Friday, November 21, 2014

How To Gain (And Lose Friends)

Every morning, I roll into the building that I work inside of around 8:30am.  Usually, it's pretty empty.  Maybe there's a few people there, but if so - they're not there because they want to be there.  I, however, do want to be there that much earlier than everyone else.  

My work has Sonos throughout both of our buildings and each pod gets its own selection of music.  When I show up early, it means I get to set the tone and mood for AT LEAST the first half of our day.  

My typical strategy is this: 

I ease into the workday with something like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye or Otis Redding. Those stations have a great mix of upbeat songs that put you in a good mood and kind of make you want to dance in your seat.  Later in the day is time for the hip hop stations like Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Notorious B.I.G, Jay-Z, The Roots and sometimes… 2 Chainz.  I vary it up throughout the week with some classic old school 90's jams, maybe some TLC, and random stations we never listen to like The Beach Boys or Sublime or Yellowcard or Creed (that's usually a joke.)  Mid-week is always good for some Beatles or Creedence Clearwater Revival.  On Fridays, I like to close out the week with some Beyonce or T-Swift.   

But that is only a mere strategy, a devised plan… that never ends up happening.  Because everyone in my work hates me.  Or loves me.  Depending on the day and the chosen station. 

Some days, people will come right in and immediately turn it off in favor of their own station (which is usually some unknown-to-me indie band.)  

Some days, people will come in and be like, "Yeah! I love this song!" 

Some days, people will come in and be like, "What the F is this? Why are we listening to this? Michael Jackson sucks, dude. He molested kids and shit." 

Some days everyone emotionally lift me above their heads and parade me around chanting my name.  But some days - arguably most days - they emotionally nail me to a cross and pelt me with rocks.  

Picking the right music for over 20 people is a real tough job and nobody can really do it successfully.  But, when all else fails, just know this - everyone loves The Rolling Stones.  Until The Rolling Stones station accidentally Phil Collins and then everyone hates The Rolling Stones… and you. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I Want To Take A Nap

It's only Wednesday?  But... but... this week has been so long.  I've already worked a whole bunch of hours and I still have a whole bunch more to work? 

I want to take a nap.  

I cooked pasta last night at the completely unacceptable dinner time of 9:30pm.  I used a stainless steel pot to boil the water.  Once the water boiled, I poured in some shells.  I chopped two cloves of garlic and a quarter of an onion and sautéed them in olive oil.  I thought, "This is the best scent in the world... yet it would BE awful to smell like this all day." I opened a can of Hunt's tomato sauce and poured it in the pan with the onion and garlic and let it simmer while the pasta finished cooking.  Then I picked up the stainless steel pot of water to drain... with both of my unprotected hands.  I dropped the pot back on the burner and screamed bloody murder. 

I want to take a nap.  

Most days, I open Waze when I start driving to see what the best route to take is.  Today, it was taking me towards Washington Blvd and I thought, "Oh, good, I'll take Washington to Fairfax and everything will be great."  Then, without me realizing, Waze tried to put me on the 10.  I got stuck in horrible traffic and almost got my car smashed to bits while switching lines.  It was, admittedly, my own damn fault.  

I want to take a nap. 

This week, I am supporting the schedules of five busy human beings while training someone else on how to do my job.  It's a bit difficult to keep myself together 100% of the time with someone's eyes watching me all day.

I want to take a nap.  

My coffee tastes terrible right now.  It tastes like black coffee and not the least bit like a delicious latte with thousands of espresso shots.  But, of course, I am taking a break from dairy because I think it's slowly killing me. 

I want to take a nap.  

I am a hypochondriac. 

I want to take a nap. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

On Being A Writer

Ultimately, I moved to California to be a writer.  It sounds silly, because I can write anywhere!  But I moved to be around people that I wanted to write for and to hopefully find companies that would hire me to write stories and create characters while also providing me with benefits and a steady paycheck so I didn't have to do any of that work by myself. 

I love writing.  I love story telling.  I love brain dumping my thoughts, shutting the computer, coming back to it and editing it down.  I love naming characters.  I love writing dialogue. I love everything about being a writer - even the parts that keep me up at night, or make me anxious, or make me lonely and isolated.  

And that's what I want to talk about now, after spending two full days completely by myself doing nothing but writing (and taking breaks every now and then to read Amy Poehler's book which is awesome and I highly recommend it). 

Writing is a really great feeling.  When I am writing, I feel strong, powerful and at my utmost creative.  I feel completely in control and on top of my game - even when writing stupid things like mean Instagram comments to my friend Anne or highly edited 140 character tweets. 

