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Tag Archives: Travel

March 7 – April 2

What a busy month! The highlights:

Joe Biden came to Kellogg! I enjoyed hearing him speak. His strongest part centered around what he believes have always been America’s key core strengths:

  1. A willingness to challenge tradition and status-quo
  2. An unyielding stream of immigrants (some of the best and brightest) from other countries

I agree with his stance and left the talk with a more positive impression of Joe (though I know he’s not perfect).

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My Business Innovation Lab team presented our findings to Hormel, our big client this quarter. The presentation went well and, while we were in Austin (Minnesota), we got to visit the SPAM museum. Turns out (surprise) I don’t like SPAM, but maybe I haven’t given it a fair shake?

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Finally, I flew back to Orlando with Ryan and his parents. His parents got to meet my family (O_O!). I think it went well. And of course we also did a bunch of wedding stuff including our food and cake tasting. Everything was delicious, and I am so excited for the wedding (food). I also locked in hair and makeup as well as music and invitations. But the real highlight, was hanging out with this special rascal:

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One more quarter of school and then I get my summer of writing 😉 (oh and moving and wedding and moving again)

PS – I also added a new page to my website where I plan to post writing resources I collect along my journey. Definitely check it out if you’re interested!

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November 27 – January 4

This holiday season was filled with travel travel travel (and unfortunately not as much productivity on the writing front as I would have hoped).

First up: Back to Orlando for my birthday (28!) and more wedding planning (sarcastic yay). Turns out planning weddings are stressful – surprise! I consider myself pretty low maintenance, and I’ve already had at least 2 wedding meltdowns. For my single friends: I recommend town hall and a nice honeymoon. You’re welcome. Anyway, we officially have the date, venues, dress, invitations, photographer, videographer, invite lists, and are about to confirm menus. My latest project is the wedding website which apparently needs to be finished before we can send out the save-the-dates (gulp). Unsolicited advice for grooms (or the less ‘involved’ of any same-sex pairing): you are not doing your partner any favors by deferring all decisions to them – that just means they now have to do more work. Heaping more stress on someone is not a gift >_<

Venue spoiler:

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After that ‘fun’-filled week, I headed off to Telluride, CO for Kellogg ski-trip. Unfortunately, there was very little snow and not a whole lot else to do if binge-drinking isn’t your thing.

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I ended up bagging on the trip early to go spend some time with Ryan in San Jose before heading to Tokyo (but really I just wanted to see star wars). While hanging with him, I did get some good news on the writing front to wrap up the year: a story I wrote made it to a final round at Clarkesworld (something like 30-40 stories out of 1200 each month make it this far) – that felt like a pretty big win (though I’m still waiting to hear back on if it actually sold). Unfortunately, after sharing the story with Ryan post-this good news, we’ve discovered a few typos in the prose – whoops. Too late now. I also heard back from Odyssey Online (a writing organization that has online workshops in the winter). I was waitlisted for the class I applied to – which bummed me out for half a day, but I now consider a pretty big honor. I’m getting closer! The waitlist notification also included a couple book recommendations that I’ve started – so far these have been helpful!

Come Christmas, Ryan and I headed off to Tokyo. Needless to say, the food was wonderful and Japan remains one of my favorite countries to visit.

For New Years, we headed to Seoul to meet up with a few friends and explore the city. I was very impressed with the people of Seoul and enjoyed learning about South Korea’s history and culture. I definitely recommend a visit (particularly to the War Memorial Museum), but maybe schedule your trip for warmer months (at least Seoul prepared me for my return to Chicago!)

After such a long time away, I was excited to get back to the US and (finally!) work on some writing – so of course I got super sick and now am pretty down for the count. Still, I’ve thought up a new book idea I am pretty excited about and hope to get more subs out the door before starting back at Northwestern next week.

Hope everyone had a great New Years! Looking forward to 2018!

August 1 – September 10

What an incredibly busy last month in the Bay!

First, my family came to visit, and we went to Lazy Bear. I’ve been to this award-winning restaurant three times now, but my last visit was 2 years ago. This may be a controversial statement, but I was actually pretty disappointed this time around. I remember feeling wowed by both the service and the dishes my last two visits – each bite feeling like some new explosive flavor I just had to have more of. This time, it felt like many dishes leaned into a more polarizing flavor (e.g., let’s really bring out the fishiness) and overall was less ‘umami’. The service was also a bit lackluster – my mom ordered a drink she never got and it took way longer than usual to actually get seated downstairs. I don’t think I will be back.

Here are the photos anyway (the best dishes for me were the corn grits and the peach-shaped ice cream dessert):

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I also finished my internship with Facebook. My entire internship was great, but my last month was exceptional – I got to be the PMM for a new product and work in a truly cross-functional team. I loved our product, our team, and how much we accomplished in the month I was there. I am sad to have left but am eager to see where the product goes (likely to be launched in the first half of next year :D).

