Monday, December 15, 2014

Stream of Consciousness: Writing Random s*** for Leisure

Graduate school and a cappella have officially consumed my life.  Now that classes are over for the quarter, it seems that I have now regained the ability to collect my thoughts for long enough to write something. YAY!

*DISCLAIMER. I'm about to write something that is not any of the following:
  • a business plan
  • syllables on an a cappella arrangement
  • fewer than 140 characters
  • a bullet point on a resume
  • a cover letter
therefore I make no promises as to the quality of the post to follow.  I encourage you to read on anyway in case we're all pleasantly surprised*

Here is a collection of thoughts:

  • I'd like to address the fact that I haven't written anything here since July.  I would apologize, but it wasn't until I'd seen another blogger apologize for their absence that I realized how presumptuous that is: "I know you were waiting at the edge of your seat, biting your nails in anticipation for my next post."  Fuck that.  Instead, I'll take a moment to tell you all how appreciative I am that any of you all take the time to read my blog when I find the time to write in it.  I'll continue to try and keep shit real and at least marginally entertaining.
  • This blog doesn't have enough cat photos.  I feel like I'm failing at internet because I haven't been posting enough cat photos.  I'll have to take more pictures of cats and post them here when I remember.  This means that in 4 months you might see a cat picture here.
  • I haven't been taking enough trips to Target.  I used to spend so much time and money at Target.  Tonight, I went to Target and I bought a bunch of shit I actually do need.  It was not anywhere near as much fun and I didn't even stop to feel all the soft and fuzzy items in the store. 
  • I haven't bought anything off of Craigslist in over a year.  I need to spice up my life with used furniture and stranger danger (of the non-catcall variety) soon.  Part of the charm of my household is the random shit I bring in here.  I feel like I haven't brought in anything "new" in far too long.
  • Why the fuck are articles on Thought Catalog so angsty?  The better question is why the hell do I still keep clicking on them when I see them on Facebook?  It's not like I don't know what I'm about to read (ANGSTangstAnGSt).  I enjoy them anyway.  This may warrant an entire post at a future date (a post that I make no promises that I'll ever have the time to write).
  • Job-hunting is tough.  I managed to find work at the height of the great recession with just a bachelor's.  It wasn't easy.  Now that I am 6 months away from an MBA, I would have thought it would be at least slightly less of a challenge.  Nope. 
  • I almost forgot what it was like to have interests.  It is easy to lose sight of the things you enjoy doing in your spare time when you stop having spare time. 
    • Tangent: WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE MISSPELL THE WORD "LOSE" AS "LOOSE?!" Those words do not mean the same thing. ARGH.
  • Slow-cookers are amazing kitchen appliances.  I have been utilizing my slow-cooker more frequently in the last year and I don't know why I didn't start using one sooner.  Cooking is so easy when all you have to do is dump a bunch of ingredients into an appliance, put a lid on it, go to sleep, and wake up to a finished meal that's ready to pack into a lunch box.  It's simply brilliant.  I'm hoping I can post one of the recipes I created at some point - I don't write stuff down so I'll have to try and remember to do that next time I make one of them.
That's all for now.  I'll be back to write something again eventually. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Youtube Deejay Sessions: Summertime

I find that the summer has an invigorating effect on my being, even if I happen not to be able to bask in the sun everyday.  I also find that most of the major life decisions (not just the life decisions I make at "Wal-Mart" or "Target") I make tend to happen right around the end of the summer. 

Thankfully, summer hasn't ended yet, but shit's about to get good.  Until then, let's listen to a classic summer jam <3

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

no post for three months?!

I haven't really been feeling the whole blogging thing for the past few months.  I'd been busy to the point where my friends were getting worried about me, and where I'd go a week at a time without seeing my roommate.  I haven't had time to get my thoughts down coherently for public consumption.  Fortunately, things have calmed down significantly and no one is worried anymore (except about my liver maybe), so here is a post!

