Category Archives: Beloved Roommate

The Definition of a Hot Mess

In my First Amendment class in college I distinctly remember reading a court case– Jacobellis v. Ohio (1964)– regarding the issue of obscenity and whether it was protected by the free speech clause. And Justice Potter Stewart, struggling to make sense of the definition of obscenity, said, “But I know it when I see it.” While his fellow justices were less than satisfied with his commentary, this quote took on new significance last night when I attended the Ingrid Michaelson concert at Terminal 5 (which, no, is not in an airport, but a music venue on the West Side).

The Beloved Roommate and I arrived fairly promptly and took our positions in eyeshot of the stage. We patted ourselves on the back for managing to track down such a wonderfully strategic location and basked in the glory of standing room only success. In the moment of said libations, enter HOT MESS, a trashed Long Island native who felt compelled to scream (over and over again) in the thickest accent possible, “Ingrid, get your ass on stage!”

Both the Beloved Roommate and I suspected this girl was bad news bears. But she really sealed the deal when she shoved her way in front of us, entirely obstructing our view of the stage. Aside for her absurdly loud intonation, she was also unapologetically selfish in demeanor. And any hint we offered her fell on deaf ears, or as we soon surmised, drunk ears.

That is to say she was the textbook definition of hot mess, which like obscenity is sometimes hard to articulate in words, but Moses, when you see it, you know it! And her antics only continued throughout the course of the night, with her attempting to sing along to every. single. song., hip shaking during Ingrid’s infamously slow ballads, and grinding during a song whose most notable lyric is, “I’d buy you Rogaine when you start losing all your hair.”

But perhaps the defining feature of her misbehavior was her complete oblivion to the reality of the situation– that everyone within 10 feet of her was judging her, and not in the Paula Abdul on American Idol sense. We were all Simon Cowells, and unabashedly so. Instead of reserving judgment, we all- at various intervals- expressed our disdain for her voice, dance, and tendency to fall over herself and onto nearby concert goers (myself included, on at least three separate occasions).

When the concert came to a delightful close, with Ingrid doing a remarkable cover of Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” the Beloved Roommate and I made a b-line for the exit. Of course the Hot Mess followed, this time singing Avril Lavigne and making me contemplate what would happen if I were to commit a crime while a member of New York law enforcement. Would I be given special treatment, or would I be dealt with more harshly for abusing my power? Without a weapon to wield, I determined to do something much more biting: devote an entire blog post to her absurdities.

 

“Some of the best, most interesting people I’ve met.”

Four years ago today, I began first-year (not to be confused with the gender insensitive term, “freshman”) orientation, and frankly it was a magical time in my life. I met several women who would alter the course of my Wellesley career. These women, more commonly referred to as my “biddies for life,” were and are my inspiration and strength in the midst of my 20something confusion.

Unfortunately, most of them do not live a one minute walk away from my dorm room anymore. They cannot drop their 500 page edition of Middlemarch or desert their tumor-filled mice in the science lab and run over to my room to reassure me that I am fully capable of composing a 100+ document on the trials and tribulations of African health policy implementation.

They are unable to make the requisite six AM Starbucks run with me each morning, as Portia, my favorite barista of all freaking time, assures me that I will not overdose on the trenta– despite its 31 oz. enormity. And they are incapable of telling me– face-to-face– that despite my obvious special snowflake status, I have potential to do great(ish) things if I set my mind and heart to it.

Perhaps this is why I take profound comfort in the Wellesley 2015 Class Orientation flash mob video, in which RAs, first-year mentors, and even a few deans, reassure the incoming class that they can and will be women who will make a difference in the world:

Though I am no Katy Perry fan, every so often a few cliche song lyrics is all I need to remind myself that despite the geographical distance, my Wellesley biddies are very much there in spirit– teleporting me lattes and love. They truly are, as one Yale boy phrased it today, “Some of the best, most interesting people I’ve met.”

Savvy and Sassy Take on Tumblr

This a brief but wondrous service announcement: I have started a second blog. Aided by the Beloved Roommate, I have embarked on my first collaborative blog initiative. The tagline– “Two friends. Two cities. One summer.”– indicates the basic premise: an exchange of brief notes between the Beloved Roommate, based in Boston, and myself, residing in New York.

