[Life Hack] Booking A Fun Filled Getaway for Your Crew

We all have them, those days that go so erroneously wrong that you’re not just committed to the fact you woke up on the wrong side of the bed, it actually – literally -feels like you woke up on the wrong side of Mercury Retrograde. Thankfully, that all ended on February 11th and according to Punxsutawney Phil, we’re* going to be suffering* through another six weeks of winter.  For the record, those asterisks are to denote that we is the Royal, East Cost, we and suffering is because I’m empathetic; I live in California, we watch winter from TV while we tan; anyways.   Last December, my friends took me on an impromptu road trip to Big Bear – it was my first time really playing, hiking, reveling and flat out dancing in the snow and I simply couldn’t get enough.  And to boot, I was reveling in a bit of pre-Retrograde good luck: the company I’ve been contracted to for work was bought out, and in the happiest of mishaps, I woke up with a some extra bounce in my step and cash in my bank account.   If an adventure with just a few friends was fun, an adventure with more was obviously better – so I immediately started plotting our escape from LA. It might sound a little silly, but I’ve never in my thirty years of living planned a getaway for more than two people – so this was an adventure in more ways than one and I’m eager to share my do’s – and don’ts! – of booking a group trip.

Booking dot Yeah

Photo by Jimmy Eid

Being the first time I’d ever secured a trip for a group of more than two, I was more than a little nervous. Sure, when I’d gone to Avila Beach the year before I had a group of seven with me – but I’d taken over another friend’s booking, and as it turns out I only got to witness the easy part.  Considering the state of the economy and current wages, I abide by the principles of  ‘Balling on a Budget’ and I do it well.  Next time you want to secure a cabin rental for a group of 6+, there’s a few ways to do it.  The incredibly rote way, would be a Google search on “Location” + “Group Cabin Rental”; but if you want to get more bang for your buck, there are a few sites that feel like striking gold.  We all know that  AirBnB is a hip, happening, wonderful resource.  From single room to entire home, you can rent based on your necessity – but for large groups, the options dwindle down or are exponentially expensive. Three equally wonderfully options are FlipKey, VRBO and Home Away.  FlipKey has spotted luck depending on your Metro, so obviously the more obscure the more difficult; and for the last two, I’m a huge fan – so it’s no surprise to me that they’re actually tied to the same information hub.   If you’re looking to book an entire cabin or house, these are the sites that you want.

Location, Location, Location

Sandy beaches, blossoming blue skies and sunny dispositions – that’s my vacation personality, so when it came to booking a Winter vacation – I had to do some crowd-sourcing.  Don’t get me wrong – I definitely  have fleeting fancies of being a snow bunny, at least for a night or two.  When you’re planning your group’s getaway, you’re not only taking your preferences into consideration – but you’re taking a simple random survey and through intelligent data analysis, you’ll find the best options.  Yes, I got all statistical on you for a second but for good reason – you at least want some people to come; right? Make sure you pick a vacation, or staycation, spot that has plenty to do for the whole family.  When we were in Big Bear, there was skiing and snowboarding for my snow kittens, a hot tub for the ones who preferred to stay warm and a national park just moments away; we had DJ equipment, photography gear, mood hoops, Cards Against Humanity and Mood Hoops – literally something for every personality type.

All My Party People In The House

Last, but most definitely not least – your crew!  It’s not a party without the posse, but be sure to set some ground rules before you go because let’s face it – money and friends not only don’t mix, but have the potential of ruining an otherwise wonderful weekend.  If you’re fancy enough to finance the cabin yourself and have your friends pay you back, more power to you – because of my aforementioned work situation, I was finally able to do that and it took such a load off of my shoulders.  But I’ll be the first to tell you, it doesn’t always work that way – as I found out when I went to Arizona at the beginning of the month.  Alleviate your anxiety, and tell your friends that the way to secure a spot over the weekend is to drop a little down payment for the room.  From their entire deposit to a simple $20, every little bit helps in getting you back to square one – and keeps you from discussing or dealing with money on an exciting weekend away from the “real world.” If you’re feeling frisky and want to get super organized, Facebook Events are a great way to keep track of RSVPs and last minute notes, while Google Docs provides the perfect forum for shopping lists and sharing ideas.