To update you on what I've been up to and why my absence has been so drawn out:
  • The a cappella group I'm in recorded a full album.  It's pretty awesome and you should buy a copy.  The experience itself was great and it also was extremely intense.  But seriously, buy a copy if you haven't already, and if you care about me <3 - 
  • School.  oh my god school.  How am I not even halfway through grad school yet?  (I will be at the end of the summer though, so that's pretty amazing).
  • Weddings!  Some of my best friends are getting married (or just got married!) so we've all been preparing for that :-)  We had one really fun bachelorette celebration Memorial Day weekend and next week there will be another adventure in LA on 4th of July weekend!
  • Work.  This is where I go every day for 7-8 hours.  I have steady, gainful employment, as I have for the last almost 5 years.  Get money, get paid.
  • The intangible bucket list : I completed the Broad Street Run on May 4th.  My official time was 2:02, but it would have been less than 2h had I not stopped in the bathroom at mile 8.  My protip for anyone trying to get a good time, if you have to pee for most of the race you will run like someone is chasing you until you find a bathroom with no line.  I ran 8 miles before I found this holy grail and also had a few arguments in my head weighing the potential consequences of popping a squat mid-race behind a dumpster or in a dark alley.  While I ultimately decided that the risks outweighed the benefits, the men lined up along a fence in a vacant lot on Broad Street did not come to that same conclusion.  I have never been subjected to seeing that many men whip it out in public in one place and I hope it never happens again?
  • My cat fell ill (but he's okay now!).  He had a urinary blockage just before MDW, but I noticed he was ill early enough and took him to the kitty ER in time.  Treating him was scary and stressful because I was worried that he would fall ill again (and he also became "Ari, the bedwetting kitty"), but I took good care of him. He is back to himself again and has made a full recovery! :-)
There's obviously more to the last 3 months than just this very basic overview, but I'm not in the mood for writing something all Thought Catalog-y about feelings 'n' shit.  While I make no promises, I'll try and update more often this summer!  There are lots of fun things I want to write about
  • a few trips coming up (including a cross-country road trip from LA to Philly!) 
  • party ideas based on some of the stuff I've planned and have planned
  • the 8th Annual Tour de Franzia
  • some youtube deejay sessions
  • recipes I've been perfecting 
  • a few stories
I just hope I can sit myself down in one place long enough to write it! 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

YouTube Deejay Sessions: Rumours

Most of the music that I can say I truly love has meaning for me or memories attached to it.  Even the most vapid songs have the ability to take me back to a certain time and place when I hear them, simply because they are a snapshot of a particular time.  I think that's a part of the real beauty in art, even the "worst" of it, that it has the power to do such things.  I put "worst" in quotations simply because tastes are subjective and what is considered good to one person may not be considered good to another.

The album "Rumours" by Fleetwood Mac is one of the few albums in which I love every track.  Every. Single. One. 

The album brings me back to a similar time in my own experience that has thankfully long since passed.  I am tempted to give you my own detailed interpretation of the tracks and how they fit in, but I may save it for another day, if at all I ever decide to share.  This time was for me, in many ways, much simpler, although it did not seem that way in that moment.  At the time, the struggles seemed to be some of the most difficult I thought I would ever face, and sadly enough, they turned out to be far from it.  In this time, I gauged my level of happiness on emotions that were beyond my control and on the actions and desires of others who, in the end, proved to be looking out for themselves.

Even now, listening to this album reminds me that the time and those people in it have left an indelible mark.  It also serves as a sobering reminder that all of it could happen again, perhaps with a different cast so to speak, because these things are a part of the human experience.  None of us will come out of this life unscathed - we are all beautifully damaged in some way from these types of interactions.  We may never recover but ultimately, in the end, we can be okay.  It all comes down to this - when it's over, "do you know how to pick up the pieces and go home?"

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Philadelphia Blog Post: 30 Things to Do in Philadelphia

Some fellow bloggers and I have teamed up and each created a list of 30 things to do in Philadelphia.  Between all of us, that's 150 different things to do in this city!  Also, please stop to enjoy this moment: could you believe that I'm actually doing a post that says nice things about Phili?!  whoa.

I've lived in this city for nearly 9 years (terrifying) (somehow I have survived) and I've come up with my list, complete with anecdotes of adventures that have happened to either my friends or me at these places (except for the one about Payaso, that's actually an old inside joke).

Anyway, enjoy my list, it's been fun doing all the things on it over the last few years, so I hope it can guide some of your adventures.