Writing turns into a not so great feeling when you have spent hours upon hours of time alone and inside of your head.  Sometimes, I'm telling stories about my own life or infusing my own experiences into characters that I'm writing about... and while it's incredibly cathartic and I enjoy it, it can be a little bit draining after a while.  I remain quiet all day long and I long for people to riff off of and talk to about stupid things.  Any thing!  I want to hear about your day!  TELL ME EVERYTHING BECAUSE I NEED TO THINK AND TALK ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE. 

You know that scene / part of Harry Potter when Ron is wearing the horcrux locket around his neck and he starts getting angry, annoyed, jealous and snippy?  That is how I feel after writing all by my lonesome for an extended period of time.  I long for company and conversation and when I don't get what I want, or the person I finally talk to doesn't seem to care or want to talk nearly as much as I do - I turn into a Horcrux Wearing Weasley.  I get frustrated and annoyed and angry and sad that my two best friends are sneaking around behind my back when I'm the one with the crush on the girl!  No, that's not true at all.  I get a little too caught up in Harry Potter.  

I think about this feeling whenever I think of writing full-time.  I want to write books, contribute to magazines and produce whatever kind of content that I want.  That means a lot of alone time at a desk, in my head and not interacting with people..  I know that it has the ability of turning me into a real monster, and that it certainly makes me lonely - but that's okay.  I'm fine with that.  There are ways I can try to combat that.  I see people who rent desks at communal work spaces and I definitely see people writing all day, every day in Starbucks because they just want to be around people and feel like they are leaving the house and going to work.  That part can get figured out, but I know that doing something I love and that makes me feel STRONG and POWERFUL far outweighs all that terrifying horcrux bullshit.  

Have you read Harry Potter yet? I mean, come on, you've got to read Harry Potter

Saturday, November 1, 2014

FA LA LA LA LA



 I have always been punctual.  

Actually, punctual isn't even the right word - I'm never on time.  I'm more like fifteen minutes early on a good day... an hour on a GREAT day. Doctor's appointment at 9:30?  Sure, I'll leave at 8am even though it's only 15 minutes away.  Meeting a friend for dinner at 6:30pm?  Better leave work at 5 then, y'know, to secure a table.  I'm in a show that starts at 8pm and call time is 7:30?  Better get there for 5! 

(Can you tell I have an anxiety disorder?)

I'm habitually early to every party I've ever been invited to, even when I try not to be.  I pack for every vacation that I'm taking days in advance, sometimes weeks.  So, it's no surprise that for me - Christmas season doesn't start in December, or even the day after Thanksgiving.  Christmas season starts TODAY.  November 1st.  That's two full months of holiday spirit, do you feel me? I've been checking my countdown to Christmas every day for MONTHS and it's finally coming around the bend!

I love grabbing a triple nonfat latte in a red cup at Starbucks!  I love walking around a mall covered WAY TOO EARLY in giant bells, garland and ornaments.  And yes, you better believe I appreciate when Christmas music comes on radio stations "too early."  In fact, I'll probably beat radio stations to it and just start listening to it on my own.  Who am I kidding?  I already have!  (I'm guilty for listening to "Opera of the Bells" by Destiny's Child the other day.  It came on shuffle.  Or something.)  

In high school, I would buy a Christmas scented candle on November 1st and watch QVC Christmas specials all day long.  Yeah, that's right - QVC!  I never bought anything, but man - did I love seeing their studio decked out in Christmas decor.  I buy gifts early.  I decorate as early as possible.  My family has put up all their decorations on Thanksgiving for years... and that's only because there are huge windows and people can see if we put them up any earlier.

This year, the tree will be going in the corner of my apartment that is not near a window and I couldn't be happier, because that means I can get a tree, like... now.  Today I'll be going to Target, buying a pine-scented candle and listening to She and Him's Christmas album as soon as I get home.  

The next TWO months will be spent watching all of my favorite Christmas movies: Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, A Muppet Christmas Carol, Elf, Christmas Vacation, It's A Wonderful Life, White Christmas and ALL OF THE ABC FAMILY CHRISTMAS MOVIES. YES, EVEN THE TERRIBLE ONES. OK, THEY'RE ALL TERRIBLE - BUT I LOVE THEM. 

I'll probably even make a playlist of every Christmas special of my favorite TV shows.  While I'm at it! 

I don't care if it's "too soon" or if "Christmas isn't what it used to be because I'm an adult"... I just don't care.  I'm making it the happy holiday that it is.  I'm saving all my money, buying some good presents and I'm going to be in Boston for two full weeks.  

Get ready people, Christmas is here.  And Patty Barrett is gonna bring all the cheer.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Betting On Myself.

Since moving to California, life has been a bit of a bumpy road.  I didn't have an apartment and walked around aimlessly looking for one, and when I finally found one that I liked, I was denied due to my credit score.  On top of that, I had no income.  I needed a job to get an apartment and an apartment to get a job.  (I tried applying from Boston, but it wasn't working out because I didn't live there yet.)  

