Starting the year off right

If you’re wondering what I’ve been up to this month (since it clearly didn’t include posting here), I thought I’d share some highlights from the month of January…

I rang in the new year with AB and company, in Long Island. Kissed AB during midnight, and fell asleep about 15 minutes later… In all, a pretty great start to the year.


I chipped away at a few of my bucket list items, including an amazing underground dinner (#22, check) with Captain America, that featured seven courses – five incorporated oysters (#20, check). I’m lagging on a post, but check out the beautiful things!!


And speaking about posting… just because I haven’t been posting here, doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing. I’ve been taking on more and more writing opportunities with the Innovation Mill:

And (this is the BIG ONE), I’ve been cheating on MSW with another blog… I started a new blog venture with my supercalafragislistic mom all about travel. Check out Jet-Set Brunettes <3 (#40 Publish something, checkkkkk).


While starting this blog was a bit impulsive, it’s nonetheless a huge accomplishment, and I’m so excited by the possibilities. When my mom visited me in New York in November, she’d just returned from Hawaii for a girls’ trip. While there, she resolved that in five years, she’d have put all the necessary pieces in play to be able to spend three months a year living elsewhere.

What is it about elsewhere that’s so damn sexy and exciting? I’m not the anywhere-but-here type, but I love travel and am thrilled at the elsewhere-ism of it.

Anyway… the blog is like a constant little fire under her (and me) urging us not to forget about that goal, and providing a creative outlet to boot. Spurred by my mom, and a few other travel blogs, I also established a little travel goal of my own: I want to take one trip a month. They don’t have to be extravagant vacations, but the idea is to get out and see new places, old friends, and eat some delicious food.

So this month I went to Boston. And I bought tickets to Houston for Laura Max’s wedding (WHAT?!) and I bought tickets to Chicago in June for a birthday weekend vacation with Ma. Busy, busy bee. I’ve got a handful of trips in the hopper – some big, some small, but it’s going to be an awesome year.

Some pictures from Boston, where I had bagels, mimosas, and facials with my girlfriend, and treated my baby brother to brunch :)

20150117_140120 20150118_094502

In other bucket list news, I learned to make a bomb French 75 (I add fresh pomegranate seeds because why not; #19, check), bought myself some flowers (#3, check), and tried to keep the disposable cups to a minimum (for my first month of my 12 Months of Meaningful Improvement).

I slipped up a few times, and found my self unprepared, aka without my water bottle: New Years, Starbucks runs, and the bus ride to Boston. But in general, feel pretty good, and will make every effort to keep it up.

Next up: A month of only water and protein shakes. Meaning no booze, no coffee, I’m even trying to cut tea, but will allow myself hot water and lemon in the mornings. I’m so under-prepared for this, and totally forgot about the no booze thing. This will be interesting…

Stay tuned, and have a stellar February!


Positive Momentum: 2015 Bucket List

IMG_4532Ladies and gents, I’m excited to present my 2015 Bucket List! I started crafting this year’s list in about August, and as you’ll see, have already made headway on a few items.

This year is about harnessing the positive momentum. 2014 was an incredible year, and I want to keep the positivity flowing.

Now to briefly backtrack, here’s my reasoning behind annual bucket lists, rather than resolutions: Resolutions start with the negative and then turn into proactive “resolutions” which are hardly resolute; they’re followed for the first couple of weeks of the new year, before they fall by the wayside and all you’re left with is a monthly gym membership fee.

Bucket lists are lists of action items, things I would like to do/learn/accomplish just for the sake of doing/learning/accomplishing them. I hold myself accountable, and regularly check in to share updates, accomplishments, even supplements. So without further ado, my seventh annual list:

1. Have my DNA tested (via 23andme or another).
2. Have a real Christmas tree (even if I have to call it a Hanukkah bush). Did this this year :) It’s tiny, but festive!
3. Buy myself a bouquet of flowers.
4. Get a waffle maker☺. AB already got me one for our Secret Santa exchange!
5. Find a perfect purse (currently on the wait list for this one). I got a jumpstart and bought it over Black Friday weekend!
6. Buy a mirror for my living room.
7. Treat myself to a spa day.
8. Re-pierce my ears and buy a pair of earrings to celebrate (love these Kate Spades or a simple pair that goes with everything).
9. Find a new perfume that’s all me.
10. Buy myself new running / training shoes (probs these).

