I’m excited to share my spring internship with Girls’ Night In. Their goal is to “help ambitious millennial women take a break, recharge, and connect with other like-minded women.” Translation: it’s a place to shamelessly put yourself and your health first, and connect with other women that are doing the same.
So close to the finish line. Aka, my next spin class. But until then…
Singapore brought rain, but it also brought this little thing called education. Our stay was packed full of company HQ visits that top the charts of the coolness scale. My inner workaholic was going wild. I’m talking pure fangirl at some stops.
While this skyline’s no New York, it’s definitely new to me.
Passports ready? This one’s Singapore.
Stuck in my head: Downtown // Lilla Vargen
Snap it: Singapore, Singapore
Businesses visited: FusionWorld, Yahoo, Facebook, AJ Hackett, Tiger Brewery, Marina Bay Sans, Google, LinkedIn, Singapore Airlines, Accenture
Good morning, Vietnam! Watched the first 20 minutes of that movie so the reference feels justified.
Well, friends, we’ve reached the part of my trip where I have to start re-wearing clothes and all I can think about is a salad. But have no fear, I’m in the land of Pho and I’ve never thrived more.
This part of our trip has been the most educational. We’ve explored the Vietnam War from the other side of the world, floated down the Mekong River, and stocked up on fresh mango. From the Chu Chi Tunnels (where I got hit in the face with a live bat) to business visits with Nike and Intel, it’s been a lot to take in. Not to mention there are more scooters in this city than pictures of brunch on my camera roll.
Passports ready? This one’s Ho Chi Minh city.
Stuck in my head: Obsession // Vice, Jon Bellion
Snap it: Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
This winter break, I packed my 40-pound suitcase and hit the air. 23 hours later it’s all Pad Thai and Buddhas and I’m living an Instagrammer’s dream. Welcome to my Southeast Asia Study Abroad series: Little Girl, Big Trip. Prepare for a whole lot of munching, temple lovin’, and travel vibes.
Passports ready? This one’s Bangkok, Thailand.
Stuck in my head: Hate That You Know Me // Bleachers
Snap it: Bangkok, Thailand
I’ve been putting a lot of thought into what industry I want to work in. Where do my passions lie, what do I believe in, what do I want to promote? Pivoting is hard, especially when your portfolio screams “pass her a fork and take her to brunch, this girl looks like a foodie.” But in all honesty, I’m not a foodie, I’m an eater. I’m not going to swoon over a hint of truffle, but I’ll swallow and smile if it tastes as good as it sounds.
To me, the food industry isn’t at all about the product. I could do without the fancy prime rib or secret sauce. Raid my fridge and all you’ll find is day old sushi and egg whites. But when I see food, I think about the connection that’s forged when a meal is shared. It’s the storytelling capabilities of a bowl of pasta that’s got me pretty hooked. It’s what’s revealed when a person asks you to “pass the pepper, not the salt,” that makes me lean in and listen.
Let me lay it out for you: take a birthday cake. You’ll rarely find two people completely satisfied by the same piece cake. He’s a chocolate fan, I’m strictly vanilla. She loves cream cheese frosting, I think that if you want cream cheese, go get a bagel. Yet, when we slice it up and hand it out, we’re all celebrating together. It’s not about the bite, it’s about the moment shared, the seconds celebrated, the cheers to the next couple years. The cake is simply the physical manifestation of all that love and happiness.
Or take your beloved Christmas dinner. It doesn’t matter if Aunt Lucy royally screwed it up this year and it tastes like something straight from the garbage, it’s your Christmas dinner. It holds the tradition and sentimentality of your family. It might be that one moment when you all come together and share something for the first time all year. It’s special.
When I look at it like this, marketing food products is storytelling. Pizza isn’t just pizza. It’s a tale of the dough-makers, the sauce-spreaders, the hostess, the diners. “Pass the parmesan” is someone opening up and welcoming a new memory.
