out west.

When I realized that my already busy summer was going to come to an end by moving for the 4th time in 2 years, I knew that a strategically scheduled vacation was going to be the light at the end of my tunnel. I was barely unpacked and nowhere near fully settled into my new place before I was packing again, for a quick getaway to Arizona. My childhood/grade school/lifelong best friend lives in Phoenix and it had been inexplicably long since we had last seen each other. I realized that the list of reasons not to go visit her (busy at work, busy with life, trying to save money, trying to hoard PTO, etc. etc.) would always be there & that it was time to bite the bullet and do something just because it would make me happy. Happy doesn’t begin to describe how I felt for the 5 straight days I was with her.

You see, Liz is the epitome of my other half. We’ve been best friends since 5th grade & have elementary school yearbook notes to prove it. The thought of riding the school bus without her in middle school was so dreadful that my gem of a father drove me to a bus stop on her route, instead of the one closest to my  house, every morning. We compared high school schedules the day they came out & giggled in the back of every class we had together. We spoke on the phone every night to help pick out each other’s outfits for the following day. Our prom dates always knew that we were a package deal – anyone who asked Liz, knew they’d actually be taking me & my date as well. Even through college, when some grade school friendships fall apart, we made a point to have weekly phone calls & monthly visits. We’ve been through everything, and I really mean everything, together. Regular visits haven’t proven to be as easy with me in Boston and her in Phoenix, but last week’s trip reminded me of all the reasons why we need to end up living near each other again, and asap.

I’d never been to Arizona before this trip, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. As an east coaster through and through I just assumed that everyone in Arizona would be wearing cowboy boots & spurs and have a yard filled with cacti. Not so much the case in Phoenix itself, but it was actually somewhat true when we drove north for a trip to Antelope Canyon. Although it is hands down one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen in my life, it is also located in the absolute middle of nowhere. Let me tell you, Page, Arizona is a treat, folks. The entire town has 3 stop lights, a gas station, pizza shop, Walmart & a few motels. I stuck out like a sore thumb in my mint green j. crew chino shorts & pearl earrings (you can take a girl out of Beacon Hill … can’t take Beacon Hill out of the girl), but being in this little podunk town made for a good bonding experience with Liz & her friends.

I could go on forever about our giggle fits & girl talk but most of all, our time together was the reminder I needed of what’s most important, and equally not so important. Standing on the edge of a canyon, thousands of miles away from my unpacked boxes & scheduled-by-the-minute life in Boston, I realized just how insignificant my matters really are. I’m just a tiny freckle of life in an overwhelmingly vast universe. As big as that canyon was, that’s just one small piece of land in Arizona, in the U.S., in the Western Hemisphere, in the world. Regardless of whether or not I’m sleeping on air mattress in a Best Western of Page, AZ or all moved in to my Beacon Hill apartment with a pinterest-perfect décor, my heart is full of gratitude and love not because of where I am, but  because of who I carry with me.

 

Some (untouched) photos of our trip:

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absurdities.

Have you ever stopped to smell the roses absurdity in the world? When I really stop to think about the way some things work, it kind of blows my mind that we’ve all just laid down, kicked our feet up and disengaged from trying to simplify it all. It seems like every time I try to schedule a doctor’s appointment it’s a 12 step process, 4 steps of which entail some kind of 1-800 number. I think I’d rather log roll down a hill of needles than deal with Comcast customer service. You’d think I’m asking them to coach me through child birth when I call and ask why my cable isn’t working. It’s all just too much for me. As of late, the most painstakingly obvious absurdity I’ve encountered is the cost of stuff. Stuff is expensive, when you really stop and think about it. Two recent occurrences nearly blinded me with how crazy the world is these days …

Per example – I spent a good amount of time online yesterday trying to find a decent hair salon in the city where I could get a trim for less than $60. SIXTY DOLLARS TO HAVE SOMEONE PUT SCISSORS TO MY HEAD. When I couldn’t find anything other than Supercuts, I started looking in to some of the options that were at least less than $100. A cute salon in the South End popped up, so I took a closer look and found that they have women’s haircuts for $75, which apparently, is a bargain. It’s not only $75 (pre-tip) BUT …

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“the service includes a blow dry,” folks. Can you believe it? They were even going to dry my hair for the can’t-beat-it-low-price of $75.

