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 .

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