“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?)

“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!)

It’s Gonna be a Good Month

I may or may not be extremely biased here, but November is kinda my favorite month. Okay yeah maybe you caught me, it’s right up there with May-June-July-August-Summer, but technically November is a real month and MJJAS is hybrid created approximately seven seconds ago, so November kinda wins by reality. Now I know a bunch of you are like “oh no it’s all about December and that holiday jazz” or “September and its fall transition and Pumpkin Spice Lattes” (quote/unquote all basic white girls), but here let me give you the play by play:

  • November 1st: el Dia de los Muertos: Stop thinking about sugar skulls for a few minutes and really appreciate this holiday.  Day of the Dead is the Mexican holiday that honors dead family members by bringing food and flowers to their gravesides. It’s easy to get caught up in the roses, sugar skulls, and lollipops on the outside, when this holiday needs to be appreciated for its roots. Celebrated on the Catholic church’s All Saint’s Day, Dia de los Muertos is a holiday to recognize, remember, and appreciate your lost loved ones. Maybe it’s just me, but I think American culture could use a holiday like that.
  • November 1st: Halloween candy sales begin! 
  • November 1st: For the love of all things that are good and holy, No Shave November begins today. Prepare yourself for hipster beards and facial hair. Hipster boys with beards and glasses, beanies on cold days, let’s run to Lift Coffee to grab lattes and discuss Picasso’s use of blue or different kinds of hummus. (Hey ladies, it’s turning into tight weather so if you’re interested in participating in this month-holiday, go for it. *Feminism and stuff* Disclaimer: your boyfriend probably won’t be as excited for you participating as you are for him.)
  • November 3rd: Hello, Nacho-Taco week begins! Going on until November 9th, Nacho-Taco week is another extension of the $5 plate week Style Weekly puts on during the year (Remember Burger Week, Sandwich Week, and Chicken Wing Week?). So here’s the dealio (follow these rules carefully): Go to any of the restaurants on the list here. The meal(s) on the list are $5 and only those. If you download the passport and get it stamped after dining at three restaurants, you get entered to win a Visa gift card! 
  • November 4th: Election Day. For the love of Jesus Cristo, use your political right to vote. Don’t be lazy, don’t not care, your vote is not insignificant. I know you’re proud to have this opportunity and live in a democracy, so why not use this awesome right? You could be living under totalitarian rule.

    Why don’t politicians ever participate in No Shave November?

  • November 7th: VCU basketball sorta starts with an exhibition game versus California. Get ready for another season of Havoc, Shaka, and pep band The Peppa’s antics (like their new New Zealand war chant) 
  • November 8th: The Dirty Heads are coming to The National. Ah yes, my sweet summer is coming back 
  • November 17th: A certain blogging girl’s birthday (She likes reggae, coffee, and Chop Suey book store. Just sayin’)
  • November 18th: VCU basketball’s home opener against Toledo. Game will be on TV. Be prepared, ’cause IT’S HAVOC YOU FEAR
  • November 20th: VCU v. Maryland Eastern Shore at the Siegel Center. Not the Verizon Wireless whatever they’re trying to call it. This isn’t DC, we have no Verizon Center; VCU students aren’t about to give in to your capitalism. Anyway, we’re all trying to cope with calling the Landmark the “Altria”, one big change at a time is more than enough for Richmonders. 
  • November 27th: Thanksgiving. A holiday dedicated to food. Let me reiterate this: A day where it is socially acceptable to eat yourself into a coma. In fact, this is highly encouraged. 
  • November 28th: Nope. Nope. Christmas season hasn’t started yet. Don’t listen to the TV about Macy’s Black Friday sales. Yeah, those are cancelled this year. Go watch Charlie Brown or knit a scarf.

Fall Doesn’t Totally Suck

Oh man.

I’m not sure that I’m prepared for this.

Someone get me a therapist.

Fall’s here.

I should’ve seen it coming, pumpkin spice lattes have been advertised for the past two months and Ugg boots are starting to make their presence as all the basics (as in basic white girls) have been coming out of hiding for their favorite season in their yoga pants.

White girls when pumpkin spice lattes are a out again be like

The past Indian summer month of September was a blessing as I was wearing sandals and cut-off shorts to class and making smoothies. But now, I’ve been sporting long pants and cardigans more frequently and soon enough, boot weather will be taking over. Ugh, shutters, boo, hiss.