Who knows if food is where I belong. It’s one of the only areas I’ve ever worked in. And while I explore and experiment, I’ve learned to always pause and appreciate moments with fork and knife in hand.
So, celebrate to the fullest and take a second to hold dear those breaths between bites. Happy holidays!
Stuck in my head: Take Me // Aly & AJ
Snap it: Pizzeria Beddia (classic VSCO pic revival)
When I say pizza, I’m not talking Papa Johns. We’re talking artisan goodness. Never say no to GOOD pizza. That’s how I’ll be celebrating this year.
Post-finals I took a much-needed break and escaped to the concrete jungle. It was two days stuffed full of $6 Fruit Loops from Kellog’s Cereal Bar, brunch at Jack’s Wife Freida, and all the coffee breaks in between. I came home with a fabulous furry pink jacket and a sense of “okay, so when am I moving to the city?”
On Monday morning something big happened. I took my first ever Soul Cycle class. Pause for gasps. I know, you would think I would be all over the trend, but in fact, I was a Soul Virgin. Don’t worry- we fixed that.
To be honest, the class was a little overwhelming. The music was loud (loved it), the other riders were model-esq (loved it less), and the ride was fast and furious (back to love). We’re talking revolutions per minute that could get you to LA in seconds. It was honestly one of the toughest workouts I’ve done in a while. Heart rate through the roof, tongue out panting, sweat pooling on the handlebars.
All in all, I’m not sure the Soul movement is right for me, but I’m all for something that gets people moving. Something that gets people falling in love with exercise. Something that pushes people to hit their max every day. So, while you might not catch me doing tap backs in the candlelit studio, I still love the fitness craze Soul has initiated. It’s truly unique in taking wellness from single player to a team sport.
I can tell that each class is motivation. While it doesn’t get easier, you definitely get stronger. Some part of everyone wants to be the sports-bra wearing regular that owns bike number 6. It’s just a matter of getting up and getting in the saddle.
They say you need three classes to fall into the rhythm, so I’m down to hop on the bike and hit that resistance again soon. Let me know who’s down for a ride.
Stuck in my head: Real Love Baby // Father John Misty
Snap it: SOHO, NYC
Previous post was deleted for certain reasons. Apologies from the blogger still in bed.
This week is so crammed full of T-accounts and Adobe Illustrator I’ve barely had a second to make my avocado toast. So in real W Magazine style, let’s chat about some things we love and some things we could definitely do without.
If you’re like me, the last book you read for fun was either Mindy Kahling’s memoir or something by Judy Bloom. Lately, I’ve been putting more emphasis on putting my well-developed literacy to good use. This month I’m reading Little Fires Everywhere. And to make it even better, research book clubs in your area. Girls Night In Club is where I find most of my book suggestions, but start your own reading revival with your friends. Books are cool, guys! (and let me know if you have any suggestions for my next good read…)
2. Traditional Christmas Party, meet Vodka and Latkes
The holidays are oversaturated with mistletoe this and candy cane that. This season my friends and I put a little Torah twist on December and threw a Vodka and Latkes party, sans the vodka. Aka, we sat around, ate potato pancakes, and listened to Israeli pop music on repeat. For a lot of my friends this was their first *Jewish experience,* and while it wasn’t Shabbat services or a bat mitzvah, it’s all about connecting over different cultures and teaching others what you know.
3. Moon Taxi
From study to workout to chillin’, I’m obsessed. I first found their song Morocco while lurking around on Spotify, and I haven’t turned back. Can you say “indie pop soundtrack to my life?” Check out my favorites: Change, Two High, and Running Wild. All from their 2013 album, but don’t worry I’m working my way to present day. Happy listening.
To be honest, I’m already over it. That’s all I have to say about that.
Yes, I’m talking chicken and turkey. If I see one more white meat meal, I’m going to lose it. This winter I challenge you to add a new protein to your diet. Think quinoa, tofu, mushrooms, lentils. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with poultry, just the overdose that comes from Thanksgiving. New year, new meat. Let’s do it.