Of course, you can expect many of the themes present in this blog– caffeine addiction, employment woes, and matchmaking dilemmas– to color the content of the new blog. However, have no fear, I do not intend to duplicate stories. This blog will continue to present new and semi-witty general content, while the other will focus on brief, but poignant storytelling.

In this manner, I hope to hone my prose, both in length and brevity, and I ask that all my loyal greenstraw readers accompany me on this summer long adventure. But just to give you a sneak peak into the tumblr madness to come, I will leave you with a preview of our About Me section: We enjoy sundresses, lattes, and linking pinkies. Also the legal system or manuscripts, depending on which of us you’re talking to.

Can you even contain your excitement? Savvy and Sassy certainly can’t:

What we learn about ourselves… during finals.

While most college seniors are in the midst of graduation celebrations, my Wellesley biddies and I are spending our every waking hour and penny at the local Starbucks churning out final papers.

And in the midst of this writing bonanza, I have come to several realizations about myself:

1. Even Types-As can procrastinate. I used to think only Type-Bs, with little ambition and even less drive, were the only ones who spent time perusing NBC for the latest SNL shorts. I thought wrong. Over the last 72 hours I have viewed the SNL short– Jack Sparrow– at least fifty times (yes, like the rapper). Much thanks to the Gentile Giant for introducing me to the wonders of Lonely Island-Michael Bolton collaborations:

2. I am caffeine-blind. I do not privilege one form of caffeine over the other; lattes, diet cokes, and Indian chai are all acceptable and welcome forms of energy boosters. While I have my personal preferences– Starbucks, I’m talking to you– I am also diligently saving for my New York move and have had to sacrifice my twice daily routine in order to purchase a spatula for my new apartment.

3. Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” is my finals, and perhaps life anthem. And though I have little in common with an uneducated Detroit rapper– except our noticeably pasty skin color– his words speak to me. You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow; this opportunity comes once in a lifetime, yo.

And with that I return to the conclusion of my final paper of my college career. In the words of the Beloved Roommate, “Get it, girl.”

When in doubt, splash it out.

According to my favorite Asian Gnome, you can tell a lot about a person just by observing how a person interacts with a puddle. Does she jump into it, splashing her fellow passerbys, or, does she hesitate and find the narrow path around the whirl of water in an effort to remain completely dry?

I, myself, identify with the latter– even when I am adorned in full rain gear. From this the Asian Gnome concludes I am “cautious and meticulous in my tasks.” In contrast, said Gnome, regardless of footgear, jumps feet first into the puddle. She is a risk-taker, embracing the spontaneity of the present and the possibilities of the future.

Given our disparate approaches to puddles, we each enjoy life to varying degrees. As you might imagine, I enjoy it less– invoking my neurosis more frequently than I should. In recognizing this shortcoming, I determined a few weeks ago to remedy the situation.

Trading my Miami Vice obsession for my current television compulsion, The Wire, I began to loosen my guard. I let myself fall for an individual who logically I should have completely disregarded (and perhaps informed law enforcement of).

However, in embracing my new found spontaneity, I determined that crushing on a fictional Baltimore drug dealer of a different race was perfectly acceptable. Yes, I gave my heart to Stringer Bell, one of the protagonists in HBO series The Wire.

It's all in the eyes.

Though he acquired his fame and fortune through overtly illegal means, I still found something so incredibly attractive about him– likely his ambition. He wasn’t willing to settle for anything less than owning all of Baltimore. And he had the drive to pursue this ambition, regardless of financial or emotional cost.

But then the unthinkable happened: Bell was murdered by a shot gun-wielding assassin and his New York counterpart. And suddenly my walk on the water side came to an abrupt and dry halt.

Disturbed, confused, and convinced that I would never be able to embrace a life of puddle splashing again I turned to the Beloved Roommate for comfort. Her solution– images of Don Draper, a philandering Madison Ave advertising man.

