Birthday Reflection

“Inferior people talk about others,
average people talk about things,
superior people talk about ideas. ”
– My very wise grandfather

Age is a weird thing. My mid-July birthday would always mark the beginning of the end of the summer. After the chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting came back-to-school shopping, ripe peaches and – before I knew it – Labor Day.

With each birthday that passes, I long for the carefree days of being an innocent kid, when life was good because of a simple cupcake for a friend’s birthday or staying up an extra hour past bedtime.

I’ve also realized how much you can miss people as years go by. Whether it’s grandparents that I had the chance to meet but with whom the time ended too soon, or for the one who I’ll never meet but only know from stories, photographs and sayings like the one above. As I turn a year older next week, I hope I can still learn from my grandfather. I’m lucky to take a shortcut and reap the benefits of his wisdom, which surely came from years and years of experiences.

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Monday Mélange: The Small Things

In the more stressful times – and in times where you don’t see things going your way – it is important to remember the little things. The smell of fresh rain on concrete, the taste of the first ice cream of the season, the moments you see loved ones succeed. I’m trying to remember to appreciate the good things instead of dwelling on the bad. Here are some ways I do that:

1) Indulge. It’s ok to have a crème brûlée every once in a while. It won’t kill me.

Crème Brûlée | netflix & nutella

Crème Brûlée for a French event

2) Nature. Appreciate the vibrance of the colors in nature this time of year, and don’t overlook the beauty and simplicity of all of the green.

All the small things | netflix & nutella

Flower from the Biltmore

3) Sunlight. Sunlight gives me an extra jolt of energy. Embrace sitting outside and away from technology.

All the small things | netflix & nutella

Greenhouse roof at the Biltmore

4) Simplicity. The Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina exude natural simplicity. It’s hard not to be completely wrapped up in its beauty.

All the small things | netflix & nutella

Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina

5) Hard work. My dad tells me it doesn’t matter where you go to school or who you know. Hard work is the most important thing you can do to achieve your goals.

Biltmore | netflix & nutella

Biltmore estate near Asheville

 

Passages

After all of our Spring Break adventures – from Bologna to Berlin and to Prague – my friends and I have rekindled our love with Paris. We were doing so much exploring in other cities that we realized how little exploring we had done in our own city.

I have a huge list of things I need to do in Paris before I leave. On an overcast Saturday with not much to do, two friends and I went to the 2nd arrondissement to explore a new neighborhood.

We went to visit the “Passages” of the 2nd. These 19th-century commercial arcades were built when dark Paris lacked space for sidewalks. They are still bustling commercial areas that are perfectly hidden off of main boulevards. They remind me a lot of the Bologna arcades that line almost every sidewalk. They’re a perfect retreat from rainy Paris and are perfect for roaming.

Looking up

Looking up

A long passage

A long passage

Love old books

Love old books

Some antlers. Why not?

Some antlers. Why not?

Duly Noted

In my PR class last semester, we spent a good 2 weeks working on our resumes, interview etiquette, internship searching, etc. Thinking about the future provokes a gut feeling of fear but also excitement. Job searching is one of those things that people assume you can figure out, but it’s definitely nice to have someone hold your hand and walk you through it.

I had a phone interview the other day for a summer internship and was offered a position. I couldn’t be more excited about it, seeing as the summer internship hunt sometimes feels like trying to find a lunch table on the first day of school – unless you know someone at one of the tables, you feel alone and, for lack of a better word, screwed.

As my PR professor would be happy to know, one of the first things I did was write my interviewer a thank you note. My sister asked me what made me feel the need and decided that I’m just O.C.D. about being perceived as rude. But putting my neurotic tendencies aside, the answer is simple: writing someone a letter is one of the most personal forms of showing your appreciation. No one gets excited about yet another email in their inbox or the infuriating process of listening to voicemails.

We were nagged every Christmas by my mom to write our thank you notes for the gifts we received from family and friends. By 10 AM on December 26th, I was usually done with mine (while my less diligent siblings were often buying stamps in late January). Getting stationery in my stocking was usually some incentive to begin with the notes.

My stationery supply is now dwindling, and instead of investing in a new set, I’m going to try to put my craftiness to the test. By investing in a few neutral stamps, some glitter, and a glue pen, Emily Schuman makes the idea of creating homemade notes easy and even more personal.

Strawberry stamps from Emily

Inspiration from Emily at Cupcakes and Cashmere

 

 

 

 

 

To my professor who took two weeks out of his precious class time to teach us how to dress for interviews and the difference between “stationary” and “stationery,” thank you. Oh, and check your mailbox.

Here are a few of my own ideas for homemade stationery courtesy of Michael’s Craft Store.

Sandy

It’s times like these that you can’t be anything but grateful; grateful for your family, your friends, your life. There’s nothing I can describe what I felt yesterday besides “stuck.” Stuck in North Carolina, unable to help my family. Receiving phone calls from them every so often. Listening to my mom in NYC describe winds like she had never seen; listening to my sister from her apartment downtown with no power; not hearing from my dad for a period of about 4 hours until 11:30 last night when he and my brother had driven 20 minutes from our house on Long Island to tell me he was ok. The water was about 100 feet from our house before it started to recede back toward the bay.

Grateful doesn’t begin to describe it. But my heart goes out to all of those affected by Sandy even worse. In times like these, I hope all differences can be swept aside to come together and help rebuild.

Drowned tennis courts and floating houses in Westhampton Beach