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this is a tribute.

In anniversary of her passing I have been reflecting on how much my mom loved life. Her true love of life surrounded the human variety and bringing babies into the world in the way of a labor and delivery nurse. The sparkle in her eye over the topic of babies was never fading and she always had a bag packed with the tools needed in the event she had to deliver for a pregnant teacher years later in life when she was no longer working in a hospital but rather an elementary school. I am sure she would have been elated for the chance to use it.

I wish I could carry on this legacy and that I had the stomach to do so, but unfortunately I don’t have the Brady altruistic career path gene. I also don’t do so well with such a large volume of body fluids and screaming. When fluffy, my male hamster, suddenly gave birth to a litter of baby hamsters while I was home with a stomach virus at age 8, Mom leveraged the opportunity to use t it as a teaching moment. I learned more than one lesson that day. First I learned to always question living gifts from my aunt. Second I learned to get separate cages for my two hamsters. And third I learned hamsters eat their live offspring regardless of whether or not you are home with the flu or not. It was a big day. I am getting off track. She was such a vibrant presence in my life, it is impossible for me to conceptualize that it has been 3 years without her. As she made sure to tell me nobody said life is fair. So a toast!
I hope your days are filled with the crispest champagne, the butteriest foie gras, the prime spot at the beach for sunset, the best patterned socks for monkey making, the comfiest first class seats for flying, the spiciest chili peppers, plentiful clams during eternal low tide, the most elegant yet unbreakable glasses for painting, the bluest hydrangeas that manage to survive more than a season, the best tag ,estate or yard sales and all around best bargains to be found, and most of all YMCA always queued up on the play list. Thinking of you keeps my heart whole. I know you are making heaven laugh every day. Lucky heaven! Je t’aime

I miss this!

I miss this!

i’m back.

Yesterday was the first day it felt like spring and thus the appropriate time to wear a dress with bare legs. It also was the day for me to spill coffee on myself on my way to work, arrive at said workplace 30 minutes late due to train malfunctions, and miss the bus. You know the day. The crowning pre- 10 am moment was a run-in with one of the original rejecters of yours truly in the past year. He was one of the many (okay few) great first dates that were followed with enthusiastic plans to extend the fun with an immediate second only to never hear from this person ever again.

Picture it. Tinder. May 2014. A quiet architect with a fairly prominent lisp treats a newly employed gal to a delightful evening of flirtatious banter and libation. After said evening, our bashful gentleman follows up with an overly sentimental text indicating the evening as one of great joy. One that was so engaging and compelling he would have loved to continue to talk with this woman all night long. A little dramatic and cheesy? Absolutely! Appreciated? Totally! After a little light Internet stalking and wedding planning, it is official; the Future Mr. B has been selected.

Obviously I never heard from this person again, which I assumed was due to his relocation to the extremely remote island where all of my other abandoned dates reside. They typically don’t resurface on the cross-town bus so you can imagine my surprise when I saw him this AM. What is shocking to me is that this scenario has unfolded for nearly every woman I know. Meet a guy, have a sparkling evening; both parties mutually agree with enthusiasm the night was wonderful in every way. And then nothing. It seems this type of behavior is universal, however my sample happens to exclusively consist of gorgeous, smart, interesting women, which is even more baffling to me. I am no dummy, I understand the idea of being polite, but if a date wasn’t actually the best of your life or if you don’t actually want to talk all night, why don’t we just skip the dramatic overtures and all agree to keep it civil. Agreed?

P.S. We are just going to pretend like I wasn’t on a 20-year blogging hiatus.

This sad dumpster pillow cat has absolutely nothing to do with this post.

This sad dumpster pillow cat has absolutely nothing to do with this post.

Talking to strangers

I’ll be the first to admit I have a Hallmark Movie problem. I can’t help it. I don’t like surprises and they have perfected a Marissa approved movie format that I just can’t get enough of. I love the clichés. I love that romance is always the answer and most of all I love that there will be a happy ending. Recently, as I embarked on my third consecutive film, I was chuckling to myself at an overtly cheesy scene where a complete stranger spews incessant unsolicited inspirational anecdotes on the main character, which then propels her along the remaining plotline of the movie. I laughed at the idea that such a peripheral character would approach another and impact that person so profoundly. Or at least as profoundly as Hallmark can accommodate.