Photo by Jimmy Eid

[Self Discovery] The 10 Things Great Minds Do For Each Other

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
– Albert Schweitzer 

Our twenties is a time of self-exploration and discovery. It’s a  rite of passage and mental manifest destiny we’re all forced to come to terms with once we enter “the real world” and figure out what it means to be a contributing member of the community, or on a more global scale – a contributing member of the human race. These are the years that we change jobs, cities, significant others, interests and musical taste as frequently as we change socks.  Just like there are laws of physics, there are also laws in the physics of our mentality: external change catalyzes internal change and propagates our growth as individual.  We need to remember that it’s not selfish to take an adjustment period to get reacquainted with your life, it’s honest; because if you can’t take a moment’s appreciation for your newly acquired situation – was there really a point?

As we work our way back into the folds of life, back into social circles and bar scenes – you have a unique opportunity to look at things with a fresh perspective. Sometimes, that perspective pulls you out of prior relationships as it pulls you into new ones – and it’s helpful to know what qualities to keep around in a person, and what to avoid.  I’ve seen (and read) a heaping dose of articles on toxic friendships lately, and just like a regular friendship – that’s a two way street, too. Whether it’s actively toxic, or passively toxic (read: enabling).For a toxic friendship to persist, both parties have to be engaging in toxic behavior.  If you’re an emotional hypochondriac and sit there using those traits as a litmus test, solemnly and discretely analyzing your relationships – you’ll probably think there’s at least one person in your world that’s ‘detrimental to your existence‘.  Instead of trying to find the negative, I want to look at the positive; if small minds tear each other down, great minds should build each other up. So, I’ve come up with a little list of qualities that you should both look for in others and manifest in yourself.

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The 10 Things Great Minds Do For Each Other

1. Encourage Growth

A good friend not only accepts you for who you are but challenges you to become the person you want to be (not the person that they want you to be) by allowing you to challenge the limits of  your comfort zone.

2. Focus on the Positive

Life follows a stereotypical pattern of twists and turns that translate into a sine curve of highs and lows. We need to both celebrate our victories and acknowledge when things aren’t up to par – but unless you’re actively working on improving something in yourself, marinating on the negative isn’t going to get you anywhere but stuck in a negative feedback cycle.  And they’re as equally detrimental to ourselves as the people around us.  Humans aren’t magnets. Negative doesn’t attract positive; positive attracts positive; you’ll get back from the universe exactly what you put into it.

3. Allow You to be Wrong

As a species, we don’t have all the answers yet – so it’s silly to think that any one individual does, either. We need to allow ourselves to be wrong in the pursuit of what is right – through empirical evidence and healthy, intelligent debate with our peers.

4. Laugh With You, Not at You

First things first, your friends should have a sense of humor.  If they don’t, there actually might be something wrong with them and you should probably should just stop talking to them all together.  Anyways, I digress. Funny happens all the time and I’ve actually laughed out loud at myself before, but when a friend actively pursues a facet of your life for their enjoyment, it might be time to cut them loose.  A good friend can find humor in the moment, but knows how to let it go and not project the humor onto you.

5. Emotionally Supportive

When life turns sour, it helps having people around that bring over vodka when all you have are lemons.  But, depending on the situation – some friends might become Negative Nancy and have nothing nice to say, a few will turn the conversation to their life and their problems (which of course, still matter – but this isn’t the time or place for it) and others will simply dip out of your life.  The positive influences in your life will find a way to give – whether its their ear, a shoulder to cry on or a couch to sleep on and silence is golden, especially when someone is at their most vulnerable.

6. Give Space When Necessary

When Galileo discovered that there was a flaw in the geocentric model, there was an uproar.  Sometimes, when people come to the realization that the world is about more than just them, they react the same way.  Everyone has a personal universe to deal with that we simply can’t know everything about.it.  We have to learn to respect boundaries and allow the people in our lives to cultivate their own worlds.

