Best Kept Simple

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Let’s talk bold decisions.

Like the fact that I’ve successfully learned to bike with no hands…confessions of a multi-tasking nomad. Or the fact that pizza has been the primary food group of exactly 4 out of 6 of my last meals. Or the fact that I bought the kind of dress that means BUSINESS, knowing full well this pizza situation.

Because heck yes, we can. Nobody said we couldn’t; I said we could.

(How can you argue with something like that? Answer: Ya can’t.)

That’s my life update in a nut shell. What’s yours?

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Let’s put real life on hold for a hot second.

Don’t look at me like that. Rules be damned! Especially those involving pizza.

My hair is long and summer-streaked, flushed with the same sunshine that is presently high-five’ing my dimples. These last few days caught me by surprise–smack dab in the middle of July’s bizness. We weekend’d…oh yes we did.

We did Saturday right: strolling hand-in-hand with the kind of people that you hope never leave and the kind of scenery that you hope never ends. We celebrated a birthday three times…because once just isn’t enough. Trouble. Nothing but trouble.

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And of course, we Sunday’d. The fun-sies! The necessities! All of the above.

We coffee’d and parked ourselves in the park (Dolores) like a lazy day demands.  Chatted and chilled and bought that crazy impulse buy. And we cleaned our bed sheets. Because freeessshhh is funky fresh. (Who knew learning-to-adult smells like spring flowers?)

Fist pump. Hip bump. It’s all good.

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You’re totally caught off guard by this girl talking.

Here’s the thing though: I know ambition fancies the future, not the right-this-hot-second. Granted, I’m a thinker and an occasional over-thinker. A dreamer and a frequent over-dreamer. But today, I have no interest in being either.

I’m feeling that familiar smile hanging around my lips, and for once, I’m just content to say that’s enough. To be with the people responsible for that very smile. To laugh at and with the beloved bozos I call friends. To traipse around this wild and weird city.

And to embrace that right now, it’s all best kept simple.

LC

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The Things You Should Know About a Summer in San Francisco

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Someone asked me yesterday about how often I blog and the last time I had. I turned a little rosy and sheepish, like a kid that just got caught swiping cake batter from the bowl.

(me..totally me)

Truth be told, writing is not something I like to do on a schedule or on-demand. Back in the days of “legit” blogging, I did just that. And let me tell you, it usually sucks more than an overenthusiastic informercial vacuum. Sure, I do write formally all the time. But haven’t we determined that janky is far more fitting for me?

‘Definitely maybe’ is my trademark tune. Barefoot hoppin & beach boppin are my normal. And Casual Friday is really every day on my calendar. Yeah dude! is the answer. It really is.

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So let’s talk. Just casual–you and me.

First you, then me. Because guests first, always duh.

How are you? This is always my first question to a person. Authentic is timeless. And while Instagram may welcome filters, conversation is a different ballgame. It matters to me that real talk is just that. Because I hope we mean what we say! I truly do.

Me?

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This summer has been rad with a capital R. But so incredibly different than I would’ve guessed. Gimme a sec to explain.

Last summer was crazy to the fullest extent, but it taught me more about myself than I ever could have imagined. It was the perfect collision of bold intention and spontaneous difference that made for an unforgettable shabang and story.

In coming back to the Bay this summer, I’m grateful for the knowledge I have under my belt. Armed with good experience + bad jokes, I’m finding that I have a guiding trajectory and understanding of “how stuff works.”

Past experiences allow you to dive deep and fast, without the worry that you won’t know how to breathe when you plunge underwater.

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But while the past can be a propeller, it can also be an anchor too. If you’ve never experienced something before, it’s new and exciting. But if you experience something twice, it’s not immediately new and exciting the second time. It’s just “different.”

Not “bad-different.” Just a sophomore adjustment that requires unlearning some of what you know to allow new experience to breathe in.

It’s easy to reminisce about X, to expect Y, to compare Z. But at the end of the day, I’m learning that those actions are positive only if they help, not hinder, moving forward. Real talk  – that’s a tough thing to do.

