Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Last Summer (of you and me)

Going to the beach is something I look forward to every summer. There's just nothing like it. But when I can't physically get there, there's nothing like a good beach-read to transport me to my happy place.

I read The Last Summer (of you and me) by Ann Brashares this January. One night when I couldn't fall asleep in my old bed at home (isn't it scary when you start to feel more comfortable at your apartment than your childhood home? Helllooo growing up.), I picked up the book sitting on my bedside table, assuming my mom left it there after she read it. It happened to be The Last Summer (of you and me) and I couldn't put it down until I finished it that night (or should I say the next morning?).

Ann Brashares has a gift when it comes to appealing directly to the fondest memories of my life thus far. She started with The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series that defined my pre-teen years. It was like something straight out of my diary; falling in love with the camp counselor, having a group of amazing friends that eventually become separated, moving to Greece and finding my soulmate...oh wait, that last one was just a fantasy. Maybe it was that combination of fantasy and reality that made me love it so much or maybe it's that Brashares just has an amazing gift of weaving together stories into a heart-wrenching novel.

One year later...

I started this post almost exactly a year ago and never finished it. Now, coming back to it, I feel a different meaning in it. When I began writing this, the title was merely the title of a novel to me, but now it's somewhat of a reality. I never thought that I would be finishing this post as...(pause for dramatic effect) a single person. After 3 years with the same person, and 2 1/2 years with someone before that, I am single, more or less, for the first time in my adult life.

When I read the title of this post today, a lump formed in my throat. Now, you've obviously figured out that I'm a slight cheese-ball just by the fact that I love novels like this one, but my sentimentality has hit an all time high since the end of my relationship. They say it's normal for things to remind you of your ex in the wake of a break up, but is it normal to cry when you find one of his hairs on your pillow? And then subsequently refuse to wash those sheets for weeks out of fear of never seeing one of his hairs ever again? (I swear I'm normally a very sanitary person). I think that reaction is an example of my emotions getting a little out of hand. Every time I look around my apartment, my eyes can't help but fall on something that reminds me of him, whether it's something as mundane as one of his hairs, or a picture of us in Cabo san Lucas. At first the pain of being constantly bombarded with his memory was unbearable; I couldn't be alone in my apartment. But as the weeks have dragged on, instead of wishing to suppress the memories, I've started to let myself be comforted by them; by the good times.

An interesting phenomenon that I've discovered occurs when I see a picture of us, looking like the perfect couple, and automatically think, "Oh God, I've ruined it all. I'll never have another perfect moment like that." But then often, I'll stop and think about the event that picture was taken at and remember that, just moments later, he would do something to piss me off and the night would end in tears. So, while it'as nice to hold onto the good times, it's important for me to remember that not all of them were as perfect as the pictures would lead me to believe.

Lesson Learned: "Memory is infinitely more beautiful than reality." -- Anonymous

Monday, June 6, 2011

Some Dance to Remember, Some Dance to Forget

The other day, I woke up to a very sad email from my mom. Driving home from at movie at 6:30 pm, she passed a girl on the sidewalk who stepped into the middle of the road, back turned to traffic, with her thumb stuck out, trying to hitch a ride. My mom saw her stumbling and realizing she was drunk, turned around and called to her from the other side of the road, told her she was a mom and asked if she needed help. The girl immediately hopped into my mom's car without a second thought, reeking of alcohol and looking like she'd been at the pool all day. My mom said she was virtually incoherent but could at least direct her to her house while rambling on about how her friends took her keys to keep her from driving and she was mad at them, etc.

