My New Year’s Advice for Humanity

My New Year’s Resolutions for Humanity

I am not particularly critical of myself. Most days I am just fine with the way I look, I think that I spend an appropriate amount of time watching television, and my soda habit is virtually nonexistent.

So instead of setting an arbitrary number of times that I should go to the gym in a week, I’m going to provide some New Year’s resolutions for those stock characters in the population who could use some help setting resolutions.

1. The Single.

If you’re single, resolve to find a companion.

Ex. Cozy up with a cat and throw the laptop off the sofa.

2. The Smothered.

If you’re smothered, resolve to find alone time.

Ex. Cozy up with the laptop and throw the cat off the sofa.

Far too often people find that they are unhappy with the level of companionship they receive. Whether you haven’t gone on a date since before blogging became a thing, or whether you are a mother so overcome with responsibility that you haven’t realized that blogging has now become a thing, there is a way to achieve your goal.

1. The Smoker.

If you smoke, resolve to substitute your addiction.

Ex. Reach for a lollipop instead of a cigarette.

2. The Overweight.

If you’re overweight, resolve to substitute your addition.

Ex. Reach for a cigarette instead of a lollipop.

Far too often people find that they are unhappy with how they are treating their body. Whether your body was used as an air filter or as a trash can, there is a way to achieve your goal.

1. The Spender.

If you spend too much money, resolve to save in certain ways.

Ex.  Pay the $500 bar tab, but have your friend drive you to the emergency room.

2. The Saver.

If you save too much money, resolve to indulge in certain ways.

Ex. Don’t partake of the $500 bar tab, but spend gas money to drive your friend to the emergency room.

Far too often people don’t understand how they should be managing their money. Whether you party with Magnum Grey Goose until you’ve forgotten you don’t even make a living wage, or have a sip of your buddy’s Coors after a successful day repurposing that coat hanger into a piece of art for your cousin’s birthday gift, there is a way to achieve your goal.

With these expert tips, even you can achieve your New Year’s resolution! And by following my methods, it’s guaranteed that you’ll also have something to work on come January of next year.

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The Time Timon and Pumbaa Helped Me with My Bucket List

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I love nothing more than singing along to a great song that just fills your heart and lifts your spirit. Even though my voice cracks and creeks while I’m singing along, I like to think that what I lack in skill I more than make up for in enthusiasm. I also like to think that my stuffed animals come alive when I’m not watching, you’re just going to have to give me a few things.

Because of my odd combination of musical love and vocal troubles, I’ve long feared and highly anticipated completing a certain item on my Pail List, karaoke.

For the past month I’ve been making and breaking plans with friends to attend Karaoke Thursday at Applebee’s until the promise of half price apps became too much for any normal college kid to resist, and they insisted on half dragging half restraining me along.

Once there, I nervously bided my time by stuffing my face with spinach dip and praying to the karaoke gods that they would be merciful. It’s a wonder my friends didn’t ditch me from the get-go.

Dear karaoke gods who art in Applebee’s, gracious by thy name. Thy at the bar, the songs be sung, in the cramped corner as it is in concert. Give us tonight our daily $3 margarita and forgive us our missed notes as we forgive those who missed notes before us. Lead us not into Queen renditions, but deliver us from Christmas tunes. Amen.”

karaoke birdDespite my pleas to the gods, I was still nervous as heck. Three of my friends openly admitted that there was not enough alcohol in the world that could get them to sing. Two of my friends were too busy cozily reminiscing to notice that they were in a public place. This left myself and three others who had to brave the microphone armed with nothing but our hopes and dreams of not being laughed or forcibly removed out of the room.

Hesitantly grabbing the sticky discolored binder full of songs, I marveled at the selection before me. I had originally planned on some sort of Billy Joel classic, but when faced with Counting Crows, Johnny Cash, and Van Morrison I was thrown for a loop. So many songs, so many choices, so many notes that I had to sneakily avoid by coughing at just the right time. My heart was hammering with nerves and enthusiasm, a deadly combination that had to be quelled before such excitement caused that spinach dip to make a reappearance.

And then I saw it.

The song that represents my past, present, and future. The song that was guaranteed to please even the most uppity of karaoke snobs. The song that jumped off the page and did the Cha Cha in front of my friends and I until we signed up on the waiting list without the least bit of hesitation.

