i’m 21 years old. for just a few more days. some days i feel 80 some days i feel 8. rarely an in between. too young or too old. this is the age they told me that would fit just right. this is the age 30 year olds squeeze themselves into on friday nights with spanx and a cigarette. this is the age 8 year olds think that they’ll be when they fall in love forever and ever. this the age where i’m either in bed at 9 pm or 4 am and i will probably wake up feeling kind of horrible. this is the age where there are more questions than answers and i’m excited, not scared. this is the age where kids and jobs and mortgages feel further away than juice boxes; but they’re lurking in the background and if you turn your head to quickly to the right you might just catch a glimpse of yourself wearing running shoes with jeans and a toddler attached to your hip. this is the age when weeks last years and years last days and nights are what really matter. it all seems like magic. and you’re not really sure if you believe in magic still. you’re as thin and as pretty and as young as you will ever be but you can’t really notice. you’re too busy trying to boil pasta. and that’s what it is. caught in between, pulled two directions. its good and its bad and its beautiful. it’s twenty one.
This Zodiac pendent is from Free People and is the perfect present for anyone that loves their star sign. I also love personalized name necklaces (think Carrie Bradshaw) for gifts that feel more unique and thoughtful.
These remind me of my childhood, pulling the round golden wrappers out of stockings. Chocolate oranges are perfect little gifts for co-workers or dinner party favors!
One can never have too many mugs. One of my many mantras. I usually get mine from Anthro or Tigertree if you’re local to Columbus. Mugs are also perfect to pack some candy, lip balm or any other little stocking stuffers into for the perfect gift to a colleague or friend!
One of my favorite types of gifts to receive– a gift that keeps on giving. A few recommendations would be the NYT Sunday Editions, The New Yorker, Bust Magazine or Harness. (ps. I write for Harness Mag, go check them out!)
Skincare products are luxe gifts that fit into a basket or clutch for a little DIY gift set. Above are a few of my personal favorites. Smith’s Rosebud Salve is an essential for me and it comes in many different flavors and scents. Pick a few of your favorites for a treat-yo-self package.
Everyone loves candles. Anthropologie has some of my favorites for aesthetic and scent! Or you can make your own at The Candle Lab!
Resin earrings are a huge trend this year and as you can see, I’m a big fan. There are so many variations, colors and designs, to choose from. One of my favorite brands is called One Story and is based in Columbus!
Little plant guys add a lot to a space and you can never have too many. I pick up plants for cheap somewhere like Lowe’s or Home Depot and then add them to pots I’ve found at thrift stores or somewhere like Urban Outfitters. Or even better, shop local at Stump Plants in Columbus!
Essential oils are the perfect gift for anyone interested in holistic health or dealing with a lot of stress. Sets like this are easy to find and as an added gift, you could include a diffuser as well!
I love picking out fun makeup like this highlight from Milk Makeup to gift! Things that someone might not purchase for themselves as an essential but would be fun for special occasions or night out.
And when all else fails: make a card, buy a bottle of wine and tell them you love them. 9/10 dentists agree this works every single time. Happy hunting!
I’ve lived in Columbus for three years now and what I thought would just be a stop along the way during my college years has become a home. It’s small but it’s mighty. I have fallen in love with the revolutions and communities here under arches. There is a secret (not that secret) thriving cultural world happening and the city is one of the fastest growing regions in the county. Columbus is super underrated (I kinda want it to stay that way because cheap rent) butttttt if you find yourself in the city for a weekend or just moved here, these are a few of my favorite things!
Cafe culture is an essential piece of any good hometown in my opinion. For work, study or eating muffins, check these:
- The Roosevelt
- Coffee + social justice = everything good. This social enterprise donates a portion of their profits to 501 c 3 nonprofits and is a great spot for weekday meetings.
- Fox in the Snow
- My favorite for baked goods and coffee and sunshine on Saturday mornings. (no wifi though so don’t try to get work done)
- My favorite working cafe, this spot usually has plenty of open tables, plants, wifi and outlets.
