Wednesday, July 20, 2016

50 things that make me ridiculously happy

at least once every year, i dig up this xojane article in which julieanne smolinski shares her happy list -- stuff that always makes her smile and reminds her of the good in life, including "videos of pigs running" and "terrible magicians."  i did a similar post a few years ago, but i felt like it was about time for a refresh. what would be on your list? share 'em in the comments!

1. bungalow houses
2. pizza parlor smell
3. this video that i took of drunk basics singing miley cyrus in a new orleans karaoke bar

A video posted by Kim Windyka (@kimmyloowho) on

4. the fact that there's a band called diarrhea planet and they're actually good
5. rapping A$AP rocky's "fuckin' problems" in full
6. summer thunderstorms
7. this banana cake i bake that's soooo gooood
8. dunkin' fucking donuts
9. exchanging a smile with a cute stranger
10. the "daughter's hand" episode of beavis and butthead
11. the idea of getting a beavis and butthead tramp stamp
12. dancing like a ratchet ho to hip-hop in my apartment and sometimes in public
13. watching hip-hop choreography videos
14. going to weddings
15. saying "dishes are done, man" from don't tell mom the babysitter's dead, apropos of nothing
16. meeting delightfully weird people while traveling
17. sleeping in my own bed after traveling
18. sinbad's stand-up comedy
19. synchronicity
20. tilt-a-whirls
21. a first kiss that gives me the tingles
22. when multiple friends send me hanson-related content at the same time because they know how much i love them
23. the song "move, bitch" by ludacris and mystikal
24. tacky thrift store t-shirts
26. finishing the crossword
27. skateboard vert competitions
28. my friend's apartment in portland, maine that's straight out of the '90s:

29. kurt vile's wakin' on a pretty daze on vinyl
30. jackass
31. coolidge corner in brookline
32. american eskimo puppies
33. butcher-block countertops
34. this live performance of "get found" by bass drum of death

35. remembering that my old neighbor had ass-length blonde dreadlocks
36. pretty much every line from she's the man
37. buying apple cider donuts in the fall
38. a good cross-breeze in my apartment
39. witty text banter with a guy i really like
40. harry styles
41. porch swings
42. rompers
43. jaren johnston's voice, goddamn:

44. vacation anticipation
45. pickford in dazed and confused
46. eating brunch and reading trashy magazines at the counter at trident booksellers on newbury street
47. the sweet vanilla cinnamon candle from anthropologie
48. the strokes from 2001-2004
49. when my family and i drunkenly dance around my aunt and uncle's kitchen island with utensils at almost every gathering
50. bars that have big buck hunter

Monday, July 11, 2016

new york weekend: 4knots 2016

this past weekend, i made my annual sojourn to new york city for the 4knots music festival in order to see one of my favorite bands, guided by voices, live. i have to admit, last year's festival was better for various reasons, but it was still a great time.

random prince mural in brooklyn, because ... prince.


- upon my arrival to the big apple, you best believe i made a b-line for the white castle on 8th ave -- duffel bag on one arm, ten-pound purse on the other -- and stuffed my sweaty little face with sliders. for those blissful 5 minutes, life was perfect.

- that night, we grabbed dinner at little dokebi, a cozy korean spot in greenpoint, where i had my first bibimbap experience (ahi tuna ftw). though i barely made a dent in my huge hot stone pot, the spicy/sweet sauce and the rice and the vegetables were the best. oh, and they brought us all pickled everything before the meal. yaaaasss.

- finally, my sunday brunch plans fell through, so i found this tiny gourmet oatmeal shop in greenwich village, cleverly called oatmeals. i snickered to myself as i ordered the "hot date" (dates, pecans, granola, peanut butter, and honey) from a cute-ass ponytailed dude who was probably way too young for me. oatmeal and iced coffee in hand, i strolled through washington square park and had myself a nice little manhattan sunday morning.