I couldn't help but think how incredibly lucky that girl was that is was my mom who picked her up and not a rapist or murderer. Then, right as I started to judge the girl for being so drunk and foolish, I started to think back on my wild nights in college; how that girl easily could have been one of my friends. At the tender age of 21 years and 2 weeks old I suddenly realized that, to me, the risk is no longer worth the "fun" when it comes to drinking. When you first enter college and feel that sense of freedom, you think you're invincible, that drinking until you black out is what everyone does, not a dangerous game of circumstance that you might lose one day. And then your second year, you drink to forget all the embarrassing things you did your first year. And in your third year you drink to pretend you're a first year again, and so the cycle begins and sadly, for some people never stops. Now, in my fourth year, I've found I like to remember what I did last night instead of having to piece it together through incoherent text messages and pictures on Facebook. Not to mention I have way too much going on to spend the day hung over.

Now I'm not saying I don't still enjoy a good night of slightly loosened inhibitions, but there's a line that I don't plan on crossing anymore and I think it's good to start pulling in the reigns now, before it's too late. Alcohol may be an acceptable way to deal with getting my first C in a college course, but in the real world, there are a lot more healthy options to handling disappointment, embarrassment and tough times.

Lesson Learned: If you know someone who tries to drown their sorrows, you might tell them sorrows know how to swim.  ~Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Work Like You Need the Money

The other day my boyfriend told me he "can't afford me." Now, any woman knows that's a compliment -- I obviously have expensive tastes! But the truth is, lately, I can't afford me either. It seems like money is just slipping through my fingers and yet, I have no cute clothes, shoes or accessories to show for it. Ok, well maybe a couple pairs of shoes but not nearly as many as I would like.

So where's it all going? Well according to my bank statement, it's all going to Moe's, Chick Fil A and Target. Not exactly glamorous. This led to my first realization about the grown-up world: food is expensive. When I lived at home all I had to spend my money on was what I wanted; clothes. I remember the places I used to shop at in high school and flinch when I think of all the money I used to spend! I wore nicer clothes when I was seventeen than I do now at twenty-one and didn't think a thing of it.

But back to food; it's undeniable that eating out is an incredibly expensive habit, whether you're eating at Chops or Panera. Unfortunately, eating out seems to have become the only acceptable form of social interaction between sorority girls. And yes, contrary to popular belief, we actually love to eat. Sure, we may whine about how many calories we're consuming while we shove chips dripping in queso into our mouths but that doesn't seem to stop us. So the problem is, try as I might to restrain my own eating out during the week by packing my lunch instead of going out or waiting until I get home to eat no matter how starving I am on the way home from work, every weekend all my well-intentioned plans are ruined when one of my friends suggests margaritas at El Amigo Friday night and then lunch at Fresh to Order on Saturday.

I blame this lunching ladies obsession on Sex and the City. What are the four girls doing in almost every scene? Eating somewhere, from lunch to dinner to just drinks! And what is my generation of young women obsessed with? Imitating Sex and the City. We seem to conveniently forget how unrealistic their lifestyles are in our pursuit of designer shoes, handsome men and other glamorous goods.

So what's a girl to do? Stop having lunch with her girlfriends? Sure I could suggest staying in and drinking wine while watching a movie (I'll give you one guess which movie) but then again, that costs money too. The solution I seemed to have settled on is to get a job. My job at the clothing store gives me a little money to play around with but it still doesn't seem like enough. This constant feeling of wanting what's outside of my means has really driven me to work hard in college to ensure that I can get a real job with a real salary that will support my social and shopping habits. Yes you heard me right, I'm planning on making my own money instead of spending my future husbands! (Pause for the shock that the rest of my sorority is experiencing).

Lesson Learned: "I'm living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart." -- E.E. Cummings

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Ba-dum, ba-dum, ba-dum. The lullaby I
fall asleep to each night permeates your
rhythmically rising chest and softly
vibrates my cheek, willing me to forget
the day's worries and remember
what it is that really matters –
your heart and mine still beat
together, in time, in this still, dark room.
A soothing melody so persistent, so sure,
that it does not matter that you
are snoring loudly or that my brain won't stop
trying to hold on to the worry
and the pain of daily life. All
I know to be true, to be certain,
is that in this moment you and I are here
and we are content. I am content.

