“So Awkward!”

When was the last time you had a really, super awkward moment? If you’re like me, then it’s your entire existence, from get caught singing to yourself in the parking deck by other commuters, walking into a street sign on a very busy sidewalk and having that one friend who isn’t afraid to go there in your conversations. And how do we, millennials, respond to awkward nowadays?

Pretty well, actually.

Remember, circa 2010, when “awkward” was the hot word, Internet posts rampantly started off with, “That awkward moment when…” and websites sprung up, entirely dedicated to people sharing their awkwardness….

Awkwardness is embedded, even celebrated in media today. Buzzfeed is always talking about awkward situations, and recently putting out this “How Awkward Are You?” quiz (try and beat my 41) (Look, do you see what I just did there? I’m really proud about being an awkward human). Have you seen TV characters lately? Abbi from Broad City is uncomfortably trying to flirt with her adorable floor mate and and work in the cleaning crew at a gym as she runs around NYC with her eccentric friend Ilana, you can actually feel the awkward through the tv. People like Jenna Marbles and John Mulaney are doing comedy. And MTV is glorifying this idea, even airing a show called Awkward (Does it still come on? Does anyone still watch MTV for that matter?). Slapstick comedy and word plays are still pretty popular, but awkward situations and characters currently reign the comedy world, probably because they’re so relatable.

We tend to seek out the awkward. It’s becoming an art form as well as a type of entertainment. I may or may not enjoy staring at my friends while stuffing my face and not breaking eye contact, along with making faces at people as they walk by…..I think I make my friends the most uncomfortable party in this whole situation.

There’s an entire Twitterfeed out there dedicated to the true questions we need to be asking on a first date to see how your potential lover handles awkward situations. First time reading them, I got kinda excited in anticipation for awkward date moments, I was about to have an impromptu date in class the next day (you know, the good kind when you know it’s a date but they don’t), just to ask “How seriously do you take monopoly?” “What’s your personal cheese cube limit?” “Have you ever been sexually attracted to a piece of fruit?” and revel in whatever kind of reactions I can get.

This celebration of awkwardness is leaking all around. Remember how just a few years ago, being a crazy cat lady was frowned upon, and feared by? Then the internet and Miley Cyrus exploded and now people embrace their love of cats and being cat ladies on clothes, Facebook, pretty much anywhere they can (For the record, I’ve been rocking the cat lady status since age 7. So ahead of you plebeians just after the 2014 Space Cat trend. [Please read that last sentence in a sarcastic pretentious, hipster voice]). (But seriously cats over people any day). On a side note, does anyone think that blind and (sometimes) first dates are weird? Hi, I don’t know you, but you might be my future mating partner. Let’s leave our respected warm beds and enter a social situation (by choice) and make uncomfortable small talk about our families and eat food, the messiest and least attractive thing either of us do, in hopes that despite lasagna stains and garlic breath, there will be many more dates to come.  And flirting? How do you try to make yourself attractive in front of someone? That’s a lot of effort and confidence that no true awkward person has. I could try bat my eyes (which looks like a strange eye twitch) and say something cute (causing my voice to crack and the words to mumble together), but I’m more likely to make a couple of goat noises and spit out pointless facts. (Really, either way would embarrass both parties involved). (Do you now understand why I’ve been picking cats over boys the past few years? They don’t care how you act, as long as you feed them and let them sit on you whenever they want.) This celebration of awkwardness is great, we can be our overly obnoxious selves, but does it mean that we’ve lost properness and sensibility? What about confidence? It’s normally seen as an antonym to awkward, but it seems like we’re changing that around. Be confident with your true self, the one that loves binge watching Netflix and not leaving the couch for three days straight! The one who picks stuff and food over social interactions! The one who studies all night and aces Econ but still has no idea what it’s all about! Millenials are here to usher in a new kinda person, who totally believes in their embarrassing selves. (Wow what kinda world are we going to leave for our children?)

Catching Up

‘Sup guys, So at the very bottom of my last post I resolved, in the spirit of New Year’s, to write more posts like Tina Fey’s Bossypants (because she and I both have glasses and brown hair, she’s straight up awesome, and honestly the only lady comedian-book I’ve read). The real reason is because Bossypants is all about her real life and once upon a time this blog was about my life that real people enjoyed but then it turned into, a self-help blog or something lame like that. So let’s talk about anything but self-help………….