- after dinner on friday, our first stop was a williamsburg speakeasy-style cocktail bar called the richardson. i ordered a "no rocking chair," which had bourbon, honey liqueur, lime juice, aaaand some other stuff i can't remember, including a cinnamon stick garnish. i sipped and gawked at a bar back with the most glorious, intentional mullet i've ever laid eyes on.

- we couldn't maintain that highbrow vibe for too long, so we strolled over to a dirty dive known as the callbox lounge. this place had everything: a broken jukebox, a broken arcade game, chips on sale at the bar for $1/bag, and a ghetto disco ball/accompanying mirrored ceiling that provided the perfect illumination for the disco dance party that ensued. we rocked down to electric avenue, indeed.

- on saturday night, we hit up one of my new york spirit bars, high dive. unfortunately, the jukebox here was ALSO broken, but i dug up an old photo to show you what we're dealing with here.

ya dig? anyways, high dive also offers free popcorn that's smothered in old bay seasoning, and it's the perfect place to have long, drunken conversations with your best friends. plus, it's unpretentious and dark and kind of dirty, but not TOO dirty, and man, i just love it.


since last year's 4knots had twin peaks and mikal cronin and stephen malkmus, it was a hard bill to beat. however, guided by voices has been at the top of my "bands to see live" list forever, so it was a no-brainer that i'd be attending before they broke up for the 20th time.

earlier in the afternoon, diane coffee blew me away with his self-described "psychedelic motown" sounds, incredible stage presence, and adorable costumes. i didn't know much about him going into the set, except that he was the drummer for foxygen, but i came away a fan for sure. just pure fun.

after refueling for the evening with some rose and seafood mac 'n cheese at vbar, it was time for GBV. yeah, we were incredibly far away, and most of us only knew about 3 or 4 songs of their 50ish-song set, but they sounded great! and the other audience members more than made up for our inability to see the actual band.

uncle bob from way far away

there was the solo dude who went nuts for every single song: jumping, clapping, singing, air-guitaring-and-drumming, bonding with the random guys next to him. there were the middle-aged hipster couples (one of which included a bearded ginger man in a loud, floral-print adidas jacket) smoking weed. there was the small child on his dad's shoulders who kept plugging his ears, only to have pops remove his hands every time. "you will learn to love guided by voices, dammit!" we imagined the father whispering. DAD OF THE YEAR.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

my 2016 to-do list: 6-month update

so ... i gots a lot to do. out of the 40 items i set out to complete, i've only accomplished 8 of 'em:

2. have high tea in london
the most 'grammable tea groupon could buy.

3. drink coffee & eat a croissant at a sidewalk cafe in paris 
i got a crepe instead, since the waitress was being mad rude...cigarette emoji for dramatic effect

4. visit an amsterdam coffee shop 
twice...really don't want to remember the latter experience

10. celebrate my 30th birthday in style
said "hey, what's up, hello" to the big 3-0 with a little soiree on the patio of one of my favorite local restaurants with booze, music, food, and some of the best people i know.

19. watch live jazz
twice! at the beat brasserie in cambridge, and wally's in the south end.

27. see the mona lisa at the louvre
naaaailed it.

33. organize my gmail inbox (and get to 0) ... of course, it's back to being a hot mess now

that means i have 32 left. here are some of the "reach" ones i might need some help with. anyone?

9. complete my book manuscript
25. go skinny-dipping
26. visit 4 new states (to reach 30 states visited)
32. buy a home
37. visit montreal

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

5 things i love right now

1. the "lucy blue" smoothie from b. good

so, i first tried this delicious concoction last night ... couldn't stop thinking about it ALL DAY at work, and went to get another one tonight. blueberries, almond butter, almond milk, dates, lemon and cinnamon. i said goddamn! might have to start keeping the ingredients on hand like a grown-ass woman so i'm not spending $6 every day on my new obsession.

2. this song by the aces, "stuck"

one of my favorite summer jams thus far. i never really got the whole HAIM thing, but these chicks i can dig. it's the perfect tune for driving with the windows down (to a giiiiirls night that involves white wine spritzers), giving yourself a manicure, and trying on rompers at forever 21. basically, lauren conrad would love it. in the best sense.

