people, pin-spiration

pin-spiration: installation art

During my last semester of college, I took a course that discussed the interaction between art and the environment. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, and though a lot of the coursework was pretty boring, I learned about some amazing large-scale installation artists.

You’ve probably seen Yayoi Kusama‘s polka dots and infinity rooms all over Instagram, and I LOVE her, but in this edition of Pinspiration I wanted to include monumental works by Christo and Jeanne-Claude as well as installations from my all-time favorite artist, James Turrell.

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pin-spiration, Uncategorized

pin-spiration: new england

You may know that I’m a New England native–I grew up in a super small town outside of Boston, right on the beach. Newburyport is incredibly beautiful, and is the ultimate in quintessential, colonial New England. Cobblestone streets, beaches lined with hydrangea bushes, and houses built in the 18th century.

People were surprised that I wanted to go to school so far away, and as I continue to build my life in NYC it’s bittersweet to realize that my idea of “home” is changing. When I go visit my parents in Newburyport for the weekend, do I still say that I’m “going home?” It’s kind of funny that I still consider this place to be my home even though I only spend a handful of weeks there every year. There are a lot of things I miss about Massachusetts, and these pins are some of them–though I’ll never miss the snow.

all photos sourced from pinterest

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boyfriend, Uncategorized

why i deleted tinder

I’ve blogged quite a bit in the past about my experience using Tinder (and even checking out Bumble, Match.com, and some other sites). Lately, I have been feeling really “over” the idea of dating, especially via mobile app. Since getting a real job and becoming more of an adult, I’ve decided to start investing more in myself–whether it’s pursuing creative pursuits (like this one) or making time for things that are important to me.

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When I first downloaded Tinder, it was little more than a game. Of course, there was that lurking, secret desire that I’d find my soulmate through a silly app, but that hope has pretty much been dashed. My dating experience over the past two years has been filled with a lot of first dates, a lot of mixed signals, and ultimately, a lot of my time, energy, and emotions being wasted. I have no interest in waiting around for my phone to buzz or wondering if I said the wrong thing or acted the wrong way.

I recently saw a post on Man Repeller that really just hit home for me. “We need a romance revolution. No more games, no more guessing and no more wondering. We should all say how we feel, and not be afraid to say, “I love you.” Let’s commit to relationships! And treat each other equally.” Amen, Brisa Gomez. In the meantime, the swiping and super-liking are on hold, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be just fine.

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eat-a-city, Uncategorized

amsterdam

I could literally talk about Amsterdam forever…and since it’s part of the eat-a-city series, I’m going to! When I originally thought of this series, my idea was more “city in a grocery bag.” But since a lot of the places I’ve travelled to were very short visits, I decided to do more of a food diary…though A’dam is kind of an exception considering I lived, grocery shopped and cooked there.

This blog post is a love letter of sorts to Albert Heijn, the most perfect grocery store in all the world. One of the best parts of living in Amsterdam was the incredibly cheap groceries–they were cheap by American suburban standards, and prices were drastically lower compared to Gristedes/Morton Williams/Fine Fare/every subpar supermarket in NYC. I’m talking loaves of bread for 65 cents, Dutch cheese for a dollar, and insanely delicious salads for $4…granted, the groceries were priced in euros, but the conversion rate was very close to 1:1 when I was there.

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One of my favorite products at AH was the guacamole kits they had in their produce section–it cost just under $3 for two avocados, a lime, a tomato, a chili pepper, garlic, and shallots, a.k.a. everything you need to make your own guac. For perspective, I paid $2.29 for a single avocado at the Tribeca Whole Foods yesterday.

Two very typical Dutch treats that I came to love were stroopwafels and hagelslag. Stroopwafels are wafer-thin waffle cookies sandwiched with a sticky, caramel-like syrup. You could buy a package of 12 for around $1 at the store, but lots of street vendors sell homemade ones the size of your face, hot off the griddle. Hagelslag are like quality chocolate sprinkles–sprinkled on buttered bread is a standard breakfast item in this beautiful country.

