The Best Days

Blogtember day two is almost over, but I’m getting this post up before bed! Today’s topic is the ideal day. Today was pretty stellar because I went to my first grad lecture – although the 90 minute commute either way was less than perfect.

My ideal day would begin without an alarm.

Brunch with my lovely friends would be involved.

Ideally this would be happening on an island, but I’m not picky.

If I’m home, seeing a show in Manhattan would definitely be at the top of my ideal day activity list – one of the many joys of living in New Jersey is access to New York theatre.

I wouldn’t say no to a margarita…or a plate of tacos.

The prettiest part of this day would be captured for Instagram & my wittiest commentary will likely end up on twitter.

At the end of the day I like to brainstorm writing ideas, or take some quiet time to read and let inspiration strike.

Speaking of the end of the day, I’m sleepy! Can’t wait to catch up on everyone’s posts tomorrow!

xo

Blogtember Day 1 – Hi Friends!

I get really enthusiastic about September first. Probably because I also get really enthusiastic about going to school, wearing scarves, eating all the pumpkin flavored things, and breaking out Christmas Pandora stations. This September, I’m participating in Brave Love Blog’s (braveloveblog.com) Blogtember Challenge – so I’ll be writing every day this month! Day one is about introductions, so here are ten random facts about me…

  1. My first graduate class is tomorrow evening! I’m super excited to start the MPH program and hope to work in health education in under-served communities one day.
  2. I have an unhealthy obsession with Hallmark channel original Christmas movies. The cheesier the better, obviously, preferably with a guardian angel or elf involved in a life-changing epiphany.
  3. If I say no to macaroni and cheese, please alert someone to make sure I’m not dying.
  4. I took French in high school even though Spanish would’ve been SO MUCH more logical. Oh well. I should probably invest in Rosetta Stone.
  5. Feminism. I’m about it. #yesallwomen #pizzarollsnotgenderrolls
  6. Chipped nail polish gives me anxiety. So do birds. And crowded parking lots.
  7. I live in a constant cycle of wanting to cut off all of my hair, doing it, and then wishing it would grow out long enough to cut off again. I’ve donated hair 3 times, so some good was done in the world thanks to my ambivalence.
  8. I could spend irrational amounts of time and money at any bookstore.
  9. I’ve become one of those people who gets a pounding headache when I don’t drink enough coffee.
  10. Hashtags and emojis are the best part of social media, even though Apple STILL hasn’t given me a much-needed unicorn. #SLACKERS

Can’t wait to meet more of the bloggers out there & hear the stories they have to share!!

xo

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall”

I live in a beach town and I’m encountering a lot of people who are sad about summer coming to an end. Since I live here all the time I happen to be very excited to not be stuck in an hour of traffic when I try to go anywhere. I also adore fall. Give me a PSL, a chunky scarf, and Mariah Carey holiday Pandora, and I will be the happiest of all campers. When the leaves change it feels like anything can happen, so in no particular order, here are the reasons I can’t wait for summer to end:

  1. I’m going back to school! One year fully immersed in the “real world” was more than enough, so one week from today, I will begin graduate classes in public health! I’ll still be working full time and commuting, but I can’t wait to take classes again, make new connections…and even write papers! School supply shopping is also my favorite. I committed to a planner that comes with stickers and fancy gel pens, because I am an adult. 
  2. I just bought my tickets to the Broadway revival of Spring Awakening and I AM SHAKING WITH ANTICIPATION. This production features both deaf and hearing actors, incorporating sign language into the choreography. It will be stunning, emotional, and I am beyond ready to cry for two hours. Is it September 13th yet????
  3. Sweaters. I like sundresses as much as the next basic bitch, but my sweater collection is much, much larger than my summer wardrobe. Winter clothes are just so much more comfortable. End of story.
  4. It’s more acceptable to Netflix binge on Sunday. In the summer there’s constant plans of going to the beach, or doing some other outdoorsy activity on the weekend. When Sunday is your only day off sometimes you want to sit around doing literally nothing for a few hours – and in October people won’t judge you as hard for chasing that dream.
  5. Winter food. I really like soup…and mac & cheese…and anything in a crock pot. Those things just taste better when you’re wearing fluffy socks and it’s cold outside.

Good Luck to everyone going back to school, and power to those of you grinding away at the nine to five lifestyle all year long.

xo

Required Reading for Life

Searching for the perfect planner has lead me to several bookstores over the past week. I have not yet found ‘the one’, as a year-long commitment with a piece of stationary is no joke. However, the tables of summer reading books kept catching my eye. Since I haven’t received a summer reading assignment in quite a few years, I thought I would make my own little list of books everyone should read as a member of society, but probably weren’t tested on in school.