Lesson Learned: Thomas Lux once told me, "This is a love poem. You gotta right them, and that's ok." 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sister, Sister

"What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies." -- Aristotle

When I was only about 7 or 8, someone read me this quote and it stuck. It even made its way onto my senior yearbook page, not to mention my permanent "favorite quotes" on Facebook. Well, no offense to Aristotle, but he set some pretty high standards for me at a very young age.

Once the girl who was teased by her dad for having "too many friends," I now find myself a friend "idealist." Translated: I'm too picky when it comes to who I trust and now suddenly, in my 20th year of life, feel very alone. Making friends has never been my problem -- I know someone from every high school in Georgia -- but lately keeping them has been hard. I could blame it on my traumatic middle school experience in which I was betrayed over and over again by countless cruel-hearted preteens, but who doesn't recount middle school with some shudder of relief that they survived? Then in high school I always blamed the fact that I transferred schools before freshmen year for my habit of bouncing around to different friend groups. It seemed wherever I went, "best friends" had already paired off, years ago. Sure I had girls I was close to, but never someone I would call a friend by Aristotle's definition.

So college rolls around and I think I finally have it figured out. I join a sorority, I have a close group of friends and one in particular seems to be my "best." We sail through the first 2 years of college with relative ease until the curse of the third year friendship sets in. Basically, I think we all got sick of spending so much damn time with each other. So long story short, I put myself out there, I think I've found a true friend, and bam, I'm back to square one, feeling needy, hurt and abandoned.

All of sudden I feel like I've forgotten how to be a gal pal -- I don't take pleasure in the idle gossip of my friends' lives like I once did, I don't feel the need to consult them every time I get dressed, and I certainly don't want call them to cry when something goes wrong in my life. I'm starting to realize we may have all become friends based solely on the fact that we all needed friends.

This may seem silly, but as I get older I'm starting to wonder, "Will I ever be someone's maid of honor?" I know that seems like a strange thing to worry about, and this could just be my ego talking, but I feel like I'm no one's best friend. I know girls who seem like they could make a living being a best friend -- they have multiples of them and I can't even find one. I can't figure out what the difference is between them and me. Where's the disconnect?

Maybe the problem is that I've always had a boyfriend. I've never had to rely on a girl to comfort me, to solve my problems, to give me advice. So maybe I missed something in those crucial years of adolescence. Maybe the key was right there and I was too caught up in kissing boys to see it.

Whatever the reason, the bottom line is I want to learn how to be a friend again. I think the problem is just that I've been looking in all the wrong places to find that friend. Perhaps being too picky isn't a problem, it's a blessing that will eventually reveal itself. I have to remind myself that I'm young; people haven't become who they really are yet, including me. So it may take a little time, but for a soul mate, I guess I can wait.

Lesson Learned: "Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget." -- Anonymous

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lady Luck

The idea that you "make your own luck" has always appealed to me. It reminds me of the way karma works and I can't even tell you how many times my mom has held me while I've cried and told me "what goes around, comes around." That's always been a reassuring thought -- that those mean girls who pulled down your skirt in the lunch room in 7th grade will end up living in a trailer park married to a guy named Billy Bob. Ok, so I don't know that will happen for sure, but I just like to picture it.

So lately, I feel like I'm cashing in on all those awful years I spent in the hell hole we call adolescence. I may be jinxing it by saying this (did I mention I'm also superstitious?), but things just seem to be going my way. Yes, I may have ran into the call box outside my apartment 4 days after I got my brand new car, but when I took it to be repaired, I was dreading getting the estimate but fully prepared to pay in cash so my dad wouldn't find out about my little blonde moment, when the repairman told me I owed...NOTHING! When does that ever happen? You're broke and get a break? Answer: never. Then out of the blue, I get a promotion at work and go from being a retail sales associate to managing all the online marketing. Did I mention the amazing raise it included?

