Gurdeep’s 40th Birthday | Kicked off the year with one of the most epic birthday celebrations ever. Not only did we have an entire private island in Indonesia all to ourselves (complete with chefs and masseuses), we also had two international DJs and a saxophonist flown in, a super fun ‘Amazing Race’ competition, a beautiful candlelit dinner on the beach, 40-bottle Dom trains, parties that lasted until the sunrise, and an amazing group of quality people – a true reflection of the birthday boy himself. As I sat watching our host toast each of his friends, touched by his tributes and the all the great relationships he enjoyed, I decided that when I grow up, I want to be Gurdeep. #goals
Boris Leaving Singapore | First it was Gary. Then George. Then Waqas. Did I really have to lose my Twin too? I would’ve never thought that this 26-year-old, 6-foot-6 Serbian intern from Switzerland (who moved into my maid’s closet and slept on the couch every night) would eventually become one of my closest friends ever. Having spent almost every single day with him for 8 months, losing him was like losing my left arm and my arm candy. The only good thing about him leaving is that I would actually be forced to start dating and learn to not lose my phone. #twinsastersforever
Type-A Retreat in Bhutan | It all started with a Facebook Ad that told me to apply for a special trip exclusively for Asia’s top founders and CEOs. 8 days before the trip I got a call saying they had a spot for me, and before I knew it I was off to the “Happiest Place on Earth” – unaware that I would actually be trekking the Himalayas. Not having hiked more than 4 hours straight in my life, I was definitely not prepared to hike up to 9 hours a day, but somehow I made it through the week, managed to not die a popsicle in my tent overnight, and even got a very special surprise at the top. The group turned into family and our tour guides became like brothers to me – so much that it was one of the few trips where I actually cried when I had to leave.
Birthday at Ce La Vi | I actually didn’t feel like celebrating my birthday this year, but when one of the top clubs in Asia agrees to sponsor a party for 200 of your friends, your arm gets twisted. Couldn’t have been more grateful to Anastasia for arranging everything, Manny for flying in for it, and everyone else who continues fill my life with hugs, laughter, and shots. #foreveryoungFTW
Meeting Aidan | Was finally able to make a trip to Taipei to see my adorable first nephew! He is the sweetest boy ever and I’m glad the pressure’s off to give the grandparents some grandkids lol. Super happy for my cousin Eric and his company, Citiesocial, for raising their Series A. He makes being an entrepreneur and parent look so fun and easy!
Chairing the Crib Ball | When I got asked to Chair the Crib Ball this year, I knew I couldn’t afford the huge time commitment, but it was such an honor that I had to say yes (and because I adore Elaine). With over 550 prominent guests and 100 sponsors, it was the largest society gala I’ve ever organized, and we managed to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to help our charities. Perhaps just as rewarding was being able to build a committee made up of some of the most amazing women I know, and I remain thankful to Aimee, Gursheel, Nicole, Perng, Sara, Sarissa, Shireena, Sunita, and Ziline for all their hard work and continued friendship.
Tearing my MCL | Sure, I fell into a river trying to breakdance on a rock. And flew over my bike while trying to take a video down a mountain. But tearing my MCL while doing a wipe-out obstacle course was the dumbest accident this year. How do you appreciate your knees more? By injuring a ligament you didn’t even know existed and have to wear a brace for months. Thankful that my friend Aman helped put me on the road to recovery, but it totally sucked being handicapped and not being able to workout for most of the year. #weightlossfail
Building the New Covetella Showroom | With our lease up and our inventory growing, it was time for Covetella to find a new home. Unaware of how complex renovations would be, I signed a lease on a brand-new 3000 sqft warehouse and made the biggest commitment I’ve made since I started this business. After spending months installing water, electricity, AC, lights, flooring, and fixtures, we celebrated our 2nd Anniversary with the Grand Opening of our beautiful new showroom. I had mixed feelings about launching a brick-and-mortar store (when my original vision was a just an app) but the reactions of joy and delight when women walk into our Dream Closet has been priceless.
Texas with the Fam | Our family is really close, so I was super excited that we were all spending the Fourth of July together in Austin. I really missed being home, hanging out with my relatives, and eating good ‘ol Texas BBQ. As much as I love being out in Asia, there are some things that it can never replace.
Freezing my Eggs | Something about turning 35 and being single for the past 3 years will incentive you to plan better for the future. I didn’t really know anything about egg freezing or anyone that had done it, but it just seemed like a logical thing to do if I had the time and money. Like many things when my mind’s made up, I just jumped in without thinking too much, and in the process wished I was better prepared. Hence why I started documenting it publicly, and it became more meaningful knowing I was able to also use this experience to give insight to others. In the end, I was disappointed with the results (only 4 eggs retrieved) but was touched by the overwhelming response and happy knowing I helped inspire other women to take charge of their future.
Meeting Nick | Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that my very first Tinder date on the other side of the world would turn into one of my life’s loves. From our initial whirlwind romance (Cabo, Vegas, Dallas, Napa) to living and working together in Singapore for a month, having Nick in my life was the most special surprise of the year. It hasn’t been easy navigating the difficulties of distance and dealing with my own personal insecurities, but he’s been incredibly patient and I’m grateful that he continuously stretches me to become a better partner and better person. I don’t know what the future holds for us, but I do know that no matter what happens, he has forever touched my heart.
Connie in Singapore | Needing all the help I could get, I managed to convince my little sister to come to Singapore and work with me for a month. We haven’t lived in the same city since 2000, so I was so happy to have this adorable ball of sunshine with me 24/7. I feel really lucky to have her and I’m thankful that we’ve managed to stay close despite the distance, but it made me start to wonder if it was worth being so far away from family and the people I love the most. I cried for a week after she left.
Bali with Bae & BFF | Getaway with some of my favorite people on one of my favorite islands? How could I resist! We got to stay at the Hanging Gardens of Bali, swing on the Bali Swing, swim with manta rays, and just hang out. It was my first girls’ trip with Yingerz in a really long time, so I was glad to finally spend some quality time with her and thankful that some things never change. And the trip became even better when Nick, Niko, and Dirk showed up!
Being in the Press | Despite how it may seem, we rarely solicit for PR, so I’m incredibly thankful for being featured in so many notable publications this year, including Forbes, Inc, Straits Times, and Business Times. On one hand, I’m thrilled that I’ve managed to build something that people consider worth mentioning, but I’ll be the first to affirm that press coverage is rarely an indicator of success. If anything, it can mess with your head when everyone thinks you’re doing so well when you’re not (but it does help keep the Asian parents proud). I’ll always value substance over hype, so I still hope to continue building the former to be worthy of the latter.
Detox in Koh Samui | The last time I spent Christmas and NYE at a fasting retreat was three years ago – right before I launched Covetella. I really like closing out the year by myself to pause and reset, especially if I feel like I’m going to need it. So I spontaneously booked another 10-day fast in Thailand to clear my body of toxins, clear my mind of unproductive thoughts and emotions, and rejuvenate my spirit for the new year. I feel like this year flew by especially fast, and although a lot of wonderful things happened, I feel like I was hustling for the sake of hustling, partying for the sake of partying, and traveling for the sake of traveling. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, but it was a good break to think about what I really want out of life and the person I want to be.
“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
May 2018 be the year we are not afraid to shine!