Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Life is What Happens While You're Busy Making Other Plans

I've spent my life making plans.

As a kid, I read every book I could get my hands on about dogs–– I planned to be a vet. When I was getting ready to start high school, I spent hours poring over all the electives, planning out the classes I would take for the next four years. When it came time to apply to college, I had a strict plan of where I would go and what I'd do when I got out of school–– where I'd live, where I'd go to grad school, how much money I'd be making.

Guess what? None of those plans happened.

I don't say that bitterly–– they didn't happen because for whatever reason, I chose to forge a different path than the one I'd initially planned. I made a new plan, and then another new plan, and then another. And deviating from "the plan" has brought me some of the best people and experiences of my life.

When you're young, people love to ask what your plan is. As someone who's just finishing up my Bachelor's degree now, I can't tell you how many times in recent months I've been asked what my plans are for post-grad. We're taught to have all of our ducks in a row, to always know what's next.

Well, this is me officially throwing plan-making out the window.

I'm not saying I'm going to totally fly by the seat of my pants in life or anything–– I like to think enough ahead to know I'll make rent, thank you very much. But I think there's a difference between having a plan and having goals, and goals are something I have plenty of. Goals give you focus, and they give you an outlet for your passions. All too often, plans are the little things that just hinder growth–– you're so worried about sticking to the prescribed plan that you miss amazing opportunities that lead you away from the rigid path.

So why spend my life making a plan just to change it? At least while I'm young, why not just do the things that make me happy and see where that takes me? It may get me a side-eye from a relative at my college graduation party to say I'm not entirely sure where I see myself in five years, but hell. If you asked me five years ago what I thought my life would be like now, it would probably be a very different picture.

So my plan, for the moment, is to be 22 and to be happy. It's going pretty well so far.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

What I'm Loving This Week

The re-binge-watch
It's summer–– the time of cookouts, beach days, and sitting in the AC watching Netflix (a personal favorite). That's why I've recently been all about re-binge-watching (a term I have just made up) some of my favorite shows. Right now it's The Office, which has been both a great and terrible decision. Great because The Office is one of the best shows that's been on television, and terrible because I've been forcing Jim and Pam into conversation like it's 2008 again. It may be getting weird?
Via misscinemafanatic.tumblr.com
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying
You might not know the name Carol Leifer, but odds are you've watched one of the shows she's written for. From Seinfeld to a brief stint on Saturday Night Live to Modern Family, Leifer's been the brains behind some of the best television comedy in the business. That's why it's no surprise that her collection of essays is just as funny as she is. And aside from just the humor, she gives great life advice–– as someone who'd love to have a career like hers it was an eye-opening read, but most of what she said would translate into almost any field. She was one of the first women in the boys club of comedy, and it's clear that she's gained a lot of wisdom from it. And lucky for us she's inclined to share.

Chicago summers
There's nothing quite like Chicago in the summertime. Between the beach (which, to be fair, isn't ocean adjacent or anything–– but Chicagoans make do with what we've got), all of the beautiful parks, and the endless list of awesome festivals, there's honestly no better place to be. I continued a 22-year long tradition by attending this year's Taste of Chicago, and started a new one by hitting up the first annual Comedy Exposition. Whatever it is you like to do, Chicago's got you covered.
Chris Pratt
Chris Pratt could do nothing in life aside from playing Andy Dwyer on Parks and Rec and I'd still love him, but he seemingly keeps getting better. He has had a meteoric ascent to hotness that I can't really mentally process, and apparently he's also awesome at french braiding, which we can add to the list of things Chris Pratt does better than me (right behind general life enthusiasm and playing the guitar). 
Via werunanc.tumblr.com

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Why Elle Woods is the Ultimate Role Model

Some of you may be thrown off by the title of this post. I get it–– when you think of Legally Blonde, you think of pink and glitter and dogs in purses. You probably don't think of what a kickass role model Elle Woods is.

But bear with me here–– Elle Woods can teach us all some valuable life lessons.

You need to be your number one fan

Elle didn't have a lot of people in her corner when she decided to go to law school, and that's life. Sometimes you're going to want to do things, and people will tell you that you can't accomplish them. But what did Elle do? She proved them wrong, because she had faith in herself. So don't wait for someone else to tell you that you can do it–– at risk of sounding like a Nike ad, just do it. 

Don't get too caught up in what people think of you

Throughout my school career, people have made certain assumptions about me. In high school, it was that a cheerleader couldn't be in an honors class. In college, it was that a sorority girl couldn't possibly also be an intellectual. People will constantly try to tell you that you can't love fashion, or watch E! news, and still be able to talk politics or pull a 4.0. Elle Woods kicks those outdated stereotyping attitudes in the ass by being a genius lawyer who also happens to know her designers. Who cares what anyone else thinks?