11. Free kayaking at the Downtown Boathouse in Manhattan.
12. Travel someplace new.
13. Go to the pumpkin patch, or apple picking.
14. Ride a roller coaster.
15. Have high tea.
16. Shoot a gun.
17. Visit the Museum of the City of New York.
18. Eat a new protein – like reindeer or ostrich (I’m recruiting Captain America for his help on this one!).
19. Find a signature drink (French 75?).
20. Eat oysters (I tried my first recently; need to try more! Apparently there are habanero oysters?).
21. See Shakespeare in the park.
22. Attend an underground dinner.
23. Try dim sum in Chinatown.
24. Go to the Newseum in D.C.
25. Go to a festival / fair.
26. Learn a new card game.
27. Spend a day on the beach.
28. Recreate the balloon project on my birthday (or just for fun!).
29. Do something crazy.
30. Share some of my favorite sights with my soon-to-be-assigned Little!

31. Go hiking (some great ideas here).
32. Run a charitable race (Fifth Avenue Mile, New York Underwear Run, Empire State Run Up, New Year Midnight Run).
33. Try the 100 pushups challenge.
34. Take a cult fitness class – flywheel or barre or kickboxing.
35. Sign up for ballet.
36. Do the splits.

37. Read “The Artist’s Way.”
38. Read something by Proust.
39. Read “A Feast for Crows” and “A Dance with Dragons” before the “Game of Thrones” season 5 premier.
40. Publish something.
41. Host a brunch.
42. Craft something I found on Pinterest.
43. Crochet another headband / ear warmer.
44. Make fried okra.
45. Make homemade yogurt.
46. Do a standup comedy routine (via Peppercomm!).
47. Paint my room.
48. Take a photowalk.

49. 12 Months of Meaningful Improvement:
January: Month of using zero disposable cups or bottles.
February: Month of drinking nothing but water (and protein shakes).
March: Month of no television.
April: Month of meatless Mondays.
May: Month of twice-weekly blog posts.
June: Month of morning walks.
July: Month supporting only small / local businesses.
August: Month without shopping.
September: Month without taking a cab.
October: Month without gluten. Just shut up and do it.
November: Month of daily gratitudes.
December: Month of random acts of kindness.
50. Implement Thursdays as a spend-free day.
51. Donate my hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths again! This will also require buying a new hair dryer ☺
52. Learn a new(ish) language.

53. Build up a three-month emergency fund.
54. Ask for a raise / promotion.
55. Invest in something, even if it’s just Kiva.
56. Start contributing to my 401(k) (I haven’t reached the minimum time limit yet).
57. Improve my credit score by 10 points.
58. Join a professional group (PRSSA, New York Women in Communications).
69. Attend 5 networking events.
70. Set a date for my next big trip. Contribute $100 (or ideally, much more) to the fund each month!

Have any ideas for future lists? Want to join me for a few? Leave comments, ideas, and share your own lists – I’m always hungry for new ideas and inspiration!

2014 Bucket List Review

10647114_10152844527323760_2228545618988916624_nAs I build up to my 2015 bucket list reveal, I wanted to share my progress this year! For those new to the game, my annual bucket lists are my favorite tradition, a way to kick myself in the butt and encourage ongoing growth and adventuring throughout the year :)

2014 has been a wild year (though I feel like I say that every year). I moved to New York (Dec. 2013), started a new internship (Dec. 2013), walked in my college graduation (May), found another new job (May), got promoted in fewer than six months (Nov.), moved another 457931 times (Jan., May, August), and never wore any earrings (the horror!!).

