The Dead-Beat Blogger Returns

People love lists. I’m not really sure why—I mean, so do I, I’m not immune to the infatuation—but it’s kind of weird, don’t you think?

Top 5 reasons you should break up with your boyfriend this summer…

Top 20 movies that will make you question x, y or z…

Three tips to make any guy fall in love with you.

Why? Why is this a thing? I guess what’s frustrating about it is that most of them are somewhat geared toward women. And for a long time, I would go back and forth as to whether I should be reading them. Sure, some of them come with alluring headlines, but really, what are you walking away with once you’re done reading?

Chances are, very little. Well, maybe the exception of a touch of self-doubt, if not loads of it.

That brings me to my next point: who has the right to be an expert on your boyfriend or your life or your body or your past? I think as women, we want to hear other peoples’ advice; we’re naturally socially oriented people. We’re curious at the heart of it. We want to know what other people think, and we truly do seek the advisement of those who have come before us—the wise ones.

Do what you want.

Do what you want.

But isn’t there something to be said about blazing your own path or deciding for yourself? Making up your own mind, that’s what it is. I’ve followed in the footsteps of some people, but in some ways, I’ve also carved out my own little niche. I suppose that’s where my thoughts have been these days: I feel like there are more people nowadays that have lost that… capability to say what they want or to do what they want.

It’s hard to say whether it’s a generational thing—I have no idea—or whether it’s a gender thing. Maybe other groups of people are struggling with this, too. I can only speak from experience, but I feel like there are opportunities each day to do or say what we want, make a choice, take a certain action, but I don’t see people doing this nearly as much as I’d like to.

Sure, there are other extenuating circumstances, like money or age, or whatever—god knows my student loans are holding me back on a lot of things—but if there are things out there that are in your control and you want to try them, do it.

Do it.

I made a huge leap of faith moving out to Chicago two years ago and I have never looked back. Now I’m in San Diego, probably closer to my family than I’ve ever been, and I have someone by my side that I adore. And I graduated with my master’s. I’m not bragging; I’m proud, and I made the choices on my own.

I used to be a fan of lists. I still am, but make one that you can call your own.

Friday night? Stay in, go out, do what you want :)

Friday night? Stay in, go out, do what you want :)

I Prefer Crazy

Last night I couldn’t get over the fact that I was out – in the dark – past 9 o’clock.

Call me crazy. Call me old. Either way I just couldn’t believe I was out walking around, on the hunt for a bottle of red wine with my man-friend at 9:05 p.m.

Getting late! Lucky for me, there's plenty of lighting downtown.

Getting late! Lucky for me, there’s plenty of lighting downtown.

The night began per the usual. We made stuffed peppers for dinner, which came out nicely. Well, nice but a little too spicy. Back in Chicago, we used Pablano peppers, but here in San Diego, the only choice at the store was Serrano peppers. They looked the same. Big. Green. We thought nothing of it.

But they were spicy. Too spicy. My tongue hurts just thinking about it. That’s all you need to know.

After dinner, we cleaned up the kitchen, guzzled a couple glasses of water, and then threw on our swimming suits. A couple we met last week was meeting us at the public pool (thank you, Hilton!) for a little hot tub relaxation. We chatted, got to know each a little better, and then parted ways. It’s been kind of hard meeting new people and making friends, especially ‘couple-y’ friends. So when we met these two at a Meet-up recently, we knew we had found some people we could be ourselves with.

It’s been kind of like dating, but less individual pressure.

Just before we left, my man-friend said he desired some wine. That’s like music to my ears, so of course I happily agreed with his plan to seek some out. We were crossing the bridge toward home, soaked with the scent of chlorinated water, when it hit me.

“What time is it?”

“Like, nine or something.”


It was dark. Scoundrels about, no doubt. We shouldn’t be out, I thought to myself. We should be in bed, going to sleep. But I wasn’t tired – I think the hot tub gave me a second wind. Still I couldn’t get the thought off my mind. We kept walking, past our apartment onward to the grocery store to get our bottle of wine. I looked back toward our apartment, then at my man-friend.

“You know, I need to be more like you.”

“What do you mean?”

