Monday, August 21, 2017

NO ONE KNOWS WHAT CHEESE CURDS ARE HERE

There's a lot I didn't know before moving to Florida. For instance, did you know that despite being called the Sunshine State, it rains pretty much every day for about half the year? Didn't know that? Funny, neither did I before moving down here. And we're not talking about a little sprinkle in the afternoon. We're talking about trees down, aggressive lightning, and flooding on the roads so bad sometimes that you might as well just commit to life as a hermit because you don't want to be caught in the massive puddles.

Okay, so that last part was a little melodramatic. But in all seriousness, I thought I moved to Florida, not Seattle.

Moving to a new place both excited and scared me. It was something that I had wanted to do a for a long time, but I knew that it would make the transition into adulthood even more challenging. The move meant a new start--a fresh start--but it also meant starting from the beginning.

It meant making new friends, learning how to navigate a new city, and figuring out who I was when I was completely alone. With no one to fall back on, I was forced to start learning how to live on my own. That part was a little scary.

But what I never expected was how much I would miss home.
Now, over the last four years, I've had two homes: Minneapolis and Madison. It only took being away from both to realize how much love I have for them.

No one knows what cheese curds are here. I didn't even eat cheese curds that often in Wisconsin, but I never realized that they were a concept people in other parts of the country didn't understand. The other night I found myself struggling to explain a concept that I've understood since I was a little kid. It's just a curd of cheese??


The Humidity is killer. Honestly, if you've never been to Florida in August, you don't even really know what humidity is. Imagine walking into a sauna every time you set foot outside. There's no relief. Your only choice is to stay inside in the A/C. Even the ocean and pools usually don't cool you down that much because they get so hot. At least up north, even on a hot day, when the sun goes down, so does the temperature. Here, you can walk outside at 2 AM and it's almost as humid and sticky feeling as it was at 2 PM.

People drive like maniacs here. Slow down there, Vin Diesel. We're just trying to get to work, not film Fast and Furious 9.  And don't even get me started on how the older people drive here. I cannot even imagine what it is going to be like "in season" (when all the "snowbirds" come down).

I've become 77% sand. It's everywhere. My car is covered. My flip-flops have to stay outside. You can't escape it.

There's no Caribou here. And it's a serious problem -- not for my bank account. But sometimes a girl just wants a good cup of joe.


My 7-year-old sister keeps asking why I can't come home, and it's breaking my heart. When my little sister first asked why I moved to Florida, I told her it was because I got a job here. Her response? "There are jobs in Minnesota too. You could work at Target, Dairy Queen...." If only she understood why her big sister couldn't be satisfied serving Blizzards and Dilly Bars. The other day she said, "Don't you want to be with me?" That girl really knows how to tug on the heart strings.


I'm going to miss the Minnesota State Fair. And that means I can't eat my weight in Sweet Martha's cookies and Fresh French Fries, and that's a huge problem. The Great Minnesota Get Together is one of my favorite times of the year.

I miss the city. I really took for granted how much there was to do in Madison and Minneapolis. Bored in Fort Myers? Well, I guess I'll go to the beach again? Not that I'm complaining about going to the beach. I will gladly soak up some sun while everyone up North is huddle around the fire in their parkas.

 Lauren, Becky, Taylor, and Shelby ( at 17) in line for the concert of our lives outside Fine Line Cafe

But more than anything, I miss my friends and family.
Yes, I have made friends here, and I'm so lucky to have them. But sometimes you just want to sing Anna Sun in your car and know that your friends are there to harmonize and reminisce about that time that you discovered one of your favorite bands. I miss watching movies with my parents, and freaking out over Big Brother with my little brother. And my mom's cooking. Boy, do I miss my mom's cooking. And Grandma's baking.

All right, before I get too sentimental, I better remind everyone why I'm here. As much as I miss Minnesota (and Wisconsin), I know that I'm where I'm supposed to be. After all, this blog was founded with the goal of inspiring other people to pursue their passions. So, here I am showing you that it's possible.

