Cheesesteaks and Chokers: Week Two.

Time to add some new combos to the “can’t re-wear without being an outfit repeater.”

Week two was even better than week one. I found more thrift shops, learned some new recipes (hello, homemade peanut sauce on sweet potatoes and chicken), and photographed some pretty awesome places. Overall, the past seven days were a win win win.

Here are the looks, meals, and moments I want to share. 

did someone say clothes?

IMG_5096IMG_5139IMG_5204IMG_5278IMG_5734

replace my hands with forks, please.

IMG_5172IMG_5215IMG_5258IMG_5287 2IMG_5334IMG_5336IMG_5364IMG_5445

those in-between moments.

IMG_5889IMG_5886IMG_5881IMG_5485IMG_5488IMG_5546IMG_5830IMG_5484IMG_5481IMG_5465IMG_5453 2IMG_5106IMG_5150IMG_5450


Stuck in my head: What Am I Becoming?
Snap it: South St

Top Three Tips for Exploring A New City.

Growing up near DC, I tend to take ownership of it. When people ask me where I’m from, I’ll happily say “a suburb outside of DC” until they press me for more information and I have to admit I’m from Maryland (which I also love, but just a little less). My summer move to Philadelphia has been overwhelming and exciting. One challenge, though, has been figuring out all I need to do, see, and eat before I leave. While I’m still in the process of learning the ropes, here are some helpful tips for all my fellow transplants trying to find the who, what, when, and where. 

__________

1. Start An Instagram Collection

People will LOVE to let you know what should be at the top of your to-do list. I’ve gotten so many restaurant suggestions my pant size is already starting to expand at the thought of all the future meals. It can be really overwhelming and hard to remember the suggestions so as people give them to you, start a note in your phone to keep track. Later, look up the places on Instagram to get a feel for if you’d enjoy it. If yes, add it to a collection in your saved Instagram images so you can easily remember, find, and identify it based on photos! Also, don’t be afraid to skip suggestions that don’t feel you. Fancy Asain food restaurants, no matter how high they’re rated on Yelp!, will never make it onto my Musts list.

2. Research the Neighborhoods

For most big cities, there are almost little micro-cities inside, each characterized by individual personalities and activities to do there. Put a little time into getting to know what the best things from each neighborhood are and try to figure out where they are in comparison to each other. I truly believe the only way to get to know a city is by foot, so lace up your Adidas and hit the streets. This weekend, I walked over 10 miles through the city (half because Ubers were too expensive, half because adventure vibes). It can be really cool to see some of the things you’ve seen online or learned about in school while you walk.

3. Ask for Help

A lot of people strongly identify and love where they live. Don’t be afraid to ask people for directions, suggestions, and advice as you explore. For public transport, Google Maps is a great guide, but it’s not always the easiest. Consider popping into a store, stopping a pedestrian, or asking the subway stop workers for the easiest, best, safest way to get from A to B. Also, take advantage of those around you! I make sure to ask for weekend tips at work and events happening in the area. So far, I have a DIY Skyline Night at the Philadelphia Art Museum and a nighttime trip to Boathouse Row on my list. If you’re with other transplants or use social media, see what people in your network suggest. I’ve found they’re an awesome resource for food and fun reccs.

__________

This past weekend started with a spin class and ended with a dairy-free froyo run. Don’t worry there was a ton of thrifting, pride parading, flea market hunting, and park visiting in there, too. Can’t wait to keep learning this city’s grid and sharing all the secrets. 

And obviously send me any Philly musts immediately. Contact via DM. Open to all suggestions. Extra open to all trendy, Instagram-ready, coffee serving suggestions. 


Stuck in my head: Mission to Mars // RKS
Snap it: The Gayborhood, PHIL

Where My Money Goes.

Welcome to my newest obsession: STATIONARY STORES.

Lately, my Instagram feed has been flooded with pictures of cute poofy pens, greeting cards, stickers, and day planners. And I hate to say it, but I’ve become a sucker for an enamel pin. There’s something so satisfying about ordering all things you need to #adult, and then not #adulting. Here are my go-to photo ready shops for all the stationary goods you didn’t know you needed in life.

__________

Ban.do

band

photo from @shopbando

Things to check out: their new day planners, the graphic tees, + everything their Creative Director, Jen Gotch, loves

Packed Party

packed party

photo from @packedparty

Things to check out: all the glitter you’ll ever need + “Guac This Way” skinny doormat

Hello Sunshine Shop

32850122_627486007585850_1548363520121241600_n.jpgphoto by @sunshine_jo

Things to check out: Allllllll the pins (especially this avocado toast one)!