- Pistacia Vera
- A little french-esque cafe with macaroons and all the beautiful things.
- Flowers and Bread
- A little outside of the city center in Clintonville, a slower paced, beautiful cafe perfect with pastries and sunlit tables
- Dough Mama
- Also located in Clintonville, the coffee and cakes are wonderful and there’s plenty of seating + cute merch
Places to go
For exploring on the weekends (or weekdays):
- Scioto Mile
- in the summer this is one of my favorite places to go. it has a beautiful view of the Columbus skyline and an extensive bike trail. there’s lots of grassy areas for picnics and this area is conveniently located near COSI children’s science museum, the new Veteran’s memorial center and bicentennial park.
- Franklin Park Conservatory
- Especially or when the weather in Columbus is not so wonderful, the conservatory is my haven for feeling outside without being outside. (also one of my fav spots during the holidays!)
- The Main Library
- This is a beautiful building full of books. My favorite. Worth a visit just for the architecture.
- Grange Insurance Audubon Center
- Nature in a city, this little oasis is right past the downtown area. There’s rock climbing, paths to walk and green, green, green.
- The Short North
- If you aren’t sure what you’re in the mood for you can probably figure it out in the short north. Restaurants, cafes, galleries, local shopping and ice cream available.
The important stuff:
- My go-to for brunch or din with friends. I recommend the breakfast pizza or the pasta forno!
- The mediterranean version of chipotle. Life changing.
- This is a fancier spot for brunch or dinner. Kinda pricey but worth it.
- Hot Chicken Takeover
- I don’t even know what I love more, the mission of this social enterprise or their chicken. Hot chicken takeover is committed to hiring men and women in need of supportive employment.
- Tacos, margaritas and queso.
- My favorite queso in Columbus. You need it.
- El Arepazo
- Venezuelan food that makes you realize how much you love Venezuelan food.
- Iconic ice cream that’s gone national. Columbus is the home of this splendid brand and it’s worth the long line and the price.
- Okay this might sound strange but: pancake balls. It’s important. Try them. Their food is locally sourced and the best
These can range from chill dive to upscale happy hours– enjoy responsibly:
- Seventh Sons
- One of my favorite places for a chill happy hour. They bring in food trucks (on Thursdays its periogies) and host community events like the Columbus Flea. Lots of draft beers on tap and seating indoor and out!
- Trivia night on Tuesdays! + a hip, eclectic vibe.
- During the summer, the outdoor pool is open for drinking and swimming! They also offer really good little apps and speciality cocktails.
- This is the most picturesque venue in Columbus (imo). It’s a black and white new york vibey place with an incredible view of the columbus skyline. It’s only open to the public Monday-Thursday however– on the weekends it’s a rental space!
- Local Bar
- This is the divey-est place on my list. Very homegrown + free popcorn.
- Here you can sample hundreds of kinds of wine using a preloaded card + fancy wine tech. There is wine from all over the world and it’s a perfect chiller night out with friends or date thing.
My other great love besides food:
- Vamp Official
- My friend Ellen Shirk opened this brick and mortar store about a year ago and is killin’ it! I want to buy every single thing it’s problematic.
- On Paper
- The happiest little stationary/trinket/card shop
- Quirky shop full of perfect gifts that you would never, ever think about. One of my favorite places to just pop in and explore.
- Little Hawk Shop
- Stump Plants
- Plants, plants, plants! This adorable little shop offers every variety of house plant + creative ways to display them.
- Valiente Goods
- The Book Loft
- This infamous staple of the Columbus landscape is located in German Village (one of my fav neighborhoods). The Book Loft has over 34 rooms of books and my favorite place to spend a rainy afternoon very very lost.
- Small Talk
- Two Dollar Radio
- My fav book store + coffee hangout spot. They publish their own books with beautiful covers and beautiful stories. You know every single book in there is wonderful because it’s hand curated by the owners.