Four years ago, I wrote a post right before college wondering if I could really make it happen. Could I actually make a career out of writing?

This is for 18-year-old Taylor.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT DATING AT 22

What could I know about dating, right? I'm 22. I'm the first to admit dating confuses me, as it does many. I'm pretty sure online dating wouldn't exist if everyone knew how to pair off on their own.

Can you imagine? Just being able to do this organically in an efficient matter? In this imaginary world, little girls just point to boys on the playground and they've mated for life -- like penguins.


No instead, we're left with unlabeled "things" -- in a world where no one can quite pinpoint exactly what a "thing" is but everyone knows they are definitely a thing. Didn't quite follow that last part? Exactly.

So, we patiently wait until we've gone on "enough" dates with a single human to approach the awkward, "What are we...?" conversation. And then in due time when it inevitably dissipates, we're back at square one, swiping through a seemingly endless stream of mirror selfies and poorly crafted bios.

Which brings me to everything I have learned over 22 years: dating is hard.

I could leave it at that.

But through the entire series of Sex and the City, Andrea Silenzi's Why Oh Why podcast, Aziz Ansari's Modern Romance, my own personal experience, Taylor Swift songs, and countless viewings of movies like 500 Days of Summer and When Harry Met Sally, here is what I have come up with:

1. On a first date, if they're asking a bunch of questions, it's actually a bad thing! It means that the conversation isn't naturally flowing (Why Oh Why).

2. If you're meeting through a dating app, it's actually better to meet early on, rather than chatting for a long time. That way you can see what your dynamic is like in person (Aziz).

3. There always seems to be that *one* person that creeps back into our lives (i.e. Mr. Big in SATC). But that doesn't mean that they are "the one."

4. Being truly open to something means being vulnerable -- and willing to sit out on the curb in the rain with your heart in your hand.


5. Breaks... more like BreakS. (FRIENDS -- Ross and Rachel. Enough said.)

6. Going on exciting dates can help you like a person more than a standard dinner/coffee date -- you associate the adrenaline rush with your feelings for a person. (Read Modern Romance for more on this phenomenon -- it's actually pretty interesting).

7.  Often times one person likes the other person more -- and it sucks on both sides (500 Days of Summer -- and personal experience).


8. You shouldn't stay with someone you're not crazy about just because they check some boxes or sound good on paper.

9. You also deserve better than being with someone who falls anywhere short of being absolutely crazy about you, too (Half of My Heart -- John Mayer).

9.5. But watch out for the people who are just straight up crazy.

10. Your ex is an "ex" for a reason.


11. Most people have to kiss more than their fair share of frogs (or in my case, go on a string of bad coffee dates) before meeting Prince Charming. 

12. Sometimes, we need to take breaks from the dating scene to take care of ourselves first. 


13. If you start to like hanging out with someone else more than your significant other, it's probably time to move on. 

14. No matter how well a first date goes, saying "I love you" is NEVER appropriate. (How I Met Your Mother). 

15. Facebook stalking your ex is not helping you move on (weirdly enough -- a college class called the Dynamics of Online Relationships -- and no, it was not just about online dating). 

16. Maybe there is no "one," maybe there's just "the one right now" (a monologue I did in college). 

17. Getting together with someone who still has feelings for their ex will always end badly (#tb to the time I learned this about a guy I was seeing from his Twitter. #unfollowed #classycollegeboys). 

18. Sometimes it's best to have low expectations -- but that doesn't mean lowering your standards. 

19. Having more options isn't necessarily a good thing. With the invention of online dating comes that seemingly endless stream of profiles to swipe through -- leaving people more easily unsatisfied, because they're always wondering if there is something better out there (Aziz's Modern Romance). 

20. Dating is hard -- until you find the right person who makes it easy (Why oh Why).

21. Sometimes you just have to Shake It Off and sing Our Song Fearlessly with someone in your Wildest Dreams when you're 22 because You Belong With Me... and because let's be real: sometimes Taylor Swift songs are annoyingly relatable.


22. 22 is too young to settle.

