Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Snow my god!

Thank goodness winter is almost over! I can finally get back to wearing sandals and tank tops 5 days a week instead of being constrained by things like long yoga pants and three-quarter length sleeves. LA is known for overreacting to "cold" weather as Jimmy Kimmel so accurately pointed out when he mocked LA news coverage of the "Arctic Blast."  (Although I will admit, it was A LOT colder than I was expecting. I didn't move to California for 40 degree weather!)

As winter weather wreaks its havoc on the east coast again (its March 6...seriously? its almost spring!) I am very happy to be watching from a distance this time, if nothing else because its comical. There's nothing the media loves more than creating stupid names for mega snow storms. Snowpocalypse, Snowmaggedon, Snowtorious B.I.G. This year in wake of federal budget cuts and furloughs in DC, the sequester has become "The Snowquester." Clever. Apparently the Snowquester has been a lot more underwhelming than the past storms. 

Snowstorms that rocked the east coast in 2010 and 2011 were part of the reason I left. It was pretty overwhelming...we were getting so many inches you'd think it was black snow. And snow days weren't as fun as they sound. I couldn't drive anywhere, I still had to work from home, the roads were covered with ice when you could start driving and the beautiful white snow that initially dropped turned into disgusting black slush in no time. The only thing snow did for me was ruin my social schedule, what a jerk. I can almost say that I dislike snow as much as I dislike Taylor Swift.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't all bad. I started watching the "Lost" series out of boredom...which led to me further wasting hours of my life watching that show.  And spending two days and nights couped up with my parents, aunt and uncle with no electricity at my parents' house in the middle of the woods, burning old documents from the 1980's in the fireplace to keep warm, grilling filet mignon outside and heating tea on the grill since there was no electricity, playing hours of card games, giving in and drinking copious amounts of rum at 4 pm because there was nothing else to do and passing out at 8 pm in a house with no heat, was legitimately pretty fun. Until we found out that 3 trees fell at the bottom of our 1/2 mile long driveway and we had to shovel our way down and remove the trees ourselves with a small saw.

My mom grilling and heating up tea

My parents' driveway

Collapsing trees 
My aunt, uncle and dad sawing the collapsed tree down (Don't worry I didn't only take pictures, I helped too)

More sawing

So yeah, I have totally turned into a Californian when it comes to this but I am thankful I don't have to deal with snow anymore. To those people who say "I like to experience all four seasons"-- screw the seasons, I much prefer running, biking and volleyball on the beach in the winter.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Washington is for nesters, LA is for loners?

My friend Sylvia sent me this interesting article about why LA is a horrible place to be single. Certainly a great pick me up from an old friend! The article was written by Amanda Hess...someone who also moved from DC to LA and made some interesting observations about the difference of dating between the two cities.
She argues that Washington is for nesters and Los Angeles is for loners. Not because of the people in each city but because of the way the cities are scattered and laid out. Her argument- Because DC is smaller and more compact than LA or New York the number of singles doesn't seem overwhelming, but instead seems intimate. She says “Like a shelf stocked full with fancy mustards, too many potential mates makes it harder to settle on just one. The surplus of singles in New York and L.A. means only that the single person’s wasteland is that much more vast.” She makes some interesting points, some of which I agree with, but this game has to do with more than just numbers. I think it does have to do with the people in each city.

