Thursday, April 10, 2014

Half Marathonin' It


I remember seeing these 13.1 bumper stickers on cars when I was a kid, fully unsure of what they actually meant. This was back during the time when people had bumper stickers of Jesus fish and ones where Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes peed on things. There were also the "No Fear" bumper stickers. Let's not forget those.

But I digress. The point is these 13.1 bumper stickers eluded me throughout the whole of the 90s and most of the early aughts. I was inquisitive enough to wonder briefly but apathetic enough to neglect to just google it. It wasn't until college, when every single person I knew started signing up for half marathons, that I realized what was up with this 13.1 sticker craze.

For those of you who are not tracking with me, a half marathon is 21.097494 kilometers, OR 13.1 miles. When you run a half marathon, apparently they give you a bumper sticker. It's all very exciting.

Well, as I mentioned in my last post, I've signed up to do my first half this coming June! You should know that this is kind of out-of-character for me. I've never been the running kind. The brisk walk kind, sure. The prancing kind, possibly. The dancing-to-Beyonce-in-the-privacy-of-my-own-home kind, absolutely. Running and I, however, have just always had a pretty awkward relationship. When you have a butt that sits about a foot off the ground when standing, running is usually not your game.

But for some reason, I want so badly to be The Girl Who Runs. You know that girl. She shops at Lululemon and she monitors her heart rate and she wakes up early and she makes smoothies probably. She has that Runner's Glow, that Runner's Zen, that Runner's Pinterest board. Everything just lines up in life for The Girl Who Runs. She never forgets to take her makeup off at night. She never forgets an appointment. She is the epitome of control.

I want to be that girl -- a girl who I know in my heart doesn't actually exist. The girl I'm thinking of probably eats Cheetos at 1 AM and farts in church just like the rest of us. She just does a better job of hiding it.

But still, I want to be a runner, and this entire year I've been taking small baby steps. I ran the Color Run last summer, a 5K where people throw colored powder at your body and into your eyeballs. At the end of that thing, I have to admit, I was a little huffy and puffy, but it made me happy and I got to take this colorful selfie:

And now that I'm training for this half marathon, guys, I am running 5Ks like they are NO BIG THANG. You could throw colorful crap at my face the whole way, and I'd be like whatevs. It's an awesome feeling.

Training is a wonderful thing, not only because you can see your progress, but because it gives a daily sense of control (yuck, I don't really like that word. Let's go with "accomplishment" instead, but know that I really mean "control"). Every day I wake up and I look at my schedule, and I think, okay I'm going to run 4 miles, and then I just run 4 miles. Like, I just do it. For someone who struggles to stay focused on one thing at a time, this is immensely helpful. I tell myself I'm going to do a lot of things at the top of my day that I never end up getting done. Now, if I get nothing else finished, hey, at least I ran. Plus, it makes me feel like I can do other things just as successfully as long as I approach it with a similar attitude.

Now, when I mentioned in my last post that I was training for a half marathon, I received a request to share my training schedule and playlist. Good idea. I'm using the Hal Higdon novice training guide. It looks like this:

Right now I'm in week 3 (so I ran 3.5 miles today). I've loved this plan so far, but I'm interested to see how I feel later. The furthest I've ever run in my life is around 6 miles, so when I reach that threshold, I don't know what that's going to feel like.

As for my playlist, I listen to episodes of the Professor Blastoff podcast, and that's honestly it. I've talked about this show a lot on my blog, so it's probably time you start listening to it as well. It stars comedians Tig Notaro, David Huntsberger, and Kyle Dunnigan, and it is by far my favorite podcast of all time. More importantly, it is the ultimate distraction. I look like an absolute lunatic laughing while running, but it definitely helps pass the time. Seriously, listen to it.

The biggest lesson I've learned so far about running is to keep my own body's pace. I used to run with Daniel whose hip bone sits about a foot higher than mine. His legs are long and he ran track in high school, so why I tried to keep up with that guy is beyond me*. Now that I'm training, I run a grandma's pace and I feel like I could do it all day.

So yeah, I'm getting better, and I really think I can do this whole 13.1 miles thing. Like, I think I'm going to get that sticker, I really do. Still, I would love your input while I'm in the thick of it. Any half marathon regulars out there? Do you have any tips for a novice like me? Any product endorsements (shoes, protein bars, heart monitors, those weird fruit chews, fanny packs)? Any secret runner's wisdom? Let me know in the comments section!

