Did You Make a Resolution?

Everywhere I’ve looked this week, I’ve seen something about New Year Resolutions. I’ve seen a lot of people striving to do intense workouts everyday, or a few times a week. Smoothies for breakfast. No more junk food. It goes on and on.

I don’t believe in these kind of resolutions. We beat ourselves up over failure enough over the course of the year, and we really don’t need to beat ourselves up over anything else. I haven’t made a list of resolutions in years, but yesterday I sat down and wrote a list out in my journal. However, I took care in my resolutions.

I did not include any timed goals, i.e. “do yoga for 30 minutes every day”. Nor did I make any definite plans in my resolutions. I’ve been hoping for years to be able to make it to SXSW and Newport Folk Festival. I hope to do one or both this year, but I will not commit it down as a resolution, because I do not know at this point what will be going on in my life, therefore I cannot make that commitment.

Most resolutions aim too high. Habits many times cannot be completely broken in a year’s time. Incorporating something new into our lifestyles takes time, dedication, and practice. Sometimes, it just doesn’t work out.

Instead, I included things like “be more open to music” to combat my sometimes close-mindedness to new artists because of what I hear in the mainstream media. Instead of “write a novel” (every year I want to do NaNoWriMo, and every year I find I just don’t have the time), I wrote “start a novel”. Starting a novel is much more attainable. If I had “write a novel” down, I would feel stressed out all year. Instead, I’ll comb through my notebook of ideas, pick one out, and start it – no pressure. If it doesn’t take, well, at least I started to work on something.

All of my resolutions were made because I want this year of my evolution to be a great one. Instead of creating more stress, I want to find better ways to manage it. When next year comes around, I hope to be able to look back on this list and smile, because I was able to work on all of my goals – but not finish them, because change should be a constant opportunity to learn and grow.

This is for You, Last-Minute Christmas Shoppers

If you’re anything like my dad, you haven’t done your shopping yet. That’s okay! You’ve got this weekend – although I suggest using Amazon, because no matter what time you go into a store this week, it will likely be insane.

To help you out, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite gift things:

Stocking Stuffers:
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Over the years, I’ve gotten many compliments on my soft hands, but this winter has been wreaking havoc on them already. My favorite lotion (especially for my hands) is Earth Therapeutics Peace Potion (the photo in the link looks different – but I’m pretty sure it’s the same product. I got mine a couple of years ago at TJ Maxx). Obviously, I’m a marketing-person’s dream because I always get hooked in by names, and Peace Potion grabbed my attention. But the smell of lavender and chamomile is soothing, and my hands feel a lot better when I use this than when I use “hand lotion”.

My face has also been taking a beating with the wind and cold weather (it’s been below zero a LOT this week here). I’m terrible about keeping routines, but I love to use Pores Be Pure Skin-Clarifying Mud Mask. It smells great, and leaves my face ridiculously soft.

The socks I got at Target awhile back on a whim. I’ve always had a ton of “fuzzy socks”, but these have aloe inside and are easily my favorites.

Magnets

Magnets are also a cute idea. I bought these at Newbury Comics. They’re a fun decoration – especially for a college student or someone who frequently moves, therefore not having much time/space/money/permission to decorate.

       Music:

I was lucky enough to attend the Another Day, Another Time concert back in September, so I ended up scoring this beauty early:
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(And if you’re into that, you should definitely check out the new Dave Van Ronk Smithsonian Folkaways Collection).

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Notoriously a confusing release originally, the re-issue of this made Rolling Stone change their minds about it. Self-Portrait has always been one of my favorites, and this came out on my half-birthday (which yes, I celebrate, because I always wanted a summer birthday pool party), so – happy birthday to me, and Merry Christmas to your loved ones.

Another of Rolling Stone‘s favorite reissues this year was this:
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And you can never have enough of The Band.

