Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Wrist Full of Wooden Watch

Growing up, I was never one for wearing watches. Or eating fish. Or macaroni.

But sometime in my early 20s, I was struck by a fish craving. And because go big or go home, I got really into sushi and never looked back. Likewise, all it took was getting hooked on a pretty little leather watch with pretty little flowers decorating the face that I found on Etsy late one night while online-shopping my feelings away a couple years ago and suddenly....I was a watch person. Turns out, I still don't love macaroni. I am sorry to disappoint.

Long story short, I now own a small handful (wristful?) of watches. Including the newest one in my budding collection....

Behold, the Sidney Series Maple & Rose Gold by JORD! Ain't she pretty.

I've had a thing for wood watches for awhile (check out the rest of JORD's collection here), so when I spotted my new wrist-cessory online the choice was simple as pie. Plus that rose gold face? Give me rose gold or give me....another metal...which I will like less than rose gold....

Especially with winter creeping in, I'm prone to wearing darker colors these days.

Which means a light pop of contrast on my wrist is a well-timed (TIMED! IT'S A WATCH PUN GET IT) is exactly what I need as I head into these grayer months (I know, I live in northern California, but those skies are still overcast and I am still weak for anything below 60 degrees, therefore it is winter). Take today's outfit: dark gray sweater, black shorts, dark green tights, and gray ankle boots. And black nails.

And (wait for it)....a perfectly contrasty light-colored wood watch. See how much winning?

p.s. yes my hair is pink

k love you all time to get back to decompressing from the work day aka reading young adult fiction fantasy novels and curling up in a sumptuous pile of comforting gray bedding xoxooox

In the interest of legalities: I was compensated for this post, but the opinions are all my own and nobody else's and 100% honest because this girl wouldn't do you like that.

Wood Watches For Women

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Comin' Round the (Creepy) Mountain (Town)

It's just that some mountain towns are full of people who look like they might want to kill you, is the thing.

And anyone who's watched enough horror movies in their day knows that. For me, it's my newfound interest in The Walking Dead that most recently clued me into this truth that unseemly looking mountain men in plaid shirts might not be fully trustworthy, as well as this experience I had last weekend. Which is unsettlingly opposite of everything else I know and love about men in plaid shirts. This feels like an extremely inconvenient fine line. Date them? Run from them to save my life? WHY IS LIFE COMPLICATED

So back to last weekend.

It started out innocently enough -- a camping trip! with my friend Laura! in the mountains! And her friend Nate who I didn't know at the time but hey cool yay Nate! Our plan was simple: Laura and Nate would spend Saturday at the beach, I would spend it in my office working (see: why I haven't blogged in nearly a month) and then we'd all meet up for camping (and naturally I'd go to the beach the next morning to make up for my lack-o'-Saturday).

It all went fine until blah blah blah, campsite was full, blah blah blah. The next important part of the story is when I pull into a gas station in a small mountain town, in a spot that has some precious cell service, and call Laura. That's about when I looked up and around my car and saw.....walkers. (see: The Walking Dead term for zombies) (see: many ragged plaid...shuffling about the parking lot side-eying the lone female in a mini cooper that sticks out like a sore city thumb.) Yipes. Laura informed me that she and Nate were just up the road at an ice cream parlor, so I zipped right out of that parking lot and headed that way (passing a VERY suspect looking plaid...along the side of the road in the meantime).

I pulled into the parking lot of a most delightfully kitschy ice cream place, greeted Laura ("Why does everyone in this town look like they want to kill me" "Oh you mean that hitchhiker??") (By the mouth of two witnesses, boys and ghouls....)

