Mid-Year Travel Recap

Though the year has already a fair share of ups and downs, I’ve had the good fortune to be able to do a bit of traveling in 2017. I visited Las Vegas and Mexico for work, and Los Angeles and Ohio for play. I have a few more trips on deck for this year – including my biggest/furthest away trip to date – that I’m really looking forward to as well. Leave it to the one year I didn’t make a New Year’s resolution to travel more that I actually travel more. I digress…

Here are my 2017 travel superlatives to date:

  • Location with the brightest lights: Vegas
  • My favorite trip/city: long weekend in Venice/Santa Monica
  • Most impromptu weekend: home to Ohio
  • Hottest work escapade: 8 days in Cancun
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Finding (and Forcing) Humanity during an Election Season

The polarizing climate of this election cycle isn’t lost on anyone. Every four years we encounter a strange and finite period of time when social media posts cause in-depth arguments, family dinners turn even more hostile, and a third of the office stops socializing with Jerry from two cubes down until after the holidays. This year, the force feels stronger. The tension is palpable, figurative and literal political correctness has been tossed aside, and our imperfections as humans have reared their ugly heads.

We all have our beliefs; America was founded on them. Living in a country rooted in disagreement and fighting for what we believe in, we have tenacity in our blood. As a nation, this made us free. As people, this makes us passionate. But deep down, every person who has ever existed, from Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, is filled with both passions and faults, which is important to keep top of mind.

Our life experiences alter our views on humanity. Taught to forgive, but not forget, we bring these experiences — dressed as memories or ghosts — with us on our journey. Edmund Wilson once said, “No two persons ever read the same book,” because as humans with unique pasts, we interpret words, ideas and behaviors quite differently. It’s a simple enough perspective, but often not at the forefront of our minds — especially when engaging in the often-frustrating conversations that come to light in a high-anxiety environment like an election year.

With varying religious beliefs, levels of education, races, sexes, and economic classes (amongst others) dividing us, it makes sense that we have different values. We live differently, receive different treatment, and like different things. But what makes us different also makes us great. After all, the freedom to live and love and express ourselves how we want is something to be celebrated.

That said, it can be hard. Logging on to Facebook and seeing someone you love spreading ignorance is hard. Reading an uneducated retweet by a person you professionally respect is hard. And have you ever read a comment section that didn’t make you want to throw your phone out of a window? It’s easier to perpetuate hate behind the security of a screen, but often, it gets even more personal. Engaging in debates can be eye-opening, but only if both sides truly express a certain level of open-mindedness. Taking the form of awkward conversations, hateful speech and/or protests, it can be tough to move past these experiences, especially when it involves someone you like outside of a political context.

The bottom line is — we are imperfect people living in a world of gray. The blacks and whites live only in our minds, and as much as it’s in our nature to fight, it is also in our nature to love.

So, as a friendly reminder as we enter this last week of polarizing campaigns and overall political chaos (it’s probably far from over, but we can hope), love your neighbor — whoever he is — even if it’s hard. Remember that we have more in common than we have different. As Michael Che brilliantly said on last night’s SNL, “No matter who wins this election, we can’t let political parties and the media divide us, okay? We’re not different; we’re all the same….We all own a sweater that we never wear but we’ll never throw away. We all have that one line of a dumb song we don’t even like stuck in our heads for days at a time. We all say, ‘You too!’ when our deli guy says, ‘Have a good show, man’ and then walk away mumbling to ourselves like, ‘Why am I so stupid?’ It’s because we’re all the same. Who cares if we can’t agree on global warming or religion? It doesn’t matter, because someday, we’re all going to drown and burn in hell together.”

As essential as it is to vote (It’s important! Do it!), it’s more essential to be nice. Going into this week, please remember Ellen’s infamous phrase, “Be kind to one another.” We are all imperfect humans, the world will continue to turn after Tuesday, and as a country — a United one— we’ll figure the rest out when it comes.

Initially posted on Medium.

