There are many foods that hold a special place in my heart, but those of the dog variety: Corn, Hot and Street specifically, are particularly important.
Every time I smell a Street Dog, I want one! In January of this year I had gotten the NYC ID, and while museum hopping to catch all my memberships I consumed 5 to 10 Street Hot Dogs. Over the summer the Hot Dog game was particularly good at social events such as barbecues, and post-election my Street Dog intake increased in lieu of therapy.
Corn Dogs are one of my favorite things of all time, have been since I was a kid, so when I see ‘em I get ‘em. This year there were some particularly good corn dogs featured in multiple trips to California (one of which was lost to a seagull at Pier 39 in San Francisco, RIP).
In a year with a lot of ups and a lot of downs it was important to have readily available pick-me-ups likes dogs around.
Man, I really went places this year! In February I went skiing in Vermont with friends over super bowl weekend and learned all the dance moves to Formation. Then I took a trip to Morocco to visit Julie who was working at the American School of English in Marrakesh. It was beautiful and amazing! The people were incredibly friendly and the culture and history were unlike anything I’d seen, and I only got lost once.
April was my first time in the Berkshire’s for Sandy’s birthday. We made sooo much food, found but forgot to go to the Circle Museum, and I made out with a 22 year old in a hot tub lol.
Later that month I visited my grandfather Suds for a few days! We made food and he told me stories and I discovered we have a mutual appreciation for Castle (such a relief to know I'm not alone). In May I went with Wyatt to Montreal (more French stuff! It’s so cool!) We drove which I loved, crossed a border which was exciting, met up with lots of different friends and explored and drank and danced and I fell asleep in a robe.
In July I took a V A C A T I O N with Sophia! First was LA for a bit where we went to all the pools, walked by the ocean, I read Play it as it Lays and Inherint Vice, ate tacos and steak in bed and fell asleep by 10 every night. Then stopped over in Denver to see LCD Soundsystem at Red Rocks and woooooooow.
Labor day I went to Ocean City, Maryland with some gals which was a real blast from the past, I grew up going there and it is a ridiculous place for children and adults alike. In October we did a family trip to my lil bro in Huntington WV for his 21st birthday! I got him to drink a dirty bong water and we watched football. The town was really interesting... a mix of old and new, gorgeous landscape but a little bit of sadness everywhere.
Later that month I visited Mountain View for an interview. It was my first time being there since Y Combinator last summer, and was not as traumatic as I thought it would be. I went back to my nail salon and they were sweet as ever. From there I rented a convertible mini and drove up to San Francisco, down along the coast to Santa Clara and Big Sur. Ocean and pools and driving. I think I played starboy about a million times driving along that coast. California is where I was born so I'm not surprised it's my happy place.
It was a good year for travel. Some alone, some with friends, lots of reflection and lots of gorgeous shit. It's an important reminder of doing the things that help me clear my head and feel happy, and give me room for expansion.
Here’s the thing about flowers. I love them! I love having them around, they make everything great and are 10x better then plants cause they're already dead so I don't have to feel any way about that and just move on to the next when they're extra dead. I don't get flowers from boys (even though my dating numbers went up dramatically this year) so I buy them for myself and damn that feels good.
At the end of last year I moved into an apartment across the street from a flower shop. Now the thing with this flower shop is, they get some interesting weird pretty flowers. But all the bouquets they make they cover in glitter. Just glitter everywhere.
So I like flowers, I have access to flowers, but the bouquets are not ideal. One day I bought a couple types individually and decided to just smash ‘em together. And ya know what? It’s not as easy as I thought it would be. But it’s really therapeutic! It’s soothing. It’s like this weird organizing game where I don’t know at all if what I’m doing is going to work, and in the end how bad can it be because flowers, but obviously some arranging and combinations work better then others.
My favorite part about it is feeling like I have no context or training or information about it, and I don’t need to. I don’t have to go research flower arranging over the years, maybe I will eventually but not now. I can just pick a set of flowers that I’m feeling, slowly assemble them and if any of it turns out weird it just makes it that much better. I like being dumb about it, knowing that I did it, doing something weird and loving them because they’re beautiful no matter what.
I love pool. Nothing makes me happier then being in and around pools! This may be by fault of being born with a pool, which makes sense seeing as the connections between these themes and those of my childhood are uncanny. This year I really drove home my pool love with more water activity then most years prior. I think there’s something important about finding the things that make you happy and making them more prominent in your life.