The Wing

31761302_425671871228573_4509067004774187008_n.jpg

Photo by @the.wing

Things to check out: (while not necessarily a stationary shop, what has stickers and pins counts for me) “Girls Doing Whatever The Fuck They Want 2018” Stickers + “Bag Lady” canvas tote

People I’ve Loved

28750751_156106505058559_933743486631411712_n.jpg

photo by @peopleiveloved

Things to check out: “You’ve got this” socks, I Like You, I Love You Book, + all these map prints that make cities art and art cities.

The Shop That Needs To Exist, But Doesn’t Yet

American Dream House

29093583_2025951161020299_7962002118397657088_n.jpg

photo from @americandreamhouse

Things to check out: the killer Instagram graphics for now- ULTIMATE ROOM ACCESSORIES COMING THIS SUMMER


Stuck in my head: Animals // Coast Modern
Snap it: Dormify pop-up in Montgomery Mall (good place to shop for your next dorm decor splurge)

 

 

 

Lessons Learned.

Hi friends, it’s been a while. This semester has been so jam-packed; words can’t describe. A couple months ago I decided to let those words go and focus on other challenges. The year isn’t over, but a creative mind can only take so many textbook readings before it has to create again. So here we are: let’s call it a writer’s revival.

Today I woke up inspired to write something that feels long overdue. If you know me, you know that there are a few things in my life that rise above the rest. One is exercise. Another one is getting the perfect picture of a latte. But, the most important one is, undoubtedly, my friends and family.

The way I live my life is an imperfect balance of uptight and carefree. While the rigid, routine, perfectionist side of my personality is more dominant, some of my key life philosophies come from the carefree side. Aka- my Dad. Today, instead of celebrating his birthday with Duck Donuts or Key Lime Pie, I want to share some lessons I’ve learned from him that have become my guiding principles.

__________

1. Just Get Through It

Sometimes stress needs to take a backseat, and you just have to endure. This doesn’t mean “don’t give a shit,” as my Dad constantly reminds me when he tells me to take a chill pill over an exam or irrational worry, but sometimes it’s okay to let go of the pressure that comes from the expectations we set for ourselves. High standards are great to a degree, but perspective is key. If you sweat all the small things, the important things, like your health and the relationships you value, will just be harder to manage.

2. Not a Bad Choice

Guilt is a frequent feeling for me. I experience studier’s remorse like no one’s business. I have trouble indulging or taking time for myself. My Dad combats my insecurity in those moments by reminding me that just because that guilt is there, it doesn’t mean I made a mistake or a bad decision. Sure, there was maybe a different course of action, something more effective or proactive I could’ve done, but I shouldn’t let my overthinking make me feel wrong. It’s a “there will always be a next time, here are your options for when it comes,” thought process.

3. Be an Active Listener, but an Even More Active Understander

There have been so many days this semester where I’ve questioned the difference between a bad mood, a bad day, and being in a “bad place.” Stress wears heavily and while I can talk about how it’s affecting me, it can be scary to admit that it’s taking a toll. I am so fortunate that I can turn to my Dad for advice and support, but also as an ear that wants to understand the why behind it all. The level of understanding that has developed in our relationship is something I strive to bring to every other relationship in my life. He’s taught me to go beyond support into the world genuine caring. No thought is too crazy, no conditions to the love you bring to the table. I guide my actions by how I can have that openness with the people I love.

__________

So, while this is no candle-packed birthday cake or surprise breakfast in bed, I hope this pays homage to you, Mister Dad. Thank you for all the calming phone calls, seafood feasts, and for being such a positive role model in my life. I know that I’m going to get roasted by Mom for the sappiness, but it felt necessary to finally thank you. Nothing says “reunited with my blog” than a post dedicated to the dude who does it all.

One week and four days until our first Sweet Frog run of the Summer. Until then, party hard. Fifty-something looks like thirty on you.


Stuck in my head: Pacific Love // RKS
Snap it: Iceland

Content might be irregular at first, but it’s time to get back into writing. Facing fears. Facing writer’s block. Tbh, it’s been deeply missed. Talk soon!

Pressing Pause.

I was in the middle of writing a post to let you all know that I was taking a break from creating content due to lack of creative flow. But, I realized that my reasoning was a cop out from explaining what I’m actually experiencing right now- true, brutal burnout. Not in respect to everything I’m doing- I still love my internship, exercise, and AOII. But, overall, things have just been a lot harder to get done lately. 