Hakuna Matata!

What a wonderful phrase.

Hakuna Matata.

Ain’t no passing craze.

It means no worries, for the rest of your days. It’s our problem-free philosophy. Hakuna Matata!

Hakuna Matata represents most everything that I’m about. I try to appreciate each day for what it is and not worry over the little things. I pride myself on appreciating my past and making sure that it isn’t so easily forgotten. And I love bringing happiness to others while celebrating the things in life that also give me joy.

As I stood up in front of the fifty or so people packed into the Applebee’s karaoke night corner I couldn’t help but feel a calm appreciation for my life and the opportunities that I am afforded through my Pail List. As the familiar melody began and I saw heads popping up in every direction, I knew that no matter how poorly my voice performed, I was getting a standing ovation from everyone else who longed for the days of a problem free existence as exemplified by a meerkat and warthog.

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The Horror! The Horror!…The ROCKY Horror

I’ve been familiar with The Rocky Horror Picture Show since my early high school days. I’d puzzled over the movie, remained confusedly captivated over the Sweet Transvestite lyrics, and generally enjoyed the idea that such an absurd film could have such a devoted following. Yet, until recently, I’d never seen a cast performing the movie on stage while it simultaneously played on film (though I did attend a delightful shadow cast of The Princess Bride).

Despite my apparent interest, I had never attended a production partly due to my excessive time spent with my cat, partly for fear of how they would treat the inexperienced-in-all-that-is-Rocky virgins. No one seemed willing to discuss the hi-jinks that the cast would play on the newbies for fear that it would deter them from participating in the spectacle that is The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and after my first show and participation in the Virgin Games at the behest of my former friend Eric, I think I get why.

247135_10151678616010695_1545180286_nWhile it may be fun for the audience to laugh and point as Rocky Virgins are sent onstage to switch clothes with someone they’re standing next to, or scream out in the ecstasy of an imagined intimacy, or parade around with lipstick letter “V”s on their forehead, I can say from personal experience that it is nerve wracking as heck and my face has been permanently marked by a blush so deeply red that others are continually offering me sunscreen. But boy was it an experience! I may have just had my most embarrassing moment(s) of my life witnessed by a theater’s worth of people, but I can truly say that I’m glad that I went through with something that put me outside of my comfort zone while remaining within the point where my line is drawn.

Yes, I imagine a good many people in my life would judge my participation.

Yes, some of the subjects and themes broached were a tad risque.

Yes, there were scantily clad individuals parading around throughout the night.

No, there was not an empty seat in the house.

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Everyone who showed up to the show was so involved in their choice of costumes, props, verbal insults, strange and secretive greetings, and the actual movie itself. In a world where everyone needs constant entertainment and five iProducts constantly shoved in front of their face, it was just so sweet and rewarding to watch a room full of people staring unblinkingly at a film that they’d seen hundreds of times. The concentration on their faces as they would boogie to the Time Warp conveyed a sense of purpose and devotion that is rarely found in this generation. Though this angelic contemplation was occasionally interrupted by vulgar shouts towards the cast, characters, and general audience, I felt grateful to be a part of such a devoted group of people who were simply interested in having a good time according to their standards.

I truly have nothing particular to say about the movie itself, because there truly isn’t too much I could say to make sense of  what went down on that night of Horror. But really, when you’re in such a joyful setting with good friends, free candy, and that guy from your Shakespeare: The Later Works class that you didn’t expect to be wearing a midnight blue sequined dress, singing sexually ambitious aliens don’t really matter.

Veep Veep!

So…last week I officially became a superstar as an extra on HBO’s Veep.

vee[As typical with any college student, I’ve long suffered from a decisive lack of disposable income and have been forced to survive without HBO for these many years. However, thanks to the generosity of the human spirit, I have been known to bum off of my neighbor’s account and watch delightful shows such as Veep and The Newsroom from the discomfort of their couch with a weird metal bar that continuously makes my butt ache no matter which way I arrange myself. As a creature of comfort, the fact that I put up with a sore butt for an hour or a half per episode should attest to my devotion of these shows. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Anna Chlumsky, and Gary Cole all starring in one well done and intriguing comedy of governmental proportions? I’m so there. In fact, the show could literally only have Tony Hale and I would consistently tune in to stare upon the goofy visage of a man who will forever be Baby Buster Blooth.

