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.

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The Purpose Of Our Lives Is To Be Happy Or, It Ain’t No Sin To Be Glad You’re Alive

I’m not a superstitious person.

Ladders and lucky numbers, black cats and breaking legs don’t really mean much to me but there’s one quirk I just can’t seem to shake.

Every time I drive through a yellow light, I kiss my fingertips, press them to the roof of my car and make a wish.

It’s always the same wish too.

I wish to be happy.

(That whole superstition about not telling wishes for fear of them not coming true? Don’t believe in that either)

The older I get, the more I realize that happiness is a choice and some days, you have to make a concerted effort to be happy.

I never used to have to work towards happiness. Dudes, I’m a cute girl from the suburbs with an awesome family, friends who are always down to get tacos and I live in walking distance of the public library – what’s not to be happy about?

But then, I smashed headfirst into adulthood, realized that life isn’t parfait and came to the jarring conclusion that happiness is a choice.

Some days, making that choice will feel like flossing with barbed wire because it’s easier to throw on your hoodie and crawl into bed and just…not.

And that’s fine. You can do that. As my girl Drea says, “It’s okay to be sad.”

But, you can’t live your whole life under the covers. Well, not unless Ron Livingston is under there with you (I’m sorry, Mrs. Livingston. Your husband is a very attractive man. One day, I will stop talking about him, but until then – let’s look at him!).

burgerberger

There’s a whole world out there – juicy and ripe and beautiful – and you’ve got a place in it and seriously, fuck anything trying to deny you of that.

And for me, making that choice means being more conscious of the little things and finding joy in tiny moments that unfold before you. Trust me – I’m a little thing myself. Who would know better?

I’m not trying to get all New Age bullshit on you and tell you go outside and revel in the marvel of nature and approach each task with joy because let’s face it – there is no joy in pumping gas. It’s a pain-in-the-ass chore that nobody likes and everyone is forced to do and oh my God, why don’t I just buy a Prius because spending this much in gas every other week is legit hurting my feelings at this point.

But I am saying that be more conscious of the shit that makes you happy and when you come across it, take the time to fangirl/fanboy the fuck out about it.

See? Zero New Age bullshit. Mostly because I can’t see Deepak Chopra cursing this much.

Last week, I fangirled the fuck out over the following:

  • Hearing That’s The Way Love Goes by Janet Jackson on the radio. I was so excited about this that I immediately texted Dana with a message that contained way too many exclamation points.
  • Dana texting me with all caps lyrics from Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke. Because if you’re gonna call someone, “the hottest bitch in this place,” it’s only right that you unleash the fury of all caps.
  • Seeing a rainbow while stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on 95. When everyone is an asshole except for you and you can only see concrete and steel for miles, seeing a rainbow is like hearing poetry for the first time.
  • Avocado-jalapeño salsa at Tacos al Carbon. I don’t understand how ketchup is the most popular condiment in the country when something as glorious as this exists.
  • The fact that I’m writing again. The fact that I’m staying up late and forming sentences while soaping up in the shower and tapping my toes to tap into the rhythm of what I want to say.

I like that person – the girl in love with the world and I think if I start paying more attention, I could be that girl again. Or at least closer to it than I have been lately.

You don’t have to be satisfied with every aspect of your life. No-one is. Not even those bitches on Pinterest with their glittery crafts and those photographs that look like they came straight out of an Anthropologie spread. Especially not those bitches on Pinterest with their mason jar cocktails and their perfectly messy buns.

But you do owe it to yourself to try. To shoot for happiness in whatever form that may take. I mean, all the stuff that you’re unhappy with? You can change it. You know that, right?

You start off taking these infinitesimal steps and before you know it, you’re Usain Bolting towards joy.

You deserve to be happy so do it. Find what makes you happy and embrace the fuck outta it. Pursue it relentlessly. Just…be happy. I mean, what else you got going on?