“Like more willing to be up and about past nine or ten. I’m freaking out over here. I keep thinking we should be going to sleep already. I mean, I’m 27. I should be able to stay up late, right? But no, my mind says ‘No.’”

“Well, that’s just it. You’re an adult. You get to decide. You don’t need to rush to work or school or anything. You work from home now. It’s ok.”

He was right. I was getting worked up for a whole ‘lotta nothing. But it’s that sneaky feeling of being forever 19, in school, on a schedule where someone – a teacher, a professor – is expecting me in a room bright and early the next morning having eaten breakfast already, ready to go.

It’s a little hard to let that feeling go. It’s all too familiar, but it’s also so liberating to feel like I’m in control of my life. In control for the first time in a way. I’m an adult. I should start acting like it… right?

Maybe. Maybe I will in some ways, slowly. Give me some time.

My Workspace: Staking My Claim

Lucky for you, my life's work is does not involve making music.

Lucky for you, my life’s work is does not involve making music.

There’s a corner of my bedroom I love to work in.

See image, pictured here.

It’s bright, warm and cozy… everything I need. My happy place. It makes me smile just thinking about it.

I’ve never been one for a desk. Just a table and a chair? Where do I put my legs? Meh. Not for me.

Growing up, I didn’t mind sitting at desks in school. It’s just what you did, no questions asked. But now that I’m a grown up, I just can’t sit there and be productive, more than ever now that I’m doing my freelance work full-time from home.

It’s the opposite for the boyfriend. He works from home too, and feels more organized and focused sitting at a desk. Makes sense I suppose, but for me, curled up in a ball or lounging with a blanket on the floor are ideal writing positions. The words come to me more clearly.

Eventually I want to furnish my empty corner with a big cozy chair and maybe an end table, right where that guitar is (don’t worry – the boyfriend has agreed to move it or lose it.) I have to find the right chair, though, nothing too big, but one that I can crumple up in or dangle my feet over on one side. That’s important. I imagine it’ll be fabric, no leather (too hot in the sun), possibly in a comfy gray or nice shade of cream.

I love that I can sit by the window while I write and feel the sun’s warmth on my skin. Very much like pet and moving around the room as the sun moves across the sky. That’s dangerous though, because slowly but surely, an early afternoon siesta sets in. But that’s if not so busy, and if I’m very lucky.

By the end of the day, I’m ready to emerge from my cozy corner and begin to move around the apartment. But tomorrow I will return, and hopefully, so will the sun.

My Great Return

Some people say to become a better writer you need to write every day. Write at least something – a thought, a feeling, a sentence – every day, no matter what.

I believe that. I do. I hate making excuses, but I’ve been a little busy the past few months to write that much. Ugh, so lame. That shouldn’t be the case, but it is. So here I am, in a new city, working on some new freelance articles with the boyfriend in tow, yet I continue to struggle to write ANYTHING in my own personal blog.

I’ve been thinking about my blog. It’s been on my mind for the past couple of months, and I’ve missed it. Now it feels familiar as I type, but different at the same time. It’s like I don’t know what to say to it anymore. It’s been too long. Do I reintroduce myself? Do I tell it where I’ve been, why it’s taken me so long to write again? I suppose it’s just like riding a bike, as the saying goes, which I can only imagine.

My hesitancy to return to blogging could have something to do with a fear of failure… I’ll just throw that out there. Fear of failing to write every day, fear of commitment, a fear of not having something important or interesting to say each time. But all thoughts and ideas are important, especially if they’re your own. Sure, they may not be as insightful as yesterday’s or as genuine as tomorrow’s, but every word counts, right? Right.

Only the DOG gets to be lazy! See example.

Only the DOG gets to be lazy! See example.

Of course, my fear could just be sheer laziness, which would drive me absolutely insane if that’s the case because only the dog gets to be lazy. Peer pressure, perhaps?

But wait, doesn’t the old saying go, ‘Find your passion and do that for a living’? I have no problem writing for work, and maybe that’s just it. Writing professionally has had adverse effects on my personal life. Writing for work has taken all the fun out of writing for me. That’s not how it’s supposed to be, though!

No, no, no – that’d be too easy to blame the work. Excuses, excuses. Well, I say excuses no more. No more blaming the job. No more peer pressure. No more fearing my own thoughts and how they sound.