With all these wonderful things happening in my life, I can't help but think, where's the catch? Maybe I have some good karma coming my way, but Lord knows I'm not perfect either. I'm sure I've got some bad karma coming eventually. Plus, to quote Charlotte in Sex and the City, "Nobody gets everything they want." I find myself getting nervous every time I get in the car, wondering if today is going to be the day I get run off the road. Talk about morbid. That's no way to live life.

So instead of living like a paranoid crazy person, I'm just going to embrace my recent fortune, accept that it is something I deserve, but also keep in mind that things can't stay this way forever, but when they do change, it's not the end of world. As my mother always says, "Life is a ferris wheel. Sometimes you're at the top, and sometimes you're at the bottom."

Lesson Learned: "I've been lucky. I'll be lucky again." -- Bette Davis

Monday, January 17, 2011

Northside Tavern

Driving home Monday night, after the usual "dollar bowling" at our favorite bowling alley that happens to offer dollar jello shots as well, my boyfriend spotted the delightful hole in the wall, otherwise known as Northside Tavern. He yelled, "Pull in! Let's check it out!" It was already 1 a.m., I figured I was going to be late for my morning class anyways, so what the heck? I U-turned it into the parking lot and we hopped out. As I tentatively stepped into the smoke filled room, it took a moment for my eyes to adjust. When they finally did, this is what I saw: walls painted black, covered in old music posters, some ripped and some still legible, sticky tables with barstools missing legs, and locals that looked as if they hadn't moved from their spots at the bar for about 20 years, and had adopted a somewhat barnacle like appearance.

Now it may not look like much, but this bar is the stuff of legends. One of the best kept secrets in Atlanta, it has been host to some of the most incredible live blues musicians in the Southeast. Judging by the looks I was getting, I was quite possibly the first sorority girl to grace this fine establishment. As we walked up to the bar and ordered drinks, I tried to shake off the feeling that I should have maybe worn something a little less pink. Trying to get into character, I ordered a whiskey and soda, instead of the usual college staple, vodka cranberry. I settled onto my wobbly bar stool and after a few sips of my drink which was heavy on the whiskey and light on the soda, I found myself swaying along with the music and laughing at the ancient bassist who was smoking something I could only assume was not a cigarette.

By the end of the night, we were vowing to come back with friends, but only a select few we knew would appreciate the "beauty" of the place. We probably only stayed for an hour total, but only left because the music stopped. We may have gotten some strange looks and I won't lie, I didn't let my purse out of my sight once, but we had a great time. I believe it's important to make yourself leave your comfort zone every once and while. Go to a strange bar (only accompanied by a strong fraternity man escort, of course), listen to music you don't hear on 94.9 The Bull, drink something you wouldn't tell your mom about. You never know what you actually like until you try other things.

Lesson Learned: "Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." -- Helen Keller

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Celebrating Thanksgiving a few weeks ago and Christmas today got me thinking, along with millions of other Americans every year, what I have to be thankful for. 

Spend one week in a sorority house and you'll think we're all a bunch of deprived, miserable, sad, little girls. We complain about unfair teachers, the skank that stole someone's boyfriend, or the three pounds we gained that day. Don't mind the Louis Vuitton purses, Tory Burch ballet flats, and various designer dresses hanging out of every closet. It's crazy how easily we forget how truly blessed we are. I wish I could make everyone see the more important things in life, but unfortunately I think that attitude is something that begins at a very young age. All I have to do is look around at the kids I babysit in Buckhead whose mothers barely spend any time with them but make up for it with toddler-sized cashmere sweaters, matching Lilly outfits and anything else their little hearts don't even know they desire yet. Today's youth are taught to be thankful for material things and yet still aren't happy once they have them.

In today's society, it's so easy to get caught up in the "what have you done for me lately?" mindset. When a friend is short with me or a my boyfriend doesn't love the dress I spent 200 bucks on, I find myself feeling insecure, critical and defensive. When I start to feel those nasty thoughts creeping in, it's helpful to think of all the wonderful things that happened to me that month, that week or even that day. I know it sounds cheesy, but it really puts things in perspective. 

