Wednesday, October 31, 2012

go ahead, eat some candy...

Happy Halloween! Isn't this image adorable and hilarious? I can't get over it. Totally made my day. I can hardly believe it's the end of October. In a week I'll be done with fall quarter for grad school. Crazy.

Chicago in the fall is lovely. Every day I find joy walking home from the bus crunching leaves under my feet. So many people say fall is their favorite time of year. I know it's mine. Pumpkins. Leaves. Halloween. Sweaters. Thanksgiving. Caramel Apple Spice drinks. Boots. It all makes me happy to be alive.

I hope you've all had a wonderful October. Make sure you eat some candy today. October 31 without candy just isn't right. Indulge.

Here's to a splendid November!

Monday, October 29, 2012

What's it like on the inside of love?

I don't know what it's like to be a "we". I'm 25 and never been in a serious relationship. I look around and see friends, acquaintances, and strangers paired together, marching forward two-by-two. How would that be? Honestly, I have no idea.

I'm not afraid of being alone. I'm good at it; sometimes too good. But the truth is all I really want is to share my life with someone. Dinner date on Saturday night...check. Groupon for a charming B&B in honey and I will be there with bells on. Free back massage whenever I need it...done.  

My deepest desire is to be a wife and mother. For whatever reason love hasn't come my way yet. I've made my peace with my reality as best I can. I'm not bitter or angry. Frustrated and confused at times? Yes. Perplexed by the whole love equation? Definitely. Ridiculously impatient? Guilty.

I've never wanted to be one of those people sitting around waiting for life to begin. I'm looking for a partner, not someone to make me whole. You have to learn to live in the "now". I try to focus on bettering myself and finding joy. Some days, weeks, and months are better than others.

I've been on dates, kissed a few guys. Several guys have even quote "broken-up" with me despite the fact that we hadn't started dating. Funny stories let me tell ya. A few years ago I found a person I could actually picture a real future with--not some fantasy or unattainable desire--but a life beyond the honeymoon phase. The timing wasn't right.

Right now I'm on the outside of love. It "must be a different view to be a me with a you..." I don't know what the future holds, but I move forward. Daydreaming, wondering, and hoping.

Friday, October 19, 2012

New York State of Mind: This Land Series

photo by Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times
Last quarter in my urban affairs journalism class, we learned how to write deep, meaningful stories influenced by a newsworthy topic or event. I find these type of features to be the most powerful. They put a human face on a issue or situation we may not otherwise understand or know about. It's nonfiction writing at its best.

Today I'm sharing Part 1 of the "This Land" series by New York Times writer Dan Barry. Take a few minutes today and step into Donna Dove's world of Elyria, Ohio. You may be surprised how much you can reality to her reality.

At the Corner of Hope and Worry by Dan Barry, New York Times

"From the vantage point of these booths and Formica countertops, the past improves with distance, the present keeps piling on, and a promising future is practically willed by the resilient patrons."

More about the series:
The dateline is Elyria, Ohio, a city of 55,000 about 30 miles southwest of Cleveland. You know this town, even if you have never been here. A place buffeted by time and the economy, a place where the expectations have been lowered, but not hopes for better days to come. A place where politicians, in this election year, say the American dream is still possible. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom: We are the Girls

photo by Alexis Perevoschikov

While I don't agree with every aspect of this quote, I think it's a good reminder to stop the glorification of busy; to understand and internalize your individual worth.

I spent the first 19 years of my life trying to be everything. If you work hard you can accomplish anything. Live life to the fullest. Give 110% everyday. I applied these adages literally and liberally. 

While I accomplished a lot during my teen years (I have a box full of plaques and certificates to prove it), I never let my success sink in. I never felt good enough and failed to recognize that I was the person I was trying so hard to be.

It took a complete mental and physical breakdown for me to stop and re-evaluate my life; to understand that just because I could or wanted to do something it didn't mean I should. I wanted so badly to help and influence others I failed to take care of myself.