So when I heard that Veep would be filming at the ever beautiful and camera-ready University of Maryland, I controlled my gut-reaction to scream and did a little hopping happy dance. The dance was immediately followed up with a Facebook, texting, Twitter, and face-to-face confrontation to any and all friends/acquaintances/strangers/enemies/frenemies/vaguely familiar faces/vaguely familiar friendly faces asking for information on how to be a part of the production. The Veep-crazy shout out was then followed by the heavenly instructions to send information to a mysterious email address in the dead of night under a full moon on the side of an abandoned hair salon after spilling root beer on a tree stump and reciting the parting lines from the 5th Harry Potter movie. Well, it was only required to send a phone number, age, and headshot, but I was prepared for whatever task they would throw at me.

And then I waited. First, by devoting an unhealthy amount of time and glances at my phone. Next, by developing a very real and problematic addition to checking my email. Then, by constantly staying on the lookout to hear from others if they had been selected for the honor of this and any other lifetime.

California hipster fall? Or Maryland trendy winter? You decide.

California hipster fall? Or Maryland trendy winter? You decide.

A week and a half later, I got the call and half-had the conversation of a lifetime, as I was too excited to focus on words and could only make out such things as “California fall” and “hipster employable”. I was promised to be sent an email link with not much more information, but that hardly mattered. That same day I ran out to go shopping for an outfit that just screamed the random descriptors that I could recall from the phone conversation. That same night I could hardly sleep for excitement. That next morning I embarked on what would begin my film career!

I woke up at 5 in the morning. I walked in the rain to the building they filmed in. I waited around with some friendly people. I continued to wait around with some now less talkative people. I wasn’t even close to a camera for the vast majority of the day. I began to realize that being an extra was an extra boring process. And then, by the grace of God, I got chosen to partake in a scene where it was finally my time to shine.

Well, I walked in the background about 50 feet away from the actors and will most likely never be noticed due to the two glass walls that also separated us from the real action. About 5 hours later, I did just about the same thing. About 2 hours after that, I sat in an audience hidden away in a corner.

IMG_2764I loved it! I could actually see celebrities while “working” and they were actually quite decent people, as I had a conversation with Nelson Cole (who kept falling asleep as this was the fifth day in a row of filming) and smiled at Julia Louis-Dreyfus who stood 8 inches away from me at one point. I made some great friends in the holding area, I dined on a lunch salmon so heavenly that it must have been blessed by Poseidon himself, I got to tour the gorgeous new building on campus, I bought a beautiful outfit which the casting director called “perfect”, I got paid enough money to afford that beautiful outfit which the casting director called “perfect”, and I ended up getting a reoccurring role in the series! Well, my imagination took over at some points during the shoot, but I swear that the salmon was as delicious as I claimed. Oh, and I introduced myself to Tony Hale, called him by his first name, took a picture with him, and even shook his gosh-darn hand!

We weren't really allowed to take photos, but I needed proof gosh darn it!

We weren’t really allowed to take photos, but I needed proof gosh darn it!

So while you probably most definitely won’t be seeing me in the third episode of season 3, it probably wouldn’t hurt to look for the spunky, overjoyed extra with the look that just screams “California fall” and a tummy protruding from ingesting an inappropriate amount of salmon.

Hypnosis: Where the Sun and Surf are Just a Countdown Away

Do you remember the last time that you laughed so hard that tears were streaming down your eyes and you couldn’t take a breath due to the hilarity of the situation occupying every cell in your being? For me, that time was tonight, and the cause was a hypnotist by the name of Jason Linett.

The first thing that Jason did was hypnotize the whole audience. We were bade to hold our arms out in front of us and close our eyes. With a slight suggestion, he placed a book in our left hand. It got heavy. Our hand went down. Some people giggled. Then, out of no where, a balloon became tied to our right hands at his command, it was floating up and up and up and our hand followed and followed and followed. Upon opening our eyes and seeing our once near hands placed a part, we knew we were in for a treat.

jason linettJason randomly chose 10 people from the audience (comprised of eager UMD undergrads braver than me). One of whom is a good friend of mine, and another of whom I’ve seen around school. This guy was legit. There were no plants. For some reason, I began feeling nervous and excited and anxious and pumped. And I was safely sitting in the second row.