7.  Brainstorm Solutions

One of the greatest things about having a group of peers is that you get to constantly crowdsource solutions. Is your boss being too hard on you? How do you train for a marathon? Should you move to a new city?  These are all things we deal with in our life and we should feel confident that we can reach out to the people in our lives in search of our own answers.  A good friend will engage you and play devil’s advocate to get down to the root of your question.

8. Constructive Criticism

It’s okay to have an standpoint on a person, and often there’s a time and place to voice it – but unless you can find a proactive way to express it, you should probably keep it to yourself.  If you’re forming a negative opinion on someone’s life, make sure it’s not a mirror that you’re holding to your own.  Instead, take a step back from the friendship and really examine what’s bothering you.

9. Value Time

Time is valuable, and other people’s time – doubly so.  A good friend understands that everyone has their own time table and own rate of life, we simply don’t all move at the same pace in life.  So, when it comes to hanging out and getting together – they’ll let you know when they’re running late and are conscious that your time matters, too.

10. Inspire Greatness

We’re all made of stardust, and I truly believe that within each of us – there’s something amazing.  When a beautiful soul meets another, they burn brighter together – just like when two candles meet.  They listen to your ambitions, goals and lofty visions. Instead of diminishing you, or them, they’ll encourage you to chase down your dreams and convert them to reality.

I hope you guys all have friends in your life like this, because I know I do.

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art….
It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.
– C.S. Lewis –

[Life Hacks] Moving On Up

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There are thousands of reasons to move, but only one important one: you. It sounds selfish, but who else is going to make your adult life their priority?  Whether it’s a new job, a new development in your relationship or your lease is expiring and you have the itch to jump neighborhoods, a move is (or should be) 110% about what’s good for you as an individual; I know mine is.After I graduated from UCSB in ’08, I had an executive decision to make: apply to grad school and pursue a career based on my field of study, or listen to that voice in my head that’s never stopped dreaming.  So I packed up my troubles and followed my heart to LA, which led to an incredibly hectic, and admittedly not very well thought out, move to my first apartment in Koreatown by myself.  And please believe – I say that not to harp on myself, but because I should have had more of a plan. Between my lack of income and unfamiliarity with the city, it might not have been the best choice – but it did a beautiful job of reminding me to define my intentions and embrace the reasons why I live my life. Every damn day, I wake up blessed that I listened to that small tinge of inspiration that I’ve always held onto, because it’s brought me exactly where I am today and I couldn’t be any happier.

As I prepare for fourth move in five years I have a snazzy mental inventory that I can refer to –  I know what I love having around (people, amenities like bars, markets and a gym within walking distance, and last but definitely not least freeways) what I’m willing to deal with (like volume, messiness and a general level of respect), what I’d like to avoid and what I really consider a priority (my relationships, my profession, etc) – 

 Work Life: Even though I do most of my work from home, one of the perks to my move is the decreased travel time to the office.  Because it’s Los Angeles, it doesn’t make sense to give you the mileage so just know that currently – the drive time ranges from 30-50 minutes depending on traffic, and the second I move that’ll drop down to a mere 15 minutes. Oh, yes!

Social Circle: The majority of my social circle resides out of Southern California and is mostly scattered up the Western Coast of the United States; but for the friends that I do still have in Los Angeles, most of them are living pretty on the East Side of town and I cannot wait to join them!

Love Life:  First things first, I’ve never lived with a significant other; this is the first time my love life has evolved to the point that it simply makes sense to live together.  We spend pretty much every waking moment together, and lately we’ve both felt like we just have a really well furnished storage unit on the other side of town.  Don’t get me wrong, it was all fun an games until we factored in travel time and traffic.  Los Angeles is one of the few places where you can actually be in a long distance relationship with someone who lives in the same city as you, and I can’t wait til we start a new chapter in the relationship.

