Thursday, September 27, 2012

Seize the day with carpe diem (that makes sense, right?)

Life is short. I know this mostly because I watch too much Grey's Anatomy and anyone who has watched at least a few episodes of that show knows that people are always dying. Always. (Hey, if you haven't seen it, tune in TONIGHT for the start of season 9 and you'll understand!)

Anyway, we've all heard the inspiring statements: Live life to the fullest! Live every day as if it were your last! Live like there's no tomorrow! Seize the day! You can sleep when you're dead! (that doesn't sound very inspiring though), Etc..

I'm all for the motivating let's-get-pumped-up-and-yell-Gladiator-style conversations, but that might scare people on the street, so here are some things I'd like to bring up in a calm, written fashion.

1. If something doesn't feel right, STOP IT. 
I don't care if it's a job, relationship, hobby, habit, etc... just end it. Because yeah, there are good days and bad, but if it's 95% bad days and you cling to the good days like I cling to my comforter when I'm not ready to wake up, it's really not worth it. There are better jobs out there and you may not find the one of your dreams right away, but you will. If your significant other makes you feel less confident and secure on a regular basis, pull the plug and move right along. Yes, it's easier said than done, but after a couple of weeks of only remembering the good times and wondering if you made a mistake and if you should call him or her, you'll suddenly feel better and it will be easier and you will find something better because love is about support and full acceptance! Worried you're turning into a gossip after noticing most of your conversations become stories about other people? Then just stop! You're in control of your actions and decisions. Those actions make up your character. Don't let yourself get walked all over on by a person, place, or thing. Punch that noun in the face! (Figuratively, of course) (Also, using exclamations really helps with an inspiring speech, right?).

2. Listen to yourself and nobody else (most of the time).
The other day, I was buying a dress for an upcoming wedding and I must have stood in front of the mirror in the dressing room for approximately 20 minutes. No, I'm not a narcissist (gosh guys, way to jump to conclusions), I just couldn't decide if I should get the dress or not! All I wanted at that moment was to have a shopping buddy who I could turn to and ask: "Yes or no?" That's how indecisive I've become, apparently. But the point is, it's so easy to rely on other people for simple, or complicated questions/decisions. I think it's important to stick to your guns and your gut (both are expressions, right?) because you really do know yourself better than anyone else. Don't take your power of making choices and throw it away because exercising that power on a regular basis really does drive our confidence as individuals - it makes us who we are. Of course, if you think it's OK to do something dumb like drink and drive and everyone tells you not to, that is NOT the time to exercise your power and ignore everyone because you are just being dumb.
ANYWAY! Some people like to control things that they shouldn't... and you shouldn't feel guilty for not taking their "advice" or feel coerced into doing something you're against or not doing something you feel passionate about.

3. Definitely sleep, but don't be lazy all of the time.
I wake up between 4:45 and 5 AM which means there are a lot of nights that I find myself in bed by 8:30 ready to crash. But I'm learning that planning that dinner with friends or attending that surprise party or going to see that concert is totally worth the zombie eyes the next day (also, I can make up the lack of sleep by going to bed at 4 PM the next afternoon!). But this isn't just about sleep, it's about putting in effort. Has a friend been needing some extra love? Send him or her food. The term "comfort food" had to come from somewhere! (Actually, I Googled it and couldn't figure out where, but still). Have a day off and feel like staying in your sweats? Do it for a couple of hours and then get your booty up to go see the world outside! How can you seize the day from your couch? I mean, yeah, you can apply for scholarships and internships and contact an old friend and do awesome things like that, so if that's what you're planning then, okay, yes, keep seizing the day! But you know what I mean.

4. Stop your whining!
If you have an awesome opportunity, soak it in and enjoy it instead of complaining about it because it's something that will shape your life forever and those experiences don't come around every day. If you get in a fight with your parents or significant other, don't post statuses on Facebook that will make your friends hide you from their timeline (because they will, trust me). If you're not invited to a party, don't mope around and feel sorry for yourself - throw your own party! Seriously. There is nothing "carpe diem" about being a Negative Nancy. We all have our moments of feeling depressed, homesick, alone and/or misunderstood, but find something that makes you happy and stick to it like glue until you feel normal again. Listen to Ashlee Simpson (come on, somebody has to have that guilty pleasure), bake cupcakes (and bring them to me), put in a video game where you can blow things up, watch your favorite show on repeat, buy a pizza, pray, start a photo album, go for a walk, do whatever makes you happy and keep on keeping on! (With or without the Kardashians).

Live life with no regrets (did you think I forgot that one? No way!) is all I'm trying to say. Don't let fear of rejection, fear of others' opinions, fear of the unknown get in the way of your dreams and happiness. It's true when they say that you'll never know what can happen until you try, whether that's trying to live your own life before working on a relationship again, trying to write a book, trying to meet one of your heroes, trying to eat better, etc... We're all on our own roads in life and shouldn't let anything keep us from enjoying every second of our journey and letting our light shine.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Happy people rule my life.

Sometimes, I'm a sponge. Not like the Squarepants kind, but just the kind that soak up what they're around - and for me, that involves other people's feelings.

THAT'S WHY happy people are my favorite thing. I've always enjoyed being around friendly folks and having a good time with positive friends, but I've realized just how important it really is to notice all of the pure sweetness that even complete strangers can epitomize.