I’m not a stranger to low energy levels. I think it all comes in a cycle with stress and sleep and self-care, but of recent, naps have become the norm and I count the hours until I get to crawl into bed with my book. I miss being engaged by my lectures and excited to do well. For the first time in my life, not even an A is motivation.

Related but unrelated, I’ve also been fighting to find a state of peace in facing certain challenges in life. Recently, I’ve been focusing on mental illness, and how it’s okay not to be okay, and learning to be a strong hand to hold for those struggling. I’m also working past shutting down emotionally during chaotic times and showing vulnerability where I would normally prefer to pretend nothing is wrong. I’ve had to accept broken things as being broken and give up on them- which has been the hardest, most taxing experience for me. It’s been really draining, I’m not going to lie. And where I would normally say I’ve had profound moments of realization in the process, I’m going to say that I haven’t yet. But, I will never stop trying to find comfort in the process.

This post seems sad. It may sound lonely or withdrawn from, but it’s written with determination and self-actualization. My mind needs a break and I want to focus on different things for a little. Like actually doing my accounting homework. And spending time with the amazing women that have built me an enviable support network. And finally facing my fear of writing for myself instead of for others.

Burning out is normal, but it’s about the recovery that comes after. I’m looking for little things that continuously spark happiness in my life. Like loving DC so much I want to cry when I walk the streets. And the memory of hearing Houndmouth for the first time at a music festival and feeling so genuinely in love inside.

I’ll write more soon. I just need to press pause and breathe and drink some tea. Then I’ll be back, avocado toast and all.

Until then, I promise I’ll still be on Instagram. 


Stuck in my head: Sun Veins // Hippo Campus
Snap it: The Coffee Bar, DC

 

Reading Revival.

Last night was the Girls’ Night In book club meet up in DC (shameless plug for GNI- follow their Instagram and subscribe to their newsletter) and let me just tell you it took me back to high school English class in the best way possible. Not only did we discuss a book that was interesting (Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong) but it gave me the creative inertia to write something again. So like, also, hi. It’s been a while. 

I started reading again at the beginning of this year because I was having trouble sleeping at night. I could give you scientific facts about how technology inhibits the secretion of melatonin in the brain or whatever, but instead, I’m just gonna go with the fact that you’ve probably suffered from technology-induced insomnia, too. And the worst part of not being able to fall asleep is the stress of knowing you can’t fall asleep. It’s honestly just a downward spiral to panic-ville. Not cute. 

But, aside from upping my nighttime routine, reading re-sparked my love for being creative and telling stories. I found myself analyzing storytelling techniques, mimicking character development, and more generally, being mindful of the way I reveal plot points in my own stories. Reflecting on the differences in the characters I was reading about lead me to develop an understanding of narratives from different perspectives. A kind of empathy I could bring to the real world.

The book club didn’t make me realize this- I was already conscious of my reading revival. But, the book club helped me realize that there are other women out there that want to grow from the books they’re reading, too. They want to understand the relationships between characters and relate it to their own personal development.

Goodbye, Vitamin was not the easiest book for me to relate to. The characters are much older, the subject touches on illness in the family and divorce, and the main character is extremely immature and underdeveloped. Yet, through the writing style of the book, I was able to fall for the positive spin on the plot’s most tragic moments. It was my type of thinking, my type of approach to challenges in life. In a time of stress and self-inflicted isolation due to exam week overload, it was nice to come home and share my perspective with someone- even if all else was completely unrelatable to me. 

So to conclude, read a book. It’s unfortunate how we don’t appreciate words on a page as much as subtitles on a screen. I think it’s time to trade Netflix for novels. Not optional. Please and thank you.


Stuck in my head: Tuesday // Hippo Campus
Snap it: my beeeeed!

P.S. The March book club book is Text Me When You Get Home. Check it out. 

The In & The Out.

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.

The In

1. Literacy 

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.

The Out

4. Snow

To be honest, I’m already over it. That’s all I have to say about that.

5. Poultry

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

To Creative Courage.

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

A Modern Tragedy

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

 

 

THE IN, THE OUT, AND THE PICK-ME-UP.

October has been a hell of a month so far. And by “hell of a month” I really just mean hell. Think back to back exams, the stress of finding summer internships, and assignments and projects that leave your energy level at “give me some frickin’ coffee now.” If you don’t believe things are that crazy right now, I’ve been doing pre-sunrise workouts just to get everything done in one day. I don’t know if you really read that, so I’ll say it again. PRE. SUNRISE. WORKOUTS.