*Note: I snuck in more than 30 places to go here :-)  

1) Go to the Mutter Museum (19 S 22nd St).  It's a museum of medical oddities and it's really cool, but certainly not for the faint of heart.  Ways to make this more awesome:  Have your first (ever in your life) date here...crazy pre-meds.  Or just take any date - if he/she can handle it, you may have a keeper.  

2) Go to the Macy's in the Wanamaker building (1300 Market St). See the giant pipe organ and have a photo shoot with the eagle statue.  If you're from out of state (over 250 mi away), visit customer service and show them your Out-of-State drivers' license or photo ID and and get a savings pass.  Then go shopping.

3) Go on a search for authentic Mexican food (Philly isn't known for it, and you're certainly not going to find it at one of the expensive places in Center City).  The closest thing you will find is Taqueria Veracruzana (9th and Washington) or one of its neighbors around the corner on 9th.   Ways to make this more awesome: go late at night, they're open til midnight!

4) Go to the Italian Market. Just go.

5) Go to Pat's and Geno's. (9th and Passyunk)  Preferably late at night while you're wasted and you have a DD.  Ways to make this more awesome: if one of the workers asks you or one of your friends out (AND you get a phone number).  if you manage to finish a second cheesesteak.  if you have a friend with a truck and you eat your meal seated in the truck bed.  I personally prefer Pat's because Geno's political rhetoric is too much for me.  Some Philly natives say that both suck and not to go, but it's something you need to experience once just so you can make the call yourself.

6) Go to Jim's (4th and South Streets) and Tony Luke's (39 E Oregon Ave) for steaks.  Compare to Pat's and Geno's.  Make your own judgment.  If you're near Manayunk, I also recommend Chubby's (5826 Henry Ave)  - see this post for the accompanying anecdote.  Ways to make this more awesome: if you're in Center City, go to Franklin Fountain (116 Market St) for dessert.  If you're in Manayunk, go to Custard and Cakes Creamery (5461 Ridge Ave) for dessert.

7) Go to the Philly Pride Parade (but skip the parade part and go to the festivities on Penn's Landing.)  Ways to make this more awesome: join a friend with a boat who is willing to sail while you throw beads to the people on the landing from the boat.  It's amazing.

8) Go to Oscar's at 15th and Sansom.  It's a great little dive bar in Center City.  Cash Only.  They make the best, most dangerous Long Island Iced Teas in the city.  One will get you drunk.  Two and you'll be ready to blow some dude named Payaso in the back of a van.  Ways to make this more awesome: hook up with someone in their broom closet (and remember mops and brooms aren't going to judge you or be voyeuristic).  Participate in the Sharpie conversation in the bathroom stall.

9) Go to a Steven Starr restaurant.  His restaurants are, in my opinion, a Philly staple. I really like Pod, and I've heard great things about Pizzeria Stella.  Continental is also a favorite of mine, but I never leave there full, so make sure you plan dinner #2 immediately after.

10) Go to the Penn Bookstore.  It's just a Barnes and Noble, but you can feel slightly bougie and Ivy League for about 10 minutes.  Or longer if you stay and read in the aisles.

11) Erin Express.  This is an all day bender that takes place during two Saturdays in March right around St. Patrick's Day.  You wear green, start the day off with kegs and eggs, and drink all day. Ways to make this more awesome: pack your own booze or you will find yourself losing your buzz and all your money to the bars (the specials aren't always that great, what Erin Express is about is the atmosphere).  Get on one of the buses and drink what you brought in the back of the bus.  Don't bother getting off the bus, just make new friends and chill.  If you're really ballsy, you can also sell beer in the back, which is another easy way to make friends.

12) Go to the gayborhood and enjoy the wonder that is the "gay pour" (strong drinks, a splash of mixer just for color.)  If you want to dance, Go to Tavern on Camac (243 South Camac Street) or iCandy (254 S 12th St).  Everyone talks about going dancing at Woody's but I find that the best dancing is to be found at Tavern on Camac and there's never a cover.  I've also heard good things about Voyeur, but I haven't yet experienced if firsthand.  Ways to make this more awesome: get pizza afterward at Homo Hut (aka 13th Street Pizza, and yes, people really do call it Homo Hut).  But, if you're not getting the macaroni and cheese pizza, don't bother because otherwise then you're just going for ambiance. Make sure you're lucid enough that they don't overcharge you, and make sure you have cash. 