Moving is like an earthquake: you can prepare, prepare and prepare for it but there’s simply nothing as chaotic or physically draining as an actual move.  So here are a few tips to help =)

(1) Before things start getting crazy, review your lease and get your “30 Days Notice” to your landlord ASAP to ensure a seamless exit

(2) If possible, try and get a small overlap of time where you have both places; moving out and moving in are a lot less stressful if they don’t happen simultaneously

(3) Consider the pets – are you combining furry, four legged families? If so, get a strategy together for how the animals will get acquainted.  Another idea to consider is shampooing or deep cleaning the carpets to get any layers of pet hair out before you bring more in.

(4) Submit your change of address form to USPS to get the mail moving to your new abode

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(5) Color code your furniture so you know what’s moving, what’s getting stored and what you can toss; personally, I’m a huge fan of the Stoplight method

(6) Give your closet a heavy dose of reality and finally get rid of those capris/bellbottoms/high-waisted shorts/crop-top that you one time could have worn to that strange party but you never did so now it’s just staring at you with an ostentatious look, taking up precious closet space.   Limit the nostalgia items to five or fewer and get into the groove of getting rid of things – it’s good for the soul, I swear!  I love donating mine to friends, because at least I can still get some vicarious enjoyment out of the object, but if you’re feeling adventurous – try your hand posting your duds on Tradsey for some serious cash.

(7) Whether you’re moving with friends, or in with a significant other, take a few moments to make the new place your own.  Maybe that means hanging up brightly colored tapestries, or covering the fridge with drawings from friends – either way, make sure you put your mark on your spot, both early and boldly.

(8) Last, but certainly not least, get lost.  Maybe not literally, but take some time out of your day and explore the neighborhood – find a new bar, some yummy hole in the wall food, an art gallery or a park fit for a picnic; you never know what’s just around the corner!

My New Hood
=)

Our fridge is an ode to our creative friends; I love it.

[Self-Discovery] My ’30 Before 30′ Bucket List

Ever since I turned 29 in December, my head’s been swimming with ways to make the last year of my 20’s a fabulous one.  I woke up with the urge to challenge my personal growth last week, and I realized that a ’30 before 30′ bucket list was the perfect way to approach the big 2-9. Sure, maybe it’s a little late and overly ambitious to accomplish 30 things in about 48 weeks, but I’ve always been a better performer under pressure and after the ‘7 Life Resolutions‘ I started living by last year, I know I’m up for the challenge.  While compiling this list, I’ve had a handful of ah-ha moments and tiny epiphanies – the first being this: personal goals shouldn’t be tied to anyone else’s existence.   Instead, these goals should further your sense of self and individual happiness.  After all – how can you successfully contribute to your community, or to a relationship, if you haven’t proven that you can contribute to your own growth?  And on the flip-side, don’t believe that growth is a unidirectional endeavor; growth is perpetually infinite and occurs in 360°. In the years after college, there was such a rush to pursue a corporate career that the idea of evolving creatively, or in the kitchen, or spiritually, had fallen by the wayside.  Like my parents always said when I was a kid – there’s simply no way to do everything,  but like I’ve always believed, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.  I can’t wait to incorporating these milestones into my year and become the best version of myself; I know my spirit, my mind and my body will grow in ways I never thought possible.

  1. Read sheet music
  2. Make potstickers
  3. Travel outside of the US
  4. Get published in the Huffington Post
  5. Learn how to ride a bicyclemadewithOver (2)
  6. Get a new tattoo
  7. Pickle my own vegetables
  8. See the Grand Canyon (Saw Zion + Bryce, though!
  9. Have a ‘make-your-own-sushi’ date night
  10. Walk the Golden Gate Bridge
  11. Maintain + use an herb garden
  12. Develop a dedicated Yoga + Meditation Practice
  13. Read at least a book a month
  14. Go camping under the stars
  15. Learn French
  16. Buy a stranger’s meal
  17. Cancel Cable for a Month
  18. Shoot a Gun
  19. Organize my iTunes Library
  20. Do the splits
  21. Watch a Meteor Shower
  22. Host a dinner party
  23. Make Candles
  24. Crochet a blanket
  25. Road Trip to Oregon
  26. Find the perfect shade of lipstick
  27. Visit every museum in LA
  28. Be an extra in a Movie / TV Show
  29. Learn to use a DSLR Camera
  30. Find new hikes

