5 Lessons Learned From My First Year Working Corporate

Thursday, February 16, 2017

This is me in my natural habitat. Rushing through the streets of New York wearing all-black with a slight twist, of course. The brief time I spend walking outside before and after work is often my most introspective. Often times I leave work in a blur, wondering how the day has passed so quickly, or how a year has gone since I started working. It's all a part of adulting, right?

The past year of transitioning from college student to corporate girl has been one of significant change to say the least. In college your professors say they're preparing you for "the real world", but I'm not sure that anything really can. It all sort of rushes in without warning, challenging you, but also growing you every day. In hope of showing my support for anyone making the transition as well, I'm sharing five things I've learned from my first year in the corporate world.

1. Your boss won't be your best friend, but they'll be an integral part of your experience. The corporate hierarchy is a funny thing. It's a ladder that seems to never end. But maintaining a good relationship with your boss is everything, and the best thing to do is not only collaborate with them, but leverage them. Chances are your boss has done something right to get them to that level. And though you may not agree with them 100% of the time, use the opportunity to learn from them. No matter the strength of your relationship, you'll still have to spend 80% of your week with this person -- make it worthwhile.

2. Don't give up your hobbies. Time management is one of the quickest challenges you face when a full-time job comes around. It's easy to let the hours and days pass you when work gets hectic. Though I've had my fair share of long days at the office, I'm not one to let it take over my life. It is so important to maintain the passions that make you unique. Whether it's boxing or blogging, those side hobbies will fuel your energy and personality.

3. Build a community. Chances are if you're working corporate, you have a solid amount of coworkers. I work at a particularly large company, and the amount of people there are to meet is almost overwhelming. Regardless of your feelings about your work, it's only healthy to make friends at a place that occupies the majority of your time. I personally volunteer for events whenever possible and grab lunch with coworkers I don't often see to make sure I'm maintaining connections. Why not enjoy these 40-50 hours of each week?

4. Be your own cheerleader. The harsh reality of adulting is that no one is holding your hand anymore. There will always be people in your life for support, but ultimately you drive your development and career. We don't get prizes for doing something right, and we can't expect them. Take note of the things you've accomplished. Don't let people forget them. In the corporate world you only get what you ask for, and even that needs backup. The main challenge I've experienced comes from comparing myself to others, which I've learned is unreasonable in the workplace. We all have our own paths, and it's our job to carve them.

5. Protect your health. A corporate career might be healthy for your wallet, but it certainly is no friend to personal health. Hello, regular massages and trips to the eye doctor. Whatever it is that you do to maintain your health, keep it up. I am personally guilty of slacking on my once regular workout routine, and I've definitely felt the repercussions. Eat your greens, avoid snacking too frequently, and get some fresh air during the day. Any small thing you do to put your body first helps in both the short and long term. After all, your life lasts much longer than one job.

Photo Credit: Van Le

Vest: Zara (similar) | Top: Zara (similar here) | Bag: Marc Jacobs
Shoes: Tommy Hilfiger (similar here) | Necklace: c/o Lydell NYC 

Morning Dates

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

I've hinted on my Instagram before that my boyfriend Victor has officially embarked on his culinary career. With any career change comes adjustments, and in this case that means having opposite working schedules. Though I can't complain, as we're lucky to be in the same city pursuing what we love. 

When it comes to dating a chef, I've quickly learned to reserve weekend mornings together. We'll explore the city or grab brunch at a new spot before strolling to his restaurant near Cooper Square (pictured here). So I guess you can call this my date night morning look - a simple black dress layered for winter and made casual for daylight. These quiet morning hours have now become my favorite.

Photo Credit: Victor (the bf)

Sweater: Zara (similar here) | Bag: Loeffler Randall
Dress: Zara (similar here)Boots: Marc Fisher

Long Lost Travel Diary: Singapore Part 2

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Between celebrating the holidays and welcoming a new year, my final Singapore travel diary seemed to get lost in the mix. I don't think memories of travel ever get old, so this week I'm taking it back to a December week of warmth, adventure, and a sane American president (had to throw that one in). Our second day in Singapore was spent venturing through the city, away from Marina Bay's tourist hub and into more local favorites. I've heard several times that "there is nothing to do" in Singapore, but after this busy day we only wished we had more time. 

CHIJIMES is a restored convent from the 1800s now known as a place for dining, drinking, and hanging with friends. We visited before opening hours to quietly explore the area and its stunning architecture.

Din Tai Fung
When there is a Din Tai Fung in town, we can't help but stop by. Known for its delicious soup dumplings (or xiaolongbao), this originally Taiwan-based restaurant has expanded all over Asia thanks to its growing popularity. There are also locations in California and Washington for my West Coast readers -- I'm just (im)patiently waiting for its move to New York.

Singapore Art Museum
When traveling, I typically visit at least one museum to remember the area by. The Singapore Art Museum displays a fantastic blend of modern artwork and history that in my opinion, is much more relatable than the contemporary art we see in America. CHJIMES, Din Tai Fung, and the museum are all within walking distance, making it easy to take advantage of a full morning in Singapore.