Sometimes, the guy isn't worth the trouble

Elle's Harvard journey may have started because of a guy, but it evolves to so much more than that. Realizing that her ex-boyfriend wasn't the end-all-be-all she'd thought he was turned out to be a real lesson in self-worth for Elle, and watching her go through that taught tons of movie-goers that it's better to better yourself for you than to impress someone else.

Hard work pays off–– big time

Elle never expected to have anything handed to her. From the moment she decided to go to law school, she studied her ass off to get in. And once she was in, she worked even harder to secure her dream internship. Good things don't happen to people just because they're lucky, they happen because those people are working hard every day to get there. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Ask the Lazy Girl: Boys, Boys, Boys

Dear Lazy Girl,

What advice do you have for single Lazy Girls looking for a guy?


That College Girl

Dear That College Girl,

This is a great question! As we all know, it's tough out there in the dating world. And while you'll occasionally hear an adorable story about a couple that met at a farmer's market or spin class or something, the reality is that it's not that easy to fall into your own little rom-com.

Luckily, technology is here for us Lazy Girls. You can now find a man without leaving the comfort of your blanket cocoon thanks to Tinder, Grouper, OKCupid, etc, etc. I can't make you any guarantees about the quality of guys you'll be virtually "meeting," but swiping left and right is at least something to entertain you while you wait in line at the grocery store. There's something to be said for sifting through dozens of available men while you watch OITNB with your roommate and eat egg rolls.

If you're feeling especially motivated to shed your lazy skin and really get out there and meet a better quality of dudebro than can be found in the abyss of dating apps, consider hitting up events/places you like where you might meet someone of similar interests. It's not that much work, since you're frequenting places you would anyway, and it's better than getting a gym membership you don't want just to impress some guys in tank tops. So if you like books? Scope out males at your favorite bookstores. A big fan of baseball? Watch a game at a bar where other like-minded fans might strike up a conversation.

Best of luck on your man hunt!

Monday, July 14, 2014

What I'm Loving This Week

Beyonce Voters
Unsurprisingly, a dude from Fox News recently said something that managed to offend both Beyonce and single ladies everywhere. “They depend on government because they’re not depending on their husbands,” was the exact ridiculous quote from Jesse Watters when he lumped all young single women together as spinster-y "Beyonce Voters." Luckily, the internet is home to hilarious humans, and the Beyonce Voters Tumblr page quickly took root in response. Because putting Beyonce lyrics on pictures of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is like my third favorite thing to do, behind only eating cheese and watching reruns of Boy Meets World.
Via beyoncevoters.tumblr.com

Free Conversation
FreeConvo is an interesting concept I came across in New York City: volunteers sit around various points of the city on inflatable couches with big signs that say "free conversation." You can sit and talk to the people from FreeConvo as well as all the others who have stopped, and it's a great way to meet and talk to people from all over the world that you might not otherwise meet. Also, it's a great way to get face to face conversation with new people–– don't get me wrong, I love social media, but I also love that FreeConvo bills itself as "analog talk in a digital world." If you ever see them, stop by and say hi!
via Twitter.com/danqtran

Maybelline ColorSensational Vivids
Ever since spring sprung, I have been on the hunt for the perfect bright ass pink lipstick. I wanted it to be practically neon, and nothing I was finding was quite right–– it'd look really fun and bright in the tube, but was way too muted once it was on. That's why I was so excited when I found Maybelline's new vivid color line (also, it's only like 6 bucks, so extra cool factor there). I bought the Fuchsia Flash, and it was just as beautiful and vivid on as it was in the swatch. Nothing says summer like lipstick so bright it could blind you. 

Made With Code
If you know any cool young girls, get them into coding right now. That's Made With Code's goal, and that's why Google is investing $50 million into a future of female coders and computer science aficionados. At the moment, the number of women in STEM fields is abysmal. Made With Code is using celebrity power like Mindy Kaling, along with some fun website features (you can code your own free bracelet–– mine just came in the mail yesterday!) to get younger girls more interested in tech.
via instagram.com/mindykaling

Saturday, July 12, 2014

New York, I Love You

Chicago is definitely my kind of town, but as someone who wants to pursue writing and comedy, it seems a foregone conclusion that at some point I'll be relocating to New York or L.A. With that in mind, I decided to go spend three days scoping out everything New York has to offer and decide if I could see myself living there.
This picture pretty much epitomizes my 15 year old self exploring New York for the first time
I've been to New York before–– twice, to be exact. Once when I was fifteen, I went with my high school choir to perform. That trip was a blur of guided tours and terrible barbecue restaurants, all of which left me with the distinct impression that New York was maybe not my thing (in spite of the fact that the only part of the city we really saw was Times Square. Not the most accurate representation of what life there is really like).