In light of this, one of my New Year's resolutions is to be more thankful for the deeper things in my life. More thankful for my health, more thankful for my loving family, and more thankful for all the opportunities that stand in front of me, that so many other 20 somethings don't have simply because of the color of their skin, their parents' income, or the country they were born in.

Lesson Learned: "Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough." -- Oprah Winfrey 

Monday, December 13, 2010

I'm a Poet and I Didn't Know It

Ok I lied. I kind of already knew it. I used to love to write poetry when I was younger, and some of it wasn't half bad. But then as soon as I grew out of my preteen-angst years and became a well adjusted high school social butterfly, I found I didn't have as much to write about.

Well if it didn't completely shock me to find out Georgia Tech had a poetry program, I don't know what would. So, now I'm part of this kind of amazing poetry program at Tech, taught by this semi-famous poet, Thomas Lux (look him up! He's so talented: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/115 ), and I'm writing poetry again and turns out non-angsty me is pretty good at it too.

Now I know poetry evokes very strong feelings in people -- as in they either love it or hate it. I happen to have always been on the loving it side, something I credit to my scholarly father. For birthdays, Christmases, graduations and anniversaries, my dad always writes and gives poems to members of our family, along with the expected material gift. The amazing thing is, the poem often outdoes the jewelry, knick-knack or whatever store-bought gift is given. The true gift in my dad's poems is this: he can tell us through poetry what is so hard for him to say in person.

One thing I've discovered this year is that there is a huge leap from liking to read poetry to being able to write it. I've learned important terms such as the "dense thingness of poetry" and that you never get credit for what you don't write, meaning that no one will ever appreciate the fact that you cut a tacky cliche out in the third draft of a poem.

Apparently I've been doing my homework correctly though, because in the last class of the year, I read a poem I'd written just like any other class. And just like any other class my professor ripped it to shreds, but then something magical happened: he said that once I re-worked my poem, he wanted me to send it off to be published. Publish a poem? Me? I don't think I've ever been so excited to call my dad about something that happened in school. It even beat the time I found out I was going to pass computer science. 

So now I've started to collect some of my poems to be sent off and I'm being pretty secretive about it. Even though some of the greatest poets have been produced in the South, college students, members of the Greek community in particular (as in fraternities and sororities -- not the race of people), don't seem to appreciate the art of poetry. The most commonly asked question I get when people find out I'm taking a poetry class is, "Does it all, like, rhyme?" Heaven help them. 

Anyways, I've decided to sprinkle in a few of my own poems throughout this blog, along with the regular posts. Here is the one that caught my teacher's eye:


Pictures of curly brown hair, turned to grey, to white,
limp mink stoles with little claws and noses
still attached, miniature spoons that bounce light
off of their handles laden with roses.
All part of my grandmother's estate,
but it looks more like a junk sale. I watch
as people pick through it. My father shows up late –
it's hard for him to be here long – and sighs,
I remember that teapot. The young woman
promptly puts it down. I want
to say, It's not your fault. My father, angry
at ghosts, looks around at the goods. His gaunt
eyes betray him and I see it:
the dolls, the books, and his uncertainty.

Lesson Learned: "Poetry is what gets lost in translation." -- Robert Frost 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

When the Leaves Begin to Change...

What is it about Fall that's so magical? Maybe it's forgetting the craziness of summer, or being able to wear cashmere, or having an excuse to snuggle up to someone. In all honesty, I'm a warm weather girl (like any good Southerner). My dad's Minnesota tolerance for cold was not passed on to me. But there's something about the colors of Fall and the hint of holidays that just gets to me. Plus the Gingerbread lattes at Starbucks don't hurt either! Well don't hurt anything except my hips, that is.