Writing every day isn’t easy, but it gets easier. I think that’s what that quote’s all about: practice. That doesn’t mean you should just write just to write, but practice what you’re writing. Practice articulating your thoughts, how you phrase your thoughts, and explore those thoughts. Being afraid of them doesn’t get you anywhere. That’s my two cents I would give any writer.

Last Week in D.C.: Day 6


After ordering bottomless mimosas at brunch which seemed like a great idea at the time, I trekked over to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum for a looksie.

The Wright Brothers plane. Drones. Space suits. And lots of information. All very good.

I was tempted to stop for an IMAX movie, but I always freeze in theaters. No dice.


The Wright Brothers plane. The exhibit was crowded!


Missiles from the Cold War era


Media dangles from the ceiling


Gotta love those drones, drones, drones

Last Week in D.C.: Day 7

pentagonOh, hello. I’m in Washington D.C… and have been for the last two and a half months.

My bad. I’d have updated you on my adventures, but as always my excuse, I have not had time. And for that matter, outside of congressional hearings and the newsroom, I haven’t had many adventures in Washington overall.

I’m officially a hermit. Pleased to meet you.

However I have decided to ramp up my efforts for the next seven days and for the next seven days only. These are photos from my walk to the Pentagon Memorial tonight.

Right as I hit ‘send’ to email a story I’d worked on all day, I realized it was still light out – just enough time to take in a monument… or two, if you count the Pentagon itself. #kindais #kindaisnt

Still I came, I saw, I blogged. Sleep tight.


Time Flies: Working Backwards

PuddleIt’s a soggy day here in Chicago. Not only is it raining, but the city is thawing out, too, leaving behind giant brown puddles on every street corner.

Normally on a gray day like today, I’d be scrambling to get home just like a cat caught in the rain. But today was different. Yes, I was anxious to get back to my apartment, but I stopped to grab a coffee for a quick boost of energy so I could work for the rest of the afternoon. I was feeling pretty good about myself.

A few weeks ago, I met with an advisor from school just to check in and bounce some job prospects off of him. Our meeting, however, quickly turned into more of a reality check for me. Looking back now, it was definitely something I needed.

After talking in circles in no particular order about all the things I wanted to do and see, and all the projects I wanted to accomplish and be a part of, my advisor asked me point-blank, “Where do you want to be at 35?”

I sat back in my chair, slightly stunned.

The question was so simple, yet the answer… is complex. In less than nine years, I’d be 35. That’s much sooner than I realized. What exactly did I want to have under my belt by then?

I’ve had in the back of my head for a while that I wanted to practice French again. I imagined writing some freelance magazines pieces, too, and maybe even work on a news podcast at some point. I started thinking out loud, listing these aspirations on my fingertips, when my advisor told me my hour was up and it was time to go home.

OK, so maybe he wasn’t so harsh about it — he wasn’t at all actually — but he did say to go somewhere and write down all the work I wanted to do, including the job title I wanted when I reached 35. “Think about your personal life, too, who you want in your life around then. That’s important.”

His thoughtful question has become my new mantra. Now, my “By 35 Goals” include all the ones from above, as well as “be an editor” and “be happily married.”

I know who and where I want to be when I’m 35. And to reach that goal, I’m working backwards, putting the bricks in place so I’ll have control of my world when that time comes and won’t be scrambling. It’s easy to get caught up in that ‘One day I’ll do it” state of mind, but it’s just as easy to put one foot in front of the other and walk toward your dreams– or in my case, walk backwards.

Racing to be done with graduate school, I’m eager to start my life, but sometimes I forget that I’m living it, which brings me back to today. This afternoon I had just stepped off the train when I felt my phone buzzing in my jacket pocket. It was a magazine editor I’d recently been put in contact with, and she told me she loved an audio story I’d sent her two days ago.

“I’d like to work with you on a piece for the magazine, if you’re interested,” she said.

“Yes, of course, I’d like that.” A part of me wondered if she could hear me smiling through the phone.

She gave me a deadline, the conversation ended, and I rounded the corner in front of my favorite coffee shop. I smiled again. It was obvious — I deserved a treat.