That’s when I was struck by the memory of a woman I met when I was traveling this past spring. I was in a very bad place in life. In technical terms I was “completely freaking out”. It was ‘crying on the subway on the regular’ bad and I knew I needed to take action. After I hung up from a call with my dad, during which he alluded to the fact that I should avoid sharp objects, I took up conversation with a woman to my right at the bar. She too was at a crossroads, haven taken a new job and was uncertain about the risks. We only spoke briefly, but both shared our fears and it felt surprisingly natural. Despite the fact that I credit this mostly to the desperation we both felt, I remember feeling a little bit better after our chat.

meadows make me pensive.

meadows make me pensive.

I boarded my flight home and fortunately everything all worked out. I made some changes and was able to shift gears in a way that has allowed me the ability to survive a subway ride without tears. That moment in the airport wasn’t the most pivotal by any means. There were many more compelling conversations, but I do think it was an important one. Misery loves company I suppose, but more than that it was comforting to feel a little more connected to a seemingly random universe. It was nice to be reassured by someone who wasn’t actually obligated to support me. Not that I don’t love that reassurance as well, I will take as much support as the world is willing to lend my way. Anyway, the point is that is why I will continue to interrupt and annoy perfectly innocent strangers in airports. Fin.

As I recently watched my social media feed fill with the coming of the super moon I became reflective on the mysterious cyclical nature of life. You know the cycle to which I am referring. That predictable pattern of crime TV binges curtailed by abridged relationships that end on or around the time one accuses the unsuspecting gentleman of being a serial killer which launches back into a marathon of Swamp Murders. Oh wait… is this story exclusive to me?

Regardless of whether or not my suspicious/paranoid nature is to blame for my failed attempts at romance (I’m nearly positive that’s my only flaw), it has been determined that it probably doesn’t help. So I am getting serious about finding the future Mr. B and per the advice of a highly accredited tarot card reader (thanks Blake!) I have formed the below list of qualities I seek in a companion that I will now put into the web-based universe. So here it is. Do you know this person? He should know that I make a mean dip.

1. The most important thing is that he is nice person. I am talking salt of the earth. Oddly harder to find than one would think.
2. Somebody that loves family.
3. Funny. Someone who makes me laugh. We laugh together.
4. Someone to be nice to my cat. He doesn’t have to like cats; he just has to like my cat.
5. Someone that’s driven and wants to do well career-wise. This isn’t all about the Benjamin’s – it’s about fulfillment.
6. Must have friends. I get weirded out if someone doesn’t have friends. I don’t just want to hang out with that person all the time.
7. I definitely need to date a drinker. There could be an exception, but I have tried and I doubt it.
8. Physically I am drawn to a little chubby and a lot taller. I don’t mind fuzziness.
9. Must be a meat-eater. I don’t trust a vegetarian.
10. Confidence is key. 

thought provoking right?

thought provoking right?

Universe meet list. List meet universe. ;)

This is 30

This week a friend asked if this is how I pictured my life at 30 and my immediate answer was “HELL NO”. I then proceeded to escort myself on a self-guided journey into a pity party for one. After I moped around for a while, referencing a few indications of my perceived lack of success, I snapped out of that thought process real fast. Of course this isn’t where I pictured myself at 30 because I painted it when I was about 6 and I l was never very good at art. Or sports… I digress.

So this is 30 and to be perfectly honest I am quite happy to leave my 20s behind. The older I get, the more legitimate it is for me to leave places before 10:00 PM. It is one step closer to getting to wear muumuus without judgement. And discuss casseroles and crock-pots for longer periods of time. So there’s that.

I took risks in my twenties that helped me figure out what makes me happy and what makes me sad. I have trimmed and tailored and cut out the fat. I learned that while Edward 40 hands is a good idea when you are 24, Hendricks Martinis with your best friends are better. And even best when you do both with your aforementioned friends. I feel like the past year has led me to a calmer state of Marissa. And I can stand for a little calm.

So it was a happy birthday for me and a happy birthday for BJ. He’s 6, which is 40 in cat years. I wonder how he’s feeling.

Bitch didn't even get me a present.

Bitch didn’t even get me a present.

 

 

How to live life better.