Movies:

As a kid, I spent a lot of time watching Topper and Topper Returns with my grandfather. I highly recommend them for some fun, old-school family comedy. That link, by the way, has both movies for $10 on Amazon…I might actually be getting that for myself. Don’t tell anyone – I’ve already spent way too much on Christmas gifts for myself 😉

My grandma got me hooked on Shirley Temple movies early in life. My niece, when she was a little younger, was often compared to Shirley Temple because of her cute round face and red curls, and she loves to watch the box set my siblings got me for my birthday one year:

I’m also a huge fan of Charlie Chaplin, especially Modern Times. You could always use a little slapstick comedy in your life, couldn’t you?

For the Kids:

My nieces love to read. The oldest (she’s 10) is really into mythology right now. I got her this for her birthday last month, and she LOVED it.

I also convinced my mom to get this for my eight-year-old niece, because she’s a definite list-maker and has gotten really into drawing lately:

My nieces also liked this book, which I recommend for anyone who wants a fun way to bond with their kid(s) and get them excited about music:

And I got these two things for my robot, dinosaur, and superhero-obsessed nephew, who’s three:
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I could go on with suggestions all day. I love shopping for other people. If you’re still stuck (especially with people who are difficult to buy for), I suggest making a list of what they like – TV shows, hobbies, etc, and brainstorm from there. There are some great gifts on CafePress and Etsy that just take a little browsing (although at this point they may be a bit belated by the time they arrive). You can also put together some cute kits – hot chocolate, coffee, liquor samples, etc. I’ve been wanting to try out the ingredient-in-the-jar DIY gifts, but since my siblings and I all gather at my parent’s house for about a week between Christmas and New Year’s, it didn’t seem practical. We’re always so busy and have so much food as it is.

What gifts are you excited about giving this year? Try any DIY projects? I’d love to hear about them!

Give It Another Try!

This week, I decided to make homemade potato soup. I’ve been talking about this for awhile, and there were leftover potatoes from dinner Wednesday night, so it seemed like a good opportunity to finally do it:

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It was actually pretty good! A little spicier than I thought it would be (I made liberal use of spices, I guess). I’m fairly sure I disliked potato soup as a kid, and I knew that going in, but, I did enjoy it. And now I have more leftovers. Isn’t that always the case?

With the cold weather getting closer and closer to freezing me out, I made a mental note to make this more in the winter. I’m also constantly on the hunt for warmer clothes. I’m at that phase right now where I’m transitioning out of my kind of lazy, whatever clothes that were acceptable to bum around in on campus or whatever. Don’t get me wrong – I was never a wear-sweatpants-to-class/stores kind of girl, but I’m looking to get more polished. I wore a lot of (mostly band) hoodies in those days.

I was so happy to see one of my favorite websites, xoJane, tackle the warm tights issue yesterday. Tights are impossible, guys. So cute, but not so warm. And I like my dresses. I’m really feeling the Target fleece-lined ones in “old wine”, especially. I’m also hunting for jeans in that color, or corduroys. Anything, really. If you have any tips on where to get them for a reasonable price, let me know!

Most of my days this week have been spent reading for class. We had a choice of four books, and I took the opportunity to give something else another try:

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I’ve never really gotten into the Rolling Stones. Perhaps it’s another thing from my childhood. One of my family’s favorite stories is how I used to “hate” The Doors, and would run outside screaming anytime they put one of their records on. I love The Doors now; I just liked rebelling as a kid. I also hated spaghetti. You can’t take childhood-me too seriously.

This book is much, MUCH longer than any of my other choices, but hey, I like reading, and I’m hoping it will help me on my journey to understanding the Stones better.

Have you been giving anything another try lately? “Old wine” colored jeans, perhaps? 😉

Tryday Friday

I spent a good chunk of this afternoon flipping through magazines in a waiting room. As I sat there looking at all of the clothes I would buy if I were very rich, I realized how many things each week I say I want to try.