I recently flew home to Michigan - I quit my job in order to pursue other opportunities, but first decided a trip to see my family would be the perfect vacation a girl could ask for. I flew in to Grand Rapids instead of Detroit, which meant that the passengers had to be shuttled to a tiny, baby plane outside of the airport since it was going to a smaller city. Everyone felt squished immediately after entering that fetus of a vessel. Except a fetus is inside someone/something and in this scenario, people were inside of it... so maybe that actually doesn't work. Anyway, you could tell it was a flight that would stress a lot of people out. Then, a frazzled married couple had to practically crawl through the aisle (not exaggerating with the size of this aircraft!) with their two young girls and they had every reason to freak out and show hot tempers, but they made it clear that that was not going to happen. Right from the start, one daughter called out about being thirsty, so her mom opened up their bag to grab a water bottle they just bought, only to discover it had completely leaked and not only was she without a drink to give her child, her clothes inside were fully soaked. When the girl realized what had happened and started to complain, her mom just cheerfully said, "Well, you can suck on my sweater if you want, but that doesn't sound very good!" and her daughter started to laugh. Humor and happiness. She turned to give the girl a container of grapes that they had packed instead, and caught my eye as she was turning and gave the brightest smile - there was no getting this woman down!

My mom and I just stopped by Barnes & Noble to read through about 1,000 magazines, no big deal, and both of us picked up a drink in the cafe while we were there. The two baristas were joking around with each other as we walked up, and then grinned ear to ear to greet us and ask us what we liked to order. So, either they saw something in my teeth and couldn't stop laughing about it, or they were just genuine nice people. I'm certain it's the latter because if I had anything in my teeth (like a piece of lettuce from my turkey reuben from lunch), even I couldn't spot it! When one of them handed us our drinks after making them, she lightheartedly made fun of herself for mispronouncing the type of drink one of them was and then said "Enjoy!" with an earnest boost of energy before finishing cleaning off some of the machines. She wasn't trying to get extra tips or even go above and beyond for attention - she was just NICE and it was impossible not to notice, which was a breath of fresh air.

I feel like I see parents listening to their iPods instead of paying attention to their kid who's trying to get their attention too much in the city, or I hear about nannies who completely raise a couple's child since they're never around. It's a comforting feeling to see awesome parents with their kids. At stores, bars, coffee shops or restaurants, I've found that there are multiple times I feel like the server or person behind the counter is so distracted with problems in their lives that they make me feel like I made a mistake coming in that day - like I was interrupting their life. So often we settle for poor service and poor relationships because that's what we're surrounded by. But that's not something we should have to do.

So happy people? Beware. I'm going to find you and love you and want to squeeze you. I had a grin on my face half the flight to Michigan because while one kid was being loud and saying, "I can get away with anything sitting back here because I'm behind Mommy!" Her mom replied by bringing her hand around and tickling her leg to show her who's boss. I wanted to buy five more coffees at the cafe today just to have another round of good customer service. These are the moments we need to work to create! Life is too short for unhappiness and that's one thing I've definitely learned so far this year. We can't control other people or life itself, but we can control our reactions and the way WE choose to live and communicate with others. And let's face it, when someone is warm and cheery to us, it's SO hard to feel upset about anything. So by being positive, we actually CAN make a difference and that's the easiest and most heartwarming thing I could ever think of. I hope you're all sponges, too, because being happy is something we should be soaking up every day. YES. (Okay, that was unnecessary, but I was on a roll with the caps lock).

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Awkward Moments with Transportation

I’ve had bad luck when it comes to awkward moments with transportation. I think it started on family road trips when I was around 7 — my siblings and I would wave frantically at passing cars or, when that got old, smush our faces against the windows pretending to be asleep as the other two watched for people’s reactions and whenever someone noticed and started laughing, the “sleeper” would jump up and we’d all start laughing at them for falling for our clever trick. Thanks parents, for encouraging such normal behavior.

When I started driving, I decided my car would be my very own concert arena and sung my heart out, even with the windows down. More than once, I was stopped in the hallway by someone who’d say, “Hey, I saw you driving your Bronco yesterday in town and it was SO funny — you looked like you were REALLY into your music!” Does singing along and banging on the steering wheel with an occasional finger pointing dance count as being “into my music”? Maybe so.

And now that I’m in NYC, I’ve had plenty of awkward times on the subways. Sure, I’ve warned you all of the 5 daily dangers of subway rides (, but there’s more – oh, so much more – when it comes to cringe-worthy situations I get myself into.

Talking to a crazy person
About a month ago, a man wheeled himself into the train and then faced me, blocking the closest exit. I wasn’t fully aware that he was even there because I was so into Mindy Kaling’s book, but then heard, “Hello, miss?” I looked up. “Will you be my girlfriend?” Part of me wanted to go back to my book and just ignore him, because I’m so weird in these moments with creepy strangers. But he asked very loud and now everyone was staring, so I had to respond. “Sorry,” I said, forcing a genuine smile. “I have a boyfriend.” Then, out of nowhere, he yelled, “If you don’t make love to me right now, I’m going to kill myself!” Yikes. Okay, maybe if it was Jason Segel saying that in a hushed whisper after we celebrated our engagement with friends and family and I was wearing a gorgeous, shiny dress instead of my hoodie, knit hat and glasses, I’d be a little flattered. But this man was clearly not well, and suddenly everyone on the train lost eye contact with me. Thanks a lot, humanity. I just sat there, shaking, staring into my book with tears forming until he got off at the next stop. Now, whenever I lend that book to someone, I’ll have to explain the tear-stained pages and how it was obviously Mindy’s chapter on dating men instead of boys that made me bawl like a baby.

