On Living a Simpler Life

Growing up I was sold on the dream that having a library like this..

…And a closet like this…

…Or this…

…equates happiness. At the core of this is the idea that if we are able to give ourselves all of the options to choose from, we can then be truly happy. It’s this idea of freedom and independence that ‘Murica is built on. So how can we go wrong?

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The Sangria-Off

The Sangria-Off

I take my birthdays pretty seriously. So seriously, they can actually be pretty stressful in the weeks leading up. I am always torn between wanting to surround myself with as many people who I love as possible, and wanting to spend meaningful time with each and every one of them. I have tried to solve this dilemma in the past by taking my birthday celebrations to the next level. A couple of years ago, I organized a linocut crafternoon, where everyone learned how to create  a linocut print. I gathered all of the materials, set up work stations, instructed everyone, and also put together an awesome taco bar (with immense help from J, of course). The next year I organized a ceramics painting crafternoon. Unfortunately, I was too wiped out afterwards to get around to writing a blog post…. But for that party I also purchased the supplies — Pebeo porcelain paints, a variety of ceramics, paintbrushes, etc. — and spent the afternoon painting with some of my best friends. J and I also perfected an incredible pork belly bao recipe, which we served in a massive, excellent make-your-own-bao bar. Add that to the list of belated blog posts…

This year, instead of a crafternoon, I decided to get people involved with a potluck of sorts. I put together a Sangria-off, where everyone was asked to bring a pitcher of homemade sangria to enter into a blind tasting competition. There were scorecards. There were awards. There was a homemade photo booth! And of course, there was a TON of food.

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I fought the grind and…

Besides my work with The Smudgery and my upcoming foray into graduate school, my current full-time job is as an administrative assistant. It’s not particularly glamorous, but it’s in a field that I’m really interested. Also, I harbor somewhat secret dreams that maybe I will be that one administrator who believed in someone and that support changed the course of this person’s life. It’s really the product of too many sensational underdog movies, but you can never underestimate the power of a kind word and an act of support.

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Show up, anyway. You could fall in love.

I talked with a friend the other day about her experience in an intensive nursing program while also working full time. Between her clinical hours and her work, she spent seven days a week in a hospital — working. She told me that yes, it was hard, but every day she was so inspired by each of her classes and by her professors. Being in class was her favorite thing to do, and applying her learning to her practice was absolutely fulfilling. She thought, “Wow! This is what it means to love what you do.” It’s not that it was easy, but the love she had for it provided a renewing source of energy and passion.

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Spring updates

Hello, it’s been a while. I’m sorry, this blog moved to the backburner for a bit.

I spent most of January applying for grad school, which was a lot more difficult than I expected. Mostly because personal statements are kind of awful, second only to cover letters, networking events, and standardized tests.

Anyway, that was done and I ran off to Austin, Texas with some friends. I plan to write about that and post photos of all of the food we consumed (spoiler: tons of brisket) but that will have to wait. It was lovely to get away from the New York cold, though. It hit mid-80s while I was in Austin which was just heavenly.

Valentine’s day popped up shortly afterward and I spent a weekend with visiting friends and ate more food.

My mom visited at the beginning of March and it was so wonderful to spend time with her. She was only here for four days but (a) she couldn’t have come at a better time and (b) a mother-daughter excursion was long overdue.

I also heard back from grad school and was accepted! So that will start in the Fall. More on that another time, but lawd what a whirlwind.

Work has been crazy every since the semester started. I also caught the flu and everything has been chaos.

Two weeks ago I moved back to Queens from the East Village. So many thoughts and my life is still halfway packed into boxes but everything is beginning to settle and I am so content.

I don’t even have the words to describe the last few months but they have been friend-filled, emotion-filled, and I feel like I’ve been constantly on the run to keep up with life. There have also been forced moments of self-care and attempts at getting enough sleep. I’ve been throwing everything I’ve got at the last few months in order to maintain some semblance of control, but I’m mostly just flying by the seat of my pants.

So many wonderful things, and on top of that the weather is starting to warm up (FINALLY.). I hope this weekend I can catch a break and really write things down before it gets lost in the everyday.

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On being the person you love and loving who you are

The Amateur Everything


Some nights dinner consists of boxed mac and cheese, frozen vegetables, and whatever leftover meat is in the fridge. But sometimes those same nights are the ones when you finally submit your last graduate school application, go to yoga with a friend you haven’t seen in months, submit your FAFSA, and make exciting travel plans. I also put stamps on all of my thank you cards to family members that I will mail out tomorrow (I am notoriously bad at sending punctual thank yous!). So maybe my dinner didn’t knock my night out of the park, but I can definitely say that I spent my time doing things that nourish the soul.

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Snow Day 2015!

New York City was hit with its first real snow of this season, causing general panic and, happily, a day off from work! Monday had started off particularly brutal. It marked the start of a full five-day week (last week we had Monday off for MLK day) as well as the first day of the Spring semester. The copy machine decided to throw tantrums all morning, clearly upset over the sudden increase in demand from faculty and students. I felt similarly, but did not have the liberty of refusing service and instead spent much of my day elbow-deep in the copy machine, prying bits of paper from its clutches while also juggling the onslaught of questions, demands, and general confusion that arise on the first day of school.

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An Amateur New Year

This winter I went home to California for two straight weeks. Like the obsessive planner that I am, I made a Google doc spreadsheet to make sure that my holiday time was optimally maximized for seeing family and friends, eating incredible food, and restoring my body from the brutal end-of-year work dump.

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