Skip to content

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!

 

 

The things I face.

pasta-types

 

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

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 736 other followers