I went again in college, for a day trip with my then-boyfriend's family to see the Rockettes and the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. This time was a lot more fun, but even still, it was mainly the touristy parts of the city where chicken fingers will cost you $22 (I shit you not–– thanks, TGI Fridays on Fifth Ave.)
I did walk past Times Square this time. Also, walked past the Cabaret, aka the site of Shia LaBeouf's downfall #SelfGuidedTourz
That's why this time around I was determined to experience other parts of the city–– after all, New York City is enormous, and there's a lot more to it than Central Park (although Central Park does not disappoint).

So here's how I got my slightly more authentic New York experience on a broke college kid budget.

Rather than stay in an exorbitantly expensive hotel, I went the route of airbnb thanks to my sister's recommendation. I'll admit I was a little wary of the concept of staying in a total stranger's apartment, but beggars can't be choosers, so I booked a little room in Astoria. It turned out to be a great choice–– rather than staying in a tourist trap where everything around you is crazy expensive, I was staying in a cute little neighborhood in Queens full of bodegas with great bagels and some of the best smelling Greek food you'll ever encounter. My host was awesome and the room was huge–– I'd definitely recommend airbnb, especially if, like me, you're just looking for a nice place to sleep and shower before moving on to sightseeing.

I spent my first day traipsing around various boroughs, hitting up Chelsea Market (great bacon macaroni & cheese, great gelato), shopping at some great little stores in Brooklyn, watching the Germany vs. Brazil World Cup game in a German bar (I sincerely doubt I will ever experience that much secondhand excitement ever again), and ending up watching the start of a beautiful sunset at the Williamsburg Waterfront Piers. I didn't go into the day with a plan, rather some neighborhoods I thought I might want to check out and some assistance from Google Maps.

Yet again as a symptom of being broke, I took the subway everywhere, which was great in that it allowed me to see even more of what the daily life of the city is like. Besides, I'm a city girl through and through and I've been on the CTA a million times, so I have no reservations when it comes to taking public transportation (life advice: do not waste your money on cabs because public transit makes you nervous. This is me kindly and gently telling you to suck it up).

After Williamsburg I decided to head to the Lower East Side for some budget dinner–– you can get a giant slice of pizza and a drink from almost any little mom and pop pizzeria you pass for all of 4 dollars. I know I'm betraying all of my midwestern roots in saying this, but I actually really love New York Pizza.

From there I headed across the street to the Slipper Room–– usually it's a burlesque club, but one night a week comedian Seth Herzog takes it over for his comedy show Sweet, where comedians from all walks of life and fame come do 10-15 minute experimental sets. It's a free space where they can try out new jokes, and at 7 dollars it's a great show for the audience as well–– it keeps you on your toes. I went because I saw Matt Goldich (a comedian I really like who writes for Late Night with Seth Meyers) tweet that he would be there, along with Vanessa Bayer of SNL fame. I got to see her do her Miley Cyrus impression and Jacob the Bar Mitzvah boy, so it was a great show. Also, Michelle Wolf was there (Also a LNSM writer), and if you haven't heard her stuff before, get to it–– she is hilarious.
Cue me practically fainting. For me, meeting Aziz is like a normal person meeting Beyonce.
But, be still my little comedy loving heart, it got better. There was a surprise guest, and it couldn't have been anyone more perfect for me. It was Aziz Ansari. I had just missed him when he came through Chicago a month or so ago, and I was still bummed about it, but apparently the universe is looking out for me. For all of seven dollars (his show in Chicago was 80, so this was a freaking steal) I got to see Aziz Ansari, one of my all time favorite comedians, test out a whole forty minute set. And let me tell you, next time he goes on tour, go see him–– the jokes were phenomenal. There's a Ja Rule impression involved. I won't say anything else.
That was definitely the highlight of the trip, but it's not like things exactly dragged after that. One of my favorite things I did was explore Greenwich Village. I started off at Beacon's Closet, an amazingly hip little secondhand store where you can get Manolo Blahniks for 50 bucks, so basically heaven. From there I headed to Washington Square Park, aka possibly my new favorite place in New York. It's beautiful and full of life and people. From kids playing in the fountain to street performers to Comedy Central tapings, there was a ton happening here.
Mamoun's falafel is so good, it's on the list of 1000 Places to See Before You Die. 999 to go, I guess?
I had my palm read by a great little old woman from Tokyo who told me I'm going to go far in creative efforts, and that when I have a kid it'll be a boy. I met some NYU students who were from Chicago and gave me my dinner recommendation (Mamoun's Falafel. If you are ever in Greenwich Village, go here and get the schwarma. It is life changing). I also ended up getting roped into sitting down on an inflatable couch and meeting some strangers from all around the country/world thanks to Free Conversation, a group of people facilitating conversation between strangers in an attempt to widen world views.
Makin friends and sittin on inflatable couches
In the end, this trip to New York was eye opening for a number of reasons. First of all, I found that when I strayed from Times Square, I found a wonderfully global and welcoming city full of interesting people and places (and really great food) that I could definitely see myself living in one day, hopefully soon. Second, it was an incredible feeling to truly travel alone–– even if it was only for three days. I'd encourage anyone to try it. There's something really strengthening to know that you can drop yourself somewhere you're totally unfamiliar with, find your way around, and have a blast doing it.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Get the Look: Mindy Lahiri