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One of my favorite things to eat in Amsterdam was a veggie burger from a little restaurant called Burgerlijk. Wandering around in a hungry daze, I stumbled upon this gem when my friends were visiting over their spring break. I can be particular about veggie burgers…and I’m not sure what this one was made of, but it was incredible. Like, I think about it way too much. The whole thing is super customizable–lots of different cheeses, toppings, and sauces, and their fries are also incredible. I took my meat-eating parents here when they came to visit, and they were impressed with the regular beef burgers.

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I also went to another incredible restaurant when my folks were in town (read: free dinner) called De Vergulden Eenhorn. It’s on the outskirts of the city in a restored farmhouse–honestly as “me” as it gets–and they have just a handful of items on their menu, all of which are exceptional. I always think it’s better for a restaurant to have four entrees that they do really well, rather than ten that are just ok. We went twice because it was so damn good, and I had cauliflower soup, barley risotto, and sea bass. The restaurant makes their own bread, aioli, and hummus, which were also delicious.

What are your favorite Amsterdam eats?

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pin-spiration, Uncategorized

pin-spiration: cauliflower

I am obsessed with cauliflower. I love vegetables in general, and never really ate cauliflower growing up–unless it was served steamed (read: bland AF) at a relative’s house. Cauliflower turned my life around when I went on this clean eating challenge after coming home from my booze-filled second year of college. One of the meals was roasted cauliflower with lentils, and man oh man, that was life changing. Cauliflower takes on a whole new personality when you toss it in olive oil, S+P and garlic and pop it in the oven for 40 minutes–smoky, caramelized, and nutty flavor develops in this incredibly bland vegetable. Now, I’ll regularly roast an entire head of cauliflower and just eat the whole thing for dinner.

The other great thing about this veggie (besides being super healthy) is how versatile it is. I know people who are gluten-free that turn cauliflower into pizza crust and breadsticks, and I’m a die-hard fan of cauliflower soup. My go-to non-recipe is to puree roasted cauliflower with vegetable stock, sautéed garlic and onion, and a spoonful of milk for a ridiculously creamy concoction. Check out more of my fave recipes on Pinterest.

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boyfriend, the latest

the most important thing i learned in college

In my last year of college, I took intro to journalism. Yep, INTRO to Journalism just a few months before I graduated. (Sidebar: The class was mostly seniors, so I guess it’s common to save specific concentration courses for the final semesters…once all the rigorous liberal arts curriculum has been completed.) I loved this course, and it reminded why I chose my Communications/Journalism major–why after years of people telling me what a great writer I am, I put two and two together and decided to pursue something I was actually good at. A big reason why I enjoyed this class so much was the very down-to-earth professor I had. She was a Fordham alum, who started teaching after working in news radio for a while, but was still young enough to be fun and approachable.

Since the class was mostly seniors, our final session was reserved for an advice session from our professor. She gave a lot of useful advice, but one thing really stuck out to me: the pace of our lives. Until now, everyone’s lives moved at the same pace. All of my friends and I started high school at the same time. We started getting jobs and babysitting at the same time. We took driver’s ed and got our licenses at the same time. We graduated in four years, bound for college straightaway. Even though we ventured far away from one another, we all graduated on time and many of us even studied abroad the same semester. In essence, the timing of our lives lined up perfectly.

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But now, my professor said, there’s no longer a set path–things are going to start happening at a different pace for everyone. People will get married a year after graduation, or ten years after, or never. Other people will start having babies, or buying cars and houses, or move to Prague to teach English. The point is that just because someone else does one or all of these things before you, it doesn’t mean that you’re behind, or that you’re missing something or living your life wrong.

This realization was super significant for me. I always feel frantic when my friends start new relationships or get new jobs because I feel like I skipped a step, like I missed a class and now I won’t do as well on the final exam. It’s hard to sign into Facebook and see photos from someone’s bridal shower, or posts of someone else’s fancy new apartment, or hear about yet another person’s promotion at work. Just because it’s not happening to you, doesn’t mean that you’re falling behind in life (at least according to Professor J.). I’m a big believer in following my gut, and I’m also a big believer in putting my happiness first. Everything else will come when the time’s right.

