A Change + An Update

Oh god oh god. My blogging inconsistencies have reached an all time high. I just… don’t… have the time these days. But we all know that if you care about something, you make the time. So I guess it’s more that I’ve cared less these days. Yikes. It happens. After my last post (and sorry I’ve left you on that sad note), I made one really big change and switched jobs. This came as a huge shock to almost everyone I told. I had an epic love for BBH, I had been welcomed, accepted, and embraced, and it was wonderful. I adored everyone I worked with, and never had that dreadful Sunday night feeling (which is a feat in itself). But things had started changing. My support system was thinning, and an amazing opportunity came my way. And I had to take it!

So since March 5th (after a nice, restful week at home), I’ve been moseying over to Mother New York every day. It’s a pleasant little walk from the apartment – which is a hell of a lot better than starting days with a Subway ride. And it has been a HUGE change. It makes sense. When you take a step forward in your career, clearly it takes time to adjust. The work is harder (quite a bit harder), the responsibility is greater, and I’m very very accountable (which is scary). I’m guiding strategy on a ton of awesome accounts, traveling, and making friends, though. It’s been good.

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Mother New York rooftop

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Mother New York kitchen

So that’s work life. Which is pretty much life life because we’re in our twenties and live in NYC ;)

But a few other goodies are on the horizon this summer. Boyfriend and I are headed back to Ohio over Memorial Day, and then back again for my cousin’s high school graduation, and then back again for a friend’s wedding, and BFF’s engagement party. LOTS of Ohio loving. Hopefully we can sneak in some other trips, too. And some NYC time because we all know how glorious this city is in the summer.

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A few other fun highlights

Will try my darndest to update more often. Promise!

XO,

AG

When Something (Actually) Changes Your Life

Of all the “life changing” things I’ve experienced in my life, I would say 70-80% were associated with food. The first time I had Artichoke pizza in New York. When cupcakes first became a thing. Discovering Potbelly’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (and their Cookies & Cream Milkshakes). Pretzel M&Ms. Every time I ate stuffed crust pizza and was overwhelmed by the feeling that life was grand. Mac n Cheese too, obviously.

In a nutshell. I love to eat. I live to eat. If there is something warm/cheesy/gooey/melty/aromatic/colorful in front of me, I will eat it. I am known, far and wide, as a favorite among people who love to cook and feed. I will savor and Mmmm, and Yumm, and compliment, and swear, and make sure the chef knows just how damn tasty their masterpiece truly is (or even just how thankful I am that they picked up some potato chips on the way over).

I hope I’m getting my point across.

But amidst all of my fervent eating, I always had nagging stomach aches. I would of course, ignore them, attributing my discomfort to a sensitive stomach, and quickly returning to my large meal (which I always finished, mind you). These stomach aches had always been there. I was used to them, so I never really investigated the reason behind them.

After moving to New York, food became an even bigger part of my life. If something was social, it was also associated with food + drink, and I loved it. But I noticed that my stomach aches were getting a little worse. That certain foods would just knock me on my ass, ruin the rest of my day, and leave me in a total funk. It got to the point where I actually didn’t feel like going out on Fridays. I felt so out of. I just wanted to curl up in bed with a hot water bottle and my endless Netflix Instant Queue.

I decided to go to the doctor, after an especially bad week. I made the first appointment I could get on a Monday morning, and figured he’d prescribe a few pills, and I’d be on my way.

(Just realized this story is getting long… I’m getting to the point.)

In the end, I saw two doctors, had some blood drawn, and ultimately went in for an endoscopy during my trip to Cleveland. None of this was fun, and the more medical stuff I went through, the more I started to freak out. There are a ton of awful gastrointestinal diseases. And I was just waiting for the Doc to lay it on me.

And that he did.