Now, I know a hot tub isn’t a pool but it’s in the family and so I also increased hot tub time this year as well.
In total I experienced:
I don’t like to rate my pools but damn some of these were good ass pools. Some were not, like that weird indoor pool at Ocean City during the hurricane and it wasn’t heated and the frat boys were annoying, but a pool is a pool.
This year had some real highs, but ooooof getting up there really wears you out huh! I started the year without a job, and did some freelance and consulting while interviewing. Interviewing is exhausting! It’s like dating a ton of people at the same time and no one wants to take things slow. I enjoyed the freedom of consulting but wasn’t ready to really go there all the way.
I started at Button in March, and in April signed on for a side project with The Leading Strand. Over the course of 3 months I built a product from scratch and an exhibit piece to match, while simultaneously shipping several complex product features at Button including an app! I have never worked so much, on such difficult things in my life. Despite a couple mental breakdowns and existential crisis regarding all of my relationships with people, it was an amazing thing that produced excitement and joy and all sorts of good feelings for me daily. My friend Emily recently said I’m happiest when I’m in those periods of my life and she’s right. I’m trying to find a way to take the parts about it that make me happy and extend them over more sustainable periods of time.
After that project I crashed and went on vacation. Continued at Button for a few more months but was emotionally exhausted from fighting some of the good fights. I left in September and went back on the interviewing tour of New York. After lots of introspection I realized I wasn’t seeing the companies I want to see in the world. I wasn't seeing opportunities where I felt I could be as successful as I am capable of being.
Then the election happened. As a woman feeling like I couldn't be successful in this world, damn was that a blow. I let myself feel defeated. And never made a conscious decision of when I would go back to ruling the world as I always knew I would, but somehow I picked back up and started on my way again. I was already in a state of reassessment so answers started falling into place more reasonably then I think they would have otherwise. I'd already done the grunt work of falling apart.
With a bit more free time at the end of the year I did some contract work with SuperHi while researching how to help people be more active in democracy over a longer period of time. In the last month of 2016 I talked to lots of really smart people, learned more about the government then I've even tried to in years, applied to some fellowships and assembled a team to make CallParty.
I've made some decisions for my business future that I feel really good about. Now I’m more productive then I’ve ever been and that makes me really happy!
Now robes, unlike pools, were a surprise appearance this year. When Wyatt and I got to our Airbnb in Montreal after a debacle of ultimate scale (they didn’t let us into our booked Airbnb, WHICH HAD A POOL) and were unclear in their direction of a place for us to actually stay, we got into our new apartment in the middle of the night exhausted and disappointed.
The apartment was fine, but it had one surprisingly redeeming quality. Robes.
I believe we wore robes for 50% of that trip and I couldn’t be happier about that. Since then robe appearances saw a dramatic increase, and subsequently experienced a much higher appreciation.
If I had to give it a number, my happiness in robes increases at least 20%. This is unsurprising as one of my happiest places growing up was my grandparent's, where robes are an esteemed uniform of the house. Big year for the resurrection of childhood themes.
The thing with this is, it’s not a really new theme. I’ve been going to Vixen Workout with Emily for over 3 years now! But this year I spent way less time going out and dancing in my free time then I ever have. So these hour+ classes a week have become way more crucial to my livelihood.
Every week, ‘twerkout’ is the thing that I look forward to. That I have to do. No matter what’s going on, it’s going to make me feel great or maybe it won’t but it matters. And every year I think I let go a little more, and learn more, and need it even more. And while I was able to make it more about self-love and improvement then ever, I was also able to open up more to whoever’s around me. Friends from the class, friends who pop in, and Emily who’s been my twerk partner since the beginning.
Earlier this year I wrote a Medium post on dating a confident gal (me lol). I know so many great women who don’t put their SELF first. There isn’t a quick explanation for how I got to be the way that I am. I’ve known since I was a kid that I was important despite any amount of adversity (again, no idea how that happened). But I do know that feeling love and power, and sharing that with other women is important. That’s what twerkout is about for me.
I'm sharing twerk more because it matters to me and makes me feel good, and I love to see women taking care of themselves. If you ever want to join I'd love to dance with you! ✨