Have a recommendation or would like to be featured? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Voting is important but it is hard. We live in a complicated political system that even many scholars do not fully understand. It has been crafted as intentionally ambiguous to protect those who made it from day one. We live in a primarily elitist democracy and the only way to fix this is to participate. However, the concept of “rational ignorance” is that not only is it difficult/time consuming/exhausting to be informed but also most of the time, it’s not worth the return on investment. So I made a voter guide to try to address this. You can pull this out at the polls, use it as a starting point for more research or pass it along to friends with more questions. It’s super brief, there is so, so, so much more on every single one of these issues and candidates but it’s an introduction to a crazy world that can’t fit onto a few one pagers.
This guide is intended to be nonpartisan, however I can’t say it’s not value oriented. It’s almost impossible to be impartial in life, particularly about something we feel strongly about. There are always going to be issues that I think are more important (that’s not objective, it’s based on my own value system) and I won’t apologize for that. I have apologized for having opinions for way too long. If you think there’s a bullet point on here that is incorrectly reported please (kindly) let me know! This is based on my own research as well as the League of Women’s Voters guide that is *actually* nonpartisan. For more detailed information, see that guide here!
I made this because of many requests for honest, straightforward, easy to understand information. This is my best shot at that! You can find waaaaay more info on the candidates’ websites or other news sources.
I did not include any third-party (or write-in) candidates because there are no polls that indicate a third-party candidate will even potentially disrupt any statewide elections in Ohio. There’s more info on third-party candidates available online and if you feel strongly I encourage you to vote with your beliefs– however, I also encourage you to make your vote count.
Don’t forget there are many smaller, localized elections that are equally important as statewide (possible more so!) in your district, county and hometown. Local newspapers typically provide voter guides based on answers submitted by the candidates themselves. I know it’s time-consuming and kinda boring but all of this will change your life. And the lives of lots of others. For better or for worse.
So vote. Vote like your life depends on it.
(because it actually does)
This year I quit everything.
Okay, maybe not everything, but most things.
I came into college wanting to do things. Every single thing in fact. I spent much of my college career actively involved in every student organization, every event, every opportunity that I could be. I was checking off boxes. Boxes on a checklist called the ‘perfect college experience.’ My Google calendar looked like a checkerboard, every hour accounted for, color coded, segmented into perfection. My life was made up of little boxes. Suddenly, everything felt like an obligation. Things that I used to love, I dreaded. I wandered from box to box, waiting for it to be over. I was thinking 8 boxes ahead at all times, I was never existing now. My life was a to-do list and as soon as I checked one thing off, I added three more. I was losing at my own life. And I was choosing it.
For a long time, I didn’t ask that question. I accepted that this is what I had to do to succeed. I slept less, I was sick more, coffee ran through my veins at the speed of light. I was buzzing, electrified and miserable. Ambition had turned into obsession. I had almost completed the checklist, I was ‘succeeding.’ And I realized after 3 years, this was not my checklist anymore, it was someone else’s.
I think that we often confuse busy-ness for success. I thought a colorful GCal meant I was doing something right. I had places to be, meetings to attend, projects to finish. But at the end of the day, I was not sparkling, I was exhausted. I had accomplished almost nothing in this frenzied chaos to succeed. My mind was messy, not meaningful. I had no clear direction, I was spiraling in a million directions and to be quite honest, not doing particularly well at any of them. Productivity doesn’t mean much if you don’t really care about what you’re producing.
What I want to tell you is: STOP. Stop, breathe, calibrate. Look at your day, divided into pretty colors and think about whether any of that actually added any value to your life or to the world.
If you cannot talk for more than 15 minutes about why you are doing something, stop doing it.
Here are some quick reasons that are not a valid why:
- everyone else is doing it
- you think that you ‘should’
- it will look good on a resume
- you are able to do it
- someone told you that you need to
- you want to look good to other people
If any of those things are your why: quit it. Drop it. Gone.
Rest itself is an action, not a lack thereof. There is nothing glamorous or impressive about burnout. Trust me. Free time is so, so important. It’s when I create, connect, rest. Free time shouldn’t be a rigid obligation, penciled in between everything else where you finally remember to eat a meal. Free time doesn’t count if it’s you eating a meal of pretzels while multi-tasking on your laptop.
