If you grew up in the ‘burbs, this Tumblr will speak to your soul

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Pic: McMansion Hell

People, I am beside myself.

As y’all know, I work in operations at a design studio. Usually the things my coworkers share on our #random Slack channel are technology related (and thus completely over my head) or super played out memes I’ve already seen during the 90% of my life that I spend on social media.

But when the glory that is McMansionHell.com hit the thread I was truly floored and given no choice but to share it with literally everyone I know. McMansions (n.) can best be described as the gaudy, humongous, oft cheaply constructed and illogically designed homes built around the turn of the millennium for the now defunct “Upper Middle Class” to feign opulence to their surrounding suburban neighbors. As the blog beautifully puts it, they are the “knockoff bags of architecture.”

When the bubble burst, many of these homes were either repossessed or put up for sale by their recession-hit owners. McMansion Hell is a blog that takes photos of the worst of these monstrosities from real estate websites like Zillow, and explains in perfect comedic tone the blatant architectural failures of each room in the home. The writer, Kate, is originally from North Carolina (right?) and really knows what she’s talking about, presumably in part because these thangs are ALL OVER THE FREAKIN’ PLACE in our home state.

As someone who lived in a McMansion for the whole of my teenage years–and returned for the holidays up until a few months ago when my combined family finally split up and flipped that thing to the highest bidder–this blog speaks to my deepest embarrassments and confusion about the world in which I came of age, and about the people who conceived of it.

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Pic: McMansion Hell

My mother and father divorced when I was 4, and if you count each of their respective residences, I lived in a total of 8 homes before graduating high school. Since each household was supported by a single-parent breadwinner, it’s safe to say that the first 7 of them were…comfortable. Even nice, in the way middle class subdivisions were in the 90s, before everything started dropping into foreclosure like flies. Not really boastful or flashy, but a nice, safe place for kids to grow up.

From ‘94 to ‘99, my mother, two of my brothers and I lived in a nice little neighborhood called Lake Moor in Garner, North Carolina. Garner wasn’t exactly a town known for its wealth per capita, but Lake Moor was one of the nicer spots in the area. It was the kind of place where, at least it seemed, you could let your kids roam around on bikes unsupervised, down the paved trails in the woods to throw rocks in Lake Benson, never giving it a second thought that they’d be kidnapped or hit by a truck. There was even a community pool with a vending machine that sold BRISK Iced Tea for $0.60 a can and playground that only left you with splinters 90% of the time. Luxury, indeed.  

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^See, fairly normal suburban whatever-house. There used to be a third tree in that patch but it fell during hurricane Fran. I remember because the next day when I was climbing on it a yellow jacket stung the back of my leg. But this isn’t about Fran this is about a house that I remember being much bigger than this! Turns out I was just smaller than I am now! Science is crazy.

My favorite thing as a child was to play pretend, specifically as a princess.  As many of you know, I still do this today and it can be very annoying. But as a kid, it was quite cute. I had a canopy bed and all white furniture with brass plated detailing typical of a 90s girl’s room. I’d tap around the foyer of our house in my shiny black Sunday shoes and polyester slips believing I was Cinderella or whomever I wanted to embody that day. My mother’s taste in furniture was grand and traditional, dark cherry woods that, when I slid the fingers of my white gloves across them, made me feel like Anastasia. Outside, I’d play with my dog in the overgrown cattails by the pond and talk to myself, like the tomboy alter ego of any fairy tale protagonist. But inside, I would put on a toy tiara and sneak into my mom’s china cabinet to play with her silver. We didn’t live in a McMansion just yet, but the details were there. The aspiration was there. To me, it always felt like pretend. And I guess it was supposed to. 

It’s normal for kids to idolize those who have more than they do. Adults, too. And to the untrained eye, bigger + crazier + vague references to lavishness of yore = wealth. On summer days, my brother Winston and I used to rollerblade down to the neighborhood’s one local McMansion, which at the time we just referred to as “The Mansion,” and we’d gawk at how official it looked. To us, it was basically the White House. Who lived there, we wondered? They must be famous! Remember, this house was in Garner, North Carolina. Probably not a half mile from our own. No…looking back, I don’t think anyone “famous” lived there. We were young.

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^McMansion AF, you guys! For some reason I remember there being a gate at the beginning of this driveway but that would be literally nuts, wouldn’t it? Also, please look at the mailbox. And that gigantic dormer. And the spacing of the windows. And the chimney! And the fact that there are TWO FUCKING FRONT DOORS! This is the house that I wanted to live in at age 7. As you can probably guess, there is nothing on either side of my family that qualifies as “old money.”

Not long after that, my mom remarried. Winston and I were sitting in the den of our between-houses rental home when our mom and stepfather-to-be showed us a mockup of the house they were having built. A house big enough for two of my mom’s kids and four of his and the two of them and the dog to all live together in the middle of Cary, North Carolina. It was…a certified McMansh. Or as I yelped excitedly upon seeing the drawings: “A MANSION???!” My mom shushed me, smirking. I mean it would be wrong to brag, of course. But clearly I was about the become the rich-bitch princess I had always deserved to be. I was ten years old.

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The house I lived in from age 10 to age 17

I can’t really sum up what it was like to live here because all my memories are biased due to a) the fact that the ages 10-17 are some of the most complicated and traumatizing years of your life EVEN when you have a traditional nuclear family and no mental illness and b) I most certainly did not have a traditional nuclear family or a sound emotional state. But we did have 6 bedrooms, a three-car garage, a trampoline in the back, a big deck, and a massive interior which was either full of strangers or completely empty, cold and echoing. My room was enormous by any standard, which was great for retreating from the world to journal and make collages and, in the later years, to do drugs. I didn’t drive until I was almost out of high school, and I spent up to that time annoyed I didn’t live downtown with the other cool kids in their smaller, historic bungalows that better fit my ~super indie hipster aesthetic~. Things were uneven here and there, and after a while, started falling apart.

But I do think it was beautiful, and my mom loved it. She adored it, honestly, at times as though it were one of her children. I think it was a symbol for her steadfast belief that we really could have the perfect life. That our family, even though it was a weirdo wonky mess most of the time, did all belong together under this big-ass roof. “If you build it, happiness will come,” you know? Or maybe it was a “the bigger the house, the closer to God,” sort of thing. I’m kidding.

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Some McMansion Hell-inspired art I made based on my own experience. Do u get it?

I do have some good memories of this place. The pantry, for one, which was roughly the size of my entire current apartment and always stocked with snacks; the way you could be on one end of the house hooking up with your teenage boyfriend and your parents couldn’t hear on account of being a half a mile away in their bedroom; the fact that my mom was queen of the castle, so when I was there, she was taking care of me. It was something comforting to return to when I was in college and living in houses that were quite literally falling to the ground. I hated the suburbs, sure, but I loved how you could see the stars in the sky, walk around in the middle of the night safely, jump a fence to a pool and the worst that would happen is a soccer mom would furrow her eyebrows at you through a glass-brick window.