I spent every day applying for jobs in a coffee shop around the corner from my apartment.  And I literally mean that I would show up at 8am and sometimes wouldn't leave until 4 or 5pm. I was applying to jobs non-stop and not hearing a single word back.  

One day, I went home and collapsed on my bed and cried.  Not even cried - I was hysterical. I thought that I was a good employee!  I had a great resume and great recommendations, and yet no one was biting.  I was either "over experienced" or "not experienced enough in the field" or "not worth even responding to, so I'm making up that they just didn't like my face." 

It was so disheartening and really hard.  It was so easy to blame Los Angeles for my problems, and so I did.  I'd tell myself that it wouldn't be so hard back in Boston!  People liked me in Boston.  I had street cred in Boston.  People were nicer there, easier to impress and just all around better.  I never once thought it was me.  

Ultimately, I came to my senses and realized that maybe I was applying for the wrong jobs.  Maybe my resume could be better.  Maybe I should spend more time on cover letters and less time just hitting copy, paste and send.  Honestly, I have NO idea what jobs I even applied to when I first got here because I was just applying, applying, applying like a robot.

One afternoon, I decided to look for companies that would be a good fit for me and that I may also be a good fit for.  I searched for creative agencies, marketing agencies, companies that had character and maybe even a little bit of personality.  I would read through the websites, narrow down the things I liked about it and why I might want to work there.  Some of them weren't even hiring, or at least had no positions posted, but I just emailed anyway.  I spent one afternoon emailing three companies that I actually wanted to work for because I liked the company and not just because I desperately needed a job. 

Within a week, I got two emails back.  Within two weeks, I was hired at the one I really wanted to work for.  

Finally, I had a job!  And I got to wear whatever I wanted to work.  I got to be me and talk about my comedy past and future goals, I didn't have to say, "Oh, I'm here to be an Executive Assistant forever" because this place valued other interests/goals in their employees.  It felt great. 

But then things got tough again.  The job was going well, but things were still off.  Certain things made me unhappy - for one, the lack of creative work I was doing.  I was making a decent amount of money but yet that never seemed to be enough.  I needed a car and had to borrow my boyfriend's brother's Chevy Tahoe to get to work forty minutes from my apartment.  Gas was ridiculously expensive, especially in a giant truck/SUV.  I needed my own car, but I had no means of getting one - and there was also that tricky credit score coming back to haunt me again.  

Adulthood and responsibilities and bills and everything that I avoided for the past, I don't know, six years - was really coming to bite me in the ass.  And again, I blamed Los Angeles for it.  I was so far away from home, everything would be easier in Boston, how dare California do this to me!  

And then, I leased a car.  And it wasn't so bad.  It's expensive, for sure, but it's not so bad.  

And then, I started some creative projects - Under Butt being one of them - and it forced me to write all the time and spend every second that I wasn't working to do something that I really loved.  It also forced me to try new things and get out of the house every weekend and do something more than the same old thing.  And with other creative projects, I'm writing outside of my comfort zone and covering wildly different topics and types of writing every week and it's a great muscle to stretch.  

And once those things were starting to shape up, I decided that I was in control of everything in my life.  I thought about all the things that I was unhappy with and figured out a way to change them. 

I'm being moved into a new position at work because I spoke up and expressed interest in a different position and department.  I helped out the department whenever I could, because I was interested in it and they asked me and I enjoyed helping.  Then I took on more responsibilities and different roles with different groups because I asked or expressed interest - and at the end of every day, I'm feeling refreshed and dare I say, happy?  

A co-worker asked me what I wanted to do with my life and I was honest.  I told him I wanted to be a writer - I want to write essays, books, television shows, screenplays.  And I waited for him to laugh but all he said was, "Yeah, obviously. You're in the right place to get your feet wet. You can write here." And as I started making excuses - telling him that I wasn't experienced enough and I was already committed to another department and I've only been here eight months and it'd be weird, etc. - and he said, "So what? Bet on yourself. You have plenty of experience and time to get where you want to get." 

So that's the attitude I'm going into these next couple of months - and the next year - with.  I'm going to bet on myself.  I'm going to make decisions that benefit me and make me better at whatever it is that I want to do in my life.  If it means writing some copy every now and then for brands, writing on my own blogs and not getting paid, submitting to magazines that may or may not publish me or pay me,  writing fluff pieces for websites where I'm definitely not getting paid (but definitely getting exposure) or writing for a YouTube web series that is admittedly fun and stupid - then so be it.  

I'm going to stop making excuses and start betting on myself.  