Making (and holding) eye contact
I’m really bad with this, and by bad, I mean I’m great at it. I write a lot on the subway, which has taught me something about myself – when one of my writing sessions turns into daydreaming, I’ll look up and stare into space without realizing it. That is, if “space” is technically a stranger’s face. When I realize that I’m doing it (because they’re looking right back at me), I try to compensate for the creepiness by proving that I was just deep in thought. Suddenly, I’m nodding to myself and tapping my pen against my notebook while switching off and on between pursing my lips and mouthing words slightly – like I have a sentence forming, but just need to search my mind’s word bank for the perfect completion. Unfortunately, I’m also a horrible liar, so I’m not sure if I fool anyone really. Plus, once I know someone’s looked at me once, I have to keep checking to see if they’re still doing it. And occasionally, when the person continues looking, I hold their gaze, hoping it’s a hint that they should stop. But more than once, it’s led to a stare down which I don’t recommend. It’s uncomfortable.

The bend and snap
Really, I just mean dropping something on the ground, but I felt like the Legally Blonde reference was needed. I work at a tween magazine, so most days on the train, I’ll be working on rough drafts of my pages that I’ve printed out. The problem? Most days I also drop one of the papers, and it usually floats through the air and lands in the center of the train car face-up, so everyone can clearly read the quiz I’m working on: “How do you beat friend drama?” That’s when I silently pray that no one thinks I’m a creepy 20-something year old who lives and breathes to discover why I rock at friendships. Duh, it’s because I’m awesome. Another moment I don’t enjoy? Dropping something below my own seat and then noticing that someone sitting close to me has decided that their good deed for the day is going to be grabbing it for me. Only, it’s obvious that it’s going to be much more of a struggle for them, and I’m already in a half-reach at the same time because I can get to it SO easily, but I don’t want to offend them by not accepting their gesture. But then again, I didn’t ask them to try to reach behind my feet, did I? So I quickly snatch it up and smile with no teeth (I don’t want to show teeth in a way that says, “Aha! Good deed DENIED!”) to silently say, “Thanks for trying.” Still leaves me feeling like my karma points have dropped dramatically.

Giving money to panhandlers
Speaking of karma, giving money to those in need should make you feel great, right? Not always. Sometimes when you reach in your wallet to pull out a dollar, it’s hard to get out, so you have to pull a couple of other bills out as well, like a $5 or $10. But you still just hand over the dollar and the panhandler simply looks at you and shakes his or her head, but takes it anyway. Then you’re filled with guilt. But who knows what they’ll spend the money on? (Sounds like something my grandma would ask.) But it’s like the time a sweet girl offered a man a loaf of delicious bread from a farmers’ market and he brushed her off, yelling, “What the bleep would I do with a loaf of bread?!” (I added the bleep.) All I wanted was to say, “I don’t know, eat it?” and get high fives from my fellow commuters, but I refrained. I feel like that could have been my shining Liz Lemon moment, being so proud of myself and looking for high fives.

It’s a good thing flying cars aren’t “a thing” yet. Because I guarantee I’ll have some awkward moments when it comes time to get me one of those…most likely having weird rendezvous with pigeons and getting tangled in telephone pole wires.

Friday, April 13, 2012

THAT'S newsworthy? Weight a minute...

I check entertainment sites 24/7 - it's part of my job, and I've started to really enjoy doing it. I'll admit that now, every rumored celeb hookup (Jason Segel and Michelle Williams?!) or breakup (Heidi Klum and Seal?!) excites me to no end. Plus, like most people, I'm a fan of catchy, new music, so I enjoy looking for just-released singles...although I doubt I'll be listening to anything besides "Call Me Maybe" for the next year or two (unfortunately, so addictive). What did this Mad Men star say about the upcoming episodes? Let me find out! New pics of Hilary Duff and her adorable baby, Luca? I want to see! This pop culture thing is a world I've learned to enjoy being a part of.

That is, except when the "news" becomes pointless rambling and questioning about a star's weight. Recently, I've been completely annoyed with Miley Cyrus coverage. I miss the days when the silliest headline was "Miley Cyrus: She really can't be tamed!" At least that was a little funny - oh, you're so clever for using her song title to describe what you think of her real life! But now, there are polls on sites "What do you think of Miley's body?" With choices like: "Too fat", "Too skinny", or "Just right". Really? How is this even a question? Practically all the latest paparazzi shots are Mi coming to and from Pilates, lots of her tweets mention eating healthier...sounds like she's trying to have a better lifestyle and I think that's something to admire, not turn into a scandal. Then, there's headlines with quotes from "weight loss experts" saying that if Miley loses any more weight, she'll be way too skinny. That's your professional verdict - she'll be way too skinny? My mind is blown. Sorry for the added sarcasm in this post, it's just something I've really seen enough of. Personally, I think Miley looks absolutely incredible. I'm glad she's tweeted about the rumors to stick up for herself, but she shouldn't have to. Plus, this recent "scandal" is a reminder for me that I should probably start taking better care of myself, as well. I'm a naturally skinny person, but that doesn't mean I'm toned, and it doesn't mean I don't eat family sized boxes of donuts when I'm tired. I'd just like to think that if I started making some serious changes to my daily routine to try and get healthier, people would encourage me instead of tear me down.
But if this is the type of story that's breaking headlines now, I'd like to point out the real problem with Miley... it's all in this tweet:
Guys. People of the world. You thought Miley's salvia problem was bad? THINK AGAIN. This young Hollywood starlet is suffering from another addiction — walnuts. I'm currently waiting to hear back from my "Walnut Expert", but I'm guessing he will tell me that this is a problem, that she's eating "way too many walnuts." But don't worry, I'll keep you posted on how this continues to affect Miley each day. Stay tuned on this emotional story.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hi, I'm Kelsey and I'm a chick flickoholic.

