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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!

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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!

 

 

The things I face.

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The past couple of months have been what a diplomatic person might call interesting. Not bad, mostly awkward and uncomfortable,which I guess in my life would actually be considered standard,  I’ve endured first date over the table sweaty hand holding, not once, not twice, but thrice. Side note, this is incredibly strange to me and it has never happened to me before. Handholding seems aggressively intimate for a first meeting and if you grab a hand that’s beyond clammy, and this very considerate lady provides you an out, such as over the top gesticulation, TAKE IT. Don’t repeat the offense. It’s uncomfortable for both of us.  Anyway, the handholding is not my point, I have been derailed.

So that’s been happening, I’ve started a new job, which is a new exciting journey, but also a little bit scary. New culture, new responsibilities, newness all around. Okay I can handle it, I am an adult. Being alone with a homeless transient pleasuring himself while staring me down in a deserted subway car was mildly nerve-racking, but I’m a survivor. The most anxiety inducing experience of the past couple months?  An all out blowout amongst Upper East Side WASPS in the grocery line at  my favorite grocery destination, Agata and Valentina.

Picture it.  Saturday morning. The aroma of the finest specialty foods wafting all around. Cheese and pastry samples for all. Suddenly the beautiful murmur of seafood mongers and the banter of pastry chefs is shattered with the screeching of self-righteous shoppers. Hand crafted pastas are flying, specialty meats askew and nearly half of the line weighing in on who was to blame. It was legitimately frightening and I, one who is not necessarily known to shy away from confrontation, was genuinely afraid. I ran. I hope everyone survived the blood bath. I am not willing to find a new shopping routine. Enough change already. Happy January loves.

Ch-ch-changes

Since it is the turn of the New Year I, along with all others, will end 2013 on a reflective note. In other words, ALERT serious post to follow!  I know I am scared too. Most years, amidst the celebratory nature of the surrounding toasts,  I say aloud that I feel that the following year will be better than the last. I rarely commit myself fully to this belief because of the resounding fact that I hate change.

As we all know, I am a 95-year-old woman living in a 29 year old body.  So I have grown comfortable in my crotchety ways. I most likely could eat the same thing for dinner for the rest of my life,  watch the same Frasier reruns, get the same Hendricks martini.  I love traditions, process, rules not so much, but you get it. So as the years have gone by and things have changed, I haven’t loved it. And as the past few years have passed, however hopeful I have felt, I knew at my core that things were getting progressively worse. Or more accurately things were getting more real and ultimately changing.

But I am happy to say I have had my last revelation of 2013. Although who knows, I could keep going all day and night! Here is my thought , things change, both those things that simply happen and have a profound impact, and those things that we actively choose to change.  That’s a fact, but here is the big a-ha moment that is most likely obvious to all other humans, but for a self-proclaimed change-phobe this was big, I can still maintain important things remain consistent while still allowing for change

Last year was the first Thanksgiving that my family celebrated without my mom and my Dad and I made the mistake of flying the coop and heading to Mexico for the big day. There was no turkey, no family gathering, no cooking, and most obviously no Mom. It hurt. It mad us sad, but the thought was, if we can’t have our traditions with Mom, then why have them at all? Let’s just get away. But this year my  sisters in law taught me that we can carry on traditions in a new space and keep both said traditions and the spirit of my mom alive forever.

So we had Thanksgiving in Philadelphia and everyone had to toast to what they are thankful for (side note – best drinking game ever).  And with Christmas is Seattle we opened new stockings filled with old favorites like socks and painted wine glasses.  These gestures may be small but it filled me with joy to know we can continue the traditions that my mom started and made us closer as a family. And this was the catalyst that made me further realize that the past is always with me, so although I don’t love change, evolution is inevitable and keeping these pieces with me is part of the process that will only make me stronger.  And with this thought, I truly believe that 2014 will be better than 2013. And I can’t wait.

Cheers and wishing everyone all of the best in the upcoming year.

a toast to change

a toast to change

A few nuggets of wisdom

The other night I had a hard time falling asleep. It happens. I get wired. My sleep cycle has no boundaries. Anyway my mind began to wander and  I began making some fairly astute conclusions that I will now share with my vast following in order to better the universe.

  1. A low carb diet doesn’t work if you just cut back slightly on pasta intake and immediately increase your bacon consumption.
  2. If you are dating someone for less than 2 months and they break up with you listing the fact that they aren’t yet ready to open a joint bank account with you as one of the reasons, it’s called dodging a bullet
  3. If you don’t immediately realize this, you may discover the merits of crying on the subway.
  4. These perks include but are not limited to the following: the subway increases invisibility, the rocking motion can be quite comforting, and the Poetry in Motion posters can be rather inspiring. Bonus points if there is an underground bodega from which you can procure a travel iced tea to drown your sorrows.

I don’t know how it was possible, but I quickly found sleep amongst this scintillating thought storm. Another finding, sometimes the ramblings of one’s own mind can be the perfect remedy for a sleepless night. Happy Holidays.

 

 

He sees you when you’re sleeping.

I was recently perusing a children’s clothing/toy store when I spotted something called the Elf on the Shelf. I had heard mention of this Elf, but it wasn’t until now that I began to comprehend the concept of the Elf. Essentially parents move this little Christmas Elf around the house to offer the impression that the elf is Santas’s snitch monitoring the child’s behavior until Christmas morning so that their gifting level is commensurate to their goodness. It was then that I began to realize that most childhood traditions, much like Santa’s surveillance, are beyond a reasonable level of creepiness.

