Thursday, June 30, 2011

Because you can't make this sh*t up

I try to eat lunch outside everyday.  I think its because, while my parents failed at turning me into a country girl (they tried hard folks, so hard they marooned me in middle of nowhere PA from the ages of 10-18), they did succeed in teaching me to enjoy the outdoors and the natural world.  Hence, since Bryant Park and the "chairs on Broadway" are my version of the natural world, I like to spend some time reveling there on the daily.  Today friends, as I munched away on my PB&J, I had a very special neighbor:

You know, just workin' on my beer gut tan.
After I choked on the snort of laughter that this scene provoked, I very covertly snapped this photo to share with all of you.  What I didn't photograph was the couple at the table in front of me digging for each others tonsils, the woman who's outfit matched that of her dog's (there were pink ruffles involved folks), and the handful of giraffe like women who passed me in what I can only assume were outfits stolen from the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met.

The moral of the story is that New York City is not a normal place.  It is a beast unto itself and you have to be a little crazy to live here.  If you're not vaguely nuts, you just can't handle all the weird that is completely normal in the Big Apple.  Sure, lots of normal people come here for a year or two to sow their oats or land the dream job, but if you're not loopy, I guarantee you move out to the suburbs, or the country, or a more civilized city after you've made your mark.  And don't try to tell me "I was born here, this is where I'm from, I'm not crazy" because you sure are, you just don't know it because you were raised crazy. (This is the part where everyone who doesn't live in New York should just give themselves a big old pat on the back... Congratulations, you are less certifiable than approximately 8 million people.)  There's also something pretty magical in all this crazy; something that feeds creativity and entrepreneurship and ambition, so I guess we should be proud that we let our freak flag fly.

How about you folks?  Do you live in the crazy capital of the East with me?  What's the craziest thing you've seen all day?  Live somewhere else?  Do you think your land of residence can rival NYC? 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In which I happily resign myself to being average

June 1998 Tiger Beat cover
I love magazines.  I don't know why, I recognize that the majority of their content is fluffy and useless (and let's face it, after 15 years of reading I've read the same fluffy uselessness multiple times), but I cannot get enough.  It all started around the age of 10 when the Hanson brothers and Jonathon Taylor Thomas were gracing the covers of fine literary publications like Tiger Beat and J14 (which I believe is short for Just idea).  Bored in the grocery store, I'd mill around the magazine aisle until it was time to go, beg my mom to buy me one or the other, and then hole myself up in my room tearing out pages and putting them into clear plastic sleeves in my trapper keeper. 

Once when I was 11 or 12, I begged and pleaded with my mom to let me get TEEN magazine, I'd even pay for it with my allowance!!  She said no.  She said that I was not yet a teenager and didn't need to be reading about how to be "hot" (which in retrospect is completely valid).  I was livid, as is often the case with mothers and daughters, we know how to push each others buttons, and definitely ended up in a screaming fight in the car on the way home (not in the store of course, it would be undignified to fight in public).  Anyhow, I eventually was allowed to buy TEEN magazine, then Seventeen and Teen Vogue.  Somewhere in the middle of high school I graduated to reading the height of journalistic integrity and good advice, Cosmopolitan, and the magazine of "engagement chicken" fame, Glamour. 

As you can imagine, I learned a lot of great things from these magazines.  I finally learned how to be "hot", what guys want, what products would solve all of my adolescent woes, the best workout for flat abs, and what celebrities were wearing that I could find at my local TJ Maxx.  The most profound, and quite frankly sick, thing I learned however was how I should look.  There weren't any articles that outlined the specifics, nor lists, nor quizzes to find out where I stood on the "spectrum," but it was the clearest message that shone through in every single publication.  I was supposed to be thin.  As a white girl, I shouldn't really be curvy, that was the sole right of more exotic looking women.  I should have flawless skin and long flowing hair.  My freckles and curly hair could be ok, but they weren't ideal.  I should be pretty (which I think means big eyes, small nose and full lips...cue belief that my nose is too big).  On a conscious level, I have always been completely dismissive of all this.  I am confident in the woman I am, and for the most part always have been, and I KNOW that what I see on TV and magazines isn't reality, but rather a heightened version of an already unrealistic world called Hollywood, but it's hard to prove that to your subconscious. 

So I set out on a lifelong subsconscious competition against the pretty people in magazines.  I compared myself to them, feeling victorious whenever I grew my hair out or lost 5 lbs, seeking something magazine worthy in myself.  I never made myself crazy, or did anything dangerous or seriously messed with my self esteem, because my rational brain knew (and knows) that I am a healthy person who takes good care of herself and that is enough, but as I've gotten older, the reality that this sincerely affected my life has become blatantly clear.  But you know what folks, none of it is real and now we have the internet to prove it:

Left: Actual Kim + amazing lighting, styling and professional hair and makeup/ Right: Super Kim + photoshop
Is this woman absolutely gorgeous? YES!  Is she perfect? NO!  I'm so glad that the American Medical Association is taking a stand about photo retouching.  Even though the effect it had on me growing up was fairly minimal, I knew many many girls who developed eating disorders and serious body image issues, and I am confident that the perfected reality we were presented with had something to do with it.  Do I still love magazines? Of course, but nowadays I know not to take them so seriously (and remind myself to google the perfect looking women to see un-photoshopped pics of them doing normal being human). 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Just another glorious weekend at the Hamptons

So, now that I've spent a weekend at the infamous "Hamptons" I've hired a tennis pro and have taken to calling everyone "dahhhling."  Just kidding, for all the fancy cars we passed along the way (people actually drive Bentleys?), my experience of the Hamptons (Westhampton Beach to be specific) was remarkably chill and down to earth.  Aside from the impeccable view of the bay,

Oh you know, just another sunset over the bay

And the private beachfront access, it was totally normal.  Just like Coney Island...except less people.