……………..I started my fourth semester of being a ramlet! Now the fun things are going. I’m finally in my major and doing fun things, like taking cool history classes not “Here’s everything that happened in America since 1865 quick learn it in 14 weeks or fail”. I’ve got one professor who mentioned Ellwood Thompson three times in one class and spent ten minutes talking about my favorite painting. I’m getting ready to turn in some adoption papers, which is totally fine, my mom has been trying to sell me for a few years now anyway.

Edouard Manet’s Olympia, 1863. Take this French prostitute in. Love her. Aspire to be her. Just don’t try to call her up, since she’s not really a prostitute, just Manet’s friend modeling as one.

The Big Lebowski is teaching another one of my classes. I mean it’s totally fine, I walked into class on the first day expecting to learn about post-Civil War Richmond and now I sit and wonder if the professor prefers to go by “The Dude”, goes bowling and pays for his milk in checks and, if I give him a rug to tie his room together, if I will get an ‘A’ in return? (Here’s a little clip of some “Best of” the Big Lebowski so you can have a little taste of what class is like. Don’t worry about not getting the plot, I’ve seen the movie and don’t fully understand it either)

Alright, alright, what else has been going on in my life? I won $2 from the 70’s scratch off ticket but then lost all my winnings when they PowerBall ticket I bought with the said $2 failed me. I have a new favorite venue, after Hannah and I took an adventure to see Sleepwalkers. The Broadberry is awesome and cheap ($7 show? Hell yeah!) for anyone interested in awesome and cheap shows. Also, Sleepwalkers are pretty groovy, I ended buying this local band’s album, which definitely deserved its placement on the best of Richmond’s local music scene 2014 list by Richmond.com. They have a groovy, 60’s British psychedelia-Yellow Submarine Beatle’s feel to them. Which, is inarguably one of the best feelings the history of music has to offer.

Ignore the fact that it’s called “Cocaine”. It’s still got a good sound.

Every ladies’ night with Hannah and Alison is always the best (insert awes here), but our latest was probably one of the best yet. Seriously, our night started off with Shyndigz, the late night dessertie on Cary, then twenty minutes of menu indecision over the classic “Cake or pie for dinner?” debate (The answer is you actually can’t go wrong because everything at Shyndigz is made of sugar, rainbows, happiness and fairy wings so order whatever sounds best to you. Or take a tip from us and get the key lime pie, peanut butter pie, or salted caramel chocolate cake. It’s your call).

Real women do too!

We then went to go see Gone Girl at the Byrd, which was already promising because hello two hours of Ben Affleck, but the plot!: his wife disappears and Ben Affleck’s character is a suspect and then Neil Patrick Harris appears and he’s crazy and it gets thicker as the movie goes on. Guys (girls?) it’s a $2 movie ticket to see Ben Affleck for two hours AND it’s an insanely amazing movie, why are you still reading this and not at the Byrd now?

Look there he is! Behind the lady with the crazy eyes! (PSsst, Hannah, the poster is in French!)

I got new glasses after seven years with my previous pair (It just wasn’t working anymore. We were going in different directions.)

My old music obsession has been going pretty strong since my brother and I have been playing records on our uncle’s old record player (Thanks again Tim!) lately. James will play you Jefferson Starship or Bob Dylan, while the sounds of Joni Mitchell and Little Feat fill the house when I’m messing around. Aw, this has been so much fun catching up with again! I can’t wait to share more of my adventures with you! We should really do this more often! What, did you say something about chocolate cupcakes and the Big Lebowski this weekend? It’s like you’re reading my mind, why of course I would love to!

That may or may not be a poster of Olympia on the right....

That may or may not be a poster of Olympia on the right….but hey look I got new glasses! #astigmastimisforwinners

Also, I’d like to extend a personal happy birthday to the pearl herself, member of the 27 club, Woodstock icon and hippie idol to all, Janis Joplin. You’re role model (minus the heroin and alcohol abuse and overdose part) for following your heart and not giving a crap about what anyone thinks. I’ll try to keep some of the quirky you in me.

JanisJoplin

2015: Year of the Chill Pill

In the spirit and time of the new year, new beginnings, and an increase in sales of self-help books, I thought I might talk about something here (No way! You’re going to talk about something?! On a blog? Ohhmahhgersh).

When things are just a part of who you are, you don’t give much thought to them. So when people used to say things to me, like “you’re so chill!” and “why aren’t you stressed out about this?” I make one of those “uh wut” faces and kinda look at them like “uh sorry wat you let things get to you?”. Maybe it’s because I’m blowing in the wind just trying to by or listen to a little too much reggae, but I try to fill my life with little bursts of happiness and to take away from the negativity, and maybe, you or someone you know who is suffering from stress, maybe these tips can help you beautify your 2015 and your soul! (Guys you can totally believe me, since blogging about stress requires all of the 0 credentials I have!)

  • Well the primary reason why I’m so chillaxed would be that it’s in my nature and I can’t really help that. 
  • The next would be that I try to surround my self with things and people that make me happy. Don’t think about trendy clothes, stupid diets dictating your dinner plate or funky iPhone apps. Those things come and go so much it’s hard for anyone to keep track. Just do what you want to do, eat and wear what you want to. It’s your life. Let go of grudges and past mistakes, holding onto them won’t make you a better person.  Less negativity around your life, less negativity in it.

    Someone needs to tell Josh that if he wants sweet tea, he can add a sugar cube himself to fix this whole problem and move on.

  • Focus on being mindful. So maybe yoga isn’t for everyone (Whaat?!), but do something else, like mediate, lie on your bed and wander your mind staring at the ceiling, light a candle and wonder where the wax goes. I used to always rag on my father for “meditating” when I was little, accusing him of napping instead, but now that I take time to focus on my body’s beingness, it brings to attention that your mind and body are different entities that work together and for each other. It’s kinda groovy when you’re doing cat-cowl poses and you can really feel the spaces between your vertebrae.
  • Be confident in yourself and your abilities! The weeks leading up to finals week were full of papers, exams, late nights, full days in the library, and some thoughts of “how will I ever get any of this done”. That’s when I would close my eyes for a moment, ask a nice stranger to watch my laptop and get a Chai while walking around I would tell myself, “You’re Claire. You can do anything. You’ve written a seven page paper before, you can do it now. You’re going to survive because you’re one spectacular human being who will end up being a fantastic teacher. Ooh plus there’s a really cute guy in line who keeps looking at your awesome beanie.”cutesmile
  • I’d then proceed to turn up Led Zeppelin and prance back up to my station in the library, moving along to “Kashmir”. While the other kids give me looks like “sorry is that little white trying to dance and drink her coffee in the middle of this elevator?”, I’d get into my happy place/mindfulness/completely ignore other people state of mind and go back to crank out some kinda paper, as I kept telling myself confident things.

    Dancin’ and singing’, and movin’ to the grooving’ Writin’ this paper, cause I am pretty awesome

  • There was one day all of the stress was really getting to me. School, life, work, etc I couldn’t really handle it. I hopped in my car and blasted some Dirty Heads and I screamed along with them, getting my emotions out, and just enjoying some reggae (May I add that reggae is really good music to soothe your soul in stress, like when Bob Marley said “Don’t worry about thing, ’cause everything is going to be alright“).
  • Understand your humaness–> you have your abilities and your limits, and can only do but so much. By the end of finals week, the day of two exams- the ones I was more apprehensive about, I was very zen. I had studied for a while, at that point knew sleepless nights and cram studying wasn’t going to help anything, and was about ready to accept anything (aka be done with finals week). I didn’t rush to get the exams over with, took almost all the time allotted, and didn’t get any hand cramps, either. And I ended up doing well, because I knew I could. 
  • It’s also important to understand that being stressed doesn’t do a bit of good for you or anyone else. It’s not eating chocolate, which you can justify it with antioxidants and feeling good capabilities, stressing yourself out only gives you headaches, a high blood pressure, and sometimes you can even get sick, so in 2015, for at least the sake of our health, can we give up being stressed?
  • Channel your Cesar the Dog Whisper and “live in the now”. Past is over, the future hasn’t happened yet (so no use in stressing over it), so take it as it comes. You’re not gonna get anywhere in life if you’re busy worrying about the past or future. It’s all about what’s going on now. It’s like your living life Realpolitik style, basing off the current situation. (It seemed to work out for Nixon/Kissinger and Otto von Bismark, and they were some pretty influential people. Also I don’t suggest using political ideologies in every day life most the time). 
  • The final point I want to make is the one I want to stress the most: Be a positive person. It’s going to make your outlook on life well, like a ~2 blessed 2 b stressed~ person, except one who lives like that and not the one who posts those things on the instagram. You could say, “Well, my dad died so that sucks out all the fun, I have to commute to college and not live with my friends, plus my cat thinks he owns me so I’m going to sit in the corner and cry a lot” or you could say, “My cat might have a Napoleon complex but he’s a pretty smart and agile thing for 13; maybe I don’t get the full college experience living with the fam, but I’m going to be one of the lucky few who end up with a degree; and I have the greatest guardian angel who watches over me.” Look at things on the bright side. Things could be worse, you could have the ebola.