[Workin’ It] The Interview Questions You’re Not Asking

When I became part of the ‘working world’ after college,  one thing that my parents incessantly drilled into my head is that even though I’m out of school, the schooling is never done.  Every day is a fresh opportunity to learn and  I should always be looking to evolve on a personal level and improve my employable skill set. And even if you’re not looking to get out of the enterprise you’re currently in, it’s always important that you’re fresh on your interview skills.

As it currently stands, a lot of high level positions that took people lots of time, sweat, energy – and not to mention tuition and housing – to achieve are the ones being taken away. These jobs were considered redundant based on new technological equivalents that cost significantly less than manual labor.  On a personal level, over my last three years working in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, I’ve seen a fair amount of turnover just at the Walt Disney Studios; in just 2 years, I’ve seen thousands of coworkers get laid off.

An interview is a two-way street; the interviewer is simply directing the traffic.  For as many questions as you’re answering, make sure you ask the interviewer some back – not only is it demonstrating that you’re paying attention, but it shows genuine interest in the role as well as the conversation.  Before you ask, be prepared!  Do your homework on the company and make sure you can’t answer any of the questions through a simple Google search.  Finally, when you do get your opportunity to shine – remember that yes and no answers don’t facilitate an evolving conversation, so make sure you build your question to create an open-ended inquiry that moves things along.

Questions, decision making or uncertainty concept - a pile of colorful crumpled sticky notes with question marks

The 9-5

Get the basic 411 on the position

What types of skills is the team missing that you’re looking to fill with a new hire?

Keep in mind that these skills might not be part of the job description; for extra brownie points, ask about the personalities of the team that you’d be working with.  Are you a good fit in all fronts?

What are the biggest challenges that someone in this position would face?

Everyone in every position faces challenges – what makes us unique are the ways we choose to conquer them.  Keep an open ear to the problems offered and see if you can donate a solution during the interview.

How has the position evolved over time? If it’s a new position, why was it created?

This is an essential question in my book, to understand where you’ll sit within a new company it helps to understand the history and importance of the position within the company.

Development of Professional Skills

How will this position help you evolve?

How will I be trained?

 Who’s going to train you and are you going to be part of a training group? Are there initial classes you’ll be required to take?  Extra credit points for this one: are there courses you can take during your time at the company that you can get accredited for?

Are there opportunities for advancement within the position?

Not saying you should be thinking of leaving this position (that you haven’t gotten…) already, but it helps to know the trajectory of a position – it especially helps to know right off the bat if there’s no room for growth (a deterrent for someone like me.)  On the flip side:  can you become a group manager or even reach the director or Executive Director position?  All good things to take into account.

Why is this position available and where is the last person who held it now?

It helps to know the turnover rate of a job:  do people in this role have high visibility across the company and get hired on in another department?  Or, did they get fired for doing something foul?

Get To Know Your Interviewer

Time to flip the script and get to know your interviewer. 

How has the company and your role within it evolved since you’ve been here?

Has the company branched out into new verticals or have they been stagnant?   This is a great way of determining how the company, as well as other positions besides the one you’re applying for, have evolved over time.

What gets you most excited about the company’s future?

I don’t know about you, but hearing someone excited about the company they work for makes me excited about the prospect of working with them as well.  If they’re not excited about the company, that could be the red light you need to get yourself out of there.

Your Teammates and Company Culture

There might not be an i in ‘TEAM’ but as colleagues have told me, there happens to be one right in the middle of the ‘A’ hole so it helps knowing the personalities you’ll be interacting with on a daily basis.  And then there’s the company culture itself – is it laid-back or high-stress? It helps to know exactly what you’re getting into on all fronts!

How’s the team rapport?