Someone actually has to be kidding. Right? Or am I the crazy one for thinking that a business, that’s in the business of making people look good, shouldn’t allow a paying customer to walk out their doors looking like the neighbor’s Irish setter that just ran through a sprinkler? Because honestly, if it’s me – I turn to you, my trusty readers, to snap me back into reality and help to set my expectations.

Here, here’s another one. Last weekend my roommate and I were running some errands and there was a flower shop next to the CVS we were at. I saw some buckets of loose blooms outside the store and decided to grab a few to take home, brighten up the apartment a bit. I picked out 3 stems, each with one hydrangea bloom on the end, and 2 stems of peonies. Total – 5 blooms. I figured the cost may be a little higher than your average Trader Joe’s bouquet, given that it was a boutique florist, I was prepared to spend a little extra. The cashier took her grand old time wrapping up my 5 flowers in some cellophane and ribbon, even after I told her a rubber band would do, and pointed to each bloom, calculating the total in her head. “That will be forty six dollars,” she said. FORTY. SIX. DOLLARS. Do you understand what I’m telling you? The lady wanted me to hand over $46 bucks to take home five flowers. I looked her as if boobs were in place of her eyeballs and simply just said the word, “no.” Have you ever done that? Has a cashier ever told you cost of something and you simply replied with “no.”? If so, I’d like to shake your hand and buy you a drink with all the dollars I saved by saying no to this crazy flower woman. I put my cash back in my wallet, did the old one foot pivot, and walked out of the store.

Fortunately, I do have the money to afford $46 for flowers or $75 dollars for a haircut, it’s not that I don’t. It just seems a little absurd to me that I should be expected to spend that much money for seemingly basic things. Moral of the story – as Alex often eloquently puts it, “People are out of their minds.”

running late.

2f4532fb24434812b2d223b28cf7b45cAt the top of my list of pet peeves, somewhere between chipped nail polish & lack of spatial awareness is being late. Running late to me is the equivalent of showing up to your meeting/date/yoga class/tarot card reading appointment with a sign around your neck that reads “I don’t care.” or “I had something more important going on.” So with that said, you can only imagine how I was feeling last week when I was still on the bus at 7:02 p.m., sitting, in stand still traffic, on my way to my 7:00 p.m pilates class. A class that I teach. A class for which being late is not exactly an option.

I was sitting there on the bus, letting out not-so-very discreet sighs of frustration, peering my little eyeballs past the heads of everyone in front of me, just to see how not  close to the end of the bridge we were. I of course debated pulling the emergency lever about 5 different times, hurling myself out the rear exit and sprinting to the gym, but at this point it, what difference would it have made? Running the rest of the way would probably have taken just as much time as inching across in a bus. I felt panicked, annoyed, frustrated, and most importantly guilty that I hadn’t arrived to my obligation on time.

Then, it was almost as if someone threw a brick right through the window I was 2 minutes away from banging my head against. Luckily there was no actual brick, but rather a proverbial one.

 “It is what it is, and it will be okay.”

STRONG SHIT, AM I RIGHT?! I mean, there I was, literally gripping my jaw and sweating as if that was going to cue the traffic gods to part the red sea that is Mass Ave at 6:00 p.m. And then I realized, that it just was what it was, and it was all going to be okay. Was the orbital rotation of the Earth going to end because I was stuck on a bus? Most likely not. Luckily I teach at MIT, so had there been any doubt about any of that rotational orbit stuff, I could’ve just asked one of my students, they would surely know.

So, you know what ended up happening? Someone graciously covered the first 10 minutes of my class. I walked in with a look of absolute mortification on my face, ready to profusely apologize, and you know what she said? “Rainy days are the worst, aren’t they?” I wanted to chest bump her right then and there. YES THEY ARE, I thought. I taught the remainder of the class, and it was all okay.