But as Hannah reminded me, there are some perks to fall. Like the Richmond Folk Festival. I hope you came out again this year to Brown’s Island for the celebration of the decade-old festival. Good food (Even Red Eye was there!!), good music and entertainment (hello who know Balkan jazz was going to be so awesome? And why can’t the Mayans do a sunrise/sunset pole dance every day at Tredegar?) and good vibes and people- and I’m not just saying that because I was there. Did you know the Richmond Folk Festival is bigger than the National Folk Festival (the traveling festival that spends three years in a city, then moves on and leaves behind a festival for the city to cherish?)? With the NFF hitting up Greensboro, North Carolina next year, the motherland- my mother’s land-, I’m shivering in these connections.

Speaking of food, what about the fruit up in Charlottesville? Apple-picking at Carter Mountain, you know? Hannah, Sean and I went and picked more apples than one knows what to do with. Personally, I prefer fall apple recipes than pumpkin spice recipes (other than the pumpkin nutella muffins), and these apple granola bars and apple snicker doodles are perfection, these fried apples are better than Luck’s and take 5 minutes at most, and I’m dying to make these apple pie muffins.  If you’re one of those people who like savory food and things that aren’t dessert, apples and brie are probably one of the best things that will ever hit your burger so you should probably get on that.

And let’s not forget the fall sports to go along with your food. (If you’re expecting football than just skip over this paragraph). Hello, it’s October- Men of October- as in super attractive professional baseball players in the play-offs! I’m off in the corner praying for a Giants and Orioles World Series, and no not because both teams are orange and black. Richmond, much of the Giants spent time at the Diamond playing for the Squirrels, and Baltimore is just a day trip away- there’s minor league and regional loyalty.

Baseball pants and baseball pants and baseball pants

And as all good things come to an end, baseball season will be ending as COLLEGE BASKETBALL IS BEGINNING. YOU DON’T WANNA GO TO WAR WITH THE RAMS. FEAR THE HAVOC. SHAKA SMART. MO ALIE-COX. JORDAN BURGESS. BRIANTE WEBER. ROWDY RAMS. SEE YA IN THE STUDENT SECTION! 

And if sports aren’t your cup of tea, then I hope the Richmond music scene is! Dirty Heads will be playing November 8th at the National. You really shouldn’t be too worried at the new ownership, the people seem cool. Plus, $2 concert at the Canal Club on October 26- Priory with Coby and Kid is Qual. Check “Weekend” out here. Not bad for less than a Subway footlong sandwich, amirite?

We’re back on food, I see. It’s about time I announce on here than November 1st, Southbound will be opening its doors. Why should we be excited about this? 1. Southbound is bringing Richmond’s food renaissance to Bon Air (yay!). 2. Southbound will be run by Lee Gregory of Church Hill’s The Roosevelt (regarded by multiple sources as one of the East Coast’s best restaurants), a James Beard finalist, and Joe Sparatta of Heritage. 3. Following the Bon Air scene, Southbound will be family friendly (as combining cheaper prices with tip top quality food). 4. Holy crap now I’m going to have to decide between Southbound and Manny Mendez of Kuba Kuba’s Galley.

Flipping couch cushions and breaking piggy banks looking for ways to fuel my new restaurant hangout

Another good thing about November is not just birth month, but also arguably one of the best holidays- Thanksgiving. Yeah there’s being thankful and football or something on the tv, and a cute Charlie Brown special, but there’s also history (!) to this holiday, three days off of school and my favorite part: it’s a day dedicated to food. Peanut butter pumpkin balls? Cheesy apples? Home made mashed potatoes, fresh rolls, hot turkey? We celebrate on Wednesday is you want to come join our family for the day and partake in these foods.

Bee tee dubs Kirsten Wiig will totally be there. Just ask my mom. She’s totally like, our seventh cousin, only thrice removed

Also, Urban Farmhouse’s fall menu.

Also, the fact that Urban Farmhouse is opening soon near my college.

Perk, Bon Air’s new coffee shop, can open after December 1st. No yes this is perfect I only have to go through one stop lights to get quality coffee all of my problems will be solved  *plans to spend every free moment there, reading historical fiction and drinking chai and espresso until man of my dreams appears and we run away to open a coffeeshop/bookstore in Church Hill and be like Lee Gregory. We will prance around at the fall festivals, go to concerts and sporting events together, cook and eat like royalty in this Richmond Renaissance. And at the end of the day I’ll have to go apologize to Hannah because fall isn’t that bad, it can actually be pretty nice* 

Emperor and Empress, actually.