Monday, February 17, 2014

Smart in Love

 “The way you invest your love, you invest your life.” 
Chocolate Fair 
I’m a pretty savvy investor, putting most of my resources and energy into investments I deem absolutely worthy through careful observation, full understanding, and analysis of the expected return. With some investments riskier than others, I’ll admit, I’ve made a few bad calls and have been forced to learn a few lessons on strategy the hard way. However, just like the Dow Jones, I was up 126 points the minute I decided to make the biggest investment in a little something I like to call myself. Expected return: 15% increase in laughter, 20% increase in bread intake, 30% increase in global awareness, and 35% increase in brain power, my favorite!
The longer I’m in Florence, the longer I want to leave Florence to satisfy my innate child-like urges to navigate my curiosities. Glad to say, I exceeded my own expectations….Venice and Viareggio were both incredible.  Everywhere I go, there’s a taste of Italy, but everywhere I go, there’s an intangible uniqueness that gives me the variety and consistency I need to continue developing and adapting to new environments. Now, I have some more lifelong memories to grow old with all thanks to lifelong sacrifice and lifelong strategic investments.
I pour all my love into my friendships, family, work, and school, which each mean the world to me. I didn’t realize how much I’d actually miss home, until I did….everyday..…and I am beyond grateful to have so much to miss. However, it is now time to diversify my portfolio and invest my love into myself. Narcissistic? Nah. Egotistical? Possibly. Selfish, absolutely. But in the great words of Mr. Howard Roark “Men have been taught that the highest virtue is not to achieve, but to give. Yet one cannot give that which has not been created. Creation comes before distribution-or there will be nothing to distribute. The need of the creator comes before the need of any possible beneficiary.” Let’s be true to ourselves and take care of our mind and body first. Selflessness is beautiful, but so is each individual and his/her creation. Mitigate a little risk and invest love without fear into yourself every now and then, it’s fun 

Happy Valentine’s Day <3 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Good, the Great, and the Reality

Gorgeous isn't it? 
This photo was taken at the tip top of Piazzale Michelangelo and for the first time ever, I stopped thinking, and simply felt. The orange clay tile roofs, the tall 5 story apartment buildings, the brown Arno river, the heavy clouds caressing the top of the mountains.....not your typical LA (<3), Chicago, or New York skyline, but I'd be out of my mind if I didn't appreciate the beauty and reality of this image. 
"Everyone may be underwater, but art always remains"
The perception of this breathtaking panoramic shares one story, however reality shares another. Example: In business, when a firm positions itself among its competitors, it perceives itself in a certain light based on its strategy, mission statement, values, and competitive advantage. Consumers, however, may shed a different light and reveal an unknown truth about the company, resulting in a harmful and uncomfortable identity gap. This becomes problematic when the firm remains in this position and does nothing to address the feedback and bridge the gap.  
The reality is, in this monumental city, there are pockets in streets where men hiss and meow at women as they pass along simply trying to get from point A -> B. In the city center, gypsies work intricately in teams, find the weakest tourist with a map in one hand, iPhone 5s in another,...and execute the infamous pickpocket. In my bank account, there are lingering negative side effects of the appreciating euro against the dollar, and still, a girl's gotta eat. The reality is, this darling city I cherish so much does have a dark side, just like everything else. I don't shove it under the rug or become numb to it, instead, I try to understand and navigate around it while bridging the gap between my old perception and the reality of it all. 
Despite the uncertainty, I'm not afraid. I can look beyond the creepy men hissing and high unemployment rates just to embrace the street art, new friendships, live musicians, rich history, and spunky fashion professionals. 
Whether it's College Dropout blasting through my ear buds, Mocking Jay fresh on my mind, or the discussion in class about large profitable retailers partnering with unethical suppliers (My professor shared a story about a site visit where the factory owner, wearing gold chains, an oversized runway watch, and a pompous personality openly admitted that most of this employees don't make it past age 30!), I'm just now realizing how much I simply do not know about the world......challenge accepted. 
With nothing but rain splashing my windows these past 3 weeks, blue skies were bound to come along. Pisa this past Sunday was great, but the reality of today is even better....Gorgeous isn't it?