And of course, once I moved to New York, our McMansion became my post-ironic luxury. Every time I would visit I’d take photos of myself in my mom’s spa-like bathroom, walk around in her terry cloth robe sipping champagne, bask in the sun in an adirondack chair and worry about absolutely nothing. That’s what the suburbs are good for – while they may not be an entirely accurate representation of your reality, if in fact you are in the market for a comfortable delusion, they are always there for you. At 23, living in a rat infested building and making $300 a week, I loved going home again to play pretend.

The house sold back in April when the Bradys came un-bunched. But I don’t miss it. It was too much, like a lot of things that were going on at the time. And now a new young family lives there and my mom lives in a lovely house not too far away. But looking at the photos of it, I have to say I am overwhelmed with nostalgia. On Google street view you can see our old cars in the driveway, and for a second it really got to me. I don’t miss the house really, or the neighborhood, or most of the family. I guess part of me just misses the safety of having a home base at all. Misses not knowing the truth: that you can’t go back to the past, that everything disappears eventually, that some things weren’t made to last in the first place.

ANYWAY, the blog is funny as shit, and I am basically in love with Kate and her taste level/depth of knowledge/dry-as-heck wit. Apparently we’re from the same place and all, so unless she’s like 75, we MUST have some mutual friends. If you know her, introduce me, so we can get married ironically on the steps of a McMansion.

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McMansionHell.com

 

 

 

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“Island Time” or “The Calm Before The Shitstorm”

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Having a blog where you talk about getting drunk and being bad at your job is one of the hardest things a person can do.

Ugh ok fine shut up. I know. I need to stop waiting so long between posts. Literally dozens (less than one dozen) of people have been urging me to post a story lately, and I’ve wanted to, but the longer I wait, the more things pile up and change and I don’t know where to begin.

And girl. When I say things have changed…woo. Have they changed.

My last post was all about self-love, and growing up, and trying to focus on doing great work. I talk about that stuff a lot. And I don’t have any less to say about those topics than I always do, but I do want to save the nitty gritty of my life as it is now — a beautiful disgusting mess, like a perfect sandcastle that some little kid took a runny diarrhea on — for another time. All I’ll say for now is that I am no longer the Settled-Down-Soccer-Mom-In-Training-Ass-Bitch I was a few months ago, and I’m back on the scene, so watch the fuck all the way out. That is all I will say. Plus, I told all the guys I’ve been hooking up with recently that I wouldn’t blog about them. Ha ha ha ha.

Instead, I’d like to take you back with me to a trip I took before things went awry, to an island on a different side of the world, called FUCKING MAUI YEAH THAT’S RIGHT I WENT TO MAUI AGAIN THIS PAST FEBRUARY. LITERALLY WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO ABOUT IT?

Let’s begin.

Oh wait, one more thing – I’m writing this on my phone right now because I don’t have wifi yet in my new apartment (sometimes when you break up with the person you’re living with you have to get one of those) so shut the heck up about my typos.

Ahem. Anywho.

It all started when — fuck, how did it start? I think it was, as it always is, with my brother Nate planting the seed over text that he’d soon be traveling somewhere exotic:

“Available Feb 20-27?”

It’s always that simple. And my response is usually “Um, working? And being so busy raising these two cats, and practicing comedy in a room full of strangers, and ignoring the fuck out of my blog. Like, do I look like a person who has free time? My life is fully booked and I am not okay.”

To which he usually responds “I have miles.”

So, I took an entire week off work in February (can’t complain about that PTO) and spent the weeks leading up to my trip slathering myself in tanning lotion and trying on bathing suits in my bathroom at 1AM. I was concerned because I had eaten nothing but Chick Fil A for the past two months, and I wanted to look sexy on a resort that I knew was just going to be filled with retirees and honeymooners. What I’m saying is, I wanted to look sexy for instagram.

I don’t think I have Seasonal Affective Disorder. I think I’m just always affected, and cold weather is an extra annoyance. Either way, I cannot tell you how excited I was to pack my duffle with bras and coochie-cutters and take a flight to Someplace, Arkansas, then LAX, then Maui, while FaceTiming my fake-ass drunk-ass jealous friends at every layover with a shit-eating grin on my face. I didn’t even mind how uncomfortable my back gets on long flights in “the back of the plane,” as Nate always refers to coach. Or how expensive the airport margaritas are that I always insist on drinking. I was living, I was looking cute, I didn’t have a coat on, and most importantly I was not checking my email.

Arriving in Maui is always fun. The airports are open air which never fails to blow my mind, and then I get to take a taxi — or this time, a shuttle — to the hotel with some very talkative driver who is originally from Milwaukee but has lived on the island for 35 years and since lost the ability to read human facial cues. It was clear as day in this particular driver’s rearview that I was not in the mood to chat about his childhood after my 24 hours of travel time, but was instead more concerned about why he’d made four wrong turns and couldn’t stop swerving onto the shoulder of this mountainside highway. But I survived.

I made it to the Marriott Ocean Club (which everyone kept pronouncing like it rhymed with Harriet. What the fuck is that about?) on Ka’anapli beach which is where Nate’s conference was. Yes, he was there for a conference. Yes, he was able to expense all of this. And no, I would not take his job if you offered me a lifetime of luxury because what he does for a living is outside of my realm of comprehension not to mention my ability to remain sane (anesthesia).

One thing my brother and I do have in common, though, is a strong affinity for alcohol. So the first thing we did that night was find the nearest bar/restaurant open at midnight – a feat more difficult than you’d imagine considering I thought the whole point of Maui was to get wasted and eat all the foods and stay up late partying. Turns out it’s mostly old people.

You know who does party? The wait staff after a long day of serving tourists. And when we arrived at a nearby beach bar that’s exactly what was going down. We rolled into this unusually lit locale, past the 4×4 pickups in the parking lot, to find sunburned brahs throwing back shots and heckling the bartender, a petite surfer girl with long mermaid hair who appeared to be training on her first day. She also appeared pretty drunk herself. We sat back and enjoyed our beers, along with the view of the hazing session, and I updated Nate on the happenings of my millennial New York life.

Then the crowd starting getting a little too drunk for my taste. I know that sounds fake coming from me, but seriously – looking around I would swear every guy in that bar had dateraped someone at least once. This was further proven when they screamed at the bartender to the point that she had a breakdown and walked out (a little dramatic, though, I will say) and then again when one of them tried and failed to hit on me.

“Hey, you’re cute. Let me buy you a drink.”

*pointing to my brother* “I’m here with someone.”

“Fuck you, bitch. You’re not that hot anyway.”

The verbiage of rape culture at its finest, no?

So we left, and tucked ourselves in to the sounds of the ocean. Overall, not a bad start to the vacay.

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To say that a lot happened over the next couple of days wouldn’t be entirely accurate. Instead, it was mostly nothing: $5 mimosas all morning, poolside maitais and cranberry cocktails, hammocks and sushi, noodles, Hawaiian box lunches. That sort of thing. A tropical penguin sanctuary here, a whale watching boat trip there. And when Nate’s friend Mel arrived, we met her at the grocery store where she greeted us with a handle of Titos under each arm. We’d been gloriously unproductive. I had sand in my hair and salt on my skin.

Although I’d taken a week off work, this was still a short trip due to all the travel time. I only had 3 full days on the island. And by the third, I was determined to hike the famous 13 Crossings trail Nate and I tried to complete on our last trip, but failed for various reasons. We just had to revisit it, Nate because he’s a perfectionist, and me because I’ve never swam in a fucking tropical waterfall before and there was one at the end of this hike.