There's this country song called, Settlin', and one of the first lines is "don't even know why I try when I know how it ends... lookin' like another we could be friends." The song is all about not settling, and I can't get it out of my head lately.

At 22, I'm not ready to settle for mediocre.

As Carrie Bradshaw once said, "Being single used to mean that nobody wanted you. Now it means you’re pretty sexy and you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with."


Friday, July 7, 2017

HOW TO EAT LIKE AN ADULT

Eating. It seems like a simple enough task. I mean, we all eat. We eat to satiate ourselves. We eat to socialize. We eat to fill the void entertain ourselves.

But no one ever said it would be this hard.

By "it" I mean making meals for a single human being that are both healthy and cheap. Just because I am a graduate, doesn't mean I have all the green to splurge on the greens. And I'm sure you know, eating healthy is not cheap. Or easy.

Sometimes a bowl of Cap'n Berry Crunch sounds better than a bowl of berries... that's a lie. I like fruit a little too much for my own good (if only I could eat an unlimited amount of natural sugar). But seriously, unhealthy choices are usually less time-consuming and easier to think about making after a long day (or night) at work.

So I had to come up with some rules to keep myself in check:

1. No picking up takeout if you are on your way home to a fridge full of food. 
We all have those times when we haven't had a chance to get to the grocery store. Life is busy. I get it. Every once in a while I get too busy at work to really get enough to eat so I will have to pick up something on the way because I have a long drive home. But living by this rule saves you both money and calories.

2. Sugary cereal is not breakfast. 
I love a good bowl of Cap'n Crunch just as much as the next kid, but as much as we want it, a sugar rush is no way to start the day. That doesn't mean I never eat it. While I have been eating cleaner recently, I don't see any reason I can't have a bowl from time to time--as long as that it really is just from time to time. So if I do have it, I pour myself a bowl, close the box and put it back in the pantry. And it is a dessert.

3. Prep as much as possible. 
I never have enough time in the morning. I  give myself a decent amount of time to get ready in the morning--and somehow I still find myself rushing out the door at the last second. Because I know that I am like this, preparation is key. Even sticking some watermelon or carrots in a container the night before gives me a head start. And it also prevents me from buying a bag of Cheez-Its or potato chips at work!



4. Limit the number of times you eat out per week. 
We ran a story at my news station last week that said Millennials eat out more than any other generation before them. It says we're splurging on takeout, drinks, and coffee multiple times a week. I like to think that I am pretty good about this one, but my goal is to limit this category of expenses to social activities. There's no reason for me to go spend $5 on a latte just for the heck of it. But if I am catching up with an old friend, it's money well spent in my book.

5. Eat like you love yourself. 
This one might sound a bit strange, but hear me out. One of the best Tweets I've ever seen was something to the effect of, "Eating grocery store sushi is a good way to show the world you hate yourself." Just because something is at a supermarket doesn't mean we should eat it. I once went on a date with a guy that told me his diet consisted mainly of Hot pockets and Ramen. I would rather go broke buying vegetables than fill up that way. I'm not saying quit junk food forever and live off of vegan burritos and kombucha. Not everyone wants to have a crazy healthy lifestyle. And that's fine. But really? Hot pockets and ramen? You deserve better.

6. Learn how to use your oven. 
Believe it or not, a stovetop is not just a great place to spread peanut butter on a slice of bread. In fact, great things can come out this wonderful kitchen appliance. My mom always told me that she wanted me to know how to cook before I went out into the world, and I couldn't be more grateful. It's pretty neat what you can do when you know you're way around a kitchen.

Now, close out of that food-delivery app, and eat like an adult.


Next week, look out for: 


Thursday, June 29, 2017

I'M NOT AN ADULT--YOU'RE AN ADULT

Well, my college diploma finally arrived. If it wasn't official before, it's official: I am a college graduate. Although I'm in my 4th week at my first full-time job, it doesn't seem possible. How am I really not returning to campus the day after Labor Day?

I watched this amazing video by a Priest the other day that was talking about times of transition. He said that people who just graduated college are in this state of transition and they don't quite know how to handle it, but that it was okay because it was something that you've never had to do before.

