Author: Barbie

For My Birthday This Year, I Quit My Job to Start a Company

2016 has come with a lot of changes. After three years of living in NYC I packed up to make a move to DC to start a new and exciting career and move in with my boyfriend. I worked really hard to secure the perfect job ahead of my move, and once I started, I realized it wasn’t the right fit. After a few months I felt, maybe I hadn’t made the right choice and was unsure of where I went wrong. Leading up to the new role I had worked with a career coach to help me pinpoint the perfect role and career path while researching day and night to find the company that sat at the top of everyone’s lists for opportunities. Once I got there, I didn’t feel that spark I yearned for, and I was scared about what my next steps should be.    I spent my evenings wondering: what is it that will make me happy? I’ve worked across a wide spectrum, from startups to corporate settings, and nothing kept the fire inside me …

Hartwood

When I think of the Fourth of July, a few things come to mind: Family & friends Grilling Budweiser Fireworks Leading up to the holiday our group of friends planned to meet in Hartwood. Outside of the aforementioned elements to the perfect Fourth, Hartwood slates itself as a special place. Combining all of this together only added to the excitement as the weekend approached. Hartwood is in New York state and a five hour drive from Maryland. We hit the road before sun rise, chasing the sun north on the highway  as the lush hills and small towns passed us by. There is no cell service once you turn onto the road leading up to Hartwood, automatically making you leave all of your work e-mails and other stress behind. The days were spent hiking the surrounding forest, and lounging in the sun on the shores of the central lake. The evenings filled with good drinks, food, friends and worldly conversations. The community celebrates the Fourth by coming together for a BBQ and a patriotic desert contest before a spectacular private fireworks show. …

Antonio

When I was growing up, my dad always said, “the most important thing someone owns is their name.” He never failed to remind my brother and me of this anytime we interacted with someone wearing a name tag. Using the name of someone whom you are familiar with is easy, but I found it very awkward to use a stranger’s name at places like restaurants or hotels. Slowly but surely, I started making a point of saying “thank you (name)” whenever I spoke with someone wearing a name-tag to build out this habit. Once I started to actively and confidently practice what my dad taught me I noticed the difference it made in my interactions with total strangers. Most significantly, I noticed the smiles on their faces and glimmer in their eyes, as if their hearts were reaching out to say “thank you for noticing me.” This feeling intensified whenever I took the time to ask someone for the correct pronunciation, or ask for their name if they were not wearing a tag. I started …

Shanghai Cab Driver

Fear and Loathing in Shanghai

Dusk falls before the wheels touch down on the tarmac of Pudong International Airport, Shanghai. Passengers rush to grab their suitcases, joining the flow of human traffic streaming into the terminal. Signs route us through exit points out to Arrivals. People are tugging at our sleeves, asking us to take a ride with them, but we muscle our way to the taxi waiting area outside. After standing patiently in line with several other weary passengers, we are finally shuffled into a cab. I hand the driver a piece of paper with the address scrawled on it in English and Chinese, and we set off for the highway and into the darkness. The cab is rickety, the seats are worn down, and empty food wrappers are strewn across the back. There is an overwhelming smell of stale cigarette smoke, echoing the weight of the heavy smog that hovers over the city. The driver has tired eyes and is looking at me with a cold stare in the rear view mirror. His lack of emotion makes me …

First Day of Spring

Yesterday was the first day of spring, and small flurries have been teasing the North East following the first blooming of cherry blossoms last week. This winter season has had its highs and lows, in metric terms that is, jumping all over the temperature scale. One weekend would require a full parka and snow boots, followed by one allowing for light jackets and dainty heels. The season this year was defined by one large storm that hit the Northeast on January 22, taking the bronze medal as the third-largest single snowstorm measured since the city’s record-keeping began in 1869. During the years I lived in the city I learned that if you are going to be snowed in, there is no better place to be than NYC. It’s a spectacle to see the roads closed down and people walking about freely, hopping from bar to bar and enjoying long meals with friends, with nowhere to go and not a care in the world. On January 22, my day was spent with friends cooking several meals, …

Day by Day

In my New Year’s post I wrote about how I do not look at the New Year as a time to make life changes all starting on January 1 – but prefer to set smaller goals throughout the year and take it day by day.  To me, the New Year signifies a moment to reflect on last years struggles and accomplishments, but also as a reminder to checkin with myself – like one big alarm clock going off at midnight. This last year I focused on setting a series of small goals to help make sure I set a solid foundation for checking in with myself to make sure I am able to get through the ups and downs of any week, month or year. I can’t deny that 2015 was defined by trial and error of multiple methods, but I can confidentially say that I came out on the other side having built habits that work for me. With so many people working towards their New Years resolutions, I wanted to share some of my …