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places, Uncategorized

death by apartment hunting

I think it was Carrie Bradshaw who said that everyone in New York is always looking for either a job, a boyfriend, or an apartment. Or something like that. You all know I’ve been looking for a boyfriend, but my most recent crisis is finding a new place to live. The lease is up on my Bronx college apartment next month, so I’m frantically searching for something that lives up to my (way too high) expectations. After four years of living with roommates, I was hoping to be able to find an affordable studio apartment so I could fly solo, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. How TF did Carrie do it?

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Most of my classmates are from the tri-state area, so they’re able to move back home and commute to NYC. Unfortunately, I don’t have that option–this is the only time I’ll ever regret not being from New Jersey. To make matters worse, many of the places I’ve found are only available for the rest of the summer, and since I need a July move-in date, I’m feeling pretty screwed. And what is with people having cats? I’m super allergic (plus terrified of litter boxes), and every other apartment listing on Craigslist says “must love cats.” If it’s not a cat, it’s a fourth floor walk-up. Or a $100 credit check. Or a 15% broker fee.

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Like, I’ve given up on having an exposed brick wall and a walk-in closet–but why is it so difficult to find a room big enough for my twin-sized bed and bureau without borrowing money from my parents? If you have any tips or need a roommate (I cook! I bake! I make great cocktails! I always have wine!) hit me up ASAP.

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pin-spiration

pin-spiration: single quotes

Even though I did a pinspiration post on quotes a while ago, I thought these ones deserved their own spot. There are always so many great text posts and memes on Instagram, but these ones were definitely worthy of pinning. What’s your favorite mantra about being single?

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the latest, Uncategorized

when you realize your life is literally “the devil wears prada”

I told someone the other day (on Tinder, probably) that I was job-hunting in the magazine industry. The response I got? “Ahh, so you’re going for the “13 Going On 30″ career path.” OK, first of all, v impressed that you’re familiar with my 3rd all-time favorite movie. Second of all, yeah, I guess being an editor in chief is a relevant career goal (???), but my life isn’t nearly as glamorous. After writing a cover letter for a job at Popular Mechanics the other day, I realized that I’m *literally* Anne Hathaway/whatever her character’s name is in one of the first PG-13 movies I was allowed to watch in the theater. AKA desperate for employment in a constantly shrinking industry.

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the latest, Uncategorized

confidence = major 🔑

For most of my life, I’ve been forgettable–and I’ve been good at it. Remember that scene in “The Princess Diaries” when someone literally sits on Anne Hathaway/Mia Thermopolis because they didn’t even notice she was there? That should give you an idea of how I felt up until a few years ago. In high school I was drafted as “shy” and “quiet,” two adjectives I would never assign to my current self. My freshman year of college I would go to parties and bars and meet lots of different people–but when I waved to them the next day, I’d be greeted with a lack of recognition.

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I feel that I’ve become more assertive over the past two years, with a tremendous change when I studied abroad. Amsterdam means SO much to me, and my growth in independence is one of the reasons why. I learned more about myself in five months of living there than the past three years of college. I did things I wanted, when I wanted. I made friends with the guy who freed my bike after I broke the padlock’s key…so the next time it happened, he volunteered to help once more. I dyed my hair blonde. I biked miles and miles. I looked at art. I ate lots of stroopwafels. I started drinking beer. I started liking beer. I constantly, consistently was in awe of the city’s beauty. One year later, I’m still not sure how it’s possible for a place to be so stunning.

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This past year, I’ve started being more confident in my career goals and skills. I learned to work on a team–on a professional level. I learned how to say no. I started asking for what I want. And now that a brand new, unplanned, simultaneously terrifying/exhilarating chapter of my life is beginning, I’m excited to continue growing.

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