So we strapped our backpacks on, decided to leave before sunset and not get wasted this time, and after a couple hours we finally made it. The water was freezing but it was completely worth it. I’m not even that mad that Mel’s photos of us are just mediocre.

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So here’s where it starts getting complicated. As we came up on the last 24 hours of my time there, I just started stuffing every delicious food and drink items in my mouth that I could. First, I washed down some of that stream water I swallowed with fish tacos, rice, beans and guac, 2 beers and 3 vodka cranberries. Then the next morning I thought I’d have a delicious Hawaiian breakfast of, like, rice with meat, gravy and avocado on top. I don’t really know what that was called, but it sure was danky kang. Then, since my flight was at 6pm that night, it seemed like the smartest thing would be to finish off the vodka, then buy more, and finish that off too.

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So we did. And I packed up my stuff, got in the rental car around 3:45, and headed for the airport where I was to be dropped off so Mel and Nate could finish their vacation in peace. But there was SO much traffic. Way more than we’d anticipated. If I hadn’t been so fucked up and singing Mariah at the top of my lungs with my hands out the window, I would have been really nervous about missing my flight. But I figured, fuck it. I just have to get through security and run to the gate. I’ll probably make it with just 5 minutes to spare, but what are they gonna do? Leave me in Maui? Pfft.

So anyway, they left me in Maui. And because I was a really drunk white girl who had never missed a flight before, I started to cry.

“But it’s right there! I can see the plane! Please!”

“I’m sorry but they’ve already pulled back from the gate. We can get you on another flight that departs in 5 hours, connects in Dallas and arrives in Newark.”

“Newark??!!??!”

I begrudgingly took my boarding pass they were so gracious to give me for the flight I didn’t even deserve, and walked over to a corner to whine. I called Nate –

“Aw sorry boo, but it doesn’t really make sense for us to come get you. You’ll just have to wait there.”

What a fuckin fail. I was wasted. My stomach was all bubbly from the food I ate or the alcohol or the giardia I contracted in the waterfall. I was in Maui but I wasn’t in Maui. I was in tropical limbo with a bunch of tourists from the Midwest, only to return to a winter wasteland back in New York. My serotonin was at dangerously low levels, my blood-alcohol at the opposite, and all I wanted was to be in my bed with my two cats and my boyfriend who I missed so freakin much.

So I slept. I slept on the floor of a major airport walkway. I slept across chairs between jabbering family members. I slept with my mouth open, heart racing, sucking in oxygen with a strain that rivaled even the most withered of surrounding geriatrics.

And then I needed nachos. I had a bit of money left, so I dragged myself across the carpet to the nearest Airport Restaurant Bar and Grill to order some.

Waitress: “Just so you know, the cheese on these is Velveeta.”

God bless this woman for trying to warn me. But she didn’t understand how hungover, and still drunk, and far too depressed I was to truly hear her.

“Bring it on.”

Now, when I tell you this was some of the most vile shit I have consumed in my entire life, please know there’s not a lie to be found. However, not only did I finish it – oh no – I licked the plate clean, in what will probably be one of the saddest scenes ever witnessed by anyone on that high school volleyball team two tables over.

I never said I make good decisions. I would never lie like that.

It should come as no surprise to you, then, that about 30 minutes later I found myself running to the bathroom at full speed with all of my luggage to spew yellow liquid into the toilet. I was surprised, though. For some reason I hadn’t seen this coming. I suppose alcohol and sun exposure give me rose-colored glasses. But, you know, the kind of rose-colored glasses that make you think to yourself “You’re gonna die anyway, you idiot. Who gives a shit? Eat the Velveeta Puke Chips.” And you know, there was once a time, just a few years ago, where I could eat weird nachos and not immediately become a weapon of mass destruction. Not anymore.

I got out as much as I could, but the saliva in my throat and the rumbling in my belly told me I was still experiencing something digestively volcanic.

“This is the final boarding call for American Airlines flight to Dallas Fort Worth.”

Fuck. Once again, I dragged my bags down the carpeted walkway to the gate and joined the queue to board, with a very suspicious look on my face as I tried not to faint or shit on anyone.

Once I got to my seat, I thought things might calm down. I tried putting my head between my legs, I tried sleeping — no chance. As the lights dimmed and our in-flight presentation of The Peanuts Movie began, my body realized she’d had it. The color drained from my face and my vision started to go white, so I folded forward out of my chair and booked it to the lavatory.

So.

Ever had diarrhea on an airplane before? Yeah. It really sucks.

But I bet you haven’t had diarrhea on an airplane while SIMULTANEOUSLY projectile vomiting into the tiny sink next to you with no signs of stopping. I honestly thought I was going to die in that tiny, plastic, stinky room as I writhed, choked, barfed and gasped for what must have been…could it have been hours? Days even.

Somehow, though, I survived. I slept the rest of the way, and when I got to Dallas I spent what remained of my travel money on pepto bismol and Dramamine, and flopped on the floor next to the phone charging station to text my boo and eat airport mac n cheese. Again, I don’t make the best decisions. You guys know this by now.

So that was that. A wonderful trip that ended poorly and probably could have been planned better.

Sometimes things go wrong in paradise, but I’d do it all again.

When I landed back in New York, James and I were so excited to see each other. And then a few days after that, things fell apart. I hadn’t seen it coming. It was no one’s fault, it just happened. One minute we were together, and the next we weren’t.

You know, breaking up is a lot like trying to sleep in a busy airport. It’s lonely, it’s isolating, you’re stuck biding time. Everyone around you is making noise and you’re too exhausted to move.

But when you open your eyes, if you’re brave enough, you can go anywhere you want.

 

Disaster Chef: If I Made A Damn Pumpkin Pie Then You Definitely Can Too

Mom Blogger Pie

As some of you know, I low-key aspire to be a Mom Blogger and frequently exhibit traits of this particular breed of human (besides, you know, having human kids)  – sometimes ironically, sometimes not.

After spending the years from 2006 to 2013 drinking my weight in malt liquor, missing my alarm in the morning, ignoring my goals, messing around with drugs, encouraging my own body dysmorphia, smoking, willfully participating in shitty relationships, and eating beans out of cans, I DISCOVERED, as it turns out, that I actually need, enjoy, and thrive on the following things:

  • A clean home with some nice items in it
  • Food that doesn’t come from the bodega
  • A full time job with benefits
  • A solid relationship with a person who also has a good job and a very minimal set of issues
  • Getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night
  • Doing things that are healthy for my spirit, such as ignoring the haters, having a positive body image, focusing on my dreams & using my time wisely.
  • Enjoying substantial quantities of top to second-from-top shelf vodka only one or two days a week.

Now, I am not saying I regret the past, nor am I trying to tell anyone how to live. I am a sex-positive person who respects personal choice and unique lifestyles and bucking the status quo when you feel like it. I’ve definitely made some questionable decisions in the name of exploring myself, my needs, and this crazy-ass world we live in. I encourage anyone to do the same.

That being said, I also feel like much of my early twenties were spent saying to myself “Why am I putting myself in these situations? How do I stop feeling this way? Poor me, and also, I am the worst,” when what I really should have done was break up with whoever-the-fuck, get off the internet, and get a damn job.