6. My Concussion
I’m officially cleared for exercise and I’ve never been happier… and sorer. The way I feel when I think of hitting the weight room or pushing pedals in spin is how I imagine Christmas morning. To be honest, I’ve been doing two-a-days when my schedule lets me. Catch me in the gym all of break. Literally.
Stuck in my head: Jameson // Zella Day
Snap it: my budding book collections, please send additions to my apartment
When things get busy, my blogs get reaaal social media focused. And, nothing says Hanukkah cheer and finals cramming like traveling down the deep hole that is Instagram. But before we stalk and share, let’s chat about how our favorite platforms are changing their tunes and tweaking what they got. Wow, I love these small changes that open new doors to sharing content. Here are the updates.
#1 Upload IG Stories After 24 Hours
Originally, Instagram Stories only let you upload posts from within the last 24 hours of your camera roll. Cue awkward screenshots as a loophole and the struggle of making sure all your content is pulled together before creation. Now, by swiping up on IG Stories, same as before, you now have access to all the smiles and secrets that bless your photo album. This Social Media Today article breaks it down.
Thoughts: Looks like #TB is moving to Instagram Stories and we have another way to share our favorite memories. Not a huge impact update seeing as there were ways around it, but who doesn’t love simplicity and ease.
#2 Snapchat Filters based on AI
Because technology, you know? Snapchat is testing new filters based on the content of your photos. Example: Photo of fries, special “What Diet?” filter pops up. Between image recognition software and context clues in each snap, our favorite quicky is *finally* starting to step up their tech-savvy game.
Thoughts: As a user, this is just another fun tool to customize messages and waste an enormous amount of time. As a business, this could be huge for target marketing and advertising on the platform. Patents filed, cameras ready. Snap away.
#3 Tweetstorm Testing
Welcome to a world where talking to yourself if not only acceptable, but tech is literally being built for it. Twitter is testing a new feature called Tweetstorm that allows a series of tweets to be automatically linked. Think chain rants and endless streams of consciousness. Testing has been confirmed, but the rollout is moving slowly. The best feature: you can edit the tweets in the series. Is Twitter hitting a new peak?
Thoughts: While I’m not a huge fan of the little blue bird, I think the update will clean up timeline clutter and be able to be more of a storytelling platform. It’s another way to add context to the 280-character memories people are already sharing on the site. Twitter is claiming the change will keep users on the platform for longer because they can better communicate their ideas. I’m not convinced that’s how it’ll go down. All I know is once a Tweeter, always a Tweeter.
Warning: It might be a quiet few weeks as I balance exams with projects with shamelessly binge-watching Riverdale with continuing concussion recovery (hi, six-week mark), but winter break travel is ahead. AKA: a fire Instagram feed is on the way. That’ll def pull me through.
Stuck in my head: Sun Veins // Hippo Campus
Snap it: SOHO (wishing this was currently my reality)
It takes a certain type of personality to feel comfortable with creativity. It’s a daunting thing to speak your ideas despite fears of rejection and criticism. There’s a lot of nervousness in sitting as others dissect your every thought, logic, reason. So here’s my take on finding creative courage. Sharing your thoughts. Controlling your narrative. Using your voice.
In school, I think we learn to associate creativity with simplistic art forms. You have drawing, painting, sculpting, photography. I really feel like it was all black and white. Either you had the hand of Van Gogh, or you shied away from any kind of expression. I also think that approach to a creative mind prevents people from exploring other, sometimes lesser known, avenues. Basically, if you’re not gifted from the minute your pen hits paper, give up, you’re probably a math kid.
But in recent educational experiences, specifically in internships and business school projects, I’ve learned that the creative energy I’ve found through writing has helped me develop comfort with talking others through my ideas. I’ve also come to find that it’s something a lot of people face insecurity with.
