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)

Q
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.

BEST FOOD:

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.

COOLEST DRINKS:

callooh callay, london

video 














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



video

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.

CUTEST CAFES:

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



























HIPPEST 'HOOD:

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.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS:

- 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:














FAVORITE CITY:

amsterdam














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.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

5 things i love right now

1. this song by parquet courts, "outside"



they're back! it was love at first listen when this brooklyn quartet released "stoned and starving" back in 2012, but then they lost me with their last album. i was overjoyed that they seem to have returned to form with their latest, human performance, and i can already tell that this one has strong potential as the theme song for my eurotrip, which begins tomorrow.

2.  the fact that adam green and macaulay culkin made an adaptation of aladdin




















actually, it's kind of terrifying and i kind of hate it. but i've always been strangely fascinated by both of these weirdos. adam green, because he's an emerson drop-out who shares my birthday and writes pleasant sounding, folky tunes that mask disturbingly funny lyrics about fornicating with girls with no legs. mac because he's just the classic child star-turned-complete mess. but i can't deny that i'm at least a little curious about this indie film based on the poster and this article. drugs are bad, mmkay?

3. the new elizabeth & james fragrance, nirvana
















speaking of child stars, i was browsing for a new scent at sephora the other day and fell in love with this one before i realized it's made by the olsen twins' brand. ugh, i know. don't tell anyone. but it's the perfect mix of sandalwood and vanilla and is just yummy, so i make no apologies. only thing missing is a hint of stale cig smoke for that full MK & A experience.

4.  this meme that's too real

does this happen to anyone else at least once a week?






 















5.  this t-shirt


   
heh heh.