I think some people were surprised when I started adjusting my priorities. Maybe it was a letdown, because I wasn’t going out and peeing between parked cars with them every night. But there were a few things motivating me. The first is, I had found a respectful, funny, trustworthy, unaggressive, and down-to-earth man who loved me. And after dating every make and model of loser imaginable, I was not about to fuck that up with bad decisions. The second is that I was getting older, and past a certain age it’s hard to make messy look cute. I’ve talked about this before. I never was the kind of person who could stay out until 4am, still make it to work the next day and NOT want to throw myself out of a ten-story window. I was just like, “I want to be happy and stop feeling guilty all the time for being fucking irresponsible.” So I’ve been working on this for the last year or so.

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The start of every Childless Mom Lifestyle: getting your first pair of Uggs

This is one of the reasons I love being a domestic goddess from time to time. Just like in high school when that girl Rebecca told people she was shocked we got into the same college because she thought I was dumb (don’t think I forgot), I take pleasure in doing things well that are not expected of me, or that I don’t expect of myself. A self-fulfilling prophecy will get you every time. I also like providing nourishment for others and cultivating a comfortable environment for the people I love, having grown to understand the significance of those things in my own life.

So that’s where the pie comes in.

You see, I’ve been in the dating game for about ten years, and out of all twenty of my boyfriends I think maybe three of their moms have actually liked me. It’s just always been this way. I guess I took a couple virginities when I was younger and I was never churchy or blonde, but I wasn’t a bad person, so I don’t know what their damage was specifically. But they sure had damage. In tenth grade one mother actually referred to me as “the spawn of Satan.” I was fifteen – I hadn’t even done anything awesome yet! High school was rough for me.

Given my past experience, when my adorable current boyfriend invited me to his parents’ house for Thanksgiving I was pretty nervous. I’ve never been to a guy’s family home for a major holiday before, and I wanted to make a good impression. A GREAT impression. The kind of impression that makes them happy that I live with their son. I’m not a master chef, but I do have some basic skills and the even the ability to improvise from time to time. Last year around Christmas I brought over a card and some homemade body scrub (which was kind of a flop but they were nice about it) and these Oreo cheesecake cookies I made from a recipe I found on Pinterest. Those were divine (I’m the kind of person who says divine now) so I decided to go back to the source.

If you haven’t accepted it already, Pinterest is the shit. It just is. It’s my guidebook for cleaning my act up. Even though they DO have some heinous DIY shabby chic country sorority bullshit on there, I also feel like I’m in control over my home, my body and my mind when I’m on that app. It makes adult life possible for a ne’er do well, and you can imagine how useful that is for me.

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So naturally, I turned to Pinterest when it came time to prep for Thanksgiving. I knew I wanted to make a pumpkin pie, because it’s not Thanksgiving without one. And I’m all about doing holidays right. Plus, it’s a southern staple, so I figured it would be a nice addition to their Long Island spread.

I’m not sure why I decided I needed to make the pie “from scratch,” since I’ve never done that before in my life. I was raised in a household where store-bought pie crust and filling from a can is quite fancy enough. Hell, a pre-made pie would be just fine. And James’ parents aren’t snooty either. I guess it was just one of those situations where I was being a teacher’s pet (his mom is a teacher, no pun intended though) doing extra credit even when I already had an easy A. Plus, holidays are just ridiculously important to me. I’m the girl you’ll find frantically buying packs of hot dogs on the 4th of July, dragging my friends to Central Park on a cloudy Memorial Day or flipping out about a serious lack of margarita mix on Cinco de Mayo. To put it simply, I need to chill.

Regardless, there I was in the Union Square Whole Foods two days before Thanksgiving, zigzagging between rich hipsters and trying to find nutmeg. Of course there was none, presumably because every damn Thanksgiving recipe calls for it, so I settled for this thing called “Pumpkin Pie Spice,” a combination of nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and allspice. I picked up a pie pumpkin, threw it in my tote and prayed that that day was not the day that I finally get pushed down the stairs boarding the L train, because it would have been a shame to squash that gourd (do you even see what I did there?)

I had already made a crust the night before. It was a graham cracker crust, so not made from “scratch” per se, however, it did not start out as a crust and then it became one, so I happily gave myself credit.

Making a graham cracker crust is super easy. You take 10 graham crackers (usually how many they include in a pack), crush them up, and mix it with 6 tablespoons of melted butter and 1/3 cup of sugar.

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Since I don’t have a food processor, I tried to use a regular blender to crush the crackers, which didn’t work very well. When the machine starting smelling like smoke (wtf?) I stopped and crushed the rest with a potato masher. Then I mixed in the butter and sugar (I used brown sugar because it’s what I had and it seemed just as good if not better) and pressed it into the pie plate. You can use something flat like a measuring cup to press down the center, and use your fingers around the sides.
It ended up cute and tasty looking, and I was impressed with myself. Find the full recipe for a graham cracker crust here.
Pie Crust 5
HOW CUTE, right?
Since I was going to bake the pie anyway, I didn’t need to pre-bake the crust. I just put it in the fridge overnight and came back to it the next day.
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Having made it home alive after my Whole Foods excursion, I was ready to make my pie goo. Everyone kept telling me this was the most annoying part, the most delicate process and the main reason why nobody likes making pumpkin pies from scratch. But I thought it was pretty straightforward and fun.

I got the full recipe from here. Y’all, I cannot stress the beautiful and sometimes frightening normalcy I am able to witness on these Pinterest-ass blogs. I adore them.

Essentially, you cut the pumpkin in half, and scoop out the seeds and the stringy stuff. Then you place each half on a cookie sheet “flesh-side down,” which I figured out means “round side up” even though I thought flesh and skin were the same thing and that the skin was on the outside…but ANYway…

Then you roast that shit at 325 for an hour. Once it’s done, you’re able to to pull the skin off the outside and just have the pumpkin mush, which you have to mash up really well. This is where I had a problem, because my blender was smelling like smoke, I don’t own a standing mixer or a food processor, soooo I just used a whisk. I whisked so hard n fast, and of course, no matter what it was still a little chunky. But I was like, “Whatever. It’s 10PM and I need to go to bed soon.”

I dumped in the rest of the ingredients, (eggs, milk, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice) and made the gorgeous barf-colored mixture pictured below.

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mmmm

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Above is what it looked like in the crust before I baked it. A little chunky, sure, but I was already like 80% done making my first pie ever, and it actually looked like a real pie!

So obviously I patted myself on the back way too early, failing to realize that one of the easiest ways to fuck up a baked good as an amateur is by burning it. I put the assembled pie in the oven at 325 and was planning to leave it in for another hour. But somewhere around 45 minutes I started smelling burning crust.

See, this is what I can’t deal with when it comes to ovens. They’re all different and confusing and none of the knobs make any damn sense, and you need to buy a fancy thermometer to actually know what the hell is going on in there. Plus, I’m always just afraid I’m going to fall in and permanently disfigure my face.