So this week we keep it short, sweet, and simple. Here’s what I’m into and here’s what I’m so over. 

THE IN:

  1. Girls Night In Club
    This hella feminist, hella empowerment newsletter has been my favorite thing about Friday for the past couple weeks. Written by women for women. Check out their website here and Instagram here. It’s for the nights you just can’t with makeup and social interaction.
  2. Quinoa with diced tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, feta, greek vinaigrette, and 2 poached eggs
    Because life makes you hungry and this is my favorite little fix. No recipe. Literally just boil, cut, mix, and devour. Pairs well with both Seinfeld and textbook readings. 
  3. White Noise
    AKA space noises that play in the background. It turns every space into the perfect study room. Known for relaxing vibes, I’ve started using this as the soundtrack to everything from homework to sleeping to crying into my Halo Top because we still don’t know if Kylie Jenner is pregnant. Find my favorite 10-hour long track here.

THE OUT

  1. Accounting
    Yeah, it’s important. No, I really don’t understand it. Enter the main cause of stress and lack of time for any kind of joy in my life. It’s fine. Who needs college? Who needs a future? Who needs to never make a journal entry again? Me.
  2. “SNR” Snapchats
    So I did a quick Google to make sure I actually knew what SNR stood for, and surprise, I didn’t. But nonetheless, SNR means “Streaks n’ Recents.” Real definition: Your ass just got a mass Snap. Not cool. If I’m gonna put in the effort to keep up a streak it better be reciprocated. This is, like, basic Snapchat etiquette.
  3. The Silence around Sexual Assault
    With all the scandals in the media, it feels good to see women taking a much-needed stand. With activations across campus and across the world, I’m proud that silence is becoming less of an answer. It’s just that little sliver of hope that means we might just be getting somewhere. More to come on this when I figure out what I really want to say. 

THE PICK-ME-UP

If your week is going like mine, please enjoy the pure happiness of me eating a bagel this weekend. So much love for carbs, white on white in the name of football, and best friends visiting my home 20 minutes from home.

 

Totally Unrelated Side Note: Catch my intern takeover on the Smith Office of Career Services this week for a look into my work at CAVA. Find the link above and prepare to be hungry.


Stuck in my head: Waving Through A Window // Dear Evan Hansen
Snap it: The school I love with my best bae.

Exciting News.

Call me Carrie Bradshaw because I’m officially published. So excited to share my article for Marriott International’s blog, Marriott Traveler, featuring my two favorite things: Iceland and Instagram.

So grab a latte and get ready to plan your next vacation. It’ll be one your camera roll will never forget. 

Check it out by clicking here, here, or here


Stuck in my head: Mr. Know-It-All // Young the Giant
Snap it: Rangárbing Eystra… aka Iceland

Ode to Egg Whites

I’m what I’ve named “a routine eater.” Same 5 go-to meals. And I love it. Ask me how many times I’ve had an egg white omelet this week and I’ll shamelessly admit every day. Not a morning missed. It’s like the day’s not complete without it. 

College has a strange eating culture. There’s pressure to be down for late night bites but also to avoid a food baby in case the next day calls for that little black envelope skirt. And I’m not going to lie, this constantly poses a problem to my meal planning.

My commitment to healthy eating stems from the way these foods make me feel. Full but not too full. Healthy but not unsatisfying. I make sure to balance protein, veggies, and fruit with the good stuff (peace, love, carbs). And when you get as hangry as I do, you learn to take every precaution to avoid the starving diva inside. Because when she comes out things get ugly and your friends start forcing Halo Top down your throat. 

There’s a stigma around discussing healthy eating because some people consider it dieting. Or worse, they take it as a jab at their own eating habits. But to put it simply, every meal should bring you joy. Some people want to eat pizza for dinner, I want to eat quinoa. Weird, yes. Harmful or worth the judgment, definitely not.

At the same time, the way I eat is an insecurity of mine. No matter how many avo-toast loving friends compliment or try to copy it, I’ll always be a little embarrassed that I’m going to choose Skinny Pop and hummus over a bowl of mac and cheese. 

But I guess this is where new experiences come into play- forcing myself into situations where I have to broaden my in-the-kitchen horizons. I’ve recently found shrimp, cucumbers, and pho and I can’t remember a life without them now.

So catch me munching on the regulars, trying new eats, and slowly expanding what’s on the table. Forks and knives ready. 


Stuck in my head: Between the Bars // Elliott Smith
Snap it: Breakfast Time

P.S. If I ever offer to make you dinner, it’s probably going to be eggs. #sorrynotsorry