I’m okay. And it’s not the worst thing in the world by any stretch of the imagination (not even the worst in the world of gasto), but last week I was diagnosed with Celiacs Disease. I’m sure most of you have heard of it. Especially with the strange uptick in Gluten-Free diets (which totally stumps me – WHAT? You don’t want to eat soft, warm, buttery bread anymore? REALLY? Though, it is supposed to be much healthier). It’s an autoimmune disease where your body is unable to digest gluten, a protein found in wheats, barley, rye, and sometimes oats. The treatment is simple – cut all of these things out of your diet, and never eat them again. Once you’ve done this, your body is totally healed, your diet is way healthier, and you feel great. You’re energetic, your mood is stable, your skin and hair glow (or so they say… crossed fingers). But until you’re fully adjusted and accustomed, it’s super strange.

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So there it is. A sad diagnosis that ends a long love affair with glutinous foods. Donuts, cookies, cupcakes, breads, beers, pancakes, burritos, pasta, pizza… I bid you adieu. Or at least until I can figure out how to find you or make you in a way that won’t make me want to keel over. Which will be soon, obviously.

I welcome any tasty Gluten-Free recipes (like this, this, and this), and promise to share some of my GF adventures (in case any of you are struggling with anything similar). But in the mean time, please refrain from offering me any crisp, cold beers, grilled cheese sandwiches, or slices of cake (my favorite food)! I will make you feel really bad :)

XO,

AG

Why Going Home for the Holidays is Humbling

It’s the third time I’m having to say this today, and it’s not getting any easier, but yesterday on my flight back to NYC, I read the most recent Cosmo. I subscribe, I get it every month, and I hardly ever read it. I read the Zooey Dechanel issue in October, because I love her, and I was blown away (for the hundredth time) by how guy-centric it all is. 10 Love Moves to Turn Him to Mush, Make  His 4 Sex Wishes Come True, Scents No Guy Can Resist (these are all real). Now yes, I agree it’s good to smell nice. And it’s even nicer when your guy thinks you smell nice. But come on.

But as I was skimming through the December Cosmo, a few of the pieces actually caught my eye. One in particular was about going home for the holidays, and how it can effect your psyche. I don’t have the article in front of me, but to paraphrase: When people go home, back to their parents house, and into their childhood room, they often revert back to who they were when they existed in that place. Part of this is based on location, but the other is based on people’s roles within the family. Growing up, my parents would remind me to stop thinking the best of people all the time (it was one of my biggest problems). That sometimes, it’s smart to keep your guard up. To always re-evaluate situations over and over to ensure that people aren’t taking advantage of you. This may sound a little dreary, but it’s true. And their advice kept me from getting trampled (at least most of the time). I took their words to heart, and kept them at the forefront of my mind during my teenage/early adult years. And from what I can see, it has helped me a in a lot of ways. And I feel stronger, more steadfast, and more equipped to deal with all sorts of people. But my parents, God bless them, still think of me as the naive, malleable little girl I was when I lived at home. Sometimes. Even though I’m not. Or at least I think I’m not.

Or am I?

Every time I go home, I am reminded of who I was. The events, places, people who made me the person I am today. My high school extracurriculars, which showed me that I can create something big and bring it to life. Volunteer work, which introduced me to a much harsher world that one I’d ever known. The friend whose intolerance made me incredibly sensitive to people in all situations. The co-worker who opened my eyes to the importance of a college education – and the fact that many people would never get one. The teacher who told me I could go anywhere in the world. The boy who taught me what it was to love. And I realize how lucky I was, and I am, to have experienced all of this. How lucky the current me is to have a full, happy, close-knit family. To have a boy that loves me to call when I feel lonely at night.

But what I realized on the plane ride back last night, is that I’m also very lucky I remember who I was (and to have people to remind me in case I forget). And keep that littler, sillier, dreamier girl safe and sound inside me. To allow a bit of naiveté and idealism to peek out from behind my “hardened” (hyperbole, obvs) “adult” exterior, and still believe that people are wonderful, often victims of circumstance, and that hundreds of beautiful opportunities lie ahead.