You’d think I’d be way too simple and anxious to even survive in a kitchen, but again, there I was, creatively navigating this potential disaster in my own stupid way. I unbent a paperclip to do the “toothpick trick” to figure out if the center of the pie was done. I moved it from bottom rack to top rack to bottom again. I changed the oven temperature. And eventually I just took it out, let it cool and hoped the damn thing would stop jiggling.

The next day, I carried the pie to work on the L train, placed it in the fridge with a big DO NOT EAT sign, then cradled it in my lap on the LIRR (with a can of whipped cream in my purse, of course.)

As it turns out,  James’ mother doesn’t even like pumpkin pie! This was awesome news! But it was a hit with the men of the household, and I fuckin’ loved it too, so that was enough for me. Plus, I think I mentioned once or twice that I MADE IT FROM SCRATCH, so I’m pretty sure I get some points for that with the whole fam.

The next week, as I was roasting the leftover pumpkin seeds, I started imagining myself as a mother, hosting my own family gatherings and feeding pie to my little babies. I had fantasized for about a minute when I smelled the pumpkin seeds starting to burn.

“Yeah,” I thought. “One thing at a time.” And I poured a glass of vodka.

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PS – This is the appropriate pie-to-whipped-cream ratio. Thanks.

 

 

“I Can’t Move My Arm!” and other things you say when having a nice adult time!

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A few Wednesdays ago, while sputtering through an afternoon at work like a car outta gas, I received one of my weekly invitation forwards from my friend Moe. Since we met six years ago, and maybe even a few months prior, my social life has been at least in part guided by the compass that is Moe’s infinite RSVP list. That is, when I’m trying to have a social life. With my just too typical full time job/full time relationship/full time couch potato combination, I’m pretty easily dissuaded from going out to bars and clubs, and have instead been drawn to daytime events that involve more of an activity, where I can (maybe) burn some calories, and give myself a new story to tell beyond “you wouldn’t believe the dumb thing I did when I was drunk!” (which, like me, is getting old). I often still end up drunk, but it’s usually now obscured by the exciting new Experience-With-A-Capital-E I’m having!

Some examples of this that you missed this summer include the following:
1. Visiting the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens
Remember flowers? I didn’t – not after this past New York winter. Cue the first warm weekend in NYC, and very crowded yet romantic outing was had for thousands.
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 Real person (not staged). Welcome to Fancy Brooklyn.

2. Showing my Mom Around New York
One great way to realize you’re not as old and lazy as you think you are is to try to take your out-of-town parents around the city. Very quickly, you realize other people don’t actually think it’s a “normal commute” to walk 6 miles every day, and before you know it you’re dragging your poor mother behind you because it would be “a shame” for her to not walk over the Williamsburg Bridge to your Greenpoint apartment, all the way from the West Village. She still knows how to have fun better than I do though. Can’t deny that.
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3. Roof Chilling
This is the point of summer in New York. Thankfully, I live in the cheapest (too expensive) apartment of a very tricked out building with rooftop views for days. In my world, this counts as doing something.

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4. A Very Martha’s Vineyard Memorial Day
My older brother has a cottage on Martha’s Vineyard where I like to go pretend to be fabulous sometimes. It’s fun to guzzle vodka cranberries all day, ride twenty miles on a bike down a busy narrow road, spend hundreds of dollars on lobster, and embarrass yourself in front of strangers you’ll never see again, all while getting to say words like “Aquinnah.” Plus there’s just something about not having money and pretending to have money that lets me feel like I’ve truly “made it.” If there were a school that taught twenty-something white kids how to be adults, they would have a class on this. Also, MV is just beautiful. One thing I don’t recommend, though, is driving up from NYC on a holiday weekend and returning 3 days later (like we did). But if you do, you simply must stop at The Lobster Pot in Wareham, MA on your way back.
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5. Attending My First Shabbat Dinner
Can you really call yourself a New Yorker until you go to one of these? I’m not a religious person, nor do I have any Jewish lineage, so the concept was pretty unfamiliar to me. James’ friend and coworker was kind enough to invite us to his weekly ritual, which involved some praying, some dank food, a lot of Kosher wine, and a lot of jokes about Billy Joel and Seinfeld. Oh, and really beautiful views of the Upper West Side. If it sounds like clichĂ©, that’s because you’re jealous.
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6. Attempting to Adopt a Dog
This was a really sad week after Memorial Day when James and I attempted to adopt this one-eyed beagle from a shelter in Staten Island but didn’t get approved because our apartment was too small. Probably for the best – it wasn’t well thought out. But it was still a very sad experience so I’m not going to post a photo of him. I’m not ready.
7. Turnt-ing up in Wrightsville Beach, NC
The classic thing I do every year with my family. Again, just more chilling, lots and lots of food, and lots of Tito’s vodka. I easily gained 10 pounds in the week we were on vacation, and only got a little sunburned. The most memorable event of the evening was when (relatively sober, mind you) I had a margarita at Tower 7 Baja Mexican Grill that immediately caused all the color to drain from my face, sending me running through the restaurant to yarf uncontrollably in the bathroom. I didn’t even make it to the toilet. I spent about 15 minutes with my arm in a stopped-up sink scooping up the puke and throwing it in the garbage can. Then I washed my hands and went and ate a plate of enchiladas. If any of the employees from Tower 7 are reading this now, I’m sorry for hogging the bathroom and leaving such a nasty mess. The margaritas were really strong, so it’s kind of both our faults. Also thanks for reading my blog, I hope you like it.
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 An Adult Beach Party