To be fair, we really only had like an acre of oceanfront to ourselves
 Also, if you don't know anything about Coney Island, or the Hamptons, please know that I am completely kidding and that the two things are well...COMPLETELY different.  We did have a totally relaxing and laid back weekend though, and I did my best to bring Westhampton down to my  middle class squalor with tortilla chips, dips (avocado + salsa  + lime = award winning guacamole, no?), and good old bud light.

Not pictured: tombstone pizza, hamburgers (non-grass fed beef) & watermelon
 All in all, it really was a glorious weekend, full of beautiful weather, delicious "vacation food", and wonderful people. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Name is Aubrie and I am an Overpacker.

Recognizing the problem is the first step to solving it right?  Haha, this problem will never be solved.  Anyhow, for as long as I can remember (probably as long as my mother can remember), I've been overpacking.  Typically it's the shoes that get me.  I like to have, ohh, 2 or 3 options per outfit packed, and I need 2 or 3 options of outfits for each day, depending on the weather, how casual/dressy we end up being...  As you can see there are completely legitimate reasons to overpack!  Anyhow, I did my best to keep it simple for this weekend's trip to Westhampton, but I may still have overdone it:

From left to right: beach cover up (obviously), $2 Old Nave flip flops, wedges, sneakers, summer blouse, two pairs of shorts, running clothes, two sundresses (one more formal, one more casual, duh), two tank tops, one pair of jeans, a sweater and a hoodie....and folks, there's only three pairs of shoes in this photo, including my running shoes...WIN. (Not pictured: a ridiculous amount of toiletries, underthings, beach towel, cowboy hat, and lots of sunscreen)  This might still be a bit much for a weekend at the beach, but I like to have options!  Also, it all fits very nicely into this swag bag I picked up last semester...

I think it looks rather "tony" don't you? (Wink folk, I know you got that one, don't act like you don't think I'm hilarious.)  There's also a nice bottle of wine in the bottom of that bag :)  

How about you?  Overpacker? Underpacker? Have booze will travel?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

On getting

In the spirit of bloggers everywhere I strolled into my office bathroom with my cell phone (totally normal behavior) and snapped a picture of my outfit today.  On any given day I would describe my style as girly business bohemian.  Today's ensemble clearly radiated towards bohemian.  What can I say, I live in Brooklyn, sometimes I get a little hipster.  Also, I'm an intern nowadays (after 3 years in the workforce where I uhhh, had my own interns...thanks grad school), so I feel slightly less compelled to dress the height of professionalism.  Plus the president of the company wears jeans most days, so I think I'm good.  

Anyhow I went out with some of the other young lady interns tonight for happy hour and WOW do I feel old.  Mind you this is not because these ladies are immature, nor because I am the height of maturity and sophistication (HAH), but simply because each and every one of them graduated high school when I was graduating from college.  That's right friends, my crazy self was moving to NYC and paying my own rent on tips while they were moving into their college dorms.  SO JEALOUS!  Meanwhile here we are at the same company, working for the same measly stipend and line on a resume.  I know that my earning potential when I graduate will rise exponentially, and that I'm filling a slightly different role here as a graduate intern, but it still feels pretty damn foolish to be in the same position as someone who's still in college.  Also, 21 year olds are hot.  Fail.  However, I do have the pride of having saved (and gathered enough credit to borrow) money so that I am completely independent and supporting myself through graduate school, have a few years of valuable work and life experience, and the confidence that comes with it. 

Another bonus of being older is the lovely reality that your friends' (parents) now trust you at their beach homes for the weekend and therefore instead of going to some nasty hotel on the Jersey Shore to get wasted and ground (past tense of grind?) up upon by a slew of sweaty testosterone laden guidos, you get to spend a lovely weekend with other adults relaxing and sipping wine on the beautiful beaches of Westhampton (before getting wasted on Bud Lite and dancing to the greatest hits of the 90s).  I'm enormously excited because the furthest I've ever gotten onto Long Island was Long Beach via the LIRR. So this lucky twenty something will be spending the weekend with her boyfriend, his brother and girlfriend (thanks Kate!!) in this lovely place.  I cannot wait!!

Taking the First Step

Photo borrowed from
My life has been in flux for the past few years, but stability is finally in sight.  I'll finish my graduate classes in December and will collect my MFA in June of 2012 (if all goes well).  Hopefully at that point I will be gainfully employed and can begin living like a real 26.  To honor the momentous occasion (ya know 26 is a huge deal) of finally living like a legitimate adult I'll be running the 2012 ING New York City Marathon.  This blog will follow the last leg of my journey as a student.  From fulfilling the NYRR 9+1 requirements for guaranteed entry in the marathon, to trying to make rent on a $30 per day internship, to finding myself in the big bad city; I've got an uphill battle, but I'm ready to conquer.  Join me!