Remember how strong teams are and realize that they might have just lost a pivotal player.  You might want to understand how close-knit the group you’re about to infiltrate is and how well they get along; this will preemptively prevent you from stepping on people’s toes.  And then there’s the chance that your soon to be colleagues are social butterflies that Happy Hour like no-one’s business – this is nice to know as well and might get you excited about an otherwise mundane jo

Who will I work with most closely and which other departments work most closely with this one?

One thing I like knowing is how many people I’ll directly be interacting with on a daily basis – maybe I’m going to be a self-started and micromanage my own tasks, but maybe my daily schedule is riddled with team-meetings and conferences and there are specific people that I’ll want to build special work relationships with.  Simply put, how self-sufficient is this position and who will you be interacting with.

What is the company and team culture like?

I’ve never been one to hang out with work associates outside of campus, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want that – I’d love to take part in team building workshops, volunteer opportunities and work related courses and it helps to know off the bat if those are available.

What are the Next Steps?

When you step out of the door, the interview is over – so make sure you wrap things up with your interviewer and ensure they have everything they need to move forward effectively.

Can I answer any last questions for you?

This is your final shot – so ask away.  A few of my favorite questions are how I can make myself more competitive for the position and if they would keep me in mind for additional openings within the company.

What are the next steps in the interview process?

Maybe there are additional forms to sign, or other people to talk with once you’re out of the interview – but you won’t know unless you ask.  I always get in touch with the team that orchestrated the interview to let them know how it went and double-check that I’ve crossed my T’s and dotted my I’s.

[Self Discovery] The 7 Questions That Tell You Who You Are

Slowly but surely, Self Discovery has become one of my favorite topics to blog about; as a writer, I feel like I’m on a perpetual quest to fully understand myself – whether its through past actions, interpolations of my psyche or concerning my dreams, I’m 110% invested in becoming a better person.

For the duration of 2013, my life has invoked the theme of change – and when I compare the woman I’ve become to the young girl that I used to be, I notice a world of a difference.  To boot, over Thanksgiving my family has more than confirmed this. And now, with the combined forces of my birthday last weekend and turning 30 next year, it’s only right that I decide on my direction.

When I was younger, I had this idea that we should all be able to be like trees – plant roots, divvy up your strengths between the branches, water yourself with knowledge and subsequently watch each and every facet of our live thrive at once. But, the older I become the more I’ve been made aware that we need paths and purpose – we’re less like trees and more like flowers. When roses are plucked for a bouquet, you don’t uproot the whole bush and you don’t take every flower: you go to the healthiest, most beautiful bud with the most potential and you cultivate it. That’s life.

One of the issues with figuring out where you’re going is to have a firm grasp on where you currently stand and in my opinion, this is one of the best emotional inventory’s around.  I have these ideas and dreams for where I’m going with my life, and this survey is at the cornerstone of it all.  So enjoy, then delve into your own mind – you never know what answers you’ll give yourself!

1. What would you do with your life if you didn’t have to pay the bills?

There are so many things and ideas that rush through my mind with this question that I wanted to give it some proper time to set in: don’t have to pay the bills? How ideal – how freeing, and how incredibly wonderful!  I’d spend my mornings writing and spilling feelings from my fingers.  My deepest thoughts, my musings on life, the latest and greatest in the music industry, etc – and I’d share them with the world, forging connections and engaging the community at the same time.  With the new-found love of DIY projects that I’ve developed,  having all that free time would give me a chance to dive deeper into them, and give me time to develop a non-profit that specializes in animal assisted therapy and focuses on mental health awareness.  And my nights – oh, my nights – they’d be spent in the middle of a crowded dance floor surrounded by friends and amazing music.

At the end of the day, the one thing that keeps me going is my love of writing and the way music makes my brain, body and soul melt into the moment.  My current gig with The DJ List might not pay my salary, but it gives me something to look forward to and puts my hand directly in the EDM cookie jar, so to speak.  As much as my job at Disney is rewarding, it’s equally frustrating – but it gives me the chance to excel at a hobby and I’m so damn grateful that I’ve had the chance to cultivate both opportunities.