I explored my city, vacationed in Maryland (July) and Maine (Aug.), and am bringing AB home for a much-anticipated holidays. Of the 65 items on my list, I completed 50 (woot!); and of the 15 remaining, five just don’t interest me any more, five were pushed to 2015, and five are still contenders for 2014. Hey, I’ve still got some time.

  1. Kiss my boyfriend at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Love you AB!
  2. See the new World Trade Center MemorialDid it on my week off! Check out the post here.
  3. Ice skate in Boston Common or Central Park or Rockefeller Center. Not yet, but planning to for the 2014 holidays!
  4. Do some DIY crafting to decorate my new apartment. I made these gold leaf agate coasters!
  5. Walk and relax on the High Line. Did it on my week off! Check out the post here.
  6. Figure out my job… sitch.
  7. Bike through Central Park (again!). I walked a bunch, that count?
  8. See the Lion King on Broadway in Feb. My holiday present from AB—amazing!
  9. Become a member of Kappa’s alumna network. Eh. Not feeling this one for now.
  10. Start my mini book club with Captain America and blog about it.
  11. Exchange guest blog posts with Sugarwoman! Didn’t guest blog for her, but did share some posts on Peppercomm’s RepMan and Innovation Mill blogs.
  12. Visit Coney Island. Did it on my week off!
  13. Go to the Bronx Zoo (Wednesday is pay-what-you-wish day!). Eh. Not feeling this one for now.
  14. Pay off my credit card.
  15. Ride the tram to Roosevelt Island. Did it on my week off!
  16. Go running in Central Park. April 18, 2015. I played with puppies!
  17. Go apple picking and bake something delicious. Pushing to 2015 list.
  18. Visit a museum (or two or three. The Met’s $25 admission is only the “recommended” price; and the MoMA is free on Friday evenings). Did it on my week off! Check out the posts here and here.
  19. Be in a studio audience. I went to see Dolly Parton perform on Good Morning America!
  20. Get a library card, and explore in more depth the New York Public Library.
  21. Slurp up some frozen hot chocolate at SerendipityDelicious :)
  22. Find a restaurant with amazing duck. Not putting it on the 2015 list per se, but it’s still a goal. I miss Parisian duck.
  23. Crochet something. Made this crocheted headband and scarf.
  24. Visit a winery.
  25. Participate in a class or conference. (Like Alt Summit in NYC, or a free online class). I participated in Alt Summit May 8-10! Find a recap here.
  26. Buy furniture (I know some people might not find this exciting but I DO!). Outfitted my new apartment, and got a super pretty new chair for my bedroom :)
  27. Walk at Northeastern graduationMay 2, 2013
  28. Host a dinner party inspired by a show, movie, or fairy tale (ala Heston Blumenthal, or Game of Thrones again!). Not feasible this year. Pushed to 2015 list.
  29. Eat a cronut.
  30. Take a tour or use a big apple greeter and get to know the big city. Big apple greeters are not available to NYC residents, so I count my week off, running around the city :)
  31. Try a new workout fad or class (preferably in the form of a free trial). Ballet, at-home workouts, new lifting routine.
  32. Institute a new workout plan.
  33. Take the “Captain America tour” of the Natural History Museum.
  34. Watch the Olympic Opening Games (I freaking love the Olympics!).
  35. Dress up and go to a speakeasyDecember 2013 (I got a jumpstart!)
  36. Weekend ski trip in March? Went with AB on his company-funded trip!
  37. Learn a little something more about various wines (Are there workbooks for this?).
  38. Send more thank-you notes, in general. Check out my favorite stationary here.
  39. Find a new perfume that’s all me (This one?). Still looking. Pushed to 2015 list.
  40. Keep a monthly budget and stick to it. Monitor pennies and dimes (with some fancy apps, etc.).“Help me, I’m poor.”
  41. Stop. Eating. Gluten. Meh.
  42. Do something worthwhile for the holidays (like volunteer and/or go home!). I’m going to bring my man home for the holidays!
  43. “Zenify” my living space.
  44. Keep to my “Perfect 10” philosophy.
  45. Live like a local, explore like a tourist <3 (more to come!)
  46. Whittle my makeup routine down to only 4 or 5 items.
  47. Buy a lip/cheek stainNot feeling this anymore.
  48. Invest in matching underwear sets. 
  49. Eliminate TV as a remedy for being bored (keep it to regularly watched shows). Read or write instead.
  50. Find a quality tailor and have my suit jacket fitted.
  51. Have my favorite boots re-soled. Love getting them redone!
  52. Hand make holiday gifts/stocking stuffers this year.
  53. Buy brightly colored pants (like these?)
  54. Set myself up to live debt-free in 2015. I’m well on my way!
  55. Make a new female friend. 
  56. Learn something that increases my professional value (e.g. coding, finance, social media). Counting Alt For Everyone!
  57. Purchase or make a new (artsy) camera strap.
  58. Maintain an apartment wish list so I can strategically and intelligently make purchases.
  59. Take before and after pictures of my new apartment. Oops…
  60. Identify and blog about a 2014 theme.
  61. Get a new pair of eyeglasses. Will do in 2015…
  62. Buy a living plant (herbs or topiary or desk plant?) and keep it alive. Meet Arnold here.
  63. Find a pair of work-appropriate jeans.
  64. Re-pierce my ears (After my right hole tore, I’m trying to let them close up). I don’t think they’re ready. Pushing to 2015…
  65. Do something crazy. I’ll never tell…