And while I stared at images of Draper’s glorious hair, I realized that I was not, in fact, incapable of taking risks. Instead, I had to modify my mode of thinking. Jumping into puddles isn’t just about the momentary thrill; it comes with the knowledge that after the jump there is an inevitable water-filled aftermath.

Ultimately, we take the jump because, well, it’s better to have jumped and lost than never to have jumped at all.

Interstate 95: The highway that made me a monotheist.

I try not to live my life according to stereotypes. Every so often, however, I encounter a particular individual, environment, or stream of speeding motor vehicles that affirm a stereotype I try so vehemently to deny. For example, today, on route to the train station, I encountered the infamous Massachusetts driver.

And I specifically use the term “infamous” because it carries a negative connotation. Mass drivers are known to be the worst in the entire country (Beloved Roommate excluded from this sweeping generalization). They are drivers who hesitate to enter an intersection, then determine to take the risk as the light turns yellow, but fail to make their move before the light changes to red. As a result, they block both the pedestrian path and part of the aforementioned intersection.

As my grandmother would say, “You take your life into your seat belt when you step foot in a moving vehicle in Boston.” And while my last four years of college have affirmed this reality time and time again, today particularly stood out.

Amidst the rush hour traffic on I-95, Massachusetts motorists determined to sidestep the jam by driving in the emergency vehicle lane. The Beloved Roommate, the Awesomeist Sophomore, and your truly were beside ourselves. What in Moses, Mary, Mohammad’s name did these Mass motorists think they were doing?

Aside from endangering the lives of drivers and passengers in legitimate lanes of traffic, it reinforced a stereotype I had tried to dismiss as invalid– that Massachusetts drivers drive like today’s their last day on Earth, and hence all fear of reprimand or speeding ticket disappears.

While the Roommate and Sophomore contemplated sudden death, I reminded them of the pact I had made with G-d last week when I determined not to pursue my assailant: You can’t take me from this Earth until I have tried the Starbucks trenta. “In that case,” the Sophomore reasoned, “you better not drink that trenta anytime soon.”

After twenty minutes of exchanging expletives, we arrived at the Route 128 Amtrak station. I would live another day to drink a skinny vanilla latte, and so after a brief goodbye, I parted ways with my Wellesley women and boarded a New York-bound train. While on the train, I received a text message from the Sophomore, “Hey, just for your sanity, apparently it’s legal to drive in the breakdown lane during rush hour. They’re trying to open up more lanes.”

While, in theory, there is some logic in opening up additional lanes during rush hour, it ignores a critical factor– that in the event of an actual emergency, emergency vehicles would be unable to reach the motorist in distress. And that, avid readers, is why I have departed this state for Spring Break.

London, get ready ’cause here I come!

Brought to you by the letter Starbucks

When in doubt, take a sporcle quiz to figure it out. Yes, avid readers, my new mantra is that every decision can be made with the use of a handy dandy sporcle quiz. Today, courtesy of the Beloved Roommate, I took the “Can you name the city with the most Starbucks?” quiz. I guessed 28 of 30, missing Calgary (seriously!) and Bangkok (um, what?) .

The significance of the quiz, though, is not the two cities I missed, but the top three cities I correctly identified: London (270 locations), Tokyo (260), and New York (216). As a senior struggling to make the career choice that is in my best coffee-related interest, I have continually been drawn to London, and more specifically the graduate program to which I was accepted, and New York, a city that has never ceased to inspire me, though currently provides no source of permanent income.

I imagine, given the quantity of Starbucks locations in Tokyo, I should begin investing in Japanese lessons as well. For now, though, I am content to limit my job search to the two cities that recognize that a Starbucks addiction is a perfectly acceptable and perhaps even laudable caffeine-driven pursuit.

Brooke Shields once said, “No one comes between me and my Calvins.” I would modify that statement and say, no one comes between Starbucks skinny vanilla lattes and me. It is for this reason that I leave you with a video my Albright fellows feel best encapsulates my outlook on life:

*I should note that said recommendation was followed by a link to a blog called “Starbucks Anonymous.” A little research indicates, however, that the creators of the blog soon gave into their addiction and abandoned their advice column to pursue bigger and better cappuccinos.

