In the 6 months since I’ve posted (…), I’ve gotten my very first promotion, suffered through more than one Atlanta snowpocalypse, seen Lady Gaga, and gone on spring break. And started a new blog. At this moment, I’m sitting on my porch during what must be the last beautiful day before summer. This is all to say that there has been neither time nor place to blog on WordPress.
That said, I have been reading a bunch of interesting Internet pieces. Here are some:
- This salmon recipe has CHANGED. MY. (culinary) LIFE. Cooking sous vide has always seemed more than a bit pretentious and inaccessible to me. It seems so obvious, but of course you don’t need an entire sous vide machine to experiment with the technique. You can literally poach salmon in a regular ol’ plastic bag for ~9 minutes with a deep skillet. I’ve used this method the past 2 nights and have been astounded by the results. One of those things that I can’t believe I didn’t think of before seeing a blog post about it.
- Good news for my fellow liberal arts majors: here’s why companies are desperate to hire anthropologists. Since I’ve moved into a strategy role at work, I see clearly how important critical analysis skills are. Even in the seemingly soulless world of advertising! When I graduated, I didn’t know how my degree would come into play (or if it ever would). Well, okay, the actual French major hasn’t come to my rescue recently, but the skills I learned at Agnes Scott have proved invaluable in considering consumer motivation on a critical scale.
- There’s no shortage of thinkpieces about the 1920s, but here’s video footage of NYC’s literary scene during that time. Fabulous.
- 40 Books That Will Make You Want to Visit France. Enough said.
- A nice link-filled piece on nostalgia & creativity.
Finally, if you don’t live in Atlanta, there’s a chance you haven’t heard about the impending demise of student programming over at WRAS 88.5 in favor of Georgia Public Broadcasting. While I’ve quietly hoped that Atlanta’s own NPR station (WABE) would incorporate some more talk radio in the afternoons, never in a thousand years would I have thought it would be at the expense of the city’s best radio station.
When I first moved to Atlanta for school in 2006, I was moving away from my then-boyfriend, best friends, and punk community with whom I identified in Tampa. To wit, since I grew up in the suburbs, my refuge from home was the local Borders (RIP). So the first memory I have of WRAS is of a moment that year outside the Borders parking lot in Poncey Highland. I found “I Don’t Care,” a long-running weekly punk show on 88.5, and almost cried at the poignant hurt of missing home and familiarity — but I’d found a parallel in Atlanta. So in a broad-sweeping metaphor, 88.5 brought me home again. I’ve grown a lot in 8 years (!!!), but I’ve remained loyal to 88.5. I wish Georgia State University could say the same.
See you in 6 months!
In the past couple of weeks, I’ve:
- traveled to freezing Michigan without more layers than 1 thrift store cashmere sweater (not smart);
- came up with a seriously half-baked Halloween costume at the last minute (middling smart), and
- cooked what is
arguably the most superb vegetable barley soup on this earth (SMART).
While I wish I’d had more time to find interesting things on the Internet, most of my energy has been focused on work for clients. C’est la vie!Here’s a more organized (than usual) list of things I’ve found recently:
- Freemium Access from the New Yorker: “Never in the history of the modern world has there been a better time to be a cheapskate. All you need is a connection or two—a mother, a father-in-law, a brother, someone else’s brother, some mystery uploader in Estonia—and you’re flush with all the news or moving images or music that you could possibly consume.”
- Those of us who think the Pumpkin Spice Latte™ is disgusting are growing in number! Throw some cinnamon in your coffee and get on your way if you’re looking for a real fall flavor fix. That said, I did enjoy this piece from The Awl on the PSL, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and the white ladies that love both of those things.
- On advertising and the ‘altar’ of creativity: “Our profession is full of people who mindlessly spew their recipes for brand success, but sadly most of what the poseurs say (and do) is total garbage.”
- M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the myth of/nostalgia around French food.
- Speaking of the French. Flaubert to Maupassant: “You complain about fucking being ‘monotonous’. There’s a simple remedy: cut it out for a bit.” Well, alright.
Back to the week!
Sometimes you have to check yourself, whether for your privilege or perspective (or both).
Lately I’ve found myself grousing about things that are simultaneously within and outside of my control (time management, budgets, creative ruts). It’s easy to blame a hot summer for mental lethargy, the Internet for procrastination, anyone but yourself for problems that are relatively insignificant … and also, at their essence, solvable. So, it’s crisp in Atlanta: a good season to rediscover optimism, personal accountability, and creative outlets. At the end of the day, I love my job, my work, and the weather.