This is why I love going home. Because everyone should be able to step away from the current, and go back to their roots (or in this case, rooms). It really is humbling.

XO,

AG

A quick look into the life of (me!) a Social Media Strategist.

rosiesaysblog

Welcome back to my jobs series, So What Do You Do Exactly?  Today’s guest, Ambika, is social strategist at the big NYC advertising agency BBH. She works on megabrands (rhymes with “schmoogle”), up-and-coming products, and non-profits to help them design and execute a 21st century strategy for connecting with their consumers.

What’s your actual job title? Social Media Strategist.

What would your job title be if it actually described what you do? Brand planner, helping brands find their most articulate, clever, effective digital and social selves.

What does a sample day look like? Since my job is to be well versed on all things social, I spend my mornings perusing Facebook and Twitter. I follow a ton of great digital guru sites (Mashable, PSFK, TechCrunch, Gawker, College Humor, BuzzFeed) that keep me in the know. I spend a good amount of time reading.

I am the only…

View original post 1,074 more words

Social Identity Crisis

With the increasing and unyielding new digital/social behaviors of posting, sharing, Tweeting, Instagramming, liking, commenting, and divulging, the term identity crisis has taken on an entirely new meaning.

It’s always been cool to be cool. But now, no one cares about your one witty remark at dinner, or the fact that you started the dance party in your friends living room, or even that you can shotgun a beer (unless of course any of these are documented with a lovely Instagram). Because these moments are fleeting, and showing your cool on social media is cemented in time.

Whenever something big happens, what’s the first thing you do? Maybe call your Mom & Dad? Shoot your sister a text message? Ping a close friend? Or do you skip all the personal mini-messages and go big?

“HEY FACEBOOK! I JUST TOTALLY ROCKED MY MCAT (LSAT, GMAT, GRE, BOARDS … fill in your epic exam of choice)! 1/100THS OF THE WAY TO BECOMING DOCTOR SO-AND-SO!”

“HI FACEBOOK! I JUST GOT MY DREAM JOB AND IT’S PAYING ME DOUBLE WHAT I ASKED FOR! I CAN’T BELIEVE MY LUCK!”

I can’t say I’ve never done it. In fact, I’m a social media slore. I  gushed when I booked my vacation, when I found out I was moving to New York. I brag about my family all the time. And what is this blog? A collection of my most wonderful moments for the world to ooh-&-ahh at? It’s sort of gross if you think about it. Social narcissism at it’s best.

And then there’s the opposite.

GOD, COULD THIS DAY GET ANY WORSE? I JUST WANT TO CRAWL UNDER A MOSSY ROCK AND WAKE UP AT THE END OF 2012 WHEN THE WORLD MAY VERY WELL BE ENDING. FML FML FML.”

“SPENDING ANOTHER FRIDAY NIGHT ALONE IN MY APARTMENT WITH A TUB OF CHUNKY MONKEY AND 5 SEASONS OF GILMORE GIRLS. SO LONELY.” (don’t sound so bad to me!)

Social media can turn into an emotional black hole. When one experiences any heightened sentiment, it has the potential of coming out in a manner quite akin to maudlin word vomit. Be careful with that.

But the likelihood to share… life… on social media can also be incredibly eye-opening. If you’re an avid sharer, you’ve let people in on the good, the bad, the ugly. You’ve had to face your demons and come to terms with things that you don’t necessary love about yourself. It’s helped you realize what the best you looks like (even if it’s more outward facing than inward – these things can change!). What you’re not proud of (I’d never post that I lashed out on my boyfriend after a bad day at the office- something I need to work on, or that the big project I was working on just didn’t materialize like I’d hoped), what you are proud of, and moments that have helped define you.

