Heidi Isern

writer. thinker. whiskey drinker.


This Season, Give the Gift of TMI

This December, I returned to Japan, the land of perfection. People scurried through immaculate streets, their porcelain faces masking a crock pot of emotions swirling and bubbling underneath the lid. In Japan, everything is seemingly pristine from even skin tone to sushi rice formation to fully functioning families. “Revealing too much will make you lose face,” I was told. Oh. In that case, I am not just faceless. I am

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Why You Don’t Have Community (and How to Build it)

Cities are like swarms of independent ants. People scurry to and from various engagements, prodded by an overbooked calendar and FOMO – Fear of Missing Out.  Crowds roll over like an incoming set of waves, and we easily lose one another. Our constant buzzing through disparate social webs make any consistent get-together with a set group of friends as likely as God giving you a toothy grin and passing you

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Egg Freezing: What They Don’t Tell You

Should corporations store our future in the freezer? Or is this giving a select few false security with 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

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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

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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

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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

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How to Fall in Love in 5 Minutes

“Have you ever been in love?” I asked a Frenchman with a mustache 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,

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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

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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

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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:

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