Book Review: Rules of Civility

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As I said before, I really really love reading. I think it’s one of the most relaxing things and I love the way it feels to devour a new book.

One of my favorite books I’ve read recently is Rules of Civility by Amour Towles. I absolutely fell in love with it.
While I typically enjoy books with compelling plots and/or obvious romance, this one was a bit more subtle. It is set in Manhattan circa 1938-1940, depicting the life of a woman-Katey-struggling to make it in a city that’s struggling to make it.

What I loved most about this book was that it is set in one of my favorite eras. I love Old New York. I think it is unbelievably romantic and luxurious. This novel really captures this essence and makes me want to go back to that time even more. The girls are always going to lavish restaurants and sneaking into movie theaters and drinking and smoking all while trying to make ends meet and trying to settle down and get married.

I honestly love this book and I loved knowing the places where it took place downtown. It was unbelievably romantic and sweet and I will read it over and over again.

Currently…

Just cuz…here are a few things I’m currently ______(fill in the blank-ing).

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Watching: The September Issue on Netflix. I am literally in love with this documentary.  It was absolutely enthralling to get a real view into Vogue, and see the people who are so passionate about what they do.

Eating: Luna Bar, Chocolate Covered Bananas from Trader Joe’s. I’ve loved Luna Bars for a while now, may favorites being Peppermint Stick, S’Mores and Lemon Zest.  I recently discovered frozen banana bites when I was home and I am ob.sessed.  They’re so good and they’re not even that bad for you.  They are bananas, after all.

Wanting: (P)Leather leggings.  I’m not usually super edgy or hip, my style errs more on the side of safe and preppy, but after a lot of contemplation, I think a pair of faux leather pants could really work in a lot of ways.  The search begins.

Obsessing Over: Finding a navy blue skirt, as similar as possible to the J. Crew City Mini, and updating my makeup collection from drugstore brands to something a little more…grown up.

Dreading: Grocery shopping.  Waiting in a line at Trader Joe’s after class and then lugging my food back to the Bronx is not my idea of a fun time.

Looking at: The cutest dogs in the world .  I think I’ve mentioned this blog before, but I don’t care. Corgis are perfect.

Wishing I could afford: This bracelet, this shirt, these earrings, this necklace, this duffle bag, these flats, and these glasses.  I guess I went a little C. Wonder crazy…

Listening to: Mumford & Sons.  Its the perfect rainy day music.  Its always perfect, no matter what kind of mood I’m in.

Unexpected Good Times

I wasn’t really anticipating an exciting weekend. I knew I wanted to go out with some friends and I had a girls night planned with a friend I don’t see a lot during the week. But I think some of the best weekends are the ones you don’t expect or plan for.

Friday night I had texted a friend of mine who graduated last spring, and she texted me back in the morning saying that her and her roommate would be back on campus Saturday for the basketball game. I fully intended to go to the game and see them and then be productive for the rest of the day.

But the basketball game turned into dinner and drinks at Michelangelo’s which turned into more drinks at Howl, and suddenly they were staying over in the Bronx.

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My whole day of productivity had been completely eliminated but I don’t mind at all. It was so worth it to see them and have, what ended up being over 9 hours or sentimental heart to hearts and catching up. It was so nice to see them and I was so happy they came.

We laughed, we cried, we talked, we drank and we laughed some more. I think it is very comforting to know that I have friends who I can see even after a long period of time and still have the best time with them. They’re older and have the funniest stories and the best advice and it was really such a treat.

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Via Instagram

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Via Instagram

Friendship Made Easy

I’ve read a lot about making friends through blogging, and the distinction between online friends and friends “IRL” (in real life). And I never really understood how it worked.

Truth be told, I did not make any friends blogging yet. But, I did start a friendship with a friend of a good friend via the Internet, which I think is pretty cool.

It's like we were all meant to be friends

It’s like we were all meant to be friends

Kara goes to school with my best friend from home, Erin.  My first interactions with Kara were via facebook where we would both post/comment similar things on Erin’s wall, and by the time I finally met her in person, I knew we would be friends.

Recently, Kara, Erin and I were all on Tumblr together, interacting at the same time.  In response, Kara tweeted, “I feel like we’re all hanging out because we’re all on tumblr at the same time a lot.”

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At first, this was funny and I got a good laugh because it was so absurd.  But the more I thought about it, the truer it seemed to be.  It did feel like we were actually all interacting and hanging out when we were interacting on the Internet.

This got me to thinking about how much the Internet changes things.  Yes, it’s a fantastic innovation that has made a billion things so much easier.  But its caused my sense of “hanging out” to be defined simply by any kind of simultaneous interaction.