Normally I absolutely dread the cold but this year I've decided to develop a new approach: whenever I'm walking through campus, hands stuffed in the pockets of my jacket, neck buried in my scarf, I look around me, appreciate the rich colors and the clear blue of the sky, and -- here's the most important part -- I pretend I'm in New York. Don't tell my fraternity boys! I'm pretty sure they would disown me on the grounds of liking anything above the Mason-Dixon line. No matter how much I love Atlanta and love the South, there's just something about pretending I'm strolling down Park Avenue or Greenwich Village that makes me feel a little tougher and the air temperature a little more bearable. I mean, true New Yorkers would consider what I call cold to be downright pleasant.

One of my favorite things about fall is the change in style. By the the time September rolls around, I'm thoroughly sick of wearing maxi-dresses, sandals and jean shorts and ready to embrace the cozy fashion associated with cold weather.

Here are some of the things that are inspiring me this fall:

One can never have too many sweaters. There are an endless array of styles, but cardigans like this are my favorite right now. I love the colors and print of this one -- perfect to throw on with some jeans and boots and always feel good in. This gorgeous cardi can be found at Anthropologie.

Glitter. I don't know if it's the dancer (those costumes always had so many damn rhinestones on them!) or the secret diva in me, but I adore all the sparkly dresses, shoes, watches and everything else that are so popular right now. They just scream party-time and what good college student doesn't love a party?

The Archive Leather Boot
The one thing I love more than sweaters are boots, and these are just so classic. I love the rich reddish brown color; it makes them wearable with brown or black. No boot is ever the same to me and every one fufills a different purpose. I'm constantly on the search for my next pair (it's really becoming unhealthy; I have more boots than anyone would ever need) and they're definitely at the top of my Christmas list this year. These beauties are from Madewell, a.k.a. boot heaven.

Vintage lace is so delicate yet interesting. It can be ladylike or sexy, old fashioned or trendy. From long-forgotten wedding dresses, to my grandmother's gloves, to a pretty negligee, lace is incredibly romantic to me -- it tells a story, especially when it's found on vintage pieces. Personally, I gravitate towards pieces with small details or little hints of lace and it always has to be cream, yellowed or otherwise vintage-ey colored. Stark white lace is so 80s wedding.

I'm not normally crazy about grey, but this handbag is irresistible. I think leather in subdued tones like dusty rose or mustard yellow are so gorgeous and they go with everything. This bag is Prada...hey, a girl can dream, right?

Crystal wing ballet flatsCrystal wing ballet flats
So I already mentioned I love sparkle, but you should also know I adore anything brown, olive, cream, or any variation on earthy colors. These shoes are the perfect marriage of those two obsessions. Most people would shy away from brown as a staple wardrobe color, but my closet is full of it. There's something so warm and comforting about the colors in this shoe that I might have to run over to J.Crew right now and get them...

Lesson Learned: Our dreams can take us places outside of our physical location, lift our spirits and make the world a little brighter.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

My dad has been writing a book...for about 30 years now. At least. Ever since I was little, he's has been working on this mysterious project and every few years he'll announce he's made a breakthrough and his book is going to be amazing and then...nothing happens. The thing about my dad is, he's kind of genius but he's trapped by his own self criticism. He puts so much pressure on himself to be perfect, to write the perfect book, that it never happens because nothing he writes is ever good enough in his eyes.

I seemed to have inherited this little trait from dear old dad. The perfectionism gene is a hard one to shake and I've been struggling with it my whole life. I have lots of different interests but many of the projects I start are never completed because of my obsession with creating something perfect. I once turned an art project in 2 months late, knowing that I would recieve a zero as a grade. The zero was worth it though because I wasn't ready to turn it in until it was flawless-- kind of crazy, right? My art teacher definitely thought so.

A fortune teller told my mom when she was pregnant with me that one day I would be a famous author and live in Europe -- talk about pressure. It doesn't help that everything else she told my mom has come true. It may sound silly, but I'm afraid I can't live up to some probable cuckoo's prediction, so I've just avoided it.

