That B* Sandy

In the wake of Sandy and her devastating blow to the east coast and my poor Jersey Shore, I’d like to share with you a few things I learned.

I learned that when you lose power for days on end, there’s nothing better than being a vegetarian. No fear of starvation, power outage food is the same as my norm diet anyway! Peanut butter and nutella for dinner? Yes, please!

That even though I knew I didn’t have power, I could not stop flipping the light switch on every time I walked into the bathroom.

I learned that if I close the drain in the bathtub to fill it up with water (which then drains out 30 minutes later), I have to remember to re-open the drain or else every time I take a shower the water will be slow to drain. We will then buy draino to fix what we think is a clogged shower. And that moment when the draino doesn’t help, and I finally remember that I tried to close the drain during Sandy and never re-opened it.

I learned that I’m very dependent on the news. Especially Bill Evans and his weather report. Though when you’re surrounded by 4 feet of water, I guess what’s really going on with the weather is a moot point.

I learned that I need to purchase a kayak or raft.

That maybe I don’t really want waterfront property anymore.

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I learned that CVS brand batteries do not last long at all. And leaving my flashlight on all night while sleeping was not the problem.

I learned that heat is really nice. But sweats, my bed, and lots of blankets are just as cozy.

I loved an excuse to burn a lot of candles.

I learned that some people are just dumb.

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But I also learned that some people are really, really nice. A special thanks to all those men and women who came in to help out those in need. Your service was greatly appreciated and the work you did was beyond wonderful.

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I learned that I get restless very easily. Which really confused me since normally I have no problem being a couch potato.

I learned that you can actually get some really good sleep when there’s no lights, or phone, or TV to distract you.

I learned that when disaster strikes, people really do come together. And it. Is. Awesome.

I learned that no matter how good you say you are, and how fine you say you’re doing, you still take comfort in people coming to make sure you’re actually alright. Especially when your building has become its own island and you don’t dare go swimming in the gunk that’s trying to pass as water. You just like to know someone out there cares.

I learned that things will never be the same…

But that we are strong, and we will rebuild. Together. With faith, hard work, perseverance, love, patience. At times it may seem more than one can bear, that there’s no end in sight, no point in the madness. We’ve endured a lot, we’ve seen a lot, we’ve yelled, shouted, cried “it’s not fair!” a lot. Sandy was a real bitch and I’m sure everyone would like to give her a good punch in the face. She tore us completely apart, unraveled our seams, and tested our limits. Heck she’s still testing our limits.

But with hope, there is survival, there is happiness, there is peace.

All my thoughts and prayers go out to each and every individual impacted by the wrath of Sandy. My heart hurts for those who have lost homes, belongings, both physical and sentimental, or loved ones. Love and well wishes to all. 

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I Believe In…

I believe the beach can cure all wounds

I believe puppies are the greatest companions

I believe in sweatpants

I believe in eating an entire carton of Ben & Jerrys. In one sitting. By yourself. Just because

I believe in celeb crushes

I believe it’s OK to think you’ll one day meet your celeb crush, who will obviously think you’re awesome-sauce and whisk you away to your castle in the clouds

I believe in dancing around your living room and thinking you’re good enough to be on So You Think You Can Dance

I believe in watching the Disney Channel – it keeps me super young at heart

I believe in ordering take out because you just can’t be bothered to get off the couch to cook

I believe in yelling every once in awhile. It feels good

I believe in crying, even when you have no idea what you’re crying about

I believe in wanting to stay in on a Friday night and watch every single thing on your DVR

I believe wishes do come true

I believe in being stubborn

I believe in thinking your voice is just as good as Christina Aguilera’s

I believe in being afraid to take off, and even more afraid to land

I believe in extending vacations

I believe in thinking jigsaw puzzles are still fun

I believe in not watching scary movies because they still give you nightmares

I believe it’s OK to say you weigh 5 pounds less than you actually do when the treadmill asks for your weight

I believe it’s OK to think the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy was one of the worst books you’ve ever read

I believe in breakfast for dinner

I believe it’s OK to have a wild imagination

I believe first impressions are important, but last impressions matter more

I believe it’s OK to not say sorry if you haven’t done anything wrong

I believe in soul mates

I believe in always having dessert

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Quarter Life Crisis?