3. this brownstone in back bay

judging by the decor, the seller of this place looks like they must be as nutty as a fruitcake, and it's fantastic. anybody have an extra 4 mil lying around?

4.  the denny's twitter account

i was slightly disheartened to learn that um, an actual marketing agency is behind the thoroughly "meh" diner's genius twitter feed (i was hoping for a perpetually stoned teenager). unlike a denny's, which you'd never admit to dining at while sober, these weird-ass tweets are worthy of proudly sharing with the world.

5. this swimsuit from modcloth

 yeah, i rarely go swimming or to the beach. BUT I STILL NEED IT. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

my 20s, a-z

As of this writing, I have 10 days left until I cross the threshold into my 30s. Forgive me for being cliche, but I have to admit that 30 always did seem impossibly far away. It was an age reserved for Jennifer Garner or Katherine Heigl in some pathetic, sugary rom-com; one that even the greats like Cobain, Morrison, and Hendrix never even got to see. So, imagine my surprise to not-so-suddenly find myself standing right next to the fire. Yet, rather than let it freak me out, I'm throwing on a hoodie, cracking open a beer, and fixing myself a s'more. Okay ... maybe two s'mores.

My 20s were immeasurably impactful in so many ways. Sure, there were some major milestones: moving into my first place, losing my virginity, searching for/finding/meeting my birthparents, graduating from college, beginning my marketing career, moving 3,000 miles away from home by myself to go to grad school, getting my master's degree, traveling to many places in the U.S. and to Europe twice, and having my writing published in a couple anthologies and various places on the interwebs. Yet, when I look back on it all, some of my most fond and vivid memories stem from some unexpected, strange, or seemingly insignificant experiences. For posterity and brevity, I rounded up 26 of 'em. What are/were your favorite 20-something memories?

Attempting to drunkenly assemble a kitchen table with my roommate on the first night in our apartment in the North End of Boston, after we split a bottle of wine and cried a lot (20)

Biting into a strawberry from the Cours Saleya farmers market in Nice, France on a sunny spring day (25)

Contacting a guy through MySpace that I saw on a VH1 game show one random weeknight because I thought he was funny, and having a 2-year long-distance relationship with him (20)

Doing the dougie on stage at a club in Florence, Italy (25)

Eating the best meal I've ever had in my life, braised bison cheek with vegetables, at Chez Boulay in Quebec City (28)

Following the sound of EDM into a square in Rome and seeing Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, DJing (26)

Getting in line by myself for the reunion concert of an emo band I loved in 2005, The Academy Is..., starting a conversation with the guys standing in line behind me, and accepting a ride back to my car after the show from one of them, my now-boyfriend (29)

Having one of the most ridiculous evenings of my life in New York at The Standard hotel, during which I took a mirror toilet selfie in the insane bathroom of the Boom Boom Room, almost passed out on the rooftop bar's astro turf, and was encouraged to jump into a hot tub full of colored balls and naked hipsters that was in the middle of a dance floor (I declined) (24)

Interning at the Metro Boston newspaper, where I got to write pithy event listings, interview some of my favorite bands at the time, listen to demos, and attend a bunch of rock shows for free (21)

Jamming out to a cover of Muddy Waters' "Got My Mojo Workin'" that was being spontaneously performed by one of the line cooks at Robert's Western World in Nashville (25)

Kissing a WASPy dude from North Carolina named Tillery in a pool cabana at Caesars Palace during a friend's bachelorette party in Vegas (24)

Laughing with a Norwegian rock band in a South by Southwest shuttle van filled with bizarre religious paraphernalia on St. Patrick's Day ("There are a lot of Irish whores out there!") (25)

Making coffee (and change) for my high school crush, who would appear at the Dunkin' Donuts drive-thru -- stoned and listening to Howard Stern -- every morning of the summer I worked there (20)

Navigating the Russian Hill neighborhood of San Francisco on my first solo vacation, and being rewarded with this view from the end of Macondray Lane (29):