This is a mindset that has brought down entire corporations: the Bank Crisis of the 1930s? Could have been avoided entirely. At the beginning of 1932 there was nothing actually wrong with banks but when anxious Americans withdrew all their money and began to hoard their cash, 9,000 banks failed within just a few months. Then, of course, Americans believed they had done the right thing by withdrawing their money before banks started closing their doors, not recognizing that they had actually been the cause of the crisis that they believed they had narrowly avoided.

Today I am making a promise to myself that I will not become a self-fulfilling prophecy; I will not fail because of fear of failing. The point is, I am writing this blog just for the fun of writing, not because I expect to become the next Elizabeth Gilbert (although people have always told me I look like Julia Roberts...). Some things may be serious, some funny, some entertaining and some just plain boring. Besides, it's not like anyone's actually reading it, right? Cough, cough that's your cue to click the "Follow" button if you're out there. Mom, you don't count.

The irony in this post? It took me forever to finish it.

Lesson Learned: "Just Do It." -- Nike

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mad About Gadabout

A gadabout is "an aimless pleasure seeker; a traveler in search of enjoyment; one who roams or roves for social activity." Wouldn't we all love to be gadabouts? Going wherever the wind takes you (personally, I'm pretty sure my wind would take me to Greece, then Rome, then Paris), soaking up the beautiful things around you, Eat, Pray Love style...

Well meet my idol, Hanna Nation, founder, president and artist of GADABOUT, an absolutely incredible stationary (that word just doesn't do it justice) company. Why is she my idol? Not only is she a truly gifted artist and designer (my greatest artistic achievement to date is a painted cooler for a fraternity event), but she's following her dreams; it takes guts to start your own business, right out of college, especially one centered around art. In today's economic environment, to pursue something so risky when you could get an average nine to five office job instead and pay the bills without worry every month, means serious devotion. The girl is only 3 years older than me and already so accomplished. Let's just say, if I have half of Hanna's gusto in 3 years, I'll be in New York, up to my eyeballs in student loans, getting my MFA and writing.

But enough about my girl-crush, wait until you see her designs. Whimsical is the best word I can think of to describe them, but there's also sophisticated, exotic, fashionable, worldly, feminine, southern, and just plain beautiful. Plus, I love the names and captions under every design; they really show the thoughtfulness and attention put into each one. Needless to say I promptly ordered TWO designs for my birthday as soon as I discovered this treasure. Now I just need someone to write hundreds of letters and/or thank you notes to! I think it's time to bring back the art of the hand-written note -- email is so 21st century.

It was nearly impossible to pick considering I love them all, but here are several of my favorite designs:

Tete a Tete
Truly, there is no better place for chitchat than a cocktail party. With guests in good spirits, it is only fitting that the attire should inspire conversation.

Thissur Pooram
Known for the processions of richly caparisoned elephants, Thissur Pooram is one of the most colorful and decorative temple festivals in India.

(Noun.) Flamboyance, confidence, self-assurance, style, flair, élan, dash, verve,zest, spirit, brio, éclat, vivacity, gusto, liveliness,vitality, energy; informal pizzazz, oomph, zip, zing.

Bringing Up Baby
Released in 1938, this romantic comedy was as unique as the leopard who starred in it. Filled with lighthearted lines and a first class cast, Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant made the most out of misadventure .

Why Put Off Tomorrow, What You Can Do Today?
A reminder of the advice that is seldom taken. When sitting at a desk we love, it is just as easy to stay on task as it is to get off of it.

You can view the rest of Gadabout's exquisite designs at www.agadabout.com .