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On San Francisco

San Francisco is a fickle love. Mark Twain wasn’t kidding when he said that the coldest winter he ever spent was a summer in San Francisco. And it’s no joke that my feelings about this city are quite akin to the weather.

One day, San Francisco has clear blue skies and abundant sunshine, and the next, it’s chilly fog with moody winds abound. One day, I find myself loving San Francisco’s culture of hills, startups, and laid-back living.

The next, I’m dreaming about the fast-paced frenzy of New York and the challenge of big skyscrapers and even bigger dreams.

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This city is built upon polar opposites–clouds on top of sun; tech 20 somethings, homeless, and hipsters;  swanky bars and hole-in-the-wall taquerias.

It’s easy to think in versus, but I’m learning to give up comparison in favor of exploration. And in doing so, I’m starting to understand the shrouded in-between of Chapter One-and-a-Half. I’ve done my fair share of unintentionally getting lost but would be lying if I said it wasn’t with the intention of finding my own way here.

Sometimes that means solo city wandering, and other times that means Sunday mornings with pals. However, it always means pancakes thankyouverymuch.

Work at Google is equally interesting. Twice the experience, double the curiosity!

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As a two-time intern, I’m forever grateful for the experience I have under my belt. It guides trajectory and provides a baseline for workflow. At the same time, a second summer presents the challenge of reinvention. Faced with the comforts of complacency, it’s far too tempting to carry on with precedent.

But aaaaain’t nobody got time for that! Let’s all hope that’s considered a wise proverb someday. Royalty checks are more than welcome.

Slowly but surely, we’re finding new adventures, even the second-time around. Today, tomorrow, but certainly not yesterday.

Because good gracious, we know I’m not one to flirt with a safe bet.

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So this is summer as a I see it. We’re singing new tunes (even if it’s in the shower…)  and dancing like nobody’s watching (even if it’s nowhere near the caliber of Beyonce).

We’re drinking bottles of bubbly. Because we’re poppin’, and that’s our prerogative. We’re letting go of the idea that we’re not old enough or not bold enough. And we’re kicking sass and taking names.

And you know the best thing about it?

It’s just casual — you and me.

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Chapter One & A Half: Figuring It Out

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I’ve been fondly referring to the past two weeks at home as “Chapter One & A Half: My Life as a Hermit.”

Back-cover summary: A girl walks into a bar…….turns 21, and then leaves to become a hermit. Catchy, right?

In all truth, I’ve spent the last two weeks doing, well...just doing “me.”

For those wondering, that’s somewhere between more than nothing and not much of anything. Having decided pajamas and bathing suits are the only two forms of real clothing, I’ve declared a state of modest indecency. And I’m completely and utterly okay with it.

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Life update in a nutshell? I made it through finals (read: the Dark Ages) and tasted just a smidge of D.C. summer before movin’ on and movin’ out. Midwest, ho! I spent a week in Indiana, marked first by dog days and life talks with A and then a lovely lunch with V and fiancé. The end of the week concluded with a sibling reunion of brotherly love, not to mention a scary glimpse at next year’s graduation.

Homeward bound, with love! And so the hermit life began.

Since coming home, there’s been a fair shake of straight chillin’. Life here is real and necessary and really necessary. It’s far from the buzzing eventfulness you might normally hear from me. Real life happens at a slower, steadier pace – beauty without the “glamour” of busy, shall we say. But keepin’ it real is rule #1. Onwards!

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I’ve taken a moment to just hit the stop key on life. I’m letting my hair whip in the wind of Pacific Coast Highway, as I sing loudly and egregiously out-of-tune to whatever is on the radio. Windows down, music up. Yoga has been a rewind and reset switch. Beaching has been the play button. I’ve spent hours with AL doing major catchup and days on the sand with AT. Somewhere in the mix, I’ve found my way to Los Angeles with SC to visit friends C, M, and P at UCLA and Pasadena.

Meanwhile…
Watchin’: Breaking Bad. I’m late to the party. And nobody was surprised ever.
Chillin’ to the sound of: this summery house beat
Dancin’ like nobody’s watching to:  Equal parts Fitz and Foster
Readin’: Nada enchilada. Book recommendations, anyone? Please?