I have been anxious about what to share in this long anticipated return post, as my life is overridden with fascinating news and anecdotes. However I couldn’t really land a theme so instead I shall share some generic wisdom I have gathered over my years. There are little things I do to try and deflect from the squalor in which I reside. * These little tricks have gotten me through some tough pest ridden times. Hopefully they’ll help you. In this first issue, I’ll cover 3 categories Rodents, Insects, and Snakes.
Rodents
A mouse in the house? First try picturing him wearing a top hat or comedically eating an oversized triangle of cheese. Not working? Purchase a gigantic orange tabby cat and commence life’s enjoyment.

 

Keeping it gangsta

Keeping it gangsta

Insects
Cockroaches it you squeamish? I’ve tried using my ninja-like skills to sneak up and slyly stomp them, but it’s hard to be ninja-like while openly weeping in galoshes. The best strategy here is to gently place cat near infected area and commence prayer.
Snakes
Garden snake? Or new best friend? You decide, but I say befriend the enemy! They smell fear. Also name him Snakey- it’s emasculating**.
Soooo, that is basically what I’ve got for now. Likely a midlife crisis to follow in the next week or so, stay tuned.

*Note I live adorably.

**My actual tactic for each category is to first call my dad in hysterics followed up with an immediate panic-stricken call to my super.

Getting my mind right.

As I am about to turn thirty I decided it might be time to work on sorting out my life. You know, make some goals, achieve them, that sort of thing. As is the first step of anything I do, I began by soliciting Google for advice on what to accomplish prior to entering my third decade. I found this guidance to be a bit pretentious. Who has time to buy my first home, go to Paris, and fall in love in the next 2 months?? Okay maybe I should have started this effort in a timelier manner. First goal, procrastinate less.

What's on the horizon? We'll find out!

What’s on the horizon? We’ll find out!

Then I decided these lists are kind of silly. As big of a fan I am of the “listicle”, this is mostly for the ease of reading and laughter. If a list causes stress or anxiety, it’s a terrible list as far as I am concerned. So I started my own list and it seemed so trivial. Then I really thought about what I want to feel and how I want to be. When I did begin to form a small list of where I would like to be mentally as I launch my thirtieth year, I realized I am basically there. I am not perfect, HA NOT EVEN CLOSE. But I have a lot of goodness in my life, a lot more than most.

So here is the list of what I would like to continue to foster throughout the next 30 years. This is a good list I promise.

  1. Love – I don’t mean this in the romantic sense, but genuine unconditional love amongst family and friends and generally being a loving person.
  2. Forgiveness – I don’t believe in grudges. They are bad for your heart. Dad I hope you are reading this.
  3. Humor – I truly believe laughter is the best medicine. With the exception of you know, real medicine.
  4. Curiosity – The moment you lose your curiosity, the world essentially becomes pointless.
  5. Openness – This is something I am working on, but I believe to be open to what life throws your way allows for spectacular adventure.
  6. Hunger – I mean this metaphorically, unfortunately my body doesn’t understand that.
  7. Honesty – I think its good to be honest with others, but I mostly mean this in the sense of being honest with oneself to truly understand what one actually wants out of life.
  8. Communication – This is where honesty kicks in, in terms of relationships with others. Nobody is actually a mind reader, especially that lady in the West Village that claimed I needed to buy crystals in order to find love, but I digress….
  9. Loyalty – We all need someone to have our backs. I am not saying we need to form a gang and get matching jackets, but it’s imperative to be there for your family and friends and know they are there for you as well. This knowledge has saved my life a thousand times over.*
  10. Trust – Trust your gut, trust that things will work out, trust others, unless they seem untrustworthy, they just stick with the gut portion.

I really think that is it.  That’s the list. Sure it may be helpful for me to cut down on the amount of crime television I watch. I could potentially stand to lose 15-50 pounds. I am sure it would be nice to prance through a meadow of daisies with a nice gentleman for the rest of my life. It would be great if I could manage to fit a regime of meditation into my life. I am certain I should have saved more money by now.  But you know what? I am pretty sure I only want those things because of some other list I read and putting timelines in place doesn’t always help. With the exception of the weight loss portion, that definitely needs to happen for cholesterol and heart disease purposes. The spandex industry will be devastated, but we’ll all move on.

