What’s Making Me Happy This Week (1/15)

Written on the way home from Benihana, because when your best friend is in town, you do spontaneous hibatchi

This week has been ridiculously busy, with work holiday and going away parties, and my friend Jenny coming into town this weekend! But I’ve still had time to get some reading done, watch the winter premier of a few (OK, one) of the shows I actually keep up with, AND go to see one of my favorite movies in theaters. Which brings me to…



Often times the previews for Fathom events are for cultural events, like the Bolshoi Ballet, or Metropolitan Opera. But I’ve just recently started noticing the other things that they broadcast in theaters, such as classic movies and Broadway shows. A few months ago I went to see The King and I, and this weekend Jenny and I saw Singin’ in the Rain — and both are two of my FAVORITE movies. As soon as the music swelled at the beginning of the King and I, I swooned. And to see Singin’ in the Rain with a live audience, who clapped together after every number and guffawed over Debbie Reynolds was a very cool experience. Next up: Dirty Dancing (another personal fave — can you tell I love dancing and musicals?).

What ‘classic’ movie do you wish they would bring back to the big screen?




What’s Making Me Happy This Week (1/8)

Written while watching the Golden Globes 2017, fangirling over La La Land*

One of my favorite podcasts, Pop Culture Happy Hour, has a segment every week in which they discuss a piece of pop culture that is, as the title would suggest, making them happy that week. I’ve realized over the course of 2016 that pop culture – or more specifically, entertainment – is one of my passions. I’ve read more books and seen more movies (52!) in 2016 than in my entire life, so my goal in 2017 is to do a better job of documenting them. So as I learn to be more observant about elements of entertainment that are new to me, I want to document my favorites throughout 2017 here, to share with my friends, and also to look back on at the end of the year. And if you have suggestions, reading this — feel free to let me know!

WHAT IS MAKING ME HAPPY THIS WEEKHidden Figures (not related to “Hidden Fences”, which was brought up multiple times on tonight’s Golden Globes…)hf-gallery-02-gallery-imageThis movie made me think about how many untold stories must be out there! Anybody have suggestions for some great buried historical stories that I can read up on?

It reminded me so much of Argo because of it’s periodic feel, and suspense during the high moments of the film, despite the fact that it’s based on historical facts. While I knew that no harm could fall to John Glenn (whose mission in 1998 is probably the first major news event I remember seeing happen live), I was on the edge of my seat. Also — many praise emojis for that phenomenal cast and fantastic soundtrack additions by Pharrell Williams. Note to self (and all power ladies out there): put your name on everything, and get your credit where credit is due.

Honorable Mentions (aka other things I’ve seen and read lately):

  • The Sun is Also a Star (Book): I literally read this book in two days… both of which were workdays… when I worked at least 10 hours. I honestly just couldn’t put it down once I got home. It all centers around two characters who have a chance encounter in New York, and takes place over the span of one day. The book really points out the importance of random meetings, and makes you want to know the story of every person you meet on the street.
  • 20th Century Women (Movie): Funny with a variety of delightful characters. These characters are a true family, with romantic feelings for each other, without the movie really focusing on romance. Plus — a fantastic soundtrack.
  • Jackie (Movie): Portland was extremely believable as Jackie and really morphed into the role perfectly (accent, composure, and facial expression), however I found this film rather boring. However, I’m not one of those people who really idolized Jackie O, so don’t take my word for it. I was pleasantly surprised by how much the movie focused on just Jackie. Obviously, she is the titular character, but I expected a good amount of focus on JFK, which only has one or two lines that weren’t directly lifted off of exact speeches.

*Note: because I saw La La Land in 2016, I’ve decided it can’t officially be featured in this post. However, I am THRILLED with it’s sweep of the Golden Globes tonight.

Happiness Project, 2016

the_happiness_project_book_by_gretchen_rubinGuilty little secret about me: I sometimes turn to Lauren Conrad’s suggestions for reading materials. One of the reading lists on her site suggested a book called “The Happiness Project” in which the author, Gretchen, aims to find a happier life throughout the course of one year by focusing in on one topic or resolution per month. Some of these focus areas include saving money, being a better parent, finding God, being a better friend.

