“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?)

Blogiversary!

So, i open up my Word Press account on Monday to a little orange trophy, which said “hip hip hooray congrats on your one year blogging queen status!” (something like that). 

I can’t believe that it’s been one year since I started posting all of my thoughts and feelings online for strangers and friends to read. I’m so happy that I decided to blog though, I think four gazillion people have run up to me saying “OMG I love your  blog!” and half the time I’m like hey cool, who are you? but 100000% I smile, my heart’s warmed, and I feel happy and fluttery that someone likes what I have to say and cares enough to read it. 

I’ll let you in on something, I felt like a fish in high school, kinda swimming by, seen but not heard, and talked over a lot. I’ve always had a lot going on in my mind, but never really had it in me to ramble on like Led Zeppelin. There a few things I just wanted to say, didn’t know how to or who to tell, finally I ended up with a blog. 

I can’t believe what this blog has done. I’ve gone from three random fellow WordPress user followers to having my pages read over 35,000 times, joined a blogging network and a Facebook page of 65 “likes”. But, I didn’t do any of this by myself (even though I think I’ve checked out the blog page 35,000 times today). And I’d like to thank some special people out there who’ve helped me out:

  • Thanks to Sarah, for encouraging me to apply to the Her Campus Blogging Network
  • Thanks to Brayden, Colin, and the Red Eye Cookie Company for supporting me and the blog (also a thank you for perfecting the red velvet and espresso cookie)
  • Thank you to WordPress for being a functioning and free blog supporting website. Without you, I would probably be on BlogSpot. 
  • Thank you, Hannah, for being one of my biggest fans, reading and supporting me from the start. 
  • Thanks Cailyn, for being the blog’s number one fan. I don’t think anyone shares posts as much as you do. I’m so grateful that you like it so much!
  • Thank you to Alison, Brad, Jasmine, Luke, Janey, Phoebe, Jenna, and Elizabeth for being such loyal and awesome readers! 
  • Thank you Sean….even though you didn’t read my blog for months, you eventually started and and encouraged me once to switch to YouTube vlogging so I could get paid. 
  • Thanks to the random guy who Facebooked me once telling me how much he liked my blog. You have no idea how much that means to me, Because people like you are exactly what keep me going. 
  • And just an overall thank you to everyone who has ever read any of my posts, smiled, laughed, shared, and simply enjoyed it. It’s you guys that keep me going. 
  • Thank you Bon Air Library, which encouraged my passion of books that fed into my passion of writing 
  • Thanks to Urban Farmhouse, who posted my blog on their Midlo location once on their Facebook page
  • Thanks to anyone and everyone who shared my “You’ve Experienced Richmond If..” post 30+ times, I’m still in shock over how much people enjoyed and connected to it. 
  • Thanks to VCU, for having such weird but extremely awesome people, places and situations to write about as well as pool of hot guys to fantasize about. 
  • Thank you Richmond, for nurturing me, being my home and my heart, giving me such amazing things to experience, write about, and showing me the beauty of a tight knit small-big city
  • Thanks to my brain, who is creative enough to enjoy writing and crazy enough to do this for a year
  • Thanks to my teachers, past and present, elementary school to middle and high school to college, who gave me the tools to be here and encourage me to keep going. (Shoutout to Mrs. Gallo, Ms Benere, and Mrs. Hoggatt!)
  • Thanks to Clare, my fairy godmother, for being an awesome fellow writer/blogger/lover of food and supportive sweetheart (with a pretty great name)
  • Thanks to my grandmothers, aunts, uncles, and cousins who constantly encourage me and send nothing but love
  • Thanks to my godfather, who bought me a laptop, my nifty little tool that a majority of my blogging has been done on
  • Thanks to my brother, whose way of showing support is saying “Your blog is awful. No one reads it and you should stop”. 
  • Thank you Daddy, Uncle Peter, Grandpa and Grandaddy for watching over me and being my guardian angels through this little journey. 
  • And a special thank you to Momma G, who has been behind this blog 100% since I first told her the big idea. Thank you for always reading, encouraging people to read, sending my posts to your friends, talking it up, pretty much being the blog’s PR. If I was getting paid for this, I would give you a portion, but since this is free, why I don’t I cook dinner?

