An Open Letter To Myself Or, Happy New Year

Dear Me:

Firstly, our hair looks great. Did you blowdry it upside down again? Yeah. That’s the only way we’re gonna get any volume.

Anyway, 2013. Kinda a rough year for us. We didn’t so much learn lessons as lessons came up to us, said – “Hi! Are you Jaime?” and then, punched us in the mouth.

We went through break-ups, quit our job, moved back to South Florida and got an awesome new job.

We started the year being stupid unhealthy (due to subsisting on hot chocolate and a cup of pretzels a day) and ended it getting back to normal because Mom is ethnic and we live like, three miles from the greatest taco joint in the world.

2013 was the year we turned 30, got bangs for the first time ever, walked on the field at Dolphins Stadium, flew to New York City for a concert, drove to New Orleans for a Bougie Girl adventure and had our existence acknowledged by Rob Sheffield.

There was a lot of good but it was also pretty tumultuous so I’m kindly requesting that 2014 being The Year Jaime Doesn’t Make The Same Mistakes Again Because Are You Fucking Kidding Me? Come On, Dude. Be Better Than That.

To help us with that, here are some lessons I think we’d be wise to remember.

– People are who they are and they don’t change. You can’t make someone love you and you can’t make someone be who you need them to be. You are too old to lie to yourself and call it honor.

– You want to find out what you’re made of and who really loves you? Raze your life and see who’ll help you comb through the ashes. The people in your life right now love you so much. Take the time to appreciate them.

– Your self-esteem is a mess. No. Stop it. Don’t write this off. Don’t make a clever little quip. It’s bad. I know you’ve been working on it and I know it’s hard but 2014? We’re gonna grab that beastie by the horns. Wear dresses, stop doing that thing where you look in the mirror and grimace and listen the fuck up – you’re a helluva dame and you could make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window.

Goals For 2014

DO.

That’s it.

Just DO things. There is a whole world out there – ripe with promise and waiting to be devoured – and you are starving.

Seek out adventure – keep an eye on flight and hotel deals. This world is meant to be explored and the way you travel, you can see a lot in a long weekend.
Eat good food – eat more arugula, start cooking again, perfect your mutter paneer recipe, pickle some vegetables and let’s try Ethiopian food. It seems kinda tasty.
Drink more small batch gin, find a pinot noir you really love and set up a Bloody Mary bar for brunch.
Meet new people. Your spirit animal may as well be a labrador. This is a good thing. Use it to your advantage.
Get a tattoo – something to do with Bruce or Bukowski.
Moisturize.
Drink more water.
WRITE.

See how happy you are here?

bloodymaryjaime

Strive for this. Every day.

Say ‘Yes’ more often. Nothing ever happens to those who live their lives on their couches.

Oh and read the collected works of Shakespeare. Look, dude. You’ve been banging on about it for the past couple of years and you own the collection, so just do it. Because you know what the coolest thing in the world is?

Basically, remember the advice that you’re planning on giving your daughter (if you ever have one):

What’s the most important thing in the world?
To be kind.
And what else?
To be smart.
Why?
Because smart girls gets the joke and the really smart girls? They write the joke.
Be smart, be kind and remember – I love you.

That’s solid advice, dude. You should consider taking it.

2014 is going to be good to us. I promise.

Love:

Me xx

P.S. – Volumizer. Let’s have big hair in 2014. Like Lilly from Shahs of Sunset big. She’s insufferable but goddamn, that hair is fabulous.

A Belated New Year’s Entry Or, 525,600 Minutes In Laughter, Yoga and Cups of Coffee

2011 was the year I finally became an adult.

Adulthood isn’t bestowed upon you the minute you turn 18 and get a voter registration card. It doesn’t come part and parcel with your first apartment, hangover, serious break-up or Bob Dylan album.

It just shows up on your doorstep one morning and says, “You done fighting me yet? We ready to do this thing?” and you put on your slacks and sensible shoes and go with him, all peaceable-like.

2011 was the year my grandmother died.
It was the year I went to the movies solo and took ten different flights by myself.
It was the year I hiked to the Hollywood sign, ate all the food ever and learned how to make pomodoro sauce and pea-and-potato curry.
It was the year I started doing yoga and chopped off all my hair.
2011 was the year I learned that I am tougher than I thought I was.

Don’t get me wrong — I still devolve into an emotional wreck every time those ASPCA commercials come on (damn you, Sarah McLachlan. I can’t even with the sad puppy dog eyes scored to Angel) but I’ve become pretty good at handling life without falling to pieces.

So, my plan for 2012 is simple – blog more.

Initially, this sounds stupid.

Really, dude? Your plan is to blog?

Whoa, Lady Macbeth. Easy on the ambition.

BUT, here’s the deal — if I’m blogging more, it means I’m doing more.