Although Gretchen, at the time she wrote the book, was in a different life stage than I am in now (she being happily married, twice published, and mother of two) I’m finding nuggets of inspiration throughout the book:

“In a virtuous circle, being happy energizes you and at the same time, having more energy makes it easier for you to engage in activities – like socializing and exercise – that boost happiness” – Chapter 1 (January): Boost Energy

This small statement hit me – I need to stop treating sleep like something that I should feel proud that I’m able to abate. Getting less sleep than the person next to me isn’t a badge of courage. It just makes for a less productive and less happy day.

“One of the best ways to make yourself happy is make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself” – Chapter 6 (June): Make Time for Friends

The first half of this statement is something that I’ve believed in for a long time (one of my earliest memories is being in “double time out” because I snuck out of my first punishment to give my sister some toys to play with during her time out) however the second part of this sentence got to me. I spend a lot of time spinning my wheels, trying to guess what other people want to do, see, eat, etc. Maybe to make them happy, I need to go with what would make me happy sometimes. It’s ok to have preferences and suggestions sometimes and actually may make my friends and family happier – just because I’m happy.

I could include more quotes like these, but for now I’ll leave it there.

I’ve decided to start a similar project for myself – how lucky for me that I stumbled upon this book in January! I’ve always disliked New Year’s Resolutions, but this can be a way for me to observe the things that are sucking up my time and money, and see how my happiness increases when I make small self-improvements. While I may not feel the need just yet to revamp my entire life like Gretchen has (I’m sure there will come a time when I’ll find it refreshing), I do think there are little experiments that I could do to make small changes in my life. Some of my ideas include: going a month without buying a new article of clothing or shoes, a “dry” month (of alcohol), a month where I bring my lunch to work at least four days a week.

I’ll track my progress via this blog, if only as a reminder to myself of thoughts or productive actions taken as a result of these miniature self-experiments. Although I expect only my mom is reading this (Hi Brenda!), any suggestions as to other projects I can spend a month on or resolutions of your own?


I don’t remember exactly when I started watching SNL, but I know that it was a cornerstone to my growing up. It was discussed at 8th grade lunches, and before the first bell of high school. It was the focus of countless sleepovers, quoted thousands of times. It was the reason I started paying attention to politics, the news, and part of my drive to be involved in journalism.

I won’t ever forget watching Lazy Sunday for the first time on my best friend’s couch, or watching the SNL “Best Of” DVDs in her basement. Watching with my dad on Sunday mornings was a ritual, as was watching in my mom’s bed on Saturday nights before falling asleep. I am a Phi Mu because they recreated SNL on Skit Day, and couldn’t even begin to count the number of people who I’ve watched SNL with, or talked about it with on a Sunday or Monday morning.

Tonight I laughed, cried, sang, screamed and flat out “fan-girled” through the 40th Anniversary. I may have watched alone in a room, but I was sharing everything along with about a dozen of my friends who were texting me along the way. SNL brings together talented weirdos and makes them into inspirational heroes, giving America laughs. Not every week is a hit, but SNL is an important institution to New York and America, and a constant presence in my life. Thank you to Lorne and the cast that feels like my actual friends for the memories, inspiration, and all of the feels. Here’s to 40 more.


Words into Action

Having only spent 3 days at home over the holidays, I decided to go home this weekend to relax, spend time with my parents, and have a few lazy days. Luckily for me a few of my friends are home and were free to grab a quick drink on Saturday night at a new bar in Holland. Catching up with my friends I find is always a great time, especially when I can focus on one or two of them at a time. My friend Erica, as she told me on Saturday, is working on applications to graduate programs in the area. She was telling Jordan and I about her applications, and the essays causing her to think.

She brought up one application that asked the question What outrages you, and what are you doing about it? We went around the table discussing possible answers, and realized that we were seeing a trend. The first part of the question was rather simple: we could come up with plenty of things in life that annoyed and even outraged us: disrespectful people, feeling trapped by our young ages, etc. But the second part of the question was extremely difficult. What are we doing to combat the wrongs we see in our lives?