The sky is falling, or, the tale of the disappearing cupcakery.

I woke up the other day– under caffeinated and slightly delirious from the festivities of the previous night. Said festivities involved a marathon of Apples-to-Apples,  pint size versions of Sabra hummus, and a whole lot of estrogen-driven chit-chat– just another Friday night at a woman’s college.

But I digress, as I awoke, I texted the Beloved Roommate to inform her that I desperately needed a dosage of caffeine, should she care to accompany me on this necessary venture. While driving to Starbucks, we noted that Kick Ass Cupcakes, the cupcake store that had opened in Wellesley only a few months before, had suddenly and mysteriously vanished.

Now Kick Ass Cupcakes is not your ordinary New England cupcakery smack in the middle of an upper class, extraordinarily white suburban setting. It had alcoholic flavored cupcakes– such as the Mojito, as well as comfort food-esque baked goods– like the Peanut Butter and Jelly cupcake. And unlike a typical New York bakery, it served them for obscenely reasonable prices.

 

RIP: Berry Crumbly

 

While Slate may have portended the end of cupcakes over a year ago, I cannot accept that this artheroclerosis-inducing establishment is a bakery of the past. Bakeries, even in towns where the average woman strives to be the size of my right thumb, still seem to support caloric havens. Said woman purchase these products for their small, and usually rather athletic children, who burn off the calories almost as instantly as they intake them. (As an aside, I have always not so secretly despised those children.)

However, I think what truly bothers me is that a potentially wondrous place to study off-campus has disappeared. There are few places in the town of Wellesley that serve both quality food and outrageous ambiance. Kick Ass was one of those exceptions.

Now, in its absence, I must resign myself to Susu’s, a classy cafe that I suspect pays the $80 a jar price tag for Stumptown Roasters. Their prices, sadly, reflect that quality coffee bean endeavor. Also, I am the only brown eyed girl in the cafe. Somehow Kick Ass managed to attract what little diversity existed in the town into its shop. And frankly, I miss that.

All of this, of course, increases the possibility that I will actually venture into the city of Boston to discover a new study niche. If you have any thoughts or recommendations of places to caffeinate and converse in highly intellectual discourses on either obscure Italian cinema or women and economic development, do share.

It’s never too early to start brownstone hunting.

First, let me begin by explaining that I had no intention of attending the open house of a brownstone I  most certainly cannot afford anywhere in the near future.

In fact, my intentions were entirely pure. Meet my friend and former intern– Caroline– before she returned to Brown at Alice’s Tea Cup, a tea venue frequented by Tina Fey and her daughter, Alice. Enjoy a leisurely pot of Trafalgar Square, my favorite zero calorie peppermint patty sensation, and go on my merry little way across Central Park.

However, Caroline– delayed by her sickly dog and his exorbitantly time consuming veterinary care– prompted me to look for alternative ways of occupying my time. At which point I noticed that the brownstone directly across from Alice’s Tea Cup was hosting an open house. Now for those unfamiliar with this particular architectural work of art, I provide for you a visual, courtesy of the Beloved Roommate.

It may not seem like the creme de la creme of fine New York City living, but the Roommate and I still have dreams of owning it, raising our children it in, and then crossing the street with those children– and taking them to Alice’s Tea Cup for Alice in Wonderland themed birthday parties. Call it our urban version of the house with white picket fence.

Well, upon seeing our future abode on the market, I knew this was my chance to see the modest masterpiece from the inside, and without a second thought, I bolted for the front door.

I was greeted by a Tyra Banks look-a-like, who claimed she, in fact, was the real estate agent showing the property. And she was quite suspicious of the 21 year old wearing a dress from the Banana Republic sales rack. Clearly I was not a part of the socio-economic bracket that frequents these sort of property peeping outings.

Nonetheless, she acquiesced to my demands to see the brownstone, but made me swear I would take absolutely no photographs. Unless, of course, I didn’t mind going through life without hands. She was certainly not above threatening innocent 20 somethings.