Dress You Up In My Love Or, Style Rules From A Girl Who Has None

For the longest time, I had no clue how to dress myself.

I was “Pants go on bottom, top goes on top” girl and I’m pretty sure there was one point in high school where I lived in a pair of jeans, a plain white tee and flip-flops.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten a little bit better. I became involved with the most important relationship in my life (with my flat iron), I learned how to apply mascara without blinding myself and I’ve discovered some ridiculously easy ways to present a better version of myself to this world.

I’m not talking that Glamour/Cosmo bullshit that involves buying expensive products and doing inane things like heating up your eyelash curler so your lashes will curl better (Yeah. OK. Let me take this hot piece of metal and jab it in my eye. That sounds like a plan)

I’m talking legit advice for a girl who just wants to look hot and feel better while she shovels pizza into her gaping maw and schools a bunch of rookies on why Batman and Iron Man aren’t technically superheroes but rather, bad-ass vigilantes/genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropists.

Style Rules From A Girl Who Has None:

– Sweatpants are acceptable for the following:

– Working out (but dude, running shorts)
– Sleeping (but dude, why are you wearing pants at all?)
– For when you’re sick (Eh, you’re sick. You get a pass. Get cozy on the couch – I’m gonna get you some soup)
– For that 72 hour window after your boyfriend dumps you and you spend quality time shame-eating fast food and listening to sad bastard music.

They are unacceptable otherwise. Especially if the ass is emblazoned with any sort of lettering. When I see ‘Juicy’ scrawled on your ass, I don’t think luscious ba-donk; I think anal leakage.

– Pearls on a little girl! It’s a fairy tale! And if you get that reference – hello new best friend! Seriously, though? A pair of pearl earrings will treat you right. I got mine at Forever 21 for like, two bucks. Fake it until you make it.

– Mascara. Seriously. It takes you from a six to a ten, makes you look more awake and it takes literally 30 seconds to apply.

– Dude, have you seen your legs? Those pins are aces and girl, you better work. Trade in the jeans for a swingy skirt or a fabulous frock. Throw on a pair of wedges or a pair of colorful flats and immediately feel 76% more attractive.

Three Really Fucking Good Reasons To Wear A Dress:

1. If you’re wearing a dress, you’re not wearing pants and we all know that no pants = the best pants.
2. It is absurdly easy to get dressed in the morning. This past winter, I pretty much lived in sweater dresses and boots. And I swear, it felt like I was getting one over on the universe. “Wait…Hold up. I can basically putz around in what is essentially a long, fitted sweater, throw on a pair of boots and a necklace and people will compliment me? Awesome!”
3. I seriously have much more self-confidence when I wear a dress and heels.

frock

Case in point – this dress. When I wear this dress, I feel much more polished, poised, capable and yes, pretty.

Now, some might think this is dipshittery of the highest order and that I should feel good regardless of my sartorial choices, but I DON’T, OK? I  don’t.

Look dudes – like every other woman out there, I’m a quivering wreck wracked with insecurities.  I have scrutinized every part of my body, I have pinched and grimaced and I have felt so damn unpretty. And it sucks and every single woman I know has done the same exact thing.

And if putting on a dress and a pair of heels lessens that personal assault, then goddamn it – I’m flingin’ on a frock.

Look good, feel better, BE better.

I’m trying to make this a thing. You should too. It’s fun.

Thirty-Nothing Or, We Make Plans and The Universe Laughs

I’m thirty. I’m five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor – Nick Carraway. The Great Gatsby.

We all do it – lie to ourselves and call it honor.

The biggest lie most adults are guilty of is, “I’m fine” or “It’s fine” — a tricky little bit of dialogue which actually means, “It’s actually not fine but it’s easier not to deal so I’ll just let it go.”

So here I am again where everything is as it once was and yet, nothing is the same.

I never thought I would be here at thirty.

Thirty always seemed old, you know? I figured by the time it finally rolled around, I would have that suburban quadfecta: house, husband, child and career.