I don't know when it started. I could blame Disney, perhaps (or credit them, I should say). But I am the biggest sucker for romantic comedies and love stories that you will ever meet. I was talking to my co-worker the other day about something cute my boyfriend did, and she interrupted me and said, "I bet you made that 'Oh!!' exclamation and put your hand on your chest." And that accurately describes my reactions to 99% of sweet things I see.

I watched My Left Foot the other day, starring Daniel Day-Lewis. Okay, okay, I know... I'm not off to a good start with this post because it's supposed to be about CHICK FLICKS. Obviously, that is not what this movie was. As IMDB summarizes, "The story of Christy Brown, who was born with cerebral palsy. He learned to paint and write with his only controllable limb - his left foot." So he went through all these challenges in life and it was very inspiring, but the very last part of the film informs the viewer that Christy married Mary Carr, his nurse, a few years later. That made me feel happier than if it was my birthday! And I love birthdays. My reaction was, "Best. Ending. Ever."

I recently went to see The Vow (I think we can all agree that that is definitely considered a chick flick), and cried/sobbed multiple times while watching it. I loved that it was based on a true story... Even when Rachel McAdams lost all recollection of being with Channing Tatum, they were still meant to be together and she fell in love with him again (uh, sorry, spoiler alert?). Except, you know, the REAL people that they were playing did, that is. Otherwise poor Jenna Dewan - she'd have to dance her way into another man's heart! Anyway, I had to look up the real story from Kim and Krickitt Carpenter (who the movie is based off of), and I was a little disappointed to learn that they got engaged only two months after they first met, and then got married three months later. No wonder she couldn't remember falling in love with him! But after that cynical thought, I jumped back on the "Awwww" wagon, just thinking about how romantic and sweet the story is. They stayed together and worked through the unexpected and unknown together, as husband and wife, and never gave up. Sigh.

When I saw Like Crazy in theaters a while ago (the DVD is out now...gotta get that one!), I loved how Jacob and Anna's relationship felt SO REAL. The fights, the passion, the "missing you" text messages... I felt like I was a fly on the wall of one of the most beautiful connections two people could have. It reminded me a little bit of Blue Valentine with Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams...except more hopeful and much sweeter. I'm not so much of a silly girl that I don't think there's ever struggles or problems for two soul mates, but I'm a firm believer that two people who are meant to be together can make it through anything at all. Hopeless romantic, right here.

Relationships like the ones between Landon Carter and Jamie Sullivan, Noah Calhoun and Allie Hamilton, Drew Baylor and Claire Colburn, Holly Golightly and Paul Varjak (movie version, of course), Jack Dawson and Rose DeWitt Bukater, Jesse and Celine (no last names in Before Sunrise, apparently), and Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley completely represent the connections I wish every person could feel with another. Undeniable chemistry, opening themselves up to learning something new or taking a chance... it's all so wonderful. And perfect pairs are difficult to find! You can date a lot of duds before finding the right one, that's for sure, but once you meet him or her? You just know. Well, unless you're Holly Golightly and have to listen to a speech about how you build a cage around yourself which is why you don't get close to anyone or name your cat, before you realize you're ready to fall in love. That can be cute, too.

Romantic comedies are my favorite, and it's not just because in almost every single one there's a scene where rain is pouring (which is the epitome of sweetness - "I love you even in stormy weather." Aww.) I think it's because they show two people who don't expect to fall in love or don't expect anything better to come along or don't expect that they'll find true happiness, and then we get to follow them on their journey - when they start doubting and when they start trusting, when they realize they've found "the one" and don't know how to react...but mostly because they show that no matter how alone someone may feel inside their own world, there's another person out there who can understand them better than they can understand themselves and show them what life is really all about. It makes the single viewers feel like they're about to turn the corner in their own future love story, and the viewers who are in relationships feel so lucky for knowing they're just as happy as the lead characters. Unless they're not, of course, which is an awkward moment.

Okay, side note: I also love chick flicks for the quirky best friend who's always just hanging out being awesome. Best part of Failure to Launch? Zooey Deschanel as Kit: "What the hell kind of devil bird chirps at night?" Another BFF I got a kick out of? Mindy Kaling as Shira in No Strings Attached: "We're sluts, Emma! We're dirty dirty sluts!" It's my goal in life to be told, "Hey Kelsey, you know what? You're like that quirky best friend in a romantic comedy." Best. Day. Ever.

Basically, chick flicks give you goosebumps and make you tear up and sigh and put you on a crazy love rollercoaster, even if you know the formula (girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl makes out with boy as the credits begin to roll). They make you smile and warm your heart and make you want to go to a local coffee shop for some hot chocolate where you'll accidentally bump into a dashing gentleman who compliments you and apologizes for being in the way, and then sits down next to you and asks, "What are you reading? Oh! I love that book!" Then, proceeds to tell you that he's close to his family, loves his cat, wants 2-3 kids, and noticed that there's a great Thai food restaurant nearby, would you like to continue your conversation over some fried rice? ... Did I take it too far? But it really does leave you feeling hopeful and happy - like everything is going to be okay, no matter what.

So here's to your very own love stories... And they all lived happily ever after. The end.

"I'll be famous someday, I promise!"

When I was younger, all I wanted was to be famous. I'd write stories about Native American tribes that I thought were worthy of a Pulitzer Prize. I didn't just play with my Barbies, I directed them. Was Dad bringing out his camera today? I'd be ready in a pose. Did I want to be on video? I'd slop makeup all over my face and act out a ridiculous scene, just so I'd be on tape. I remember going shopping with my mom, and I'd sing little songs as I twirled through the aisles - every step I took and note I made, I was sure I'd be "discovered." I was prepared for anything.