Not to say that we should all just lollygag (that’s a real word, folks) around all day and just show up when we show up. But something tells me the that I’m not the first person to ever arrive somewhere a little late, and I won’t be the last. There will always be slow moving buses, there will always be rain, that’s life, and it will be okay.

25 things

You may recall my post from 2 months back (!?#(*!)!? since when did it became MAY!?) that upon turning 24, I started to create a list of 25 things I want to do before I was faced with an extra candle on the cake. Different than a bucket list – my list of 25 things has a deadline, a day when all 25 must be complete. With 2 months to make up for, I better get moving on making it all happen before 3/5/2015! Before the quarter life crisis I hope to …

1. Write a hand written Thank  You note to someone new each month | 2. Run a half marathon | 3. Go 30 consecutive days with out shopping (for clothes/shoes .. I do in fact still need to shop for groceries) | 4. Tip 100% at a restaurant | 5.  Get another fitness instructor certification | 6. STOP biting my nails for good! (weekly manicures may help with this!) | 7. Go one week with out candy/cookies/dessert (Alex will tell you that is an impossibility) | 8. Plan a surprise party for someone | 9. Host a game night/dinner party | 10. Increase my savings acct by at least 25% | 11. Take the GRE/GMAT | 12. Get a promotion at work | 13. Read one book a month | 14. Make up for the one month of not shopping by splurging on a pair of J. Crew Etta Pumps | 15. Master a head stand in Yoga | 16. Buy & use a 10 class card at Boston Ballet | 17. Do this with out having a panic attack | 18. Try a new restaurant in Boston every month | 19. Keep blogging | 20. Landlord approval pending, get a dog! | 21. Visit a state I’ve never been to before | 22. Make a furniture investment | 23.  Donate to a Kickstarter campaign I believe in | 24. Take a volunteer trip to Africa or South America | 25. Take more photos

 

Copy cat no more.

So I had this whole post planned for today, and it was going to be about shoes. The title would’ve been some kind of play on words like “Sole Sisters” or “Shoe-in.” I probably would have spent a good amount of time editing, and re-editing and then changing the 3rd round of edits to make sure every t was crossed and i was dotted. It would result as a cute little post about spring sandals for you all to indulge in before minimizing your window as a co-worker walks by. (I’ve been both the offender, and the passer-by colleague, it’s cool, your secret is safe with me). And it would have been like 280939791562 other blog posts that exist on the interwebs.

I’ve been toying with just giving up the whole blog thing because I mean, really, who  is reading this? You’ll notice I don’t have a “Press” tab at the top of the page. There aren’t editors knocking down my wordpress door asking me to contribute to next month’s column on self-tanner disasters or the perfect cocktail dress for an outdoor wedding. I get an occasional comment here or there, and to be honest, my day is sometimes brightened when someone retweets my content. (The day @LillyPulitzer replied to me via Twitter I think I died and went to shift dress heaven).

But then I realized, I shouldn’t really be doing it for anyone other than myself. And yes, while I too love to indulge in girly fashion blogs that feature endless photos of girls staring down at their feet in the middle of street  with their camera facing leg popped behind them (what is with this pose? nobody stands like that. ever.) I’m never going to be that girl. And quite frankly, I don’t even want  to be that girl.

Truth is: 130% percent of the time, you can find me in my boyfriend’s lacrosse t-shirts & sweatpants watching Bravo and eating candy. More often than not, a coat of tinted moisturizer with mascara and chap stick do the trick for me. I have no interest in attending any sort of “arm-party” (you can’t possibly use that term & simultaneously feel like  a legitimate human) and I refuse to buy ANYTHING unless it is on sale. As a matter of fact, I will shamelessly admit that I waited for a pair of ankle boots at TARGET to go on sale, went back weeks later & bought them, only to return them because, well,  they cut the line of my already very short legs off at the ankles. Mind you, I have since purchased my 4th pair of ankle boots and have all of 2 outfits that they look good with, but sometimes you just have to do yourself the solid and buy something because you LIKE it.

