Celebrity Faves of 2017

I cannot believe I have not done one of these lists since AUGUST 2015!!!

I used to think these lists were getting harder to make because I was no longer hip enough to know the latest celebrities, but now I don’t really think that’s true. Because I actually do watch a lot of tv and movies. The real reason is probably that celebrities are so much more accessible now through social media, and it’s become easier for me to realize “this celebrity is not everything I would have liked them to be…” I know, it is not right to hold anyone up to an impossible ideal. But this is a list of my FAVORITE CELEBRITIES! It’s not going anywhere meaningful. So in light of that, a little unrealistic expectation seems ok.

Then there’s celebrities that I’m like, ok I adore them, I think they’re great, I wish the best for them but I a) don’t follow their career or necessarily watch everything they’re in, b) can’t really comment on their personality because they’re so private or c) feel weird liking them because they’re married or have kids. Also, I refuse to put down celebrities that are WAY younger than me.

But really, the reason I have not been able to hit post on a list like this in a time like now is because I have listened to way too many podcasts and read too many articles that talk about race and media and society’s concepts of beauty and when I look at my compiled lists of favorite celebrities, I realize how unintentionally racist it is!

Regardless, I shall go forth:

1. Daisy Ridley
I adore her, find her very pretty with a charming personality, will actually watch films she’s in because she’s in them (murder on the orient express, star wars), will happily watch any youtube videos that come up of her, think she’s smart and well-spoken … so CLEAR WINNER here! The only downside is that she’s not on social media (though she ONCE WAS and I thought she was great at it). She left because of gun fanatic TROLLS!!! Somewhere out there I’m sure she has a private Instagram account but we shall never know the treasure within.

2. Emma Watson
She’s so private and I really have not watched anything she’s been in other than Harry Potter. But every time I see her, I’m like “sigh she’s so pretty.” And then she came out for Time’s Up! So I feel like that’s worth putting on the list. I think she manages her privacy well and knows when she wants to use her starpower and does so strategically. I put her in my stitchfix stylist note, where I wrote “I’d like to look like Emma Watson on a casual day, Malia Obama, and Olivia Pope.” Admittedly though, I have not yet watched Beauty and the Beast. Or The Bling Ring. Or the Perks of Being a Wallflower. HOWEVER, I DID thoroughly enjoy her cameo in This Is the End.

3. Chrissy Teigen
Frances Lo gave me this celebrity crush and Frances knew about her YEARS before anyone was talking about her. So by proxy, I knew about and loved Chrissy Teigen well before the days when Buzzfeed would write an article about every tweet she posts. I would yell at people who would go “who the hell is this person on Lip Sync Battle.” The proper response is, SHE’S CHRISSY TEIGEN AND SHE HAS A GREAT TWITTER! She has never disappointed me.

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stoop buddies!

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4. Tracee Ellis Ross
I think she’s the person I’d most want to be friends with. She has such a bright personality. And great fashion taste. And always a great interview with SO much energy. I recently saw a commercial of Girlfriends on CWTV.com and for a few seconds, I thought she had a new show out. She HAS NOT aged. I wish we could go on vacations together.

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THE POWER OF WOMEN ~ a year ago today

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5. Issa Rae
Insecure is probably one of my favorite shows currently, and it’s how I was introduced to her. I find her hilarious and creative and A BOSS. She deserves MORE!!! I hope she writes another memoir one day though she has so much on her plate now. She has a beautiful glow about her, she is always dressed well, and I actually enjoy her InstaStories, even when they’re just her being drunk at parties. I also love how she seems so close to her fellow castmates. She is a Stanford alumnus and sometimes when I walk around campus I think, maybe she’s visiting and I’ll see her!!!

4. Jessica Rothe
I watched Tater Tot and Patton and thought she is an AMAZING actress, totally underrated and probably could’ve been today’s Jennifer Lawrence. I don’t know that much about her but I get the impression that she seems like she’d be a great interview. Watch Happy Death Day – she can easily do comedy, drama AND HORROR.

5. Yael Grobglas
I feel like the real testament to her acting ability is that she can play her twin sister on Jane the Virgin and it’s NOT annoying and surprisingly endearing. She has a GREAT instagram feed. I loved that she accompanied Gina Rodriguez to the Golden Globes though I wish she were in the position to go on her own invitation. Hopefully, one day!

 

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No filter. My lips do this. New discovery.

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6. Gina Rodriguez
She’s very well spoken and I will always admire her for pulling off her amazing Golden Globes speech. She is the definition of charisma. And she’s clearly well prepared in everything she attaches her name to. ALSO I love her instagram posts of her boxing videos. They’re inspiring.