Thinkin’ bout: Chapter One & A Half

I keep talking about this subject. Some of you are intrigued. Most of you are thinking, “Please don’t make me do math.”

It’s Monday. Math be gone! We’re keeping banter light and refreshing. Just like the lemonade/iced tea/sangria you’re drinking.

(high five!)

So what is this Chapter One & A Half?

Let’s call it the unmarked middle ground. It’s found roughly at the intersection of Chapter 1: Yo, I’m a kid (ft. Nintendo 64 & Lunchables, middle school…ugh, stubborn teenagedom, and red solo cup = premium dishware?) and Chapter 2: Dear world, I’m a grown-up (ft. everything else). 

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Since finishing this past semester at Georgetown, I’ve found myself thinking about uncertainty. This conversation about in-betweens comes in light of life talks with friends, many of whom just graduated from college.  With 20ish years under our belts, we’re increasingly asked, “So, what are you going to do with your life?”

It’s like a gameshow question! Seemingly impossible to answer. Bound to make your brain sweat a little. And while “I don’t know” isn’t a wrong answer, it may very well put you in double jeopardy.

Some of us have a good answer, or something that sounds a lot like one. Others of us have become masters at changing the subject.

Weather? Amanda Bynes’ meltdowns. Sports!! Happy hour?! Anything will do.

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Uncertainty is at the core of this mid-chapter crisis. Destination without direction (like whoa).

It’s the equal but opposite pull in two directions that causes one to feel as if they’re straddling the present and future…one foot in and one foot out. Especially at this age, it’s easy to feel like our heads are in the clouds, while our feet are tied to the ground. For newly graduated friends, it may be the idea of career or family or financial security or evolving relationships.

For me, it stems from these strange two weeks between Spring and Summer. These jam-packed three months of interning at Google between junior and senior year in D.C.. This exciting fourth year of Georgetown between college and real life.

Simply put, Chapter One & A Half is the uncertainty and discomfort that comes with not knowing what comes next.  For those who have had a relatively certain path until now, this idea of not knowing is terrifying. It goes against everything we know.

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Perhaps though, that’s the point. Chapter One & A Half is not about knowing. It’s about figuring it out. What a life this would be if we knew everything already? If we chose to forego the exploring and the adventuring. And the trying and the failing and the everything-in-between that is embodied by figuring it out.

As my dear friend C joked:

“Figuring out is not optional. That’s why we do it.”

So as I write this Monday, I’m staring uncertainty squarely in the face. It reminds me, and hopefully you too, that we grow as people at the brink of our (dis)comfort zone. Here, we realize how the world looks brighter after we’ve opened closed eyes. Somehow, not seeing enables us to see better. It doesn’t change how clear something is, but it may change how clearly we can see it.

And as for certainty? Well, that’s only half of it.

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June 2, 2014 · 8:14 pm

The Best Part About Being 21

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You’re totally expecting me to say champagne brunch.

It’s tempting, I know. Breakfast and bubbly drinks are my weakness; guilty as charged.

But no siree. This birthday business has nothing to do with gourmet dinners, raging parties, or bomb diggity surprise shindigs. It’s not that those things aren’t awesome in their own right. In fact, it just so happens that I specialize in planning events that are sixty shades of crazy.

(Tahoe or H’s birthday at Cafe Japone, anyone?)

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I digress. I’ve had two truly outstanding birthdays in my life. Equal parts essential and touching. Sorta ridiculous. Mainly batshiz-cray.

On my 14th birthday, my best friends AT and AL planned a surprise birthday party at a local restaurant. I had NO idea. We’re talking ground zero cluelessness. And to say I was surprised would be a complete understatement. I was on the doorstep of disbelief.

It was then that I experienced one of the strangest phenomenons of my life: I was so taken aback by the surprise that I started crying uncontrollably (out of happiness). I didn’t even know that was possible. In fact, I rarely cry, but on that day, you would’ve thought the damn Hoover Dam itself had sprung a leak.

