Heidi Isern

writer. thinker. whiskey drinker.

Why You Should Give Your Lover an Onion

While Shelly was single she was always jealous of the coupled-ups that posted their romantic evenings on Instagram every February 14th. Love, the ‘head-over-heels, roll-down-the-hill kinda love’, was all she wanted out of life. Every night before she went to bed she fantasized of the perfect Valentine’s Day when she would finally have a boyfriend to be ‘head-over-heels’ with. Perhaps there would be an intimate dinner at a five star

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Women Need to Date Carpenters Like Men Date Yoga Instructors

Every woman I know in San Francisco says the same thing. “He has to be this much taller and make this much more money. I mean, I’m tall and successful, so he should be MORE tall and successful. I’m WORTH IT, right?” Worth what? Someone ‘better’ than you? Men never say things like that. They don’t want “more” and in many cases they prefer “less.” (less success = less complications…)

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Why You Can’t Find the One: Part 2

Nine months ago I wrote a post that went more viral than a Trump Tweet. It was covered by four publications and seen by over a million readers, all interested in understanding one thing — “Why You Can’t Find the One.” Since then I’ve received hundreds of letters, messages and tweets from people begging for help with searches for the “One.” Young, old, married, single, straight, gay, male, female, Christian, Muslim, Jewish,

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How a Powder Day Threatened my Friendship

It was a powder day in Tahoe. For ski aficionados a dusting of fresh powder means you drop the rest of your life to get on the mountain. That day we had more than dust. It was four feet of white smoke. I left my Truckee house without making coffee, greedy for frosty adrenaline. This girl didn’t need caffeine. If I were alone I would have skied all day, not

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Do We Do it For Love or Money?

I always wondered if the size of a woman’s diamond ring was inversely proportional to her marital happiness. Perhaps I’m jealous. Or perhaps I’ve finally decided a simple left hand leads to greater life satisfaction. But I wasn’t always this way… Manhattan 2004 A group of handsome men walked into the crowded bar, their eyes scouring young ladies’ necklines along with the scotch brands on the top shelf. I eagerly preened

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Wanna be happy? Screw the resolutions.

For many, January 1st marks a new beginning. For others, it is just an arbitrary date fate throws on our calendar to remind us to conquer…something. We are encouraged to get thinner, be happier, secure a relationship, find a new job, accomplish something, anything, before 352 days go by and it’s Judgment Day. Again. Our society clings to a notion of having everything all figured out within a set time

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What People REALLY Want for Christmas

In early December I polled my community to ask them a simple question. If you could give any “thing” to anyone for Christmas, what would it be and why? If you are looking for inspiration, read below. There are 4 days to get your gift under the tree. However, what most people long to give is something that cannot be wrapped. What I’d like to give…. No canceled flights for

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Why You Can’t Fall in Love Like You Want To

“I just want to fall in love,” he said. “Nothing beats holiday romance.” Charlie blasted ‘Baby it’s cold outside’ from his new Amazon Echo while sipping mulled wine. “I just hope love happens to me so I can Fa la la la with someone.” It was November 24th and Charlie was already playing Christmas love ballads. In another week he’d put on Love Actually, secretly hoping a Midwestern model would

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Five Things I am NOT Thankful For

During Thanksgiving the internet will be crowded with saccharine odes of gratitude. Well, not from me. There is plenty NOT to be thankful for and I’d like to address it. 1. Cellulite It is the gift that keeps giving… people a complex. When I was in my 20’s a beautiful 40-something women told me, “Appreciate your tight skin now, because, trust me, as you get older, things start to loosen

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How to Survive a Red-Blue Thanksgiving

This election isn’t just dividing the nation into red and blue color maps-it’s fracturing families along party lines, just in time for the holidays. Many of my friends in San Francisco are dreading Thanksgiving, usually a time of family merriment and togetherness. Why? Many of the city’s “liberal elite” originally hail from those American red counties that tipped the electoral college to a Trump victory. My liberal minded friends are