People I highly respect and find fascinating
– Rihanna
– Elaine Welteworth
– Mindy Kaling
– Lupita Nyong’o

Of course I like them – they’ve played gay or ARE gay!
– Kristen Stewart
– Cara Delevingne
– Gugu Mbatha-Raw
– Dominque Provost Chalkley
– Sarah Shahi
– Jordana Brewster

People who are married and I feel a bit weird thinking they’re so great (I don’t know why I didn’t include Chrissy Teigen in this category, I guess I adore her so much that she transcend this category):
– Jessica Chastain
– Emily Blunt
– Claire Foy
– Amy Adams
– Kelly Clarkson
– Gal Gadot
– Nicole Richie

People I don’t actively follow but whenever I see them in the news, I think “oh yeah, that person is great”:
– Carey Mulligan
– Tatiana Maslany
– Sarah Paulson
– Kate McKinnon
– Nina Dobrev
– Zendaya

People I’ve realized are amazing at interviews and seem like great personalities but otherwise, I don’t particularly follow their careers or social media accounts:
– Kirsten Dunst
– Kate Beckinsale
– Salma Hayek
– Aubrey Plaza

People whose social media accounts negated any adoration I previously held:
– Naya Rivera
– Shay Mitchell
– Anna Kendrick (I can’t stand anyone who praises Justin Timberlake. I don’t care if she was promoting Trolls with him)

And then for males, who I do not follow or find interesting but can generally find to be attractive:
– Zac Efron
– Matt Bomer
– Oscar Isaac
– Liam Hemsworth
– Jaime Camil

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Harry Potter Years Later

Harry Potter is back on HBO and upon finding out that Robyn had almost zero memory of the movies and the books, it’s become my mission to watch all the movies together. Now I know what it feels like to be a know-it-all and I must say, it does actually feel pretty delightful to explain to Robyn, “well what you DIDN’T NOTICE because the movie fails to go into is—.” The joy of a mansplainer.

A quick timeline of the book and film release dates (with US publishing dates which differ from UK’s for the first three books):

1998: sorcerer’s stone book comes out
1999: chamber of secrets book comes out
1999: prisoner of azkaban book comes out
1999: melissa the 6th grader reads harry potter upon recommendation of Connie L
2000: goblet of fire book comes out
2001: movie 1 comes out
2002: movie 2 comes out
2003: order of phoenix book comes out
2004: movie 3 comes out
2005: half blood prince book comes out
2005: movie 4 comes out
2007: deathly hallows comes out
2007: movie 5 comes out
2009: movie 6 comes out
2010: movie 7 comes out
2011: movie 8 comes out

I was the type of Harry Potter fan who got the books on release date and would dedicate the next few days solely to reading (I wasn’t the type to pull an all-nighter just to power through it, as that felt like a disservice to the reading experience). I would watch the movies on opening weekend, always as a group event, and for the last few I was old enough to watch midnight showings. Somewhere in one of my memory keepsake boxes is a pair of plastic Harry Potter glasses that the Krikorian theater (now closed!) passed out to us while we waited in line. I’m glad I participated in the craze, that I have memories of being a part of the collective moment.

I have read the books multiple times, though I tend to read the latter ones more often because I often forget what exactly happened. For example, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to remember all the horcruxes and I’m not even sure how many there were (does Voldemort himself count in the 7? does Harry Potter count in the 7? This seems like an easy question to Google but I already know my brain won’t commit the answer to memory).

I have forgotten some fairly important details. One time I decided to re-read the Half Blood Prince and had no idea who the Half Blood Prince was. I never remember the name of the fifth book. Upon watching the last movie, I realized that while I knew what the three hallows were, I had completely forgotten about how the resurrection stone plays into the plot. My memory often blurs and can’t really remember what happens exactly when. This has resulted in numerous movie watchings where I’m waiting to see a particular scene and it isn’t until the credits roll that I’m like “DAMN IT wrong movie!”

Here are my thoughts on the films, now that it’s many years later and I’m watching it with my older perspective. Keep in mind that my favorite of the eight movies is Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 and that I tend to prefer movies with excellent CGI destruction scenes.

Sorcerer’s Stone: I skipped watching this movie and went straight the Chamber of Secrets. Maybe I’ll watch it after we go through the rest but I generally have zero interest in watching the first one.

Chamber of Secrets: I’ve realized that this movie is actually REALLY GOOD! I went in with exceedingly low expectations. Maybe this movie was better because it was one of the shorter books. The action is also relatively straight-forward. I didn’t really care about or even notice the four director changes in my youth, but I’m glad they did it. Christopher Columbus was a great choice to direct child actors and I think it was a good decision to later swap directors as the actors grew up. Though the directors for movie #3 and #4 were not good. Anyway, about the movie. Dobby looks so ugly here, it was hard for me to like Dobby as a character. The basilisk wasn’t as scary looking as I had imagined. But the chamber itself was well done, and particularly cool knowing that it would be revisited in the last movie. Moaning Myrtle is a great character, but I always thought she looked like a female Daniel Radcliffe, it’s actually a bit distracting. I wish they had made the popularity of young Tom Riddle a bigger part of the story, because without it, you don’t see Dumbledore’s wisdom in not trusting Voldemort even in the early years. When I first saw Voldemort in the movie, I didn’t like the makeup because it wasn’t what I had pictured. Now, I think the makeup is actually really well done, and I have no idea what I was picturing when I first read the books. And I do appreciate that they made Voldemort look the same throughout the movie series, despite the director changes. The CGI in this film was really quite good. And it seemed like a much easier film to grasp and enjoy if you hadn’t read the books before.