Cheers to a wonderful 2014! Stay tuned for updates on my 2015 list, but please feel free to share suggestions of items / adventures to include!

A Sneak Peak: 12 Months of Meaningful Improvement

NYE-1 copyI’ve been working diligently over the past couple of weeks to build out my 2015 bucket list, and a lot of the ideas I’ve been stumbling upon have had a 30-day theme… 30 days of going the extra mile, or 30 days of self restraint. So I thought I’d make a year of it. In addition to my standard tasks and dreams, I’m going to spend the year making meaningful improvements.

When I first shared this list with AB, his response was “It sounds like you’re just trying to torture yourself,” so I wanted to explain some of the background and thought process behind each month. Some are or will be harder than others, but as a habit takes minimum 21 days to stick, the idea is that if it sticks, I can carry over good habits into the following months. So as a little sneak peak to my 2015 bucket list, I present 2015’s 12 Months of Meaningful Improvement:

January: Month of using zero disposable cups or bottles. This seems pretty straightforward, but I’m a big fan of being environmentally friendly. I also wanted to start with something doable but still impactful. I will be carrying with me my Klean Kanteen, so I can still make trips to Starbucks and grab some water, but will limit that impact.

February: Month of drinking nothing but water (and protein shakes). AB made the caveat about protein shakes, because I would otherwise be lacking in my post-workout protein intake. But this means no coffee, no alcohol, no high-calorie drinks, no afternoon diet Coke, etc. It’s something of a cleanse, and I’m also hoping it saves a little money, too. I’d really like to limit my alcohol intake in the coming year. I find that while I enjoy a little wine or whiskey at home, I’m really tired of going out.

March: Month of no television. I wholeheartedly acknowledge that this will be the most difficult month. I watch a few shows with AB and may or may not keep watching these (technically, they’re online). However, I want to eliminate my habit of turning on the TV and browsing the web, post-work. I will instead read, write, draw, cook, clean, or call loved ones.

April: Month of meatless Mondays. My food philosophy tends to be “meat-on-the-side” anyway, but I want to make a conscious effort to limit my meat intake for a slew of reasons. Meat is expensive, detrimental to the environment, and can cause some serious health issues. Now, I don’t have a poor or meat-dense diet, so I’m not particularly invested in being veggie again, but I think that limiting my intake will help encourage me to be mindful of my consumption.

May: Month of twice-weekly blog posts. It’s pretty clear I’ve been struggling to post regular content here – really for about a year. I attended Alt Summit last year, which was super inspiring, but I don’t feel that I have a niche for MSW anymore. I want to actively combat that – to fake it ’til I make it by posting regular content.

