Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Last Day of Work Playlist (LDOW 2.0)

In my relatively short tenure of being on the full-time job market, I've had two last days of work, the most recent of which was today (I'm employable I swear, just #hungry4more). Here's a pro-tip: the last day of work is really awkward. If you have social anxiety, it's even worse. I'm a moderately social person who doesn't get crippling bouts of anxiety, except if I think about something for too long, which is inevitably what I've done in regards to this last day of work, so if you're wondering, it was kind of brutal. How do you say goodbye to acquaintances with whom you've made small talk about cultural happenings and shared the same breathing space for the past year? Do you hug? Give a giant wave? A high-pitched "bye"? It's weird and anxiety-inducing but if there's one thing to latch onto, it's the Last Day of Work (LDOW) playlist.

The LDOW playlist is what you listen to on your way out the door -- when your internal monologue is screaming sayonara suckers and your feet are tripping over themselves to the closest fast fashion chain store (fancy talk for Zara) or self-serve frozen yogurt purveyor (fancy talk for 16 Handles), whichever is closest.

The LDOW playlist has to be empowering. It has to reinforce the conviction that you're moving onto bigger and better things and make you feel like the star of your own romantic comedy or musical. I compiled LDOW 2.0 using some stakeholders from the 1.0 version, a Google search of "empowering music" (I admit to writing that in the search box then changing it to "empowering pop songs"......), and some hits from my favorite spin class. The result is pretty good but not as strong as I imagined it to be, for which I blame the masterminds behind "Unwritten" for not putting out 10 similar songs. So yes, my playlist is mostly, though not strictly, pop. It starts with "Unwritten," has some Sara Bareilles and Katy Perry mixed in, along with a few motown hits that I've had stuck in my head since November. I'd write out the entire list but that isn't necessary. Just listen to "Unwritten" and you'll get the gist.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

My One True Love: the Vanessa Bruno Tote

When I was studying abroad in Paris (no good ever comes from a sentence that starts like that but here I go), I became infatuated with a bag. The Vanessa Bruno Cabas tote. Everyone who was anyone  (mainly high school girls) on my 8 AM metro ride to school had two things, both of which I needed, one of which I got in three different versions: a Vanessa Bruno bag and a faux-fur hooded parka. This was before Stan Smiths, but believe you me if I got on the 12 at Notre Dame des Champs today, those sassy lil lycĂ©ens would be wearing those. (I just looked at the Paris metro map and my heart PANGED. Literally it hurt. Ellen/Louisa are you reading this? If so, leave a comment). 

It took me a long time to figure out who actually made the ubiquitous bag, because whereas a suitable  parka could be found at a multitude of stores, this bag clearly had an It status. It was the Coach wristlet of the French youth. I needed it. I asked my host mom's live-in step-granddaughter (weird living situation, kind of traumatic on my end) who made it and she replied with something that I didn't understand. I didn't understand a lot of what she said because her French was really colloquial/on fleek (?) and mine was at more of a textbook last published in 1992-type frequency. I nodded like I knew what she was talking about then asked her to write it down. This led to the next phase of making the bag mine--visiting it in stores. I tried to advance to the final phase but logistics like a general lack of money prevented me from doing so. Shame.

When I went back to Paris last year (remember I bought an impulse ticket, guys? That was the best. Really living) I had enough money from an underpaid entry-level job to get my Vanessa Bruno tote once and for all. But then I happened upon another similar bag at a boutique in the Marais and since I was already on an impulsive kick, I thought yo-the-eff-lo and bought it. We've had some great times, me and this lil Stephane Verdino tote, some cool lady once complimented it at the Wythe Hotel.

But there's one thing I know about true love, which aside from nothing is that it stands the test of time, and I truly love the Vanessa Bruno tote. For me, it's always been you. And I've tried to hide and I've tried to deny it, but I can't, you're undeniable. Since I'm still thinking about it three years later, imma buy it.

Assembling funds now.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Dear Alec Baldwin

Dear Alec Baldwin,

I'm writing an open letter to you here because I know that if I saw you on the street and stopped to tell you, you'd say something crude and I'd be forced to tell the authorities. I've always wanted to be an informer so that would be a great opportunity. I just want you to know that I really like your radio show, Here's The Thing. I would have never took you for a WNYC radio host, but I suppose you have the voice and body for a radio star (a slight resemblance to Elvis Duran of the Z Morning Zoo, perhaps?). To be honest, you're not the greatest interviewer since you have a knack for bringing the conversation back to yourself (I learned more about you than I did Jerry Seinfeld the time he was on your show), but you do excel in making the listener (me) feel like I'm eavesdropping on a juicy conversation. It's great. Like the time you interviewed Ira Glass. The Julie Andrews interview really brought me out of a slump. Kristen Wiig. You made me like Lena Dunham! Anyway, I just thought you should know that while I'm not your biggest fan (you still scare me), your radio show really shows a different side of you. Also, I took a yoga class at your wife's studio hoping we'd have a run in. We didn't.