I do think a lot of being vocal about your ideas and initiatives is personality based, but it’s also built out of that fundamental idea that you’re either creative or you’re not. I personally think that everyone is creative, but some people ignore it due to fear of judgment. There are principles and recommendations developed by innovative design firms that explain how to pull the inventive energy out of people, but I think it’s simpler than that. It’s about learning to accept feedback productively rather than as an attack and singing into the microphone, even when you don’t know the words. Because you never know what note might inspire the person next to you.
All in all, explore your options. There’s more to developing your creative potential than what meets the eye. Some of my close friends use Instagram to put their ideas into action while others create their own yoga salutations that meet their needs. It doesn’t matter how you do it, but once you find it, it’ll change the way you present your voice. I’m not saying you’ll find your visionary passion and automatically be able to scream your ideas from the rooftops, but it might just show you that an innovative mind is something people really value. No matter how crazy and out of this world your suggestions may seem, they’re inspiring, they’re empowering, they’re adding to a greater conversation.
And, something I’ve come to accept is that you don’t have to be perfect at something to use it as a creative outlet. I’ve started sketching and using the Adobe Suite, mostly for graphic design, to try to build my artistic eye. Am I great at either? Not really. Is it something to channel stress and inventive energy into? You bet.
So this Thanksgiving, I challenge you to share an idea at your table. Whether it’s your suggestion to solve global warming or your take on if all the Kardashians are really pregnant at the same time, see where it takes the conversation. Finding creative courage only takes two steps: open your mouth and speak.
Stuck in my head: Wait // M83
Snap it: Washington, DC
It’s been an exciting two weeks over here in College Park full of sleeping, hydrating, and constantly forgetting the days of the week. No, I’m not drunk. I’m concussed.
Today we’re going to discuss the importance of tuning into how your body’s feeling. I’ve learned recently that it’s a skill I viciously lack. And I’ve paid the price for it.
Let me set the scene for you: it was 6:30am and I was walking into the gym with my girl, Averie. We were chatting and totally wasn’t paying attention to where I was walking. Classic. Except for that this time, instead of colliding with a person like normal, I walked face first into a large metal pole. Enter nose bleeding and an endless headache. And just as you would expect from me, I did my workout anyway.
Fast forward a week, despite being highly functional, my symptoms were out of control. I had trouble staying awake for the entire day, a pounding headache that made my skull tender to the touch, light sensitivity, and forgetfulness. Yet, I was still exercising and still pushing my body to perform my daily life at a high level. The entire thing was absurd, but I couldn’t admit that something was wrong with me for two reasons: 1. I had a huge accounting exam that could either save or destroy me academically. And 2. I wasn’t paying attention to how bad I was really feeling.
Now here I am, almost three weeks out from the initial smack, still suffering from the same symptoms. Each day gets better, but it’s also a direct tradeoff of how I treat my body. I’ve been cleared for light exercise (thank god) but if I push too hard, I know my brain and my well-being will pay the price. It can be frustrating to have to listen to you’re limitations when they require you to give up something that brings you so much happiness. But it’s 100% necessary. Hardcore workouts are being put on hold.
The entire experience has taught me to be more mindful in my physicality, but I think the principle can be extended to everything we do. Now, before making a decision, I ask myself if this will hurt or help me and if it’s a good choice for the long run. It’s been difficult, I’m not going to lie. But my friends have kept me on track and I’ve maintained my goal of making healing a priority.
So here’s the take away: first, don’t walk into a pole. Second, pay attention to your body’s reaction to certain things and act accordingly. Third, sometimes a concussion can help you get better grades in accounting than a healthy brain.
Let’s conclude with a deep quote by yours truly.
“Treat your brain the way you’d want to be treated.” -Jordan Metzman
Amen, Jordan. Amen.