June: Month of morning walks. I haven’t yet figured out how this will impact my morning workouts – it might be that my walk from the gym to the office counts, but really I just want to get out and spend some time in the daylight. Walking was always a good opportunity for me to reboot or foster creativity, and I’d love to challenge myself to get outside and enjoy a little fresh air. It might instead mean taking a walk at lunch… we’ll see.

July: Month supporting only small / local businesses. This will be hard for me, because it means to chains and no Amazon. I’ll still be buying groceries, as usual, but want to limit any discretionary spending, and force myself to be more conscious of how I spend my month.

August: Month without shopping. I know, I know. The blasphemy. Emergencies and food (from the grocery store) are allowed. Beyond that, I’m skimping.

September: Month without taking a cab. This is both to encourage myself to walk, and to save money. I spend a lot of money on cabs.

October: Month without gluten. Just shut up and do it. Ughhh. I know going gluten-free is super trendy right now, and for the past several years. I’m not in it to lose weight. Really, I think that gluten intake impacts my allergies. And I don’t want to be itchy all the time. I’ve tried out gluten-free and felt amazing but it’s an INCREDIBLY difficult diet to maintain. It takes a lot of planning.

November: Month of daily gratitudes. In brainstorming these months, I noticed a lot were about limiting myself. But during the month of Thanksgiving, I want to emphasize everything I’m grateful for – even the small things. This might mean journaling about my “gratitudes,” it might mean just saying a silent thank you at the end of the day, or it may mean doing “high-low” – a game of sorts where each person lists their high point and their low point of the day – over dinner

December: Month of random acts of kindness. And in the theme of the holidays, I want to extend my cheerfulness to others in the form of random acts of kindness. Everything counts – it doesn’t have to be a grandiose gesture. Donating when prompted at checkouts, holding the door for a stranger, surprising a coworker with coffee. Should be a wonderful year?

Inspired to try some meaningful months yourself, or write an annual bucket list? Share it with me or in the comments – I’m always looking for new ideas.

My Christmas Wishlist – or – Why I’m going apeshit over the holidays this year

I haven’t properly celebrated the holidays since 2009. Initially, my family stopped doing gifts for reasons financial, philosophical, and – later – emotional. And we never got back to it in full swing. But this baby girl (yes, I’m referring to myself in third person) has a steady income and a need to shower my loved ones in PRESENTS!!! To fully understand my obsession, you must first understand the backstory(s). I’ll concede.

2009: Christmas as usual. I got my travel backpack and my mother’s commitment that she’d go to Europe with me in May. Basically, I got the world for Christmas. Big potatoes.

2010: The family had a rough year, emotionally. In lieu of presents (though we still did stockings), we started volunteering our Christmas morning, serving those less fortunate than we. Also, I saw little kids hug my dad like he was their personal angel. An amazing sight, friends.

2011: The year that rocked our lives. Several people died and Christmas would have been miserable. We volunteered again, and celebrated the coming new year (and new start) like it was the new Y2K.

2012: We were in Europe (I know, I know, woe is we) and didn’t do gifts or stockings. We did share some trinket-y little gifts, soak up the joy of each others company, and revel in the beauty of Paris. I should omit this one from my sob story.

2013: I moved Christmas Eve. For the bajillionth time. Christmas day, I got Chinese food. (Kind of evens out 2013, huh).

So now this year!! Not only am I going home, not only do I get to drown my favorite people with love, but I’m bringing home the boy, too! AB gets to meet my puppies, see my childhood home, sit in my glorious jacuzzi… It’ll be epic.

Now, as for the below…Ideally I’d show you everything I’ve found for my lovelies – the good, the bad, and the illegal. But I like surprises, so instead I’m posting my wish list. And I suppose this also serves as a little teaser for my yet-a-work-in-progress 2015 bucket list, because I plan to buy myself most of these little tchotchkes.

So excited for the holidays!