In short, time to go from this:
This week I’m alternating between attending this year’s Digital Atlanta and jetting back to our new office. More to follow!
In other news:
The last two weeks I’ve worked from home as a result of an office move, and it is making me stir-crazy.
Over the past year etc. I’ve been lucky enough to be trusted with some flexible scheduling — it doesn’t hurt that the very nature of my job is mobile and always-on. Usually, it’s great. On my flex day, I hang out in my jim-jamz, make some eggs in a leisurely brunchlike fashion, break up my to-do list with dish cleaning or a walk. Usually, I relish a day of relative solitude and quiet in the comfort of my own home.
Needless to say, ~2 weeks of nothing but relative solitude and quiet has made me a little nuts. Patience is a virtue, in any case, and I am trying to settle down, appreciate the first signs of autumn weather, not talk aloud to myself too much.
Coincidentally, these 2 weeks have been some of my busiest “at” work in a couple of months. Between the imminent launch of a campaign for which I sort of … fell into being a Creative Director; the imminent launch of another campaign for which I’m the social media creative lead; writing ads and attending last-minute new business presentations (this is the short list), it’s probably for the best that I’m not wasting ~valuable time~ commuting. Whew. Who has time for leisurely eggs? Who has time for a dishwashing break?? Well, at least I can conscript my boyfriend to the latter. Lean in!
Enough of my #humblebrag. Here are some juicy Internet bits:
- Two playlists that have helped me tremendously, if you’re into this sort of thing (you should be): “A Fondness for Romantics” 8tracks playlist, which introduced me to The Caretaker and his absolutely fabulous album “An Empty Bliss Beyond This World”; a Soundcloud mix of the best of Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin.
- In the non-leisurely business of leisure egg-making: behind the scenes at 3 Michelin starred Pierre Gagnaire.
- On my reading list: Flavorwire’s 35 travel books that take you around the world without a plane ticket.
- Hemingway’s hamburger: “ground beef, onions, garlic, India relish, and capers, cooked so the edges were crispy but the center red and juicy.” I almost never eat red meat but that sounds GOOD.
- Summer vacation with Anthony Bourdain sounds stressful, but worth it.
- And finally, the New York City Ballet’s tribute to a post-9/11 New York. Poignant, elegant, hushed. It’s perfect and I think you’ll agree:
Salut! I was going to begin this post with a grumpy screed about how much I hate summer and heat and sweating without the validation of having done anything (like, exercise or whatever), but ultimately I decided to keep things positive. For now.
Today was a good day. This summer has been a rainy one in Atlanta, and I am not complaining. I’ll take the daily rain over oppressive, humid heat any day. So I made some coffee, sat on my new porch, and read my new-to-me book (The 42nd Parallel) in 81-degree sun. Later, on my way to the store, Rhye and Jessie Ware played on the radio back-to-back, both of whom are on Emily’s Ultimate Summer 2013 Jamz list, so with my windows down and the incredible late summer light streaming in and the music, everything paired in that really incredible, ineffable way that makes a body hate Georgia summers a little less. Allows the choice for giddy optimism over the staid sweaty sulk. Maybe summer’s almost over.
Tonight I am poaching some salmon and streaming the VMAs with the windows open. Caps off a well-spent week alone, complete with an impromptu BFF sleepover on Wednesday. You’re never too old for anything, maybe.
Some other things:
- Bummer Bullet: my grandmother’s historic house in South Tampa (pictured above, in all its Grey Gardens glory) is being razed this week to make room for yet another nouveau riche McMansion. So reading about this beautiful 1917 home in Douglasville, GA (“The Rock House”) brings up a lot of feels, few of them generous toward the new property owner of my grandmother’s lot.
- “The End of Saks as We Knew It” on the gradual decline of department store Saks Fifth Avenue. An interesting takeaway: both Saks and Nordstrom now have more outlet stores than regular retail locations.
- Inside Prince’s fridge with Heavy Table. No seriously why so much mustard
- Speaking of food: henceforth, I only want to read about food if it’s written by Deadspin’s Albert Burneko. Definitely snort-laughed several times while reading his piece on cooking bivalves. Read it. You will not be disappointed.