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“I Deserve This!”

It’s been a couple weeks since my last post, and this time I have a legitimate reason: for the past two or three weeks I’ve migrated to the Cabell Library at VCU, spending hours upon hours making flashcards, doing those readings I said didn’t matter during the semester, researching and writing papers. Running around with these high levels of stress and too heavy backpacks with books I forgot I owned yet suddenly needed, I couldn’t help but notice me being in line at Starbucks getting fancy lattes I almost never drink, and scavenging my backpack for any forgotten about Halloween candy I had stored away earlier. As I’d sit and sip in the library and watch people walk by (secretly hoping one of my friends could be turning the corner and save me from these sociology terms), the other fellow sleepless students brought Chipotle and triple shot espressos, whispering to each other, “it’s exam week, we deserve this”.

Of course I agreed with these basic white girls and boys. Stress levels tend to run crazy high during this time of the semester, and since food and coffee are known panaceas, it’s quite the social norm to splurge for a burrito bowl or two…or seven… However, there’s something I would like to change. Let’s forever keep this “treat yo self” attitude that recently evolved on social media and put it in our everyday lives.

Let’s think about it. How many times did Wheelchair Jimmy tell us that we live? Once. Exactly. You only live once. That’s the motto. YOLO. That song is really dumb and like five years old, I know, but it does drive home the point. You only live once. Do you want to live it sad, off in the corner, with no laughter, cake, flowers, or VCU basketball, sulking, eating celery and go to ODU? Or would you want to be a happy person, who looks for the positive, eating the good food in life, and enjoys themselves? We should be looking at everyday as a reason to celebrate, “Hey, I’m alive and breathing, in mild to amazing health, I can get out of my bed and go to my job and/or schooling, which I am really lucky to have. I deserve a good cup of coffee, a pretty amazing lunch, and a great way to end the night. Because I’m alive and kicking, and I’m one pretty decent human being, at least by my standards, and those are the only ones that actually matter”.

Now as a poor college kid, money is slightly an obsession (you never have enough of it, the school is always asking too much of it, and your major needs to make enough of it), so I can’t and don’t suggest eating out all the time for every meal, but there are some ways to work with that. Restaurant it out as much/little your wallet allows, (I would suggest enough so that you can sample Richmond’s food scene, but it’s up to you). But cooking though. Cook your favorite foods. Try new recipes. Don’t say that you can’t cook. Cooking is an important skill to adult-ing and comes with practice. Plus, it’s going to be a lot cheaper than eating out, while still allowing you a great food experience. Check out places like Food Gawker and Pinterest for lifetime’s worth of new recipes to discover. Yeah, that $23 dinner plate at Can Can is going to blow your pants off, but how much cheaper could you make something similar at home?

Channel your inner Beyonce and you can do anything!

Also, the mini dietitian in my head is asking for a paragraph to advocate health. Treating yourself with food can be healthy, it’s not always chocolate and sugars. You like spinach, feta, almonds, and grapes? Hello, perfect salad right there! You’re a chicken kinda person? Bake it with some carrots, onions, and celery in a white wine sauce. It’s bellisima. Few things are as perfect as biting into an apple you picked yourself, but homemade honey-almond granola is a top contender. Treating yo self shouldn’t have to involve diabetes.

Plot twist: Treating yourself isn’t always about great food. Bear with me here for a second, let me explain: there are other great life experiences other than a Tres Leches Kuba Kuba cake. They’re often known as friends. Friends are important. Don’t forget about them. In school, it’s really easy to disappear and hide in the library, work, or your bedroom because life takes over, and really we can’t let that happen. You forget that your friends exist, and that there’s a life outside of your Primary Sources paper. This happened to me and my friends for about two months this semester and it was a really crappy time. We’re still recovering from this. School seems so important, and it is, but don’t forget to have fun. Go to concerts, meet up and play Cards Against Humanity, hey cook for each other, and don’t forget to bring a cake!