8. Trying to Grow My Own Vegetables

This is the story of how for two months, I had two beautiful baby plants named Kale and Cilantro. The cilantro died quickly because it doesn’t like rain, but the kale grew huge and beautiful like elephant ears and produced delicious salads until the evil Building Managers made us move it so they could do “landscaping” (a nicer way of saying they mowed down all the trees and greenery in the courtyard to put in a concrete patio that serves no purpose whatsoever). I put the kale in the backyard of the church next door and haven’t gone to check on it since. I have to climb a fence to get there and I’m afraid the catholics will look at me weird. Clearly, being a cool hipster grown up is super fun and I’m great at it.
9. A Very Martha’s Vineyard Fourth of July
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The Vineyard again, you say? But of course! Except this time we took a 5 hour Megabus to Boston after work, “slept” over at my brother Nate’s insanely clean apartment, and left the house at 6 the next morning to meet a group of Boston’s drunkest medical professionals and take a BOAT to the vineyard. It was beautiful ride, for the part of it that I wasn’t entirely seasick and exhausted. But we were livin’ large, so I can’t complain. Of course, on the way back, we took the $200-a-ticket Seastreak Ferry, which takes you directly from the island of Martha’s Vineyard to the island of Manhattan. What they don’t tell you is that it bounces almost the entire 4 hour ride, leaving all the noob passengers panicked and buckled over with nausea. That is, unless they were smart enough to take dramamine and fall asleep. I was not. I spent the majority of the ride escorting barfing strangers to the bathroom and listening to the Pirate’s of the Caribbean soundtrack in my headphones, laughing at what I’d gotten myself into.
10. Hitting Up Broadway
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Another thing adults do together is attend “Broadway Shows.” You see, Broadway is a long avenue in Manhattan, the middle section of which is home to giant screens with advertisements on them, every chain restaurant you could ever imagine, and lots and lots of tourists. There are also these big rooms called “theaters” where people wear costumes and dance and sing at you. Sometimes the dancing and singing is rather funny, and in rare cases the dancing and singing is funny and super offensive. One of these rare cases was Book of Mormon, the Tony Award-sweeping musical my boyfriend took me to see. A “Tony” Award is when legendary Broadway actor Tony Danza decides that your play is super good and he gives you a sticker.
11. Taking a Sober Month
Sometimes you gotta take a month to remember who you are – the less ridiculous, more real you  – so you can put your best self forward and figure out how to find strength from within. And that’s what I did, for most of July and the beginning of August, by taking a break from my summer booze binge. I guess I partly succeeded? I remembered who I was, I think, but I didn’t exactly find the strength so much as find out where I needed it. Ever tried going to a work party where everyone’s tipsy except you? To call it “unbearably awkward” would be an understatement, at least for me. More about this another time.
12. Buying a Bike
One thing I did learn from my sober month was that I, like many people, use alcohol as a way to face certain fears…and then other fears I mostly just try and avoid. Who wants be like that? One of the biggest categories of fear in my life – an umbrella of fears, if you will – is the fear that I’ll be bad at something, which has stopped me from boldly pursuing a lot of shit I’ve wanted to do. Like ride a bike in the city, for example. Hannah has an awesome bike and no one to ride it with, and I was determined by the end of the summer to accompany her out to Jacob Riis Park – on two wheels. Luckily, I happened to find the perfect bike right when I had the guts to buy one, and I rode out there with her the next day. As you can see, it was a little overwhelming for us in the heat. We took the train home, but we felt totally great about ourselves anyway.
13. Going to Cat Camp
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Remember in Clueless when Cher and Ty wore shortatards, did Buns of Steal together in Cher’s living room, and talked about the self-help books they wanted to read? And then Cher was like “we should probably do something good for mankind or the planet for a couple of hours.” Well, I think we can all agree the best stuff to do is stuff that’s fun, but that also benefits society. Which is why I felt like it was a perfect idea to go to Purina’s Cat Camp by myself during my lunch hour. I got to play with kittens while standing around and encouraging people to adopt them! It was a really beautiful experience. I never did understand why Cher didn’t care about Marky Mark planting that celebrity tree. It totally aligns with her values.
14. Making an Attempt at Climbing
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I accepted the invite (from Moe, of course) to go to Brooklyn Boulders as another attempt at fear-facing. I’ve never been a huge fan of heights, as pretty well explained in this post from last year. But I keep hearing from EVERYONE how much fun this climbing thing is, and what a great workout it is and how great it makes you feel in your body and mind. Even though I walked into BB a little nervous, I can still say that I was far too confident in my climbing ability. It’s waay harder than it looks, and there are rules that really force you to be strategic (like, each time you climb you can only use holds of the same color). I think I made it to the top…twice. And we were there for about two hours. But it was only my first time, and I did feel how gratifying the achievement was. I also got to witness my self-fulfilling anxiety in full action: the more nervous I was, the sweatier my hands became, making it even more difficult to hold on, which, of course, made me even more nervous. But it all worked out in the end. If I wasn’t on the ground watching Moe “Six-Workouts-A-Week” Dabbagh completely school me, who would have taken a picture for his Instagram?
15. Catching up With Old Friends Over Home-Cooked Meals
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I had my three-year anniversary of living in New York back in May, but no matter how used to the city life I become, I still feel my happiest when I’m in an intimate setting with a few of my closest friends. Bonus happy points if they’re from out of town. I happened to be having a tough and stressful week when I heard that my long time BFF Sarah Cousler was visiting Brooklyn from Asheville, NC. So we spent 3 days eating the delicious food she cooked, chilling out and catching up. Whatever the question in life, food and friends are the answer. Someone cross-stitch that on a pillow for me.
16. Taking My First Trip Upstate
I think the only way I can deal with living in the city is if I can get out on a semi-regular basis. On Labor Day weekend, James and I were due for a romantic outing, so we rented an upstate cottage on airbnb. Every time I reserve an airbnb I’m blown away, almost unsettled, by how easy it all is and how trusting and generous the hosts are. This effect was doubled by the fact that we had traveled to Woodstock, which is all about ~Organic/Sharing/Group/Love/Handmade/Peace/Giving~ vibes. I hiked a mountain and ate local meat and swam in a swimming hole and watched scary movies and went to bed early and slept late and was sad when I returned. I think that’s why the real Fabulous New York Adults who have houses in the Catskills drive 100 miles an hour up the interstate in order to maximize their vacay time, but we’re not quite that intense yet. Someday.
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So, I had no shortage of adult misadventures this summer, but easily the best (and dumbest) of them happened on August 22nd, at Prospect Park’s Lefrak Center. The event I was drawn to was Wolf + Lamb’s Roller Disco party, which was the invite I received from Moe that week. It seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to continue my pattern of accidentally exercising while having fun. I didn’t realize when I bought the ticket, however, that Moe had been merely suggesting the event and not confirming his attendance. That is to say, he was going to be in Mexico that weekend, and I had just bought a ticket to go roller skating for the first time in 15 years, by myself.
Luckily, I was able to convince Bradford to come along for what ended up being a very exciting and hilarious attempt at remembering how to skate – well, really, learning for the first time since I was more of a blades kid. I slalomed through tiny children while bopping to 80s music and at a certain point I started really feeling myself. I was fierce, like one of those roller derby girls. I could totally do this.
At that exact moment I was cut off by an adorable five-year-old, and when I leaned back to dodge out of the way, my legs swung up in front of me into the air, Tiny Toon Adventures style, and I caught myself with my arm outstretched. I could feel tears welling up, but I wasn’t going to actually cry. What was I, a baby? I had to keep grooving and get over myself. So I did, for another couple of hours.
It wasn’t until later that night that I realized I couldn’t bend my arm (or unbend it, for that matter) past 90 degrees. Still, I figured I was just being a weenie about it. But on the advice of my brother Nate who fear-mongers me into seeking medical attention on a regular basis, I went out and got some x-rays the following Monday.
I was examined by a young-ish orthopedist on the Upper East Side.
“Where were you roller skating?” he asked.
“Prospect Park.”
“Oh, was it the Wolf + Lamb party?”
“Uh, yeah.” I responded, somewhat surprised.
“Nice. I almost went to that party. Those guys are my friends.”
I don’t know what it was about it, but there was something that felt very off about all this. I was an adult, getting examined by another adult, because of an incident at a roller skating party he also wanted to attend. I had felt pretty ashamed for getting injured in the first place. A kid would have just dusted herself off and gotten back up, and I’d somehow landed myself in the radiography room. But could I have been too old for this behavior if a guy well out of med school was cosigning it?
I was told to wear a sling for a week, which led to some hilarious T-rex-like attempts at completing tasks around the office and some elaborate lies about how I got the injury (you didn’t know I’m into ultimate fighting?!) But it didn’t stop me from going out into the world to find the next rooftop, enjoy the rest of my summer, and continue my pattern of laughing in the face of dumb decisions.
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Could it be, then, that this is what adulthood looks like?