This question got me thinking about taking action, rather than being passive. As I’m getting more independent and thinking more about the things that are important to me, this is something I need to be thinking about day to day.

Going for the Goal

Hard to believe I’ve been a part of the THD team for almost a month already.

At the end of my first full week at Carat, my Planner took some time to talk to me about how I felt it was going, and to encourage me to start thinking about where I wanted my career path to go. I fumbled through a couple of sentences about wanting to travel, awkwardly thought about how a goal of mine is to be able to balance work with having kids, without having to choose one or the other, but really didn’t end up with much.

After thinking for a few hours, I realized that a big reason why I struggled to express what I want for my future, is that my future, for the first time, is pretty infinite. I’m not creating goals at a hardwired impasse in my life (like going to college, or graduating). It’s not a goal for a semester or a school year – I’ll be working for about the next 40 years of my life. It’s really tough to think THAT big picture.

Another element to my difficulty: my inability to make these goals measureable, or have any sort of idea of a timeline. I’ve been working for less than a month – how do I know how long it takes to become an SVP? How, besides a promotion far down the road, can I measure that I’m doing a good job, without constantly needing pats on the back?

So I’m challenging myself to come up with goals that are more thought out (working abroad for a year or so does not count as a goal) and are measureable. It takes a lot of thinking, and also a lot of squirming in my stomach – both because it’s an awkward personal process, and because it gets me excited about the potential of my future. For those of you who are also new(ish) to the job market (putting those 40 years in perspective) – any advice?

“Me” Time (And It’s Multiple Definitions)

This is the first summer in seven years that I haven’t spent either in classes or interning. Even when I was too young for summer programs, like dance and tennis camp, my mother had a rule that we had to write 5 sentences a day, just to keep us busy (and probably sane). This summer has a different format for me, and it’s been quite an adjustment.

I’m spending my time in Columbia, my college town, working on my thesis, and finishing up any loose ends that I have before making that cross-country drive back to Pennsylvania one last time. When I first told my parents that I would be spending the summer in Columbia, I presented them with an extensive timeline or when I planned to finish each stage of my thesis — when I would defend my research proposal, when I would be doing my interviews, when I would be finished writing “Phase I.” Everything was perfectly planned, almost to the day, as to what I would be working on, when my advisors would have my work, and when I would be conducting my interviews. But this summer, instead of being a lesson in working quickly and sticking to a timeline, has been a lesson in how to work around other peoples’ availability and manage my needs and expectations.

I’ve very quickly learned that everything is not going to go according to schedule when I’m relying on other people to contribute to my work. They have busy schedules ad educators, researchers, and industry professionals, and I’m just lucky to get their time when they ARE available. People won’t always be able to respond to my interviews the same day that I send them, even if I’ve identified the optimal time of day to hit ‘send’! I’ve learned patience and to be flexible with my time, because I’m still at the bottom of the totem pole. This will be a skill that I’ll absolutely be carrying with me when I enter the workforce in just a few months. I won’t always get responses as soon as I’d like them, and time isn’t always in my favor. Patience is a virtue, and now I have lots of practice at it.

So for now, I’m learning to take advantage of my “last summer,” before I begin working, with some “Me” time  — actually have time to exercise daily, and spend some GOOD hours at the pool. In the 6 weeks since graduation, I’ve already read 8 books, and trust me, I’m not that much of a reader. I’m loving my time to myself, and my time spent giving tours of my beloved Journalism school to high school and incoming Mizzou students. And I’m also appreciating how lucky I am that my thesis committee is actually EXCITED about my topic. When they do have time to talk with me, I always leave with a smile on my face, because it’s clear to me that this is a project they’re happy to be working on, which is not something that everyone can get from their committee of advisors. So THANK YOU to all of you, who have all become mentors to me!

And mom, I guess this summer, instead of writing 5 sentences, it’s running 3 miles, or reading 100 pages. I guess some of your methods really have been beaten into my brain, like second nature.