Prisoner of Azkaban: The first movie with the second Dumbledore actor. Even upon first watching, I really disliked the second Dumbledore actor. What is even more infuriating is that I later found out he had purposely never read the books! The whole problem is that he doesn’t play Dumbledore as elegantly as I always pictured Dumbledore in the books. The second and third directors really needed to sit him down and say, “you aren’t playing the character correctly, please take these notes” but they failed to do that. (By the time David Yates came around, there wasn’t much opportunity for Dumbledore to act unnecessarily aggressive #SPOILER ALERT TEN YEARS LATER#). How can this actor possibly have been the only old British man that the studio could choose from? Anyway. About the movie. The movie was better than I had remembered. Peter Pettigrew and Professor Trelawney were the best new cast additions – they portray their characters perfectly. I thought Gary Oldman was better as Sirius in the subsequent movies, but a bit too intensely crazy in this one. I thought they could have developed Sirius’ character a bit more, and maybe done more to build a fear over Sirius Black before we actually met him. Constantly showing us wanted posters of Sirius didn’t really do much in building an understanding of him. The director seemed to take a budget cut on the CGI because the wolf and Sirius as a dog were pretty lacking. The main action scenes at the end were well done, considering all the time-turner business that could have been ended up to be extremely confusing. It seemed weird that the director chose not to CGI animal shapes with the Patronus, it seems like such an obviously important facet of the Patronus spell. Must’ve been those budget cuts.

Goblet of Fire: My least favorite of all the movies. This movie feels like the director looked at the length of the source material and just immediately gave up on building any emotional connection with the viewers. It’s like his main goal was to just turn something into the studio, something that would include stringing together the most important highlighted bits, but there was zero need to do anything artistic beyond that. There’s nothing beyond surface level. I remember being most annoyed upon my first watching that the Triwizard Maze scene was SO trimmed down, there was zero tension or magical intrigue to it.  The whole ending honestly seems like a good thirty minutes had been cut. So far, it’s the only movie where the credits rolled and Robyn went “WHAT?! that was the end?!” If you hadn’t read the books, a lot of character development and motivation is lost. And there is very little of the main trio together. Also very little musical soundtrack is used. A small plus though, I did notice with my 2018 perspective that the background actors were VERY diverse (David Yates’ movies got VERY white). Also, I find it hilarious to remember that when the trailer for Goblet of Fire came out, I distinctly remember a lot of people going “OMG EMMA WATSON IN THAT YULE BALL DRESS looks SOOO glamorous!” And now the dress looks hideous. It’s like that yellow dress Kate Hudson wore in How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Everyone was obsessed with that yellow dress and years later, it looks like it was bought at Ross. In short, this director and this movie were the worst. Rather than choosing certain key scenes to flesh out, it felt like all the scenes were rushed and shoehorned in, with no particularly amazing scene.

Half-Blood Prince: I appreciate the David Yates movies so much more now, after watching all the earlier ones so close in succession. Here is what Yates did really well: 1) integrated scenes of real world London with the magical world in a believable way that actually accentuates the fantasy world of magic, 2) way better scene transitions, 3) more money spent on CGI, 4) way cooler use of the moving pictures particularly with newspapers, 5) amazing glass shattering scenes and 6) actual directorial style. Oh, and he had Daniel Radcliffe cut off that god awful hair from the 4th film. The greatest visual of this movie is Bellatrix stomping over the Great Hall dining table. A runner up to me is when McGonagall leads the school in raising their wands for Dumbledore’s passing. I thought the ending of the movie was a little rushed but the rest of the movie had been well paced. Like the whole Half Blood Prince mystery lands with a thud in the movie. Slughorn was extremely well cast, though the scene where he finally gives Harry his memory seemingly comes out of nowhere. I must admit, I don’t think I picked up on the point of the Vanishing Cabinet at all through the books but it’s well done through the movies. It turns out Malfoy was really well cast as a child because he is great in this movie.

Deathly Hallows Part One: This is my favorite movie OF ALL because there are so many great action scenes and particularly that animated scene for the Deathly Hallows was SO WELL DONE. I still marvel at the graphics of that scene years later. This film was extremely well paced. And I almost always cry a little when Ron and Harry get into a fight and Ron leaves. Considering how much they had to do in this film, I think it’s really well done. AMAZING visual effects. The last scene is kind of a crap ending though. Dumbledore’s grave could probably have used a bit more CGI work.

Deathly Hallows Part Two: I only like this movie up until the Gringotts scene ends. Everything after that is honestly a bit unnecessary. The Snape memory at the end was ok, but I feel like with some changes in editing, it could have been way more tear inducing. This movie is WAY too dragged out, especially at the end. The worst scene of all is problem when Harry grabs Voldemort by the neck and goes “let’s finish this the way we started … TOGETHER!” Here is an unpopular opinion, probably, but I didn’t care for Neville’s scenes. I hate 1) grand speeches, 2) the taunt / UH OH! now they’re after me! scenes. Both of which he had. The ending of the movie and the ending of the book elicited the same feelings for me: it was like an “ergh. ok. I guess that’s it. what will I have to look forward to in life now?” Come to think of it, I do remember feeling a bit lost after this movie came out because there was no major franchise in sight at the time.