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The One Thing to Save (ALL) Your Relationships

Communication is the most critical ingredient of any type of relationship. Yet today’s world has so much noise that we have all forgotten how to listen. “Yep, yep. Got it. Great. Yep. Yep,” he said. I was telling Toby my latest family crisis at warp speed, covering each detail as if it could be a secret clue to a buried treasure. Toby was a great multi tasker. His mouth could

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Gut Feeling? 4 Reasons NOT to Listen to It

“Just listen to your gut,” popular wisdom says. Hell, I’ve even said it myself.Your heart may lead you astray and your head could hold you back, right? But sometimes our gut is dead wrong. Like the time it told me the habanero-fired burrito at 1am was a great idea. So when do we listen and when do we tell it to shut the hell up? It’s first useful to understand

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Has Tech Killed Art in San Francisco?

My city, San Francisco, is one of the world’s smartest and wealthiest cities. Its concrete seams are bursting with tech dollars, Python code and every imaginable type of logoed hoodie. I’m thrilled to be surrounded by such innovation and easy fashion. Yet I am saddened that San Francisco’s promise of lucrative startup exits have created such a high cost of living that its artists can no longer work and live

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50 Shades of Ambiguity: Why the ‘Gray Zone’ is Good For You

‘Embrace Ambiguity’ is one of my design firm’s seven core values. It’s the one value I used to secretly wish we could hogtie and gag. Yes, I wanted to torture ambiguity like it tortured me — you know, draw and quarter it into four understandable chunks. Why? Because I was a domineering mistress. AKA a control freak. There, I said it. I liked knowing when things would be done, how they would

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Tell Fear to F*ck Off-4 Ways to Jumpstart a New Life

“I love her, but I’m too afraid to tell her in case she laughs.” “My real dream is to be a chef, but I’m afraid of starting over at 39.” “I have this idea…..but I’m so afraid it just won’t work.” All these were quotes I pulled from Scaredy Cats Anonymous, a dimly lit place where people release their qualms and take shots of courage to make a leap forward

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Why You Can’t Make Your Relationship Last

“Stop writing about finding a relationship,” he told me. “That’s the easy part. Write about how to keep one.” My friend John was a 40-year-old serial monogamist. He couldn’t make a relationship last even though he aspired to find a woman he could “have passionate sex with until he was 85.” Yet he was on his 15th girlfriend, unsure of her long-term viability. Most people say they would cut off

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Quantity or Quality? My Blogging Struggle

I’ve let my readers down this week. My usual Wednesday post, ‘humpdayheidi’ is on a 7 day hiatus and it’s killing me. Writers aren’t supposed to take breaks, are they? They are the entrepreneurs of words, working 26 hour days and taking out second mortgages so that they can pursue their passion. I thought I was such an artist, sacrificing for my craft. You see, in March I decided to

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My Family’s Gay Indian Montana Wedding

“In my wildest dreams, I never thought I’d be going to a gay wedding,” said my uncle. “I didn’t even know what gay meant as a kid,” said my dad. “In college the term gay just meant being happy. We’d say we had a gay ol’ time.” My uncle chuckled. “Well, guess we’re about to have another one.” We all loaded ourselves in trucks to go to a garden spot

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How to Survive Loss, Without Losing Yourself

“There is an art to missing,” said an old man in Nice as he took a sip of wine. Red droplets hung from his mustache while he told me about his lost wife, his amour de la vie. The french translation of “I miss you” is “tu me manques” which literally is “you are missing from me.” But I was too young then. I didn’t understand what missing meant. Since

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Books that Change the Course of Our Lives

“Books change people’s destinies.” – Carlos Maria Dominguez, The House of Paper Good books have a way of getting into your bloodstream. They become a homeopathic treatment, imprinting new thoughts into your molecules, changing the core of who you are and what you seek. The right books cause us to love deeper, travel more, take risks, end things, start things, and redo things. A 140 character count tweet won’t alter

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