Confidently, the hypnotist lead the volunteers up to relax their bodies and delve deep into their minds; slowly, he positioned them to lean against one another; and carefully he suggested the most silly yet wholesome activities for the participants to do. I watched as they enjoyed the sun in a beach, I smiled when they got comfortable in the sand, I giggled when the temperature began to rise, and I laughed so hard that I fell into the person next to me when it became 100 degrees on stage and they had to beg a waiter for a glass of water to quench their imagined thirst.

I sat on the edge of my seat amazed at the fact that a girl completely forgot about the number 6; I rose from my seat to watch as half the participants roamed the audience acting as secret agents and interacting with those seated, telling them to keep quiet and watch out for danger; I jumped up and down in my chair with glee as one boy was unable to leave his seat on stage, believing himself to be stuck to the chair. And when that same boy believed that his hands were internationally known lip syncing puppets who performed to Bohemian Rhapsody, I struggled for breath with the students around me.

A lot of the events that the University of Maryland provides for their students are casual and friendly and completely worth checking out. However, karaoke, comedians, and casino night have nothing on watching 10 people pretend to be in a bodybuilding contest and strut around the stage showing off their muscles.

An Ode to Swimming Pools

Please enjoy this silly little poem about how in love I am with swimming pools.

Swimming pools, oh swimming pools, what to even say?

The way I anticipate your cooling embrace all throughout the day.

It gives me chills to think of you and you light a certain spark.

Especially when I jump in and see your inflatable blow-up shark.

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My affinity for swimming pools runs deeper than an in-ground.

Especially when I noticed all the bugs you’ve sweetly drowned.

Though our time together is brief, I cherish your blue waters,

The only thing you could improve, is if you were filled with otters.

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For the joy you bring to me, swimming pool, I will always yearn,

Even when I must leave you, because your owners have returned.

An Artscape Adventure

Every year, Baltimore, MD hosts America’s largest free arts festival, Artscape. If you can brave the heat and risk the rainy weather, you’re in for a treat and a day filled with presentations so astounding and innovative that you redefine your definition of art.

Instead of trying to do justice to the visually marvelous through mere text, I’m going to share my experience through picture and video. I’m no where near being an artist, so please forgive the camera and video quality and be sure to look for the meaning behind the screening.

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When asked what can heal our community

When asked what can heal our community: ( I wrote “enthusiasm”)

I helped pain this, can you tell?

I couldn’t believe that an event so unique had been frequenting my community for the past 30 years and I had never appreciated and experienced the artistic adventure. While some of the projects or performances were a bit trippy, I loved I only wish that I could have taken pictures of all the vendors’ shops and wares. I’d seen pictures sewn with yarn, a shockingly deep portrait of a deer, book pages fashioned into a hanging decoration, perfect woodworked animals, and concrete sculptures bursting with life.

Please, make an effort to plan your visit to Artscape either this year or next to experience emotion you’d long forgotten about. But, on the chance that you can’t make it into Baltimore, check out the local arts scene around you. It may be weird, it may be uncomfortable, it may be confusing, but if it makes you truly feel something within, then the art has served its purpose.

Sorry, I Can’t Afford to Say Yes…

I’m a yes kind of gal. I enjoy experiencing new opportunities and always being up for anything (within the confines of the law and my morals). When a friend asks about going out to dinner, when someone texts me looking for someone to pal around with at the Orioles game, when my Mom casually suggests we see a show: yes, Yes, YES!

DSCN0474Thanks to this bold mentality I’ve been to see a deaf production of Alice in Wonderland, run a 5K, made strong friendships, helped education people on domestic violence, gone to many Orioles games, splashed around in color at Holi, attended a concert, seen Beauty and the Beast performed live, listened to a lecture by the Dalai Lama, and much much much more (most adventures chronicled here on my blog). I’ve done so much that it’s hard to imagine I’m only 20 years old. I’ve done so much that it’s absolutely inconceivable to me how some people could be limited to experience such exciting events.

Tomorrow I’m going to laser tag, over the weekend I’m going to see Despicable Me 2, and I may even stop by bingo on Saturday. No, I don’t have that much money (especially since I’ve been working two unpaid internships), but I’ve come to realize that money is just money, and if I don’t spend it to give myself enjoyable life experiences with the people that I care about, what good is it. But, sadly, not all college-aged kids can say the same thing, because cost really is a determining factor.

college moneyAs a college student, I see this a lot. Kids are just too tied down paying for food, housing, tuition, books, to say yes to life. One day (hopefully) they will be settled in a career and able to make the kind of money that will let them live out their dreams. As for right now, it’s just sad to watch my friends limit all they could be experiencing due to cost.