The two most recent books I’ve finished have both been true, coming of age stories. My Year With Eleanor, by Noelle Hancock, and Wildby Cheryl Strayed. Both women had different why’s, however, each embarked on an adventure to rediscover themselves, or put themselves back together. But the thing each had most in common? Each were around the same age, late twenties. Which got me thinking… UGGHHH I’m in my late twenties, why am I not going on some huge self discovery trip? What have I possibly done in my life that can add any value?!

Noelle’s project (as she referred to it) was to do one thing every day which scared her. She got the idea from an Eleanor Roosevelt quote she saw on the board at her local coffee shop. After recently being fired from her job, and feeling as if she’d lost what made Noelle, Noelle, she decided to take up this project to try and get back to her usual self. So she decided to do things like shark diving, and sky diving, karaoke and entering a stand up comedy contest. Oh and then for her grand finale, she decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Which at first I thought was a little crazy, but then as I was reading about her experience and climbed each leg of her journey with her, I started to think, Hey, I could really do this! And so, I’ve added climbing Kilimanjaro to my bucket list. [Which also got me thinking that I should really make an official bucket list]. [And I even threw out the idea to Kevin and he didn’t say “Heck to the no!” Which means there’s like a 50% chance this will actually happen!] After 365 days of doing stuff that scared her, Noelle had rediscovered her old self, the self she liked and had grown up with. Which was really comforting after cheering her on throughout her journey. It would have been a major bummer if after she was done she was just like, whelp there goes that year.

On the other spectrum, Cheryl had essentially hit rock bottom. Her mother had recently died, she was abusing drugs, and was going through an emotional divorce. One day while standing in a check out line, she saw a book on the Pacific Coast Trail, and got the notion to hike the trail by herself for three months straight. And so, she did just that. And along the way she discovered that she had the strength inside her to go on with life. It was an incredibly inspiring and heart wrenching story. Fearless and gutsy. Honest. Beautiful.

I fully understand that I am in nowhere near the same situation as either Noelle or Cheryl. Especially Cheryl. What she went through was something I can not even imagine. But what these stories did do was make me think about my own life. Being about the same age [though Cheryl wrote her story years after], I wonder if it’s possible to go through a quarter life crisis. And my conclusion is yes. I’m freaking the heck out because I just turned 27 which is so close to being 30, and everyone knows your life is over as soon as you reach 30! I’m watching my years just pass by and what do I have to account for? I haven’t sailed the world, or ended world hunger. I haven’t written my ever looming book, or even held a dinner party. I haven’t even eaten meat for the past 10 years!! What kind of living is that?! I get depressed just thinking about how much of my life has already passed by, and I long for my days of youth when my biggest worry was studying for a stupid history test or not getting the bad seat at the lunch table. It sucks growing older. It really sucks. And if I could take a potion that would make me stay forever young, I would without hesitation.

But then I realize, I would miss out on all the joy my life has yet to bring me. And I realize, that even if I haven’t found a cure for cancer, or cooked a turkey, or fixed a flat tire, I really have done a lot in my short 27 years. I’ve gone to some of the greatest schools money can buy [literally, I could have bought a small country for the amount spent on my education], I have an excellent job. I moved out of my parents house. I’ve traveled. I’m smart, healthy and fun. I have the absolute greatest friends in the world. I’ve met my soul mate. And I have a lot of life left to live, and when I think about the wonderful things yet to come, I’m excited by all the possibilities this world may bring.