POINT is – for all of you regular readers (I’m talking to you, mom, Alex, Madi & Liz) I’m hoping to change things up around here. I’ve decided to keep writing, for the time being, just on different topics. Topics that matter a little bit more to the universe and greater human population than how to mix floral & plaid in your wardrobe and banana based muffin recipes. You can look forward to more honesty, and with that, more humor. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a girl who loves her shoes & can’t help but eagerly pin every Nutella recipe on Pinterest & there will still be some of that. But, for every 100 “lifestyle blogs” there is 1 tell-it-like-it-is blog, so I’m hoping to join the ranks of the latter.

My readership may double overnight, or decrease 10-fold, but either way, I’ll probably have more fun just being myself on this here blog.

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Barry’s Bootcamp

You may recall back in January I made a list of work-out classes I wanted to try in the new year, and thanks to Jen of Little Miss Runshine, I was able to cross one off my list! Last weekend I took my first (and hopefully not last) class at Barry’s Bootcamp – Boston. It was hands down one of the toughest work outs I’ve ever done, but the feeling of satisfaction at the end of class was so worth it. I’m talking acid-reflux inducing sprints and tricep dips into eternity type stuff.

For those who have never taken a class at Barry’s, or any bootcamp class for that matter, it’s definitely a different kind of work out and one you have to ease into. I do pilates and/or yoga 3x week and try to also run 2-3 times a week, so I would consider myself in pretty good shape (minus all those gummi bears, Twizzlers, and spoonfuls of cookie butter but .. we all have our vices, no? ……) – but after taking this class I realized just how much further I could be pushing myself. Plus, doing the same routine day in and day out is boring to both mind & body. Switching up your regular regimen every once in a while with a new class, whether it’s bootcamp or spin, is always a good reset button for your muscles. And a good reminder to lay off the aforementioned gummi bears, Twizzlers and cookie butter.

Also, major thumbs up and high fives and ass slaps (what?!) to our instructor Chad. He’s a total firecracker with the best one-liners (i.e. “I LOVE ALL OF YOU SEXY  BEASTS”) to distract you from the cramping and exhaustion.  His energy is what kept me going when I felt like one more burpee would turn my burps into full fledged barfs. I could tell that he loves his job and is passionate about helping people go above and beyond what they think they’re capable of. If the picture below is any indication, he’s just an absolute gem.

Whereas some “fancy” gyms can have that total snobbery vibe going on, the staff at Barry’s was super welcoming and helpful. I’d venture to guess that their pricing plan is out of most 20-somethings budgets ($28/class or $500 for 20 classes, woof!), but when your workouts start to feel redundant, throwing one of these classes into the mix will be just the fix you need to take it up a notch! Now excuse me while I foam roll every inch of my body for the next 29038498 hours.

This post was sponsored by Barry’s Bootcamp. Thoughts & opinions are mine & mine alone! 
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Change font, save money. 

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This high school student may have just helped the government hit the jackpot. Forget budget cuts to this federal program or that, simply change the font on the millions of documents printed by government and save millions. Seems too good to be true, but he may be on to something!

The Power of Now. 

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I’ve heard a lot about this author over the years and have always been curious about his books. I saw this one at Barnes & Noble not long ago (yeah, weird, real book stores still exist) and thought I’d give it a try. It’s pretty philosophical and must be read with intention, so I can see how it could be polarizing for some people, but if you’re looking to live more presently, this would be a good place to start.

Cookie Butter Cookies. 

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Cookies are also helpful for living in the present. Right? Right. I whipped up a batch of these de.lic.ous. treats this week and think that they will be my go-to for any future occasion that requires a baked good.

Provisions 52. 

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How fun is this ravioli press?! I’ve always been a little intimated at the thought of homemade pasta, but this gadget makes it seem somewhat reasonable.

Little White Dress.

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Out with the black wool and in with the white linen. These airy dresses are essentials for a spring wardrobe.