As it turns out, I have a recently-cultivated propensity to listen to NPR while driving, a new-found appreciation for vegetarian sushi and absolutely none of the above.

And that’s fine.

Actually, no.
That’s a lie.

It straddles the line between being fine and being a little disheartening, depending on the day you catch me.

Catch me on a day when I’ve been spending a little bit too much time on Facebook or Pinterest and I’m bound to be dejected because there’s something both lulling and seductive about a home that looks like a Pottery Barn spread, chubby little toes and lemonade sipped from mason jars on starlit porches.

Catch me on any other day and ask me if I’m ready for the responsibilities that come along with suburban bliss and the answer will most assuredly be, “Dude. Let’s start with a dog and work our way up, shall we?”

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t have it figured out yet. I thought I did, but I also thought I was going to marry Leonardo DiCaprio and that fairies lived in the big oak tree at the end of the playground.

Adulthood smashed into me in my twenties and I learned some pretty important lessons:

– Learn how to cook well. Learn how to eat well. Feed people.
– The more complicated your cocktail order, the bigger a schmuck you are. Gin and tonic. Bourbon neat. Yuengling. Simplicity is a good thing.
– Not another soul will love your rotten bones in the way a dog does.
– Bukowski was right. So was Hemingway. So was Fitzgerald.

But the most important thing I learned was that there is nothing honorable about lying to yourself. If it’s not fine, don’t lie to yourself and pretend it is.

In a few days, I will turn 30 – a green breast of a new decade.

A blank page.

I’m a little terrified, but I’m also optimistic. Because if there’s one thing I’m good at – it’s filling a blank page.

Here’s to fresh starts.
Here’s to cold gin cocktails and feeling civilized.
Here’s to being with the people who love you – safe, warm and happy.

Here’s to honor and to being the person you want to be.

Here’s to a new year.

Love = Love Or, I Don’t Care Who You Love, Just Don’t Love Crappy Television Shows

Even though Augs is white and I’m Indian*, I don’t think of us as a mixed-race couple. The closest I ever get to it is in the summer when I tan to a warm, coppery brown and Augs burns to a rosy pink.

But every now and then – the reality of our life together hits me. Like it did the other day when I started thinking about Loving v. Virginia – the landmark civil rights case which overturned all race-based restrictions on marriage.

Fifty years ago, Augs and I could have been jailed in certain parts of the country just for being together.

We couldn’t have rented a hotel room, eaten at the same lunch counter or sat next to one another on a bus.

Fifty years.

That’s nothing.

My parents and every single one of my aunts and uncles were alive fifty years ago. Hell, music that I listen to on a regular basis (Can’t Help Falling in Love by Elvis, Green Onions by Booker T and McGs, Please Please Me by The Beatles) was created 50 years ago .

When I was born, we were a mere 20 years removed from institutionalized racism.

To bring it closer to the present – THREE years ago, a chowderhead justice of the peace in Louisiana refused to marry an interracial couple out of “concern” for their future progeny. Yeah, ‘cause it’s not like a biracial child has ever achieved anything great, right?

It stuns me. I mean, really? People still think like this? After all this time and how far we’ve come?

Then, I start thinking about all of the people I love in same-sex relationships.

It is utterly devoid of logic and human decency to say your love isn’t worth as much as my love because of the color of your skin, where you were born or who you love.

Hell, even Dick Cheney agrees with that.

DICK. CHENEY. Underline. Bold. All-Caps former vice president of the United States who Jack Donaghy may or may not have sodomized while under the influence of a weapons-grade narcotic.

I guess what it comes down to is the following three things:

1. I don’t get it. I do not understand how I live in a world where people actually espouse a belief system so bigoted and wholly stupid.

2. Some truths are so universal that a dyed-in-the-wool democrat and a Sith Lord former Republican vice president can see eye-to-eye on them.