Haji Lane
My favorite street in Singapore was Haji Lane, tucked away as a pedestrian-only shopping strip in the Kampong Glam neighborhood. Despite Singapore's reputation for luxurious shopping malls, this is the best area to shop with its independent boutiques and affordable designs. Along with shops there is a variety of dining and snacking choices, so of course we made coffee and ice cream stops along the away. I could have likely spent an entire day here, but for my wallet's sake it's a good thing I didn't.

Singapore's Chinatown was by far the largest and cleanest I have ever visited. We intended to make a quick stop here, but soon found ourselves rushing to explore its entirety. Despite the brief rain shower we experienced, we were easily entertained by the endless rows of food stalls. Fun tip: If you can find it, try Kim Peng Hiang's Pineapple Jerky (Bak Kwa)!

That's a wrap on my Asia travel diaries. Here's to the travels that are still to come this year!

Year of the Rooster

Thursday, January 26, 2017

I'll admit I'm not always the best example of embracing Chinese culture, but Lunar New Year is a helpful reminder to keep tradition in mind. When I think of this holiday, I'm taken back to long weekends at my grandparents' house in Boston spent feasting over "lucky" dishes with family. In the past few years this tradition has slowed, with the passing of my grandmother and aging of the youngest generation. Though with the changing of family customs, there is a feeling of nostalgia during this holiday that still keeps us close despite the distance.

Chinese New Year has always been one of my favorite holidays, likely as a child because of the red envelopes (no shame). These days the red envelopes aren't so abundant, but the lifelong family traditions give the holiday its personal significance. I'm partnering with Coach to celebrate the new year with a pop of lucky red from their limited edition 1941 collection. Let this accessory be a bright reminder to value tradition and family as we celebrate our heritage.

Bag: c/o Coach | Scarf: ASOS
Coat: Primark (similar here) | Shoes: Kenneth Cole

Thank you to Coach for partnering on this post. All opinions are my own.

Winter Refresh

Monday, January 23, 2017

Now is about the time when the we feel the peak of winter set in. The holidays are long over, and the countdown to spring is slightly too early to begin. When those winter blues start escalating I find it most helpful to step back and refresh, little by little.

Last weekend I stopped by Wonderland Beauty Parlor in New York's Meatpacking District for a long overdue cut. With the winter air making my hair extra static-friendly, those long locks were feeling heavier by the day. It turns out a quick cleanup of my layers was the perfect way to get me re-energized for the season. Simple, I know. But it's never wrong to treat yourself every once in a while. What small things help you beat a winter slump? Feel free to leave some tips in the comments below!

Photo Credit: Victor (the bf)

Sweater: Zara (old, similar here) | Shoes: Mango | Bag: & Other Stories

PS. Mention my blog for 20% off your first appointment at Wonderland Beauty Parlor!

Pleated With Culture

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Contrary to my typical habits, I'm not a shopper when I travel. I much more prefer the reward of photos and memories as souvenirs. Though during my recent trip to Singapore, the cozy, independently-owned boutiques of the famous Haji Lane had a lure that I could not resist.

To date this dramatically pleated top is one of my favorite clothing purchases from a vacation. The design speaks to everything that Haji Lane is -- one of a kind. The narrow pedestrian street is lined with boutiques you won't find anywhere else, each with its own personality. I personally love the ability to pair this top with the simplest outfit without really being simple at all. Shopping on Haji is as much a cultural experience as most other local tourist sites, and it's at the top of my list for a longer visit on my next trip to Singapore.

Top: Haji Lane, Singapore | Jeans: ASOS (similar)
Bag: & Other Stories | Shoes: Free People (similar)

From 18 to 22 || A Letter to Myself

Monday, January 16, 2017

I'm writing this just after reading a letter addressed to myself, written by myself as an 18 year-old high school senior. "As of now, I have big plans for myself," it reads. I remember my excitement about this class assignment asking us to write letters to our future selves, to later be mailed out by the school five years later. It was, however, that last thing I expected to receive on this typical January weekend.

I've come to learn that your twenties are precious. It's a time of instability, discovery, and endless cycles of challenge and success. Reading this letter quickly had me holding back tears, as cliché as that sounds. Not for reasons of nostalgia or regret, but more out of realization. Of the goals I had set for myself five years ago, almost all have been accomplished thus far (minus consistent exercise of course). It was that kind of realization that makes you step back to acknowledge everything you have to appreciate.

Emotionally speaking, the start of this new year has been exactly what the twenties are -- unpredictable. Waves of feeling burnt out are followed by elation and determination, and often times I'm not sure what my next steps should be. But realizing that I've now exceeded my 18 year-old expectations is a small but much-needed feeling of encouragement. As my final partnership with Reebok's #PerfectNever campaign, I want to pass off the reminder that the inevitability of challenge should never offset accomplishment of any scale. Stay proud of your present and determined for your future. Things will fall into place. Please excuse the cheese.

Sports Bra // Jacket // Leggings (similar) // Shoes

Thank you to Reebok for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

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