I now present you with…Try-Day Friday! Here’s what I’ve decided to try out this week:

Railroad jeans! I’ve been moaning about my wardrobe lately, and I think railroad-striped jeans are just what I’ve been wanting:

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October is over, and with it has gone my insatiable appetite for all-things-pumpkin. Oh, well. Sweet potatoes have taken their place and I can’t wait to eat them. I’m especially intrigued by the idea of sweet potatoes diced up into tacos, especially as I’m not a big fan of beef:

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And as I’m always seeking out new artists and checking out what the hype is about, this week I tried out Lorde:

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Side note: am I the only one who can’t believe how young she is?

What did you try, or were you inspired to try in the future, this week?

One Month

One month ago I moved out of my NYC apartment.

It was a sad day for me. I must say, though, that I wasn’t nearly as emotional as I thought I would be. This may or may not have anything to do with the way the night before went.

I decided that I was going to spend my last full day roaming around my neighborhood, taking photos of all of my favorite things. By the way, I hated doing this, because I hate taking photos of things and being obvious about it. 

(I also ran around looking for boxes, and ended up walking up to Chelsea, getting myself a donut, and lugging home a huge package of boxes from uHaul. I am way too little for that.)

A month or two prior, I made plans to go see Simon Townshend at Joe’s Pub with some friends I made after his show back in February. On my birthday, actually. So, it was a jam packed day. His show started at 7, and there was a free preview of the NYC Ben and Jerry’s Flavor happening starting at 5. Living in the Village was amazing because I was within walking distance to a lot of things. I walked everywhere that day. So, I found myself walking over to the Hudson River at 15th Street and hung out for awhile. On my walk back to the apartment, I stayed on the path along the River for a bit, when I noticed some music playing from the other side.

I glanced over and saw a pavilion of sorts, and smiled to myself. I called my sister and jokingly said “hey, I think I can hear the AmericanaramA tour starting up” because I knew Bob Dylan was playing in Hoboken that night.

Of course, I never actually for a moment considered going to Hoboken. Instead, I drove up to my sister’s in Massachusetts the weekend before, and stopped along the way home in Saratoga Springs to see him. Having siblings who live in these areas has proved to be mighty convenient when it comes to tours that don’t stop in the city. Also, I love road trips.

I got home and looked on my computer, and found out that where he was playing was no more than four miles from my apartment. It was just a quick PATH train ride away. I lived two blocks from the 9th Street station.

I showered and headed out for Joe’s Pub, talking to my sister again along the way. I walked over to 5th Avenue before heading south, because I didn’t want to walk by the PATH station. My sister laughed and said she wasn’t getting involved with the decision making process this time. 

I got to Joe’s Pub after SImon started. I sat in my seat and felt bad because all I could think about was how I was probably, definitely heading to Jersey as soon as his set was done. I could see my friends already seated, and felt bad again because I was going to have to leave without stopping for anything, even a quick hello. I tried to look up tickets on my phone, to no avail. 

After his set, I ran outside and called the only number I could find, and they told me to go to the gate and I should be able to get a ticket.

For some idiotic reason, I hopped in a cab because I didn’t think I had time to get back to 9th Street, and I had no idea how the PATH train worked. I couldn’t get the time table to load on my phone. It was after 8:30 and Bob went on at 9:30. I had to get going.

This cab ride, let me tell you. It took forever. He didn’t run the meter, of course. We were stuck in traffic. I was antsy and talking to my sister (again) about how I had chugged down rum and cokes like I always do when I’m nervous/anxious, but hadn’t eaten much of anything. I planned to eat after I got home, which I thought would be no later than 9:30 because I wanted to get some packing done. 

Wrong.

I didn’t get to Hoboken until 9:15 or so. It might have been later, because I remember being incredibly frantic. The driver dropped me a few blocks away. I spent a fortune on that cab ride. 