A Summer in Chicago

So – I guess I get why they say Chicago summers are the best. I moved here at the end of June, life unfolded almost instantly, and here I am, mid-October, feeling perhaps the most settled I’ve felt since my junior year of high school (which was over A DECADE ago, by the way. Where has the time gone?). While saying I don’t miss New York would be a lie, my time in Chicago feels very purposeful on a personal level, and now that I’ve had a chance to get my bearings in this new-to-me city, I’m excited to dive in, do work, and see where I land. All of that, and then also visit New York the first chance I get (see you next weekend, NY pals!).

Since we haven’t caught up in a while (How are YOU? Coffee soon!), here’s a visual peek at some of the things I’ve been up to over the past few months, in my life back in the Midwest.

What I’m Watching: ’16-17

I’m jumping on board a little later in the game this year, but fellow television addicts, we’ve arrived! With the first day of autumn also comes booties, leather jackets, “harvest” scented candles (whatever that’s supposed to smell like), PSL overload, college football, and network premiere week 2016! We’re already fairly deep into this season’s pilots and returning series’ premieres, but like I’ve discussed before, in today’s state of television, there are no hard starts and stops of a traditional TV season. Traditional doesn’t really even exist any more. Things that used to be unicorns (good summer shows, binge releases, online-only content, etc.) are now common place in the landscape of surplus programming as we’ve come to know it. Sunday’s Emmys even delivered! Who knew!

fall tv lineup

Traditionally for this post, I’ve written a small blurb about each new show I’m excited about, and then catalog each returning show I regularly watch. But because I like keeping my readers on their toes (and I watch entirely too much television), we’re going to try something new this year. By network, I’ve assembled a list of everything I am currently watching/trying to keep up with/excited to begin watching this year. For distinction, I’m bolding the few new shows I think are worth giving a shot. As long as times permits, I plan to give a mini-review a few episodes in of each new program I watch, so stay tuned for that. But for now, behold my 2016-17 television to-do list:

ABC

  • Designated Survivor: New series, premiered Wednesday, September 21
  • Modern Family: Season 8 premiered Wednesday, September 21

AMAZON PRIME

  • Transparent: Season 3 premieres Friday, September 23

AMC

  • Better Call Saul: Season 3 premiere TBD Spring 2017

COMEDY CENTRAL

  • Broad City: Season 4 premiere TBD Spring 2017
  • Drunk History: Season 4 premieres Tuesday, September 27
  • Inside Amy Schumer: Season 5 premiere TBD Spring 2017

THE CW

  • Jane the Virgin: Season 3 premieres Monday, October 17

DISNEY

  • Girl Meets World: Season 3 currently airing

FOX

  • The Last Man on Earth: Season 3 premieres Sunday, September 25
  • Making History: New series, premiere TBD 2017
  • New Girl: Season 6 premiered Tuesday, September 20

FREEFORM

  • The Fosters: Season 4B premiere TBD

FX

  • The Americans: Season 5 premiere TBD Spring 2017
  • Atlanta: New series, premiered Tuesday, September 6
  • Better Things: New series, premiered Thursday, September 8

HULU

  • Casual: Season 3 premiere TBD Spring 2017
  • Difficult People: Season 2 just wrapped
  • The Mindy Project: Season 5 premieres on Tuesday, October 4

HBO

  • Girls: Season 6 (final season) premiere TBD Spring 2017
  • Divorce: New series, premieres Wednesday, October 9
  • High Maintenance: New to HBO, premiered Friday, September 16
  • Last Week Tonight: Season 3 currently airing
  • The Leftovers: Season 3 (final season) premiere TBD Spring 2017
  • Veep: Season 6 premiere TBD Spring 2017

NBC

  • This is Us: New series, premiered Tuesday, September 20

NETFLIX

  • Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life: four new telefilms premieres Friday, November 25
  • Grace and Frankie: Season 3 premiere TBD Spring 2017
  • Jessica Jones: Season 2 premieres Friday, September 30
  • Master of None: Season 2 premiere TBD April 2017
  • Narcos: Season 2 premiered Friday, September 2
  • Orange is the New Black: Season 5 premiere TBD Summer 2017
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season 3 premiere TBD Spring 2017

SHOWTIME

  • Masters of Sex: Season 4 premiered Sunday, September 11

TBS

  • Full Frontal: Season 1B premiered Monday, September 12

 

To summarize:

A) I watch and/or attempt to keep up with a lot of television, I know.