Stuck in my head: This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things // Taylor Swift
Snap it: nyc
I originally planned to make this post centered around sexual assault. I have the post drafted, and maybe it will find it’s way into the world someday, but I decided none of my commentaries were revolutionary to the issue. It’s a problem too big and complicated to be tackled by the neighborhood blogger. It doesn’t mean I am not a prevention activist, it just means I’m still deciding how to contribute and speak to the solution.
Instead, I want to focus on a positive of the female experience. The major influences in my life. My go-to girls. The women that have shaped me.
I’ve been gifted in my life to be surrounded by truly astounding women. I want to focus in on the dynamics of a few different relationships that have developed throughout my life. The mother. The bestie. And the mentor.
For me, all those roles are filled by women. And while not everyone shares the same experience, like some people look for male role models for guidance where I look to a past camp counselor turned sorority sister, these relationships have helped to develop the fundamentals of my character. And there’s no other way to celebrate all they’ve given me than with the final installment of Female.
I once told my mom she was my best friend. She replied that was sad and I should look for some friends my age. From the very beginning, my mother has filled the support role, but she’s also filled the “please be realistic” role. Even as she cheered on the horribly composed songs of my pigtail days, she reminded me that not every celebrity story is as glamorous as Taylor Swift’s. She keeps me on target and ready to go.
She’s a hardworking woman that never stops bettering herself to better her team. That’s a trait I hope to develop as I join the real world at her side. She is my working woman role model day after day after day. Through our relationship, I’ve learned how to communicate effectively with others, finding words that add to a conversation and fix problems. And I’ve come to realize, this is not a skill all people have. She’s taught me to trade petty for potential and repair mistakes rather than defend them in anger. I’ve learned humility and hope and patience and priorities. Every time someone says I remind them of her, I feel like I’m getting closer and closer to my goals. To my Mother, thank you for all you contribute to my womanhood.
In my case, I have quite a few. My friendships have grown in numbers since my “I only have seven friends, and one of them is my cousin” days. For those who aren’t familiar, that was an insult written to me anonymously on social media. Little did the attacker know it was all too true to be mean. With each woman that joins my life, I learn a new thing. I think my immediate high school friend group taught me that girls grow stronger together. They’ve shown me what true investment in a relationship is. My college friends have listening ears like no other and have shown me that I can’t fix my friends, I can only support them as they work to fix themselves. And my sorority sisters continue to impress me with their abilities to inspire uniqueness while also creating unity.
All these relationships thrive off the fundamental pillars of effort and loyalty. I think there is something so special about the relationships that form between female friends. Obviously, those crying-over-Halo-Top-“I can’t live without you” bonds are life-changing, but I’m even talking about the surface connections we make every day. I really believe that effort in a relationship is only due where it is reciprocated, and I’m proud to say there are few situations in my life where I have to act on that belief. To my besties, thank you for all you contribute to my womanhood.
I’ve been lucky to have quite a few badass ladies inspire me in my life. The influence of some lasting longer than others. But what I’ve come to learn from all these relationships, is that no matter how different their life paths, each of these women pose as guidance in a different way. I’ve always struggled with the idea of asking someone to be my mentor, but as I reflect on these people’s roles in my life, I see that they’ve always been fulfilling that purpose, whether they know it or not. And I am beginning to see the relationships as more symbiotic, because I can contribute to their support network, too.
Aside from professional development, my mentors are responsible for some of my biggest emotional developments, too. There is so much I owe to these open lines of communication, I’m honestly struggling to put it all into words. In the end, I think the biggest thing they’ve created in me in my independence. My comfort with being alone and how to proudly build confidence in it. Of course, I have down days, but turning to these women minimizes the effects and reminds me that happiness with myself is a gift I’m lucky to have.
When I dissect moments I share with my mentors, I hope to one day fill these shoes for someone else. Help another girl find herself in the mess of unfair expectations and the unnecessary isolation of growing up. I work to be that for my sister by sharing my experiences so she knows she can share with me, too. To my mentors, thank you for all you contribute to my womanhood.
