Lessons from Eve

If I had my priorities in order I would write something profound about what a beautiful, emotional Pride weekend it’s been, particularly due to the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality. Instead, I’m going to write about my cat because I need a mental holiday and this supplies it. 

Here are some strange things my cat does: Nap in the sink (bathroom or kitchen, either will do), launch brutal, unprovoked vampire attacks on my arms and legs, meow like she’s being tortured for no apparent reason, lick the insides of the chicken packets, plant her ass in my face, vindictively swipe magnets off of my fridge. I like to think that with each trial she’s teaching me a valuable lesson. Here are some things I’ve learned over the course of owning her for almost a year.

1. Scream until someone notices you.

And if they look at you and then look away, scream louder. Scream until they’re staring. Don’t stop, and don’t draw breath.

2. Get in people’s faces.

If screaming alone fails, combine it with this tactic.

3. Sleep whenever possible.

In addition, master the art of staying asleep and/or sleeping in the most inconvenient location possible. On someone’s leg, for example, or on a keyboard.

4. Unless it’s night time.

There are so many things to do at night! Do them all!

5. When it comes to entertainment, innovate.

Who needs the fancy cat toys that litter the floor when you have twisty-ties or bubble wrap or boxes? Who needs a scratching post when you have a whole couch?

6. Stay cryptic. 

Never tell anyone what’s bothering you. If they really love you, they’ll figure it out.

7. Mark your territory.

Excrement and fur balls work equally well.

8. If you see something clean, mess it up.

Clinically tidy spaces are no fun.

9. Take some time each day to stare out the window.

It’s meditative. (For best results, increase the amount of time allotted to this activity each day. Build up to hours.)

10. Look cute all the time.

It’s the one fool-proof method to get away with anything.

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Lessons from Eve

2015: High Resolution

“That’s the most cliché blog post, like, ever,” was my sister’s response when she heard me say I wanted to write about New Year’s resolutions. Yes, it’s cliché; thousands of people do the same thing every year. But A) this is also a space for me to organize my own thoughts, and B) maybe, just maybe, someone will stumble upon this post, be inspired, and decide to implement some of my resolutions into their own life. It’s 2015; anything can happen.

Here are some ways I’ll attempt to get my life together this year. May you find them entertaining and informative.

Things to do more of:

1. Blogging. Yeah.

2. Reviewing books. Because that’s supposed to be good for my career aspirations or something.

4. Reading great writers. Because you emulate what you absorb.

5. Getting rid of things I don’t use. Does anyone else get a strange high from doing this? As I move to smaller and smaller spaces, I’m increasingly obsessed with reducing my possessions. Hello, Goodwill.

6. Writing letters. I do this now, but not enough. Dead serious: If you want letters, send me your address. And if you haven’t responded to one of mine, I have a great suggestion for your 2015 resolution list…

7. Emoting. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to communicate to the great people in my life how much they mean to me. I love all of you, always. Along with this, I’d like to do a better job staying in touch with people.

Things to do less of:

1. Over-scheduling. I can go a bit iCal crazy, and it’s bad for my sanity. If you see me running harried through the streets, remind me to space out social engagements and interviews, and that managing my time is equivalent to managing my stress.

2. Staring at glowing screens. I do this on the daily for my internship(s). When I’m off, I want to do it less.

3. Mincing words. I’d rather be blunt, bold, and go after exactly what I want.

4. Being body conscious. It’s unproductive and depressing and there’s not much I can do to change who’s in the mirror.

Things to start:

1. A personal newsletter. It’s called “Keynotes,” and in it I gather great writing from the corners of the Internet and deliver it to your inbox every month. You should totally resolve to subscribe.

2. Yoga. City living is stressful, and every once in a while it’s nice to concentrate on nothing but your breath for an hour. Failing this, dance classes will do.

3. Meal planning. As it is, the grab-n-go lifestyle isn’t really working for me. If anyone has any healthy meal planning tips, please share!

4. Responding to emails within 24 hours. This almost never happens. I am the worst.

Full disclosure: This title was inspired by Ann Friedman’s New Year newsletter because she is the greatest at titles. 

2015: High Resolution

8 things no one tells you about adulthood

Tidbits inspired by the post-grad life.

1. Making friends happens more than once.

It happens multiple times, in fact. And, every time you move to a new city, you have to start from scratch. Prepare for some friendless weeks, a whirlwind of socializing and a few friendship flops. If you’re lucky, you will eventually find people who share your interests and whom you can text to hang out without feeling like a nuisance. But mentally prepare for a dull period of loner looserhood.

2. There is no better feeling than clean sheets.

Seriously. None. Need a pick-me-up? Change your sheets. (Bonus points if, at the end of a long day, you snuggle into sheets that are still warm from the drier. Best feeling.)

3. Shit’s expensive.

Things cost money, and they usually cost more money than you expect. Food, clothes, entertainment, rent, insurance, medical appointments, utilities, pets, travel, phone plans… it adds up. At times you will feel penniless. At times you will be penniless.

4. Cooking nice meals is a matter of self-respect.

If you want to be kind to yourself, buy/make food that is both healthy and delicious. You’ll be in a better mood and will have more energy than if you eat lots of processed, micro-heat food. The occasional pack of Oreos doesn’t hurt, but overall stick to things with a short, natural ingredient list. And, contrary to popular belief, eating healthy is not expensive. Shop in the produce section.