For my 21st birthday this year, I told my friends that I didn’t want a surprise. Nobody (including me) ever really feels like a big to-do when even bigger exams are around the corner. Finals are a party pooper. It’s lame, but it’s logic.

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The thing about logic though? Birthdays have this bonkers weird “exception” clause, wherein logic doesn’t apply. True to form, my friends pulled off an entire birthday week–complete with things far above what I asked and beyond what I expected. There was a surprise dinner here, a ridiculous “employee appreciation” here, and of course, an infamous night at Georgetown’s famous bar, here. There were kind wishes from coworkers, spaghetti (squash) + wine with A, hugs from P & Y, the best convo with S, and sweet little thangs from so many people near and far.

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Last night, there was a simple and low-key birthday evening at home with my favorite food made by L, H, and P.  (PIZZZZZZZZZZZA. Oh, you thought I was fancy? Think again.)

And finally, there was this video below, which was everything I wanted in the world for my birthday. And much, much more.

Featuring: friends & family from Cape Town, Paris, Singapore/New York, the Great Wall of China, Mississippi, Philly (Penn), Indiana, New Haven (Yale)/New York, Atlanta (Emory), and of course, home sweet home in California.

Video clips start at 3:00. And I highly recommend that you at least watch the end, beginning at 8:00 to see my parents’ crazy skit.

But really, everything about this video is pure, cheesy gold. It’s awkward and hilarious. And to me, it’s absolutely perfect.

The best part about being 21 is not the happy hours or the champagne brunches, the plans or the parties, the dessert or the dance floor. It’s really dang simple.

To love and be loved is the greatest gift of all. I know that’s some straight cheddah, but on your birthday, it’s all gouda. So thank you–all of you. For everything.

As for the waterworks?

Yeah, that damn Hoover dam seems to be leaking yet again.

With love & other hugs,
L

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Dream Big But Never Sleep

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Adventure (n). It’s safe to say I spend half my time thinking of ridiculous things. And the other half actually doing them. An impromptu, whirlwind tour of the East Coast for the week(end) constitutes both the former and latter.

Solo? You betcha. Fear is not a friend of mine. Plus, I have an uncanny habit of making and finding friends along the way.

Going to a Jesuit university has its perks, namely five sweet days of break that feel just too good to be true. High fives to the Easter bunny. Unceremoniously wedged between Spring Break and finals, it’s a catch-breath before finals pulls a berserk attack. I’m starting to dream of those hot summer nights on the horizon.

But hot dang, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. April stands for adventure (n.) – so we’re doing just that. Genius is as ingenious does. Run with it? I thought you’d never ask. We’re going places!

New York City strikes me as grit disguised in big dream glory. Even with its brisk, fuggedaboutit tone, New York has always been a bit of a dream. You see, it paints bright-eyed girl with dreams too big for baggage (guess who?). It’s the endless and constant supply of doing that tempts a hopeless doer. And it’s the challenge to make it big where and when the changes seem so small. I’ve warned you that I’m a hopeless dreamer, with an eye for the unlikely.

I’m hanging around NYU, right at the intersection of Banker St. and Hipster Ave. I’ll likely be found at Moth Slam with M or walking through the Village with no particular destination.

Yale seems downright collegiate. While their bulldog mascot is sadly nowhere near the caliber of Georgetown’s (ha! ;)), I’m excited to see the place that high school best friend SC has shown me only in ridiculous stories.

Columbia | Barnard: Rumor has it that all students must be able to swim across a pool before graduating. I dig that sort of crazy creativity, meaning I’m already a fan. I’m seeing friends S and N. Waffles are a given.

Happy Wednesday, friends. It’s time to meet the city that dreams big but never sleeps. Funny, that city sounds a lot like someone I know? Oh right, that’s me. -L

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10 Little Things I Learned in March

We’re on April’s doorstep. And absolutely nobody is mad about it. We’ve been chasing a freezing March and winter out of the house like a cat and a mouse. We’re moving on and moving up! April is when the beat quickens and where the magic happens. The famous D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival is on daily countdown. Easter is ready or set. The Farmers’ Market is a go. Georgetown Day, an exemplary of district debauchery, is on the horizon.