I soon forgot her menacing remarks, though. The interior was even more  breathtaking than I could have envisioned. Marked by a distinctly early 19th Century design, the house included  the kind of circular staircase that I secretly still dream of sliding down in a little black dress and heels.

And then there was the rooftop garden. Recently, I have been researching urban farming. Even though I should never be allowed within one hundred yards of anything green, I am fascinated by the idea that one can create a verdant paradise in the middle of one of the most polluted cities in America. This particular garden was a testament to all the articles I had read.

Unfortunately, the agent informed me that I could not linger for much longer. She had actual paying clients to attend to, and unless I had $8 million in my dress pocket, I would have to leave the premises immediately. I was suddenly reminded of the hand-less threat, and upon noticing a text from Caroline stating her imminent arrival, took her words as my cue to depart.

Returning home after a productive day of brownstone hunting, I was saddened by the realization that I was living a bit of a pipe dream. And so I opened the folder on my laptop entitled, “Homes you can actually afford in New York City.” Included in said file is a New York Times article– “Where the Boys Aren’t“– about cheap women’s only apartments in Midtown, most of which are owned and operated by the local nunneries. I decided that I would add my name to the list of women waiting for a spot in one of those Catholic lofts the following day, in the hopes that upon graduation I would have a piece of the New York pie to call my own.

How To Shower Without a Working Shower Head

Even  though my Beloved Roommate is no longer residing in the same city as me, I believe we are somehow still connected– and I don’t mean that in the spiritual sense.

While chatting with said Roommate the other day, I was informed she was sick, a classic case of the common cold. I mocked her a bit, noting that it was August, the hottest month of the year. And while most 20-somethings were sipping girly drinks beach or pool-side, she was downing orange juice like Tropicana was going out of business.

Well, either the Roommate has a voodoo doll resembling me, or indeed, even 250 miles apart, we are still entirely capable of sharing germs, because this morning I awoke to a sore throat, a runny nose, and many other symptoms too graphic to share with the general public.

To make matters worse, it appears my cleaning lady, in an effort to remove all semblance of dirt from my bathroom, disassembled my shower head and failed to figure out how to reassemble it– rendering me shower-less. Now, despite my invalid status, I was determined to bathe properly, shampoo and conditioner and body wash and all.

Even though there was not a drop of caffeine rushing through my veins, I was prepared to put my $200,000 liberal arts college education to work, and employ all the elements of a 21st Century lavatory to complete the task at hand.

Behold, the birth of a new how-to guide:

Warning: This guide requires that an individual be in a position to squat, kneel, and assume any and all necessary yoga positions.

1. Begin by turning on the sink, rather than the bath faucet. Employing the sink is a much more sustainable solution, as less water will rush forth from the traditionally smaller faucet.

2. Use the sink to cover your basics– washing hands, feet, in-between areas. Apply soap and rinse, lather, and roll.

3. If necessary, shave, following Step 2, but employing shaving cream in place of traditional Sabon soap.

4. After your body no longer wreaks of last night’s subway ride, prepare the tub. Your hair, assuming you are neither bald nor sporting the Wendy Wellesley buzz cut, will require bath water to succeed in removing all New York City pollutants currently residing on your scalp.

5. Now for the fun part: Step inside the bath tub, sit/lie back, and lean so that your hair is directly under the faucet. This may require a bit of maneuvering, as you try to find the perfect position in which your hair, rather than your eyes, nose, and mouth are directly in the line of the water. Be patient. Even without an ounce of caffeine in my system, I figured it out.

6. Apply shampoo, then conditioner, leaving extra time to remove all soapy residue. Again, a bath faucet releases less water than a shower head does, and so the process of rinsing your hair of all of its bubbly, hydrating goodness will take additional time.

7. Splash warm water– assuming you have any left after this extended bathing session– over your body for one last rinse through.

8. Mission accomplished. Go treat yourself to Starbucks or Stumptown Coffee Roasters. You are a hygienic rockstar, and believe me, your co-workers will appreciate the great lengths you have gone to groom yourself properly.

Now I must return to my Trafalgar Square tea blend (available for purchase here), which tastes like a peppermint patty in zero calorie form.