New Yorkers Say the Darndest Things

in conversation 2

“Did you hear that guy? How do you think he knew I was Catholic”

“Probably your sweater.”

 

“Ugh do you know where the convent house is? I’m running late.”

“Do you mean the…Covenant house? Because if you’re looking for the convent you may be on the wrong side of town.”

 

“Am I going to call in to work on my day off? Seriously? I have more important things going on in my life. Like I need to figure out what’s going on with Walt and Jesse.”

 

“It’s not mean if you don’t say it to their face.”

 

“Ugh, I didn’t get that email. Maybe it went to my junk [mailbox]…”

“Speaking of Mandy’s junk, have you seen this picture!?”

 

“Why do ‘some’ girls take so long to get ready? I’m not saying you, because look at you. But why do others?”

 

“If you’re going to break the rules, break all the rules”

Project: Help Mandy Pick a Fall Jacket

I have the epitome of first world problems: I need a new fall jacket and don’t know where to begin. According to the local meteorologist’s weekend forecast, the cool weather is finally here to stay. With the combination of the [sad] fact I’m not in college anymore (see ya around, Northface Denali) and the [kind of cool, literally] fact that with my new job, I’ll be doing a lot of walking outside, I need to have something stylish to sport outdoors for the new season. There are a lot of trends out there right now: boyfriend pea coats, oversized parka, leather-infused military styles… so many are viable options. I picked a few of my top contenders below. Any thoughts/advice are welcomed. What’s your go-to outerwear look for the fall?

Fall Jacket Picks

Urban Hipster Style

Soooo I start a new job today! It’s basically a glorified version of my old job, only for a new brand targeting a youthful, hip demographic. I’m so lucky and excited to be doing a job I enjoy, with some kick-ass people, in the city I love. Here’s a Polyvore (I’m a little obsessed) showcasing some of the looks I’m hoping to rock in my first few weeks, now that wearing jeans and fashionable pieces is not permissible, but encouraged.

Urban Hipster

A Summer in New Rochelle

As I’ve mentioned only a million times prior, I spent the better part of the past four months in Southeast Westchester. I’ve definitely had my ups and downs there (not enough lunch options, I tell you), but overall, I’m glad I was able to spend a significant potion of my summer outside of New York City. From the gorgeous views of the Long Island Sound, to having a coffee shop that knows my name and order when I walk through the door, I’ll definitely miss this weird little city and all of the adventures it brought me. Thanks for an unexpectedly good time, New Rochelle.
New Roc 3New Roc 2

To Gen Y, With Love

Some really dumb things have been making their rounds on the internet lately about Generation Y. Specifically, this load of horsesh*t. If I read another sentence on how lowering my expectations is going to make me happier, I’ll wad all of my massive expectations up in a ball of duct tape and chuck it at the next Baby Boomer that passes me on the street. Millennials have no work ethic, set unrealistic expectations, mistakenly believe they can “have it all”, take too many selfies, blah, blah, blah. As a member of this generation, I feel it’s my duty to get in on some of this.

The resounding theme in the aforementioned article explains how our blind ambition does not align with our vast inexperience. Technically speaking, maybe that’s correct. Many of my associates have been working in my industry and/or with my company for over a decade longer than me. Just as I don’t discredit their loyalty, don’t discredit my drive and willingness to apply the knowledge I acquired from my [expensive!] education. Shouldn’t companies foster new ideas and relish at the opportunity for adding fresh perspectives to their team? On a related note, why shouldn’t we be compensated accordingly for contributing new industry knowledge and innovative POVs? It’s actually offensive to assume that after digging ourselves into trenches of debt and serving as active employees that we wouldn’t be rewarded in normal (yet competitive) entry-level compensation. To suggest that we’re too eager for our own good and don’t deserve even that is a disservice to everyone.