3. If you don’t believe that everyone deserves the same rights, you are not a good person. Let me repeat that. If you do not believe in equality – you are not a good person and shouldn’t fool yourself for a minute thinking that you are.

I’m usually not one for posting YouTube videos here because well, I kinda hate them. BUT, this one is important. Just make sure you have Kleenex at hand.

* Seriously, I am the worst cultural ambassador for India….unless you want to know about good great Indian food. A nickel’s worth of free advice – always order extra tamarind chutney. Food…hell, life is better with more amli in it. Oh and in the interest of not being yelled at by Mom for giving out bad advice — don’t eat too much because, well..I don’t know why. I just remember being yelled at by every Indian woman in a six-mile radius when I started loading it up on my plate. Imagine being attacked by a swarm of shrieking pigeons clanking with gold jewelry. Yeah, it was like that…but worse.

I Would Have Drownded Pacey In That Creek Or, Don’t Come Between A Man and His Sandwich

I saw James Vanderbeek in an Italian market last weekend

My friend looked over and asked, “Isn’t that the guy from Dawson’s Creek?” and immediately, my head whipped around. Yup. It was him — buying a sandwich and getting the typically surly service associated with old-school South Philly guys who don’t give a shit – “Rye bread?! NO! It comes on a hoagie roll!”

Growing up, I was Team Dawson through and through. Yes, Pacey was quippy with the grand romantic gestures and the hipster lite wardrobe but Dawson would watch movies in bed with you, engage you in passionate, articulate conversations and probably make you pancakes too.

16-year-old Jaime was all about that.

Hell, 28-year-old Jaime is all about that.

Filled with pluck (and by pluck, I mean the interminably strong Pimms Cup I had with brunch), I decided I wanted to say hi, so I marched on over, waiting in line behind him and when in the surly sandwich maker asked what I wanted, I mumbled something about beet salad and slunk away.

Yes, I chickened out, but with good reason.

While waiting in line, I realized that by interjecting myself into the situation — I’d be coming between a man and his sandwich.

Do you know what I would do if someone came between me and my sandwich? Particularly an Italian Market sandwich?

Buildings would be razed! Throats would be punched! By the time I was finished, that place would look like Nero’s Rome.

What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.

As we were leaving, we were clustered in a narrow part of the store. Everyone around us jostled and shoved wordlessly but Vanderbeek politely said, “Excuse me” and walked on by. Nice guy.

Oh and for the record, I would have been polite had I been gutsy enough to speak with him – “Excuse me, sir? I just wanted to say I’m a fan of your work. You were great in Rules of Attraction and I really liked your cameo on Franklin and Bash a few weeks ago. Thanks!”

I Used To Be With It But Then They Changed What It Was Or, Yeah, I Don’t Get That…

Things I Don’t Get:

– Wearing leggings as pants. Dudes, leggings are not pants. If they were, they’d be called pants.
– Why people think Michele Bachman is a viable presidential candidate.
– Yogurt. It has zero textural integrity, often tastes like artificial fruit and it never fills you up. You eat a pot of the stuff and then five minutes later, you’re ravenous again. Yogurt is stupid unless featured in Eight Layer Mediterranean Dip.

– SillyBandz. Note the look of utter confusion on my face as my sister tries to show me what is supposed to be a bird of some sort. Why is this a thing? Why do children treasure/hoard these things? The only person who looked good in jelly bracelets was Madonna circa 1985.
– Charlie Sheen’s popularity. Why are we rewarding an abusive, egomaniacal douche? This is why we can’t have nice things, America. Because we’re a nation that hangs on Charlie Sheen’s every word but would rather drive a Phillips Head Screwdriver in our eyeball before listening to a physicist or oceanographer.
– Why Dramarama wasn’t huge in the 80s.
– Why Jennifer Aniston keeps making crappy rom-coms, the appeal of Megan Fox and why there are magazine covers dedicated to the poor decision-makers of Teen Mom.