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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The Importance of Dinner

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October is a total faceplant. There’s really no other way to say it, is there?

See, back in the good ‘ole days, this month was just about scouting out the neighbor who gave out the King Size Peanut M&Ms for Halloween.

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Now, Fall is like HELLO I’M HERE, and we really have no choice but to open the door. Somehow, pumpkins are ending up in lattes. People are talking about being Nicki Minaj for Halloween. And the weather just went from sweaty to sweater. (I couldn’t even begin to tell you what that is in Celsius.)

School/work/life is feeling undeniably fo’real, and we’re all sorta pretending that we have our $#!% together. Except if we’re being honest, we don’t, and it’s totally cool.

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We’re really just trying to make it through Monday/Tuesday, with all our good humor in tack. Autumn, dudes! This shindig is a dinner sort-of-conversation.

That’s life on the lately, speaking of which. Last night, I had dinner with 3 strangers, 2 friends, and 1 Georgetown VIP. It was one of the best things I’ve done in awhile–if for no reason other than that it was out of routine.

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Routine is a tricky bugger. My routine includes a mind-blowing amount of peanut butter banana oatmeal, my favorite well-worn boots,  chapstick for dayz, Gmail inbox’in, walks to and from the business school, feedly, iced coffee in mason jars, friends, infinity on a simple gold chain, Todoist, messy ponytails, yoga gone digital, Pandora Film Scores, and a Spotify playlist or two.

But that’s a double-edged sword. And sometimes I wonder if we can become too caught up in our comfortable routines of who we see, what we do, and where we go. Suddenly, the daily becomes the weekly becomes the monthly. Routine is comfy! I don’t know about you, but comfy reigns supreme in my world…right up there next to chocolate-covered pretzels.

As I walked home last night, I began to consider the importance of dinner. Homegirl say what?

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Dinner, as it occurred to me last night, is a really big effin deal. You’re totally raising an eyebrow, but roll with the punches. Let’s jump in!

Breakfast is laid-back; lunch is casual; and coffee is lovely. For each though, we’re busy keeping it funky fresh. We got a whole day to do!

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There’s something inherently charming about the onset of nightfall. The security blanket of night allows us to be a little bolder in our actions and words. With an evening curtain of darkness, we find a certain cozy comfort that nudges us to loosen the tie of 9-5 life and the straight-laced obligations of being human.

That’s not to say all dinners are formal, lengthy, or even the same.

Sunday suppers feel familial. And the word “supper” mainly just sounds old-fashioned–like Momma would be proud of our lingo. Sunday is the high five between tradition and straight chillin’. There’s couches and really good-bad TV shows and ignoring our total case of the impending Mondays.

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Wednesdays are somewhere between Grilled Cheese-ville and “Just tryna make it.” Quick and dirty. Eaten amidst the disarray of a week. Mismatched dishware is the perfect match for this crazy hump day situation.

Friday dinners are my favorite. They’re all over the dang place. But always with the people I most want to see after a long week. Fridays are when I make the effort to see you and when I hope you make the same effort too.

It’s when you’re willing to treat yo’self because surviving an entire week just doesn’t get enough credit. Fridays are for friends. For bottomless wine, bad chinese food, great pizza, solid beer, unbounded conversation, and the kind of homeskillets that will endure all of the above.

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Here’s the truth: these musings are wacky with a whole lot of whatttttttt?! It’s just a penny for our midweek thoughts and the gentle incentive to reconsider an evening meal.

So consider this your open invitation to dinner. It’s my way of saying, “Hey, you’re great!” Because that’s the truth. Let’s get out of our dang routines, and go back to the basics of good food + good company.

This dinner is mainly casual and mostly just an excuse for whatever strikes our fancy. Maybe we’ll straight chill over Chipotle. Maybe we’ll linger past the plate and into life talk territory. Maybe we’ll figure out how not to completely faceplant through October.

Orrrrrr maybe we’ll trade secrets about which neighbor is giving out the King Size Peanut M&Ms?

HOLLA. Yes, let’s hope it’s that one.

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5 Things Learned from a Weekend in New York

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I’m the girl flying on a swing in New York with an everything bagel in one hand…and a reckless disregard for limits in the other hand.

The California kid who is young, wild, and maybe a little too free for her own good. The spontaneous traveler who has a Mary Poppins bag. The wanderer who doesn’t race against time, but right along with it.

