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

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.)

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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.

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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.

P.S. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Another one.

The start of another year always makes for a nice touch-base on the blog. It’s no coincidence that the past two weeks I’ve been “vacationing” in the midwest so I’ve had ample time to reflect back on the previous 12 months and rekindle my flame for writing. Let’s call it a temporary resurgence while I wind myself back into the norm of juggling the everyday chaos city-life loves to provide.

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Looking back on 2015’s top-of-the-year post, last year’s supposed mantra was adventure. That didn’t really pan out the way I thought it would. I think a more appropriate theme would have been personal growth, and overall, I am at peace with how it and I evolved throughout the given 12 months.

In 2015 I…

  • Made a conscious effort to work out more often and eat cleaner.
  • Saw some kickass theatre.
  • Saw some kickass comedy.
  • Had three job interviews with the company of my dreams. After the first interview went poorly [for a position I was ultimately not offered], I drank a good amount of Jameson Black Barrel and was sure I forever lost my chance to get a foot in the door. Two months later, I started working for said company in a department and position which much better aligned with my long-term career goals.
  • Dealt with a thing over the summer that was awful and painful and taught me yet another life lesson about letting go.
  • Spent a relaxing long weekend in LA and a chaotic long weekend in DC .
  • Watched five of my closest friends marry their soul mates at five beautiful weddings.
  • Decided I’m content not being married right now.
  • Traveled to Ohio seven times in five months.
  • Saw one of my favorite musicians live, for the first time. Also, another first, attended a concert by myself.
  • Hiked a mountain in the Hudson Valley and climbed a ski slope in Stratton, Vermont.
  • Cooked and ate vegan food on Thanksgiving.
  • Got glasses.
  • Finally saw Tina Fey and Amy Poehler together in person.
  • Made my first business trip to Miami.
  • Won my fantasy football league championship. (#humblebrag)
  • Spent time with aunts, uncles, and cousins I rarely get to see over the holidays.
  • Danced myself into 2016 with my closest friends.

2015 was a year I said Yes more. It was a year I took chances. I told people how I felt, spent a lot of money on things and trips that felt right to me and realized I don’t regret any time I put myself out there. 2015 was good to me — I’d say I’m lucky, but these days I feel pretty confident that we create our own karma, happiness, success, or what have you.

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I sense that 2016 will be amazing and tough. I have a lot of work to do professionally, and I’ve set some high goals for myself on a personal level. I anticipate more reading, writing, music, travel and work. I look forward to another challenging year of saying Yes, focusing on wellness, and keeping in better touch with my friends and family. Aside of maintaining all of that, here are a few additional personal (and random) resolutions I’ve set:

  1. Teach myself to play guitar.
  2. Learn conversational Spanish.
  3. Join a book club.
  4. Travel to the Pacific Northwest.

I’ve already sunk my teeth into some of these and am very much looking forward to tackling 2016 head-on. What are you planning to take on in 2016? Any resolutions as out there as mine?

Let’s conquer the world this year. Anyone with me?

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What I’m Watching: Fall 2016 edition

Well, well, well. Here we are again, new primetime season. It feels like just yesterday we were talking about A to Z (RIP), Marry Me (RIP), and the final seasons of Parks and Rec (RIP) and Parenthood (super RIP). Yes, NBC did slay my soul last season. Although original content distribution platforms and timetables are ever-evolving, it’s still safe to say television amps up the in the fall. Every September+ brings a fresh batch of new shows to get pumped about and returning favorites to mark your calendars for.

A few important notes before I get to the meat and potatoes:

a) As you may know, I gravitate toward comedies. I’ve been weaning myself into more dramas lately with goodies like Breaking Bad (re-watching), American Crime (still working on but loving so far!), The Wire (watched because I liked American Crime and Amy Poehler told me to), and The Americans (also really great). People don’t actually consider Orange is the New Black a drama right? I digress…

b) This year’s new shows are really laser-focusing on that 90’s-obsessed Gen Y and Millennial audience. (Note: that’s me and yes, I am listening.) I see you throwing these actors from decades past in my face. Looking at you Rob Lowe, John Stamos, Fred Savage, all ya’ll Muppets, NPH, Jamie Lee Curtis, I COULD GO ON. But here’s the deal: it’s one thing to entice an audience – and an entirely different thing to keep them around. Like everyone else raised with Beanie Babies and water beds, I tuned into Girl Meets World (#respect), and it was apparent Disney brand-slapped Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel hard. I realize rolling beloved actors into brand new characters is an entirely different feat, but don’t stake your campaign/show entirely around talent. Here’s to hoping the writers and producers of these new series also do their homework so that some of these new players (especially on networks) build some audiences who stick around.