The problem with DC? Everyone seems like a good catch...on paper. Most guys I met in DC met basic criteria of being smart, educated, having a job, having drive, being close with their family etc. Since their were so many of these eligible guys, if there wasn't a “click” or extremely witty banter and intellectually stimulating conversation, I would usually just brush them to the side.
By the same token, DC is full of smart, beautiful, successful women. Everyone's educated, everyone's doing something with their life...most women in DC are also great catches. So what does that mean? More competition on both sides. As I could easily sometimes brush off men they could do the same to me.
In LA, its not always the same case. There is a lot of weeding out of men that you have to do. Who wants to date someone who is unemployed and can't even pay for their own shit? Not me. On the other side though, a lot of men don't seem to mind unemployed waste of life women, as long as they are hot. Unfortunate reality. And I know I could never compete with women that hot, not in LA.
Hess is correct in pointing out the vast layout of LA and saying that not everyone is willing to navigate three freeways for the chance to get laid. But what that ends up doing is making the larger metropolis of Los Angeles seem more like a small town because people stay in their respective neighborhoods. The surplus of singles that she mentions, kind of disappears unless you are willing to spend an insane amount of money on gas to drive across the city. I dont often leave a 10 mile radius (well why would I go more than 10 miles in the ocean? Unless I make more friends with boats) because I'm lazy and don't like to drive to go drinking. Even when I met a guy in Hollywood, I only gave him my number because he lived in the town next to me. There's no way I would drive to and from Hollywood all the time.
What I've found is that in LA there are two extremes of men. Guys who don't want to commit(which unfortunately seems like the norm); They just want to hit on you or hook up with you. They aren't interested in some sort of larger commitment for whatever reason. Maybe because they think they can be Clooney. But this type of guy seems more prevalent in LA than in DC. The other extreme-- the guys who want to commit and want girlfriends. The ones that actually do take you on dates are the ones that take things too fast. I haven't really come across a middle ground of guy who legimitately takes you out, treats you with respect and takes things at a reasonable pace. Maybe that's too much to ask for any city but that seemed like more of the norm in Washington. Here you're either (hopelessley) trying to make a guy realize that he should date you or you're trying to let someone down easily.
But this is not meant to be as depressing as it sounds. I know plenty of people in normal LA relationships and contrary to Hess' article, I would say it's actually been easier to meet guys in LA than in DC. At least outside of Hollywood, people are friendlier than they are in Washington. I've gone on more dates with guys that I just met at a bar, club or party in LA than I ever did in the nation's capital. So yeah, its a shame that LA is as spread out as it is because it seems like there are a lot of cool people out there, but chances are I'll never know them. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

A little bit of Thanks

This year was the first thanksgiving that I wasn't with my family but I had so many people reach out to me and invite me places. So much so that I couldn't make it to everything but the outpouring of love was amazing.

It's been a wild year, one of the most exciting and emotionally draining I've been through. But through it all I've really had so much to be thankful for and so many people to be thankful for. So thank you to everyone who made me feel welcome when I was new here. All those who offered to pass along my resume or recommended me for jobs. To all of you who made me laugh when I needed to. To the unlucky few who have had to listen to me cry, hug me when I cry, and most importantly those who told me to stop crying because my life is actually amazing. To all those who helped me reason through and make life decisions(however small those decisions might have been). And to everyone who shared something exciting about their life with me.

To all my friends back home and across the country, thank you for keeping me solid and grounded and for reminding me who I really am.

To my family- thank you for supporting me in whatever I do, loving me, taking care of my beloved kitty, and reminding me that despite all the challenges that life is about enjoying yourself.

To my friends in California--I am really so lucky to have all of you. I know when some people move they have trouble making friends in new cities. I have had the opposite experience here and am so thankful that I immediately met amazing co-workers, I was able to get connected with people who I was put in touch with by common friends and that I moved to one of the most bizarre/most fun/craziest neighborhoods in LA.

So I can't dole out enough thanks. But now that I have, don't expect me to for another year.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Trip to the Bay Area

Last weekend I had the chance to visit my friend from Virginia, Kevin, in San Francisco. We had the pleasure of being joined by our other friend Sylvia who flew out from Virginia for a mini high school reunion. 

The best part was obviously being able to see my old friends. I've met a ton of people an made a lot of new friends in my new home but it was nice to spend time with people who have known me for years.  We all mostly hung out in the years after college and its interesting to see how much each of us has grown and changed. I also had a really fun time in the bay area exploring the other side of California for the first time since I was 7. The most obvious difference to me between San Francisco and LA was how much San Francisco felt like real city. Since I drive everywhere in LA it was weirdly relaxing to be able to take public transportation or be able to take a quick cab to get you to city center. The landscape of San Francisco seemed almost European. With the steep hills, older buildings and bay view I felt like I was back in Barcelona or another Mediterranean city. And when I say steep, I mean steep. I came back to LA with calves of steel as we had to scale the “hills” (more like Mt. Everest in every direction) of San Francisco streets.