These relationships will not apply to the entirety of the female population, this post was meant to inspire you to be grateful for the female relationships that are present in your life. I’ve been blessed with so many, too many, not enough. And my collection keeps growing with every step I take and every hand I shake. Look around you and appreciate it! Whether it’s just a mother, just a friend, just a mentor, or all of the above and more.
Being a woman can be hard sometimes, but it’s never impossible. Now, not a day goes by that I’m not thankful for this experience. I know that I face every day with an army of millions that will stand in stilettos just to support me.
I think this mini-series has served its purpose: to inspire me to be more mindful of my female experience. No profound call to action, no wish for a better tomorrow. Just me, loving what I got. Can I get a “girl power?”
Stuck in my head: Goodmorning // Bleachers
Snap it: Union Market (crying because the wall is already gone)
Coming to you live, from her Clueless clad dorm room, it’s Jordan. And believe it or not, I just finished a book. I can practically hear my high school friends gasping from across the country.
My track record with reading is subpar. It took me half a year to read Mindy Kahling’s 300-paged memoir, 3 extra weeks to finish To Kill A Mockingbird for school. It’s not that I’m not literate, it’s just that I wasn’t prioritizing literacy. This semester, I wanted a solution to both my writer’s block and technology-induced insomnia.
The book I read is called Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud. It’s written by Anne Helen Peterson, a culture writer at Buzzfeed. I initially ordered it because, hello, Buzzfeed, but what I came to find was that it was really relatable to how I’ve been feeling lately. The book dissects the labels of prominent female celebrities. Among the chapters, you’ll find Kim Kardashian, Nikki Minaj, Hillary Clinton. It questions why women are often labeled as too much of something when they don’t fit the proper mold of a woman in the public eye.
I think I’m graciously independent as a person. I love reassurance, but decisions are ultimately my own and I act for myself first, keeping the people I love as a close second. I jokingly always tell my friends to “be bold,” because “boys like bold girls.” But, what I’ve come to find is that girls like strong girls and society likes polite ones. One of my newfound, and most hated, fears is being penalized for something that’s a part of who I am. She’s too forward because she texts first, too provocative because her boots graze the upper thigh, too bossy because she makes her ideas known. I’d like to say fear of reputation damage doesn’t hold me back, but it does.
In reflecting on the book, I think that my personal hesitation to leap with open arms comes from the worry of not being respected as a woman, a student, a creative. Sometimes it’s easier to stay silent than ask questions and show vulnerability. And I know I’m feeding the fire, but it’s scary to be a social innovator and it’s a role I’m not sure I’m prepared to take on… yet.
In Lena Dunham’s chapter, Too Naked, it’s said:
“Dunham’s nudity isn’t “brave,” because… for it to be brave she would have to be afraid.”
And I feel like, in a non-nudity related way, that describes how I want to grow as a female. I don’t want to have to feel courageous when I raise my hand in class or when I reply to a Snapchat “too soon.” And to get there, I have to practice not being afraid. Shutting down the second-guessing and layers of analysis. More of an want, act, reflect, repeat model.
I used to tell myself to do one thing every day that scares me. Whether it’s writing this blog post (about a topic I’ve been scared to talk about because what do I know) or trying a new food for the first time, it was a step towards less unknown. My goal is to bring that back. And to encourage my friends to do the same. One less fear, one more reason to girl boss.
So yeah, I am too opinionated, too power hungry, too obsessive. But that’s also me being vocal, ambitious, and inspired. Three traits a young woman exploring the world should have. We should stop letting our “too”s be paired with negatives and let the females fill the narrative. Because “too unruly” is really just code for not taking this shit anymore.
And that’s basically where I’m at.
Stuck in my head: Something To Tell You // HAIM
Snap it: my bed!!
My next read is Lily Collin’s memoir, Unfiltered, on her eating disorder and other things young women struggle with. Look at me so knowledge hungry and feminist, right?