*It should be noted that Daniel is running this half marathon with me in June, right at my side, even though I told him he didn't have to. I think that is really pretty cool.

Monday, April 7, 2014

How To Get It Right This Spring

A while back, I wrote a post about my belief that winter would never end. I mean, the season had gotten so enduringly painful that it started to seem plausible that bitter cold was the new weather standard. I'm happy to report that my hypothesis was wrong. Spring has indeed sprung, and you can tell because every single a-frame chalkboard sign on the sidewalk declares that sweet truth as gospel.

Even as I write this now, I can hear in the distance the familiar yet forgotten sounds of the ice cream truck. At this very moment, kids are loading up on popsicles shaped like Spiderman and Spongebob Squarepants while wearing LIGHT JACKETS. I mean, this shit is really happening, guys. Let all the children rejoice!

Anyway, so now that it is safe to go outside without fear of frostbite or depression, I've been hitting spring HARD. And why wouldn't I? I earned this.

Since I'm diving into this season headfirst, allow me to drag you in with me. Here are my tips for getting Spring 2014 RIGHT:

1. Clean like you have never cleaned before

This is the checklist I made for our Spring Cleaning Extravaganza last weekend, and it's super badass (as is evidenced by the dinosaurs). We went room-to-room, closet-to-closet making miracles like this happen:

Try not to judge us too harshly...

And this is just the tip of the iceberg, my friends. This apartment is so clean, I would confidently eat a four-course meal off of the floor. That's how good I'm feeling about this place right about now.

It's the most intense spring cleaning I've ever taken part in. If you want to have similar success this season, here's what you'll need:

1. Cleaning supplies or whatever
2. The Britney Spears Pandora station (trust me on this one. It will not fail you.)
3. An outfit that is functional and simultaneously adorable (I chose cutoffs, a baseball tee, and I used a square scarf as a headband because I'm basically Rosie the Riveter)

"Oh, THIS old thing?"

4. A desire to WIN
5. A super detailed list of every tiny thing that could possibly be done in your home. ("soak stovetop burners" WHAT?!)
6. Alcohol, and plenty of it. Not for cleaning. For drinking. And it should probably be bubbly.

2. Plan/Attend a clothing swap

A big part of spring cleaning is getting rid of all of the unnecessary junk that is closing in on you in your home. But just because something acts as junk in your life doesn't mean that it won't have some value in the life of someone else. That's why this weekend I took part in a clothing swap (or as I affectionally call it, a "Naked Lady Party"). A Naked Lady Party is exactly what it sounds like...only wait, maybe it's not. It's where ladies gather together and try on each other's unwanted clothes, and in the process they discover that, yes, INDEED that dress can actually work for someone! Hooray! You keep the clothes you love, everyone affirms you and tells you how good your butt looks in that skirt, and you donate the rest.

So you want to throw a NLP? Here's what you'll need:

1. Ladies. 
2. All of your crazy clothes that you never wear.
3. A disregard for whether people actually want your items (I mean, you don't want them anymore, so why should they?)
4. Unbelievable potluck brunch items

These are kolaches from Brooklyn Kolache Co. This establishment is my saving grace in this dark, largely kolache-less town.
5. Large trash bags
6. A plan to haul all of the remaining clothing to Goodwill or Salvation Army
7. A story about the estranged relative who bought you that ridiculous sweater

3. Start a new exercise program 

I guess this is as good a time as any to mention that I am training for my first half marathon! I posted this on Facebook last week, thinking nothing of it, and I got a really positive response from so many wonderful people. I guess it's actually kind of a big deal.

Spring is an awesome time to start setting fitness goals. You know when is a TERRIBLE time to start setting fitness goals? New Years Day! Good Lord! It's cold, and it will only get colder. No way are you walking to the gym in a foot of snow.

But in the spring, the sun is shining, but there is still that nip in the air that encourages you to keep moving. You can sign up for a half marathon in June right before it gets miserably hot in July. It's kind of perfect. And hopefully by the time January 1, 2015 rolls around, your workout game is on point. 

Oh, and if it's not a half marathon for you, that is obviously okay. Just move. Zumba your way through the park for all I care. Which reminds me...