A Comprehensive List of Everything I Ate Thanksgiving Week

IMG_2287Celebrating Thanksgiving like a true American, in a Ralph Lauren blouse and someone’s neon hunting hat

This Thanksgiving was the first I was able to return home to Raleigh in the near three years I’ve lived in New York. I’d cleared my not so busy schedule to go down a few days early to help my dad recover from a routine surgery he was supposed to have, and when that surgery  was canceled, I had even more time to do what Thanksgiving is all about – appreciate loved ones (sure yeah whatever) AND expand my culinary and dietary horizons by eating no less than 5,000 calories a day not including alcohol.

The following is a comprehensive list of everything I consumed from Monday November 23 to Saturday November 29, 2014.

Monday: 
Airport Five Guys bacon burger with lettuce tomato and mayo and a Coke
Cobb salad from Chick Fil A with honey mustard dressing, fries with mayonnaise, ranch dipping sauce and lemonade
Cold pepperoni from the package
Two miniature red velvet cupcakes
Turkey deli meat from the package
One large vodka tonic with lime
One glass of red wine
4? 5? vodka cranberries
2 bunless Nathan’s hotdogs dipped in ranch and ketchup
1 bowl of leftover pot roast
Water

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One of the three grocery carts filled with food for my family’s 20-odd Thanksgiving guests

Tuesday:
Water
A leg and thigh of Bojangles chicken
1 Bojangles biscuit
2 glasses of sweet tea
1 glass iced coffee
1 Bojangles chicken breast
1 glass sweet tea
1 queen olive
1 pickled okra
2 grapes
1 Angry Orchard Cider
8 Cajun shrimps
1 bowl of penne vodka with three mozzarella stuffed meatballs
Spinach artichoke dip and sourdough bread
Water

IMG_2289Feast your eyes on the creamiest, tastiest spinach artichoke dip ever to grace the earth, made by me

Wednesday:
Coffee
Spinach artichoke dip and tortilla chips
Water
Massive sports bar nachos from Ruckus topped with chili, chicken, salsa, onions, olives, tomatoes, lettuce, cheddar, guacamole and sour cream.
2 Red Oak beers
Original style chicken sandwich from Cook Out
Water
4 piece nugget from Chick Fil A
More artichoke dip
Homemade cajun dirty rice
2 glasses of white wine
4 vodka cranberry sprites with raspberries

Thursday: 
Two pieces of bacon
Mimosas
One deviled egg
Brussel sprouts with mushrooms and garlic cloves
Baked mac n cheese
Green bean casserole
Squash casserole
Broccoli casserole
Turkey leg meat
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Acorn squash
Meat loaf
3 glasses of white wine
Water
1 bottle of San Pellegrino
More green bean casserole
Sarah’s Mom’s Filipino beef and noodle dish (name unknown)
Corn
Mashed potatoes
Ham
Water
1 Dr. Thunder
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Friday:
Green bean casserole
Mashed potatoes with gravy
Meatloaf
Stuffing
Squash casserole
Brussel Sprouts
Coffee
A dozen fresh Oysters on the half shell from 42nd Street Oyster Bar
Peel and eat shrimp
Raw clams
New England clam chowder
Seafood bisque
Oyster sampler: one topped with hot pimento cheese, one topped with breadcrumbs and garlic, one topped with spinach and cheese.
Scallops
Mashed potatoes
Penne pasta with poblano cream
2 martinis
1 margarita
leftover bacon
2 Tito’s Vodka grapefruits
Sapphire gin and grapefruit mixed drinks (exact number unknown)
Sapphire gin and diet cranberry ginger ale mixed drinks (exact number unknown)

IMG_2260We ordered many plates of these. I consumed a whole one on my own. 

Saturday:
Water
Coffee
1 bowl of penne and meatballs
1 bowl of green bean casserole
Half a pressed green juice
Steamed pork dumplings
Egg roll with duck sauce
General tso’s chicken (all white meat)
Pork fried rice
Water

Now, with that in mind, we must remember that there are people all over the world who are starving, who will never even see a fraction of this amount of food in a single week of their lives. Around the holidays it’s as important to share as much as you can with people in need, as it is not to take for granted the infinite holiday smorgasbord you might have access to. Appreciate the food. Make love to the food. Become one with the food. And in a small way, you will have begun to do your part. Just, if you can, try not to puke.

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Summer, “Adult” Style

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When I say “adult,” I don’t mean it in the pornographic sense, although, yes, my relationship is going well – thanks for asking! What I mean is, and I honestly didn’t realize this until recently, but this is the first summer I’ve ever really worked full time. My schedule right now is four ten-hour days a week as Front of House (a fancy name for a receptionist) at a salon in the Meatpacking district. I’ve worked there for about five months now, and the hours are perfect. It pays the bills and leaves me with weekends and Mondays to have a social life and focus on the hobby that is working towards my “real career.” Excuse the quotations, but it’s hard to take myself seriously sometimes telling the same story over and over. Do any of you ever get embarrassed in conversation with family members or new acquaintances, having to answer the questions “what do you do” and “what have you been up to,” and not knowing what to say? Trying to craft it in a way that makes it seem like you’re more focused than you really are, more on track, working more directly toward your true passions, or better yet, actually working on them? I never know how to answer it these days, but I’ve been trying not to worry. Mostly I’ve been fine-tuning my routine of working and chilling in equal amounts, spending my money wisely, eating well, exercising, having a fulfilling, healthy relationship, and getting outside as much as possible. Come to think of it, these are all things I never could seem to manage until now. I’m miles ahead of where I was three years ago when I graduated from college. Before you succeed you have to get your shit together – the world doesn’t need another wannabe Lindsay.

So what does an adult do for fun? Actually, pretty much the same stupid stuff as the kids, I guess, with the exception of the following things:
-Frequent all-nighters

-Getting wasted every night of the week

-Drinking only to get drunk

-Drinking bottom-shelf bottles and malt liquor only

-Refusing to partake in any activity that takes place before noon

-Showing up to potlucks with nothing whatsoever to contribute and eating all the food

-Shoplifting on the reg

-Showing up to work fucked up/calling out of work with a hangover

-Eating exclusively McDonald’s and Popeye’s and washing it down with the aforementioned approved beverages

-Getting in fights

-Getting in any sort of legal trouble due to excessive partying/belligerent behavior/drunk in public-ness

-Doing drugs the consequences of which you have experienced a MILLION times and should know by now do not suit your lifestyle and/or brain chemistry (for me: amphetamines, any variant of amphetamines, anything that might include amphetamines, any more than a few shroom caps, “molly” from strangers see: amphetamines.)

-Having a dirty-ass house with no groceries and no toilet paper and being kind of whatever about it

-Binge-watching Netflix for four days straight in the dark without leaving the house instead of just doing it after work like a normal person

-Total financial instability

-Not tipping your waiters/bartenders or knowing how to split a fucking check

-Regularly finding yourself in self-induced situations in which you need medical assistance and/or the assistance of your mom

-Not having a JOB or the ability to keep one

-Pretty much every single thing I’ve ever written in this blog up until this point

Maybe it was the fact that in the past seven years of my life every ounce of fun was met with an equal level of “I’m kinda afraid I might die soon, I have no money, also there are roaches all up in my house” terror. Maybe I just woke up one day, looked at the calendar and realized this shit ain’t cute anymore. Life isn’t easy. I still don’t know what the FUCK I’m doing. But now that I’ve cleaned it up a bit, it’s time to face the struggle, the real struggle of following my ambition, head-on.