Ordering sea urchin at a bougie South Beach sushi spot and immediately regretting it upon the first bite (23)

Passing around a warm can of beer with short-lived synth rock band Protokoll in their van after a hipster dance party (20)

uestioning the legitimacy of a quacky doctor who claimed he could cure Alzheimer's and reverse Parkinson's disease at a hotel happy hour in Vero Beach, Florida (25)

Rapping along to Limp Bizkit and Method Man's "N 2Gether Now" with a bouncer at a Vegas nightclub (21)

Standing in my kitchen at 11pm on a summer night, eating a frangipane tart I made in my baking class, feeling simultaneously accomplished and incredibly lonely (29)

Throwing a coin in the Trevi Fountain on my 26th birthday

Urging the asshole bouncer at the Foggy Goggle to give me my fake ID back after he laughed me out of the line (I got it back for $50) (20)

Visiting a friend in Tampa for the annual Gasparilla Pirate Parade, drinking sangria from a large plastic jug, and getting a ton of beads without flashing anyone (25)

Walking barefoot with Hanson around Gillette Stadium for an African charity (22)

Xeroxing copies of the nightly dinner specials while working as a hostess at a faux Irish pub in Boston (21)

Yelling to a Tinder fuckboy that ghosted me after a not-quite friendship with minimal benefits when I saw him on the 77 bus with his new girlfriend/watching him go white as a ghost, walk back to the front of the bus, almost shit his pants, and make them get off before their stop (28)

Zeroing in on Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age when I randomly spotted him on the street in New Orleans (27)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

this isn't where i parked my car.

i can't believe it, but my 9-day eurotrip is officially over, and what a time it was. while it's nice to be back stateside, i was quite close to becoming a dutch citizen (more about that later). there's entirely too much to catch up on, but i categorized some superlatives to keep it relatively short and sweet. the moral of the story is basically that bartenders are your friends. learn to know and trust them!

more photos can be found over on flickr.


sketch, london

this stylish spot in soho also wins for most incredible bathroom (check out the shameless selfie above). but after having drinks in their "parlor," we were whisked into the "gallery:" a pepto-pink dining room with david shrigley art adorning the walls. both gleni and i had the udon noodles, which were crazy delicious. like, i neeeever clean my plate, and i almost did this time! from the pop-up forks on the menu to the quirky flatware and the astronaut toilets, it's not hard to see why sketch is one of the most instagrammed restaurants in london.

the blues kitchen, london

real talk: gleni and i have been to some of the best bbq cities in the country. we're talking austin, nashville, and new orleans. however, we both agreed that this place had the most kick-ass southern cooking we've ever had. she had the burnt ends, i the gumbo, and we were both pleasantly surprised, since we stopped in here on a whim. bonus: they had an airstream trailer inside the restaurant that you could rent for parties 'n such. whoa!

un zèbre à montmartre, paris

on our final night in paris, we made our way to this small bistro on rue lepic, a main drag in the montmontre neighborhood. the menus were all handwritten on lil' chalkboards, and it was bustling on a saturday evening. as we housed pieces of french bread dripping with camembert and sipped our red wine, i said aloud "THIS is what i've been missing here." it just felt right, y'know? the tuna steak and some shared creme de caramel rounded out the meal. no frills to be found, but immensely satisfying.

cannibal royale, amsterdam

soooo, our dinner experience here didn't end well due to our own poor choices (just say no to space cakes, y'all), but i will tell you that we had phenomenal nachos and ribs just prior. observe said ribs:

there was also fabulous, cozy ambiance that made us feel right at home.


callooh callay, london


it was like a more whimsical cheers! we made friends with a sweet bartender named chloe, who let us charge our phones behind the bar. she talked openly about recently ending a dry spell as a snarky friend provided running commentary, and then some stoned pals wandered in to offer some more comic relief. but most importantly, my drink had a light-up ice cube and gleni's had a stroopwafel on top. into it.