The second most obvious difference: hippies. No joke, I'm not just saying this. I might have a biased view as we went to a large, free, music festival one day. But dirty granola hippies AND hipsters were abound.

The third: bohemoth fire hydrants. That's all I have to say about that. 

The fourth: A different kind of crazy. I've become accustomed to the crazies of Venice beach and the sort, I almost forgot about inner city crazy people! We defintely encountered some as we were taking public transportation across San Francisco.

The fifth: A different type of creativity. Being in LA I feel like I'm certainly surrounded by a lot of creative people. Creative in various artistic facets. The Bay area, known for its start up culture, definitely seemed like it was full of people with a different type of creativity: idea people coming up with the latest app for smart phones or innovative business models (ie...we took a zip car out to Sonoma one day. Apparently this started in SF).

Similarities: palm trees(still not as good as the ones in LA), transplants, cyclists and white teenagers wearing drug rugs and openly talking about drug use in public. Hey kids, might want to keep that to yourself. 

All in all we had a good time! And of course we have some documentation of our fun: 
One of the bohemoth fire hydrants 
View of the Mission from Kevin's House

Waterfall at Golden Gate Park 
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival 
One of our stops at a vineyard in Sonoma
Golden Gate Bridge 
Cats! and Wolves! 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bi-Coastal Earthquakes

It has officially been one year since the DC earthquake. Every person in DC remembers where they were and what they were doing when it happened as if it was the most important event of 2011.

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was on the 8th floor of my office building at work when my desk started slowly shaking. Then the shaking became more violent. My first thought: What the hell? My second thought: Oh my god, a plane is going to run into my building. I'm gonna die. My third thought: Oh hey, this must be an earthquake!

It lasted about 20 seconds and honestly by the end of it I had a smile on my face (that's not what she said). I felt like I went on a roller coaster ride.

Luckily, damage in DC was minimal but for us east coasters the earthquake was a reason to boast. A big "In your face, we can deal with a sudden movement of the earth's crust caused by the release of stress accumulated along geologic faults or by volcanic activity...just like anyone on the west coast!" For west coasters, it was a reason to make fun of east coasters. Which is fine, east coasters defintely deserve to be made fun of but I'd love to see Angelinos deal with a quarter inch of snow. This was one of my favorite articles I read after the great DC earthquake of 2011. My favorite line is definitely:

But can we wimpy East Coasters just have our moment of absolutely shitting ourselves in fear as our non-earthquake-proofed buildings wobble and creak around us? Can we crawl around on our carpets to survey the paltry damage—look, a book fell off a shelf! That could have given someone a serious goose-egg!—without some Californian standing smugly in the doorframe like they learned in grade school, chewing on a PowerBar from the earthquake preparedness kit they carry around in a Lakers fanny pack at all times?

And you know what, in 6+ months I've been here I have only felt one earthquake (a light rumble that woke me up in the morning). So far the DC earthquake is the biggest (and best!) quake I've ever been through.

Monday, August 13, 2012

6 month mark

Wow,  I can't believe that it has already been 6 months since I moved to LA! A lot has happened in the last half a year, a lot of things that have made me learn more about myself: my strengths, my flaws and my general character.  Life in California has not been without its challenges and these last 6 months have certainly been a transition period for me. Sometimes I feel like that's brought out the best of me and sometimes I feel like that has brought out less than the best of me but overall I'm happy with my move and happy with the person I am becoming. 