I asked a security guard if I was heading the right way for Bob Dylan, and he looked at me with a dumbfounded expression on his face. I kept going because I knew the Hudson was ahead. I ran along a row of bars to where one of the ticket people told me to go to get a ticket. I heard the guitar start strumming, providing the intro to “Things Have Changed” and fidgeted because I wasn’t anywhere close to seeing anything. The lady at the table swiped my card. The machine was slow. It didn’t go through. I tried another card. Nothing worked. I had spent all of my cash on the cab ride. I ran into the bar across the street and asked the bartender if she would give me cash back. She couldn’t, but they had an ATM. I never use ATM’s, because my PIN number won’t work. I kicked myself again for not fixing this sooner.

I went back outside and called my bank. They couldn’t help me. I called my sister, almost in tears. I just blew $80 on a cab ride for nothing. At least the driver gave me a package of peanuts as he ate his own dinner, probably feeling pity for me because he overheard the earlier conversation. She asked if she could give me her card number over the phone, and I could just pay her back later. I asked the people at the table.

A nice guy came over and said that he believed me, but it wasn’t secure so they couldn’t do it. I think I asked if there was anything I could do. He walked away as I talked to the girl, then came back and placed a piece of paper in front of me. I reached in my purse for my pen, thinking he was letting me write down the card number. I flipped it open and saw a ticket, and looked at him quizzically. 

“What…” I started to say.

“It’s a free ticket. Take it. Go in.” 

I thanked him profusely and started to walk out, feeling like I was on cloud nine. I probably yelled to my sister, who was still on the phone “He gave me a free ticket! I’m going in!” I was turned around because I walked the wrong way. Some lady stopped and asked me if I just got the ticket. I said yes. She asked if I could show her who gave it to me. I pointed to the ticket booth. The security guard said “she just bought it” and I skipped merrily along, paying no thought to any of them. I got off the phone and practically ran. The show was GA, which was a first for me at a Bob Dylan concert. I cursed myself for being short, and started to edge my way in, somewhere. I couldn’t see  anything and everyone around me was drunk and bored. 

My teenage years of concert-going helped me. I slithered over to the other side of the stage, using my size to my advantage because I can slip through small spaces. I followed anyone else who was cutting through the crowd. Any small opening was filled by me. Within a few songs I was up to the barrier.

The concert was, of course, incredible. I thought it was. I know some people are haters. That’s okay. I got hit on a few times. Some guy after the concert asked if he could take a photo of me. He asked where I lived. He too, he claimed, lived in the Village. He asked if we should get a drink here or there. I laughed and said I had to get home and pack. He held my hands, and said something about how I was a special person and I was going to do great things. We parted ways. I finally bought my niece a Bob Dylan sticker; she had been asking me for one since November. 

I was heading to the PATH station when I noticed a long row of buses. I stopped, curiously. I ended up talking to two girls and paying no mind to the buses for the next three hours. I got home around 4AM. Slept for three hours.

Then I packed up my life and headed for my next chapter.

I didn’t spend that last night in the city, not completely. But it was still very much a summation of what my life in the city looked like.

 

Moving Out

Yesterday I was reminiscing over the excitement of signing my lease, and today I’m preparing for the inevitable – moving out of this beautiful city.

Everyone has their qualms with this place, but it’s hard to argue that it’s not a worthwhile place to be. I fought hard to go against the grain, but I got sucked in during July of 2011 and never looked back. New York was referred to as “home” from then on out, and I was determined to move in the next summer, which I did.

I knew the only place I wanted to be – Greenwich Village.

It’s no secret to anyone, at all, that I “belong in another time period”. I hate technology. I use it, but I hate it. I listen to my music on vinyl. I like “old hippie music”. I’ve always been very into my astrological sign and wanted to be in an artistic community and have a tendency to say “man” a lot.

The Village just ain’t what it used to be, though, and that’s no secret either. Please take note of this recent BuzzFeed article and do notice how many Village places were taken over by NYU.