And one more thing, I totally thought you were the Celebrity Mole until I realized that it was your brother who was on the show, not you. I loved the Celebrity Mole. It was one of the greatest reality game shows ever. Grossly underrated.

All the best,


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Help! I'm An Instagram Stalker

A couple of years ago, one of my friends announced that she was leaving Facebook. She had creeped herself out by how far deep into stalking people she'd allow herself to get. You know the feeling -- when you fall into a trance clicking on one person's picture, another person's name, someone else's location, and all of a sudden, you find yourself looking at a mobile uploads album of a total stranger. Who is this person? You only have one mutual friend, who you probably haven't seen since high school nor spoken to since middle school.

I don't fall into Facebook trances so much anymore as I do Instagram ones. On a related note, one of my biggest fears is double-tapping an Instagram picture posted by a guy I like but don't follow. Omg. So bad.

Recently, actually not that recently -- I've been doing it for ages, I've gotten into the habit of what a meme I once saw but can't find anymore called "falling eight people deep" on Instagram. First I'm looking at some girl I barely know's vacation in Palm Beach, then five minutes later, I'm looking at some Italian socialite's trip to Argentina. Where am I and how did I get here?

I had an odd moment a couple of weeks ago when I was in SoHo and passed someone I recognized. Where had I seen her before? It took me a minute before I had the sad realization that I recognized her from Instagram. I follow her but have have never met her. She's not an influential likes-are-a-currency blogger; she's just some French person who isn't a socialite but isn't a normal person either. I've seen pictures of her family's Christmas vacation to the Alps. I KNOW WHAT HER MOM LOOKS LIKE. Is the problem me, or am I just a victim of the social media world? I was creeped out but not enough to stop following her because she's a good Instagrammer in the sense that she makes her life look cool, and isn't that the point?

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Celebrities, They're Just Like Us!

The next time I'm at a job interview and my interviewer asks what my strengths are, I plan to say, "spotting celebrities on the street." I'm only half-joking because after thinking about it for a minute (fast-thinker!), it shows that I'm an observant person with good memory, attention to detail, and pattern recognition. Also, I'm culturally aware.

I saw Jake Gyllenhaal at Momofoku Noodle Bar the other night. It was really thrilling and it's true, he's really really ridiculously goodlooking. If he weren't already a famous actor I'd say that he should become one because as many people as is humanely possible should see his face. And his hair. He was sitting down so I couldn't see how tall he was, but he seemed to be having a business dinner because he pulled out a script after he finished his pork buns.

A few weeks earlier, I saw Anne Hathaway on Astor Place. It was Saturday at 5 PM and since nobody with a slow-to-moderately active social life has concrete plans in the Saturday early evening time slot, I followed her. To be honest, I recognized her husband first because I thought he was someone I went to college with. Then I noticed that the girl he was with had the same shoes as me (Stan Smiths, but hers were whiter than mine because when you starred as Princess Mia Thermapolis Renaldi Grimaldi whatever of Genovia, you can afford to replace white sneakers as often as you like). Then I looked up and recognized that awkward butt-slightly-out gait and I knew it was her. I walked with them to their destination, Ippudo, which was curious because my sister happened to see them there two years ago. I know what you're thinking, what are the chances that I see the costars of Brokeback Mountain and Love And Other Drugs at ramen places in the East Village in the same month? Pattern recognition, I told you. However, I think the main takeaway should be that Anne Hathaway is just like us: she eats pork-based ramen broth.

On the topic of spotting Anne Hathaway and her various co-stars, I once saw Meryl Streep outside the Delacorte Theater. I was walking past the line of people waiting to enter Shakespeare in the Park, and I said to my friend, "this is the type of place you see Meryl Streep." Who should walk past us less than a minute later? Yah, Miranda Priestly herself, but more in costume as the shrink she played in Prime. This is not a joke and I have a personal reference (available upon request) who can vouch for me.

On a parting note, I recognized a TV actor at an Upper West Side Thai restaurant the other night. It is driving me insane that I don't know his name and can't remember what he was in but I know I've seen him before. I'm going to ruminate over it and will get back to you.

I was going to end the post there but then I remembered why I'm good at spotting celebrities. When I was in 7th grade, my mom and I were walking on West Broadway in SoHo and Mike Myers walked past us carrying a hockey stick (Canadian people really do love hockey). I didn't see him because I was looking at the ground but my mom did and she scolded me for not paying attention to my surroundings. Since then, I've made a conscious effort to stare down every person who walks past me on the street. This has led to many awkward encounters, one Sarah Jessica Parker sighting, and a subway ride with Amy Poehler and her son Archie.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Nobody Likes You When You're 23

I was exploring a new dating app the other day, new to me at least since it was my first time using it. I deleted it about ten minutes after logging on because it's a location-based one (not Tinder, side note: does Tinder have an e in it? I feel like it's hip in app-naming-lingo to have as little vowels as possible. I could look this up in .4 seconds but I'm committed to running this sentence on. I looked it up. It does have an e. How progressive.) Anyway, I don't like location-based apps of any genre for the very practical reason that they drain my phone battery, and this one required that little arrow in the top right corner of my screen to stay on at all times so you can see when potential matches pass you on the street. Talk about being always on, amirite? I deleted it because I want to find love but I want to preserve my iPhone battery more. And also I was scared of the awkwardness that would ensue should I have seen the guy who sits in the cubicle adjacent to me in my feed.