Today, at the age of 25, I still possess an innate drive to succeed and put my whole heart into things, but I also know I have limits. Balancing life is tricky and although I don't have it all figured out, I'm more centered and happy with who I am right now.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

the long and short of it...

one / two / three / four / five / six
I've always had a love-hate relationship with my hair. In middle school all I wanted was a straight bob. My thick, wavy hair never quite cooperated. If only I'd known about CHI straighteners. That wouldn't come until college.

In high school I desired long, straight hair. Early morning seminary class required me to get up at 4:30 am to achieve my luscious locks. A shoulder injury saved me from that insanity. I couldn't raise my arm above my head. Consequently,  I was forced to come to terms with my curly hair. Total blessing in disguise on more levels than one.  

I wish I'd known and understood as a preteen and teenager that celebrities wear wigs and hair extensions. They have access to the most expensive hair products and best stylists money can buy.

Reality check. You're never going to look like Jennifer Aniston on your genes or budget, Clarissa. Don't obsess too much. Take a chill pill girl.  

Last night I was talking to my best friend, Sarah, on the phone and suddenly her tone changed. "Ok, I have to ask you a serious question." I braced myself for the unknown. "I'm getting my hair done tomorrow and I can't decide if I want to go light or dark. What do you think?" Phew, this was a serious matter I could handle!

We discussed at length the pros and cons of going lighter vs. darker. Eventually, we settled on her keeping her blonde highlights and not going significantly darker. She's going to spice it up with fun bangs. That will satisfy her need for change without doing something drastic.

These are important decisions people. 

Two years ago I chopped my hair off to look like Carey Mulligan. Currently, my hair is close to Rashida Jones' length without the bangs. Don't get me started on bangs. If I'm patient enough, hopefully I can get my hair to SJP's length. I really want to be able to do a sock bun but my hair grows SO slow. We'll see if I can hold out. 

What are you hair struggles? Do you prefer long or short? Curly or straight? Favorite products?

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Little Baby Muffin is Sick

It was a rough weekend. Friday morning I woke up and Harper wasn't herself. She has a condition where her balance isn't always great but this was different. When I got home from work I found her sprawled out in the middle of the floor. She never does that. She couldn't stand up or hold her head up. Something was seriously wrong.

I forced her into her kitty crate (she hates that thing) and hopped a cab to the animal hospital. She cried the whole way there. We rushed into an exam room and they soon took Harper away to do blood work and tests. All I could do was wait.

Sitting in the Chicago Animal Hospital ER endless thoughts and questions clouded my mind. How do people go through things like this with their own children? If I'm this worried and scared for my cat how will I react when I have kids? Is Harper ok? Is she in pain? There's nothing I can do!

Waiting to hear a diagnosis--animal or human--is one of the worst feelings in the world. I felt so helpless and pathetic. I suddenly became hyper aware how alone I am. Everyone else had their significant other by their side. I live 2,000 miles away from the people I love. I don't have a boyfriend or husband. I have friends here but it's not the same. Friday night I didn't have a person.

I live alone. Home won't be the same if I don't have Harper. I need the little baby muffin to be ok.

I couldn't talk on my phone in the lobby and didn't want to step outside so I relied on text messages to get me through the 2.5 hrs of waiting. Sarah was at the Jazz game with Chris and Kenz. They sent me funny pictures and kept me laughing. Keely, my parents, and auntie all kept checking in too. c

Finally, the doctor called be into the exam room and proceeded to tell me that Harper's blood and enzyme levels were all normal. He didn't know what was wrong. 2.5 hours and a ridiculous amount of money later we had nothing.

Saturday and Sunday I got her to eat and drink a little bit and she went potty--all good things. I just have to keep watching her and see how she does. I pray everything will be ok.