*I actually could write a tome on the love and respect I have for the friends and family I have in my life. I am continually inspired and amazed by how much support I have and I question how anyone survives without this type of network in place. Mission become a better friend launches NOW!

Somehow I got old and out of touch with reality.

As I stood in security at JFK this past Friday to attend a good friend’s wedding and a reunion with some beloved college friends, it occurred to me that I forgot the one thing I actually needed that weekend – my dress for the wedding. I was also 2 hours delayed, present-less, and on the brink of a nervous breakdown.

At least I remembered to pack undergarments, a shoe, and this cat.

At least I remembered to pack undergarments, a shoe, and this cat.

So when I frantically plopped myself down at the closest bar I could find I was pleased to be sandwiched between two sophisticated businessmen, clearly older and more established than myself. Sometimes when one is at one’s worst it is nice to be surrounded by stability.

I happened to notice the gentleman to my left was rather handsome. We begin to chat and I imagine our own impending nuptials He is a suit, in some type of nebulous banking pharmaceutical industry and clearly far more stable than some chick who is delayed without imperative luggage.

We share beverages, laughs, stories, and within five minutes it is revealed that he is also a recent graduate. From college. And I am old, a cougar, and a borderline rapist. Not to mention a lost soul teetering on the edge of unemployment… but alas that’s for another post. ;) When did I become older and less established than most bar dwellers? When did my concept of age reality go so awry? Is my judgment that far from accurate? Deep thoughts…. mission get my life back on track commences now!

Sunshine on the horizon.

Hello Daylight Savings!

photo (35)

I for one could not be happier for signs of spring. It’s been a hard winter and I, along with all other Northerners could use a little sunshine.  This first week was a little hit or miss, but I definitely feel good things on the horizon. The beginning of spring is always a joy for me because everyone completely overreacts in the sweetest way possible.  Here are the things I adore about the launch of spring:

  1. Once the temperature is above freezing and we don’t have hurricane force winds, New Yorkers shed all sense of clothing. Men immediately don shorts and boat shoes (which I love for many other reasons) Women, essentially wear as little as possible. It’s a win for everyone
  2. Smiley New Yorkers make for a happy Marissa. Spring literally feels like all NYC residents have entered a giant production of the Sound of Music (the happy parts) and it is simply gorgeous.
  3. Picnics become a part of my reality, which means my picnic backpack comes out of storage!
  4. Happy Hour is one of my favorite things and finding new rooftops and al fresco options is somewhat of a sport. At the first sprout of a crocus, restaurants open their doors and set up outside seating and you can rest assured this gal is there with a cocktail. Or 5.
  5. Concerts galore begin to pop up.  Okay all of these are not a part of the first signs of spring, but teasers begin. Summer Stage, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pool Parties (maybe they’ll come back??) There is legitimately free music as far as the ear can hear.

So enjoy New Yorkers, you deserve it. I hear it’s supposed 55 today, I’ll meet you in Central Park with some of my world famous Sangria.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The name of my brand.

0001PoI have been thinking a lot about branding lately. As both a consumer and a marketer, branding is very important to me. I like to know from whom I am purchasing and I want to know the story behind this company as much as I want to truly know my close friends and family. I think other people agree, especially when you are committing loyalty to products or services. Brands become the type of long-term relationship that is much beyond filling a physical need. There is an emotional connection that develops with loyalty.

As such, people demand a lot more from each daily interaction they have, whether it be the procurement of a bagel, booking a vacation, or selecting a laundry detergent. There are now a million ways to communicate as a brand, each with a unique purpose. We all consume so much content it’s hard to cut through the clutter to understand what is actually at the core of what we want. It’s fascinating that there can be so many different layers of communication essentially conveying one basic message, “This is who I am.”

Even though there are a million ways to get the message out, in order to make a meaningful connection, the most important thing to define is who you are and what you represent. This makes perfect sense until I began thinking about what my brand would be. If I were packaging myself up and selling myself to the world, what would be my brand? Do I have an elevator speech that could sum up who I am and why I matter? Well not really, but I did create a cute word cloud based off of this blog and I learned a lot. Apparently really love Christmas. It does concern me a bit that the word Elf is as important to me as this blog indicates, but alas, it is a pretty fantastic film.

Happy branding!

 

 

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