c) This season is TOUGH. With hardly any returning favorites and new series I’m only slightly intrigued by, I’m a little less than enthused with what’s on the table. This summer set a lot of high standards for programming (OITNB, Difficult People, Wet Hot American Summer, The Fosters, Mr. Robot, probably a lot more I’m forgetting), so maybe that’s what makes falling into the fall a littler scarier this time around.

Now with all of that out in the open, here’s what I am most looking forward to tuning into over the next few months. [All times listed in ET, the only timezone that matters ;)]

fall tv lineup

Brand spankin’ new content:

  • Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris (NBC): The network god (NBC) and its vastly talented holy spirt triple threat (NPH) is are attempting to bring back the variety show format to primetime television. For as much street cred and punch as NPH can pack, I’m not quite sure if an audience will stick the landing. Regardless, I’m there for the ride. Premiered September 15th and will continue airing on Tuesdays at 10pm
  • Life in Pieces (CBS): I don’t know that the world needs a new Modern Family (mostly because the original is still holding up just fine), but I’m curious to see CBS’s supposedly “edgier” twist on “authentic” family humor told through chopped up vignettes. Premieres on Monday, September 21 at 8:30pm
  • Blindspot (NBC): While the premise (a memory-less tattoo-mapped girl winds up in a bag in Times Square) is a little hokey, NBC has been doing their darndest to push this show and I could stand to get in on an action-based thriller. Premieres Monday, September 21 at 10pm
  • The Muppets (ABC): I mean, I think we’re all curious. And as a single adult woman, I would love to live in a world where “did you see what happened on last night’s Muppets?!” is an acceptable and interesting first-date topic. Please grant my wishes, ABC! Premieres Tuesday, September 22 at 8pm
  • Scream Queens (Fox): Scream Queens to Fox feels like Blindspot to NYC. Couldn’t be more different re: premise (SQ= Lots of lady-power helmed by JLC that’s purposely silly-scary, put on by the makers of Glee and American Horror Story), but there’s just so. much. promotion. Did you guys know I work in marketing? So yeah, I’ll check it out. Premieres Tuesday, September 22 at 8pm
  • Grandfathered (Fox): My conscience knows this isn’t going to be an older Jesse Katsopolis (just wait for Fuller House, Mandy!), but even after all the greek yogurt commercials, I will still follow John Stamos around like a lost puppy. Premieres Tuesday, September 29th at 8pm
  • The Grinder (Fox): I welcome back Rob Lowe and Fred Savage to my television set with open arms in this weird, impractical, lawyer-centric story line. Premieres Tuesday, September 29th at 8:30pm
  • Wicked City (ABC): True Detective for network? But it’s with Chuck Bass and set on the 1982 Sunset Strip with a focus on serial murders. Enough buzzwords for me to at least give it a shot. Premieres Tuesday, October 27th at 10pm
  • Master of None (Netflix): Aziz Ansari’s new series about a New York actor (loosely based on himself who, as he puts it, “[is] in his early 30s, he has good friends, and realizes, ‘Oh shit, I’m an adult now.’” Aziz is a hilarious genius, and if this show remotely resembles his previous work (Parks and Recreation, his book Modern Love, his standup in general), I’ll likely be a huge fan. Premieres Friday, November 6

Oldies but goodies (aka returning, and some revised, favorites):

  • The Mindy Project (Hulu): Premiered September 15th
  • Modern Family (ABC): Season seven premiers Wednesday, September 23 at 9pm
  • Jane the Virgin (The CW): Season two premieres Monday, October 12
  • Transparent (Amazon): Season two premieres Friday, December 4
  • New Girl (Fox): Season five premiere date TBD

What else am I missing? Because I truly am always looking for more reasons to skip the gym.