13) Sonic (2201 E Butler St).  Not many people realize that there is a Sonic in Philadelphia.  It's right of the Betsy Ross/Aramingo Exit.  In the summer, they're open until midnight. 

14) McGillin's.  This is the oldest continuously operated bar in the city, and one of the oldest in the country, located at 13th and Drury Streets.  If you're going on a Friday or Saturday, you'll need to get there by 8pm so you can get a table.  The food is good, the prices are reasonable and the ambience is fun and positive. Ways to make this more awesome: go for karaoke night (Wednesday or Sunday).  Make new friends and enjoy the decor.  Or, you can be legen---wait for it---dary and bring a friend who is so drunk that they can't actually get in (which, by the way, you have to be wa-a-a-aaaasted to not be allowed in).

15) Lorenzo's Pizza on 3rd and South Streets.  They're open til 3am.  Pizza slices bigger than your head for $3 bucks.

16) Tea Talk at 10th and Spring Streets.  If you like boba (aka bubble tea) this place does it well.  I always get the jasmine flavored one.

17) Barcade at 1114 Frankford Ave.  Do you like retro video games?  Do you like arcades?  Do you like alcohol?  Then Barcade is where you should go.  It's not like Dave and Buster's where you can get tickets and come home with things you totally don't need but want anyway, but you can come back with warm feelings of nostalgia.

18) Brauhaus Schmidt at 7th and South Streets.  All the German Beer, and you can even get Das Boot (a 2L boot shaped glass filled with beer).  The food and appetizers are unique and all fantastic, and the waitresses dress in German barmaid costumes to give the place an authentic feel.  I always have fun when I go, even if I'm the DD.  Ways to make this more awesome: go with your coworkers and be shocked by the unexpected people who put away the most beer in the least amount of time (beer ninjas).

19) Underdogs at 17th between Sansom and Moravian Streets.  They have all kinds of hot dogs, and they're good whether you're drunk or sober!

20)  Brunch at any of the following places if you're into brunch and hate to wait: Valanni (12th and Spruce) or Jones (7th and Chestnut Streets).  The food is good, the service is never rushed or hungover (at least not obviously so), and the atmosphere is good.  Best of all, you don't have to languish in a waiting area for 45 minutes before getting seated!  Red Owl Tavern (4th and Chestnut Streets) is good as well, especially for their bottomless Bellinis, but I cannot attest to wait time.

21) If you're interested in ceramics, check out The Clay Studio (2nd Street between Race and Arch Streets) and take a class.  They are a full ceramics studio - this is not one of those places where you paint pots that other people, you can make real art from start to finish.  And once you've taken one of their classes, you can sign up for open studio time and come in on your own time.

22) Chris' Jazz Cafe (1421 Sansom St).  The food is amazing, happy hour is fun, and the shows are good.  This is a great place for a date night or even a quiet happy hour to yourself to grab dinner and a drink, hear some music, and clear your mind.  Ways to make this more awesome: go alone, make friends with a band member and talk music over drinks.

23) Morgan's Pier during the summer when it is open (221 N. Columbus Blvd). I certainly enjoy getting a nice drink outside by the water in the summertime with friends - they also have ice cream and hot dogs.  Can't get any better than that (unless you add sex, and that would be entirely possible since you could probably meet someone there who could help you with that).

24) Go shopping for a craft project at Blick (13th and Chestnut).  This is a really good art supply store that has everything!  If you're into DIY/making your own art, go here.

25) Famous 4th Street Deli (4th and South Streets).  For awesome deli food and portions that will last through the apocalypse.  Ways to make this more awesome: go in your pj's.

26) For some bangin' falafel, Mama's Vegetarian (20th Street between Market and Chestnut Streets).  This place makes the best falafel sandwich in the city.  Just remember, they're closed on Saturdays and it's cash only.

27) Get dinner at Moshulu (the big boat restaurant, 401 S Christopher Columbus Blvd) if for no other reason than to be able to say "I'm on a boat !@#$%^&* don't you ever forget" and not have it be entirely out of context.  The food isn't amazing, I won't lie, but the ambiance is good and you should go once.

