Heidi Isern

writer. thinker. whiskey drinker.

What They Don’t Tell You About Egg Freezing

Should corporations store our future in the freezer? Or is this giving a select few false security and encouraging a bizarre fad? Facebook and Apple’s decision to pay for women’s egg freezing has stimulated new controversy in women’s cocktail conversations.

“I feel this sends a message that women will never be able to balance a career and a family at the same time and we must choose.”

“It’s like the Sex and the City episode where Carrie Bradshaw spends a small fortune on wedding and baby gifts for her friends and no one ever gives her anything to celebrate her life choices.… Keep reading

Why We Should Relish Failure Like an Empanada

 

“Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides.”

André Malraux

Every six months my company puts on an event called “Stories” where designers go up on stage and tell personal tales about their lives. We sit on small wooden chairs and eat empanadas while watching our colleagues reveal raw accounts of their past loves, fears, and failures. Attendance has swelled over the years and there are no longer enough small wooden chairs (or empanadas) to seat everyone.… Keep reading

When ‘The One’ isn’t The One (and Marries Someone Else)

 

Do you remember…when you thought you found ”The One?”

 

The One you wrote poems about at 3am because the butterflies kept you from sleeping. And eating. And all other human functions that disappear when infatuation invades your body.  You didn’t even poop for three weeks.

 

The One you’d have sliced off a limb for, if only to spend an hour by her side. After all, who needed a left leg when her head was forever resting in the crook of your arm?… Keep reading

Don’t Do This in Your 30′s

It was August in San Francisco. The morning fog was so thick I wanted to spread it on my toast. I also wanted its gray shroud to smother the fact that my birthday was approaching and another year would be added to my social media profiles.

“Heidi,” a friend told me the night before over copious amounts of Cabernet.  “Age is your biggest mile marker.”

“What does that mean?” I asked.… Keep reading

How to Fall in Love in 5 Minutes

“Have you ever been in love?” I asked a Frenchman with a moustache the size of a baguette. I was technically in Paris for work, but couldn’t resist badgering strangers, researching the prospect of “easy love.”  The Frenchman looked at me like I was crazy.

“Mais oui, but of course!  12 times at least. I could again now in five minutes. Just give me a glass of wine, some jazz, and a woman who knows Sartre.”

When I ask this question in San Francisco, men hem and haw.… Keep reading

Finger Lickin’ Freedom: 4 Things I Love About America….

 

I left San Francisco as Friday’s sunset descended, hightailing it on Interstate 80 to make Tahoe for Memorial Day weekend. My speakers blasted Steely Dan and I sang along off key, hoping the wind from my open windows would enhance my soprano. My mind, once saturated with thought, was becoming free.

At exit 96, I called my friend.

“I have a confession,” I uttered. “I kinda like my own country.”

“What?!” she gasped.  … Keep reading

Addicted to Intensity*: Interview with a Serial Crisis Zone Doctor

 

Nelson Mandela once said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.”

When we try to help people in third world conflict or disaster zones, we often reach out with our dollars, the universal language. Rarely do we try to understand the people’s language or anything else about them.… Keep reading

Have Regrets? Get Over It.

Ten years ago I moved to San Francisco with everything I owned packed up in a Honda Civic. The value of my student loan debt far outweighed the value of my material possessions and if I didn’t find a job quickly, I’d have to pawn my shoe collection.

I liked my shoes, so I hustled.

A month later I had two VERY different job offers, each offering a unique life: high tech and fashion retail.… Keep reading

New York vs. San Francisco: In Quotes

My two favorite cities.  One I reside in, the other I play in. The Bold Italic recently posted a few articles with the catch phrase, “The Manhattanization of San Francisco lamenting the two cities’ similarities. However, crazy salaries and ridiculous rents aside, San Francisco and New York are, in my mind, totally different places.

For the sake of research, I spent countless hours in bars across the two towns, collecting quotes that signify the chief difference in multiple domains.… Keep reading

A Love Letter to my Liver

February 14, 2014

Dear Liver,

It was always you. Other lovers, organs and parts have come and gone (oh, poor tonsils) but it is only you that have remained stoically in love and support of me throughout my trying life. Our journey together has been magical and this year, my dear liver, with a hearty glass of Cabernet, I’d like to toast us, our past, and our future. 

Oh Liver, do you remember our first date? Keep reading

Superbowl Reflections: What I learned from a Cheerleader

Superbowl Sunday.The day of florescent cheese dips and smoky pigs parts. The day of cursing at irregularly shaped men sprinting in taut clothing. The day of “where have they been?” stars reappearing on expensive commercials, vying for our share of mind. They day of jersey camaraderie, hive fives, and booty dances.

For me it was a different day. For me, it was ‘the day after’ a heartfelt goodbye. It was the day of dueling feelings, fencing to the death.… Keep reading

So You Wanna Be a Model? A Few Tricks of the Trade…..

My fascination with models started at 14. My hair had just outgrown its tightly wound perm and my mother finally allowed me to get contact lenses to replace the hot pink coke bottle glasses that earned me the name ‘four eyed poodle’ in junior high.

“Mom if I cannot get contacts I am going to DIE,” I had stated.

And then-through Acuvue tinted lenses, my world changed.

“I think you are pretty,” said Brian Engels* at a school dance.… Keep reading

NonResolutions: NonImprovement Plans for 2014

When the calendar reset button approaches, our mind madly scurries to find ways to quiet our deep longing for vice. “We will be better next year!” we exclaim and hastily create New Year’s resolutions to transform ourselves into a better, slimmer, calmer, happier, richer and more sober replica of ourselves.

Many past New Year’s resolutions went something like this:

  • “I will never drink again. Correction-I will never drink more than 1 drink in one sitting* ever again.
  • Keep reading

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 changed us? … Keep reading

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 predicable plots, canned laughter and happy endings.… Keep reading

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 we knew about one another.… Keep reading

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 change.… Keep reading

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 around to ensure no one had heard me.… Keep reading

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” experience?… Keep reading

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 children from Uganda while my main accomplishment is outsmarting the parking ticket administration.Keep reading

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