CAKE

But seriously, you should live like even Monday is a holiday. Get a job that you actually like. Live with people you have fun with. Study a subject that you enjoy outside of school. Enjoy your friends. Do more of what makes you happy. Because seriously, it’s not going to do anyone any good if you’re not enjoying your life. So if you don’t mind, I have some Phillippa Gregory novels and a pint of Blanchard’s coffee gelato from Celesti (a perfect marriage from two local businesses) in the fridge and I’m going to have a perfectly amazing Sunday night with my cat.eaticecream

Thankful for Richmond’s Renaissance

In the Spirit of Thanksgiving, I suppose it’s time to follow all other blogs, social media posts, and people in general by saying what I’m thankful for.

But since it probably goes without saying that it’s when your coffee has free refills and all of the cute boys in my history class, let’s change things up a bit. What is Richmond, VA, the 804, thankful for?

We’re thankful and excited we were chosen for Stone Brewery’s next home, opening 2016 near Rockett’s Landing. Beating out many other cities up and down the East Coast, Richmond continues to prove herself as a Mecca for foodies.

Speaking of that, let’s talk restaurants. How many times have you praised the Lord that Red Eye was open til 1 or 2 am to warm you up in this chilly fall/winter that’s upon us? Doesn’t a Sugar Shack donut set your day off on the right note?Or that, thanks to the twice-a-year Richmond Restaurant Week, that lets you try out more pricier places like Comfort, The Roosevelt, and Deco for $25.14 for a three course meal? And on the topic of the Roosevelt, Southside is reeling in bliss that we now have Southbound, which officially opened Tuesday. If I had the time and energy, I would also list the 390672038503 other amazing places to go grab a bite to eat. 

To branch off of that, I don’t think there’s anything like Richmond’s coffee addiction. Thank you, Lift, The Lab by Alchemy, Blanchard’s, Capital Coffee, Black Hand, Lamplighter, Crossroads, Taza, and (soon) Perk! for keeping Richmond rolling.

Not just thankful, Richmond is also proud to be the home of University of Richmond, Virginia Union, and Virginia Commonwealth University. Even though it’s kinda unspoken that you pick one school and bleed their colors til death, as a city we’re proud to house them all.

One of Richmond’s crowning jewels is our blossoming art scene, we pride ourselves over this like parents with kids making A’s in first grade. Our premier art museum has exhibited Dale Chiluly and Picasso over the past couple of years, and currently China’s Forbidden City. 1708 Gallery holds in the Inlight Festival every year, a nighttime display of colors for a night in different parts of town. The Street Art Festival made its debut a year ago at the abandoned GRTC bus stop, drawing attention to the growing presence of murals in the city from the Richmond Mural Project. Look for its return next year in Manchester.  First Fridays art walk is the place to be every month, up on Broad Street’s Arts District. And let’s not forget Joe Seipel’s School of the Arts at VCU, the number one public arts university in the country. Richmond truly honors art and artists highly. 

Our local shops and businesses are another thankful feather in this turkey. Where else can you find a Quirk gallery and shop/future Quirk hotel, kitschy World of Mirth toystore, or Chop Suey used bookstore (with a cat?!)? These little shops are what give Richmond its Richmond culture, and not the big box, any-suburban neighborhood Targets. We’re here to support each other and each other’s businesses. 

We’re grateful for the James River and its class IV rapids that make river days hella lot more interesting with your stand-up paddle boards, canoes, and inner tubes.  There’s nooks and crannies to tan and swim in all parts of the River, from Texas Beach to Pony Pasture. With Richmond being named the best river town in the country, I mean we’re just a little proud…. 

And even though, thirty years in the making, we still cannot figure out where to put a baseball diamond, Richmond is trilled and thankful the San Francisco Giants chose to nest their double-A team, the Flying Squirrels on the Boulevard.

I saw an article floating around Facebook the other day about Richmond being one of the most prideful cities, and with all the good and fun stuff we got running around the city, I can totally believe that. Maybe it’s just me, but with all of these awards and notices Richmond has been getting lately, all the hype about our food and river, Richmond’s going through a Renaissance, and we’re in the midst of it. To be around all of this liveliness and growth is exciting, I just want to prance up and down the James eating some tres leches cake from Kuba Kuba and make my own silly RVA video. We might as well be Florence in the 1500’s. We have a Cathedral  and a statue of a naked guy, too. 

(What a time to be alive)

(By the way, I’m starting a petition to get more nationally recognized holidays dedicated to food. Not like National Cake Day, which most people sadly ignore. I’m talking multiple Thanksgivings, where school is closed for a week and people get the day off work-at least one a season. I think I need 100,000 signatures to have Congress officially look at it, so your support is greatly needed!)