While I still may freak out on occasion, I’ve come to learn that it’s the little things that happen along the way that make your life worthwhile. The journey rather than the destination. I don’t need to look for the huge grand gestures to define myself or my life. Sometimes it’s the little things that happen every day that you don’t even notice until weeks later that make you appreciate life. Sometimes it’s just a smile, or a sunset, or a feel good moment you’re having. I don’t need to scale the highest mountain in the world to go find myself [although I do want to, and I will]. I can appreciate what I have, what I have been through, and what is yet to come. To just let loose. I’ve grown into who I want to be, and who I am comfortable being [since I’m such a control freak]. Sure I have some minor regrets, who doesn’t? But there’s no need to get my panties in a knot quite yet. Who am I to judge myself so harshly anyway right? Life’s too short to take so seriously. I’m loving living in the moment and for now I’m just going to enjoy the ride.

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Olympics Love

For the past two weeks I feel like my life has revolved around the Olympics and the Olympic athletes. My TV was permanently stuck on Olympics coverage, I was actually concerned with the crazy Badminton players who ruined their Olympic games by purposely messing up, and most importantly, my eyes were glued to the TV whenever my new boyfriend Ryan Lochte was baring almost all in the pool. But now? Now what am I supposed to do with myself?! I mean sure there’s still work, and my normal daily duties, but it just feels like a big part of me is missing. I feel lost. Like my soul has been ripped from my body. Dramatic? No. Not being able to find the super awesome black sequined shirt you wore one time last year in the abyss inside your closet is dramatic. Feeling an empty pit inside your stomach after the Olympics is over, is just normal.

I understand that it comes but once every four years. The rarity is part of the appeal. It makes us cheer for the athletes that much harder. It makes for better stories. It allows for a double amputee to be the first paraplegic to compete against able-bodied individuals. Which simply put, is absolutely incredible. But I’m selfish and I feel like I just lost all my best friends.

In all seriousness though, these Olympics lived up and in some ways even exceeded my expectations. Watching the Fab Five win team gold in gymnastics was the highlight for me and had me bawling like a baby. [Um, actually, every time someone from America won gold I got tears in my eyes]. It was amazing seeing all the fresh meat kicking butt in the pool, ahem Missy Franklin you effing ROCK! All around our women were kicking butt. Soccer, rowing, diving, volleyball, track and field, I mean what can’t we do?! It was pure awesomeness.

I just loved the happiness the Olympics brought. It’s a special time when it seems everything else in the world, all the problems and differences, just melts away and for one brief moment everyone gets along. Did everyone see the picture of the American and Iranian wrestler with their arms draped over each others shoulders? It was beautiful, and 100% embodied the spirit of the Olympics. As sad as I am about the ending of these wonderful games, I’m just as excited for what the Rio Games are bound to bring.

And you’ve read it here first. I have begun plotting how I can somehow become a part of the most amazing sporting spectacle on earth. I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

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The Hunger Games

I understand that I haven’t posted in quite some time.  I won’t even try to give an excuse, just my sincere apologies.  I know all you wonderful readers have missed me.  So I figured what better way to make my return than by talking about one of my favorite things in the world – books.

I must admit, when I first started hearing people talk about The Hunger Games I just thought it was another fad book with an extremely stupid plot.  An entire series dedicated to a reality show where people try to kill each other?  As someone who really does not find reading about death, or reading about people fighting and attacking each other, these books just did not appeal to me.  But then the book was only $4.00 and I figured there was no way I could pass up such a deal so I might as well give the book a fair chance.

And holy moly am I glad I gave it a fair chance.  I was absolutely hooked after the first two sentences.  I knew right away that this was going to be a different book than I’ve ever read before, and I knew it was going to be so much more than what I read on the back cover.  The writing, the style, the characters, the setting, the intricate details, the concept, it was all purely awesome.  Yes, awesome.  Once I finished the first I quickly got through the second and as soon as I finished the second I reluctantly started the third.  I say reluctantly because I did not want to finish the series. I was so attached to Katniss and Peeta and even Haymitch. I was torn all the way until the very end on whether I wanted Katniss to end up with Gale or Peeta. I cried when Prim was so wrongfully killed. I let out a sigh of relief when in the end everything seemed to be calm, while still questioning what if?