My senior year I quit everything that was not adding value to my own life or to the world. And I have never been happier. The world did not end, no one hated me, most people probably didn’t even notice I was gone and I was finally, finally free.
I’m still busy. But with things I love. None of it feels like an obligations. I stopped “should-ing” and started choosing. I have time to read books, to write, to sleep, to think, process, plan. All of the things I had forgotten that I needed to do. I am better at everything I do now. I’m moving in a steady and consistent direction towards a career I’m really, really excited about. I feel balanced and at peace for the first time in maybe my entire life. Cool things keep happening because I’ve decided to attract cool things. I’m happy, healthy and for the most part, I’m pretty sane! Do more by doing way, way less.
Our time is so finite. Our energy is so precious. Stop handing it all out like cheap candy. Be picky. Hang on to your magic and disperse it effectively on things that make you happy to be alive. There is nothing lazy about laying on the couch and regaining your sanity. It’s brave. And so necessary if we are going to keep fighting the good fight.
I have finally chosen my life and it’s a beautiful, liberating feeling. Please, please choose yours.
Some of my favorite recents reads, coincidentally all by female authors. Let’s read more and do better.
1. The Power Written by a mentee of Margaret Atwood, this book is a feminist prose for the new age. It switches the script gendered power and forces you to rethink what it actually means to be in control.
2. Preistdaddy Hilarious, beautifully written art. Poetry in memoir form.
3. Fates and FuriesOne of my favorite books of all time, the perfect combination of narrative and artful writing. You will need to read at least twice.
4. Heart TalkCleo Wade is my hero. You’ve probably seen her work on Instagram and this book is a perfect collection of poems and life wisdom. I read this right before I go to sleep or first thing in the morning to get my shit together.
5. Dear Madam PresidentI cry like every time I read this book. Written shortly after the 2016 presidential election this is an ode to leadership and womanhood that has never been more timely. I use it as an instruction book for daily living as well as aspirational goal setting. Important, important, important.
I’m 5 foot 2. 107 pounds. Probably can’t do a pull up. Not that I would be one to try. One thing I’ve never been described as in my life is strong.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told to speak louder, be more authoritarian, stop being so nice. I’ve been told to lean in, stand up, take up more space, take charge, say no.
The older I get and in the more competitive environments I find myself and at the higher level I succeed; the more frequent the comments have become. I am told to be a good leader, I need to stop being “weak”. While much of that advice was well-meaning, it is disempowering. And it is false.
When they say weak, they’re talking about the moments that I listen instead of speak, think instead of raise my hand, process instead of stand up, acknowledge instead of interrupt. Again and again and again.
And for once, my introverted and introspective character breaks and I actually just want to scream at all of them: they are wrong.
My interest in hearing others out is absolutely not a lack of confidence in my own ability. My tolerance is not passiveness. Do not confuse my kindness for submission.
Do not confuse my true strengths for “weakness”.
It takes strength to shut up. To observe. To forgive. To trust. To choose the war over the battle. To serve.
For so long, power has looked like man. Loud, big, competitive. A man painted by men. Just because it’s our history, that does not mean it should be our future.
We need to speak and we need to listen. Stand up and lean down to lift other. Join in in harmony and stay silent for someone else’s solo. Give opinions and receive feedback. There is a time for speaking up and standing out and taking up all of the space and interrupting when you haven’t had the chance to be heard. But let’s not confuse all of these things for inherent strength just because they’re loud.
Stop telling leaders who don’t look or sound exactly like the ones that you’ve always been used to, that they are doing it wrong. Stop telling boys to stop crying and girls to speak louder. Maybe we wouldn’t need to speak so damn loud if anyone else stopped talking long enough to listen.
There is so much strength in listening, understanding, silence, crying, feeling, apologizing. These are not female or male characteristics, these are human.
Stop calling all of my strength, weakness.