Which is good and bad.  It makes keeping friendships and relationships a lot easier.  But it also makes me wonder if maybe as a society, we’re slowly losing our need for physical friendships.  I mean, I’m not sure I agree with this, since I really do like being with and interacting with other people, in person.  But its something to really kind of think about.

Uncertainty is….Uncertain

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Full disclosure: I am a worrier.  I worry about big things, little things, necessary things and unnecessary things.  I lose sleep.  I constantly google things and check out all different  possibilities for every situation that could occur.

But here’s the thing: All of the worrying and stress doesn’t really get me anything.  It won’t make my problem go away, it won’t resolve any conflicts or change anyone’s mind.  It won’t propose any new solutions.  It just makes me upset, and I make others upset and then the mess is bigger.

Lately, my mantra has been “worrying won’t change the outcome,” because its true.  I can worry for years on end about if/where I will get a job after graduation, but it really doesn’t matter.  Worrying won’t help me figure out what I want to do, and it certainly won’t employ me.  So I might as well be happy while I can and do whatever is in my power to help myself.  But worrying isn’t part of the solution.

I am a firm believer in things working out and falling into place in the end.  And they typically do.  I might have to go through a rough patch or two or three or ten before I can see the solution, but it always presents itself.

Obsession: Digital Magazines

I’m a little bit of a nerd when it comes to magazines.  It’s probably because thats my dream job–to publish my own–but still, I’m obsessive.  The first time I read a digital magazine on my iPad and saw that the publisher had figured out how to link the featured items to their seller’s website I was so astounded and excited I walked around my house and interrupted everyone’s business to show them.  It was cool.  Ever since, I have devoured as many digital magazines as humanly possible.

While I do read Lucky and Allure on my iPad, my favorites are lesser-known publications.

My first favorite is Sweet Lemon Mag.  Edited by one of my favorite bloggers, this magazine claims to be “written by & for the Jane of All Trades.”  And it is. Most, if not all of its writers are twenty-somethings working their first jobs in big cities.  They have wisdom from making mistakes, and write amazing features that really do help people in the process of becoming a real person.  Not only do they have career advice, but they also write about style, fashion, as well as different and fun things to do in the cities they live in.  Each issue features a young women who made her own success.  Even more inspiration.  And I am obsessed.

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Another publication I discovered shortly after I found Sweet Lemon, was Matchbook Mag.  I love the way they feature lesser-known brands and people from the fashion/accessories industry who I haven’t heard of before.  This is actually the magazine I was reading that excited me so much.

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Today, I stumbled upon To & From. I think this is intended to be a gift giving guide, but to be honest, if I were to buy gifts for anyone that I found in here, they would be for myself.

The magazine is composed, almost exclusively, of collages of gifts for various groups (men, women, children, single friends…).  It literally has over 100 pages of cool and unusual and creative gifts.

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These magazines inspire me to start think about starting my own.

A Few of My Favorite Things

This year, in honor of their 20th Birthday, Kate Spade is doing a series of posts on things they love. Consequentially, this trend has inspired me to note a few of my favorite things.  I got the list idea from a blog I read, actually.

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Essie GeraniumI usually err on the side of neutral (read: plain and safe) nail colors. Essie’s Sand Tropez was my go-to.  But. Recently I had an adventurous streak and bought a bright red color: Geranium.  I’m obsessed.  I love how bright and fun it is, especially in cold and dreary January.  Its like a little pop of color every single day.

Reading: I got an iPad Mini for Christmas and I use it constantly.  The first app I downloaded Christmas morning was Kindle, and since then I have read 4 books.  I forgot how relaxing it was and how it helped me clear my mind.  Now I have a whole list of books I want to read.  Its addicting. And definitely one of my favorite indulgences.  Recently, my favorites have been Looking for Alaska by John Green and Rules of Civility by Amor Towles.

Law & Order Special Victims Unit : When I got to school this year, I was very against shows like Law and Order.  And then my roommates started playing it. All. The. Time.  And very slowly, I became addicted.  I hate ending without the crime being resolved, and I always watch when there’s a marathon.

Herbal Tea: Every single night after dinner, I have a cup (or two) of herbal tea.  It started as Tazo Passion Tea, and then one (very very long) day at Trader Joe’s, I came out with even more flavors to try.  Currently, I have a box of Candy Cane Green Tea and Pomegranate White Tea in my pantry that I am constantly making. Its the perfect and most relaxing way to end a day.

Reading Blogs: I have a really long list of blogs that I subscribe to via Google Reader.  A few of my favorites are The College Prep, Atlantic-Pacific, Classy Girls Wear Pearls, and Sweet Lemon Mag.  Among many others.

Saturday Night Live: I’ve watched SNL since 9th grade, and I have been a huge fan ever since.  I have been known to stay home Saturday nights to watch new episodes, or spend precious Sunday homework time watching episodes I missed.  I am obsessed and can quote so many different skits.