One major difference in opinion I have now vs. I had then is the Ron + Hermione romance seemed better done to me now. I guess watching all the movies in succession, I appreciated the small little cues that they would end up together. When the movies were rolling out in real time though, I think I always thought “OK stop trying to stuff this relationship down our throats!” Or maybe I’m just older now and I’m like, that IS a cute way for young love to develop! In short, maybe I’m softer now. I do however, wish that they had just made Harry Potter have zero romantic interests in the films. I know that would never have happened, but how is it that he had zero chemistry with both Ginny and Cho?!?!?!?! Ok, especially Cho. There was only one reason for Cho in the storyline. Who performed the chemistry tests between the two actors? There can’t possibly have been so few British Asian actresses to choose from.

The best castings:
– Bellatrix
– Snape
– Hagrid
– McGonagall
– Luna Lovegood
– My favorite of all actually is … the lady Hermione becomes with the use of Polyjuice Potion to break into the Ministry of Magic. SHE IS THE BEST. She gave amazing facial expressions 100% of the time. And she looks like Samantha Bee. She is Mafalda Hopkirk.

Scenes I love to re-watch:
– Break into Ministry of Magic to retrieve the necklace (Pt 1)
– Break into Gringotts (Pt 2)
– Animated scene of the Deathly Hallows (Pt 1)
– Ron leaves Hermione and Harry (Pt 2)
– Harry, Hermione and Ron apparate into London and begin Horcrux search (Pt 1)
– Bellatrix runs around the castle (Half Blood Prince)

It’s me again

Today I went climbing for the first time in nine months. I quit my Planet Granite membership about two years ago because it seemed ridiculous paying $85 a month for a gym when I had access to free gyms at one of the richest universities in the world. In addition to that, my rock climbing intensity had cratered after I sprained my ankle. I’d go to the gym and do a number of easier climbs that I knew I could do just by looking at them. But if I tried one and midway realized it required a little bravery and I wasn’t absolutely sure I’d have a firm handhold on the next hold, I’d go “nah” and jump down with a pissy look on my face.

This kept happening, and what used to be a workout that left me feeling accomplished, fit and slightly sore became an increasing disappointment. I’d leave the gym feeling worse than when I started because I’d keep thinking back to when I would have just gone for it or would persistently work at a problem. There’s one particular section in the gym that I always think about when I’m getting nostalgic about climbing – it was the place where I accomplished my very first V2 and I had spent several days attempting it. The last two holds felt impossible to get but I kept at it, and then finally, I lept for it and made it. A few minutes after silently reveling in my glory (while pretending to stretch out my hamstrings) I attempted it again to make sure it wasn’t a random fluke. I made it easily like it was a V0.

After today’s session I feel … not as disappointed as I used to because I probably did quite a decent number of climbs despite having done next to zero physical activity in the past year. Yet I feel embarassed to be in the gym because I felt like such an amateur. I wanted to tell all the V4+ climbers watching me struggle with a V0, “I USED TO BE BETTER AT THIS.” I assume almost everyone who has ever attempted to rock climb feels self conscious in the beginning, and whoever brought them there will tell them “don’t worry no one’s even looking at you.” I’ve probably told people this even though it’s an outright lie. Maybe I’m the only one who does this, but if I’m not climbing, I’m just watching people. I watch the people who climb routes I’d never even hope to accomplish. I watch the beginners so I can categorize them as people who are here to fuck around and take pictures of themselves vs people who might actually become decent at it. I watch others around my level to see their strategies and techniques.

Well I bought a 10 day pass so I’m bound to go back. My general takeaway today though, is: well that was nice for that period of my life but maybe I should look into a cheaper form of exercise.

I’m at PHILZZZZZZ. It’s a Saturday and Robyn is in the East Coast for ten days which leaves me with two weekends to myself. Free at last, free at last. There are a ton of things I’ve always wanted to do but feel like I never have time to do. Among them:
– go shopping for more furniture/knick knacks for the house
– do something about my front yard which assumes I’ll just magically have a green thumb after obtaining a bag of soil and some unfortunate plant
– do some continued education which is a requirement for me to renew my cpa license
– do some self learning so I can remain marketable should I ever leave my current job
– research for my upcoming vacations
– e-mail friends, try harder to maintain my social networks
– alternatively, attempt to make new friends … I’m not quite sure how but I imagine it involves taking off my sweats and leaving the house
– kick start my new exercise regimen

Today I opted for option null, which was: climb at PG (plus), walk around Lowe’s for an hour before becoming too intimidated with all the plant selections and leaving emptyhanded (minus), eating Dish N Dash (plus) and now, sitting at Philz (neutral). Neutral because I am both cold from the wind yet my leg is hot from the sun. My iced coffee is almost empty, but zero e-mails have been written to friends and instead I’ve written a bunch of random paragraphs for my defunct blog.

The nice thing at my job is we get money if we have an annual health screening. I scheduled mine last Friday, and it consisted of a finger prick blood test which measures health things and then afterwards you talk to an advisor about your results then set a goal. In two months they’ll call me and check in. I think it’s a really awesome idea and this is my second year doing it. I don’t think anyone is interested in my health stats, but generally, I am (surprise) healthy. HOWEVER I was distressed that my HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) was a measure of 47, and the optimal range is supposedly 50+

This is essentially how my consultation went:
Advisor: So your HDL is 47 and you want this to be as high as possible. This isn’t a terrible score, but there are ways to increase it, namely exercising—
Me (in my head): OMG CLEARLY what she means to say is that I’m a lazy sack of shit that doesn’t exercise! This is the evidence that my body is deterioriating from lack of physical activity and NOW I HAVE PROOF that not exercising has severely affected my body in these past two years and now I’m an UNHEALTHY AMERICAN!!! Next stop, heart disease!!!!!!!! Final stop, PREMATURE DEATH.