Let me repeat that: This is something you've never had to do before. It's okay to be afraid. It's okay to admit that you don't know what you're doing.

And I love that. I have no idea what I'm doing. For the first 22 years of my life, I had someone else telling me what to do. My parents, my teachers, my coaches, my professors... they were all guiding me.

I always had a place that I had to be. There was structure. And now, I have to create my own structure.

Sure, now my job dictates my schedule for the most part. But for the first time, my schedule isn't laid out on a grid--filled with times I have to be to certain buildings or take exams. That terrifies me.

One of my younger cousins is heading to college in the fall, and she actually chose UW-Madison as well. So she's been asking me some questions about dorms, classes, etc. And there's a little twinge in my heart just thinking about it--because I am a little envious of her getting to go on this amazing roller-coaster of an adventure.

Yes, she will she have ups and downs. College wasn't all hanging out with your friends and eating pizza at 3 in the morning. It's a lot of hard work, and it's confusing time trying to figure out what comes next.

However, what comes next isn't nearly as exciting. I wish I could say that being an adult was everything I hoped and more. After all, I spent 22 years preparing for it. But to be honest, I would give anything to do four more years of that confusing crazy time, because I'm starting to feel homesick for it.

All that I have now to hang onto is that I'm heading toward making all those "dreams" I have come true. I'm clinging onto the fact that maybe all these overnight weekend shifts and nights spent alone will be worth it in the long run. I have to.

Maybe being an adult isn't everything I ever hoped it would be. Maybe it's naive to think that it still could be, but I want to stay naive enough to believe that someday it could be for as long as I can... because I still believe that one day everything I'm working toward could work out.

Until then? Well, you can find me sitting on the beach, sipping on something cold (that I probably overpaid for at Starbucks), denying that I am now boring officially an adult.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

THE SKY'S THE LIMIT--AND OTHER LIES FROM MY CHILDHOOD

Note to readers: read this first paragraph in your head to the tone of one of those commercials that claims you may be "entitled to" something if you had x, y, or z happen to you.

As a child, were you often told things like, "you can be anything you want when you grow up" or "you can do anything you set your mind to?" Did your grandma constantly overwhelm you with love and tell you just how *special* you are? Were you in any way mislead by your parents to believe that you really were one of a kind? If so, you may be entitled to--wait, wait, wait.

This is just what they want. They want us to admit that we are "entitled." Everyone in our generation clearly believes that the world owes them something and that they should be handed free money while they galavant around Europe, yearning to "find themselves" post graduation.

Or at least that's how certain people have described my generation to me.


Now, I'm not off to start a war with my elders. I agree with you--you may be wiser and more experienced than me. But I wish that I would stop hearing people refer to my entire generation as lazy and entitled narcissists.

I reject this notion that technology and social media has made everyone Google-crazed robots who only care about how many likes they got on their latest selfie.

The fact of the matter is social media is here to stay, and we will always have these fancy devices that know way too much about us and track our every move--literally. But I believe that we can use these things to our advantage. 

When we were little, many of us were repeatedly told that we could do or be anything that we wanted. We were given basic ideas at a young age: teacher, doctor, lawyer, police officer. But as we got older, new professions and ways of earning a living started emerging. We started to see ways of living that previous generations never considered.

Now, we can choose from a myriad of paths to go down. You don't have to be a salesman or a dentist. You can be a food blogger, social media strategist, founder/developer of a new popular app, YouTube star, Uber/Lyft driver, and the list goes on and on.

The thing is not everyone accepts these new professions as serious means of making a living. Suddenly, all the 'dream big's become 'think realistically's. Some might not see these unconventional career paths as legitimate.

I'm here to argue that technology has afforded us with new opportunities, so why wouldn't we take advantage of them to their fullest extent? A few years ago, naysayers claimed that all these social media strategist-type jobs were going to be short lived because they never believed in the power of these little apps on our phones.  Now, social media is one of the top priorities of companies when deciding how to market their brand in a digital age. Many taxi companies are literally going out of business because of these ride-sharing services powered by our smartphones. And some YouTube stars are now earning millions of dollars from ad services.