Continue reading

(#) Summer Blogger Challenge 6

There’s only one other thing that could quite possibly top last week’s summer blogger challenge prompt. Well, two, if you count my dream husband, who arrives majestically on his surfboard, long blonde hair flowing in wind, a cup of coffee in one hand and chocolate cake in the other, with a PharmD degree to his name (I’m sorry I’ve seen a lot of cute guys in the past couple of days). So, what could this prompt really be?

Summer Reads!

*Insert witty intro about how I’m reading ingredients on the back of Oreo boxes, the prescriptions you hand me, and those pointless emails VCU sends every day* Here’s what I’ve sincerely been reading this summer!

  1. Do you like short stories? Check. Do you like magical realism? Check. Do you like women? Check. Aimee Bender’s Girl with the Flammable Skirt has all of the above! I first saw this book on a Buzzfeed article earlier this summer, and being a lover of short stories, I grabbed the book from the library and finished it in two days. The unexpectedness of the magical realism kept my interest the whole time, and all the stories connect with an overarching theme of women (one of my favorites is about a woman whose husband is the Benjamin Button of evolution). 
  2.  “The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle see you the blue center light pop and everybody goes, ‘Aww!'”. Are you still rereading that quote, ten minutes later? Are you still sucked up by Jack Kerouac’s godly writing skills? That’s just enough reason to read On the Road. I’ve been interested in this book since I saw Kristen Stewart on the Daily Show a couple of years ago talking about the film version, and now I am falling in love with Beat Generation writer/vanguard Kerouac (hope my grocery store boyfriend won’t mind!)
  3. I wake up every Thursday-Sunday morning, ecstatic. Why is a college student happy to wake up in the morning, and only on those days? One Thurs-Sunday, we have the Richmond Times-Dispatch to go with coffee! The newspaper, a physical newspaper, is just one of those true and good things about life that I don’t think I can ever let go of. Even when I was young, I would read the comics as my parents read the “boring” parts over our breakfasts together. A couple years back I told my mom that I would exercise my right to be an informed citizen and start reading the paper again, and she reminded me that that wasn’t a part of the Bill of Rights.  I just said “whatever” and grabbed the Metro section. Moral of my story? Read the paper. Smell the ink print. Get the Sunday issues, they’re the best. Buy the Washington Post if you’re fancy (which you so are). 

I will just come out and say it: STYLE WEEKLY IS PERFECT. Did you see last week’s issue about the Bob McDonnell trial, told as an activity book, including a maze to get Johnnie Williams to the Governor’s Mansion, Bob and Maureen McDonnell paper dolls, and a search to find the Antabloc? Maybe you checked them out in May when they released the “Best of Richmond”, my dear favorite printed issue of the year? And you’re checking them out for the “40 Under 40” later this month? Don’t even think about answering “no” to any of those questions, Style Weekly is 100% free and found in those little red huts on street corners, at coffeeshops, grocery stores, any where that good vibes can be found. I’ve read a few other books, magazines, and whatnot, but these have been my favorites for this summer. Man, as much as I want school to start back to see everyone/thing/History Now!/hot boys/etc, I’m not looking forward to being so busy that I won’t have time to read anymore. Well maybe with the new Urban Farmhouse opening in the spring, I can grab a cup of their coffee and a Style Weekly for some morning downtime before classes.

(#) Summer Blogger Challenge 5

Yas. Yas. Yas. 

Finally. In my deep excitement in this week’s summer blogger challenge prompt, I have forgotten how to pronounce my e’s as I cheer for this week’s prompt, something that connects to my life well enough that I don’t have to mesh and morph into something that mildly works. I’m so happy I could run to the grocery store and kiss the cute worker that I’m currently in love with!

“Paper or plastic?” 

Gives kiss on the cheek, lays money on the counter, grabs purchases and runs out of the store and heads home to blog

Okay so the thing that’s making me so happy. Only a prompt that combines many strong aspects of my life and asks me to share them with my blogging people could stir such emotions. “What are the best restaurants of your city?” No, but that’s a good idea. “Who’s your history boyfriend?” Sorry but this isn’t the time to talk about Thomas Jefferson. “How much cooler are local and independent businesses than chains?” Oh man I think I’ll spare you from that rant.  How about something that includes my deep passion for my favorite season with the power of one of the best art forms: “What songs are you loving this summer/Summer playlist?”