Thus ensued the following series of events:

  • Laura and I both need to pee like our lives depend on it ("the bathroom's around the corner..."). Wander into some scary dark yard area with a shed ("it's around the other corner...").
  • Slightly drunk, unkempt males in line at the ice cream place inform us we need a code to get into the bathroom. We ask the sweet older asian man (his race is relevant, stay tuned) who runs the ice cream parlor what the code is. ("No code....") (Snickering from slightly drunk, unkempt males in line) (Really weird joke, guys...)
  • Laura and I successfully pee. I successfully touch nothing in that janky bathroom in the process. Because I am a wizard.
  • Return to ice cream line. Witness slightly drunk, unkempt males loudly speaking (really bad) Spanish (yes) to the sweet older asian (yes) man taking their order. Ohhhkay. Open palm, insert face.
  • Laura and Nate order ice cream. Since I just chowed down on In 'n Out and a Dr. Pepper in my car, I decline ice cream. Sweet older asian man decides I need ice cream anyway and gives me a small scoop of vanilla with hot fudge on top fo' free ("It's business!") ("Yes thank you I like business.")
  • Rendezvous in a booth inside the ice cream parlor. Discuss options. All local campsites full. Determine to find a suitably cheap and suitably seedy local motel to stay in. Not enough connection to search the Internets. Eat ice cream. Drive back down the road to the gas station full of walkers.
  • Pull up next to each other at the gas station and roll down our windows. Immediately approached by young female, who claims to be some kind of monk and proceeds to ask for gas money. Mid-convo about what kind of monk she is and what that means, her fellow traveler (male) appears behind us (velociraptor style) and jumps in mid-sentence to mansplain to us what his female travel companion was already successfully saying. Shut him up, turn back to her. Learn that they sold all their possessions to travel the world, or something. Except the car, or something.
  • Leave gas station for fear of walkers and veloci-monks. Rendezvous around the corner. Google many local motels. Stumble upon helpfully critical reviews ranging from the usual "no hot water" to the less usual "wear shoes at all times" to the extremely less usual "all phone cords in rooms have been severed." (Don't worry, that guy still gave the place two stars. WHO ARE YOU)
  • Discover that even janky mountain motels with severed phone cords want to charge an arm and a leg (which they will probably re-sell to the walkers at the gas station) for a night of no-hot-water and always-wearing-my-shoes.
  • Laugh until we cry.
  • Admit defeat.
  • Drive home.
  • Sleep in own bed.
  • Obviously drive to the beach the next morning anyway to get my sun/sand/ocean fix.
And there you have it. The story of the creepy mountain town, the walkers, the monks, the mediumly drunk and casually ethnically ignorant townies, the severed phone cords and the camping trip that was never meant to be.

But with a story like that....I'm not even mad, you know?

Over and out. Miss you all in blog world! Stay tuned for when work slows down and I get more of my life back and bring you more enlightening tales. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

So I'm Going to Get an MBA (feat. highlights from my admissions essay)

I wish the title of this blog could have said "feat. 50 Cent" or "feat. Christina Aguilera" like some important musical artist was sponsoring my educational endeavors and also dropping a beat somewhere in this post.

I have no idea why I picked those two artists but I'm not taking it back and you'll never make me. Also if any important musical artist does want to sponsor my education, I'll be here with open arms. Let's move on to the real substance of this post....


Found out approximately 8 hrs ago that I am officially accepted into the program at Santa Clara University. No, I'm not quitting my job. Night school. I love my job. I will love working full time and going to school at the same time. Sanity status pending evaluation.

**And also, please note (PLEASE NOTE) that Santa Clara University is where my one true basketball love, Steve Nash, played college ball. The reason is fate. We're in this together now, he and I. (Nevermind that one time when he broke up with me. He regrets it, we chatted, there were some tears, he went down on the Lakers' dime, I'm fine he's fine we're all fine.)**

Anyway, I'll start school next spring and I couldn't be more stoked! I was going to write my thoughts on the why/how/what/who/quienes/quieres of the decision, but then I realized I already had -- in the ol' admissions essay that I submitted with my application! So, you get excerpts from that below instead.

Thanks to everyone who knew about the application shenanigans and encouraged me along the way. And specific thanks to Camille and Justin for writing my letters of recommendation. You're both champions and your blogs are real nice too.

First, this photo of me in my official college kid swag.

How, you ask, did I come to own this swag when I only received official admission 8 hrs ago? The answer might be that I bought it right when I applied, as a sign of confidence to the universe. Universe, thanks for playing along :) (Especially since now I don't have to awkwardly donate it to Goodwill or burn it in spiteful frustration.)