On average, Americans today will have six career changes throughout the course of their lives. COUNT EM – SIX. Both of my parents are hardworking individuals who have dedicated decades of their lives to their respective careers. They both serve as excellent examples of hard workers, and I feel that from them, I know firsthand how much blood, sweat and tears are valued in a professional environment. I’m all for putting in that hard work; I’ve had three unpaid internships, worked my way through college at a job where I was paid minimum wage and as a result, am now five digits in debt. I know that isn’t exactly “hard knock life” worthy stuff, but my parents didn’t do any of that. Let’s just acknowledge that things change over time. Dinosaurs, land lines, iOS 6, 25 to life jobs: they’re all relics of yesteryear at this point. I will continue to put in that hard work, but it will most likely be with a few different organizations throughout my career. This circles back around to why our education — and honing those transferable life skills — is overlooked by our predecessors. We know how to adapt, to learn, to teach, to grow. And if we stay in one place for too long that can’t stimulate that kind of development, we move.

Lastly, establishing the perfectly envious social media life isn’t always our endgame. It’s hardly our fault Twitter and Instagram are our generation’s drive-in movies and getting pinned. We pass our time in ways that makes us feel gratified and successful, so sue us. Making comparisons and establishing healthy competition is only human, and while maybe we could stand to spend less time in front of something who doesn’t have a brightness adjust button, a lot of the times we use these tools for good and not evil. If you haven’t already checked these out, here’s some words that prove our generation isn’t so horrible:

Here’s to us, Gen Y. We’re educated, socially conscious, politically in-tune and entrepreneurial. We’re passionate, awkward, witty and kind. We’re not afraid to stand up for what we believe in, or make a change when we need to. We live, laugh, and love fully and with abandon. And we rightly believe that we will leave the world better than we found it. We’re a bunch of ambitious fools, and there’s nothing wrong with it.

But maybe we should lay off the selfies.

Have what you want, because Beyonce does.

Well, hellloooo!

I recently read something that spoke to me: I think ‘having it all’ is a phrase I don’t particularly like. You need to have what you want. […] As women, we should be able to decide what we want, how we want it, and [how we] get there. That means it won’t be perfect, there will be mistakes, but that’s fine; that’s human. ‘All’ should be a determination of what we want, not what somebody else or society says.

Close; not Sheryl Sandberg. Christine Quinn. Either way, I’ve had a busy summer. I’ll detail the highlights in a later post, but I have been doing some research *cough* reading Lean In *cough* and it got me thinking about the aforementioned “having it all.”

You can't sit with us. Oh, wait
You can’t sit with us. Oh, wait..

I am fully aware that this is a phrase most commonly associated with professional women (sometimes men) figuring out how to balance family life with work life. Because I’m nowhere near that milestone, but I AM super-selfish and have to make everything about me, that’s not how I’m interpreting it. Instead, I’ve related it to how I’ve been pretty much overwhelmed with work on work on work on commuting on work and classes and hanging out and traveling and writing and reading and catching up on the entire Breaking Bad series and subsisting almost totally on takeout and oh, what’s that you’re saying, Pinterest?

Beyonce

Yes, that is a huge reality-flavored slap in the face to any human, because IT’S RIGHT. As if I even have to further explain, Beyonce does A LOT. But she also has a lot of help. She has Jay to help her with Baby Blue, her girlfriends Solange, Michelle and Kelly to vent to when she needs a break from the family, and let’s not even act for one second like Tina isn’t all over/up in Bey’s biz, scheduling her every second of every day. [I’m exploring a world where Beyonce solely hangs out with her sister, and Destiny’s Child is still together — just go with it.] But seriously, Beyonce has help. Beyonce prioritizes. From the outside, sure, Beyonce “has it all”. Maybe she does. Or maybe she does what she can, with what she has (a lot more than most of us have, but hey, no judgement).

In hindsight, when feeling down about yourself multitasking, jumping in bed with Beyonce comparisons isn’t a road I would recommend going down too far. HOWEVER, if Beyonce can be a world superstar/wife/singer/fierce dancer/mom/superhuman sometimes all in the same day, I can surely balance a job (which I am fortunate enough to have and actually love), some classes (they’re good for me, after all), some volunteering (that’s good for others), a dash of socializing (every now and then) and make a valid attempt to clean up and regularly maintain this blog. I make no promises, but for now, HEY WORDPRESS HEY, I’ve missed you!

Even in the land where I’ve magically mastered all of these things, I wouldn’t be close to “having it all.” But Quinn made  a valid point. All of the aforementioned are the parts of my life I prioritize. Realistic goals I’ve set. Things I want. I can’t “have it all” by anyone else’s standards, but maybe I don’t want to. I’d like to focus on what I can do — which is make the best choices for myself, and someday I WILL have what I WANT.