dirty dick, paris

a tiki bar in the heart of paris' red light district? one of these things is not like the other. a different bartender pal from london (danny at happiness forgets) recommended it to us, and it helped us end our parisian experience on a nice note after some unpleasant encounters with rude waitstaff at other establishments/a general feeling of unwelcomeness in the city. the crowd was mixed -- parents, 20-somethings, and everyone in between -- and the vibe was fun, campy, and unpretentious. i ordered the "monkey seed, monkey screwed," which consisted of banana, salted caramel, pineapple and whiskey. aw yeah. 

hiding in plain sight, amsterdam


mounir forever. after reading about this out-of-the-way cocktail bar on a blog, we found ourselves among only 2 other patrons on a sunday night and cozied up to the bar, beginning a wonderful friendship with mr. hamza. he lit drinks on fire (see video), gave us great suggestions for food and drink, and laughed at our stupid stories. we enjoyed his company, the beverages, and the bar's understated elegance so much that we returned on our last night, and ended up establishing facebook friendships with him. please go there if you find yourself in amsterdam -- the drinks are admittedly a bit pricey, but the craftsmanship behind them makes it well worth it.


no need to go into detail about these except to say that they were both adorable and rustic af. a blogger's dream!

hart & lova, london

back to black, amsterdam


shoreditch, london

known as the "williamsburg brooklyn of london," shoreditch is full of cool graffiti, boutiques, and filthy dirty hipsters. we spent an entire day and evening here -- wandering brick lane, eating the neighborhood's famous salt beef beigels on the street, enjoying iced coffee on a cafe's roof terrace, combing through the racks at vintage shops, browsing vinyl at rough trade east, and snacking on deceiving "cocktails" (which were just bowls of cereal) at the cereal killer cafe.


- having a proper british tea at the tea terrace in london and taking 20 billion pictures because it was like an effing alice in wonderland-y dollhouse in there:

- singing along to zayn's "pillow talk" while drinking a pint in a london pub

- seeing this juxtaposition of ariana grande and westminster abbey:

- spending 10 minutes in the most terrifying bar that gleni or i had ever been to: crobar in london. described online as a "heavy metal bar," it sounded all well and good for two streetwise rock 'n roll-loving girls. that is, until we found ourselves in a small, dark room with a poor man's alice cooper, a leering white trash (british trash?) couple, and some guy with a ton of face tattoos ... all of whom where staring menacingly at us. we knew we weren't supposed to be there, they knew we weren't supposed to be there. unfortunately, we'd already ordered beers, so we chugged 'em as fast as we could, made moves, and crossed all of the heavy metal bars off of our list for paris.

- having the following conversation with a bartender in london while wearing my hanson/nirvana shirt:
him: "is that hanson on your shirt?"
me: "yes, but it says nirvana."
him: (laughing) "so is it a hanson shirt, or a nirvana shirt?"
me: "the world may never know."

heh heh.

- wandering down the street in paris as a group of four little girls in front of us all gnawed on baguettes. PEAK FRENCH!

- trying to order a croissant in paris at a sidewalk cafe and being brutally rebuffed by a mean waitress with a playboy bunny tattoo on her neck. "NO CROISSANT!" she reprimanded me, saying something in french and storming off. it was like the goddamn croissant nazi. i accepted defeat and ate some of gleni's crepes instead. :(

- eating fresh, hot stroopwafels at a flea market in amsterdam. total sugar coma, but completely worth it:



as soon as i set foot outside of the train station in amsterdam, i was in love and immediately declared it my favorite city of the trip, despite the fact that i'd spent less than 20 minutes there. but i've always been inexplicably drawn to it (no, not just because of its chill laws), and my expectations were exceeded. beautiful architecture and canals, super-friendly (and english-speaking) people, a unique cycling culture, and a laid-back vibe all contributed to my affection for amsterdam. plus, the treats! you'd order a coffee and get a little piece of cake with it, or a sandwich and get a cute "soup sample." i love the dutch, guys. it was the only place i was truly sad to leave, so i bought a touristy beanie and a little house souvenir to keep amsterdam alive in my heart forever ... or, at least until my next visit.