If you don’t have money, try living within your means, but don’t forget to have fun. If you do have money, it’s nice to save some, but never forget to use it for what it’s meant for, LIVING!

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O’s Magic

Since before I was born, I’ve been an Orioles fan. I may not be the most avid or knowledgeable baseball watcher, but I truly enjoy the sport, and even more than that, I love attending the games.orioles logo

I’ve always gone to the O’s games with my family, but around last year I realized that it had been a good 4 years since we’d last ventured into Camden Yards. So for Father’s Day 2012 (delayed due to hectic schedules and weather complications), I decided to give my dad tickets to a game of his choosing, which we used by watching the Orioles play the Rays.

camden yardsDespite the threat of rain, constant humidity, and eventual loss of the O’s, we had a great time as a family. The beautiful Baltimore skyline greeted us as we drove into the city early that morning for a bit of exploring. We took a stroll by the warehouse right next to the park and paid a visit to Boog’s BBQ stand where I got a picture with Boog Powell himself. After satisfying our craving for deliciously overpriced ballpark food, we took our seats in one of the top decks. But the height of our seats and the fact that they were a mere $17 didn’t deter us from having a lovely afternoon. We could see perfectly and had plenty of people around us to add volume to the cheers reverberating throughout the stadium.

Unlike Ravens games which can get intense and loud, the Orioles games are oh so calm and relaxed. There is a real family atmosphere to be found with all of the children toddling around in their orange jerseys while grandparents patiently wait in lines for the tots’ cotton candy. Despite the child behind us kicking my mom’s seat and playing his video game rather loudly, everyone was so well behaved and courteous, further adding to our pleasant experience.

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IMG_2092I truly love spending time with my family, and the strong sense of community that the O’s could provide for me was great too. Every now and again you just need to know that you’re a part of something larger than yourself, and it may take yelling “O!” during the National Anthem with thousands of strangers to feel that sense of unity.

Junior Year, A Life in Summation

Wow. Life moves quickly. Not only am I unsure how I’ve already reached the end of my junior year of college, I’m also confused as to where my sophomore and freshman year went.

At the beginning of this year (one roommate, a new major, and countless hikes across campus ago) I was coming off a pretty rough time. I hadn’t really found a niche for myself in college (which was all too familiar to my high school experience) and I spent more time traveling home than livin’ it up college style.

My goal for this year was simple; say yes to life. And looking back on my time now, I can truthfully say that I said yes and experienced much of what college life had to offer (while still focusing on my studies)

Some of my experiences include:

  • Participating in Terp Thon and raising money for Children’s National Medical Center374409_4651322164662_876425834_n
  • Hosting Manicure Movie Monday in our lounge
  • Starting a job at UMD Dining Services and meeting some of my best friends
  • Taking more pictures than I will ever need
  • Throwing paint around with friends and strangers at HoliDSCN0474
  • Becoming a part of Sign Language Club and visiting Gallaudet University
  • Going on a dinner cruise at the Inner Harbor
  • Partaking in a murder mystery dinner and successfully avoiding accusations
  • Attending all of the movie nights and randomly themed UMD events
  • Listened to the Dalai Lama give a lecture on peace
  • Gaining an insane amount of weight from not watching my health and then working it all off522422_10200226503339411_1759804122_n
  • Participating in an Alternative Spring Break and becoming an advocate for domestic violence victims
  • Making an effort to hang out with friends and get in touch with people
  • Running my first 5K to benefit Yeardly LoveIMG_1931
  • Attending all of the UMD men’s soccer games and becoming part of the Crew
  • Crossing two items off of my bucket list (dying my hair red and attending a concert)
  • Receiving 12 free UMD t-shirts
  • Cheering my football team onto a Super Bowl victory
  • STARTED A BLOG!

Holy cow I’ve done a lot. I know I’ve missed listing a ton more activities, but I’m just grateful that I’ll have this blog to look back so that I can relive all of these wonderful experiences.

Also, don’t expect much from me this summer, because I’m pretty sure it’ll take me up until September to recover from my junior year.