they can take their time and choose to have another child (or several!) if they want.”

This is where Zoe lost me a little bit. She’s making two assumptions here — first, that women who know they want children have the means, e.g., the partner and finances, in order to do so. And second, that they’ll be able to have as many children as they desire. While that sounds like a lovely landscape to live in, it just isn’t reality.

Plenty of women wish to have children, but want to be married and have a house before that. Or have prioritized their career, much like Zoe did, and want to be on more secure financial footing before bringing children into the world. Others still have fertility issues, complications and a whole host of other reasons why they’re not able to just close their eyes and wish for a child to appear, no problem.

Courtesy of GloriaBowman.com

Stepping off my proverbial soapbox, I also struggled to make sense of Zoe’s final point. She concludes by saying “there are many paths to motherhood… adopting, finding a surrogate… or being the best aunt ever. The point is that the path is in your hands.”

She’s urged us to not wait, but shouldn’t we be a bit more careful with such life-changing decisions? Perhaps this is the 29-year-old single girl in me shouting, but I don’t take the topic of motherhood lightly. Although I’m someone who takes forever to commit to a rug, I do believe bringing life into the world is not something to be rushed. There are many paths, but that doesn’t mean you have to sprint down any one of them before 30.

I can say with near certainty that my perspective on this would be markedly different if I were a woman who knew her own stance on motherhood. I’m not convinced I want children, but I don’t want biology or anything else keeping me from that option. I’ve thought about what paths I may take in the future, but I’m not rushing toward any of them when I know I’m not ready to be responsible for another life at this stage of my own.

For now, I’ll stick to being the best aunt ever. It’s fulfilling enough without having society shouting in my ear about what I should do. As I don’t have a 20-year partner to mull this over with, I think my current decision is just fine. And if I’m feeling particularly stumped, there’s a wikiHow article for that. Bonus: This blog post by Gloria Bowman eloquently emphasizes the plight of women without children. Please enjoy.

Courtesy of wikiHow.com

WO: Weekly Obsessions

Raise your hand if your brackets are busted 🙋🏻 Thanks a heap, Wisconsin and South Carolina. Aside from ripping paper to shreds, here’s what else I’ve been into lately:

Image Credits Listed Below

  1. NOT These Boots: San Francisco’s wonky weather patterns continue, and yesterday’s monsoon retired these Chooka rain boots faster than you can say “shit.” I purchased them in 2014, but have worn them no more than 10 times, so it was a total disappointment and waste of money. Here’s hoping these highly rated Sam Edelman booties will serve me better.
  2. Rusted Mule: I was thrilled to celebrate a dear friend’s birthday last night with drinks at Rusted Mule and dinner at The Saratoga. While both were phenomenal, I’m prioritizing Rusted Mule for its newness and happy hour specials. It opened less than two months ago and feels tucked away, while still getting a good mix of people. Bonus: Taco Tuesday was truly tasty and the Yelp reviews are crazy entertaining!
  3. Surprise Meetups: After a killer workout this morning, I was sore but super excited to volunteer at the SF-Marin Food Bank with some co-workers. Little did I know, my former team at macys.com was volunteering, too! It was such a pleasure seeing familiar faces — some new ones, too! — and I loved catching up with them all. Giving back + surprise meetups = win-win.
  4. “It Ain’t Me” – Kygo f. Selena Gomez: I had no clue who Kygo was (still don’t) but I DID know this earworm was stuck, stuck, stuck in my head for days on end. I also barely know the difference between Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato, but I do know there’s a ton of talent in this tune and you should certainly listen.


Images courtesy of: Me, Scoopnest, Me, Direct Lyrics

30 Before 30

In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”

The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.

By 30, you should know…
16. How to fall in love without losing yourself.

Author Melissa de la Cruz kicks off the second half of The List, which focuses on what you should know by 30, rather than what you should have.

Once again, we start in the relationship arena. Le sigh.

She tells a fictional, purely hypothetical tale of a young woman named Jess, who is interesting and carries herself with grace and confidence. Who wouldn’t want to be — or be with — Jess?

Unfortunately, Jess falls victim to that head-over-heels love where your life becomes all but consumed with your partner’s interests. Through a string of alliterative aliases, boyfriends range from Baseball Billy to Hipster Harry. I think we can all see where this fairy tale is headed.

With each one, Jess invests herself into the relationships so fully, she loses her identity. She goes from buying World Series tickets to dressing in sci-fi costumes to cutting her hair; and as each relationship ends, she’s left as a shell of the woman she used to be… and without many friends who’ve stuck around.

The point of this fable is, quite obviously, to remain confident in who you are — not change your core values for someone else. Can you like the music a partner introduced you to? Of course. Can you genuinely enjoy sports if you’ve never been into them before? I think so. The point is, rather, to not sacrifice what you already are passionate about for your partner’s interests… especially if you already know you don’t share those interests.

Some of the couples I envy most are those which can enjoy separate passions, and allow each other the space to do so. It’s something I’ve strived for in my own relationships, and have seen varying levels of success.

Courtesy of ExplodingDog.com

“I hate how you’ve changed.”

While I don’t take falling in love lightly, the relationship I found most meaningful grew from a shared love of some things: reading, sarcasm and baseball, for example. We introduced each other to new books and enjoyed watching games together, but we also allowed — nay, expected — one another to have separate passions.