Plus, I was bold. On the first day of Kindergarten, I came home from school and explained to my mother in an as-a-matter-of-fact way, that I'd be calling a girl from my class, Rachel. I decided we would be good friends, so I rang her up. I signed up for the school talent show in third grade, and when my BF Wesley (good, strong name) told me that my friend Kristen sang her part way better than me (it's true, she has the voice of an angel), I kicked him to the curb. Or did he just move away?... Anyway, I remember kicking him to the curb. I signed up for a dance/cheer program in 5th grade and shook my thing (the little thing that it was) to "Pretty Woman." I wore a pink boa. In 10th grade I was on the cheer squad, but I wasn't chosen to do a really cool stunt for our next competition. So at our basketball game that night, I whipped it out for the first time with 3 girls who wanted to help me out and was filled with pride when I was soaring in the sky and saw my coach's astonished face. I could've fallen on the gym floor, but in that moment, I didn't care.

I graduated high school and moved to New York City two weeks later, not knowing a soul. Now, I've almost been here three years and I've never regretted a minute of it. But it's easy to get discouraged when you're around so much talent and competition day in, day out. I work hard, am happy with my job, but I picture myself a few years from now and sometimes it scares me to be so uncertain. I was so in control when I was growing up, and as I continue getting older, I find that my loyalty to commitments and responsibilities has hindered my freedoms. So which is more important?

At six years old, I was hopping on my brand new bike, racing down the dirt road and feeling the wind in my hair - without a care in the world. Now, I'm just shy of 21 and I hop on the subway at 7:30 each and every morning for an hour and a half commute. When I feel something in my hair, I panic that it's a subway rat. But here's the catch: I'm living out my dream job - working for a magazine. I've met the man of my dreams who makes me feel like the most incredible woman in the world. No, my name isn't in lights - but I still have the stars in my eyes when I think about everything I'd like to accomplish in time, by working hard. Realism doesn't have to be negative, it just means that I have to work harder, that when I fall down and cut my knee, I won't bawl for my mom (OK, maybe I'll still cry - let's be serious!), I'll pick myself up, dust myself off, and learn something new about myself, like how much I can handle. It means that instead of singing and dancing through department stores, I'll put myself out there in other ways, like writing articles and trying out crazy fashion trends and not being afraid to say hi to the person next to me on the street (Hey, some people in NYC still totally freak me out!). I'll take realistic risks and challenges every single day and get "discovered" by truly finding myself.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Being 20 in a 21+ world

Living in New York is one of the best things to ever happen to me. Looking back on the last couple of years, I've had more eye-opening and life-changing experiences than I think I would have elsewhere. One of the experiences is simply being under 21 while living and working here. I'm looking forward to June 6th of this year, when that won't be the case anymore (well, I'll still be living here, but it's my birthday - get it?), but for now? It gives me plenty of stories, I suppose.

My first summer in NYC, I lived with about 7 other girls - and none of us knew the others when we moved in. We spent three months running around the city, going to casting calls, taking the Q train to Coney Island at night plenty of evenings, visiting Times Square and trying improv in the street on other evenings, basically just having the time of our lives. And we were also invited to different clubs - a couple of times we'd be ushered in with the group we were with, but one time we had to stand in line and show IDs before going in. I wouldn't ever spend money on a fake (especially because in every scenario I can think of, I'd end up in jail), so what did I do? One of the girls went a couple of people ahead of me, and when she was let in, she passed her ID to me behind a random shrub that was at the start of the line. I'm a nervous person in general, so when this was going on, and when I grabbed the ID while my arm was being poked by the little shrub branches, I was probably shaking with saliva foaming out my mouth, freaking out that I'd get caught. But it worked. Still, it also almost gave me a heart attack, and I finally realized that clubbing wasn't even that fun. It's a little ridiculous.

On a more professional level, it can also be annoying to have to tell the people you work with your age. It didn't bother me at first because I didn't think it could be perceived as a bad thing...but then it was clear that one or two people wouldn't take me as seriously anymore. When that happened, I wanted to fall on the floor kicking and screaming, since obviously, I'm basically five years old. No, actually, it's just something I have to constantly keep in mind now. I can't help how others perceive me, but I also can't let that fact limit me or hinder my ability to express myself. And that's a lesson that I'm sure I'll be reminding myself of for many years, not just concerning my age. See? I'm getting all boring sounding up in here - I could pass for at least 50.
Anyway, another story. I went to an event recently for a company I work with, and the security guy in the elevator stopped me before I walked onto the floor and asked for my ID. I kicked myself for deciding to wear a cute bow in my hair that day - probably took off at least three years for me. I pretty much just sighed and said, "I'm not over 21, but I'm also not here to drink. Plus, I'm only able to stay a few minutes anyway." (I didn't tell him that the reason I'd have to leave so soon was because I was going to a bar to celebrate my roommate's birthday - ha!). He still made it clear that he was going to point me out to the bartenders so they would know not to serve me. It's situations like that that really get under my skin and make me cringe. After staying a little bit, I headed back to the elevator, worrying about my age instead of focusing on enjoying the event... and I let it ruin my night.

I get so worked up about situations where my age turns into a burden, and usually turn to Chris (boyfriend) to vent. Poor Chris - after the event, this is an example of our conversations:
Him - "Do you want to get some Subway before we head over for Scott's thing?"
Me - "Oh, I don't know, do five-year-olds eat Subway?"