Oh – I also got a return offer for full-time 🙂 AND, while I am still ironing out the details of the offer with my recruiter, I am fairly certain I will accept. This summer really exceeded my expectations and I genuinely enjoyed working with everyone on my teams.

Right after I finished, I went on a week-long vacation to Hawaii (Kona) with Ryan and his parents. The trip was fine, but it became clear to me very quickly that Ry’s parents had a very different “ideal Hawaii vacation” than me. They wanted to go to every national park on the island and all the major museums – I just wanted to read on the beach (where we spent a cumulative 45 mins in the whole time we were on the island). Different strokes for different folks I guess – I think for future vacations, I need to be a little more in control of my own itinerary than I was for this one. Group vacationing while introverted is generally challenging anyway.

Speaking of vacations, we’ve officially decided our annual New Years trip location for this year: Seoul! I’ll send a message out to the group shortly, but please ping me directly if you’re excited to join us 🙂

Now I’m back in Evanston (doing homework 😦 ) – tomorrow is my last first day of class ever!

July 5 – July 31

What a busy month!

First: the good news. I got into Viable Paradise!!! This is my first writing-related acceptance ever, and it is a BIG one. VP (for short) is a SFWA-recognized writing workshop. Only 20 students are selecting each year and apparently this year was very competitive (I know a few folks that sadly didn’t get in). Forgive my lack of humility, but I am really proud of myself. I found out about VP at the Nebulas, ~2 weeks before the deadline to apply. I would need to submit 2 short stories that I hadn’t already submitted to a professional market (which I usually do right after finishing a story). This meant 2 weeks for 2 brand new stories. AND those 2 weeks overlapped with my final exams.

In an exercise in aggressive prioritization, I hunkered down and wrote two short stories I am actually pretty proud of in what was a very quick turnaround for me (at my best, I’m usually churning out two submittable stories each month).

The workshop is in October (1 week in Martha’s Vineyard :)). I CANNOT wait.

After this great news early in the month, Ryan and I went to LA to visit his family and ring shop. This trip was fine (we picked out the design for the ring), but this month is shaping up to be travel / family heavy and I am going a little crazy.

The second big trip was two weekends ago. I flew back to Orlando last minute when my mom took Keno to the vet and they found a pretty malignant tumor in her left armpit. I won’t say much about Keno here because it’s still pretty raw, but we ended up putting her down on my visit. She was the sweetest dog and I’ll miss her a lot.

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I don’t really know if there is an afterlife (Ryan says I’m silly for even questioning – he says there obviously is not), but I like to think that Keno is with Nuni somewhere playing.

Other news: Nancy + Fam are visiting me this upcoming week. The Keno trip was unexpected, so I’ve just seen everyone, but it will still be nice to spend time with them (even though it’s getting down to the wire at work – AH!). Ryan’s family is visiting next week so lots of family / social time overall (ugh.) – I’ve also given up on veganism. I’m just trying to eat more green veggies and less red meat.

This vegan “hot dog” was served at the office a few weeks ago. It is literally a carrot on a piece of lettuce:

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We’re doing Lazy Bear Friday, so look for those amazing pictures next blog post 😉

March 1 – March 22

These last two weeks I’ve been on spring break, so forgive me for not having much to say about the end of winter quarter. I seriously don’t remember being stressed over finals (nor studying much for them tbh). I’ve been in break bliss.

Just prior to heading off, I did accept a summer internship offer from Facebook (Monetization Product Marketing Manager Intern on the Media Monetization Team — try saying that 10 times fast). It was a really difficult decision, one I can get into more detail on in a one-on-one convo if you’re inclined to reach out. I do feel like it was the right choice for me this summer among numerous great choices.

For spring break, Ryan and I decided to head to Park City, Utah for two weeks of reading and writing. Halfway through, a few of my friends from b-school stopped by ahead of a national park road trip and we got to watch Northwestern play in their first-ever NCAA tournament!

Northwestern unfortunately lost (but it was a second round game and they really did show up in the second half), but that has seriously been the only low point of my entire vacation.

I’ve read a ton of short stories and novelettes (mainly the Nebula nominees – a good list with links here: LINK). I’ve also finished Charlie Jane Anders’ All the Birds in the Sky. Honestly, I was a little disappointed given how many great things I’d heard about it, but understand that punk-hipster-hacker novels just may not be my thing. I’ve also started (and plan to finish in the next few days) Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer. This book as at the exact opposite end of the sci-fi spectrum to Anders’ and is more my speed, but maybe still not quite my speed. The novel is heady and highly philosophical (if you like Voltaire and/or Jack Vance, I recommend rocket-boosting Too Like the Lightning to the top of your list).

I’ve also (obviously) done a ton of writing — will have at least 2 (maybe 3) submission-worthy stories by the end of the trip – feeling GREAT about that!