And because I can’t resist a hilarious, empowering woman (what’s a feminist?), we’ll end on a relatable Nora Ephron quote: It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications. It will not be anything like what you think it will be like, but surprises are good for you. And don’t be frightened: you can always change your mind.

A Case of the 23s

“Um, I’m 23.”
“Ohhh, I’m sorry.”
That exchange happened today.

“Damnnn white girl, back dat ass UP.”
So did that. I digress…

Today was a bad day. I broke out into hives around 1:30am last night and woke up every hour on the hour after passing out around 2am. At 6am, I thought it was time to get up so I hopped out of bed and started getting ready. Twenty minutes of makeup and number-crunching in my head, I realized I didn’t need to be up until 7am, so I took a cat-nap and frantically re-awoke around 7:45am. I managed to pull myself together and was two trains into my commute when I whipped out today’s amNewYork. The entire paper was less than stellar, which was gravely disappointing, but it wasn’t until I saw my daily horoscope rating of a 6/10, that I knew I was in for trouble.

I have been reverse commuting a few days a week for the past two weeks to a lovely small town I like to call New RocHELLe. In efforts to not make the description longer than need-be, it hasn’t been awesome. Every day gets a little better, but the work I’m doing almost feels like an entirely new job and the additional commute is honestly treacherous (P.S. I’m up to three unintentional Taylor Swift song references so far, if anyone’s counting).

I get to work and blah, blah, blah. *Cue almost mental breakdown* I go to lunch. I call my mom and complain. I come back to work and have a real mental break down. *Cue embarrassing crying session at the new job* It gets a little better. I call my mom on my way home and have yet another mental breakdown. I travel home. I make dinner. I receive encouraging text messages from my boss. *Cue ugly-crying* *Cue calling mom* *Cue ugly-crying about my boss’ niceness to my mom* I work-out, it relieves some endorphins and I come to my senses about all the crying. I come home and blog. The end.

Excerpt from my last cry-session with my mom:
“WHY AM I SO EMOTIONAL RIGHT NOW?”
“I don’t know, we all have those days. Are you on your period?”
“NO.”
“Are you still….getting that?”

That was my mom indirectly asking me if I was pregnant MID-BREAKDOWN, MIND YOU. Like I said, It was a bad day.

As you may have noticed, nothing of extreme importance happened today, but it was MY BRAIN/BODY’S INHERENT MISSION to make sure I had a terrible time doing all of it. I had no control over my emotions, and nothing pisses me off more than A) lack of control and B) having emotions. Why was I so miserable when nothing was actually wrong? Why was I completely hysterical all day and WHAT PART OF MYSELF allowed CRYING in the workplace?? The only sensical answer: I had a contracted a case of the 23s.

Against common belief, 23 is NOT that age BETWEEN the time you’re young and crazy and the time you’re old and wise–it is the age you are BOTH. At 23, you almost constantly tell your 30-year-old friends, “your skin looks great!” while mumbling under your breath, “for a 30-year-old.” At 23, you hang out with your friends who just graduated college, and think, “a 40+ hour work-week is going to slap some sense into that lazy idiot.” At 23, you look at your peers who are married and with children and think, “I couldn’t imagine being with one person for the rest of my life.” At 23, you see someone who brings a different person home each weekend and wonder, “how many STDs must that guy have by now?!” At 23, if you are anything like me, you are hard-working, a little judgmental and mind-numbingly afraid that any small decision you make might impact the big-picture of your life. At 23, it might; but it also might at 32, at 45, or at 71.

What was wrong with me today? I cannot directly answer that question. Was it because I forgot my coffee in my apartment upon leaving for work? Or because yesterday was my best friend’s one-year wedding anniversary while my latest hookup was in a hallway of a piano bar with a Fios salesman? Or because I’m 23 and if life had gone my way, I would have been the world first Popette (female pope, duh) by 25? I can’t rightly answer the question. I do however, know deep down that my 23ness is both the problem and the solution.

