Heidi Isern

writer. thinker. whiskey drinker.

2013

Unconventional Gratitude…from Razor Blades to Wrinkles

Every Thanksgiving we Americans pause, go around the table laden with caloric tradition, and say what we are grateful for.  Usually this includes something like “My adoring friends and family”, “My wonderful career”, and of course some embarrassed admission that we can afford much more food than we can possibly consume. Instead of creating an ode to mashed potatoes, what if we gave gratitude to things that profoundly challenged or

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Marry A Man Who Doesn’t Read

In the spirit of Date an Illiterate girl and to show two sides of a Sliding Doors moment, I’ve painted a picture of a few possible outcomes for the choices we make in love. Marry a Man Who Doesn’t Read (and Has a Nice Watch) Marry a man who doesn’t read literature. Or paint works of art or make music. Marry this man for he is as safe as his spoon fed television with

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Building Relationships in Urban Anonymity: A Tale of Two Peruvians

Us urbanites live in a world of intimate anonymity. We routinely interact with people for years yet rarely discover more than one fact about them. For example, I knew my barista had a fetish for orange nail polish, she knew I was particular about my milk temperature (185 degrees).  I knew my corner grocer took secret smoke breaks during downtime, he knew I bought Nutella at midnight. This was all

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How to Mess Up Your Online Identity (#FAIL)

“The Web can and will influence how others perceive you, both personally and professionally” Sigh. In the past month I’ve sent people to porn, tweeted out my neuroses, participated in humblebragging, and enabled my burning man photos to go viral. When it came to protecting my online identity I was embracing the “Fail Fast, Fail Often” methodology.  Below are top fails, what I learned, and what I’m (not) going to

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My Dirty Secret

It was one of those San Francisco drizzle dusks where you couldn’t tell where the fog ended and the rainclouds started.  Dressed in a black trench coat, I met an old colleague outside the warm glow of a Brasserie sign. It was time to confide a dark secret. “You’ll never believe this, “I whispered. “I’m happy. Madly happy.” “What!” she exclaimed and pulled me into the wet shadows, nervously looking

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Burning Man Lessons from A Newbie

  “I’ll never go to Burning Man,” I always said.  “It’s full of hairy armpit hippies having orgies in the dust while hallucinating.”   I loathed the people in San Francisco that called themselves “burners.” You know the type-those wide eyed patchouli wearers that made arcane references to “the playa” and found random “burner friendly” events throughout the year where they could wear tutus, wave glo sticks, and relive their “playa”

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Stop Talking: Making Less More.

We’ve all heard the phrase “Less is more” but how often to we really employ this?  We are always seeking “more.”  Say more, do more, be more. As another birthday descends upon me, I feel a case of the ‘more neuroses’ coming on. Have I done enough? Or is my life one big chaotic ‘less’ compared to my peers? After all, they’ve managed to publish books, run companies, buy homes and adopt

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Dream Job Interview: From Hedge Funds to Mountain Peaks

I have often toyed with the idea of casting my career into the abyss and following some crazy passion. Maybe I’d run amok with a latin dancer and perfect the cha cha in Cuba. I would be known as “Pies del fuego” (feet of fire).  Or maybe I’d don board shorts and set up a girls’ surf camp in Indonesia. From my hut, I’d teach young women the beauty of

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Imperfectly Naked

Last month I received a postcard from Champasak,Vietnam. It was from my high school friend Tim. After getting his PhD from MIT, he decided to turn down lucrative offers and buy a boat to sail around the world for a few years.  “F*** what I’m supposed to do. This is what I WANT to do,” he told me. Some people thought Tim was a f***up by wasting his degree. He

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3 Ways To Indulge like a Parisian

From food to fashion to love….how to let seduction take over…gracefully. I first thought it best to start my new job with restraint and productivity.  I went on a detox cleanse, wore sensible shoes, and went to bed early.  And then I was sent to Paris. As I embarked for the ‘City of Light’ for week of client meetings, I was also asked to capture any moments of “indulgence” for

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Bringing Your ‘Whole Self’ To Work?!

  Remember when we were encouraged to leave our personal lives at home and be ‘just business’ in the workplace?  That notion is dying…there is a new calling to be 100% OURSELVES 100% of the time.  The Past Once upon a time in a consulting world far far away, there was a poet who turned into workaholic witch. I had once been a creative soul that wrote poetry in dark Parisian

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Stilettos, Sexism, and Sheryl Sandberg

I was invited to a book club to talk about Sheryl Sandberg’s book, ‘Lean In’. True to Heidi fashion I read the entire book in a cram session 24 hours prior, spilling coffee and makeup all over the cover. Sigh. Not very Sheryl Sandberg like. Regardless of the stains on its cover, I thought her book was fabulous. It spoke to the struggles women face trying to balance careers and

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3 Reasons To Be A Social Butterfly

  My friends complain that I am ‘too social’ about as much as I am “ too humblebragy.’  The latter I am trying to correct (see Things Not Posted on Facebook). The former, however, is my part of my core.  I consider my vast array of friends a beautiful mosaic, each person a tile with a unique color contribution.  My mosaic is eclectic and convoluted and often in costume. Being

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Things Not Posted on Facebook

  A college friend came to visit recently and remarked, “Wow, you’ve really made it in San Francisco. I can tell from your posts on Facebook.”  Er.   That was right after another friend called me out for ‘humble brag’ on a recent post about a secret admirer.  I realized that yes, ok, perhaps I do showcase a fantastic life with romantic suitors, exotic travels, couture clothing, top exec meetings,

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How to Live Life and Love it!

The first message I received on Valentines Day went something like this: heidi,this is the first time I’ve looked at facebook in 5 months or so. i wanted to tell you that i love how much you live your life. few people ever live truly, and so most people might as well have not ever lived. But you live, i like that…..   Ok, well to level set, I am

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My Eulogy to Granny, the Isern Matriarch

I’ve written about my Granny more than any other subject.  She’s appeared in multiple blogs and stories, the fierce whiskey drinking heroine that tells the world to be ornery.  As her eldest grandchild, I wanted to read something at her memorial this weekend and I am, for once, having a hard time with words.  What do I say about someone that has shaped my life? What can I say to

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The First Women Surfers of Nicaragua

I just came back from an extended trip in Central America.  There is something about that place warms up my bloodstream, making my veins swirl with a spicy happy. I love the people’s smiles, ignorant of their poverty.  I love the smells of street food, grilled bits that tingle my nostrils.  I love the sound of the ocean, the waves seemingly omniscient.   What I do not love about Central America

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