2. What cuts you the deepest?

Dishonesty; I would much rather be forced to swallow the hard truth than be misled by an appeasing lie. Cruel people; life is difficult for all of us, why make it more difficult because you’d rather project your life’s insecurities – emotionally or physically – on others instead of dealing with them in your own personal time.  None of us have as much time on the planet as we would like to do the things we want to do, so make life enjoyable for those around you – either by contributing something positive, or simply by leaving them alone.  

3. If you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do today?

I’d wake up at the crack of dawn and watch the sunrise from the Mulholland / Hollywood Bowl Overlook and while the sun scattered rays over the city, I’d be penning letters to my family and friends, remind them how beautiful an opportunity life is and how mine was transformed by each of them.  After I mailed the letters, I’d head over to Venice Beach and gallivant through the menagerie of weirdness that it offers – then it’s off to the airport to head to Vegas, because I love the lights and culture of the city.  I’d go to one last amazing show at Light, dance, dance, dance to my heart’s desire – then it’s back to the airport. I’d book a first class flight for my closest friends and I to go to Japan, immerse ourselves in culture and gorge to our delight in sushi, my last bite to eat would be blowfish – but I wouldn’t eat it there.  I’d take it under a cherry blossom tree, curl up in the warmth of my memories – and slip away with a smile.

4. Who do you love and why do you love them?

Being human is amazing, not only because we contain a sense of self – but because that sense of self contributes to a sense of well being in others – and that leads to love.  Not to say animals, plants, minerals can’t feel love – but when you can’t quantify consciousness, it’s pretty damn difficult to come to any conclusion pertaining to emotional state. Humans, we feel – we connect and forge relationships with vigor.  I love my parents because regardless of my mistakes, they support me becoming the person I wish to become and that selfless love is something I will never get from anyone else; I love my step-mother doubly so for that very reason, because she owes me absolutely nothing and gives me everything. I love my cats because they are a constant reminder that life is bigger than just me, they give me unconditional cuddles and affection and warm my world every time I return home. I love my best friends because they allow me to be apologetically myself; and I love my boyfriend because he’s always in my corner, as both my best friend and my love. Last, but definitely not least – I love myself – I’ve learned how to live alone and be alone in a city that can swallow your dreams and spit out your soul; I learned how to love, and lose, and love myself without a downward spiral; and I’ve learned that I can depend on the people around me, because those people from my past don’t dictate who the future brings into my life.

5. What do you quote?

I quote books – movies – authors – lyrics; I live and breathe music and words, especially of the poetic variety, speak to my heart.  I quote numbers, figures and statistics because that’s what my brain retains the best. And I quote my friends, because they’re some of the funniest mother fuckers on this beautiful, blue planet.

6. In those rare but life-changing moments, how do you act?

Over the past few years, I’ve had more than one life-changing moment.  Each time I do, I become transfixed then transformed; like an anxious caterpillar becoming a beautiful butterfly.  I’ve been more than thrilled at my out-of-body response to some momentarily traumatic and stressful situations and have continually come out on top.  Thank goodness.

7. What do you think about most?

I spend a lot (maybe, too much) time thinking about what’s next and then, there I am – reminiscing about the past.  What’s failed, what could I have done differently, what will I repeat and what will I learn to not repeat?  I’m a creature of habit that doesn’t seem to make the same mistakes twice, but even once – for some, is haunting.  And often, I feel like I’m haunted by my hindsight and overshadowed by the what-if mentality I carry about my future. I think about the well being of the people in my life that I love; I think about the well  being of people I’ve had falling outs with.  I think about the family and life that I want for my future self; I consider my current job situation and if that’s truly where my heart is. I wonder what else I could have studied and where else I could be in my life…possibly too much for my own good. I think about weather patterns, mathematical and physical laws, philosophy and astronomy. I’m curious, and as my understanding goes – curiosity killed the cat; it’s all to apparent that I overthink,  but hey, at least that makes up for the people that don’t.