  • Okay guys I know this song came out like five years ago, but remember, I’m a history major, I live in the past! I recently rediscovered this song a few weeks ago and have kept a Youtube tab of it open on my computer at all times. Iration’s perfect reggae beat and feel, combined with the love song keeps me happily bouncing around, smiling, and pretending that the bag boy loves me back. 
  • Oh, Bad Suns. A lovely hip and indie band that alternative radio station 102.1 The X brought to Strange Matter last month captured my heart with “Cardiac Arrest” (a song about “high voltage” love, not a heart problem). They have great acoustic songs on their channel, and get plus points for being cute, too 😉 If you like that (why wouldn’t you? You’re fun, hip and cool just like them), I suggest their other songs, “Salt” and “We Move Like the Ocean”. 
  • Let’s hit the mainstream with the next choice: “I Wanna Get Better” by Bleachers, a project by one of the guys from fun. who is not lead singer Nate Reuss. Bleachers shares fun.’s quirky, almost Queen-like sound, and talks about a theme everyone experiences at some point: wanting to get better, because hey, aren’t we all a little not right? This is a must listen to anyone who has ever “trained themselves to give up on the past”. I give this song the Claire seal of approval of blasting in your car while driving. Side effects may include strange looks from the other drivers, though. 
  • OHMIGOD IF YOU IGNORED THE OTHER SONGS LISTEN TO THIS ONE RIGHT NOW YOU’LL BE DANCING AND SINGING LIKE ITS THE 1940’S I’M TELLING YOU THIS FOR YOUR OWN GOOD. Thank you il mio amico Sean for introducing me to The Mowgli’s during his hipster music binge. Their beyond upbeat and lively tune keeps me dancing and smiling during the whole song. The good vibes don’t cease with these kids, and since song is named after one of my favorite cities to eventually visit, I give them extra points. 
  • With the same kinda sexiness that lives in Arctic Monkey’s “Do I Wanna Know?”, Big Data’s “Dangerous” keeps you rocking and grooving. Sorry if you’re in the car with me when this comes on, because I’ll shush you and turn the music up. Mi dispiace. 
  • Sara Bareilles was (so far) my only concert of the summer, so it’d be a shame to not talk about her. Since depressing music seems to be her thing and I’m so drawn to “1000 Times” with it’s high emotion and music that pulls you in, it might as well go here. 
  • This came on my Pandora station one day and I immediately fell in love. Maybe it’s my thing for California, reggae, or listening to love songs and pretending that I’m the girl that they’re singing about, but regardless, Pacific Dub has me swooning in infatuation and pretending that I have a California boy singing this to me (Or a VCU boy. Those are cool too). 
  • Welcome to my all time favorite song, the very essence of summer, “Lay Me Down” by the Dirty Heads. A Bonnie and Clyde kinda love story, I can’t help but smile as I sing/try to rap the words. I could and have listened to this one repeat for hours on end, maybe it’s the story or the acoustic guitar in the beginning, but something here grabs me and doesn’t let me go. If you liked this, check out their new hit “My Sweet Summer” or another favorite,“Cabin By the Sea”

Continue reading

(#) Summer Blogger Challenge 4

I’m guessing by now I’m expected to have “skills” and “know how to do things” because week four’s prompt is “Write a tutorial”. I have no idea what an outfit tutorial is (“To put your pants on, first unbutton and zip them, then put one leg in at a time), we talked about food last week, and nail art was my big interest in ninth grade, which was a few years ago, so don’t expect me to remember anything. I could tell you how to waste time doing a lot of nothing or how to obsess about your hair, but I’d figure I might as well write about something that I know how to do.

Here we go…

How To Be Unbelievably Awkward Around Boys

by Claire, who has way to much experience in this field

1. This first step is highly suggested but not necessary: Go to an all-girls school. Especially during dating years (i.e. high school and college). You’ll spend all of your school day and extra circulars with other girls, thinking how great and perfect it is to be an all female environment, but by the time you go out in the real world, you won’t have any clue what to do, thanks to limited male interaction

2. When you see a particularly cute boy in a real world situation, like at the pool or at work, you have a couple of options. My favorite is to panic on the inside and start hitting your friend (who, of course, is a girl), mumbling things like “omgomgomgomg do you see that handsome God over there?”. Continue reading