1. So we all agree that Santa is crossing some privacy barriers…and is a little bit of a stalker, but at least he brings presents so it works out… I don’t know this is iffy.

2. The Tooth Fairy? Gross. Why does she need so many teeth?  Is she building a model of the universe created entirely of baby teeth? Psycho.

3. The Easter bunny? Also kind of a weirdo. Why is a giant bunny delivering baskets of poor quality candy? I mean I don’t hate it, but it’s kind of all over the place as a concept.

In addition to a tooth hoarding fairy, a creepy bunny, and pervy old guy, Kids also have to deal with Monsters in the closet and under the bed, the boogeyman, and the chicken pox. Conclusion: the life of a child is absolutely terrifying. Side bar, I love all holidays.

He's watching.

He’s watching.

Pivotal moments.

Recently I was honored to witness the engagement of two dear friends. It was a beautiful moment that will be remembered for all eternity.  Picture it. Sicily Brooklyn, during the New York City Marathon… a handsome Irish lad took a knee, sacrificing his time to profess his love for all to see.  Not days later I was thrilled to receive the call that my best friend was going into labor with her first daughter. And just 48 hours after that, I received the blissful news that I am an aunt yet again. Needless to say, just kidding I will say it, it was a big week. I was on a high from the said engagement and baby arrivals that I naturally began thinking about the most important moments in one’s life.

So there I was, contemplating those moments one finds oneself ruminating about on rainy days, the ones that create an ongoing slow motion montage that would be featured during a pivotal plot moment if life were a romantic comedy. Which it should be, but I’ll save that for a later post.  I now present to you my top three most profound life moments.

  1. My first dream. I was sliding down a rainbow and when I reached the bottom I plucked from the ground an oversize, laminated, four-leaf clover. Rainbow? Slide? Lamination? What’s not to love and remember forever?

    This dream was so off the chain it continually inspires artwork such as this. No I didn't save this from my youth, I drew this a few weeks ago.

    This dream was so off the chain it continually inspires my art. No I didn’t save this from my youth, I drew this a few weeks ago.

  2. The first time I realized my extreme heat disorder and sweat through my tee shirt. It was summer and I was practicing my dance routine and discovered I was covered in sweat from basically shimmying for 5 minutes. I knew then that I was doomed.
  3. The first time I realized I was a giant. I was in the first grade and my best friend confided she was frightened by my size. I subsequently was named the Jolly Green Giant, thought to be a teacher as a 5th grader, and overall harbored a feeling of extreme height awkwardness until college.

Authors note: As with all of the imperative topics I cover, this is mildly in jest. I have obviously had more key moments in my life. It is my prerogative to leverage my awkward younger self-moments to make me laugh now and try to reconcile them in a way that makes me feel like an evolved person. And that dream was literally earth shattering.  A toast to more pivotal moments!

“Hello My name is Marissa and I have a cat.”

When I first picked up my new fluff ball of perfection from Animal Control 5 beautiful years ago I told myself “Self, don’t get too weird with the cat thing”.

I then immediately began to get extremely weird with the cat thing. It started innocently enough. I live alone, I have a fear of rodents, a cat could both serve and protect. I would just be a girl who happens to have a cat. Nobody really needed to know. Having a cat didn’t need to define me by any means. Until I realized they make cat Rasta wigs… and bowties… and my mom discovered a bevy of other cat sundries including the most flamboyant Christmas outfit one has ever seen.

The next thing I knew my life was consumed with cat eccentricities. Photos, more bowties, more cat costumes, a holiday card. Needless to say I have taken the cat lady thing to a whole new level and I have to say I am totally okay with it. Here are some of my favorite cat themed items for your viewing pleasure.

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I don’t regret this in the slightest. YOLO.

I look at this every day before I go to work.
I look at this every day before I go to work.

This was a gift from mom, hanging proudly in my bathroom.

This was a gift from Mom, hanging proudly in my bathroom.

I think after this mom gift I had to talk with her about toning down the kitty gifts. This I do regret.

I think after this one from Mom I had to talk with her about toning down the kitty gifts. This I do regret.

The fact that he wears this hat even for a moment illustrates his angelic nature.

The fact that he wears this hat even for a moment illustrates his angelic nature.

I just have a lot of feelings…

Nostalgia is incredible. I would venture that beyond love it is the strongest emotion. Basically, it is one of the most feelingy feelings I have. I trend towards sentimental, it’s party of my senility, so I recently I got to reminiscing about some notable past moments. Only I can make a day of mulling over nostalgia, however I went with it. Most often I think of these instances as I drift to sleep, performing my own brand agnostic equivalent to prayer so that I may revisit them in my dreams.

This strategy of time travel rarely works and when it does I am so caught off guard I can’t properly enjoy it, wasting most of the dream trying to decipher its reality.  This is getting a little too mushy, moving on. Whenever possible, these are the moments I most savor.

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Bowls of snow with warm maple syrup. Or more accurately forcing my beloved Beauty Senior to enjoy this wonderful delight.

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Getting penny candy at nearby Old fashioned candy stores. Satellite wafers, weighing essentially nothing offering the greatest deal of eternity, until they figured this out stopped charging by weight. Sad day for all of us.

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Digging clams in sun or rain, or any weather condition for that matter. With my Mom. This mostly consisted of gossiping and standing in the water.

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Our annual Christmas Tree cutting excursion. Nothing is better than picking a perfect tree with cider, carols, and family.

There are many more, but these are the simplest ones that I revisit most often. I wish all of you the best of luck reminiscing, and if you find yourself face to face with favored moments in your dreams try to relax and enjoy them all over again. What are your favorite moments?

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