B) There’s a lot more I am interested in watching (i.e. Viceland shows, more late night and news programs, etc.), and there are likely some shows I’m committed to watching that in good faith I should weed out (i.e. Modern Family, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Girl Meets World, etc.) — but a huge part of what I love about television is the seriality of it. It’s a commitment, and I try my best to honor that, especially when beginning a new program.

C) Almost half of what I’m looking forward to watching doesn’t even premiere until Spring 2017 – which just further enforces the lack of timeliness in television release timelines. I don’t know about you, but I think I’ll have enough on my plate up until then.

On second thought, rumor has it these Chicago winters are BAD. What do you think – did I leave anything out? What do you have on your TV must watch list this year?

 

Money Diary: a week in the life of Funemployment

A new friend and I were recently bonding over our obsession with Refinery29’s Money Diary series, which chronicles the a week in the life of different people with various jobs on a specified salary. It’s an slice of life view on spending habits from a variety of budgets (or lack thereof).

As I’m currently living the #funemployed life (in Chicago – remember, I moved!), I thought it could be a fun (and completely terrifying) way to give a little more insight (than I usually like to give on a public domain) about how I’ve been spending my time money here so far. Keep in mind, Chicago summers are allegedly the most fun season in the city/it’s a brand new place for me/this includes a holiday/any other disclaimers that I should be naming to give me a little break of the judgement I feel forthcoming. Cool? Cool. So – here’s a week in the life, according to my bank account. (Also, I rounded. Sue me.)

IMG_8596

Monday:

This happened to be a Monday which was also the fourth of July. Being new to the city, I justified spending a little more than I should have would have normally on a Groupon for unlimited food and beverages on a rooftop overlooking a Cubs game with new friends. No regrets. – $69

And then there were further post-game drinks. Mild regrets. – $12

 

Tuesday:

Real talk: I woke up considering placing a $25 Postmates order for McDonalds breakfast (the delivery would have been $8 so I had to make it worth it), but my roommate was kind enough to bring me an Egg McMuffin meal on her way back to the apartment in the morning. – $6 (which I still owe her)

I finally called one of the companies I have student loans with and paid an upfront forbearance fee to postpone payments for a few months while I work out this I-have-no-income situation. – $50

Met up with new friends for dinner and a drink at an (obviously) new-to-me seafood joint in our neighborhood.-  $35

 

Wednesday:

Ate all meals at home and no money was spent, much to my bank account’s delight. – $0

 

Thursday:

I traveled downtown for a networking coffee meet-up. I bought both of our drinks and it cost probably half of what it would have been in New York. Minor win. – $6

 

Friday

Our wifi at the apartment went out, and since this week wasn’t as productive as I would have liked on the job-hunt scene, I planted myself at a coffee shop for three hours, slowly sipped at an iced Americano and applied to jobs like it was no one’s business. – $5

After the coffee-shop, I hauled myself over to a grocery store and purchased groceries and other necessary items for the next two weeks. (Can we all say a quick prayer for these groceries to last two weeks? After all, a self-actualized grocery addict is still an addict.) – $70

 

Saturday

A large iced coffee from Dunkin was necessary in the late morning/early afternoon, as the following activity required some brainpower. – $1

A few months ago, a friend purchased a Groupon for a group of four’s admission into PanIQ room – which is a live escape game where your teammates have an hour to solve puzzles where the ultimate idea is to escape the room. Ours happened to be mob themed, and it was absolutely a blast. – $0, as it was c/o a friend

After we escaped the room (we escaped!), we deemed celebratory margaritas and insanely delicious nachos were in order. – $35

A few drinks later, we decided to walk up from West Loop to River North, where a friend of a friend was with was hosting a wine & snacks night at her apartment. I picked up a bottle of red (I don’t drink white) on the way. – $10

The night ended at a River North club with a glass of water because #fiscallyresponsible, or at least, I’m trying. A friend and I split an Uber home. I told her to split it with me but she didn’t. – $0

 

Sunday

This afternoon was spent checking out the Lincoln Park Zoo and a nearby rooftop with a killer view the park, lake and skyline. The zoo was free and I was treated to the post-zoo snacks. – $0

After receiving a notification that my Ventra card funds were low, I reloaded some money onto it for transportation home and hopefully covering the next week or two. – $20

 

Weekly total: $319

Verdict: Man am I enjoying Chicago.