In the grasp of dusk and summer

With summer winding down (or “over,” if you view the world from the Labor Day = autumn calendar), I thought I’d catch us all up to speed from the past season. Real talk: the past few months been challenging, to say the least. Things happened: amazing things, utterly terrifying things, I-have-to-nurse-myself-to-sleep-with-a-bottle-of-wine-if-I-want-to-get-any-shut-eye-tonight type of things. All of them. But we’ve (almost) made it to a new season, so you know it couldn’t have ended up all that bad.

For myself and strangely enough a number of my very close friends, seismically insane occurrences happened in the recent months. But I choose no longer to dwell on the happenings-that-must-not-be-named. Perseverance, determination and plain old instincts of survival got us (mostly) through. I’d like to instead reflect on some of the good things that happened over the course of my summer in the city. As it’s easy to forget the simple pleasures of day-to-day life when you’re going through a tough time, it’s so important to not. Often it’s the little things that add up to the big things, and I personally think those are what ultimately save you. So without further ado, here are my top 10 favorite things I did over the past few months that helped me rise above the hellstorm that was the summer of 2015. (Note: I’m focusing on events that happened in the city, even though my real favorite moments were likely any time I got away. New York, I love you, but summers are tough.)

My top 10 favorite happenings from the summer of 2015 in the city:

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10. The first GOP Debate on Fox. I couldn’t not include the most tuned-in election event that’s ever been. Not to mention this week’s workout schedule has been meticulously planned around debate numero dos. (Tonight on CNN for any interested parties, Happy hour at 6/Trump-show at 8 ET)

9. Finally catching a Yankees game. It had been a long time coming, so I was thrilled to finally cross this off my bucket list this summer. Also: the ticket was only $13. PLUS they happened to be playing the Cleveland WINdians. And Cle won. Winning all around!

8. Any time spent at the beach. Because summer without a beach is no summer at all.

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7. Finally paying attention to The Cloisters. At long last, I ventured up to the castle filled with art residing in my backyard! And regardless of where you live in this city, you too should make the trek; it’s worth at least one visit.

6. Birthday Times Square madness. A few months back I crafted this wild idea about a chain restaurant bar crawl in Times Square, and lucky for me, I have an amazing group of friends who indulged me in this silly endeavor.

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5. Seeing Hamilton. By the grace of The Good Lord Almighty in heaven, I was blessed with a chance to see this force of theatrical magic for less than $500. I’ll just leave you with this for a review: everything the critics say about it is true. Run, don’t walk, to catch Mr. Lin Manuel rock rap your socks off and completely change your perception of what theatre can say and do for a community (hint: it’s much more than entertain).

4. Any time spent on a rooftop. Because summer without a rooftop (many rooftops!) is no summer at all.

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3. The 17th Annual Del Close Marathon. A how-to post is in the works for next year, but this was the year I hardcore DCM’d it up. (DCM is a nonstop weekend-long improv festival, for those who don’t know. I obviously have not and will not pick up long-distance running any time in the near future.) This year’s experience entailed hours (14! 14 hours!) of waiting in the pouring rain with total strangers who – by the end of the weekend – became extensions of myself, some of the best comedy blocks I’ve seen to date in this city, and the most impossible question I’ve ever pondered: Marry, bop, kill: Ben Schwartz, Adam Pally, Zach Woods.

2. Surprise taping(s) of The Ellen Show at 30 Rock. One of the best things about NYC is the randomness that ensues when you let the city take you for a journey. A friend and I went for a late-afternoon walk/break from work and wound up in the audience for two shows (the second in VIP!) of Ellen that were taping in midtown. The whole experience was the best kind of whirlwind (Ellen! Hillary Clinton! A P!nk set!), and a great overall reminder that sometimes in life, the most awesome and random shit is waiting for you – right around the corner.

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1. Accepting The Job. Oh yeah, that little thing that happened at the forefront of the season. Early this summer, I was offered a position with the company I moved to New York (now over 4 years ago) with ambitions of working for. Currently a few months in, I still pinch myself daily. Although I am not yet in my dream role (Do I know my dream role? Does anybody?), this happening was a pretty big deal to me and I am very much looking forward to seeing what can blossom out of this opportunity.

So summer of 2015, I bid adieu to you; you have definitely been one for the books. And fall of 2015, you ain’t seen nothing yet. (You literally ain’t – seven more days!) And I know, at the very least, there’s a handful of us waiting with bated breath.