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 9.20.49 PMWORK GOODIES: gold foil print, Kate Spade gold folders, space heater | WARM GOODIES: J. Crew duck boot, brown sweater boot, knee high socks, hat, black nylon boots | WORKOUT GOODIES: gym shoes, GAIAM gym bag, amiigo fitness tracker

Once Upon a Time… I was a writer

cat-sleepingI’ve started writing this post more times than I care to count. And each time I come to the same conclusion: I don’t have anything to say. It’s a blank. The last time I wrote, I was a month into my new job. It’s been four months, the longest dry spell Musings She Wrote – and its predecessors – has ever seen.

Meanwhile at work, I’m now hurtling toward the six month mark, I’ve earned a place on my client teams and taken on increasing responsibility. Also, I’m completely tapped of creative energy.

I used to write because I felt I had some burgeoning, bubbling creative upchuck (remember ‘brain barf?’) and needed an outlet. And now… I come home and I’m exhausted. I pay my rent, I make food, I go to the gym, I work. I’m completely tapped of that creative energy. Each. And. Every. Day. And that’s not to say I’m running on empty; one of the few nuggets I retained from high school physics is that energy doesn’t die. It’s just converted into different forms of energy.

By the time I get home from the office, I’ve spent nine hours turning whatever creative energy I had into stay-awake-during-client-call energy, and into media pitches, into strategic plans and outlines, into social media campaigns.

And with what little (if any) energy remains, I convert into physical energy at the gym, where I lift heavy things repeatedly.

By the time I stumble home, I maybe cook. Or clean. If nothing else, I’ve learned to be grateful there’s not something else – a puppy or a child – in the picture. Being an adult is amazing, splendid, beautiful. And wholeheartedly the most exhausting thing ever.

At work this week, I was talking to my boss about a new writing class she’s taking at the MOMA. She’s learning how to write art critiques, just for fun – to engage the creative side of her brain that isn’t always engaged by client work.

I have kickball. I have the gym. I don’t have an art writing class. A while ago, I wrote up some steps to boost creativity, to beat writers’ block. Only, I don’t think this is writers’ block. I’m just drained. And short of illegal substances, and/or inserting a caffeine drip into my bloodstream, I don’t know how to combat it.

But I want to use my brain. I want to be creative. I want my art critique course. And I’m taking suggestions.

Step one was stumbling through the two weeks it took to write this post. I wrote something, and it wasn’t a list of tweets or a media plan or an email (actually I draft almost all my blog posts in Gmail drafts, but I digress). But I need something more. It’s bucket list time soon, and I want to look forward to some new challenge.

Calculus class? I’ll take it. Photo blogging a scenic walk every weekend? Sure. Painting? Drawing? Sommelier courses? How do y’all engage your brain? And how do you stay awake past 9 p.m.? When did naps go out of style?

Musings on Stepping Stones

photo1 (3)If I had a dollar for every time someone told me I had an “old soul,” or was “wise beyond my years,” I could pay off my student loans. All my life, I dreaded the kiddie table. At 15, I had a color-coded, five-year trajectory. I set plans, made goals. I wanted to escape my then-suffocating neighborhood and see the world. I wanted to be respected, independent, an adult.

Today is the one-month anniversary of starting my new job, and I just passed the six-month anniversary of moving to New York. And for the last 5 years, my life has been broken up into six-month increments—class, co-op, class, co-op, study abroad, class. I’ve seldom lived anywhere more than six months. As such, I’m conditioned to feel antsy for something different and new every 180 days.

And now? I have to schedule my vacation months ahead of time, and budget days off. I’m not complaining—I’m immensely blessed and grateful to have a job in my chosen industry, with no lag time between graduation and working—but what I wouldn’t give to sit at the kids’ table now.

Music for me is like scent for others; I hear the opening chords of a song and I’m suddenly transported. Well, I’ve been listening to country music all day. I’m not at my desk; I’m sitting with hometown BFF Bo in her VW Jetta, driving everywhere and nowhere at the same time—windows rolled down, Starbucks drinks sweating their cup holders, and country music blasting.