It means I’m reading and watching and visiting and cooking and listening and taking pictures and forming opinions and basically, living a life more well-rounded than the one where I sit on my couch, munch on popcorn and watch Law and Order: SVU marathons on USA.

So, that’s the plan for 2012 – do more and blog about it.

Oh and eat more kale. It’s really good for you and I need more leafy greens in my diet (also, this recipe courtesy of We Are Not Martha looks delicious).

This Will Be My Year, Or New Year, New Hope.

My first impression of 2011 was pretty fantastic. Of course, this might have had something to do with the champagne and gougères I was inhaling, but hey — I’m optimistic and see good things for the upcoming year.

This year, I plan to:

– Eat well. I’m not talking about dieting or becoming a full throttle vegan but eating more real food. Say no to processed hockey puck veggie burgers, drink more water, learn to make Vietnamese iced coffee and soup from scratch and eat more vegetables. But, if I decide to have popcorn and milkshakes for dinner one night — that’s cool too. Life is too short to be regimented.

– Be more vigilant about staying in touch with people. Send more personal emails and care packages. Share books and good music with people who would appreciate them.

– Discover something beautiful or interesting every day. This world is wild, wide and wonderful and I really need to open myself up to it.

– Dress up more and hate my body less. Take risks when it comes to personal style, paint my nails more and resolve to smell like roses.

– Remember that fortune favors the bold and the answers to all of life’s questions can be found in the bars of a Springsteen song.

Here’s to another year of being a lucky bastard.

525,600 Minutes Or, 2010 in Daylights, Sunsets, Laughter and Cups of Coffee.

A quick wrap up of the past year:

January — New year, new blog, new resolutions. Most of which weren’t really kept. January was a pretty quiet month for me — kept my head down, worked a lot, drank gallons of Wawa hot chocolate and griped about the cold.

February — Experienced my first blizzard (hate!) in which I slipped on ice a whole lot, worked from home, lost feeling in my extremities while we trekked to CVS to buy supplies and whacked myself in the face with a plastic snow shovel. Augs made me a digital valentine’s day card featuring Ron Livingston and then, took me out for brunch where I drank lots of vanilla coffee and made eyes at the ridiculously cute guy across the table from me. We came home and watched Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. True love, y’all.

March — I turned 27, ate eggplant and goat cheese pizza (love!) and my first nephew was born. Colin has that great baby smell, is totally laid back and when he smiles at you, your heart stops a little and you’re filled with the irrepressible urge to buy him a pony…covered in diamonds.

April — Augs turned 27 and I discovered cold-brewed iced coffee. Tailgated at the Phillies game, drank rum-infused iced tea, ate crab fries and got a serious tan. Dana came to town and we spent a perfect spring day in Philly – wandering around Rittenhouse, eating delicious burgers at Village Whiskey, gelato at Capogiro and cheese at DiBruno Bros. My dream in life is to travel with D.

May — Attended The Lost Weekend in New York City where we sat in the same room as Damon Lindelof (totally made eyes at me, dudes), Carlton Cuse, Jorge Garcia and Michael Emerson. Fell in love with Chelsea, walked the Brooklyn Bridge with friends, ate delicious-delicious veggie burgers at Bubby’s and bought a kick-ass new purse on 46th Street. Lost ended and I still have mixed thoughts about the finale. On one hand, there are moments I love-love-love so much about the episode (that great look between Jin and Sawyer at the hospital – “Hello…detective”) but burning questions weren’t answered and I’m still irked about that.

June — Watched a Back to the Future revival – all three movies in a row. Nine-year-old Jaime would have been proud. Discovered the world’s most delicious huevos rancheros at Jones, attended a World Cup Viewing Party in Philly in which I overheard two dirtbags say, “Yo, if Jersey was in this shit — we would have won already!” Wept for the American soccer fan. Spent a week in West Palm with the family, ate lots of homemade Indian food, hung out with my favorite aunt, watched the World Cup every day and cheered madly for England and Spain, ate Maoz (love!) and experienced the shitty agony of a herniated disc (hate!).

July — Faceplanted on asphalt and got some choice scars, celebrated another fantastic year with Augs, learned how to make homemade kettle corn, fell in love with Inception and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog and decided that if I ever come into obscene amounts of money, I’m bankrolling everything Whedon wants to do without hesitation.

August — Augs and I celebrated our anniversary in Atlantic City. Love the song, but the trip was essentially a bust. I am not an AC kinda gal. Made terrible cookies and had a breakdown amidst chocolate chips. Realized I make killer huevos rancheros and that’s better than cookies any day of the week. Spent lots of quality time reading on the back patio while drinking enough iced coffee to induce cardiac arrest…in a mastodon.

September — Ate pumpkin pie for the first time ever. Realized that pies made of gourds can be glorious. Attended two weddings, drank gin cocktails and danced to Sinatra with the best-looking guy in the room. Went to the Temple-UConn game where we hung out with Augs’s hilarious college roommates and had killer seats to watch TU trounce UConn.