The biggest advantage New York has over Texas? FLOWERS ON TREES! ALL OVER THE PLACE! MIRACLE MIRACLE MIRACLE!

The beautiful picture above was taken in my beloved Prospect Park, one of the best things about living in my neighborhood of Ditmas Park. In any season, it is a gem, but in the spring, it is seriously something to behold.

If you're not in Brooklyn though, just get to your nearest park and spend some time inhaling that fresh park air. Read a book on a bench, go for a hike, jump in a puddle. I mean, parks are one of my favorite things about being a person. If they're not your thing, then I don't really know what to do with you.

5. Make literally everything spring-themed

Clinton melting hearts at Spring Forth

Got lunch plans with a friend but can't decide on a restaurant? Make it a picnic in the park! (remember how much I love the park?)
Racking your brain for a gift for the Mrs? Tulips, man! The woman wants some tulips. 
Can't decide what to wear today? Wear the sun dress, girl (preferably the one you got from the Naked Lady Party). 

When the weather is above 50 degrees, it's perfectly appropriate to celebrate spring in its fullest, most exuberant sense. That's why I took part in Spring Forth: an artists' showcase put on by OSNY to celebrate "a change of seasons". What did that mean exactly? Honestly, it was just an excuse to have a blast, listen to some sweet tunes from some fantastic musicians (like my friend Clinton up there), and raise money for a good cause (City Harvest, check 'em out). 

Spring is all about new beginnings. I mean, hello, this is the time of year where the world celebrates someone's resurrection from death. It's okay to not be jaded for just these few months. See the world with rose-colored glasses (especially the roses. See those with rose-colored glasses, if you get the chance) and allow yourself to thaw out and experience the beauty of your city. Especially you, New Yorkers. We live in a truly wonderful place.

Obviously this list didn't cover everything there is to do this spring, but as long as you do even one of these things, you're doing it right. That's what I think, anyway. What are you spring musts?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Little Miss Photogenic

A couple of weeks back, I told you guys about an event I'd be performing in called Spring Forth. It was a night of music & storytelling put on by OSNY to raise money for City Harvest. I told a story that night, which I had prepped by writing an essay. I realized this week that I just had this written story sitting around now, so I decided why not share it? For anyone who missed the event, below is a story of childhood dreams, feminism, and friendship. I've included some pictures just to add a little razzle dazzle.

When I was six-years-old, I was sitting in the bed of my dad’s truck while watching the Cornyval parade in my hometown of Helotes, Texas. There were several floats going by on Bandera road, each featuring some organization from the town, but there was one in particular that stood out to me.

It was a larger float covered in white fluffy crepe paper, and on it were different tiers on which three attractive women stood like brides on a very sexy wedding cake. On the very top stood a woman with bleach-blonde hair, a sequined form-fitting dress, and a tiara glittering like nothing I had ever seen before. She was Miss Helotes, and when she waved, her hands were like spoons – the fingers stuck together so determinedly that they looked as if they might be webbed. Her smile was impeccable, and I thought she was perfect.

A more recent scene from the Cornyval (Via)
Now, at this time, all of the women who would eventually become my role models in life had not really risen to prominence, or if they had, I just hadn’t heard of them yet (because I was six, so give me a break) – women like Flannery O’Connor, Tina Fey, Betty Friedan, BeyoncĂ©. So when I saw these sparkly women that day at the Cornyval parade, I revered them as the pinnacle of female existence, and I decided that I needed to do whatever it might take to get on that float.

Ugh, why wasn't a children's version of this available for me in the 90s?

And there was hope because at the bottom of the float stood three miniature versions of the women up on top. These were the Little Miss Helotes contestants, and they were my age. Their dresses were slightly less form-fitting, but they each had tiaras and they each embodied everything I wanted out of life, especially the one in the middle…because she had the biggest tiara.

So a year later, I approached my mom to tell her that I wanted to enter the Little Miss Helotes pageant. I don’t really know what I was expecting in terms of her response, but she looked at me a bit puzzled, and just said, “…Why?” Now, this was pre-Toddlers & Tiaras, so her hesitation did not stem from the stigma that is now associated with kids being in pageants. I mean, the world had yet to even meet this glorious creature:

Instead, as she has reluctantly told me in my later years, my mom was afraid that I wouldn’t win. This was weird to me because up until this point, everything she had been telling me throughout my entire life had indicated the opposite. As far as I knew, I was the cutest, sweetest, most gifted child my mother had ever met. I mean, every picture I brought home went straight on the fridge, every time I said “Mom, watch me!” before belly-flopping into the pool, she had indeed watched me and had even applauded when I emerged from the water. Like, I was special – potentially the most special…at least that’s what I figured.

I do think it’s important that you know that in reality, I was kind of a squatty, weird little kid whose biggest accomplishment up until that point had been not peeing my pants more than thrice in a calendar-year. I was also missing four of my top front teeth and I had a decent unibrow forming, which held a very special place in my mother’s heart, but I’m sure she questioned whether the world would have such an open mind.

But she conceded, and so began a series of rigorous practices to ready me for the big pageant. I went to the local Presbyterian Church every Thursday to practice alongside the other contestants with our coach. She was a woman with smoky breath who I remember as having a thick Long Island accent, but it was Texas, so I now think that memory may be corrupted from things I’ve seen on TV. Anyway, from this gruff woman, we learned how to stand properly, how to walk properly, and how to speak properly – all of which were things I thought I already knew from, like, being a person, but it turns out I did not.

Coming into this whole thing, I knew I was the youngest girl in the pageant, which despite my inflated self-esteem, did intimidate me. My mom told me that in order to overcome this fear, I needed to “stand out”. She took me to a hairdresser who gave me a new signature style, which coincidentally, was also the signature style for Mary Tyler Moore in 1973.


So the big day came – I had my signature Mary Tyler hairstyle prepped, a pink dress from Dillards, and my eye was on the prize. There were three different times that I was supposed to appear on stage: The First Look (where I’d just be introduced to the crowd), The Interview with the emcee, and The Beauty Walk. During First Look, my name was called and as far as I knew, I had won it right there. I smiled at the judges, piercing them with my eye contact. It was in the bag.

Immediately after came the interview. We all lined up as the cheesy emcee approached us with the mic. The questions were related to profiles we’d submitted beforehand that our moms had filled out. Right before me, a girl named Cindy was asked why her horse was named Prince, and she responded, without skipping a beat, “Because he’s a prince to me” (and by the way, she pronounced "me" as "may"). At this, the audience collectively lost their minds. They thought it was so cute, and it was. It was perfect -- almost like she’d rehearsed her answer – like instead of spending time clearing a place on her shelf for her new tiara (like I did), she had actually thought about what words were going to come out of her mouth on a stage in front of her entire town.

When the mic got around to me, I was in the midst of an existential crisis. Why the hell hadn’t I practiced the interview portion? I tried to shake it off by telling myself that I could get through this if I just responded in a mature manner – the way a grownup would. So the emcee leaned in towards me and said, “So you play softball for the Helotes Little League. What else do you like to do?” A very generous question. Should have been easy, but for some reason I was drawing a blank. What did I like to do? Did I like to do things?

I knew that my answer was “I don’t know,” but I wanted to say it in a classier way, so I leaned into the mic, locked eyes with the emcee as though I were trying to put him in a trace, and I said, “…I can’t say...."

Now, what I meant by that was, “Hmm, gee, I can’t really say!” (another way of saying "dunno") but because of the ultra creepy way in which I chose to say it, it ended up sounding like I couldn’t say because the thing I liked to do might involve murder or watching people sleep.

"...I can't say..." (Via)

The audience erupted with laughter, and I felt deflated. Backstage, I was kicking myself, thinking of all of the things I liked to do. Watch television, make mud pies, draw pictures of frogs. 

Nailed it.

I was certain that my interview had been a spectacular failure, but I was hoping that all of the work I’d put into my beauty walk would pay off.

When I got out there, I moved to the middle of the stage and got into a perfect t-stance (this is where you put your feet in the shape of a “T” because otherwise you’re standing like an animal). The crowd was still abuzz. I was sure they were still talking about my interview, and honestly, in my mind I started to get exasperated with these people. I mean, come on, guys, that was before…look at all this beauty happening in front of you. I walked all over that stage, incapable of smiling because of the rowdy crowd, and when I got backstage I realized that they actually weren’t laughing about my interview anymore. As it turns out, I had walked on stage with my dress tucked deeply into my pantyhose like a sausage stuffed into its casing. God only knows how I managed to do that, but I super did.

So I did about as badly as one can do in a pageant, but my self-esteem was so inflated that when it came time to announce the winners, I still somehow thought I had a shot. At the very least, I was sure to get 2nd runner up, right? We all lined up on stage for the last time. Smaller awards were given first. Then they started with the big ones. First they announced 2nd runner up – not me. Okay. Then 1st runner up – not me again…I started to get excited…I guess I did better than I thought…

Then the emcee announced, “And your new Little Miss Helotes IS….”

Not me. Duh. It was Cindy. The girl with the horse. Serves me right for entering a Texas beauty pageant without owning a horse.

I should mention that I did leave with an award that day and a tiara. In the smaller awards section, I was crowned “Little Miss Photogenic”, which even then I knew was the most BS title I could possibly get. The judges had made this call based on professional photos we’d taken a while back, and guys, here’s mine:

"...I can't say..."

Now, that looks like the face of a terrifying little girl who can’t say what she likes to do in her spare time.

Like, if the criteria for the title of “Little Miss Photogenic” was being present for the photo, then I guess I nailed it. But besides that, I’m missing four very important teeth, my hair is other-worldly, and as my husband has pointed out when looking at this picture, I’ve got “those cold, dead shark eyes.” Plus, whose shower curtain am I wearing?

After this experience, I was devastated. Devastated in a way that I hope no daughter of mine ever has to be. I cried the whole way home, tiara on my head, dress still partially tucked into my pantyhose because it’s an easier mistake to make than you would think. 

Something you may have noticed in this story, something that always sticks out to me, at least, is that it includes no real details of my relationships with the other contestants, no fun anecdotes from the friendships that I formed. That’s because I didn’t really form any. The other little girls in that pageant were just hurdles to overcome, annoying things that stood between me and my crown.

That was the problem with having Miss Helotes as my role model. Because I wanted to stand at the top of the float, because I wanted to wear the sparkly dress and the biggest tiara, I subconsciously felt that any girl who wanted the same thing must be a villain. Sweet girls who would normally have been my friends actually became my enemies.

But as the years went by, I developed some new role models – women who taught me that we win through relationship with one another, not by pitting ourselves against each other...over a tiara, no less. I mean, believe it or not, we can all just buy a bunch of tiaras on (they’re like $8), wear them with sparkly dresses if that’s what we want, and then get down to the real business of making the world a better place through collaboration, not competition.

See? (Via)

I’m honestly glad I did not win Little Miss Helotes. I’m glad I walked away from that experience with the crappiest title and with the entire town thinking I had a weird hobby I couldn’t talk about. It taught me an important lesson about losing, but it taught me an even greater lesson about friendship. I never did another pageant after that, but you may be wondering, did I hold onto my Little Miss Photogenic tiara? And do I still sometimes wear it around my apartment if I’m having a bad day?

…I can’t say...

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Cadillacin' & Not Before My Tea

I spent many summers of my life working at a camp in Texas, and in the kitchen of this facility worked a man named Chris. Chris is the kind of guy who leaps into your day, tells you stories that you're not quite sure you believe, and makes you laugh so easily that you forget to breathe. Having an in with Chris meant he'd sneak you extra bread in the lunch line, stash away the occasional brownie for you, and even call you "Lil Sis" (or "Cuz", if you were a man).

Chris would always playfully accuse me of "Cadillacin'" -- a word that to him meant "slacking". It's a word I loved so much that I started incorporating it into my own language only to find that no one ever knew what I was talking about. Urban Dictionary has three different definitions for "cadillacin'" two of which involve laziness and one which involves being incapacitated from smoking too much weed.

Soooo...when I say I've been cadillacin' when it comes to blogging this week, please note that I mean the lazy kind.

A woman cadillacin' in a Cadillac...with oranges (Via)

Anyway, yes, I've been full-on cadillacin' blog-wise, but that's only because life-wise things have been pretty frenetic. I can't wait to share some of the goodness that's been happening over in my neck of the woods, but while all of that stuff is totally unwritten, I'd love to introduce you to a blogger who is just the absolute opposite of Cadillacin'. She's one of my sponsors this month, so check her out, and also feel free to start incorporating your new favorite word into everyday conversation.

I'm really excited about this one, guys. Today I am pleased to introduce you to Nicole who blogs over at Not Before My Tea!


If you're a fun person who likes other fun people who do fun things, you'll probably want to head on over to Not Before My Tea right about now. Nicole is a Chicago girl with a love of running and all things hilarious.

Okay, so here's how I knew I was going to fall in love with this blog -- At the bottom of her page, you can see all of the labels she uses to tag her posts. The ones with the most usage are displayed larger, and  guys, Nicole's three most-used tags reader appreciation, humor, and BRUNCH!

There is nothing I love more than a woman with a good sense of humor who appreciates her readers & a good weekend brunch! These are all things to which I can say yes.

So yes, her passions are in the right place, but her posts are also just a blast and a half to read. She has that writing voice that makes you want to be brunch buddies (and like, honestly, I don't think she'd object to that). Here are just a few of my favorite posts from Nicole:

25 Things That Excite an Excitable Young Adult
That Time We Won $400
Four Running Things Even Runners Can't Explain
I Want to Be On GOMI

And by the way, if you're a blogger, Nicole also does blog design, so if you're scrolling around Not Before My Tea thinking "ummm this is the cutest, cleanest blog layout I've seen lately" (that's what I think anyway), you may want to hit her up.

Head on over to Not Before My Tea, read each and everyone one of her posts, and tell her Christy said hey!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Why We Tell Stories

Back when I lived in Texas, I hung around with a wonderful community of people who made leaving for New York City really hard. Here are just a few of them, but there are several others:


Over the years with these guys, I have shared many laughs, meals, and snot-filled cry sessions (with the women, at least). In several ways, this is one of those groups that seems to function a lot like a tribe. We have our own culture, our own songs, our own traditions.

Among our many traditions is that of storytelling. Group gatherings always include a hefty amount of reminiscing. Catching up on daily life is a thing that happens, sure, but what we really love is bringing to life the moments from our pasts that we've shared together. We'll tell these stories again and again, unafraid to create new ones, but always cherishing the ones which celebrate our history. When couples from within this group decide to get married, we all sit around them at an engagement party to listen to the tale of how they met and how they got engaged. Sure, we already know all of the details -- the way she didn't think much of him when they were first introduced or the part where he almost dropped the ring into a river -- but there is something about retelling the story that reminds us all of what an adventure love is. 

Daniel and I trying to keep our facts straight while telling our story at our engagement party

There was a time when storytelling was a cultural necessity. It was how traditions were passed along to future generations. It was how norms were set. It is the reason why some of the greatest works of literature were actually able to be written down. I mean, without a dedication to oral tradition, the world might have missed out on Homer's The Iliad or The Odyssey. These are stories that are said to have been sung throughout the generations until one day they were written down, elevating these epic poems to legend.

Today, I don't believe we feel that same pressure to pass things on, and why would we? We have the ability to capture moments digitally and we're in constant, immediate contact with each other through a whole host of media. The device of storytelling is no longer a survival need, and in many ways, it seems impractical, archaic even.

While stories are no longer told to categorize our history, they do serve a profound purpose in relationships. By bringing our pasts to life, storytelling promotes trust, honesty, and the desire to move forward. 

I experienced this recently when I went to an event to honor a friend who was celebrating years of sobriety and recovery. In the midst of this celebration, multiple people came forth to share their struggles with addiction, recounting days where they were at their lowest, pouring out thanks to the people who lifted them up. I realized in the midst of this beautiful scene that these are a people dedicated to the practice of storytelling. They shed light on undignified parts of their lives in order to take comfort in the fact that they are not alone. It's the greatest gift any story can give, really.

Our stories are what connect us. They remind us how ridiculous human existence is. Last night I went to dinner with a group of women, and we all ended up sharing the stories of our engagements, none of which were romcom-level perfect, but all of which were hilarious and sweet. It brought us together in a mutual understanding that life can be so beautiful while also being so completely unpolished.

A scene from my engagement. It's a great story. I'll have to tell it sometime.

"Anything is a story; you just have to tell it"

These are the semi-profound words of one of my best friends on the planet, Patrick. I say "semi-profound" because if I gave him the satisfaction of just saying "profound", he'd probably be pretty smug about it. Patrick is one of those people who is unknowingly popular. He gathers crowds at parties and people just seem to celebrate his existence. One of the things he does best in the world is tell stories. He's got one about getting a really crappy Transformer action figure for Christmas that has legitimately changed my life. 

Me and Patrick. This is a good story too.
His stories are usually self-deprecating -- moments from his life where he is not the hero, yet in recounting these tales he somehow becomes the hero. That being said, it's very fitting to conclude with his advice:

Tell your stories. Anything can be a story -- that crappy breakup, that day you left your keys in your other pants, that moment you realized you wanted to marry her -- anything. You just have to tell it. And when you do, do so genuinely. Don't make yourself the hero if you were kind of the villain. Don't give yourself a sword if all you had was a butter knife. Keep in all of the messy, awkward, true things because those are the things that really connect us all. 

At least, that's what I think.

Before I go, and while we're on the subject of stories, I wanted to shamelessly plug something that I'm going to be a part of that I think might genuinely interest you. It's an artists' showcase happening this Sunday at 7:00 PM here in NYC (Hell's Kitchen, to be precise) called Spring Forth.

Artwork by Tim Bauer

It will be a combo of music & storytelling celebrating the end of this horrific winter. I'll be telling a story along with other comedians on the theme of "a change of seasons". All proceeds for the event (suggested $5 donation) are going to City Harvest. I should also mention that there will be beer from Brooklyn Brewery (one free with your donation!) and fantastic musical acts, so it's kind of a perfect blend of all things awesome. Find more details on the Facebook event page, and if you're not in NYC right now, that's okay. Tell your cousin who lives in Queens to come on out, or if you know Jay Z, maybe drop him a line. 

Okay, that's a wrap. I'd love to hear your thoughts on all of this -- storytelling/friendship/honesty/whatever. Hit me up in the comments section!

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Birthday For The Books

If I can count on anything in my life, it's that I will always arrive at some sort of existential crisis sometime around my birthday. It's inevitable. There is something about a day of the year devoted to my birth that tends to really wig me out.

Knowing this about me, my husband usually goes to great lengths to make me feel special, and this year was no exception. My birthday was this last Saturday, and it was truly one of the best ones yet. I was so distracted with the incredible time I was having that, believe it or not, I pretty much forgot to ponder my existence. Here are some of the wonderful things that surrounded that day:

1. I got a haircut, which I've been needing for about seven months, and then I took this pretty ballin' selfie while waiting for the Q train.


2. I went ice skating in Prospect Park and only fell ONCE! 


3. When my feet started hurting, Daniel and I used our time on the ice as a photoshoot opportunity (duh)...

and then a glorious gust of wind made this magic happen...

4. We drank our fair share of sangria at my favorite boozy brunch spot on the UWS, Calle Ocho.

5. From there, we got our bearings in Central Park. We sat on a bench and gave voices to all of the dogs who passed us, and I taught Daniel how to harmonize to Silent Night for some reason. Oh, sangria.

6. After the music lesson, we ventured to the Museum of Natural History -- the place where Daniel's dreams are born. Despite my fairly lacking science background, I just absolutely love this place.

I may or may not have also given voices to all of the taxidermied animals. This one is saying "Hmmm?" like Yoda:

7. We then capped off our date with a trip to Magnolia Bakery because it's New York City, baby, and cupcakes are essential to any jaunt on the Upper West Side (or Sex & The City walking tour).

My birthday ended with an intensely amazing gift from Daniel. Knowing my love for theatrics and ridiculous Youtube clips, Daniel made video reenactments of a couple of my all-time favorites (along with the help of our dear friends, Clint & Jess). He did an incredible rendition of Crying Sorority Girl that you can view right here. It's pretty spot on, if you ask me.

It should also be noted that there was a celebration with friends on the eve of my birthday, at which I forgot to take pictures (and as we all know, if you are a blogger and you didn't take a picture, then it didn't actually happen).

No, but it did happen though, and it was a wonderful night of cheap beer, belly laughs, handmade cards, and scrumptious pasta. Thanks to everyone who came out and made me feel like a million bucks.

And, of course, a big thanks to THIS GUY:

The only photographic evidence from Friday's hoorah

Daniel's unfailing desire to see me smile makes every single day of my life such a joy, but it makes birthdays an absolute all-out blast. Thanks, boo. I still managed to fit in my annual existential crisis in the midst of all of this, but it was much more fun on ice skates.

Hope you all have a fabulous week, and if you're having a birthday, may the ratio of cupcakes to panic attacks be, like, 11: 0! 


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