Life before a relationship was very nice in that I could do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and my sole focus was myself. Life now that I’m in a relationship is very nice – I still do, generally, whatever I want whenever I want, only now, it seems like I derive my happiness from spending quality time together vs. improving myself. I haven’t figured out yet how to strike a balance so I can get the best of both situations: the only solution I can think of is somehow adding two hours to a 24 hour day but I don’t know how to do that.

Things I liked about my pre-relationship life:
– I exercised a lot (because I had nothing else to do). I feel like I can see some significant impacts that exercise had on my life that I took for granted. I naturally woke up early on the weekends and would go to the gym. I had a lot of energy and could stay up pretty late at night. I would occasionally just be living life and think to myself “I actually feel pretty strong and fit.” I would just randomly pick a hike for the weekend, dump some songs onto my ipod and have some solo hiking time for a day and it felt really awesome. Now I feel weak and I wake up late (9/10am) and fall asleep at night at embarassingly early hours. I get winded running a block or two. I have weirdly lost weight in the past year, as I learned at my health screening, BUT I JUST KNOW my body is decaying as we speak.
– I ate healthy. I miss making my green shakes and my chia puddings. I think my dinners are actually much healthier now than before, but my breakfasts were much healthier then than now. I wouldn’t say this was a direct consequence of being in a relationship – since I take public transportation to work I just don’t feel like I have the time to make a good breakfast in the morning. BUT I think if I were single, I wouldn’t mind waking up a little earlier to do so, whereas now, I’m like “but I want to cuddle in bed”
– I watched a LOT of TV which was cathartic and I think stimulates imagination, and made me feel connected to pop culture. I could at least pretend to be a subject expert in SOMETHING even if it was something stupid like the latest developments on the vampire diaries. Now I’m an expert in nothing. I don’t even know all of the Kardashians!

Things I like about my now life:
– I always have someone I can do things with and I am also that person’s person. I feel very fulfilled socially, because we  do a lot of things together, though I do sometimes think I should make sure to keep in contact with other people. I like that I have someone to text right when I wake up and before I go to sleep and whenever I’m bored at work.
– I don’t watch very much tv anymore. While I know tv gave me a ton of happiness in the past, somehow it just feels nice to know that I have other things going on in my life that doesn’t revolve around tv.
– No more brunch. I used to love brunch with friends. Weekend mornings with friends, eating food, living the yuppie life! Now I HATE brunch and really don’t like it when friends want to do brunch. Now I get to wake up at any time, and Robyn will make me eggs, toast, waffles, breakfast meats. It takes about ten minutes, costs about $2 for us both AND we don’t even have to change clothes. I get to experience this without ever leaving the house, never having to drive and look for parking, never having to stand in some god awful line as my weekend wastes away. While I love going out to eat lunch/dinner with friends, something about brunch just always makes me think “I waited an hour and spent $20 for EGGS AND POTATOES AND TOAST?!”
– I get random gifts occasionally which is very delightful

IT IS REALLY HOT AND I would like to write an e-mail to some friends so I will end this blog now.

Home vs. travel

Just a little over two months now being a homeowner. It’s oddly like being in a new relationship. It chugs slowly along at first, but maybe a few months from now I’ll be surprised by how long I’ve lived there.

The good news is that I’ve ordered a coffee table, bookshelf, dresser and nightstand and I bought some outdoor furniture. This leaves the main items left to purchase: dining chairs, rugs and a living room lamp. I guess I’ll find out just how much I love everything when it comes together (expected delivery early next week). There are already a handful of things I look at with guilt (I’m looking at you, couch and dresser) because I can’t look at them with a prideful “WHAT A GREAT DEAL!” It’s more of an embarrassed “yeah I like it … but it was kind of expensive …”

I do love waking up in the morning and looking out my view. Sadly I only have about five minutes of looking out in the morning and about thirty at night (aka oatmeal time and dinner time). Because there are so many trees overhanging the houses, there are a TON of spiders. I’d say I see at least one every day. Once Robyn was freaking out about a spider and I came to take care of it and when I saw what she was looking at, I went “oh … I thought you were talking about the giant one on the ceiling”

I used to be a spider saver and pick them up and take them outside. They eat bugs after all! I think they are of no harm. At this point though, I just kill them because I know for every one I kill there are probably a handful just lurking somewhere else. I guess my thought is that for each one that I save and take outside, they might use their borrowed time to find a mate and lay egg to hundreds of other spiders.

I’m reading The Fault in Our Stars right now. It’s a little eye rolly at times but I suppose I need to put myself in a young adult’s shoes. Reading about people traveling makes me a little sad because now I don’t feel like I can travel as easily and in addition to thinking about scheduling vacation time, I really have to consider the cost. My mom had sent me a ton of cheaper, though much less desirable houses when I was looking, because she figured if I was so reluctant to give up traveling, maybe I should just settle for a lesser house.