At the very least, look at what can happen in less than a year when you do that.  You can move to a new city, start a new career, lease a car, take some fun adventures, eat Korean barbecue in Korea(town), take on some fun creative projects, make new friends and generally just be a better version of your previous self. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Apparently, Fall Exists Everywhere


I'm from New England.  I spent my entire life - all of twenty seven years - in New England, and you know how many times I actively took the time to look at foliage?  Never!  Sure, I caught glimpses of it on the way to a mall while driving on Route 1 or to visit my aunt in New Hampshire, but honestly, I never gave a shit.  It was just there.  It was just a part of the scenery of my LIFE.  

I never went apple picking, at least not past the age of ten.  I never carved a pumpkin.  I never roasted pumpkin seeds.  I never got a pumpkin spice latte.  I never celebrated fall for all its fall-ness, I merely treated it like the more mellow yet dramatic cousin of spring.

But now I live in Southern California, where fall quietly stumbles into the party late and nobody notices.  One day I woke up and it was a bit darker and a bit chillier.  One day I didn't need to blast the AC on my way to work and I could sleep with only the windows open.  One day, I didn't sweat through my leather jacket.  One day, the fireplace scented candle I've been lighting since March suddenly fit in.  

Back home, it's impossible to "miss" fall's entrance.  It smacks you in the face in the morning, calmly caresses your check with the warmth of its sun in the afternoon and then throws you against the wall as soon as the sun goes down.  You could start the day in a sweatshirt, change into a bathing suit and then desperately need to climb inside of a fire by the day's end.  That's right.  Inside of a fire.

It's just that different.

But still, I kick myself for not paying more attention to fall back home.  People say, "Oh man, you must miss New England during this time of year!"  Sure, I do.  But it has nothing to do with nature and more to do with the fact that my parents used to live fifteen minutes away from me and my mom is constantly baking and putting pumpkin in something.  That's why I miss New England!  

But what makes a fall? There's the obvious things: pumpkin patches, apple picking, warm cider, chilly weather, sweaters, awkward starts to a school year etc.  But I've been to a pumpkin patch in California and it was a little hot, but it was still something I was able to experience out here.  I've spiked some apple cider with spiced rum.  I've worn a sweater a few times.  I've driven down a street that was covered in colorful leaves.  I even wore a buffalo plaid shirt to work today!  Buffalo plaid!  It doesn't get more fall than buffalo plaid!  

So, to all those worried about my lack of New England scenery this fall - please fret not.  You can all calm down NOW!  The truth is, fall still exists.  I'm feeling the coziness.  I'm feeling the Halloween vibe.  I'm digging the tiny traces of holidays approaching.  I'm wearing layers (that of course prevent me from going anywhere in the afternoon where the sun is still blazing hot.)  I'm itching to dye my hair dark brown.  I'm nesting.  (I spent an entire weekend day covering a wall in gold washi tape.) 

Honestly, I kinda love the way California does fall.  It creeps up on ya, but it's pretty damn special.  Even if it means I have to bake my own pumpkin baked goods (my mother called me about a great recipe for pumpkin snickerdoodles that are apparently all the rage in Oregon).  But otherwise, I don't feel like I'm missing out so much.  

Now, excuse me while I whip up a pumpkin bisque after taking an evening swim in my pool. Because it's California.  And I can. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Site Launch: Under Butt


Over the past few months, I have been working on a fun new blog / website with my friend Kelsey.  We finally launched it last week.  Quietly.  But now we're into week two of posting some content and I'm pretty stoked about it! 

It's called Under Butt.  Inspired by a term that my boyfriend, Beau, came up with while me, him, Kelsey and our friend, Rob, were perusing an IKEA.  We have noticed girls all throughout L.A. (and honestly, some guys too) who like to give their shorts a run for their money.  The hems are high.  The butts are apparent.  At first, we talked of these people in jest - but then we learned to admire them.  Who are we to judge people just because they have the confidence to rock some seriously short shorts?  You go, girls and guys! 

Also, we couldn't come up with a better, catchier name than Under Butt.  Because seriously... how fun is Under Butt?  Funder Butt.  

Our posts consist of personal stories from the two of us as well as weekly adventure posts.  Since we're both new to Los Angeles, we thought it might be good for us to get out of our apartments and do some exploring.  We're trying to open our minds to new opportunities, take some risks and do things we're not 100% comfortable with.  So far, we've gone on a bus tour of Hollywood, a road trip, cooked some complicated meals and we have plans to take some classes, do some performing and just generally become more interesting people.  That's gonna be a tough one.  

I'll be posting more on here, hopefully - but I haven't been inspired lately.  When things are going good, I have nothing to write about.  So that's a good thing, right? 

I'd love it if you followed along with us!  You can like us on Facebook.  Follow us on Bloglovin.  Or just be our friend.  

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