Him - "Ready to go to the bar?"
Me - "No. I'm not going to drink, but I'm probably going to still get ID'd and then they'll kick me out in front of everybody and I'll just want to die. And then I'll cry because I'm apparently five years old."
Him - "Babe..."
Me - "Okay, just let me say that a few more times so I can get it out of my system."

But he's right - I can't have a pity party every time something upsetting happens that I can't control. Sure, for the next three months it will be my underage status. Then what? Sometimes you have to just shrug things off and hope that the people around you will appreciate and like you for who you are, not how many years you've been alive or where you live or where you shop or anything silly like that. Laugh it off - I'll drink to that! ... you know, in June.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

5 Dangers of Daily Subway Rides

Every now and then, you hear stories in NYC of bad things happening on the subways: Violence, theft, an occasional crazy man in the nude... It's enough to make any New Yorker choose to hop in a taxi instead of walk down the creepy subway stairs seven blocks away from their apartment. But for those of us whose bottomless pit of cab fare does not exist, there are approximately five main concerns each day on the crowded trains to be aware of.

#1. There are creepy and weird people surrounding you. And the worst is when someone sneezes on you. The person sometimes turns out of politeness for the people in front of them to sneeze, and yet they always end up turning to face the direction of... you. When those drops of moisture land on your face or arm, you find yourself in quite a helpless state. Much like when the train is packed full, but you spot one open seat and think, "Aha! My lucky day!" So you sit down just to realize that the man next to you who's curled against the window, is homeless and has a stench that you're not sure will ever leave your memory. Then, you notice everyone else looking at you with a sigh of sympathy. They knew.

#2. Almost every day, either you will fall on someone or someone will fall on you. If it's you, you sometimes can't help but act like you MEANT to trip. I did that the other day when I lunged forward and somehow decided that making it seem like I was just dancing was an appropriate reaction. False. My boyfriend just shook his head. But the embarrassment usually passes after a few minutes. So when my boyfriend said to me one day, "I have a hilarious train story to tell you," I was all smiles - but not for long. Apparently, a young woman wasn't holding on to a pole or rail and fell backward when the train started. Understandable. She reached behind her for stability - also understandable. Poor girl. She wobbled around while trying to find something to hold and keep her balance, and what did her hands end up grabbing? My boyfriend's you know what. ... Nice move, missy. And apparently, her way of showing off embarrassment was turning around, laughing her head off, (probably batting her eyelashes) and apologizing a thousand times. I didn't like this story. So, when you're riding the subway, watch out for men-hungry women (or just people who are too distracted to remember to hold on).
Also, look out for anyone who seems to be way too eager to leave the train. I was waiting for the doors to open so I could exit one morning, and a man next to me was doing a very strange hop in place. Then, when the doors began to open, he knocked me out of the way and ran to the stairs while flapping his arms as if he's flying to his next destination. You never know when you're next to a man who thinks he's a bird.

#3. Every time the conductor sounds a little off or confused to me, I'm convinced the train has been taken over. Is this just an issue for me? No one else? Well, I basically live out "The Taking of Pelham 123" every day in my head. I've heard a conductor announce, "The next stop is 59th street." And I panic because I know that's wrong. Then, "Excuse me, 42nd street. The next stop is 42nd street." And I wonder, "Is he trying to tell us something? Is something wrong? Where's Denzel when you need him?!"
If this isn't a problem for anyone else, then I will take that back and replace it with the daily danger of train doors... I don't recommend sticking your arm in between them as they close, because they don't always open back up 100% when there's a blockage. In my experience, they open a few inches and then try to close again. I've gone through with my arm stuck, then my shoulder and head stuck, then my hip stuck before finally getting in. And after all that struggle, no one claps for you - no one smiles. They don't appreciate your early morning victory of conquering the subway! They just need to get to work. It's a lonely experience.

#4. You're forced to listen to a mash-up of songs. Forgetting your own, personal iPod is the worst mistake you can make on the subway. More of a book person? I'll address the problem with that in #5. Anyway, if your iPod isn't on, you have a mix of house music, Beyonce, Jay-Z (aww, husband and wife), and other rap and hip-hop artists I've never even heard of surrounding you. That can be annoying in the early morning hours, yes. However, what's sometimes worse is when you're loving the song someone is playing a couple of seats away from you. Taylor Swift? A Fine Frenzy? Ingrid Michaelson? Hello! Music to my ears. Literally. Anyway, when someone's near you who has your exact same music taste, you want to slowly get closer to their seat so you can enjoy the tunes. That can be a bit awkward - you need to be stealth in your movement. But when that could-be-friend of yours gets up to leave, you're left wishing, once again, that you had just remembered to unplug your iPod before you left for work - gosh! And then on the rest of your trip, you try to decipher what that rapper is so angry about in the headphones of the guy on the other side of you.

#5. When you finally start getting into your new book, a mariachi band hops on. Always. And if it's not the mariachi band, it's a group of 2-5 teenage boys who greet you with the always startling, "SHOWTIME folks, it's showtime!" More than once, I've sat in the area they decided to perform/dance/flip in. More than once, I've given my fellow commuters even more entertainment than they were expecting thanks to my face of panic when one of the kids does a flip and almost kicks me in the head. I've had a woman across from me point and laugh because of my reactions - actually, howl would be the right word. That's not my favorite after-work activity.

So be careful on the subways, friends. They are full of surprises, but being aware of these 5 things should help your trips. And hold on to the rails, please. No one needs their boyfriend groped by a stranger.