Oh and Ryan and I have definitely had a chance to up the nerd ante even more when the SLC Comic Con came to town:

I seriously wish these two weeks could just be my life ……

January 27 – February 28

I am officially done recruiting! Well, kind of. I am done interviewing and have heard back from every place I’ve interviewed with, but have yet to pick an offer. Which is great because my deadline to do so in 2 days. No Pressure.

Honestly, I am a little stressed out between two of my choices. Both great companies, but one would definitely be more of a lifestyle choice and the other more of a career choice. In my next post I’ll share who I’ve accepted, in the mean time, here are my general impressions and tales of recruiting ups and downs:

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  1. Amazon – Wow, Amazon loves MBAs. They interviewed a ton of people (often for multiple roles – my experience). I wish they had taken into account our preferences a little bit more (I was asked in a first round if I was interested in PM or PMT, I said PM, but my final round was for PMT). I generally liked everyone I spoke to there though and didn’t really see the infamous culture that sometimes gets them bad press
  2. Apple – Also likes MBAs, but definitely more of a later-game recruiter (which is interesting for such a big tech company!). I didn’t hear back from Apple until late February and they had lots of roles they wanted me to interview for. At this point, I had already narrowed my choices down to two firms, so ultimately decided not to interview. I’ve heard good things from those who have though
  3. Microsoft – LOVE Microsoft and Seattle. The first round seemed very focused on my understanding of Microsoft, but the final was more about me and my fit. Two of my four interviewers asked me to pitch my book (<— okay it sounds fun now, but in the moment I was like, oh no I haven’t practiced this in months O_O)
  4. Intuit – Maybe the best group of people I’ve met throughout my recruiting process. So generous, welcoming, kind, and smart. There are individuals I met here that I genuinely want to be friends with. Was very impressed with the people and the culture.
  5. Google – Google’s process is interesting. You basically just apply to Google (no specific role) and they select what they want to interview you for. Honestly, I didn’t have a problem with this (it was like taking a career quiz – seeing where Google thought I’d fit best). I ended up getting an interview with YouTube, so I think they did a good job selecting the team for me 😉 (seriously, I bet I’ve watched more YouTube than anyone who applied this year).
  6. Facebook – Also exceeded my expectations. The first rounds were very different person to person, but mine was very focused on self-reflection. Final round was incredibly structured (which I appreciated!) and the team seemed both focused on me as a person and what I could specifically bring to FB (I thought this was a good balance).
  7. LinkedIn – So, this was the only company I was a bit disappointed in recruiting process-wise. It felt like different parts of the recruiting team weren’t talking to each other. I did a phone screen very early with them (November?) and was told I’d received an official interview for December (which ultimately didn’t materialize, but holidays ya’know). I get a call in early January saying one of the roles I’d applied for had been filled. That same week I received an email from a different recruiter, informing me my interview was delayed because they wanted to go through all the candidates before interviewing anyone (hmmmmm?). Early February, I received another email saying my interview would be in a few weeks. Then in late February, I got a call saying they weren’t going to interview me at all (womp womp). Seems like there may be some opportunity for improvement there, but who knows if there’s context I don’t have.
  8. Stripe – Apparently isn’t taking MBA interns, but I tried? Haha

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Now that recruiting is (almost) done, I am REALLY enjoying life. Think: writing a lot, reading a lot, and maybe playing a video game or two 😉

I’m also going to Utah for Spring Break in two weeks. Ryan and I are staying in Park City and a few of my friends from business school are swinging by for a few days. I am eager to get some quality time with Mr. Ryan. Long distance has not been easy, but when we’re together, in-person, everything is better ❤

December 9 – January 26

Sorry it has been so long since an update! I thoroughly enjoyed my winter break and then have been thoroughly not enjoying recruiting since coming back to school.

But, let’s start with the good stuff.

After my finals, I flew to CA to spend time with Ryan. I was a pretty bad friend and told no one I was in town so I could get some quality time with him. It was nice to have no interruption, especially since I see him so rarely 😦

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After a week or so, we traveled to LA to spend the holidays with Ryan’s family. I think all went well (although I did not hide my anti-socialness as well as I thought). Ryan’s parents were also very generous with their steak dinners 😉

I ultimately left LA festivities soon after Christmas and traveled to Mexico City for the annual New Years trip. A few of our regulars couldn’t make it this year (:(), but two of my college friends joined us and Joel brought a whole crew (though, we didn’t see much of them to be honest). Chris, Briggs, and I generally got our exploration on and I left Mexico City thoroughly impressed. Good food, good people, good prices, great culture.

Since New Years, I’ve been very focused on recruiting. So far I’ve received some good news from a few companies (3 final rounds, potentially a fourth, and 1 offer). Interviewing (and preparing for interviews) is a lot more tiring and stressful than I suspected it would be, but I’ve been lucky to have a really good prep group with friends. I am also lucky to be drawing so close to the other side of this whole beast.

Next I just need to figure out where to go for spring break 😉