And because you know I wouldn’t dare go out with a bang, the last day of April marks my 21st birthday.

Do it, and do it big. Fear is not a friend of mine.

But first…March! Let’s talk.

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  1. Being back at the Georgetown Farmers’ Market makes this house feel like home. There’s the world’s best waffles, punny jokes at max capacity, and good vibes all around.

  2. Miami is equal parts wild, weird, and wonderful. And The Electric Pickle is truly one of a kind. It has a strange way of making up for lost time, while making you realize time was never lost in the first place. Killin’ it is just part of the job description. It’s hilarious and janky and unexpected at its finest. But hey you, that’s been our m.o. since Day 1.

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  3. Love thy parents who do thy taxes. Pay in unlimited hugs. (generously)

  4. I’m consistently underdressed for the weather and overdressed for everything else. This could plausibly explain why I ended up in business casual on a bicycle last week, speeding between a formal presentation and the farmers’ market. Note to self: heels on wheels and freezing rain is a unique sort of experience. It washes away any semblance of hubris…in a very real I-can’t-feel-my-toes sort of way.

  5. Shit happens. Here at Georgetown and beyond. Laugh when it happens. Keep friends close and a metaphorical plunger closer.IMG_6650
  6. Life has a bonkers crazy habit of knowing you better than you know yourself. I’ve lost count of the number of times that I thought I had something figured out, only to realize I’d been looking at it upside down and backwards the entire time. When life does come full circle, don’t be a square and get hung up on a corner. Let it come all the way ‘round.

  7. The beach is my natural habitat, and the ocean is my second skin. Let me live in a bathing suit and t-shirt forever, and I’ll die a happy woman. No pants; no problems.1964962_10152418708287868_1933159672_n
  8. Money can buy lavishness in excess for a pretty penny. Ironically, excess is rather worthless.

  9. Winter has overstayed its welcome. Being stuck inside is a handy reminder of why its important to put yourself out there every day.

  10. When the CEO of Chipotle comes to Georgetown and invites questions, stand up. Speak up. Challenge the idea that you’ll look stupid. Remember that queso is your first language. And when the Head Honcho hands you his autograph, a free burrito, a personal thank you plus his contact info, embrace the art of a high five (because holy guacamole, ya know?).

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What’s Shakin’ Bacon

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I’m halfway between a sea of snow and a tandem of thoughts. It’s nearly April! Bonkers. There’s snow. Still? Major bonkers.

Procrastination? We’ve got it bad, friends.

Let’s take it easy and make it basic today. We’re going with the 5Ws: who, what, when, where, why. No frill, just chill. And mainly just because.

What:

Who is 36 days away from a birthday?
THIS KID.

Who’s putting a smile on your face?
C, who keeps up with my relentless sarcasm all the way from Cape Town. P, who kept me sane with a Monday night dinner date at my favorite restaurant in DC.

What’s shakin’ bacon?
A head space that is all over the place. Multitasking is typically my first language, but I’m knee deep in a few too many things (including snow). I’m going on 6 Gmail accounts open and 10n farmers’ market e-mails halfway written. Wicked procrastination on learning about FDI and nonlinear optimization.

Whatcha listening to?
Kodaline. Equal parts wintry and acoustic. And a bit of nostalgic summer throwback because this summer’s festival lineup is almost hot off the press.

What’s cookin’ good lookin’?
Grilled cheese on farmers’ market multigrain & a fan-freaking-tastic cup of joe whose caffeine buzz is making Tuesday and this post doable

When are you going to write a real post?
Good call, dude. It’s coming!

Where to?
Back to Miami, please & thank you. Sunshine Rx.

Why ya writing?
My thoughts are sorta cloudy, and explanations aren’t coming easily. Winter has overstayed its welcome, but it’s also dead giveaway that I haven’t written or journaled in awhile.

But hey! We’re making it through this crazy Tuesday.

LC

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