Sure, he introduced me to new music and I showed him new restaurants. But we didn’t spend all of our time together, and there wasn’t any resentment for wanting to have our own “thing.”

I saw markedly more success in that relationship than in the one before it, where I tried to enjoy video games in an effort to spend more time together. Turns out, my love for them remains at about a Mario Kart level.

And while I didn’t resent him for being passionate about something different, I think it was challenging for him to understand how I couldn’t be so excited about this thing he loved. I encouraged him to still participate in game nights and tournaments, because he enjoyed it, but I wasn’t going to sit and watch for hours on end without having the slightest interest.

All this is to say, we each have our own passions… and non-negotiables. For some couples, it works very well to work in the same industry (or at the same company), to have the same hobbies, to share all of the same friends. For others, myself included, it works to have some sense of independence and social circles.

I’m clearly no expert, but I think approach it however it will make you happy — without sacrificing who you are at your core.

Courtesy of Pinterest

WO: Weekly Obsessions

The mid-week back-to-work struggle is real, people. I don’t know if I’ve ever been more envious of those with Spring Breaks than I am today. And without my dear friend caffeine by my side, it’s safe to say I’ll be asleep by 8 tonight.

Image Credits Listed Below

  1. “Grease” Sing-along: The Castro Theatre has done it again — this time, with everyone’s favorite bad-boy-meets-good-girl story. My cousin and I went with a friend Friday night, and I still have some of the songs stuck in my head. From the impossible glow sticks to the kissy noises, I’m convinced there’s no better way to watch a musical than with props and a sing-along show.
  2. Hot Cookie: This might be the most iconic dessert spot in all of SF. Nestled in the heart of the Castro district, Hot Cookie has some verrry NSFW nibbles that are as scrumptious as they are scandalous. I personally love the Butch Bar and the Sticky Nikki. Yeah, you heard me.
  3. Anchor Brewing: My dad would have been 67 on Monday, so to celebrate, we toured Anchor Brewing and raised a glass in his honor. Ryan led us on an interactive and engaging walk, then poured us many samples to enjoy. It’s something I know Slick Rick would have loved. Cheers, big guy.
  4. Season Finales: I’ll never understand the need to post spoilers on social media — particularly as I’m on that West Coast delay for most programming — so I won’t get specific. But this week’s finales for both “The Bachelor” and “This Is Us” were disappointing. One didn’t give me the ending I so craved, while the other was too long and drawn-out. I’ll let you guess which is which 😉  Here’s hoping the next seasons of both don’t leave us hanging too long.

Images courtesy of: Carpe Diem, Twitter, PlumpJack, iEmoji

30 Before 30

In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”

The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.

By 30, you should have…
15. A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship, and all those other facets of life that do get better.

Legendary anchor and journalist Katie Couric writes us into our halfway point this week. She begins by telling us she spent her 20s focused on her career, allowing work to take priority over her love life.

Sound familiar?

I don’t know if it’s because women are becoming more vocal, or because we have social platforms to have more public discussion, or because I’m nearing the end of my 20s myself, or some combination of the above… or none of those things at all.

I do know it’s a constant conversation among my circles for women to feel like they must choose one over the other: career or love?

Courtesy of MyStyleProject.com

Part of this is, unquestionably, biology. If we meet a partner at 25 and marry by 27, we still have some “good years” left in us to have children. Men, on the other hand, can possess none of Mick Jagger’s millions and have children well into their 70s.

Putting that aside, there’s also an expectation for most, if not all, women: We should want to have children. If we don’t, there must be something wrong with us. Or we just don’t know it yet. Or we haven’t found the right person (because who would ever choose to be a single mother?). As I once heard from a wise mother of two, “Any fool can have a baby.” Yet there’s still this need from society for all women to become mothers.

I’m getting deeper than Couric’s message was, but I felt it a necessary piece of the Career vs. Love debate: So much of this boils down to a woman’s choices and her desire to put herself first.

Courtesy of ClipArtKid.com

As I’ve often discussed on this very blog, and IRL ad nauseam, I’ve put my career ahead of most other things. In my seven-point-five years since undergrad, I’ve sacrificed some friendships, ended some romantic relationships, often worked tirelessly without need of recognition — and as long as I could get to a certain career milestone before 30, it’d all be worth it.

I’ll hit that career milestone on Thursday, as my role in my current company shifts. And you know what? I don’t know yet that it was worth it. Sure, I’m thrilled to hit this arbitrary goal I set so long ago. But I still question my career choices often and wonder where my next years will take me after this hurdle is overcome.

Part of that may be my inability to be completely satisfied. And while I should save that for a therapy session, I do question if accomplishing this career goal means I can finally ease my foot off the go-getter gas a little and refocus on romantic relationships. If I can allow myself to be loved, to be taken care of, to let my walls down and be vulnerable again.

Couric even briefly touches on losing her first husband to cancer, and how “the ability to accept and adapt gracefully to life’s twist and turns is one of the greatest skills you’ll learn.”

I know the ride’s not over yet, but I’m certainly going to buckle up for the journey ahead.

Courtesy of PinkSkySerendipity.com