In continuation of my unstoppable Mindy Kaling love, I'm devoting a post to appreciation of her style on The Mindy Project. I love her character because she's this smart, successful young professional but she never lets that force her into the trap of boring workplace fashion. She's all about bright colors and really fun, unique pieces. In the season two finale, she managed to squeeze in 23 outfits in just about 23 minutes. Here, I give you some attempts to copycat the best looks on less than a Dr. Lahiri salary.

Trench- $69.99
Dress- $44

Trench- $99
Dress- $85
Pink Heels- $39.99

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Let's talk about Crohn's Disease

Scrolling through my Twitter feed yesterday, I saw Jezebel had posted an interesting picture–– at first glance I'd just assume it was another swimsuit model, but this time there was something different. She was wearing colostomy bags.
Bethany and her colostomy bags (via strongmindbraveheart.com)
Colostomy bags are just one of a number of unfortunate parts of being a person with Crohn's disease. I'm lucky enough not to have ever experienced one, but patients who do often report shame at such a visible sign of their disease. 

That would be why it's especially important that this woman chose to publicly share her photo and her experience with Crohn's. Thanks to some vague and tacky commercials that make it seem like Crohn's is just one lifelong quest to be near to a bathroom, people tend to not really understand the disease or be comfortable talking about it. This, in turn, just makes it harder for those of us who have Crohn's to deal with it–– but thanks to brave people like Bethany Townsend, it doesn't have to be an embarrassing thing.

When I was first diagnosed, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't embarrassed or ashamed at all. It's not exactly cute to tell your date to senior turnabout that you weren't at school the day before the dance because you were getting a colonoscopy. But thanks to my sense of humor and the unconditional acceptance of my best friends, I eventually got to a place where talking about it and joking about it came naturally. 
Me, 4 and a half years ago, the day after I was diagnosed (I'm on the left!)
With anything you go through in life, what's most important is being open about it. Suffering from something–– whether it's Crohn's disease, or diabetes, or depression–– is a lot harder when you do it alone. So yeah, I'm sure there's a lot of people out there who, thanks to all the ridiculous commercials about rushing to the bathroom, wouldn't want to tell an acquaintance, or a date, or the world that they have Crohn's. But it's only with this kind of openness that we can start to actually educate people on what it's like living with a chronic illness. That's why it's so thrilling to see news outlets that I read every day, like Jezebel, posting an article that could potentially open up a dialogue. 

I have Crohn's disease, but it's not a defining factor in my life. It's one of many things that makes me "me," like the fact that I'm addicted to chapstick or that I'm a dog person, or that I secretly love the Leprechaun horror movies. I never want it to hold me back from anything, and that's why I'm so happy Bethany isn't letting it hold her back from a potential career in modeling–– you show 'em what you've got, girl, colostomy bags and all!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Ask The Lazy Girl: #NoNewFriends

Dear Lazy Girl,

What advice do you have for making new friends in college? I'm an upperclassman, and most of my friends recently graduated and moved. It's harder to make new friends than I was expecting!


Emma of "It's Emma Elise"

Hi Emma,

Thanks for your question! Making new friends is always tough, but it can be even harder when you're already an upperclassman–– as freshmen we're all running blind in the same boat (mixing metaphors over here), but after that people can get pretty ingrained in their friend groups. This just means you may have to work a little harder.

My numero uno advice here would be to join a club or team. If underwater basket weaving is your jam, find the other kids who love it too. Or if you're a bit more *mainstream* try your school's programming board or student government, and try to get involved in all the goings-on. From there, you've just got to be friendly and open. Ask people questions about themselves, or compliment their bag or something. People love to talk about themselves/their things!

Don't be afraid to put yourself out there! If all else fails, you can always get a goldfish.