So, maybe it wasn't a complete lie. Maybe the sky is the limit, and the lie was that these people might not have believed it when they were saying it to us. 

When I was little, I secretly wanted to be an actress. I knew I couldn't be anything because what I really wanted was to be Hannah Montana--can you blame me? She was an eleven-year-old secret Popstar who doubled as a regular kid at school. But I digress... I wanted to be an actress, but I told everyone for years and years that I wanted to be a doctor. Because even as a little kid, I fed into the baloney that the only way I would be successful in life was if I chose one of the five career options they offer to elementary school kids. 

Maybe your Grandma was right and you are the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg of your generation. Maybe you really are one of a kind. But on the off chance that you are just like the rest of us--hopelessly trying to be anything but mediocre--don't despair. You have two choices: you can work a little harder to prove to your friends and family that your life choices are valid and meaningful or you can accept that despite no matter how much something means to you, some people might not always get it.

Hoping to find success or land a job after spending thousands of dollars on education, doesn't make you entitled. It makes you reasonable. You want a return on an investment. It doesn't mean that you are expecting a job to be handed to you. But it means that after years of hard work, whatever you end up doing with your life--whether you become a world renowned scientist or a vegan mommy blogger--you want to know that what you are doing matters because, once upon a time, when you were told that the sky was the limit, you believed them. 

Now is that such a crime?


TLDR: You can be anything you want to be--as you long as you really believe that.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

LIFE STAGE: EMERGING ADULT

In Aziz Ansari’s book Modern Romance, he says that there is a fairly new stage in becoming an adult in the modern age. This is a person who is post-college but not yet settled down with a family. They are not a teenager, but they are not really a full-fledged adult either. It's this awkward transition phase. Aziz says Psychologist Jeffery Arnett calls this stage “emerging adulthood.”

EMERGING. I am emerging into being an adult. Gross. 



So, this term was coined to describe this new stage of life that young people are experiencing due to more people pursuing careers and getting married later than previous generations.

Arnett says emerging adulthood particularly applies to young adults in developed countries that don't have children, don't live in their own home, and don't have sufficient income to become fully independent in their early or late 20s. 

This person was previously viewed much more negatively. If you were post-college, single, still living at home and didn't have a stable income, you had somehow failed. Now... you're just average. 

Still, looks like us single young adults, wandering aimlessly into unknown territory, have some work to do. Much to our chagrin, we didn't come out of college with diamond rings or six-figure incomes. Lousy let downs, right? Must be because we're all self-absorbed, entitled millennials. 

In all seriousness, every generation faces the challenge of trying to get older generations to take them seriously. Generation after generation, the older people will always think "Ugh, kids these days" while shaking their heads. And young people will continue to push back against what that they believe is outdated and irrelevant. Some people like to think everyone my age is lazy, entitled and narcissistic. 

I don't buy that for a second. But that's for another day.

For now, just know that we're not all like that. We're just stuck in this weird phase of not totally knowing what we're doing. It's no wonder we turned out like this. We were fed lines like, "You can be anything you want when you grow up" our entire lives. And now that we're here, everyone's like "Oh... yeah, uh, forget that. We're were just saying that so you'd go to college. Now, be realistic, and good luck surviving in the real world with all those 'dreams.' Oh, and social security probably won't be a thing by the time you're a senior; guess you should have started saving for retirement when you were in diapers." Cool. 

As I journey into this awkward transition phase of trying to prove myself as a "real adult," you can join me each week as I attempt to describe the rollercoaster ride that is emerging adulthood. I'm starting the "Emerging Adulthood Series."

Week by week, I'll have a new tale of navigating through things like living on your own for the first time, having to sit at a desk for nine straight hours, and trying not to crawl under said desk to hide from your responsibilities. 