5. Social media is a farce.

If you really want to stay in touch with someone, call them. Text them. Send them a letter. You don’t need a constant stream of communication to keep someone in your life — occasional contact will do, provided that contact is meaningful and concerns matters of substance.

6. You don’t actually need most of your stuff. 

Getting rid of unnecessary things is, second to clean sheets, the other best feeling in the world. If you don’t wear it, get rid of it. If you haven’t used it in years, throw it out. Or donate it. Or sell it. Purge.

7. Self-motivation is crucial.

No one will tell you what to do or when to get it done. If you never want to be a productive human again, you really don’t have to. If you do, though, it’s good to learn how to self-motivate. This can be tricky. Find out when you’re most productive, and make a list of things to do during that time period. Set deadlines for yourself. Tell other people about them so they can hold you accountable.

8. Be nice to yourself.

Things won’t always go your way, and that’s okay. You’re allowed to sulk, but not forever. If something goes wrong, give yourself some time to pout, and then get over it.

8 things no one tells you about adulthood

10 ways to become a porteño

Inspired by my granmother’s impending visit, here are ten ways to look and act like you belong in Argentina.

Disclaimer: These tips apply specifically to Buenos Aires, and may not be applicable in other provinces.

1. Wear more black.

Maybe it’s the winter weather, but these days most porteños dress in muted colors. Trying to blend in wearing brights is a no-go, so disguise your foreign-ness with as dark a wardrobe as possible. The more foreign you look, the more black you should be wearing. (Result: I’m usually dressed like a ninja, with the occasional colorful sweater or scarf.) It also helps to pretend to think it’s as freezing cold as the Argentinians do. You might even start to believe it.

2. Platform shoes.

Yes, you read that correctly. Everyone here (with the possible exception of children and the elderly) wears platforms, the higher the trendier. This is especially relevant for fashionable women ages 16-25 and, once adhered to, is foolproof — when I wear my platforms, people ask me for directions. Sometimes I can even answer them. It’s all in the shoes.

3. Become a carnivore.

Here, vegetarianism is more or less a moot point. I have friends who came to this country vegetarians and left semi-guilt-ridden-yet-extremely-satisfied meat-eaters; the red meat here is just that good. With some effort you can opt out, but rest assured you are missing out. Yield to peer pressure on this one, trust me.

4. Let your hair down.

Right now my hair is the healthiest it’s ever been. Why? Because I do nothing to it. The most common hairstyle in Buenos Aires is waist-length, natural, slightly frizzy, with enormous numbers of split ends. Occasionally a small clip is used to pull hair back from the temples, or a quick bun is twisted atop the head for transit. Other than that it’s wash-and-wear, and I’m not complaining.

5. Shop around.

Walmart is definitely not a thing here. Quite the opposite — there is a specialty store for everything. I once walked by a storefront filled exclusively with umbrellas… nothing else. Just umbrellas. The same goes for food. If you want meat, go to a carnicería. Bread? Panadería. Fish? Vegetables? Pastries? Pescadería, vedulería and pastelería, respectively. While you can’t actually cook anything without visiting 6 different stores, the upside is that the quality of each component will be infinitely better.

6. Pick up some slang.

Or, as it’s called here, “Lunfardo.” Argentinian spanish isn’t academic spanish. You’ll hear words like che,” “boludo,” “pebe” and quilombo floating around (dude, butthead, kid, and clusterfuck, respectively). The more slang you can recognize and use, the better chance you have of being mistaken for a native, and sounding like a cool kid in the process.

7. Use public transportation.

Virtually everyone does — it’s here for a reason. The bus and subway systems take a bit of practice to figure out, but once you get the hang of it you’ll have access to every corner of the city. Of course a whole set of bus-and-subway (mostly bus) etiquette accompanies this step, but some careful observation should tell you all you need to know.

8. Get a manicure.

This may sound ridiculous, but on that same bus or subway you may notice everyone’s hands clutching bars or rails to remain upright. You may also notice that on virtually all of these hands are clean, well-groomed fingernails. Invest in some nail polish remover, a good pair of clippers and a file, and keep them handy. This includes men — I’ve spotted several male-folk with fingernails trimmed and, yes, polished.

9. Eat late, snack often.

In the states breakfast is as soon as you get up. Lunch is at noon and dinner is at six, possibly with a small snack in between if you’re feeling desperate. Not so in Buenos Aires. Breakfast is late — 10 or 11 a.m. Lunch happens around 1 or 2 p.m., and then comes a novel invention dubbed merienda,” or snack. An altered version of British tea time, this meal takes place at 5 or 6 p.m. and involves pastries and coffee, usually. (The lines at Starbucks around this time are insane.) Because of merienda, Argentinians eat dinner at 9:30 or 10 p.m. and go to bed even later. This also ties into the fact that in Argentina it’s uncool to be at a bar or club before 1 a.m., but that’s another subject.

10. Chillax.

In the U.S., everyone is over-scheduled and frantic for 87% of the day. In Argentina, people regularly arrive 20 minutes to an hour late to every event/meeting/occasion. It’s just a thing that happens. Deadlines are more lax, meetings involve more gossiping, and tasks take longer to complete. When I first arrived this freaked me out to no end — the deadline is there for a reason, people. Now, though, it’s growing on me.

10 ways to become a porteño