Needless to say, it was one of the best books I have ever read, and I’ve read a lot of books.  Now I’m just hoping that the soon to be released movies will live up to the excellence of the books. From the looks of all the previews, I don’t suspect the first installment will let me down. Do I think it will be as great as the book? No, of course not. I hardly ever think a movie is as good as a book, but that’s only because you have no time restraints and can explain everything in as much detail as you want. Books also allow your imagination to wander as far as you let it. Which in this case, makes the Hunger Games even greater than just the words Suzanne Collins put down on the paper.

Everyone better pre-order their tickets now, but if you still haven’t read this incredible trilogy I strongly suggest running to your local bookstore right this second! Seriously, I’m not joking. GO!!

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The 4-Year Cycle

I recently read this book titled Seven Year Switch by Claire Cook [it was a cute, fun read, the second book I’ve read by her and I’d recommend it], and she says that every seven years you become a new person.  To me this means you have a life changing event, or are faced with a decision that may altar your current state and makes you really dig down inside yourself to see who you want to become.  It made me think about my long life of 26 years to see if I agreed with her statement.  And to some degree I do.  I mean it’s only natural, I don’t think it’s very possible to go through life with no changes, either physical, emotional, personal, etc.  But every seven years?  Why seven?  Don’t things happen every day that make you stop and think and sometimes even change you without meaning for it to?  So I thought about it some more and thought maybe she’s just referring to events that we mean to happen, or choices we choose to make that transforms us, allows us to shed our skin and grow a new layer.  Either way it’s a very interesting concept to think that every seven years you can become a new person.  It’s almost like a cat having nine lives, every seven years you get to start over.

That’s when I realized I have experienced multiple changes in my life, but instead of every seven, it occurs every four years.  For example:

Birth to Kindergarten:  As a youngin’ I guess you could say I was a little problematic.  I tended to find myself in time out very often [though I was never deserving of it of course].  I lied about my name and age to any kid I met on the playground [maybe more on that in a different post], I had an opinionated mind of my own, and I was Miss Bossy-Pants.  I know this is more like six years, but I figure years one and two don’t matter much.  So after four years of that I moved to big kid school…

1st grade – 4th grade:  By now I had just turned six, old enough to know about consequences, I just acquired a new baby sister and I was ready to start fresh.  I had moved to big kid school where I’d have homework and teachers and switching classes to deal with.  Some things didn’t change.  I was still bossy, especially when it came to my sister because I thought I was her mom.  I had a slight lying issue to my 1st grade teacher, and I still said things that sometimes got me in to trouble.  However, I had started to grow up a little.  Instead of my teachers telling my mom I was mischievous, she would tell my mom I was kind and caring about the others in my class, and how I would always be the first to raise my hand to help out.  After four years it was time to move to middle school…

5th grade – 8th grade:  Same school, different building.  But to us kids moving from lower school to upper school [as my fancy private school called it], we were scared.  We were the little fish in the big pond.  Classes were harder, alliances changed, responsibilities became more.  At only 10 years old, I could see this happening, and I could see that I was changing right along with my friends.  I started to settle down more, I wouldn’t speak out and draw as much attention to myself.  This was partly due to me being a competitive gymnast and these were the years that I was most dedicated to my training.  I pretty much lived, breathed, slept gymnastics.  It gave me a discipline that before I was too young to appreciate.  After many tears at graduation, it was time to move on to High School.

High School:  Looking back at the beginning of high school I realize that I was only 14 years old.  At the time I felt like I was so old, but in reality, 14 is still so young.  I enjoyed my high school years very much.  I went to a terrific school and met the best of friends, all of whom I’m still friends with to the day.  It taught me a lot about myself, as I struggled with some health issues, and about who my true friends were and the pain that comes with figuring that out.  I became more involved in my school work and activities, and it is here where I found out what a control freak and perfectionist I am.  Gone were my childish ways of lying and even my bossiness took a back seat to my desire to work with others [though my sister might disagree].  I learned that I had it in me to be who I wanted to be, do what I wanted to do.  I hardly fought with my parents, was never grounded, and knew they trusted me to make the right decisions.  And I know they were very proud of who I became as I walked across the podium at my high school graduation fighting back tears, both scared and excited as to what adventures were ahead of me.