Article was posted on as well.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I'm afraid of everything. My boyfriend isn't.

Some of my fears:
- Scary movies and the music they play
- Empty streets at night
- Big dogs
- Spiders, ants, bees, bugs in general
- Failure (this just got deep.)
- Lighting matches
- Standing by someone who's sneezing

But that's just the start. So when moments like this morning happen, I freak out. I guess I should tell you the story. My boyfriend Chris and I were walking to the subway this morning since he has to be at work bright and early...except that it's not bright, it's actually still pretty dark. That expression is false. Anyway, there's one freaky street in particular that always has cars parked on both sides and half the time we pass them, at least 2-3 have one person just sitting in the driver's seat, staring. Sometimes at us. Other times, I can't see inside the cars, but their headlights are on. Naturally, I feel as if that street is filled with kidnappers and killers who are just waiting for their prey, which could easily be me.
Fortunately, all of my suspicion gets my adrenaline pumping so I'm sure if anyone ever did try to mess with me, I'd shock them with my strength...or tears.
Let's get on with the story. This morning, at the end of this dimly lit street, a pretty large man was just sitting in a wheelchair. It looked like a set up for something horrible. I squeezed Chris' hand and muttered, "Creepy, creepy, creepy!!" the second I noticed. I think Chris responded with, "Seriously." Man of many words. So imagine my surprise when, of course, the scary man called over to us in a raspy voice that was not at all understandable and Chris walked over to him. Um??
I stayed back, obviously, just waiting for the moment the guy would whip out a gun or a knife or something horribly violent. Then, I'd have to save the day somehow and I wasn't prepared for that - I woke up just 10 minutes before! Everyone knows you need at least a half hour to be ready for a smack down. Chris talked to the man for a few seconds, while the guy pointed down the street and said something about being pushed. Next thing I know, Chris is behind the wheelchair and suddenly standing almost at a perfect diagonal - his legs way far behind his torso, starting to push the heavier man up the street.
I think it's true when people tell me that I wear all of my emotions on my face, because the man looked at me and said, "I'm sorry, miss." I was hoping that those words didn't have hidden meaning behind them, like a foreshadowing for what he was planning to do. YES, I ALWAYS FEEL LIKE I'M IN A SCARY MOVIE! Anyway, I decided I needed to be right behind them just in case. Never once did I think, "Oh, I should help push!" Nope, I was focused on the larger matters at hand - saving our lives. This is when I was very happy with myself for wearing my coat's hood up - must have looked pretty intimidating, even with the faux fur around it.
After going pretty far, he made it to where he needed to be, so he thanked Chris and we turned back to continue our walk to the subway. I turned around a few times to make sure all the danger was over, and after a few more steps, I felt ready to celebrate. Chris isn't a morning person, and I am. Therefore, the rest of the walk was filled with my exclamations:
"Wow! That was so crazy!"
"I bet you want to do some working out now, after pushing that guy!"
"I was so freaked out!"
"You're such a sweet person!"
"I wonder if I was a guy and not a girl, if I would still be afraid, or if I'd do what you did!"
"Do you feel so good right now?!"
"Were you freaked out AT ALL?!"
He wasn't freaked out, and he didn't feel like working out - he felt like going back to bed. What a trooper. I didn't tell him my theory - that I saved our lives with my intimidation. I'm sure I'll do it again in the future.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Claire Colburn: Why every girl should have a red hat.

Drew: You're kind of great, Claire. You do know that. Sort of amazing, even.
Claire: Oh, come on! I don't need an ice cream cone.
Drew: It's not an ice cream cone...What's an ice cream cone?
Claire: You know, "Here's a little something to make you happy. Something sweet that melts in five minutes." I'm completely cool with anything you want to say or not say. I don't need it.

A film that will always be in my list of Top 5 Favorite Movies is Elizabethtown. It's directed by Cameron Crowe, so obviously the choice of songs are genius and every scene has purpose. But the real winner in the movie is Kirsten Dunst, who plays my favorite fictional character/girl crush: Claire Colburn, who won my heart after saying, "I'm impossible to forget, but hard to remember."
And when Drew (Orlando Bloom) says, "I'm not used to girls like you," Claire replies, "That's because I'm one-of-a-kind!" Every word that this Claire says makes you feel something. I credit it not just to Kirsten's acting (which is definitely part of it... thank God it wasn't Scarlett Johansson, who also auditioned for the role), but to Claire's red hat. Throughout the movie, to me at least, it's a symbol of independence, freedom, and originality - which shows why Drew is so drawn to her. She has a spunky spirit and an optimistic, big heart - "I don't know a lot about everything, but I do know a lot about the part of everything that I know, which is people."...but also secretly has trouble opening up completely, and figuring out who she is underneath the mask of happy, go-lucky girl: "I think I've been asleep most of my life." The red hat helps personify it all. So obviously, when I walked into Urban Outfitters the first summer I lived in New York and laid eyes on the most incredible red knit hat for sale, I had to buy it. And to this day, whenever I put it on, I feel a sense of comfort and happiness. I think a big part of Claire is also a big part of me.

Back to the movie though. As the film wraps up, Claire sends Drew on an incredible road trip, which ends with Drew going to the 2nd Largest Farmer's Market in the World to find a girl in a red hat. He walks past a signpost with arrows pointing to "Success" and "Failure." Which way does he go to continue his search? "Failure." Which brings me to another favorite quote from the earlier parts of the flick, courtesy of Claire Colburn: "You wanna be really great? Then have the courage to fail big and stick around. Make them wonder why you're still smiling." And so, I'll continue wearing that red knit hat and replay the scenes of this fabulous movie in my head whenever I feel a little down, or whenever I feel perfectly wonderful.
Life may throw curve balls your way and stress may keep building and building until you feel like you're going to burst... but when that happens, listen to the instructions of my fictional girl BFF, Claire: "You have five minutes to wallow in the delicious misery: enjoy it, embrace it, discard it… and proceed."