I’m homesick for a time and place impossibly far away. I’m not a carefree kid anymore (not that I ever really was carefree). I used to dance and lip sync to Beyonce in my Bo’s bathroom (there’s video evidence), I used to get giddy about being asked to a dance, cheered winning a field hockey match. This week, I celebrated the fact that I qualify for a higher credit limit, and I’m saving up for a move and to buy an ottoman. Oh, how the times have changed.

I still pride myself on pausing to appreciate the little things, living in the moment – the here, the now: a rare streak of sunshine in March, a fleeting love affair with a passing puppy, a cool iced tea. Heck, I once broke down in tears, marveling at the beautiful fact that my body sweats and can make me more comfortable while I’m running – I mean how amazing is it to live (yay, endorphin highs). I have my little moments…

But looking back, I’m a little bummed out that I spent so much of my childhood looking forward. Did I really need that seventh AP class? Night classes? SAT classes? The first time I took the PSATs my freshman year, I got a 1970; yet I still didn’t think that was good enough.

For my recent birthday, my mom got me a card that reads “Birthdays are like stepping stones to death. But the stones are really pretty and there are lots of bars along the way” (She knows me so well). I view my life as a collection of glittery stepping stones. And I don’t regret the time, energy, or anxiety I invested, because those small stepping stones got me here.

But by focusing so singlemindedly on improving and validating myself—to schools and boyfriends and internships—I was always looking down, searching for the next stone. Now I’m marooned on one big stone labeled “Responsible Adulthood” and missing the freedom of all that stone-hopping. Looking back, I wish I might have spent a little less time looking down, looking forward, and a little more time enjoying the view.

Ventfest: Bathroom Talk…

sb10068645n-001Other people have shower thoughts. I have bathroom thoughts…

I’ll explain.

The other day, I walked into my work bathroom, and had a very difficult decision: regular stall or handicapped stall. Now I know there’s some sort of twisted guy science to picking a urinal, and I think that there’s a similar science to women choosing a stall. I either choose the stall closest to me in order to minimize time wasted in the bathroom. Or I choose the handicapped stall.

While I was coming to this awkwardly timed realization, I started wondering… I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one with a tendency towards choosing the handicapped stall. But, um, why? It’s not a bedroom or a new apartment. It’s not like I have legs up to my elbows. Why, exactly, do I feel the need to have an extra square foot or two while I sit on my porcelain throne for an average 21 seconds (Blech, what poor person has to do that research)?

All potty talk aside, I decided it has to do with my culture – and I say my culture because it’s likely other people aren’t as “cultured” in this sense as I am. I grew up with brothers and have always felt competitive. I compete for attention, time, internships. I, friends, am a squirrel. I squirrel away, hoard, and fight to keep jobs, relationships, money, winning, stuff (why do you think I need Perfect 10). I keep score.

It’s a problem. I think.

This isn’t one of those posts where I wax poetic on how I’m going to downsize my life and minimize and revamp my intentions and whatever other advice I learned in my most recent self-help selection. I’m just saying I sometimes venture into the bathroom. And I have thoughts. And sometimes they happen at the same time. I’m also going to probably go against my intuition when it comes to picking stalls from now on, lest I go with the stall that most people contaminate.

You’re welcome for that visual.

My Week Off in New York: Part 3 (Fri & Weekend)

See parts 1 and 2 of my week off here.

Swept up in the rush and excitement of starting a new job, I didn’t finish recapping my week off (silly me). I’ll get to additional updates shortly, but first…

I started my Friday by walking to 59th street to pick up the tram to Roosevelt Island (free for those with a monthly metro card, and #15 on my bucket list!). The view from the tram was stunning.

(Note: In the interim between adventuring and writing this post, my iPhone was wiped, so pictures are mostly what I posted during the day on Instagram. Womp.)

I putzed around Roosevelt Island a bit – it’s a really residential haven amid the hecticness (hecticocity?) of New York. But a real winner. There’s an old insane asylum still standing (sadly, behind fences and totally off limits. You know me and haunted old buildings), and a funky little park as well.