And now, them words.
The night before I moved to California, an email from my new employer appeared in my inbox. Due to funding, the company was eliminating my position. I had 12 hours left before leaving for Palo Alto, and I no longer had a job waiting for me. 
The next morning, I got in my car and I drove to California anyway.
The next few months were a whirlwind. My survival methods ranged from working part-time at a shopping mall to taste-testing popcorn for $80 in response to a craigslist ad. With college graduation several years behind me, working jobs similar to the ones I’d worked in high school was humbling. But, it infused an empathy in me that I don’t take lightly. In fact, I am now shaping my entire career around it. 
Prior to California, my career interests centered on writing. As I look back from where I’m at now in the recruiting field, I can see clearly that although I was funneling my time and energy into a creative career, there was always a strong people-focused aspect to everything I did. From building relationships with coworkers to taking new interns under my wing to instituting company culture perks (e.g. office olympics), it was always, in some way, about the people for me. 
When I was working full-time as a content writer, my team completed the Strengthsfinder 2.0 quiz. My results were telling of the career change that eventually lay ahead of me, as many of my top five strengths (empathy, developer, includer, adaptability and positivity) focused on my passion for people. 
These days, when people ask what I want to do down the line, my answer is simple: I want to help people be happy at work. I want people to love their jobs. 
(blah blah blah, thoughts about how the program and what concentration specifically play into my career goals, organizations I created and volunteered with in the past, I'm a special unicorn and I'm too self conscious to let the world read this part, etc.) 
I have considered graduate school for years, but could never quite put my finger on an end goal to justify the investment. After changing job fields and moving into recruiting, I finally realized what had been written on the wall for years -- my career needs to be about people. And after meeting people who work in [the types of roles that interest me], it finally all clicked for me. I am the type of person who often immediately knows what I want when I see it, and will then doggedly pursue it until I achieve whatever I’ve set my sights on. The convergence of my newfound career goal and my long-time desire to attend grad school finally put all the pieces in place for me. I am going to earn an MBA, and then I am going to immerse myself in a people-centered career where I can fuel change and make a positive impact on work culture and employee satisfaction. I want Santa Clara University to be the next stepping stone on my way to getting there.
....the end!

Thanks for reading along. And thanks in advance for joining me in the inevitable rambles over the next couple years as this whole crazy show goes down. Mazel tov to one and all!

Katie Elizabeth Hawkes, MBA. Let's do this.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Island Adventure Club // Visiting Angel Island

What every girl needs in her life is to belong to an Island Adventure Club. let it be written. It happened for me by accident, really. I just happened to have two island-related outings planned during a two-week span with the exact same five people. And thus, we are a club. Round 1 of Island Adventure Clubbing took us to Angel Island, which is located on the bay just a quick ferry ride north of San Francisco.

Angel Island is a historical motherload!

Known as the Ellis Island of the West, it served as an immigration hub for many years. Its history also includes native americans, spanish explorers, gold rush era settlements, military bases, cold war missile hideouts, and so on. These days you can camp and bike there as well -- we opted to walk the perimeter road around the entire outside of the island (about a 5-mile trip -- you can also bike this!) (if you're good at biking hills) (I'm not even good at walking hills) (man I hate hills).

It's cool because we just kept stumbling across various historical things -- old abandoned buildings, housing/internment camps (which stomped on my heart a little and made me feel heavy about war and racism and xenophobia and how damn hard immigration is for people), various nature and wildlife sights, views of the bay and Golden Gate Bridge (which was crawling in fog the whole morning). All in all, it's a nice mix of nature, history and stuff that makes you think. Totally my jam.

I think it's easy to look at historical things (e.g. immigration issues from a few decades ago, the civil rights movement from the 60s, etc) and forget that those things are still happening NOW. When historical movements....well, MOVE me....I'm trying to be better at turning those feelings into something productive now, instead of just viewing it as a sticky phase from the past that's all sugarcoated and wrapped up now. Because it's not. And I want to be continually fueled to awareness and compassion by the whole of it.