  1. Les Miserables. I read an abridged version that removed the chapters on the Parisian sewer system, but it was great (and still over 1200 pages) anyway. It took me months to finish, and is packed with spiritual references, so if that isn’t your thing…I would recommend reading it anyway. Reason being that it’s still relevant even though the original publication was way back in 1862. Living in poverty still sucks, women still turn to sex work when other options fall apart, children are still being abandoned, and young idealists still – and will always – want to change the world.e Also, Marius Pontmercy is one of the greatest literary characters of all time, and I have no time for you if you disagree.
  2. The Joy Luck Club. This was actually a required reading for me in high school, which I have read several times over. Mother-daughter relationships, generational and cultural barriers, and the beautiful, conversational prose are highlights. Speaking of highlights, my copy is filled with them, marking my favorite quotes/60% of the pages. I low-key want to get a swan feather tattooed on my body forever because of opening passage, but understand that it may be too basic for even me.
  3. A Place at the Table. I remember reading a review a couple years ago, and adding it to the list of books I wanted to read. Destiny put a copy in the bargain books section of Barnes & Noble, where I secured my new favorite for just $4.98.  Racial discrimination, homophobia, and various issues of identity, love, and acceptance are addressed. It may not be a traditional beach read, but that’s where I read the first half. I laughed, and of course, cried.
  4. The Goldfinch. Another one that took me several months to finish but was worth every moment. In case you haven’t caught a theme here, I’m a sucker for a good coming-of-age saga, and that’s just what this is. A young boy loses his mother in a tragic accident at an art museum and spends the following 30 or so years coping and hiding the fact that he took a tiny, famous painting from the scene. I’m also a sucker for New York high society, and there’s also a healthy dose of that. 10/10, would recommend.
  5. Anything by Judy Blume, but particularly Just as Long as We’re Together. Pure nostalgia, teen angst with a backdrop of 1980’s small-town America, and groundbreaking themes that kids today have no idea were scandalous in another life. SO GOOD. Thanks Judy, you’re the greatest.

There ya go! Love yourself & read a book that’ll give you a lot of feelings.

xo

and how to survive, there’s no written guidelines

They warned me that the first year after graduation would be hard. Other people are successful: secure jobs, new apartments, and beautiful shoes. I’m back at home.

I’m very lucky in that I’ve always gotten along well with my parents. My mom was THAT mom, who drove me to school every morning and picked me up every afternoon, who never missed a class trip, who always made sure my PB&J was cut into a heart, and who put a hot dinner on the table every night. Then, when I was about 16 everything changed. Her memory had been poor for a long time, but we thought the absent-mindedness about the little things wasn’t a major cause for concern. We thought how easily she got tired was from a lack of exercise. By the time we finally got a diagnosis, the damage had been done. Multiple Sclerosis had already taken her ability to endure, to remember my college major, and even to empathize. It’s a nasty, progressive disease. I dealt with the repercussions for the tail end of high school and then left for college. I would call home every night and repeat myself 5 times over the course of a few minutes because she tried to care about how I was doing but couldn’t recall events from one day to the next. Or the names of my new friends, or what I was learning in class, or what I got on that paper I was so excited to talk about. It sucked. But I only had to face it on a few weekends, holidays, and phone calls.

Now I’m in her house, and it’s really, really hard. It’s hard to see people who have moms who can walk the boardwalk with them without having to maneuver a heavy power scooter, it’s hard to see moms who write heartfelt messages about their daughter’s accomplishments on Facebook, and it’s hard to know that I should appreciate the fact that I have a mom who gave it all for so much of my life, but who just can’t do it anymore. I was so fortunate to have a supermom during my childhood, but I wish that same woman were here for me now. She gets around with a walker and a scooter, she tells me she’s glad that I’m back home, and I know it could be way worse.

One of the lessons I’ve learned over the past year is that it’s okay to feel bad. The fact that it could be worse doesn’t invalidate that the situation you’re in causes you pain. Don’t wait to go to the mall with your mom, or take her out to lunch, or just sit on the porch and talk with her. You never know when those moments can change forever. Appreciate everything, and take lessons wherever you can. I hear these things build character.

xo

Title: How to Return Home, Kerrigan-Lowdermilk, which encompasses my emotions perfectly 

on waiting

Patience is a virtue that I do not possess.

I leave exams and immediately consult my notes for those answers of which I was unsure.

I listen to Christmas music in September, and read the last page of the book first.

I wake up in the middle of the night and check my e-mail to see if that important person I contacted may have replied at 3 AM.

I pace, and write, and draw to try to ease the suffocating feelingĀ of waiting for answers.

Did I get the job?

What letter will be written at the top of my essay?

How many likes will this picture get on Instagram?

When will I be good enough?

Smart enough?

Pretty enough?

Can I make my dreams come true?

I guess you’ll just have to wait to see.

xo

A stranger with your door key, explaining that I’m just visitingĀ 

This weekend I binge watched Chasing Life on Netflix. There’s an episode where this guy who’s dying of cancer talks about how it sucks to not attend your own funeral. So his friends from a support group spring him from the hospital and throw him a funeral, complete with flowers, eulogies, and an a Capella tribute. To everyone’s shock, I cried. 

Seriously though, how cool would it be to get to be a part of your own funeral?  I’ve been to far too many wakes and funerals for someone my age, so I’m used to the quiet rooms, soft prayers, and relived memories. If I die tomorrow, these would be the essentials for my last party. 

  • Index cards. We played this game at my sister’s bridal shower where all of her friends and family wrote down their favorite memory with her & she guessed who wrote each story. I would NEVER be above a touching eulogy, but if I have any say in my final send-off, this game will be played. That way every person is forced to remember something positive/funny/uplifting, and happy tears > sad tears.
  • Music. If there isn’t an a Capella group, I want a playlist heavy on Celine Dion, with some Christmas music thrown in for good measure, because it can always be the most wonderful time of the year.
  • Tequila. Everyone will get a margarita when they enter the funeral home, with the recommendation that they say “cheers, bitch” in the general direction of my coffin. 
  • Patterned pillows. Ugly chairs lined up in straight little rows give me anxiety so sit on the floor in a circle instead. And maybe we can string up some fairy lights, idk.

And please

  • Bury me in cheetah print shoes. 

Funerals should be celebrations. I want people to remember the dumb stuff I did in college, or the feminist rant I got into at a restaurant, and how much I loved shitty reality shows and frozen yogurt. 

Xo

Title is taken from The District Sleeps Alone Tonight by The Postal Service. It’s melancholic, beautiful, tear-worthy, etc. Go YouTube it.