I think in the end, while I don’t think I can travel as freely as I used to, being able to wake up every day in a place I love vs. having a two week travel experience is better. Hopefully my salary doesn’t stay stagnant for the rest of my life, and one day, I’ll no longer be scrutinizing my expenses so carefully. So I can eventually travel, but I do believe the house I got was pretty perfect at the perfect time.

Upon rereading this, I realized that I spun a book about teenage kids with cancer into an entry about how jealous I am that they were able to travel. I’m terrible.

Hello to 2014!

It’s been a while since my last post, which really didn’t involve any actual thought, so it seems like I should get back into this blogging thing. I know I used to say this all the time but now I think it’s truer than ever – is there ANYONE actually reading this?! Well, I still revisit my friends’ blogs every now and then and am always happy to find an unexpected posting – hopefully this will serve the same.

My life is truly … uninteresting to blog about, I think. I don’t know what I used to write about years ago that could fill up so many entries but nowadays there doesn’t seem to be anything really worth mentioning to others. Not to imply that I’m unhappy or anything, actually I think maybe life is more difficult to blog/talk about if you have little to complain about. Which is unfortunate, because then everyone hears the negative aspects of life, but it’s uninteresting to reminisce on why life is great and I’m sure it’s even more uninteresting to read about.

I’ve been at my new job now for less than three months which is really like two months after you discount the holidays/winter break. Sometimes I kick myself over not knowing enough but to put it in perspective, three months is not a long time to have learned much of anything. I just keep telling myself that it probably took me seven months before I actually understood how to audit, and before that I would go home everyday thinking “what the fuck happened today?” Generally I think the people overseeing me are happy – I’m just mainly worried about how I can carry through with some long-term projects my manager has dreamed up and I have no idea how to implement.

I can’t say I miss auditing or my old company – I don’t regret my time there at all, I still hang out with some of my old co-workers, and I think I really did leave at the right time. Sometimes I wish I had stayed on only to gain more technical experience, but there must be other ways of honing those skills than having to stay in audit and endure all the negatives that come with it.

The job isn’t the 9-5pm I had naively envisioned – but maybe it really shouldn’t be. I really wanted to be the kind of person who could bounce at 4:50pm, but that’s not the culture in my department. It sometimes bothers me, particularly when I don’t have the workload to stay as long as my co-workers. But I will so often hear about my friends working incredibly late, way past when I or anyone in my department would work, and I think in reality a 9-5 is not what actually happens for most professionals. (After reading Cooked last night, he points out that Americans have essentially added an entire month of labor to the annual work schedule and work two weeks more any other countries – a fall out partially attributed to Americans lobbying for higher pay compared to Europeans lobbying for better hours).

I get way more sleep than I ever did before (I didn’t actually think my body was capable of sleeping more than nine hours but it totally can!) but sometimes I still don’t want to leave my warm blankets in the morning. Yet on the weekends when I could actually lie around, all I want to do is start my day.

I kind of miss the weekends when I used to just go out and hike for the entire day by myself. That was back in my first year of living in the Bay Area. But now, especially with this job, it seems like a waste to spend a day alone. Back in audit, I think I would end up craving that quiet time alone, because it was almost like I’d be socializing throughout the week.

Sorry for the utterly boring post. I e-mail better I think.

Life Status Update

Listening to: Two Door Cinema Club – Changing of the Seasons

I’m now definitely one of those people who actually has stuff going on in their lives but fails to update their blog. I must have been the very last person in my circle of friends to get a life, because I just kept plugging away at this blog, posting random little inconsequential posts.

Well, LIFE UPDATES. Here we go:

1. Romantic Life: NOT SINGLE. Surprise! Life is good. I now spend almost all of my free time in San Francisco.  I keep thinking I’ve lucked out somehow because I don’t think I’m the kind of person to be naively and blindly just head over heels but somehow the first person I’ve dated feels like a very well-fit match. To me, it seems like a healthy and balanced and incredibly fun relationship. We seem to go in bouts of either seeing each other every day, to one of us traveling for a week or more at a time. Too much traveling between the both of us! Leading to my next point …

2. Travel: Since coming back from Iceland, I’ve gone to Seattle to attend Bumbleshoot, gone to Disneyland twice and stayed in Disneyland Hotel both times (INSANELY EXPENSIVE!!!), gone to Chicago for training for the last time of my life and … will be going to Spain in less than a week with my mom!

Seattle was super fun – stayed in downtown Seattle and got to go to Bumbleshoot AND go to VIP events for FREE!!! Thanks, person I am dating. I got to eat at a number of restaurants I have always wanted to go to but never had before: Toulouse Petit, Salumi and How to Cook a Wolf. BUT missed out on Paseo (sandwiches sold out like five hours before they were supposed to close). Overall the weather was amazing per usual for August. And so, the annual Seattle trip tradition continues.

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Disneyland #1 was for a work-related conference with Kathy. I flew in almost immediately after getting in from Iceland so it was a big blur. Disneyland #2 was with the SO and partly for job searching purposes. I used to not really care about going to Disneyland or CA Adventures but now I see why it’s also such a couples place.