And it’s a truly wonderful thing to be able to look back at that. I flipped through my Facebook Timeline today (and those of you who have been forcefully switched over, stop complaining. I’m certain Facebook knows your social behavior better than you do, and you’ll end up loving it). It was just so funny to see. I, for one, have realized that I was frighteningly free with my photograph posting in 2007, outrageously open with my work distresses in 2010 (and the fact that I watch Gossip Girl – EMBARRASSING, and probably rule peoples newsfeeds in the present (ps the earlier alliteration was totally unintentional. Love when that happens). But I was really interested to see one of my “braggiest” moments in my digital life. So I went back to when I announced my “big move” to NYC


Such a moment of excitement and exhilaration made permanent through social media. But in this moment, it wasn’t just about me. There was a crazy amazing, unexpected, influx of togetherness. Social is where people come together to rejoice in one another’s little victories, lend a virtual shoulder to cry on, or simply show that they care.

But it’s a fine line between relying on your social network for a pat on the back or a second of self-affirmation vs. requesting that they act as your virtual shrink. Facebook and Twitter aren’t the right place to bare your soul, people! That’s what blogs are for ;)

XO,

AG

 

On Finding Balance: Joanna Goddard

Do you read A Cup of Jo?

I’ve been reading Joanna’s blog for years. It was one of the first blogs I ever really took to, and now, it’s one of the first sites I visit every morning over my cup of coffee (even before Facebook!). Although Joanna and I are in very different stages of our lives, I love the honesty and ease with which she writes. And a lot of her topics are really relevant to women of all ages. One, in particular, really struck a chord with me.

Finding Balance.

Over one week, Joanna interviewed 7 moms on how they strike a balance in their lives. All of these women are high performing, career-driven, boss-lady-types with successful marriages and cute little kiddies. Being a woman in my mid-twenties, this is something I’ve started thinking about. Balancing a career, a marriage, a few kids (is that weird to say?) – how do people do it?! I can barely handle my job and cooking dinner… When will I go back to school? How do you know it’s the right time to get married? To have kids?

My Mom + Dad at 24 (with three-year-old me!) – Forgive the blur, it’s a camera-phone shot taken from an old family album.

It’s strange and overwhelming… eep… college!

But these women. These women make it seem so do-able. They aren’t shy about the concessions they make. They don’t sit there any tell you that it’s easy, or that they don’t miss their kids, or don’t feel guilty, but they do make you believe that a woman doesn’t have to be either a mom or a professional.

Here are a few of my favorite bits.

“‘Take gentle care of yourself'” […] is a surprisingly profound thing to remember. Of course, it’s true for everyone, not just mothers. Everybody feels overwhelmed sometimes, and it’s really easy to beat yourself up or put too much pressure on yourself or assume everyone around you has a perfect life. That’s not true, and we should be kind to ourselves and treat ourselves like the sweet souls we are.”

Don’t lose yourself in your identity as a mother. You were a woman before you met your husband/partner. You were a woman before you had your children. Don’t lose sight of who that person is.”

I’ve linked to Joanna’s posts so you can read them for yourselves. Really inspirational (and good to put on your mental shelf for somewhere down the road :)).

Happy Friday,

AG

Weddings for Food Fanatics

I worked my favorite wedding thus far, the other week. It was a Christine Paul Event, and it was my favorite for a few reasons. The locale was super chic. Minimal and stunning. They used the New York skyline as part of their decor, used an iPad as a virtual guest book, and had a chef cooking up a storm, in the middle of their dinner venue.

I’ve realized that if a couple loves food, it should always be at the center of their wedding. This couple crafted three special menus, with their chef – one for meats, one for organic veggies, and one for seafood. They served this food buffet style (CLASSY buffet) and had wine pairings for each dish. Their guests were eating until the last possible second. We actually had to personally usher a few guests out because they couldn’t leave their plates and were about to miss the first dance!

Here are some serious Foodie Wedding shots from across the web.

via Ruffled

via Green Wedding Shoes

via Green Wedding Shoes

via Green Wedding Shoes

via United With Love

via United With Love

Yums.

XO,

AG