But once in awhile, you get a whiff of that spirit. You can feel the energy. New York has a certain buzz about it at all times anyway, but there’s just something about the Village.

There was a saying that goes “nothing good happens above 14th street” and I stick to it. If I step outside the Village lines, I get a little bit antsy to get back. I’ve never been a crowd person, and the Village isn’t all that crowded. It’s quiet and pretty and yes, super expensive, but, you only live once, right?

Anyway. I’ll miss this place. It will always be home, and always mean the world to me. I hope one day to move back into the Village, but I know right now I need to get out and try something new, as much as it pains me. It’s something I just need to keep reminding myself.

Not Your Ordinary One-Year NYC Celebration Post

Today marks one year since I signed the lease on my first (and only) New York apartment. We had been in the city for a few days, saw the apartment on the first day, and I fell in love with it. I was wishy-washy, still dragging my feet through Washington Square Park just moments before going to the broker’s office and sealing the deal.

As I was getting ready to leave for the city a few days prior, my niece sat on my childhood bedroom floor, pouting at me. “I’m coming with you,” she insisted. I gently broke it to her that she wouldn’t be able to come. She had been staying with me for a few weeks at this time, and as such had started to pick out her favorite songs and artists from my collection. She had grown an affection for Jakob Dylan, especially when it came to luring her to sleep. Somehow, she found out that I planned to see The Wallflowers while in the city, which caused her to protest even more.

“Can I make him a card?” I agreed. “Do you promise you’ll give it to him, no matter what?” I shrugged and agreed again, as I finished packing up my bags.

I couldn’t let the girl down. So, after signing the lease on the apartment, my best friend/roommate at the time and I went to Arturo’s and drank margaritas to honor Tequila Day, and then made our way to the Bowery Ballroom for the concert. I made sure the card she made was in my purse, just in case. And, sure enough, after the concert he was standing outside, and I don’t remember the particulars, but I did give him the card.

A few months later, I convinced my brother and his wife to spring her out of school a little early and take a train down because I had a surprise for her. I had gotten four tickets to see The Wallflowers on Live on Letterman. The whole walk back to my apartment from the subway, she tried to convince me to tell her what we were doing. All I would say is that we were going to a concert. She kept asking me if we were seeing Jack White – another favorite of hers – but she finally figured it out. After the concert, she wanted to meet Jakob for herself, so I brought her around to the side of the theater. She had just sat on the ground to write in her journal when he came outside, and she was unusually timid as he approached her. He asked if she wanted him to sign in her journal, to which she kind of mumbled a response along the lines of ‘no, I was going to write’. He asked her name and she came out full-force Genny-sass, saying “my name is Genevieve and you should know that because my aunt gave you a card I made and it had my name on it.”

The memory this girl has, I tell you. I couldn’t picture that card if I tried.

The next day she was hanging out in my bedroom, and she noticed a framed poster on my wall from a Bob Dylan concert that I had gone to.

“What is that?” She sassed at me.

“A Bob Dylan poster.”

“Where did you get it?”

“When I saw him. Remember, I told you I was going to see Bob…”

“No! Ugh! You told me you were going to see Jakob, but not Bob! Ugh!”

Have I mentioned that she was only five at this time? Barely five.

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She then started fiddling with a book I had lying out – Levon Helm’s This Wheel’s On Fire. She asked me to tell her all about The Band, and learned each members name. When I wasn’t looking, she went through and starting singing “Bob Dylan, I found his name, lalalalala” as she would point it out to me. She also stole my Love For Levon hat from the concert a couple of nights prior.

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I saw Bob Dylan again after that on the night before Thanksgiving, then took an early morning flight to spend it with my family. When I told Genny, she asked me to get her a button the next time. I have failed miserably to do this.

I also feel kind of bad because I stayed at her house the other night, and her mom and I went to see Bob Dylan…and Garth Hudson from The Band showed up.

Someday, Genny, I’ll take you to see Bob Dylan and Jack White. Don’t worry.