Later, gators. I got salmon to poach!
Another week, another post! Backpats for this petite but no less significant an accomplishment!
This week’s post is inspired by Ann Peebles’ 1974 hit, which is helping in this rainy Atlanta summer.* I will take that over “Heatwave!” any day. It was nice last night to be out in Atlanta in August, wanting a sweater. I’d just returned from my agency’s headquarters in Hilton Head, SC, where I sweated and huffed and puffed but was able to celebrate a year with the company in a more formal way. Then I freaked out some squares on I-16 screaming along to X on the way home to Atlanta. Deal with it!
(This post is also a tiny bit about growing up without realizing it. At the time of its occurrence, I didn’t necessarily ~cherish~ my adolescence in the way that is culturally popular; I was never the kid who didn’t want to grow up. Now that I am considered in some circles (… my parents, maybe?) to be An Adult, I’m finding myself struggling with a case of Impostor Syndrome. It’s almost as though I cannot believe I have fooled enough people into thinking that I can take care of myself; perhaps more pressingly, that I could be considered any kind of expert on anything. I haven’t moved past a kindergarten-era fear of beets, people. I drink PBR when there are “better” options available. It’s a learning process, every day, these concepts of ability and competency and heroic confidence.)
In short, sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. But, as the French might say, “Aucune réussite n’est si petite qu’on ne puisse la fêter.” 😉 I’ll write more in coming weeks about how I’m going back to France in January (not ForEver, unfortunately … at least, yet).
Without further ado, some bits of a curated Internet:
*Even if you just know this song as a sample (particularly in one of my favorite music videos of all time), it is so, so good.
So, here I am. A year and some change later, I’m sitting in my new-to-me kitchen/dining room/living room combo, trying to get over a particularly awful summer cold and finally worked up the courage to get back in the (WordPress) game. Apologizing for not blogging is perhaps more irritating than not blogging at all, so I’ll save it — in any event, it’s not like I haven’t been around, as I occasionally deign to update my Tumblr and sometimes my agency’s blog. So there!
First things first, what’s new since I last posted (the truncated version):
- I got the job. I’ve now been working for an ad agency for over a year now (uh, okay; a year and 2 weeks), and it’s been really, really good. Good for me, good for my student loan payments, good for stretching my brain and forcing me to learn new things every day. Incidentally, this is the first job I have had that has lasted over a year. It’s funny to think that this go-round, I’m gearing up for an annual “creative performance review,” not steeling myself for yet another nonprofit contract conversation that inevitably ends in “Sorry, no budget.” This has been a year of tremendous, incredible growth both professionally and personally. Even when I’m exhausted and feeling creatively spent, I remember to be thankful.
- I moved into a new apartment, exchanging a top-floor view of the Agnes Scott campus for a ground-level porch overlooking a shaded parking lot. It’s a little more romantic than it sounds. I also swapped a 15-minute walk to downtown Decatur for a 4-minute one. I’m not instinctively wired for change, if you couldn’t tell.
- I am capable of making very good paella.
OK, here’s to hoping this sorry excuse for a post gives this blog a new lease on life.
Here are some interesting things I’ve found on the Internet recently — that I have actually been storing for this blog and this blog alone:
- Language is a Virus: How Loanwords Move the World’s Tongue. “Loanwords explain how and why English speakers can say things like Frankfurter, pretzel, hinterland, dreck, or kaput without their conversational co-conspirator batting an eye.” via Tumblr! I love it, this stuff is seriously fascinating. (via Daily Dot, h/t Tumblr Storyboard)
- “On Being an Aging Hipster Who Drinks in the Park.” When you’re 25 and feel simultaneously old and like a baby, pieces like this tend to hit the spot. Oh well. Sometimes it’s hard to be a walking stereotype.
- “Zelda’s Moment.” So, I think we can say that the hype’s died down over the latest film adaptation of The Great Gatsby, and that’s fine by me (I loved it and am OK with my unpopular opinion). I read Nancy Milford’s Zelda: A Biography on a sleeper train to Italy in 2008, and the fascination with the perhaps lesser-chronicled Fitzgerald held strong.
- Have you ever wanted to read a hyper-academic analysis of Weird Twitter? Here you go, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
- “A Brief History of ‘It Girls,'” a list from LongReads. Good for Sundays.
So, that’s all for now. While you’re anxiously awaiting my return, here’s an important screengrab from Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: