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.

Continue reading

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.

Grateful for the Dead

There are a lot of perks of being a musician’s daughter.  I have many memories of going to father’s shows at a young age, jumping up and down and dancing to his original songs and covers. And as a hippie, Daddy’s favorite band was the Grateful Dead, so by the time I reached kindergarten I knew the words to “Going Down the Road Feelin’ Bad” and “Not Fade Away” while my friends were making up their own lyrics to N*SYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye”.  My parents owned a stuffed animal Dancing Bear that I used to add to my menagerie when I would go to bed at night.

And by some kinda strange stroke of psychedelic luck, my father was the long lost twin of Jerry Garcia, the Dead’s frontman. Both men with wild and gray hair and beards, Daddy’s fans would refer to him as Gary Garcia. It even got confusing as his daughter: when I was ten, I noticed his Jerry Garcia doll (Why did he own that?) and yelled out,  “Daddy look it’s you!!” “Oh no Claire, that’s Jerry Garcia”. daddyjerry.jpg Continue reading

Drivin’ to the Landmark Tonight

Every spring, each class of sixty to seventy girls and are lead in twenty-something practices after and during school by an elected leader. The leader and committees teach the girls songs and motions that talk about their unique high school experience to the tunes of popular songs. One Friday in the middle of March, the classes will compete against each other at the Mosque/Landmark/Altria stage in front of each other, their teachers, families and friends, boys from the brother school, and most importantly, the judges. Each class will hide their year with their two class colors that they chose in their freshman year. That school week was spirit week, each day to dress up in the different colors, and decorate their hall in their colors and theme; Friday was a tag day to dress up according to their theme/colors. This is Saint Gertrude High School’s Song Contest.

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My class is know as the class of Silver and Blue. We placed second as sophomores and won as juniors and seniors. Here we are before our junior year performance.

Let’s be honest here, Saint Gertrude is a cult, and Song Contest is Continue reading