05asylum_600From there, I hopped on the subway for a long ride out to Coney Island, where – despite less than ideal weather – the rides were running and the ice cream parlors were open. So naturally I had an ice cream cone. Before riding the famed Cyclone (which in retrospect seems like the wrong order).

Stomach in tact, and with wind-blown hair, I last visited the Brooklyn Aquarium. Much of the aquarium is closed to visitors while they rebuild post-Sandy, but the fishies were adorbs and I made a friend of this little guy.

I spent the weekend relaxing, walking around my own neighborhood, reading, and hanging with my Kappa sister Dani before starting my new job – crazy to think it’s already been a month since I started (clearly I’ve been busy) :)

My Week Off in New York: Part 2 (Thurs)

See Part 1 here.

Another day of amazing adventures in New York! Though nothing that I accomplished today was on my bucket list (necessarily), I still feel immensely exhausted. I adventured in Brooklyn today (first time while living here to venture to another borough!), and made the mistake of assuming that the outer boroughs were as easy to navigate as Manhattan… oops….


And speaking of Manhattan, that’s were I started. With a coffee and breakfast on the city side of the Brooklyn Bridge. Then the walking began, as I ventured over the East River to Brooklyn (Fun fact: Brooklyn, originally “Breuckelen,” was named after the Dutch city of the same name), with my single grande nonfat extra hot salted caramel mocha with only three pumps of flavoring with whip… and my phone (no fancy camera today, but I think I did alright!).


Once actually in Brooklyn, I wandered around like a lost puppy (there’s so much room in other boroughs!) before finally stumbling into the BLDG 92. Now, I’d heard many positive things about BLDG 92, and also that is was free, but I didn’t really know what it was. Turns out it’s a museum outlining the Brooklyn naval yard’s rich history—from contributing to all major American wars up to the 70s to being decommissioned to becoming a now-haven for startups and artists. The museum was incredibly well produced—I would definitely recommend. Oh, and no surprise, I bought a postcard.


From BLDG 92, more walking (2.5 miles?) to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. For an impossibly low student rate of $5, I got to stroll through the gardens. The blue bells (which are gorgeous and don’t bloom in California) were stunning, and I took some time to kick my feet up at the Asian serenity pond and write up aforementioned postcard.


Fun little side note? I’ve been dying to get a plant for my desk. I didn’t at my internship, because I figured I would if / when I got a real job… So… I got a teensy tiny plant while at the Garden. It’s not even four inches tall, but I love it—the perfect addition to my new desk at my new job (weeee)! Friends, meet Arnold (yes, I name my plants). Turns out I did accomplish a bucket list item (#62, buy a living plant and keep it alive)!


After the Botanical Garden, I walked what I thought was the most direct path to the Green-Wood Cemetery. Sure, it was three miles out of the way, but I did get to traipse through Prospect Park, which hadn’t been among the originally planned attractions. While there, I found this incredible old boat house. If I can be a total girl for five minutes, it was the exact kind of place that girls (I mean, I’m not saying me) dream of getting married. It had this green tiled ceiling and a gorgeous view of the water and and and. So freaking cool.


Anyway, then I walked some more. And some more. And I strolled (which is really just walking’s evil cousin). And I finally made my way to Green-Wood Cemetery. So remember how I cry in museums and churches? Well, I love cemeteries. I’m just a weirdo like that. and Green-Wood is basically the Empire State Building of cemeteries. In the early 1860s, Green-Wood had a reputation for its 478 acres (told you there was a ton of walking) of beauty, attracting 500,000 visitors a year, second only to Niagara Falls as the nation’s greatest tourist attraction. Apparently, I’m not the only one who likes cemeteries.


While at Green-Wood, I tiptoed into this tiny little chapel (I was all alone), and paused to breathe. I didn’t cry, but it was stunningly beautiful, filled with the tie-dyed light from the stained glass. In all, an absolutely EXHAUSTING day, but amazing nonetheless. Now, to nap…

IMG_5030P.S. I looked it up, and I walked roughly nine miles. Ha!