28) 4th of July fireworks at Drexel park, 32nd and Powelton Ave.  If you want to see the 4th of July fireworks, but do not want to deal with crowds on the parkway, I recommend camping out in the afternoon with a picnic blanket and some foods and beverages.  This has become a more popular occurrence every year, there is good energy and a great view of the fireworks.

29) Aloosh Restaurant (36th and Lancaster Ave).  This is a newer restaurant and hookah bar - the food is amazing, the ambiance is good, and you can hookah for a reasonable price.  This is a good place to take a date and actually have a conversation or go in a group with friends. 

30) Picnic in Rittenhouse Park. (Between 18th and 20th Streets, on Walnut St) It's fun when the weather is nice and the people watching is interesting.  Ways to make this more awesome: Have an awesome friend who lives a block away. add vodka.

If you want EVEN MORE things to do in Philly, check out my collaborating bloggers' posts!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

the intangible bucket list

I like the idea of a bucket list, but because I am not even thirty yet and am not currently facing a terminal illness, I haven't put this list to paper.  However, I have an ever-evolving list of things in my mind that I would like to do before my inevitable demise into old-age, which fortunately may be further off than we think with the way modern medicine is at the present time.

This year, I've managed to check off two items from the list in a very short period of time.  Both of these items had been sitting on the list for years but the right opportunity had never come along to actually do them.

The first thing I checked off was participating in the ICCAs (International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella) - this is something I'd been wanting to do for SO long. soooo longgggg. It took almost a decade to finally get to do it, and honestly, it was chance (or destiny depending on how you look at things) that my life has taken the unexpected turns that it has in the last couple of years which allowed it to happen. You can see the performance here.

The other thing I checked off my list was entirely random and only somewhat unrelated to the above, and that was going to a strip club.  I'd never been to one before - I went with a friend from my singing group.  It was an interesting experience.  The feminist in me was very conflicted - was it a place of empowerment or a place of exploitation?  It was an interesting experience and I am glad I went.

I'm also currently in the process of working on checking off another item from the intangible bucket list, and that is to complete the Broad Street Run.  So far, I entered the lottery and was chosen (by chance, along with many friends) to take part in the run.  Now I'm in the process of training for it - as it is, I can easily run three miles without issue - now I just need to get to ten miles.  The race will also be taking place on May 4th...there is a strong chance that I will be doing this run dressed as Princess Leia - the logistics are still to be worked out, but I think I'm going to go all in with this.  Stay tuned.

And also, stay tuned for an upcoming collaborative post with my friend Chrystina of, my friend Alison of Simply A, and two new friends Carly and Emily.  We are compiling a list of 150 things to do in Philadelphia.  My contribution will be posted here separately and will include links to the other bloggers' lists.  Almost 9 years living here, and I should hope I could put together a pretty good list that will keep you busy for at least a few months :-)  Between all of us, you'll have stuff to do for at least a year!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

eew snow

Whenever there is talk of a snowstorm, it's not usually as bad as the news makes it out to be.  Honestly, I think the people who give the news get off on talking about bad shit happening in the world.  The worst is when the LA news stations report snow in PA to the point where they start freaking my grandma out, sometimes even weeks after the snow is all but melted away.

Well, this time, there's actually something to talk about.  It's currently snowing like a motherfucker.  I got out of work early, which was cool since it means that I had time to get a workout in AND study for my accounting class (and maybe get sucked into a stupid show since I have no rehearsal and no desire to do accounting), but I also got to walk over a mile in the snow and wind to get home.  I'm pretty sure that was the most unpleasant winter walk I've ever taken.  I was covering my hair and face with the scarf I had on and looked like a mess in Ugg boots.  For the first and hopefully only time in my life, I wished that I owned a ski mask.  At one point, the wind blew so hard it actually gave me a headache.  I guess this is life in the big city. 

I don't have much more to say about this so I'll leave you with a couple of pictures from my "lovely" walk home.

Right outside Penn's med school.  This is the only point at which the weather actually looked pretty.

The line of cars on Market Street.  I was walking faster than the speed of traffic, which wasn't very difficult to do.

View of the Philly skyline around 4:30pm.  (jk.  you can't see it behind the fog of doom)  This picture was taken from the middle of the street where I was walking because the sidewalk wasn't plowed and the snow was coming up over my boots.

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