Chicago was with almost everyone that I LOVE at my firm (minus Kathy) so that was a great way to end my last year in Chicago. I stayed one night in downtown Chicago, mainly so I could eat at Rick Bayless’ sandwich shop, XOCO. I also got to go to Cafe Intelligencia, the ORIGINAL ONE.

Spain is a … well I bought the tickets two days ago, plan on researching hotels tonight, and am on a flight on Tuesday. CRAZINESS. Which leads me to my last point …

3. Work: QUIT MY JOB. Last day is tomorrow, Friday. I have a new job, starting Monday 11/25. It’s going to be a crazy couple of weeks.

I started looking for a new job one month ago, got the offer I wanted two Fridays ago, gave my notice last Tuesday, and since then … life has been incredibly relaxing. I go to work late. I leave early. Even with daylight savings time in effect, I leave before the sun goes down. UNHEARD OF THIS TIME OF THE YEAR! I feel like it was the perfect timing – right before I had to jump into doing one of my most hated part of my job, SOX testing, but on the flip side right before the holidays, so paid vacations, CHA CHING! I start the week of Thanksgiving PLUS since tomorrow is my last day, I get to finally experience VETERAN’S DAY, which auditors never get!!! This alone has already started me with loving my new employer.

The only people who knew about my job searching process when I was going through it were Robyn, Kristen and Kathy… Giving my notice made me feel like Katie Holmes divorcing Tom Cruise. Everything had to be planned and sequenced out to make sure I still had the control in managing who knew what. The biggest relief is once I finally told the lead audit partner and after that, could send the official e-mail to HR. After that it’s very much a “come what may” feeling where you’re just waiting to find out who else finds out and when.

Since then, it’s been a weird experience of sort of going to work – some days I work from the office and work really hard to wrap stuff up, other days like yesterday, I just sat in a room with people and was supposedly there to just answer questions that might come my way, but I really didn’t do much of anything. Today I decided I’m just going to sift through my files at Philz (and plan Spain). Tomorrow is the official last day and I need to be in the office to do the formal exit process, but I also want to see my favorite team one last time so I’ll be going in in the morning to say my last goodbyes. What a weird feeling.

The most surprising thing to me in the whole process was how supportive everyone around me were, in particular, the people I had worked most closely with. It sounds cheesy to say it, but it does feel incredibly nice when someone you really loved working with and deeply respect says “I just want you to be happy” and understand why you’re leaving without you having to say anything.

Some people would ask me if I felt like I really wanted to do the job that I got, or what my plans are long term, and I just told them, I didn’t know what I would be doing in audit when I first started and if I had thought about how long I wanted to stay, that ended up changing every other month. So I personally don’t think it makes that big of a difference. Who is ever really sure what they want to do before they even start? So I think people who ask that are trying to make you question if it’s really what you want to do, but in the end, what I AM sure of is I really DON’T want to stay in audit so … it’s time for something new.

So I freaked out a little bit because I was really uncertain what to do in my in between weeks. It seems like it’s the dream to be in between jobs, have some money saved away, and be able to internationally travel. That is like, the goal isn’t it? But now that I’m in a relationship, a part of me didn’t think that was such an appealing option anymore. Because now that I’ve gotten a taste of traveling with someone I love, it seems so much lonelier to travel alone! So I kept waffling between options – and as Kristen said “You’re SOOOO unlucky. You just quit your job, you have another job lined up, you have enough money to travel, but you can’t decide where to go? OH WOE IS YOU”

So I was debating between Australia, Ireland and China and one day I decided Spain. I told my mom and she asked if she could join. So … now mom and me are going to Spain!

Hello paella and churros, Barcelona and Madrid.

That’s my life status. NEW LIFE PHASE.

 

Next goal: FINDING A HOME TO BUY. Then I can achieve THE ADULTHOOD TRIFECTA! Love. Work. Home.

Life thoughts

Morning: omg why didn’t I do work last night!?

Before lunch: I hate that my associate talks to me about… work.

Lunch: THANK GOD. I love lunch in the city

After lunch: ok this is doable I can work late and get so much done

4:30: nope. Going home at five.

4:45: I will pretend to work for fifteen minutes

5:00: I will try to work from home

6:00: I deserve a break

Midnight: I’m going to bed. After a six hour “break.” Well, no one can really save the world in a single night

Flippity flop

Listening to: Ivan and Alyosha – Easy to Love

It’s 11:50 pm and I realized about an hour ago that in a single day I’ve completely changed my mind about something. Ok maybe not “completely” because I’m not naive enough to think I’m ever 100% certain of my thoughts but… I also feel more clarity than before?

This is the never ending debate of whether to quit my job or not.

I hated my job beginning a month ago. This was a new hate, the kind where I was for once certain that I was going to quit. Previously when the hate came around, I was still adamant that I had to stay through my first year as a senior, or I wasn’t sure if I should stay till manager. A week before my trip to Iceland I got thrown onto an engagement I hated. I didn’t dislike the client. I didn’t dislike the team. I wasn’t even on it for very long. I just hated the situation and the fact that I had just finished my own engagement early and my reward was not a week of relaxation but instead some new foreign team with expectations of me being a superstar while I strove to be a slacker.

(FYI: Getting the highest rank in your class only puts you about $2K more than your peers. My bonus was much higher but after tax it’s all negligible. Takeaway? Getting highly ranked is not worth the raised expectations of your managers and the lost weekend hours.)