I am 23, but I am also ONLY 23. I don’t have it figured out just yet, and I can only hope that with some more time, I will. I am only 23, and I live a pretty good life. I have a fantastic job with an amazing mom who puts up with my 35 phone calls of hysterical crying-fits per day, a pretty cool boss who at the very least pretends to care about my well-being and some amazing friends who never hesitate to lend a shoulder to cry on–even from three time zones away. Some days, being a 23-year-old girl creeps up on you, and being a 23-year-old girl just plain sucks. But as long as what the LGBT community tells me holds some truth, it gets better.

Yes, and…

I am at a crossroads in life, once again. In some ways, we are always at a crossroads. But, when the decisions require a little more effort than Subway vs. Chipotle, I become a little anxiety-prone and have to ask every person I know for advice. (And speaking of the great Subway vs. Chipotle debate of last week, my apologies to the customers I was polling on that…on the off-chance any of you read this blog.)

In addition to making this “Great Decision of 2012” (as we’ll now refer to this cryptic possible turning point of my life), I have also been thinking, for whatever reason (because I think too much) about the improv philosophy of “Yes, and…” while drawing parallels between it and life. For those of you who don’t know anything about life the world of improv comedy, the “Yes, and…” principle refers to when an improvee (improvist?) vocalizes a decision onstage, his fellow improvitutes are to follow suit and add something if they don’t like the direction the skit is heading, and never, ever, ever shut the original improvonaut down.

An Example:

Ron: This warm, starry night would be perfect for cow-tipping!

Leslie: Yes, and we would get to visit Lil’ Sebastion’s parents on the farm, too.

Ron: Yes, and we haven’t gotten to see them since that miniature horse’s sad passing.

Leslie: Yes, and I can’t believe that happened. Thinking about it now is making me tear up.

Ron: Yes, and that only happens to me when I think about Jerry’s life.

Something like that, I think. (I’m no improvonaut.) My purposed thesis to question the practicality of applying this philosophy in real life decisions. One of my coworkers has told me this is one of the reasons that lead to his long and successful career. First, he never had a boss whose name was not on the door of the store he was working in–which, this idea is already out the door for me as I have no idea who the original JoAnn or Mr. Sears is/was? And secondly, anytime his manager said, “Ken, would you like to move to Austin to open this store?” or, “We’d love you bring you to Los Angeles to head up the new sales team,” his response was, “Yes, and when would you like me there?” He believes that one of the best things about being young, strong-willed and unattached is that the wind can blow you anyway it chooses…and that you should let it.

The Great Decision of 2012 (both my thing and the presidential election) could have a big impact on the world my personal life. I’ve done the pro and con list, googled “decision maker” and typed my question in to an online magic 8 ball, talked both of my mom’s ears off AND cried on the subway like nine times. I’m ready for a big change in one very important area of my life, but not ready to change another equally important area of my life. I could see things working out very well for me in both scenarios, and I also could see a swirling black hole of unhappiness and regret in both decisions. Basically, I do not know what to do and have exhausted each and every option of advice I can get except to translate this mess of a situation into a  confusing, cryptic mass of words and employ strangers blog-reading friends on the internet to have at it. So…GO!

In [Mandy’s] Great Decision of 2012 (NOT the presidential election, just to clarify), Mandy should:

  1. Trust the way her gut is kiiiind of leaning, which is the little bit easier and more comfortable decision, even though she could possibly not get what she wants out of other aspects of her life for some time.
  2. Trust the way her brain is kiiiind of leaning, which requires more effort, but she thinks is a stepping stone in the right direction, although she will kind of feel like a failure in other aspects of life for choosing this.
  3. I have no effing idea what any of this even meaaaans, it is all too cryptic and confusing for my brain!!! (Editor’s note: for the record, this would probably be my pick)
  4. Yes, and Mandy needs some wine.
  5. Yes, and I need some wine.
  6. Obama?

20 Things to do in your 20’s

If you actually talk to me on a regular basis in real life (as opposed to internet life), then we’ve most likely had the “the year after college is the craziest year everrr” conversation. If not, then let me tell you–the first year after you graduate college really is a pivotal year in your life. You’re going to find out a lot about who you are and what you want out of life. Many people move back in with their parents and realize they are comfortable with the life they have lead in their respective hometown and plan to stay there for a while. Others get married and begin to share a life with someone else. Some people move as far away from home as they possibly can, and begin to really explore being independent. Many people will realize they hate what they went to school for and want to pursue another degree in something different. For others, their life will become their job. For some, their relationship will become their life. There are many things I’m leaving out, but you get the point–you begin to really explore who you are outside of the planned comfort of what was to be your life up until this age. The rest is what you make it.