I'm no professional photographer (iPhone for liiiiiiiffffe), but if you are, you should definitely go to here. Angel Island is ripe for photography, especially if you're really into cool old buildings (raises hand high).

If you live in the bay area and want a half-day trip, I suggest making this happen! If you're visiting SF and want to mix things up and get out of the city for a bit, I also suggest you make this happen! The weather was nigh unto perfect when we went so I suggest always going on exactly September 26 if at all possible. Ha. Just don't accidentally step in the ocean like I did, but if you're going to go for it, I suggest wearing moisture-wicking socks. You may have worn them only because none of your regularly preferred socks are clean, but you will feel very lucky when the sea tries to attack you later that day and your foot is dry very soon after. ("The sea was angry that day, my friends.")

And now on to them iPhone photos! Stay tuned for future installments of Island Adventure Club, brought to you by the number....something....and the letter pizza. That about sums it up.

 ^^it was laura's birthday eve. so we hugged trees overlooking the ocean.

^^this park ranger just walked up to us holding this little guy 

^^...naturally, i wanted to hold our new little friend as well. we bonded immediately.

 ^^the clouds were killing me that day! like a field of fuzzy sky freckles

 ^^couldn't stop singing the Jurassic Park theme song as our boat pulled up to this fog-laden forest island!

 ^^Island Adventure Club, in the flesh!! (plus I'm still holding the praying mantis)

 ^^the striped wood colors in this old church were perfection! they don't hold services here anymore but, fun fact, you *can* get married here! you know who to hit up if you need over-experienced bridesmaid services on Angel Island (

 ^^the colorful leaves framing these windows were filling me with heart eyes emojis!

^^clearly a very zoomed in photo, but the best shot I got of the bridge from the island when the fog finally cleared a bit!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Aruba (Jamaica, ooh I wanna take ya) Dinner in the City

Well hey there!

It's Friday night and my work is on pause and I just straight-up downed Indian food while watching Mindy Project so you could say I'm feeling miiiiighty fine right now.

But let's talk about a few days ago! I had the opportunity to attend a dinner in San Francisco earlier this week, hosted by Aruba Marriott and Diamond PR. (When an invite involving food arrives in your inbox, the answer is yes. Always yes.)

And for good reason! Because that food? Daaaayyyuuummm. I enjoyed the meal from start to finish, Pretty much from the time I had the first appetizer in my mouth it was game on for my tastebuds. AND had the chance to make my own ceviche! Look at me being all culinary. Or something.

The dinner was hosted in the the coolest kitchen loft space: the Cookhouse. It's a cozy yet airy little setting with windows overlooking the city street (and the sunset was such a treat that night! it made me miss Arizona skies.) If you have the chance to attend an event at this venue, jump on it! (jump on it, jump on it!) (It's Friday and I want to sing about things.)

And also, the people at this event! I felt like such a small fry to be surrounded by all these world travelers (we're talking full-time travel bloggers and writers, yo). I left there feeling so inspired to visit so many places and do so many things! The travel bug is hella contagious. And also now I want to go to Aruba just to have more of this food. I also found someone with a tattoo like mine -- tattoo buddy picture below!

After the event I walked a few blocks back to my car and the city was so peaceful, the moon was shining over the buildings like it was Gotham (minus any visible crime or caped crusaders) and my soul was as full as my belly. A little Tony Bennett "Left My Heart in San Francisco" via Spotify on my way home and the whole night was sumptuous perfection. I feel inspired to keep getting out there and living my life and doing things -- solo or otherwise! Soul-feeding things.

Anyway, what you're most interested in are pictures of the food. I know this. I'm dialed in. I've got your number. I'm with it. I'm down. I'm hip. I'll move on from this sentence.

Enjoy and don't drool on your electronic devices, por favor!

 ^^maybe my favorite thing of the night! tuna tataki

 ^^i made that thing!

 ^^no it's not a jello's CHEESE! with treasures in the middle. better known as keshi yena