I went to North Carolina for a short time recently to visit my family. The first day I had lunch with my dad and talked about comedy, then dinner with Greg and Sass and talked about astrology and cosmic gifts and art. The next morning I drove down to the beach with my mom where we met up with my older brother, his wife and their three daughters. For two days I sat in the sun, the only person in my age group, being responsible, spending time with this beautiful family, and doing nothing.

On Monday night as my plane was landing in JFK I slid open the window shade, and looking down at the lights of the city, for the first time I didn’t feel the romance of it wash over me. So much of me just wanted to turn back. There was no euphoria, no fantasy that the city would reform me into something better. I felt myself beginning to cry. I had left the comfort of my family that I hadn’t seen in months hundreds of miles behind me to land again in a world of possibility. But I knew what I didn’t know when I moved here two years ago, that all that possibility begins and ends with myself. It was all up to me now.

No one is going to save you, discover you, inspire you or tell you what to do. Coming to that realization fucking sucks. But at the end of the day, what is this all for if you’re just going to puss out at the last second? When you stop hiding behind your fuck ups and the blanket of superficiality stops making you feel secure, all that’s left is you, raw and naked, standing in the way of your future.

It’s time to put your big girl pants on.

Freeze No More

IMG_5732Everyone has their limits. As you know, I reached mine with winter about a month ago. Shortly after, from eating nothing but pasta and living off couch cushion change for weeks, I surpassed my limit with the “between job” lifestyle. Three sentences in, I am already pushing my limit for this blog post, because I’d rather be watching House of Cards. Seriously, am I the only person on earth who didn’t watch the second season in a single day? To be fair, there have been a few other things (and a few other shows) on my plate.
IMG_5561When I last Blobbed (I sometimes affectionately refer to this thing you’re reading as my Blob), I was sunning in the frozen tundra that is Martha’s Vineyard. That is, lying prostrate on a sofa and delighting my older brother with this year’s version of My Plans to Change My Life as he administered vodka cranberries into my system via central line. What in the summer is a bustling a tourist community is for all intents and purposes shut down this time of year, although we did hit up a bar on the first night complete with live island jams and some seriously drunk moms and dads. Since I majored in Drunk Senior Citizens in college they are a bit of my expertise, and I felt right at home, closing my eyes and vibing to the serious saxophone tunage. Truthfully, I was just wasted, and a weekend with a bunch of old irrelevant beach strangers was just what I’d needed after being trapped in my house for the whole month of January. That, and unlimited hot baths and sandwiches and sexting and episodes of Forensic Files. And that’s exactly what I got, plus six inches of snow, House Hunters on demand, solicited and unsolicited relationship advice, endless shit talk, and 10 hours of sleep a night. We even got a nice hike in there, which for Nate means literally running uphill through the woods. But hey, I had some calories to kill. Plus, winter in the vineyard might be the most beautifully spooky thing I’ve ever seen.
IMG_5522 IMG_5513 IMG_5540 IMG_5527 Venus went direct just in time for Mercury to slide into retrograde, so after I rode the megabus back to New York and successfully repressed the entire experience, I was prepared for things to be a little fucked up. And I was right. My computer was suddenly on the fritz, not holding a charge, shutting off in the middle of things. I was terrified and frantically backing things up when I could, certain that this was the end for my best friend. Meanwhile, servers were down all over the place. I couldn’t get burritos on Grubhub when I wanted them. The people at Chipotle were forgetting to add cheese. Okay, so most of my problems were Mexican food related, but I’m sure Susan Miller will tell you it was all fucking Mercury’s fault.

The day after I returned, I met up with Reid and a few others for a “night on the town,” which according my version of Winter Nightlife meant drinking at my apartment until 1, stumbling and grumbling over snow piles on the way to the bar where I’d nurse a cocktail for 2 hours and do a bunch of poppers, before hopping in a cab home that was clearly out of my budget. On this particular night, I calculated that I would need four 24 ounce Coronas to get the party started, so by the end I was a complete and total mess in the head a la 2011-2012 (without the assaults, arrests or afterhours). I was asleep by 3:30 and spent the rest of the next 24 hours shivering and shitting and feeling sorry for myself. Was nearly 100 ounces of beer, two double gin and tonics and a bottle of poppers suddenly TOO MUCH for me to handle? Had I gone soft in my old age? Or had I simply been putting up with hangovers of this magnitude for the last five-plus years of my life and could no longer choose to accept it? This is why I can really only fuck with Tito’s vodka. I don’t even think it gets you drunk I mean it’s basically Evian. 5 out of 5 doctor’s recommend it! Or was that judges and rehab? Gotcha.


In a spectacularly romantic gesture a few weeks prior, my significant other had bought me a plane ticket to come spend Valentine’s weekend with him before I started my new job. Because I hadn’t quite been sufficiently depressed and sex deprived enough in the frigid weeks since I’d last seen him, mother nature decided to bring another fuckface of a blizzard our way just before my departure. What would I do if this flight was cancelled? I missed him so much. And I thought about it and I’d tried but I just could not masturbate anymore. I called JetBlue to take proactive measures at switching to better flight times, asking all kinds of questions and begging for advice and using words like “tarmac.” Ultimately I decided to take a gamble and keep my original flight for the morning after the last day of snow, and somehow managed to depart and arrive on time. 

In Chapel Hill I encountered the expected level of collective dismay when my crop of local bff’s all realized my time was spoken for by the boy who’d brought me there, and every moment that I was not [insert disgusting sex act here] I felt really bad about not being able to see them. That being said, I also had delicious meals, intimate moments, eye contact and body contact with the person I love, so I wasn’t exactly overcome with sadness. That Saturday, in accordance with my NormCore boyfriend’s plans, I got to see a side of Chapel Hill I’d never seen before, one that is familiar to almost all of its other students and alumn: Frat Life. I even saw a sport on TV. I won’t say they were the highlights of my weekend, but they certainly made me feel one with the people. I was like Frank Underwood at that Civil War reenactment. I wasn’t really about it, but I admired their conviction.
IMG_5913By Sunday the bae and I had to say our goodbyes. I was headed back to Brooklyn once again, this time to do actual “work” and make “money” so I could “live.” What a total drag. Before my flight my mother met us at the Starbucks in the lobby of the airport to say hello and goodbye to me and be introduced to my new partner for the first time. First we had the pleasure of telling her we met on fucking Twitter. Then she asked him how he was doing handling “all of this,” and pointed at me. “She can be kind of a lot.” I would have been upset had I not known her for 24 years and thus been absolutely certain she was complimenting me in her own way.

As I walked through security in mismatched socks covered in my boyfriend’s roommate’s dog’s hair, I dreaded going back to New York. I knew I’d miss my boyfriend, but was it more than that? I hadn’t wanted to be there for a while, but I didn’t know what I was running from either. Responsibility? Chasing the dream? Watching Forensic Files alone?

As I stepped into my snow-stained uggs at the end of the TSA line, I was not a sorority girl, not yet a woman. But I was glad that, at the very least, I had someone to eat burritos with on Skype.