College:  After four years of high school I embarked on college [Villanova University] a bright eyed girl ready to take on the world!  At first I was skeptical because I already had everything I wanted at home, but it didn’t take me long to adjust to college life and I realized that there was so much more out there.  I joined clubs, a sorority, actually paid attention during class, made another bunch of really great friends, met my wonderful [!] boyfriend Kevin, all while growing up and trying to figure things out for myself.  No one wants to leave college, but I think by the time I graduated I was ready to start a new chapter in my life.  I learned all I could in my many years in the classroom and I was ready to learn out in the real world.

Post College – A month ago:  I moved back home after college because 1.  I had no job yet and 2.  I wanted to start saving my money.  I wanted to take the summer off since I figured it would be my last free one to enjoy, and found a very good job at a very good company in the fall.  In New York City.  My commute was just about two hours each way.  And I did that for four years.  The one thing I can say about my past four years is that working in the city has really hardened me.  I used to be such a sweet, nice girl, only letting my attitude peak out in dire situations, but after just four months that girl was gone.  I lose my patience when someone walks too slowly in front of me, I stick out my elbows and push my way through crowds, and the young opinionated mind of my own has returned.  Though I’ve come to realize that it is A-OK to be like that, you need to have enough confidence to speak your mind, but unlike my 5-year-old-self, my 26-year-old-self knows when to open my mouth and when to clamp it shut.  And I know just how far to take it.

A month ago – Present:  So after four years of living at home, me and Kevin have decided to move out together.  This embarks the start of my next four year cycle and I expect it to be a pretty interesting ride.

I’ve made six changes in my life, each at the four year mark, I’m not sure that this will continue for the rest of my life, I mean there’s really only so many different things I can do, but I’m excited to see what happens in four more years.  Each time I’ve started a new phase in my life, I was able to learn and grow as a person.  All of my past experiences have shaped me into the person I am today [whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, I’m not sure].  And it’s true, no matter if it’s four years, seven years, two years, ten years, but there will be times in your life where you are faced with an event that changes you somehow. I don’t know think I’d say I’ve transformed into a completely new person, there’s still the same Lauren in there that I was when I was little, but I’ve been faced with new challenges and experiences that have allowed me to decide who I want to be.

How about you readers?  Any cycles in your life?

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From Professions to Hair

Who do you most admire?

Currently, Jeff Lewis.  He is fan-freaking-tastic.  I mean hilarious, so ridiculous and wrong that he is just right.  I love him.  If you don’t know who he is I strongly suggest tuning into Bravo on Tuesday nights at 9pm for Flipping Out.  It’s seriously my favorite show at the current moment.

What is the worst lie you ever told?

Me?  Lie?  Psh never!   OK, well there was this one time in 1st grade when I lied to my math teacher about how many teeth I had lost.  She kept a chart on the wall and I had told her I lost 4 teeth already.  Truth was, I hadn’t actually lost any teeth yet.  When my parents went in for parent-teacher conference they saw the chart and asked my teacher about it… then they told her the truth.  The next day in front of the entire class, my teacher told everyone how I had lied.  It was traumatizing.

What is your favorite song?

I have a few favorites, but I love Train’s Drops of Jupiter and Elton John’s Tiny Dancer.

Are you a Harry Potter Fan?

Heck to the YES!  I love Harry Potter so, so much.  The books are my most favorite, but the movies are spectacular and I highly suggest seeing the latest one.  It was incredible.

What are your thoughts on this terrible heat wave?

My thought is this.  It.  Is.  Awful.  And my hair hates it.  Anyone have some good anti-frizz solution?  Humidity and me do not mix.

So what are you going to do to help your hair?

I was thinking of moving to California, definitely great weather for my hair.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Well that’s a tough one.  I wanted to be a million different things.  But one thing that stands out is that I always wanted to own a gas station because the gas attendants always walked around with wads of money in their hands.  As a child, I thought that wad was a million bucks and that it was all theirs.  My mother tried to tell me that being a gas station attendant was not what I wanted to be when I grew up.  Well mom, you were 100% right, boy am I glad I listened to you!


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