Lessons of 22 Years

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So I fell off the face of the Earth for 3 months. I’m sorry about it, really I am. But let’s rejoice in the come back. It’s like “BACKSTREET’S BACK ALRIGHT?!” only less boy-band and more Lexi.

If you are 22, were 22, or are turning 22 (wow hi that’s me), there’s grace in those double digits squared. We’re old as dirtdom! Kinda. I don’t pretend to be an expert after a couple decades of being a young whippersnapper.  I’m unqualified as they come to give advice, unless it’s regarding pancakes, bad jokes, or hula hooping.

Instead, I’d like to humbly share a few of my own musings from this traveling circus we call life.

One:  There are three golden rules. 1) You do you. (Everyone else is taken).             2) Some people suck. Losers happen. 3) Let me live. Make it count.

Two: Be bold; be unapologetic. This is the secret sauce. If it’s scary but electrifying, you’re doing it right.

Three: Your gut instinct knows what’s up. Check it often.

Four: Like and love are eternally tricky. Trust the Law of Fuck Yes or No. If you feel strongly about someone, tell them. Emotions defy logic. And vulnerability is enough to make anybody pee their pants. But life is finite. Take the leap (and trust your bladder to hang on for dear life).

Five: Even the “cool kids” — be that of middle school, college, or the office — see someone cooler than them. Popularity is whatever. We’re all cut from the same fabric, neither a cut above nor a cut below one another.

Six: Be the person known for giving great high fives and stellar hugs. It’s good street credz.

Seven: Appreciate the heck out of music. Pick whatever strikes a chord with you. You don’t have to like everyone else’s tastes but appreciate their appreciation. Turn up that $#!& real loud. Dance like nobody’s watching. Especially when everybody’s watching.

Eight: Understand privilege. This isn’t a guilt-trip; it’s a quick guide to how the world works.

Nine: We don’t have time; we make time. “Busy” is not an excuse.

Ten:  There are no universal right answers in life. (See golden rule #1: You do you.) But if there was a universal right answer, it would be pizza and red wine.

Eleven: If you’re not okay with getting zero likes on a social media post, you shouldn’t be posting it.

Twelve: Essential life investments: a comfy couch, chapstick, and a clothing ensemble that says, “Ya look good” (Ya do!)

Thirteen: Have a signature–word, perfume/cologne, cause, joke and smile. People remember the little things.

Fourteen: Never, ever forget what happens when you turn the corners of your mouth upwards.

Fifteen: Tequila is liquid dynamite. Which can be dangerously good or dangerously bad. Choose wisely.

Sixteen: Vegetables are your friend. Cereal is also acceptable for any meal though. Balance.

Seventeen: Acknowledge humanity. Thank the taxi driver; smile at that lonesome person on the subway; recognize the beggar; talk to the guy at the sandwich shop.

Eighteen: Find a passion project. Make it meaningful. And then make it happen (even if there’s no payoff for you).

Nineteen: Cool it with the texting “game.” F’real. A smiley face does not make marriage the obvious next step. Double texting does not make you needy. Read receipts are not to be used as a tool to smite others. Play nice.

Twenty: Always have a homemade trick up your sleeve. It’s important for friendship, surprise birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day, and general classiness.

Twenty One: Call yo people that matter. Especially Mom & Dad. Not just on the bad days. They knew you before you knew you.

Twenty Two: Life is messy. At 22…or any age really. This shabang isn’t always pretty. We’re en route to getting lost…a lot. But somewhere along the way, we’ll find the things that matter. Let’s get ice cream and call it a win because hey, we’ve got nothing to lose. Then, when the world least expects it, we’ll make our come back.

And when that happens, we’ll be singing “BACKSTREET’S BACK ALRIGHT!” all over again. Though the funny thing is, we’ll probably still be wholly unqualified to give advice, unless it’s regarding pancakes, bad jokes, or hula hooping.

But ya know? That’s alright with me.

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Stories Behind Senior Spring

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I look at my last post from January and laugh. To tell the story of the past few months is to tell an epic odyssey, inevitably full of ups, downs, and all the hot mess-dom in between. I’ve tried to write this post going on ten times, but it felt wrong each time. There’s a whole lot of stories behind senior spring. I can’t tell all of them, but let’s start from the beginning. The do-rey-mi. You know!

January was marked by a languid rut — the lethal combination of missing inspiration and abundant disappointment. It was like Monday every day. And really, what kind of dumb joke is that?