I’ve compiled a list (can you tell I like making lists?) of 20 things I think every 20-something should do during this decade of life (IMO). I think it’s actually really good, so you should probably do them all.

  1. Learn how to live by yourself. Learn how to run a dishwasher, change the oil in your car, and assemble a bed frame from Ikea. You don’t actually have to live by yourself to do this, but there’s a good chance that sometime in the next 70 years of your life you will in fact be living by yourself, and I think it’s more socially acceptable to accidentally add bleach to your red load at 23 than at 83.
  2. Move somewhere that you haven’t lived yet. This could be drastic or not. You could move to a different city or country–or you could move out from your parents’ basement. You learn a lot about yourself by getting out of your comfort zone.
  3. Learn how to change a spare tire. That is, if you live somewhere you drive a car. If not, learn how to shoot a gun. If not that either, I don’t know, learn how to change a diaper. Basically, just learn how to do something that will feed your confidence and make you feel a little more self-sufficient.
  4. Stay awake all night & watch the sunrise. Self-explanatory, no?
  5. Learn how to be financially independent. Because there is no greater feeling in the world than being able to support yourself.
  6. Know how to stick to a budget. Create a monthly budget and stick to it. Know where your money is going, and if there are any things you can cut out of your day-to-day life (so you can start saving).
  7. Start saving, if you can. This is apparently important down the road. If you have the resources, open that 401k now. It’s an investment in your future (so I’m told).
  8. Make peace with old feuds from your past. It can be done verbally, or just in your own mind. Moving on comes with maturity, and now is the time to forgive and forget the things that typically don’t matter anymore in your present life.
  9. Appreciate your family. This is imperative. Look back on all of the times your parents were right–it was all the time. No one has as much of a vested interest in you as your parents (usually), so listen to their advice. They raised you, so they know how to do at least one thing right (usually).
  10. Be in a real relationship. Introduce someone to your parents. Sleep over at his or her house/apartment for days on end. Pick fights about money and have amazing makeup sex. Learn the feeling of committing yourself to one person, and maybe the feeling of getting your heart broken–or breaking someone else’s.
  11. Go on lots of dates. Go on all of those really fun, exciting dates that no one would be caught dead on after they’re 30.
  12. Have a lot of sex. Buy a position-a-day calendar and actually do it. Have hate sex, breakup sex, ‘I love you’ sex, ‘thanks for buying me chocolate ice cream’ sex, drunken sex, morning sex, phone sex, reunion sex, maybe even some bad sex. Have one partner or many (just use protection!). Also (yes, I’m going to say it), have an orgasm. I’m talking to you, ladies. ‘Nuff said.
  13. Think about settling down. You don’t have to do it! But think about it. Think about the characteristics you want in a partner. Write them down and settle for no less. You shouldn’t be forced into settling for anything less than what you want/deserve, especially when it comes to matters as permanent as marriage and kids. But, start to know what you’re looking for so when you find it, you can actively pursue.
  14. Know that trial and error in the job world is a valid strategy. If you hate what you’re doing, do something else. Lather, rinse, repeat.
  15. Put yourself out there at least once a day. Ask someone on a date. Take charge of a project at work. Ask for a raise. You never get ahead in the game without challenging yourself, and you never know if you don’t ask.
  16. Continue your education. Maybe this means going to college, trade school, grad school or medical school. Maybe this means reading the paper each morning. Whatever your personal take, never use “but I’ve already graduated high school/college/etc.” as an excuse to stop learning.
  17. Keep in touch with your friends. It’s really hard when your friends are spread out throughout the United States, but strive to do this. If my grandma kept in touch with a friend who lived 6 states away her entire life without the help of texting or the internet, there’s really no excuse that we can’t stay in touch in 2012.
  18. Figure out exactly what you believe in and practice that faith. Do some online research. Read the Bible. Read the Qur’an. Go to Temple. Go to Mass. Sooner or later, your grandparents are going to get sick, and having a solid backing of faith really will put your mind at ease.
  19. Appreciate your body. It might not be perfect, but your body isn’t going to get any better than what it is right now, so why not enjoy it?
  20. Be happy. Everyday, just do whatever it is that makes you happy. Because life is too short to be anything else

Fashionable Friday on Saturday: Shopping Etiquette

Instead of boring you with public apologies every time I’m either blogging something too late or just don’t do it entirely, I’m going to say I’m sorry right now, for every time this happens in the future. Truth is, while blogging is not hard, and most of the things I blog about aren’t exactly complex–the time it takes to draw an opinion and sit down at my computer to write about it, well–that can be taxing and frankly, sometimes I just need to sleep instead. Basically, I can’t blog about all the cool things I do in New York if I don’t have the time to do them. Most simply, I want to enjoy life, and promise to blog about it when I have time. Moving on…

There’s been more awards shows and I want to blog about the dress and tux choices made there in my notorious fashionably late fashion, but today I had a better idea. [It’s not really about “fashion,” per say, but I work in retail and retail is fashion, so by association, I say this counts.] A lot of times, customers can be the greatest, nicest people and absolutely make your day. But other times, as many a sales associate will probably agree, they can be such racist/sexist/rude/lazy douchebags, that you want to grab the pointiest hanger you can find and stab them in the jugular until they bleed. It’s really not hard to be a respectful shopper, people. Today I compiled a list of the most annoying things a customer can do whilst shopping (IMO):

  • Shopping with your headphones on: Don’t rudely refuse to take off your headphones when entering a store that provides its own music for your shopping pleasure. Especially don’t shop with your headphones blaring vulgar music so loud that anyone within a 10 foot radius around you can here precisely what is being sung and/or rapped. Even more especially, don’t join in with said singing and/or rapping to your vulgar loud music. This is my biggest pet peeve because you are literally being inconsiderate to everyone around you. Shopping is a social experience, and even if you do not need the assistance of a sales associate, you should still appreciate and respect the atmosphere of the store you are visiting.
  •  “Hiding” things you want to buy in places they don’t belong: Put it on hold for God’s sake. Or better yet, buy it now and return it later if you really want to. Hiding the clearance Cole Haan shoes under my sweater rounder is not stealthy, so don’t expect them to be there when you come back 20 minutes later. Use some muscle and carry them around with you. OR save us both the hassle and just seriously put them on hold.
  • Saying “I’m just looking” as a response to anything: “Hi, how are you today?” “I’m just looking!” “Wow, I love that jacket you’re trying on.” “I’m just looking!” “There is a hungry-looking dinosaur lurking around the athletic apparel a few rounders over”  “I’m just looking!” I get it, you don’t want to be bothered, but at least GREET the dinosaur. Otherwise, that’s just plain rude.
  • People who “know their size”: I’m talking to you Mr. 160 pound 5’9″ guy ripping apart the size 17 dress shirts. Just admit that you haven’t a clue what your neck measurements are and we both can win.
  • People who don’t know their size: Guys, your pant size is your waist measurement. Your shirt size is your neck measurement. If you don’t know, ask. We can at least narrow you down to a few options. Taking back 19 pairs of dress pants ranging from a size 32 to a 42 HAS to be more embarrassing for you. And also, how do you go through life seriously not knowing what size jeans you wear? YOU ARE WEARING JEANS RIGHT NOW. LOOK AT THE SIZE.
  • Hanger neglect: Hangers need love too. Try on anything you want, just please put it back on its respective hanger when you’re done. It takes literally one second. Hangers are cool: they are super lightweight, make things easier to look at and can trip people if you leave them on the floor. I’m not asking that you marry the hanger, but at least respect it.

There has to be at least one million other things I am forgetting, but these were the few that popped into my head while dealing with servicing some super cool peeps today. Full disclosure, I am not the best sales associate in the world and sometimes I let my “spicy Italian” (yes, like the Subway sub) side get jabs in when people act like monsters. But overall, I try to not. Just like overall, the things on my list aren’t the worst things a human could do. Most of the things on my list actually deal with consumer/shopper ignorance and people might not even realize its rude. But it is. Retail associates (just like waiters and taxi drivers and anyone else in the service industry) are people. And on behalf of people, I ask that next time you are interacting with other people, try not to be an asshole.

Hugs and kittens, everyone :D