Being unemployed for two months was an interesting experience and in some ways exactly what I needed. But after a point I started to feel very idle, like I wasn't reaching my potential. I start a new job this week and I think this will be the beginning of the next phase of my life in California. In the next 6 months I hope to discover whether I want to continue my west coast experiment or try something else. Needless to say, I'm excited for what is to come.

My goals for the next 6 months: 
  • See more of LA! I make an effort to leave Playa but its been 6 months and I still haven't really hung out down town or several other neighborhoods. There's lots to see and I want to see it. 
  • Travel around California Now that I feel more settled and like I have my home base, I want to take more day and weekend trips. San Diego, Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, San Francisco and Yosemite are all on my list 
  • Go to more comedy shows. LA is a comedy hub, and who doesn't like to laugh? 
  • Spend more time with my family in the area. Life got a bit crazy in the past 6 months, but I've got family in the area and should see them more often. 
  • Spend time with people who want to be around me and who I want to be around. Sometimes you learn this the hard way but life is too short. Foster the friendships that matter, forget about the rest. 

A few photo highlights of the last 6 months: 
Hollywood Bowl for the Playboy Jazz Festival 

I hiked to the top of the Hollywood sign...amazing views of the city and the valley

LA Kings win the Stanley Cup! 

Bottle Service for Eva's birthday! 

Lovely day in Santa Monica with a visit from my friend Val from Virginia 

Cinco de Mayo 
Venice Canals---absolutely beautiful 

Dressing up as solo cups for an Easter Keg Hunt

Patriotic Outfits for the 4th of July 

The Fab Four--wonderful ladies who I am so happy I met! 

Group bike ride

Santa Monica Pier at Sunset

Just a random wednesday night in the neighborhood...jumping into random people's bat mobiles. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012


I've taken a bit of a break from blogging because, well, life has given me a few hurdles. I went back home to Virginia for a week over the Memorial Day holiday. I figured 3 and ½ months after my move would be a good time to get a taste of home and to tell everyone how much I love California. Well, my trip to Virginia ended up being a bit different than planned.

So I left for Virginia with:
*A Tan
*Enough clothes for a week
*A job

I returned to California with:
*A panini maker
*400 Fish oil tablets
*Way too many pictures of my cat
*A Crown on my tooth
*No job
*Apprehension about the future

In a way, the beginning of my trip was so depressing that it was kind of comical. I had known for a week prior to leaving that there was a possibility that I would get laid off. Mentally I was prepared for it but the reality of being unemployed after just moving across the country was a bit unsettling. Here's the kicker--I received a call on the Monday night of my holiday with the news (Happy Memorial Day?).

To top it all off, I had a sudden and horrible toothache that day so I went into the Dentist on Tuesday morning and was told that I would need to get a root canal. Seriously, was the God I don't believe in unleashing some sort of wrath on me? With my insurance only lasting 3 more days, I had an emergency root canal done on Wednesday. I had something which was supposed to be done in four visits done in one sitting. The dentist's office told me I had a record for how long I was sitting in the chair. I guess you can call that a silver lining.

So after the demoralization of being laid off, the physical pain of going through a root canal and the financial pain of having to pay an unexpected $600 for the root canal, I can't say that I was in the best of spirits early in the week. But after having the re-charge of seeing my good friends and spending time with my extremely supportive family, my perspective on the situation turned quite positive. I will be working for the rest of my life, this time of unemployment is just an opportunity for me truly relax and re-charge and strategically plan my next steps for a career change. The only thing I know for certain, I want to stay in Southern California.

What has been most overwhelming about the whole situation is how supportive and willing to help everyone has been. My former colleagues were exteremely supportive and had such positive feedback and kind things to say to me. With a very limited professional network in LA, I have really had to reach out to everyone I know to put me in touch with people that they know in LA. I've had some success professionally that way and in the least have been making more connections and more friends through the experience.

While being laid off was less than ideal, I'm glad I used my former job as a vehicle to bring me out to California. I don't think I would have done it otherwise. I always tell myself that life could be a lot worse. Afterall, its summer, I live in a wonderful and fun community, and this is what I see every day: