Here I will share my musings on life, favorite recipes, party/hosting ideas, travel journals and cool finds (i.e. gifts for others or yourself!). I’m very excited as this allows me combine my love of writing with my love of food, travel, entertaining and generally making people feel warm and special.
I had originally planned to make this a huge and ever growing company with affiliate partnerships and my own product offerings to make anything you read about on my site easier to accomplish from parties-in-a-box to custom favor bags. But I got a bit ahead of myself and sometimes you need to take a step back to allow something to grow more naturally ...and beautifully.
I’m going back to basics and focusing on what I love. I hope you enjoy.
Jeannie Carriere's Bio
I was born on a little peninsula off the southeast coast of China called Macau. At the time it was a Portuguese colony (and had been for 450 years) and while very densely populated and full of tall buildings it still had a small town feel when I was young. With an American mother and a Chinese father, we moved back and forth a number of times between Macau and the States, specifically, Connecticut. All of that exposure and travel provided me with an great appreciation for different cultures and a perspective on the world and life that I treasure deeply.
I made my last move back to the States when I was almost 16 to finish high school here as it would be easier to get into college and get financial aid. At least those were my arguments when I petitioned my father to let me move to the States by myself. Those reasons were all true, but secretly, I also longed for exposure to American high school experiences like prom. My father agreed and I flew across the world at 15 with 2 suitcases and lived with an aunt and her family in CT so I could attend my last 2 years of high school there and pave the way for college. It was a scary yet fantastic experience.
I had originally planned to major in journalism, as my first few college applications stated, but my very wise father suggested I opt for computer science instead. His belief was that I’d have an easier time developing a career and earning a living once I graduated, and that I could always go back to school for whatever I wanted once I had that foundation. I took his advice and went to Boston University and graduated with a computer science degree – wise move, since I don’t think I would have been very good at journalism in the end at that stage in my life.
After college I stayed in Boston and got my first professional job as a software developer at a healthcare informatics lab which was part of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. I worked on very interesting healthcare related projects for groups like the American Medical Association and a number of hospitals and healthcare systems in both the US and Canada. I really enjoyed my work, it felt good to create applications to help people and their caregivers. The informatics lab spun of a commercial start-up which I followed and expanded my role and capabilities. I was passionate, big picture focused yet had an eye for detail and a passion for delivering the best consumer experience possible. All of that led to my many roles at the start-up, from running the end-user engineering team, to all implementations to leading sales and business operations. But as with many start-ups, life was not easy and I found myself letting work consume me and while I adored the people I worked with day to day, the powers that be were also letting me down. One day I realized life is just too short to live that way - 100+ work hours a week and a CEO (a result of an acquisition) I didn’t believe in. So I left. Fortunately, my next step was Microsoft, where I had the pleasure of working alongside brilliant, passionate people and with great customers and partners. I certainly learned a lot while I was there in my various roles starting off as a Technical Specialist (Systems Engineer) in their Financial Services group, moving to Technical Sales and then finally to my role as Lead Marketing Manager for the East Region Developer and Platform Evangelism Team where I led marketing and business operations for a marketing, sales and technologist team of 60+ to drive adoption and revenue.
Next was my biggest move yet – having our beautiful daughter Sofie. After having her, I was torn about returning to work and taking a few years off to focus on her and our family. Up until then, I had been very career focused and enjoyed a lot of satisfaction out of it. How do you put something that has always been such a big part of your adult life on hold? How would you measure your accomplishments? I ended up going back to work for after my maternity leave to see if it felt right and it didn’t. Quitting your job and staying at home with your child to focus on family is a big shift and is certainly not for everyone, but it was clear it was right for me. Quitting my "regular" job was really probably more for me than for her. I’m sure she would have thrived in any number of care situations but I wanted to be the one with her, the one nurturing her and introducing her to the world, in the beginning at least. I also saw it as a chance to focus on our family and be able to be more present in life. I am very lucky to be able to do this and never forget that.
Interestingly enough, while I enjoyed my career I was never satisfied, always looking for what more I could, what bigger impact I could make. Now, it is completely up to me. I know my biggest impact is on my daughter and our family, yet there are also so many ways I can reach out and impact the world around me.
In 2009, we moved from Boston to Palo Alto, CA. If we were ever going to move away from Boston to try something new that was the time since I was still home with a young Sofie. It turned out to be a wonderful place to raise young children. The weather makes many things simpler, it is so easy to be outdoors all the time and the abundance of local produce and innovators was astonishing. Almost every conversation I’d overhear would be about some technology problem or start up. Those are the things I now miss since we have left, along with the good friends we made. But when my husband came home one day and asked, “Would you want to move to London, England?” I said, “Sure!”. How could we pass up an opportunity like that?! I began researching the move, such things were much more complicated with a school age child and dog than if it had been just the two of us. During that time, an opportunity to move to NYC arose. What a dilemma – London or NYC? After much debating, we decided NYC was the best choice for us. So in January of 2013 we made the move and we love it here. The city is amazing and we have also been so fortunate have met the most wonderful and interesting people. Anyone who says New Yorkers aren’t nice doesn’t see NY like we do. I do miss Boston for all its character and our dear friends and I miss California's weather, produce and proximity to wine country and Hawaii, but I am delighted to now call this great city home. Now that the renovation of our humble West Village apartment is complete and we are able to host friends and family again all seems right.