Where Everybody Knows your Name

A week ago, my friend and I traveled to Boston for a quick weekend getaway. Neither of us being native New Englanders, we had never visited before and were eager to knock the city off of our bucket lists before the real tourist season starts (it apparently ramps up in May). I tried my hand at airbnb-ing for the first time, sipped beers at the bar my favorite TV show is based on, and channeled my Elle Woods alter ego for a few days. As it always goes for me, it was great to spend a few days in a city less chaotic than NYC, and I especially loved the charm of Cambridge. From Harvard to Fenway, I found Boston delightful and would certainly love to visit again someday – especially as it’s only a four-hour bus trip (or super fast plane ride, if you’re the non-poor type) away. Here’s a few pictorial highlights of our visit:

Currently: a Monday evening perspective

HI THERE, HOW ARE THINGS? Life lately = yeeesh. It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these (or one of anything on here) so let’s touch base. Regroup. Circle back. Er, I mean catch up. It’s only Monday evening (when I wrote this) and I’m already exhausted. I’d say “what a week!” but it’s been a day. I DIGRESS.

Park pond

Currently, (as I navigate my at Monday evening), I am…

Listening to: A Spotify playlist I made featuring all the songs on Will Arnett’s horrible Netflix original series called Flaked. The show will make you upset with Venice and friendship and humanity (in a totally not worth it way) but the music will make you moody and solemn and deep (in the best way!), so do that instead.

Eating: I just finished an “open-faced grilled cheese sandwich.” AKA I microwaved a slab of brie on an english muffin, and I’m trying to make myself feel okay about it. Other people my age have families of five and I’m still cooking at a junior-high level but THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.

Sipping on: A glass of pinot noir. Always. I mean obviously not always, but you know, sometimes. We’re getting into the most uncomfortable time of the year for red-wine connoisseurs, btw – when the rising outside temperatures make ordering a malbec or shiraz socially uncomfortable. But be bold, lovers of the dark-colored grape, and do not let those rosé or *shivers* chardonnay drinkers cramp your style. For if it truly gets too warm out to think about sipping on a red, there’s always our good friend whiskey on the rocks.

Feeling good about: This past weekend. I helped coordinate an alumni happy hour AND I organized a donut crawl, which is exactly what it sounds like (a bar crawl of donut shops). Both were occasions to catch up with people who I’ve spent too long not seeing, and it was so good to socialize and spend some time exploring new places in the city which I too often (literally daily) take for granted.

Reading: Finishing up Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance and starting Pamela Ryckman’s Stiletto Network for book club (#oneNewYearsResolutiondown).

Missing: My long-distance family and friends. And Whitney Houston, always.

Terrified of: Spiders. Job stuff. Strangers/being followed. Walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I’m with you. You know, the normal things to be terrified of.

Excited about: OH I REBRANDED MY WEBSITE. In a time when I actually have 1,000,000+ other things I should be working on in my spare time, I decided to move full speed ahead with the website rebrand I’ve been thinking about for a year on the blog I update maybe once every other month at most. Anyways, it’s still a bit of a work in progress, but I chose the name Uptown Moxie because:

a) I’m no longer the little girl I was when I moved to the big apple five years ago, and even though ‘uptown’ is specific to where I live curently, I like being a little more expansive with my geo-referencing. Just perhaps I won’t live in New York for the rest of my blogging days. Just perhaps.

b) I have always lived Uptown, and I’m basically Christie Brinkley

c) I liked and have used the word Moxie plenty of times before Allison Williams named her dog. But for the record I died a million times when she got/named that adorable pup.

cp

With that, I’m at the end of my feelings and also at the end of my wine glass. I hope you like the rebrand and that you’ll stick around to hear my ramblings, however many months apart I may post them. Xo.

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