I did my time there. I did not produce my best work and I did not care. And then I went to Iceland for two weeks.

During this time I spent one night handwriting a draft resume in a notebook. I think it was the third night we were in a hut during the four day hike. There was no electricity – we hadn’t had any for three days – and dinner wasn’t for a few more hours. So I wrote a resume.

I came back to US and immediately flew down to socal. I flew back up two days later and immediately started a new first year client. No time to think, no time to do anything personal that involved serious contemplation. Yesterday was the first time in a very very very long time that I slept in my own bed and slept a full night’s sleep. I’ve left work everyday at 5pm promptly and I haven’t felt that bad about it. I do not do any work after I get back home which is rare, almost impossible for leaving at 5. But for the past month I’ve been operating under the assumption that my energy was going to shift from work to job searching. So I just didn’t give a shit.

I would say Thursday night was the first day I ever put real effort into finding a new job. It feels nice. You can fantasize about finding a new job all you want but until you actually make a real solid effort, the idea of job searching seems much more like a burden, a hassle, an impossibility until you actually do … something.

Well my “I’m finally doing it!” high didn’t last long. In the span of a day (Saturday) I’ve gone from:

Morning – today I’m going to seriously job search! Fuck this job!

Afternoon – I can’t imagine leaving my co-worker(s) … but I will!

Late afternoon – first resume and cover letter sent!

Night – my alternative job idea doesn’t actually make THAT much more than I currently make … maybe my job does actually pay decently …

Late night – actually if I just push for an early promotion then once I quit I would probably be making a totally different bracket of income …

Later night – maybe I should just focus all my energy into getting early promoted …

And that’s how it is. I went from certainly quitting to … likely pursuing early promotion!?

What happened? Well I talked to two people today. I met with Danny at philz today. I wanted to essentially watch him be uncomfortable because I had gossip on him.  He wanted to meet because he knew I had gossip on him. Except he knew that the gossip was false. All the reasons I thought the gossip was true was actually just some ridiculously coincidental circumstances. I could not stop laughing about how everything was just coincidentally stacked against his favor and we both agreed there is probably no way he will be able to tell his side of the story to everyone in the office.

Then Danny and I just talked very truthfully about our lives and goals and desires and motivations. And it was just … illuminating? It made me realize that my priorities had somewhat changed in the past few months. His priorities had become more clarified. We have completely opposite priorities yet we both understood each other completely.
But the important thing is that during this conversation I told him I wanted to be considered for early promotion even though I mainly just wanted to quit. Who knows if this will happen but a “who knows” bodes better than “there’s no way.” Things are actually pretty well stacked in my favor for an early promotion. I’m not sure if I can really handle it but if I’m lucky enough to get it, part of me thinks, why not. I think doing what I’m doing for the next two years (the typical pace on this career path) is too boring. So we shall see.

Then I went home. Made my first smoothie in maybe two months. I am so happy to be drinking vegetables again. Then I talked to my housemate’s boyfriend and realized … if I got early promoted and made manager … my salary is not that bad. True, I could be making more if I leave right now. True, I think I would have much more free time, and I wouldn’t have to put up with the bullshit that is SOX and the frustrations of certain clients. But if I leave later … I could demand a much higher salary. Higher, I think, than what I’d be making if I left now.

And then I guess it was like a ding! Stop playing the short sighted game. Aim higher. Pay attention to what’s going on internally in the firm. One year is really not that long. I am only 25. A little longer in one place and who knows?

So I guess that’s that. I think the main point of clarity for me today was, a year is relatively a very short amount of time.

Home from Iceland

I cannot wait to:

Do laundry
Wash AND blowdry AND comb my hair
Watch something on netflix
Watch something on hulu
Eat reasonably priced food
Not wear a base layer
Brush with my Crest with Scope toothpaste
Eat vegetables. Blend something
Not live out of a backpack
Shave
Go to SF Monday night

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Some state on the east coast. New Jersey?

Coaching Styles

Listening to: Fedde Le Grand – No Good and Vampire Weekend – Step

Today at 8:20am I got an e-mail from a partner basically saying she caught a fuck-up on my part and needed something by 9:00am latest. Cue panicked working followed by two oopsies e-mails and then me feeling like shit. The nice thing is after staring at my ceiling at 9:03am, wondering how I had managed to neglect something, I had a handful of people I could immediately IM or text and be like “OMFG THIS AND THIS HAPPENED” to decompress.

Out of this handful, I talked to three of my favorite managers, and each of their three responses pretty much encapsulates why I like them so much:

Jenny’s response: It’s ok … this will not be your last heart attack moment … and she is very good at client meetings I’m sure she can smooth over anything.

Danny’s response to my texting him “I just sent it but I feel like a dumbass”: U are the smartest person I know so that scares me

Amy’s reponse: So THAT’S why she was already in kind of a bad mood when she called me at three! She was probably thinking “god I have had to deal with so much incompetence today.”Me: THANKS. You know, your response is very different from Jenny’s. She told me “it won’t be the last time you have a heart attack moment”
Amy: That’s probably what the partner’s been telling herself all these years and she’s probably thinking “god I still have to deal with so many incompetent people”
Me: Again, thank you.