Okay, so the point of explaining the dating app was that in the ten minutes I was using it, I saw a guy's profile in which his tagline was "nobody likes you when you're 23." I immediately thought of two things. One: That Laguna Beach episode when the gang goes to the Blink 182 concert and Trey almost has a fight with a little person. Two: Wow, that is so true. I didn't like the kid because he had the potato thing going for him and I'm more committed to the radish cause, but I wanted to send him a message to say a simple "word" or something, but I don't think that's the way to go about things on dating apps. So I kept to myself, thought about it as I maximized the life of my phone battery, and came here to say more or less, word.

Not only does nobody like you when you're 23, but you don't even like yourself when you're 23. I'm out of the 23 zone but close enough to give it some thoughtful, retrospective analysis. It was pretty awful. I didn't even have fun on my 23rd birthday. I did have a good outfit though, so that's nice to remember.

Twenty-two starts out fun because, hello! you're a senior in college and if you thought being a senior in high school was the bee's knees, then wait until you're a senior in college. It's the best thing ever. You basically rule the world. Then you graduate and you simultaneously get slammed in the face by a door and a club. I cried a lot of times in the immediate months after I graduated college, started working and lived at home. I cried eating ice cream in my car, on the subway, on the crosstown bus, at work: at my desk, in the office bathroom, in the elevator, in the bathroom of the coffee place next door because there was a cockroach in the bathroom at my office, on my couch, on my kitchen floor, on my dining floor, while hyperventilating in a paper bag, while running in Central Park. I don't even know why I was crying half the time, but what can I say, I'm an emotional person and it's a really confusing time.

Delia Ephron says that in your twenties, everything awful that happens is awful in a romantic way. If I had heard that when I was 23, I wouldn't have cried half as many times as I did. I would've laughed at the situations in which I found myself, the mindnumbing work I did, the guys I wasted my thoughts on, the stupid nights I spent valuable shoe money on. I've been thinking about that quote a lot lately, and it makes the annoying stuff a lot less earth-shattering. The good thing about being in your twenties is that you don't have to take it all so seriously, I think. I hope.

That's all I've got to say. I'm going to get a Diet Coke.


Friday, March 20, 2015

I Joined ClassPass

After a shooting pain from my butt to my leg two Mondays ago made me cut my morning run short (and in effect, last longer) and limp back from the West Side Highway to my fifth-floor Alphabet City walk-up as the sun came up and the tears came down, I've had to stop running. I'm as neurotic as they come and lack of physical activity turns me into a really. pissy. person, so I've been trying to find new ways of releasing endorphins, which I know make me happy because I've seen Legally Blonde enough times to know that happy people don't kill their husbands. They just don't.

I didn't search far and did what most girls in my age bracket and life stage (and Facebook newsfeed) are doing to get their workout kicks and signed up for ClassPass. I fricken love it. I swear this is not a sponsored post (kind of wish it were though), but I am having so much fun with ClassPass. I don't have to think about my workout, I just show up at some boutique fitness studio in New York and let a spandex-clad instructor tell me what to do.

Some experiences have been better than others, on the local minimum list is when I showed up to a boxing gym at 6:53 AM only to find that it was locked and when the instructor at a spin class started playing recordings of himself giving motivational speeches (and a weird girl in the front started applauding). I hated that spin class, I really did.

I've mostly been taking spin classes, which, maybe because of the SoulCycle ethos, remind me of scary athletic girls from my past (the ones who shout "BALL BALL BALL" in your face during a lacrosse game. No. That is so unnecessary. Also, mouthguards, gross). Brief tangent but I actually saw a scary athletic girl from my past at a ClassPass class. It took me a minute but her blonde ponytail and gait that suggested a 7 minute mile could only be traced back to the hell that was soccer/lacrosse camp in 5th through 10th grades.

I feel like spin classes were The No. 1 Fitness Trend in 2012, an assumption I'm basing off my memory a girl at my summer internship that summer who would bring her own cycling shoes and furiously sign up for a FlyWheel class every morning. Maybe they've successfully transitioned from trendy to classic as more innovative offshoots (like water spinning at Aqua Studio) pop up? Some are much too fancy for me -- I couldn't figure out how to put the shoes on my feet at Peloton and had to leave a pair on the bike clips this morning at Revolve because I couldn't unclip myself (the instructor had clipped me in). My favorite so far has been at The Monster Studio in SoHo. It vaguely rallies around the theme of Lady Gaga, but I wouldn't have known that unless the ClassPass description hadn't said so. There are two giant flat screens playing music videos throughout class and the highlight is the blackout ride, when the room goes completely dark for the portion of a hilltop ride.

On a parting note, the song Sugar by Maroon 5 has played in every spin class I've taken thus far. I Really Really Really Like You played 3 times at my class this morning. TOO MUCH.