Friday, October 12, 2012

New York State of Mind: A Spiritual Message

I'm straying slightly from my usual New York State of Mind format today. My intent with this series is to provide thought provoking, well-written material from trusted sources. Today I'm sharing a spiritual message. It is not my intent to push my beliefs on anyone, but rather to share what I find influential and meaningful in hopes that it may enrich the lives of others.  

This past weekend I had the opportunity to watch general conference and listen to wonderful messages from my church leaders. In the LDS church, general conference is held twice a year during April and October. It's a wonderful opportunity to receive direction and counsel from inspired leaders.

My favorite talk from conference was Where is the Pavilion? by President Henry B. Eyring. Here is an excerpt I found particularly powerful:

"Although His time is not always our time, we can be sure that the Lord keeps His promises. For any of you who now feel that He is hard to reach, I testify that the day will come that we all will see Him face to face. Just as there is nothing now to obscure His view of us, there will be nothing to obscure our view of Him. We will all stand before Him, in person...we want to see Jesus Christ now, but our certain reunion with Him at the judgment bar will be more pleasing if we first do the things that make Him as familiar to us as we are to Him. As we serve Him, we become like Him, and we feel closer to Him as we approach that day when nothing will hide our view."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom

Hello friends! Sorry for my blogging absence. I've been struggling to find a balance between working full-time and going to school. Right now things are a little hectic and I'm trying to get back on track.  I've wanted to blog but haven't been able to muster the energy to even write a grocery list or get my butt to the gym.

Last night I came home from work, ate a bowl of cereal, snuggled with my sweet little Harper, and went to bed. At 7:00pm. Didn't wake up until 7:00 am this morning. Still late to work. You gotta love days like that. Ah the sweet, craziness of life.

Here's some Wednesday Wisdom via Pinterest to brighten your day (and mine)!


Friday, October 5, 2012

New York State of Mind: Playing House

photo by Ruven Afanador

I've been slacking big time on my reading this week. Working full-time and going to school are catching up with me. Here's a short little Q&A with Diane Keaton about a coffee table book she published called "House". Definitely checking this one out next time I'm at Barnes & Noble. Have a lovely weekend!

Playing House by Stephen Heyman, New York Times Magazine

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Jihan of Geronimo! Balloons

photo by Kimberly Genevieve
Back home in Everett, WA, I met Jihan when we both served on a church youth committee in high school. I was a newbie to the group and a year or two younger than everyone else.

Jihan took me under her wing and was a complete sweetheart. She always made me feel comfortable and part of the group. Plus, I couldn't get over her fantastic red lipstick and chestnut brown hair.

She was, and still is, stunning inside and out. 

When I moved to Chicago last year I bought a bed via the Internet from a girl who was moving to another state. She was already gone by the time I arrived so I corresponded with her former roommate, Charlotte.

As Charlotte and I got to know each other we quickly discovered we were both from the Seattle area and there was a certain someone we both knew: Jihan! Come to find out Charlotte and Jihan are actually best friends.

Sometimes it really is a small world.

To come full circle, this summer I had the opportunity to intern for The Everygirl. When the editors Alaina and Danielle asked us for future career feature ideas I knew immediately who I would recommend. Today you get to see why.

Head over to The Everygirl to read all about Jihan Zencirli of Geronimo! Balloons.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

Apple Picking in Wisconsin

Happy October! How was everyone's weekend? I spent my Saturday in Wisconsin picking apples with friends at an adorable farm. We also enjoyed homemade donuts, bratwurst, and apple cider shakes. It was the perfect way to usher in fall--my favorite time of the year.

Last night I made apple crisp (I've already eaten half of it!). This week I plan to make these apple recipes featured on The Everygirl. I can't wait to try the cheddar apple quick bread. Yummy!

Wisconsin is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to visit. As much as I love the city life, it's always refreshing to get out and enjoy nature. It really is a beautiful state and I'm sure more Wisconsin adventures will ensue in the coming months.

What's one of your favorite fall activities?