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Checking the time, and other trends.

Now that I finally feel like I don't need to say, "Happy New Year!" in every email I send or in those rare moment when I see one of my roommates... I realize that 2011 really did pass extremely quickly. And I know every year people get all optimistic (no? just me?) about the future, but I really DO think 2012 is going to be my favorite year... Okay, okay, I'll admit it: I only started talking about time and how it passes by so that I could bring up the fact that I love my watch. My Liz Claiborne Clear and Rose Gold Resin Watch. My Liz Claiborne Clear and Rose Gold Resin Watch that I bought myself for Christmas and will never regret. Finally, I have a "Power Watch" (yeah capitalization!) that makes me feel happy and important at the same time...which are my two favorite feelings.
But anyway, it is kind of crazy to think of how quickly time passes. And how a certain length of time can feel like so much more. I moved to New York at the end of June in 2009, and so this year I'll be "celebrating" my third year in the city. However, looking back on all my memories, all my experiences, all my accomplishments here? It feels like at least six or seven years that have happened in the blink of an eye. So here's to enjoying 2012 - we're eleven days in and before we know it, we'll be celebrating the start of 2013.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What Grace Kelly forgot - heated streets, please.

"I preferred to live in New York, where it rained sometimes, and where you could take a walk down the street without being stopped by the police or being thought dangerous or crazy not to be in a car." - Grace Kelly

I've always been a fan of biographies, but I've discovered an even deeper passion for reading them lately. That means I've read multiple Audrey Hepburn bios (uh...wasn't kidding when I said she's my favorite non-family, non-boyfriend person in my last post!) and I'm halfway through, you guessed it, one on Grace Kelly.
I think Grace was just the type of person I'd love to be friends with. She'd be all, "Oh, let's have tea!" And I'd be all, "Yes, and afterwards, let's go shopping!" And we'd laugh. Or something like that. She seemed to be incredibly smart, which leads me to believe that she made the above statement about New York in any season besides winter. Now, I'm as big of a fan of walking to all destinations as the next loyal New Yorker, but mornings like today where you're quite convinced the relentless wind has torn a layer of your face off? Heated car, please. Because yes, people don't look at you like you're crazy when you're simply walking along the streets (go New York!), but I believe they DO look at you like you're nuts when you are stuck between a run-walk-shuffle with your coat's furry hood covering your entire head...only, the wind keeps knocking your hood back right after you put it up, so you have to use both of your gloved hands to hold the hood close to your two cheeks. Do I say this from experience? Maybe. Yes.
Now, my space heater is on and I'm curled up in bed, trying not to focus on the cool air that seems to be seeping through my window. New York, I love you...but please, warm up a little?

Monday, January 2, 2012

My New Yorker holiday.

Happy 2012!!

I just spent the holidays in Michigan, and that's when I decided I'd like to start blogging frequently again. And like my usual "out with the old, in with the new" motivation, I figured I'd create a whole new blog. Great timing for a new year's resolution too, eh?

Anyone who knows me is well informed that my favorite non-family, non-boyfriend person is Audrey Hepburn. Does that seem like a random statement? Well, think about Audrey's wonderful flick Roman Holiday. Now... look at my blog title... Bam! Inspiration! Not familiar with the movie? Audrey plays Ann, a princess who is desperate to have some fun for once in her life, so she escapes the castle by jumping in a truck and then hops out of the truck and falls asleep on a bench. That part probably isn't what you're interested in at all. She ends up meeting the delightful Gregory Peck (playing character Joe Bradley) and they go all around the city having adventures. Ann gets her hair chopped off, sees the sites, rides a Vespa, goes dancing, etc... and then returns back to her responsibilities as a princess later on. That freedom the flick focuses on is what we all need while we're going from duty to duty and work week to work week. For me, I don't feel the urge to go to Rome - I'm lucky enough to live in the most amazing location in the world: New York City. So, when I need to give myself a break and take in a breath of fresh air, all I have to do is hop on the subway and walk the streets to discover a new adventure.
Whether it's staring at Manhattan from a bench in Brooklyn Bridge Park, taking the ferry from Williamsburg to Governor's Island, getting lost in the four streets of Union Square (even though it's my favorite place and I've been there 23432 times), sitting inside Central Park and forgetting the crazy city life surrounding you, walking along the runners in Battery Park and feeling like you should start exercising, too, seeing an event at Madison Square Garden, going to a show at Terminal 5 (Florence + The Machine and Vanessa Carlton were two of my favorites so far), eating the best greasy burgers at Shake Shack, browsing through Arists + Fleas on the weekends, visiting Times Square with your tourist friends (because why else would you want to deal with those crowds?), there's always so much going on that you can never be bored.
So even though my usual day only includes commuting on the subway for about 3-4 hours total, re-reading Glamour mags, listening to She & Him, and working non-stop at the job in New Jersey before doing it all over again when I wake up, there's no excuse for feeling drained or unmotivated. I live in a city where dreams come true, so I'll keep staring at the buildings like it's the first time I'm looking at them, I'll keep writing in my 6+ notebooks/journals with the belief that my words will continue getting me somewhere, and I'll keep a smile on my face because this really is the life I've always wanted - a long holiday in New York City.