Sticky Notes: love writing lists.  Things to do, things I need to remember, songs I like…everything.  Consequentially, I love sticky notes and cute stationary.  I have a whole drawer filled of them, wayy more than I need.

Puppies: I posted earlier  about how much I love dogs.  And its true.  As much as I love my dogs at home, I can’t wait until I can adopt my first dog after college.  And if you haven’t already, you should look at this  tumblr, you should immediately.  It will change your life.

How I Met Your Mother: How I Met Your Mother is my all time favorite show.  Its my go-to when I’m choosing what to watch.  Its the show where I can see five seconds of an episode and know which one it is, and can quote all of it.  When I’m sick, I watch How I Met Your Mother. I own all the seasons on DVD.  It has a special place in my heart.

Cuddling: Its pretty self-explanatory, really.  Who doesn’t love being warm and close with the person they love?

CoffeeI. am. addicted.  I drink at least one cup every single morning.  If I don’t, I get terrible headaches.  But its soo good. And its so perfect in the mornings.

Help Me Thaw

To say it has been cold is a wild understatement.  It has been frigid.  Freezing.  Subzero.  Maybe not, but still.  Not only is it freezing outside, but its cold in my apartment too.  With the windows shut and the shades down, there is still–somehow–a breeze.

In a feeble attempt to stay warm, I made a list of a few things that I have (and wish I had) in this cold, cold weather.

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Socks || Hat || Eucerin

Sweater || Boots

Gloves || Vest || Scarf

One thing thats terrible about the cold is that it dries me out, but this Eucerin lotion is so thick it helps keep me moisturized.

These gloves are really great, too, because not only do they have the cutest bows on the wrists, but they’re tech gloves, so you can text with them on, too.

Letting Go

12313imageLast fall was a really tough semester for me for a lot of reasons.  At the top of the list, not only did I walk away from the cheerleading team, but I lost a lot of friends from that team as well.  There were friends who I simply lost touch with because our schedules were so different, and there was a falling out with one of my closest friends.

In a way, losing this friend was like breaking up with someone.  I cried a lot right after.  I called my mom a lot, too.  I felt awful whenever I had to see her around and it hurt when I knew she was hanging out with mutual friends and I was left out.

Slowly, though, I started to get over it.  I literally forced myself to start making friends.  It was hard.  I am not an outgoing type, but I would make myself make plans with friends and branch out to people.  And honestly, I’m glad I did.  Its still not easy to put myself out there but the more I do, the less miserable I feel.

Another thing I really learned was how to just let go.  Whenever I would feel left out or like I was being forgotten and ignored, I just let it go.  I think of how hanging out with them wouldn’t be that great anyway, since we aren’t as close.  And then I remember how happy I am without them and with my new friends, and it gets easier.  The more I can just brush off that feeling of being ignored or left out, the more I can move on and make myself happier.

On a side note, since I’ve started branching out, I’ve met so many people who are so different from the other people I had met my first two years here.  Everyone was so….nice. People I had just met really cared about me and wanted to talk to me.  I’m so glad I’m meeting people who are nice and friendly, even if it is a few years late.

Don’t Close the Door on Opportunity

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A lesson I learned the hard way this year was to never say “no” to any opportunity or offer right away.  I made a mistake.

My mom always told me that when you’re searching for a job, you should say yes to everything that comes along, and then make decisions based upon what offers you gather in the end.  And I always trusted her and followed this rule!  Which is why it kills me every time I think about this one missed chance.

Last fall I used the shotgun technique (applying to a million different internships in hopes that one ends up working out) and received a really good internship offer which I took immediately.  I’m happy I took it, I really am.  Its with a reputable company doing work I am actually interested in.  Its exciting and all that and I’m very grateful.

But after I accepted it, I heard from a blogger I had contacted earlier in the fall about having an internship and she offered me an interview too!  Although its not on the same level as a dominating magazine, I really admire and respect this blogger, and I would really have loved the opportunity to work with her.  However, since I had already accepted my big, impressive internship, I told her thanks but no thanks.

What was I thinking?? I literally go over it every single day.  I literally have more than enough time in my schedule to work something out with her.  I should have at least had my interview with her to see what she was all about, and tried to work her into my schedule.  I regret that hastily made decision every single day.

I know interning for an independent blogger wouldn’t have been really fantastic for my career goals, but it was something I really kind of just wanted.

It made me realize that although there are things you think you should do, you also have to do the things you really want, too.

Ultimately, I think I have enough on my plate this semester that I will be okay in the end.  And, as I mentioned before, I really really love the internship I have now.  And, as a duty to my conscience, I will be contacting the blogger again in the fall, asking for another opportunity, no matter what kind of experiences and opportunities I already have.