Birthday Eve: Sporadic Thoughts

On the eve of my birthday, I sit here feeling simultaneously stressed out, worried, confused, elated, happy, et. al. It has been ten days since the inauguration of our country’s new leadership: ten days of angst across the country, as I obsessively scroll down my social media news feeds, consuming all the information that has come through and observing everyone’s terrified reactions.

I have been trying to figure out what I can do amidst all this confusion and anger felt around me, which is why I have been mostly silent about current events. Part of me feels like there must be more that I can do and say. Part of me feels guilty for solely focusing on my work even when I see how much anguish people are feeling around me. I was very vocal after the election, and many friends from different walks of life reached out to me because of how I expressed myself through Facebook live videos; yet, I also felt exhausted after I put myself out there.

There’s that part of me that wants to focus on the happier things in life: my birthday is tomorrow and I want to spend the day in celebration. It is hard for me to believe that it’s been seven years since my near-death experience, and how much I have grown personally and professionally since then.

Celebrating the Lunar New Year on Saturday.
Celebrating the Lunar New Year on Saturday.

Saturday marked the start of the Year of the Rooster in the lunar calendar: this year was the first time in my whole life where I paid special attention to the pre-Lunar New Year rituals and made sure to follow all of them before midnight on January 28th. Celebrating my ancestral heritage, primarily by consuming delicious foods that remind me of home: dumplings, roasted duck, noodles, etc. Gung Hey Fat Choi!

There is happiness, and there is sadness. Perhaps I am not alone in how to feel–because yes, if we all turn a blind eye from all that is coming out of our leadership, then we’ll bury ourselves alive. Yet, must we not also cherish the happier moments in our lives and be grateful for what we do have in the present? Isn’t there still good in this world?

 

 

Love Your Life, Not Theirs: Rachel Cruze’s Refreshing Point of View Does Not Disappoint!

Every dollar you spend is a reflection of your values. – Rachel Cruze

Love Your Life, Not Theirs, is now available online and through national bookstores. Image credit to Rachel Cruze.
Love Your Life, Not Theirs, is now available online and through national bookstores. Image credit to Rachel Cruze.

Last year, I had written about how Ryan and I enrolled in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. Since graduating from the course, at least one of us (ahem, *me* hehe) has kept up with a monthly budget via EveryDollar. I am seriously about budgeting now, according to my family.

When I had heard about Rachel Cruze, Dave Ramsey’s daughter, releasing a book called Love Your Life, Not Theirs:7 Money Habits for Living the Life You Want, I knew I had to pick it up. Fortunately, I was selected as one of her early reviewers, so I received a copy of her book to consume these past couple of weeks.

My verdict: a wonderful refresher from Financial Peace University; Rachel’s energy is so magnetizing, just like her father. Her writing is down-to-earth and very relatable: I especially like that the first habit listed in the book is about quitting the comparisons.

One of the most frustrating parts of social media is that it’s not always real life. – Rachel Cruze

I could definitely relate when she talked about the #blessed photos, status updates, etc. on social media. Haven’t we all been in that place, comparing ourselves to others? I read a lot of personal development books and articles, and even though the idea of quitting comparisons keeps getting hammered into my head through these other sources, Rachel’s insight into the comparison trap, *especially* when it comes to money, really hit the nail on the head.

Since I did take Financial Peace University (FPU) previously, the six remaining habits were more refreshers for me than any new material learned. But, I’d say that Rachel’s book is good for any person or couple who is looking to get their finances in order. Whether you go through FPU or simply read Love Your Life, Not Theirs, you will glean a lot of useful information on how to take charge of your finances, once and for all.

If you read Love Your Life, Not Theirs, let me know! I’d love to hear your thoughts about the book.

The Second Half of 2016 Starts Now: Are You Ready?

It’s so cliche to say, but wow, the first half of 2016 definitely flew by. It’s safe to say that 2016 has treated me quite nicely so far: the first half of the year stayed eventful and things are definitely on the up and up with work and the rest of life.

Happy and healthy!
Happy and healthy!

I find that my focus this year has definitely been on a better quality of life and more personal/professional development. I have started meditating daily (thanks to Conscious Transformation), and I have been reading much more avidly this year versus the last couple of years. It helps that I have daily train rides to give me time to read; I rarely make time to read at home, sadly.