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February was about getting back in the game. Life sent a muse or two my way in the form of best friend, AL, a handful of local lovers, a snowy weekend getaway with K, and a lovely visit from friends and the steadfast parentals.

February was a spark of passion where and when it was most needed.

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March was a sober blackout. A heap of contradictions, if you will.

Excusemewhat. March was marked by five ridiculous days off-the-grid in Mexico for Spring Break. With more karaoke-fueled laughter and Enrique Iglesias than thought possible.

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It was marked with intense work (+celebration) of orchestrating a 900 person summit. It was marked by finding a passion project that hits all the way home.

And also…by heartbreak at my own hands, with the ache of giving advice that I myself couldn’t take. That’s the good, the bad, and the ugly — it’s real and honest and really honest.

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April feels like good vibes here on the horizon. Spring is here to stay, and that’s a notion we can get behind. By way of April, we’re finding that fresh air is like crack…only not crack. We’re relearning that friendship isn’t static.

April means hiking, coffee prom, a weekend of pretending to be a tourist with the ever-wonderful, M, the last day of classes, and the curious case of a 22nd birthday.

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These days, I’m feeling on the wild side on inspired — the way I do only when the world is spinning almost faster than I can keep up. Remember how we would spin around in circles as kids ad nauseum? Most people hate that feeling, finding such spinning exhausting.

But me…Me, I love that feeling. I live for the feeling of the world spinning me to dizzy euphoria. I live for the wild breathlessness and uncontrollable laughter that ensues. I live for that feeling of being young, wild, and probably too free for my own good.

So now, come what May. Life today comes full of this unbounded freedom  I have 15 days more of Georgetown. And that’s a good place to be — both filled with savoring the moment and anticipating whatever come’s next.

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So You’re Looking for Inspiration?

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So you’re looking for inspiration? Join the club. It’s January. It’s Monday. And this case of the blahhhhhhhh’s is f’real. No joke.

This uptown funk has a way of making us feel just a bit blaisé with it all. I chalk it up to the whole dang world being back to work. Which means slogging through a hot mess of an email inbox, Christmas music withdrawals, and meetings out the wazoo with everybody, ever. Everything on our December to-do list that was stowed away in a miscellaneous junk cabinet of the brain is like, “HELLO WTF NICE TO SEE YOU TOO.”

Since hiding under a rock sounds both painful and infeasible, let’s get back in this game. Si se puede! Yes, we can!

I believe in us, Mondays and all. Consequentially, so does the Internet. Here’s how, in inspiration form:

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Why we can’t help loving Top 40 music: // Shazam has it figured out, but there’s a catch. “It turns out that we just want to listen to the same songs over and over again.”

• How to Understand White Privilege. // Important. So, so, so important. A must-read for anyone, no matter who you are.

How to Kick Butt 101: // Climb this really nutzo, crazy, seriously awesome Dawn Wall in Yosemite. Make history. You know, casual.

Is Love Also Science? // To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This. We had a dinner conversation about this, and my conclusion is this: these questions create intimacy, but not love. (Though intimacy is often part of love, so touché)

Beauty isn’t forever, // but Meryl Streep is.

On diets. // What if you didn’t have to eat like a caveman, forego carbohydrates (WHY?), drink like aaaaall the juice, or eat Soylent to be healthy? There’s this really cool idea wherein you eat real food, instead of dieting: The Anti-Detox Diet. Let’s get uncomplicated, yo!

Peace & quiet. // Let’s take a hot second to embrace the NY Times’ The Joy of Quiet. Because sidenote, meditation could be changing our DNA?

• The world be cray. // How the World Changed in 2014.

Hallelujah, Ben & Jerry’s. // I just died and went to ice cream heaven, thanks to my two fave men. 2 words: COOKIE CORE. Game over.

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Tomorrow is time to get back into this game! I think you’re great, really I do.

Let’s not forget it. Buh-bye!

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The State of January

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So can we agree that January is just a lot? Snow is far less sexy when battling blizzards is required for participation in life. Good intentions to drink more water and eat more vegetables are easily confused with more beer and more pizza.

And ahem, someone better have a really compelling reason why it’s inappropriate to wear a Snuggie to class/work.

(Equally compelling is the fact that we can ignore any reason the world gives us.)

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We’ve got a fair shake of people telling us How to do a Juice Cleanse (and be really miserable); How to Be a New You (because Old You is so out); How to Resolve to Do Everything Ever (but not actually do it) or How Not To Set New Years Resolutions Period (because *shrug*).

It’s all a complicated beast, really.

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I don’t have any miracle gluten free diets to recommend or get-rich-quick schemes to share. But it’s my 21st year in this rodeo, which is secret code for the fact that I know a whole lot of a something about a whole lot of nothing.

I mean, 21 years is older (& wiser??) than Facebook, Buzzfeed, and skinny jeans all put together. Heck, 21 years is older than the entire Internet! Boom clap.

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2015 already, ma? Ya gotta be kidding me. I hope you got ready, got set, and got to the go. I hope you’re still hoarding the last few goodies from Mom/Dad’s care package. And I really hope that you’re planning on inviting me over to share them.

I’m mostly kidding about that invitation. Unless Mom/Dad sent  homemade brownies or cozy socks or a piña colada, in which case I’m totally not kidding. Priorities of friendship.

14 days into the year, and topsy turvy is already the name of the game. We may be back to doggie paddling, but the rest of the world is right there with us. We’ll call it somewhere in between sink and swim.

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The world for me comes bursting at the seams this year. Hey world, slow your roll!

So far, we’ve crossed off a cruisin’ trip to Los Angeles; a masquerade ball best described as “soooo college” by every parent ever; and an unhealthy/healthy amount of New Girl.

I’ve also taken to teaching myself guitar and am borderline semi-pro. Or more accurately, I’m superbly mediocre and thrilled about it.

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In the works, there’s upcoming trips New York City trips and a roadtrip to Mardi Gras. There’s old skool hanging out and a birthday or two. There’s capstone classes and a spring break jetset to Cozumel where guacamole is the imperative word (or is it margarita?).

There’s a finale of Georgetown and all the holy $h!t moments of impending graduation (let’s not talk about it). Perhaps a European adventure on the docket and a return to home base. There’s moving to San Francisco and starting at Google full time. And who knows what else. Cheers!

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Between now and then though, we have plenty of awkward moments, crazy hair days, and oops-we-did-it-again moments to enjoy and endure. I mean, it’s all part of the master plan, right? *wink wink*

Meanwhile, let’s get our priorities straight and resolve to find a really compelling reason as to why Snuggies should be school/work appropriate.

Because that’s a New Year’s resolution I can get behind.

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Let’s Do This Holiday Thing

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The way I see it, there are two kinds of people: holiday lovers and holiday haters. We’ll call it an inevitable ecosystem.

Holiday lovers are the ones who start freaking out (I mean F.R.E.A.K.I.N.G. out) as soon as humanly possible with holiday anticipation. Think starting right after Thanksgiving. Or Halloween. Or Easter, really.

Holiday haters see the big man in the red suit and are like, “BYE FELICIA!” See also: dislike of Christmas carols, disgruntled single people, fear of overeager mall shoppers, and kids who were forced to eat fruitcake.

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Whichever camp of holiday enthusiasm you fall into, denial at this point is futile.This holiday thing is in full swing. We’re finally sitting on the doorstep of the Eve. I mean, THE Eve.

Let’s be lovers, not haters, and welcome the holiday craziness with open arms. I mean, we might as well go all in. There’s no way we’re making it out alive–unless it’s covered in tinsel, sugar cookies, and the remnants of an injudicious gift wrap explosion (or two…)

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There’s no way we’re avoiding Grandma/Grandpa asking why we’re not a) president, b) married, c) rich/famous, or d) all of the above.

The key is to nod and smile. Then, bribery with spiked eggnog. Nothing to lose; everything to gain?

(I think that’s what Santa must have said when he applied for the position of Claus.)

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To avoid this season getting all up in our grill, can we just call time out?

It’s the move! Our fate in Christmas shopping is sealed at this point anyway: it’s aaaaaall the giftcards or bust.

So we can step away from the hoards of mall parents, gingerbread houses, and reruns of Elf. Sheer madness can wait.

Gimme the goin’ on in your life. It’ll be good practice for Grandma/Grandpa and all miscellaneous relatives. Ready or not, here’s my winter best in pictures, jingled and janky as per usual:

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•  Holiday Gala. It’s what happens when hot mess meets the holidays. You want to see organized chaos? Try 800 college kids, cocktail attire, and an open bar. There are no words — only ridiculous dance moves.

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•  The Head & The Heart concert was like a riot of music in the heart. Holy moly holy moly. (Does anyone actually know what “moly” means?)  I’m a sucker for acoustic-y music of any sort. That would explain my impulse guitar buy, now wouldn’t it?

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•  As a senior in college, it’s easy to stick within your group of friends. Old school homies are great. But there’s a certain freeing joy in meeting someone new. You see and can be seen as having a past but not defined by it. Birthday dinners and goofy pictures are bonus points.

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•  Here’s a secret: I’ve never had a white Christmas. And while snowmen and Rudolph and sleigh rides sound great, I should confess that the beach makes one quick to forget, ha!

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•  From my fam bam and friends to yours: Merry _____ !  Whatever _____ may be. Just sayin’, I invented the blank space way before Taylor Swift.

Okay , okay. We’re about thisssss much ho-ho-ho away from it being the holidays. You can do it! Deep breaths, and just remember….

Nod and smile. Bribery optional.

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What Do We Mean by “That Kind of Girl/Guy”?

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So I just impulse bought a guitar, corn dogs, and these black tights that are supposed to change a woman’s life. (Because apparently, tights can do that.)

Except so far, the corn dogs are doing most of the life changing. I feel some sorta way about this.

Mostly GREAT. But also wondering if I should call my parents to check on my missing sanity. (What are parents for, right?)

My mom would probably ask how many cups of coffee I’ve had today. And I’d be inclined to say 2+2=not enough coffee! Because MATH. We’re winning today, really.

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I should confess that this week has been a rollercoaster of sorts–full of ups, downs, and the HOLY SH*T moment that comes right before the inevitably huuuuuuge drop. Believe me when I say that the real-life re-enactment of this rollercoaster ride is as funny as it sounds.

This post comes from a place of accidentally awesome conversations (which are incidentally the best kind.) These are the sort of talks that leave you wanting to jump up and down, saying ,”YES, YOU GET ME!!!” In a caps-lock-intentional sort of way, of course.

Same mind, same kind. Life gets messy. We’re rolling with the punches like it’s NBD.

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The past few weeks have been filled with long walks where time ain’t no thang. With misfit life talks and pumpkin bread. With crazy concerts like dance party what? With Shakespeare term papers. And of course, with more pizza eaten standing in front of an open fridge than should be admitted to.

You can ask if I’m “that kind of girl.” (The cold pizza kind). But I think you know the answer to that.

Ask me if I’m mad about it. Spoiler alert: I’m not.

Okay okay, before you roll your eyes at me, let’s rewind.

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It’s a clutch sort of curiosity when you realize how often someone says, “I’m not, ‘that kind of girl’ or ‘that kind of guy.’ It’s a quirky phrase loaded with a charged ‘uh huh’ somewhere in there.

A stealthy Google search (amen!) will quickly reveal that Lena Dunham beat me to the punch line on this one. But seeing as she’s charging $28.99 on Amazon for the answer, I’m offering my completely unqualified and unscientific opinion for *free! (shipping & handling not included*) It’s a steal, on the DL.

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“I’m not that kind of girl” or “I’m not that kind of guy” slips its way into conversation with a sort of nonchalant subtlety. It’s rarely the main topic of conversation, but it appears most often as a way to imply what or who we are or are not.

How do I know? I’ve done it myself. And in the past 7 days, I’ve heard someone utter this phrase at least once each day. This isn’t a philosophical study or a scientific hypothesis so much as it is a simple observation. As eager as we are to define ourselves in a certain way, we’re also equally eager to enumerate what we are not.

Because heaven forbid that someone in the world define us as that sort of person. With all sorts of identifying tags from which to pick and choose, we begin to find ourselves straddling some imaginary line.

We don’t want to be too mainstream. But heaven forbid that we’re too hipster either. We don’t want to be the girl/guy who doesn’t care. But we don’t want to be the one who cares too much either. We don’t want to be basic bitches/bros. But whoa whoa don’t get too ratchet on me either.

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This isn’t unnatural; the grey area is our safety net. It protects us from what may otherwise seem to be an unsavory title. And truth be told, it may be as instinctual as a defense mechanism.

Knee jerk response, like hello. That’s a tricky bugger.

I get it. After who knows how many years of living, we–and those we know–have a very specific idea of who and what is allowed within the confines of “cool.”

But in hastily declaring that we’re “not that kind of girl/guy,” I wonder what we lose out on. In doing so, we’re never the person who is awkward or embarrassing or sick or irrational or annoyed for no reason. We’re not the person who let the dance floor get the best of us or who Facebook-stalked a person of interest. We’re not the one who double texted or who mispronounced that obvious word. We’re not the one who made something out of nothing.

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And we’re definitely not the one standing in front of the fridge, eating more pizza than should be admitted to.

Because that would make us that kind of person. And really, is there so much harm in that?

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This is A Weekend Story

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We’re not even going to pretend that this weekend was functional. Then again, we’re redefining normal and not even a little mad about it. Just sayin’.

We had ambitious plans for the weekend, like a modern day Kim Possible–minus the cargo pants and with the addition of an iPhone.

We had plans like getting loads of work done, calling Mom/Dad/siblings, doing aaaall the laundry, and oh, saving the world while we’re at it. Then life came on in and…well, happened.

Somehow, all  of our plans turned into too much Halloween candy, pumpkin beer, a really *ahem* creative Halloween costume…and oh, saving that pizza in the fridge. You feel me?

But really! Someone please explain to me who thought it was a good idea to lump Halloween, the start of November, and Daylight Savings into 72 hours.

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Are these bonkers crazy weekends supposed to be a sprint or a marathon? It feels like both.  And c’mon now, what kind of bargain is that?

Making it to Sunday feels like the finish line of this crazy weekend–it’s like the end of running laps in gym class.

By that, I really mean we’re the kid in gym class who is hauling butt with a flushed scarlet face and with a panting breath that says, “is-it-almost-lunchtime?”

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You know what I mean: THAT kind of weekend. The kind where uncommon shenanigans seem to be a common theme. The kind when the playlist we’re listening to is entitled “literal mess,” and nobody is messing with that sort of accuracy.

The kind of weekend when last night feels like a wayyyyyy long time ago. (Probably because we spent 99% of our time (and dignity) making janky a reality.) Oops? Not oops.

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We’ll call it a happy accident. The saving grace of our marathon-sprint weekend is this Sunday-to-Monday move. Because dangit, we’re kicking off the week right! This is when I take five for pancakes and check-in with friends, family, and myself to take stock.

For me, it’s the methodology of asking, “What’s the happs?” But mostly, it’s my über casual way of showing I care. It’s my way to get the lowdown on your life in exchange for sharing mine. So please do say hello :)

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Here’s the happs of this week/end:

HALLOWEEN: Our house was Earth, Wind & Fire (+Water) for Halloween. And all I really have to say is “Do you remember?”…Because I do, and I’m still laughing because it’s all straight up ridiculous. Let’s leave it at that.

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College students x career. To the seniors out there, this is all the feels. Last week, I had a long talk with someone about why we as students choose high-paying jobs at the expense of our true interests.  Truth be told, it was one of the most refreshing conversations I’ve had in a long while.  Though I don’t agree with all his points, Ezra Klein lends much-needed perspective to the subject in his article “Ivy League’s Failure is Wall Street’s Gain.” Give it a go!

• Caffeine x personality. The psychology of extroversion, introversion and caffeine. This is kooky stuff! I’ve never outright called myself an extrovert, but I do find that I work best when extra-caffeinated. There is perhaps nothing in the world that makes me happier than coffee and conversation.

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• On meditation: It’s easy for me to hold on to thoughts, but it’s hard to let ’em go! I’m trying out Calm to dabble in meditation. It’s with the best intentions to tune out and turn in.

•Game-changing women. Because the pressure of “Doing It All” is just a whole lot of WHOA. A Georgetown grad and president of Barnard, Debora Spar spoke at Georgetown last week (introduced by President Degioia, below). She illuminated much of what it means to be a woman in leadership and how that translates to our generation. In the above interview, she speaks of Wonder Woman, perfectionism, and legacy. It’s a good read for the ladies & the gents.

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• Satire x Georgetown. This is the most accurate (and hilarious) description of Georgetown’s campus that I’ve ever read. Kudos to my friend, T, for his sharp-as-ever satire.

• In the realm of music: I’m loving Movement’s  “Us” – it’s a soft and thumping beat with ethereal vocals.  This version of Villagers’ “Nothing Arrived” is folk-y and acoustic, like a tribute to the warmth felt amidst Autumn’s chill.

That’s all for now friends! Here’s to bidding Halloween goodbye, to seeing a Shakespeare play, and to endless coffee conversation. Here’s to more dignity and less janky costumes, to casual dinners, to Earth, Wind, & Fire….and to pretending that next weekend will be more functional.

(Or not.)

Just sayin’.

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