- Eli

Friday, February 7, 2014

Let the new times roll

Being bold isn't easy, but it's fun.
Trying something new isn't easy, but it's thrilling. 
Not having a job for the first time in 6 years isn't easy, but it's well deserved...and I'm taking advantage of every minute of it. 
Whether I'm exploring an unknown side of town or developing friendships with cafe and boutique owners, there is absolutely no reason for me to be home....unless it's pouring rain like tonight. But even then, a little rain never hurt anybody. 
I'm a curious wanderer always asking questions and wanting to know more...and more...and then a little bit more. Yes, I'm thirsty.....but I don't crave mixed drinks or "wealthy young gentlemen" on instagram ( -_- smh). 
I crave newness, challenges, and simplicity.
 It's the effortless lifestyle that attracts me to the city the most. Everyone going about his/her day without a care in the world. Now, this is not the first time I've been exposed to this way of life. A few years ago, I visited my mom's home town of Tutuaca, Chihuahua where the locals were easygoing, friendly, and living day by day. This is new for a little ol' aspiring capitalist like myself, but I'm acclimating quite nicely. 
Oh, and the food! Goodness! Like nothing I've ever tasted. Whether it's a small, hidden, mildly sketchy cafe, tratorria, or ristorante where one can enjoy a delicious glass of  wine and unlimited appetizers (dangerous), your tummy will never feel so loved. 
Italy is a historically rich country but has some outdated business tendencies. I mean this in a big way, from both a macro and micro perspective. The heart of any business, the consumer, should devour the sales know, where the magic happens...or is supposed to happen. Customer service? Forget about it. Window displays are beautifully developed and breathtaking...but what's a good window display without an attentive (& hopefully well paid) sales associate ready to WOW you with a profound sales pitch increasing perceived value and most importantly, retaining a customer? The US is light years ahead when it comes to executing a basic business strategy on the sales floor. According to my retailing management professor, its just an Italian thing. 
No stroll along the via is without purpose. Every observation I make and encounter I have is intentional with one end goal in mind: to learn as much as I possibly can...what works, what doesn't, and how can I do it better? Soaking it all up like spongebob while using my futuristic skill set to create, develop, and formalize business ideas of my own. 

Being bold, trying new things, and solitude are all soo underrated. Getting lost in my own mind while looking up at this sky makes the music blasting through my headphones sound so much brighter, even on rainy days. 

Happy Friday :) 

Monday, February 3, 2014


"Why not Milan? Or Rome?Or Paris? What made you choose Florence?" 

My professor opened the class with a serious, subtly intimidating, yet approachable tone. 

Florence is home to the renaissance, giving birth to the development of what we see as modern western art and civilization today. Aside from the tangible evidence of this monumental transition from the Dark Ages to the "Rebirth", there was a shift in human ideals. The population that once emphasized the unknown afterlife began o focus on the here-and-now. Individuality, egoism, and the strength of man made its way into the beautiful minds of artists like Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. This was the same time Galileo revolutionized science and discovered the well known fact we all intuitively understand and take for granted: THE earth, our earth, orbits the sun!! OMG!!!
I'll save the philosophical analysis for another day, but why did I choose Florence?
.......I simply wanted a breath of fresh air :)

I love learning and school, this is a well known fact (#nerdalert)... But I have a serious dilema.....
I can't decide what I like more, my professor's distinct italian accent as she brilliantly lectures on global marketing management and globalization, her contagious enthusiasm while describing the paramount success of the 100+ year old Coca-Cola company and its multi-national business marketing strategy, or her fly thigh high camel colored boots complete with a lovely beige cow neck sweater-dress and matching leggings. I do appreciate a great outfit and passionate professor when I see one....and no, I did not snap a creepy photo. Instead, below is a photo of my walk to class everyday :)

Stay tuned for some more updates on the rest of my awesome classes and any other mind blowing historical facts I learn about. I'll leave you with this adorable puppy I came across as I took a stroll down Via Roma admiring the fabulous window displays of the most beautiful boutiques in the world. 

~ Eli

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Allow me to reintroduce myself...

I had a narrow idea about just how elaborate the world really is. Whether it was a movie I carefully watched, a song I visually listened to, an article I quietly pondered, or a conversation I casually sat through.... curiosity sparked and I simply knew I had to personally experience just how much the world has to offer. 


The beautiful picture above doesn't do the city justice, but it's an honest start. Florence is an old city with a rich history and a subtle sense of newness that perfectly brings the aging city to life. The unique clash between vecchio and nuovo  is what unites the dormant buildings and the young atmosphere. Describe it in one word? I'll try. 

From the sassy fashion boutiques to the student loving gelato business owners, Florence is exactly where I need to be. The streets are filled with foreigners and Florentines alike, all walking on the wet cobblestone, enjoying the pleasant atmosphere, and dodging the quiet electric cars driving at NASCAR-like speeds. 

I see opportunity, excitement, and a need to step outside of my comfort zone in the near future. Stay tuned for more vivid photos, more dynamic perspectives, and more worldly insight from yours truly.
~ Eli