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Can we talk about New York City? IT’S WACKY. But ahem, good wacky.  A chaos of urban mankind that is (dis)organized just so. It has an energy about it.

And I’m hopelessly smitten.

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That makes total sense, if we don’t think about it for too long. Cut me some slack, and let’s do this Sunday thing:

1. /// We talked a lot about passion & purpose this weekend.
About discoveries found and love lost.

Don’t freak out about this! We’re allowed to be human. The sum of these conversations shows us how a person can be your anchor and axis. But also how the absence of such a person can throw you off balance. It’s true – we’re all just trying to make it! To keep our balance, in spite of the curveballs up life’s sleeve. To feel like what we’re doingwhat we love in some way, shape, or form.

For me, short trips are a subtle reminder of all this. It’s a hint at what and who matter most to us. The urgency of time means that conversations tend to dive beneath surface level chatter. I hope you know how much I appreciate these conversations.

I left New York City today, smiling but also wistful and wondering if this was the one that got away.

If this feels a lot like vulnerability, that’s because it is. The truth is bonkers scary! Let it be.

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2. /// It’s hard not to compare San Francisco and New York.

I’m particularly guilty of this, fo’real! The two harbor similarities, which make it easy to pit the cities against one another.

Butttttt it’s still all sorts of apples : oranges. To compare them is to compartmentalize two anomalies.  Well, tits man. We can do mo’bettah :)

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3. /// A bit about career & the job world. 

Everyone I know seems to be hunting for a job or starting a new one. I feel you, friends! Naturally, this is a hot topic ‘on the noggin. It’s a whole lot to wrap your head around! I wrote Chapter One-and-a-Half  as a sort of response to the question, “So what are you doing with the rest of your life?” I wrote because I was feeling the pressure of uncertainty and discomfort that comes with not knowing what comes next. New York, I’ve begun to realize, is a magnet for those figuring out what’s next.

Note: The only thing I purport to know certainly is that I don’t know anything for certain. It’s like we’re all looking for that singular “right answer” — only to realize there is no one right answer. To all on this Struggle Bus, here’s a few other pieces of perspective I’ve found helpful:

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4. /// I’m a go-getter who likes to get to the go!

{skip if you don’t care about places to go in NYC}. Before leaving for the weekend, I asked friends near and far for their go-to grinds in the Big Apple. I traipsed around NYC both solo and in good company. In case you’re headed to the city soon, here’s my own shortlist of awesome:

  • Brooklyn Waterfront, Pier 2 (Brooklyn): My new favorite place in New York. On Sundays, Smorgasburg is held here. It’s nature x kickback, design x big-kid-at-heart playgrounds. And on a sunny day, I promise you that there is abso-freaking-lutely nothing better. Good vibes through the roof!
  • Brooklyn Bagel Co (Chelsea, multiple locations): I’m a bagel snob. And I’m here to tell you that this Everything bagel + cream cheese is  the best bagel in NYC. It’s a game changer. And would I lie to you about this? I think you know the answer to that.

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  • The High Line (Chelsea): The walk I’ll never tire of. It’s a wonderful place to wander. Or a choice locale to hangout with friends.
  • Num Pang (Midtown East, multiple locations): Order the coconut tiger shrimp banh mi sandwich, if you know what’s good for you.
  • El Almacen (Brooklyn): My first ever Argentine restaurant. Ambiance to write home about. Meat lover’s paradise.
  • Long Island City Waterfront (LIC) – Best kept secret. Take the ferry and go at night — it’s a breathtaking view with a million twinkling lights.

{{Continue New York City recommendations HERE}}

5. /// Have friends, will travel.

This is one of life’s magical bottom lines. High fives to the homies who got your back, no matter where you go. “Making the effort” is a big time player on the F*CK YES list.  Appreciation is easier said than done for most. So to all the friends who housed, helped, hi’d, hey’d, hungout with, and hugged me this weekend — thanks for being RAD. You’re totally the real deal.

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I hope your weekend was super swell and that your Monday isn’t too daunting!

This week might get a littttttle out of hand. And that’s okay. We might struggle a bit to find our balance — our person, our career path, our whatcha-ma-callit…chill time?! The humanity of New York can attest that we’re not alone in trying to figure it all out.

Let’s just take this whole dang enchilada one day at a time. And remember that anything is possible with an everything bagel in hand.

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