October — My office flooded. Bad juju all around, but on the plus side? I learned that even construction workers can’t resist head-bobbing to old school Madonna. Dana and Steve were in town again! We ate amazing food (cheese plate at Harvest is the love of my life), went on a Haunted Hayride and reiterated the notion that you don’t need to share DNA to be family. Initiated YA Fic Lit Book Club with my sister, read terrible books from our childhood and realized that they’re much more fun if you read them as snarky twentysomethings.

November — Bought a pair of kickass blue suede Pumas, learned nothing makes the day better than trading Mean Girls Memes with your co-workers. Launched into a Vampire Diaries marathon and decided that this show is leaps and bounds better than True Blood. Writing, pacing, characters, dialogue — it beats the hell out of True Blood (which was seriously scattered and boring this season. There’s more to good television than the disturbing sexual habits of vampires and unfortunately, True Blood didn’t deliver the goods this season), had a pretty epic office Thanksgiving feast to which I contributed five pounds of buttery, salty mashed potatoes and ate the world’s best cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving dinner with the family (the secret is Triple Sec)

December — Had one really good hair day, discovered the best veggie burger in the ‘burbs, made cards for the first time ever, decided I want to smell more like roses, celebrated Christmas with family and friends and am currently planning on spending the last night of the decade with sequins, champagne, good music and better friends.

2010 was a good one — Stronger relationships, frocks and flip-flops, gin cocktails and blonder hair. Big Star, Teenage Fanclub, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay and American Gods. The city so nice, they named it twice, PhiLOVEdelphia, huevos rancheros and a continuing search for the world’s greatest veggie burger. Great conversations with my sister, movies and popcorn and real time World Cup updates at work. Cute babies, dancing to Sinatra in dimly-lit rooms, crafting and above all else, more love than I thought my heart was capable of handling.

Here’s to 2011 being just as fabulous, if not more so, than 2010.

An open letter to 2010

Hello 2010!

I can’t wait to meet you! Your buddy 2009 was pretty cool and we had some good times together, but I’m ready to say goodbye and move on to brighter and better things (don’t tell 2009 I said that. It’ll just give him a complex).

The prospect of meeting you fills me with optimism. Way more than I’ve felt in years past, actually, so that being said, here is a list of Things I’d Like To Accomplish During Our Time Together:

– Travel to more places than just New Jersey, Delaware and Florida. Don’t get me wrong — I dig these places, but it’s a big world and I want to see more of it.
– Spend more time with my sister. She’s my favorite person ever and I seriously miss the hell out of her when she’s not around.
– Read more and actually maintain my GoodReads account.
– Set up a Real World/Road Rules Challenge Fantasy League. I’m not even going to lie — I love that show and think it would be awesome to play in a fantasy league where you get points when someone gets punched, wins a mission or hooks up with their skeezy castmate. Who’s in? Come on — you know Johnny Bananas will rack up some seriously high scores.
– Eat better and cook more. Real food as opposed to processed junk. In addition to eating healthier, I also want to expand my culinary horizons. 2010 is the year I try Morbier cheese. Yes, it smells and sounds like death but what’s life without a little culinary adventure? And on that note….
– Try Animal Style Fries from In-N-Out Burger. I know. I know. Totally kills that whole healthy thing, but everything in moderation, right? Of course, In-N-Out is a West Coast thing so that leads me to my next goal…
– Visit Los Angeles. Well, actually the goal is to move to Los Angeles, but if all I get is a visit — I’ll take it.
– Finish the story I’m writing and work on publishing it.
– Write at least one screenplay with Dan.
– Discover new music. My sister introduced me to Mermaid Avenue — covers of Woody Guthrie songs performed by Wilco and Billy Bragg — and now, I am in love. So much so that I want to play California Stars at my wedding.
– Get a tattoo. OK, so this one has a pretty huge chance of not happening due to my crippling fear of needles, but if I don’t actually get a tattoo — I would like to at least decide what kind of tattoo I want and where it’ll be permanently inked on my body.
– Develop some semblance of aestheticism when it comes to home decor. ‘Cause right now, I’m batting .0000.
– Update my wardrobe so I look less like a high school student and more like a responsible adult.
– Determine some semblance of what I want to do with my life. I want to start writing in a much more professional capacity — blogs other than my own and maybe a little freelancing.
– Blog more and try to be more honest. I’m not gonna lie — the thought of this is mortifying. I mean, having that information out there for anyone to read? Makes me feel all sorts of vulnerable and naked. BUT, I think it’ll help me to be a better, stronger writer.

So, yeah. That’s it.

Anyway, it’s a pleasure to meet you and in the words of The White Stripes, I know we are going to be friends.

Lots of love:

Jaime xo