In the past month, I have been keeping track of my time at work and I find that my focus has been much better for it. I am more intentional about what I am spending my time on, so I don’t end up wasting time on checking emails/browsing Facebook.

When 2016 began, I was anticipating huge growth for Hashtagitude. While business has definitely grown, it has also been at a ‘slower’ pace than expected. However, I am not disappointed! I realize that everything is moving along at a quite normal pace for a small business, so that’s comforting at least.

This time last year, I sensed that big change was about to occur, and I again feel the same about this year. We will see what the second half of the year will bring in terms of changes: take it all in stride and enjoy the ride!

My Top 5 Denver Coworking Spaces

Mugs at Creative Density. Photo from 2012.
Mugs at Creative Density. Photo from 2012.

In honor of the upcoming Denver Coworking Week (May 16 – 20)--which is a full week of celebrating Denver’s growing coworking space with free coworking days plus fun activities–I want to highlight my top five coworking spaces in Denver. Even though I have not talked about coworking much on this blog, I have tweeted about it quite a bit over the years (I even have a Twitter list called Coworking Rocks!). I began my journey into the coworking world in late 2011/early 2012: I LOVE the concept of sharing a professional working environment with others and building that community. Once I started my first business in 2012, coworking spaces became a lot more enticing to me (versus working from home or hanging out at a coffee shop).

I chose these five coworking spaces in Denver because either I was/is a member of the space, or I have visited the space for a day pass and enjoyed the vibe. What I love about all five spaces is that they are locally owned and operated and maintain great atmospheres in their spaces to foster community growth.

Check out these five superb coworking spaces in Denver:

My Top 5 Denver Coworking Spaces

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Finding My People in Denver

 

Living in Denver has provided me a lot of great opportunities to find my group of people to spend time with on a regular basis.

This past week marks my one-year anniversary being a part of Women of Denver, a growing professional organization in town founded by the amazing Krystal Covington. I was a little hesitant at first to join the group, but over the past year, I have made so many meaningful connections through the organization: not only potential and current clients, but great friends. Krystal has been a wonderful force of motivation for me, encouraging Hashtagitude to expand past social media services and provide video services (by way of Ryan), plus getting me out of my shell and doing workshops and interviews within Women of Denver.

My Time in San Francisco vs. in Denver

While reflecting upon this one-year anniversary this past week, I came to the realization that the reason why I have enjoyed my time here in Denver over these past four (almost five!) years has been because I have found “my people” living here. When I lived in San Francisco–while still an enjoyable experience–I never felt like I truly belonged to a constant group of people I could turn to on a regular basis. Yes, I still have several good friends (and also family) living in the Bay Area, but I never felt like I had a solid and constant group of people, either professional or personal, that I could spend time with.

My last day at ELI in 2010; got flowers for my departure. I miss Rimi and Masako!
My last day at ELI in 2010; got flowers for my departure. 🙂 I miss Rimi and Masako!

 

I made a lot of friends while working at ELI, but many of them were the students, who came and went as they completed their program at ELI. I felt a sense of loss when students would move on from the school, either going back to their home countries or moving on to the local city college/universities. Plus, during the time I lived in San Francisco, my own job situation wasn’t too steady either, so as soon as I felt like I was making friends at one job, the job would soon be over or someone (or myself) would move on to the next job.

Finding Leads Group 7 in Denver

Moving to Denver in 2011, at first I felt like I was again in transient situations: I only did one year of graduate school at the University of Denver, so once I left the program, I felt like I lost some good connections there. I floated around in tech/startup meetups for about a year and a half, trying to find my people in those groups, but I never felt like I belonged in those groups. Only when I joined Leads Group 7 of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce did I start to feel a sense of belonging: less than six months into being a member of the group, I felt like they were indeed my chosen family here in Denver. To this day, I am still a part of Leads Group 7 and look forward to our weekly meetings on Wednesdays.

Hanging out with Leads Group 7 this week at our monthly social event. Yay for bowling!
Hanging out with Leads Group 7 this week at our monthly social event. Yay for bowling!

I recently joined the Gold Member Alliance Program (GMAP) at the Chamber as well, and am already feeling like the members of the group are also my people; being a part of Women of Denver this past year has definitely shown me that another aspect of my people are also in that group. I am so grateful for these opportunities to be around people who have similar experiences in their work lives (and sometimes even personal lives).

Yes, I have found my people!