Up Next Week: The Sky's the Limit--and Other Lies from my Childhood. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

What Trump's "Fake News" Rhetoric Means For Someone Trying to Work in News

For many, the beginning of a career is scary but exciting. It's a time where everything you learned in college is really put to the test. But what about when the President of the United States is demonizing the very industry in which you want to build a career?






Any intro-level journalism course will tell you that responsibility of determining the quality of the news falls on both the citizens and the news industry. It is up to the media to provide the most objective and fact-based news possible, and it is up to the people to check facts and stay informed through various news sources.

As CNN host Don Lemon put it, "Fake news is when you put out a story to intentionally deceive someone and you know that it is wrong." This appeared in a recent segment where a commentator tried to claim they were producing "fake news." This kind of rhetoric surrounding the media is problematic because it is reductive and it is reinforcing a false belief that some people hold that all mainstream media is trying to deceive them.

There is nothing wrong with the American people questioning what they are reading. Everyone should maintain a certain level of skepticism, but this industry is not inherently untrustworthy.

As someone trying to break into this industry, I find it concerning that President Trump wants to foster a greater distrust in the news.


Regardless of your political beliefs, citizens have a right to information that is not curated by the government. It is time to take back the narrative and restore trust in the media.

Any credible news source makes an implicit commitment to the American people to provide them with the most accurate information possible. As a member of the media, I know we are supposed to keep an objective, unbiased viewpoint. However, with the integrity of this entire institution being shaken by the leader of the free world, how can we not take a stance right now?

While the president tries to invoke fear of the media in citizens, it is our duty to provide the people of the United States with the hard-hitting facts that our government cannot suppress. We the people will not be subdued. We the people will not be worn down. We the people will not be silenced.

Monday, January 9, 2017

THE BACHELOR: WHY ARE WE STILL WATCHING?

"It's the most controversial season of The Bachelor in the history of ever" Chris Harrison announces in the Countdown to Nick special before the season premiere. Every season Harrison calls it the most dramatic season in Bachelor history. We scoff. And then we resume watching what we know is probably not the most dramatic thing we have ever seen. But why?


It makes no sense. We realize that we are tuning into not one but TWO hours of tears, staged drama, and gossip. Why are we doing this to ourselves?


I'll hand it to them that this is, in fact, the most unique season so far, because they pulled the stunt of having Nick Viall on the series for the FOURTH time. But no one needs to see the same guy that many times. The Bachelor franchise has already proved that they have access to an unlimited supply of America's most beautiful people, so give someone else a chance for once. This guy had his time. And then some. 


Now, let's talk about the first episode of this season. For starters: how did Shark Girl (aka The Crazy Girl Who Thinks She is a Dolphin) get a rose while several other beautiful women walked out at the end?

Secondly, why did so many girls think it was so cool that Lacey rode up on a camel? She made an awkward joke about humping, and then several girls were like, "Why didn't I think of that???"  Many of these introductions were cringe-worthy and just plain hard to watch. I don't know what was worse: Josephine making him eat a raw hotdog Lady and the Tramp-style or when Lauren pointed out that their last names (Hussey and Viall) together made them a "disgusting slut."


Once again, why are we still watching this show? Or more precisely, why can't we turn it off? It's easy for me to skip an episode or even a season, but when my friends and family tune it, I can't seem to look away.

Maybe it's the beautiful locations.


Maybe it's the insane drama that makes us feel better about ourselves.


Or maybe, it's just that we know what to expect, and for some reason we are drawn to that. The teasers before each commercial break will take something out of context to make it look way more dramatic than it actually is. One girl will force her way into the spotlight until all of the other girls hate her and have to decide whether or not to bring it up to Nick (which someone eventually will--hoping it will somehow make her seem better in comparison). And Chris Harrison will never stop telling us that we have so much drama to look forward to--in the MOST dramatic season in the history of the world. 

Whatever our reasons are for watching The Bachelor, we have to admit that we are the problem. We are the reason that this show is still on the air. In a time where Netflix and Hulu seem to rule the world, we come back every week and provide this show with enough ratings to justify another season. Remember that tonight as you sip your wine and wonder why you are still watching this show. 



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