Lesson Learned: "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." -- Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Age Issue

I'm having a mid-college crisis. I'm a junior; I've rounded the curve, I'm no longer a hot commodity, I'm closer to graduating than I am to being a freshmen. So how do I rectify this situation? By going out Wednesday through Saturday, wearing tight skirts, and bonding with the freshmen. Not the most mature plan, but it seemed to be working. Or at least I was having fun. Then  I realized that I may be able to act like a freshmen again, but my body remembers my real age and apparently does not recover quite as well as it did when I actually was one. I'm having trouble fitting in my jeans for the first time in my life, I can barely make it to my 11 am classes after a night of partying, and my hangovers have become exponentially worse. Clearly, this is not the solution to my crisis.

On the other hand, my boyfriend is getting ready to graduate in less than 2 months and enter the scary world of adulthood. Naturally, I don't expect him to still want to hang out at the fraternity house on the weekends (heaven forbid he be THAT creepy, old guy) but that doesn't mean I won't want to. He's had 4 1/2 years to be bored with the campus night scene but I'm just starting to get the hang of it. At the same time, I rarely have as much fun without him, as I do with him. What can I say, after 2 years, I'm not sick of the guy. So what do I do? Do I follow him into the grown-up world of the 9-5 job, getting 8 solid hours of sleep a night, and worrying about money, or do I stay put right where I am and live out the rest of my college days like any true college student: drinking more nights a week than studying, fropping (frat-hopping) with my girlfriends, and scraping by every semester with decent grades?

The thing is, I've always been drawn to older people; I just get along with them better. Maybe it's because I'm the only child of older parents, or maybe it's just something I was born with. Either way, I've  always been told I seem older than I am. Now this can be a great thing (I've been getting into bars since I was 16) or this can be a burden (my boyfriend I constantly get asked when we're getting engaged, even though I'm barely of age). Because of a combination of all this, my natural instinct it to want to play house with the bf once he graduates and to drop the whole freshmen act. My fear is, can I do this without giving up a part of myself? Of my college experience? Will I end up resenting the person I love, even though this was my choice to make? Sometimes it's hard to remember, years down the road, 500 fights later why you make the choices you do. Maybe this blog will help to remind me if I ever do start to feel that resentment creeping in.

Lesson Learned: Don't live in the past or in the future. You will only be right where you are one time in your life. Celebrate it. Love it. Embrace it.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Every Rose Has Her Thorn

In my third year of college, I find that these are the facts of my life: I'm in a serious relationship with a handsome Republican from a good family, I'm the Rose, a.k.a. Sweetheart of his famously conservative fraternity, I'm a member of a sorority with old southern roots whose members are known for wearing pearls, and I work at a store that sells exclusively Lilly Pulitzer clothing, the uniform of the privileged and preppy. Sounds like I'm living every good, southern belle's dream, right? Well, too bad I'm not a good, southern belle.

Raised by a mother who cried (sad, not happy tears) when Bush won a second term as President and a father who was born and raised on the streets of Minnesota, going to school fifteen minutes from home and having a group of friends composed entirely of the "bad guys" was not what I had in mind for my future when I entered my senior year of high school. My plan was to go away to school somewhere glamorous, preferably NYU, become a writer and come home for holidays with drool-worthy stories for my friends about all the amazing clothes, food and people I'd experienced. Instead, I find myself at a school which most people don't even know has a liberal arts program, a newly developed southern accent (at least that's what my friends tell me), and the question I get asked most often isn't "what am I going to do with my degree?", it's "when am I getting married?". Ew.

While it may appear to the casual observer that I've changed drastically in the two and a half years I've been in college, I swear I haven't turned to the dark side, given up on my dreams or come anywhere close to settling. Sure, my plan may have undergone a few adjustments, but at least I still have one. Just because I blend in a little better with my conservative counterparts doesn't mean I've become one, which I think is a major accomplishment considering I'm surrounded by them 24/7. I mean really. It's amazing I haven't lost my mind.

So while it may appear that I'm nothing but a sunny, southern rose, don't be fooled. I've still got a few tricks up my sleeve, not to mention a few thorns too.

Lesson Learned: "To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; never stop fighting." -- e.e. cummings