Cookie Shop Lady

I go through these food obsession cycles.  One day, I just need to eat a certain thing, over, and over, and over.

I’ve been doing it since I was little. For example, The Month of Tuna.

I asked for tuna sandwiches for every meal. Without fail. And I ate them. And I liked it.  Since then I have been doing this with various foods: avocados, jamba juice, lentils, black beans, and matzo balls. (Matzoh? Matza? I can’t get an answer on this.)

Most recently, the obsession was with cookies. Granted, these cookies are actually famous, so I’m not alone in this rite of passage. These cookies are so famous, in fact, that the line always wraps around the block.

 

I was waiting in line.

 

I was being my typical self. Pretending to be absentminded but truly people-watching to an awkwardly intense degree. There was this family in front of me dressed really nicely. Every few minutes a boy would start humming a song and the girl next to him would join in. Soon the whole family was singing under their breath. Suddenly someone would look around and pretend to be embarrassed (no one was actually watching) and they’d laugh. This went on for 30 minutes, it was such a warm experience.

 

The family left.

 

There was a couple doing couple things in front of me. She was talking. He was listening. That involved kind of listening boys do in the first 6 months of the relationship. The one where they taste your words. They aren’t actually listening, they’re just memorizing the way your mouth moves, you know?

The girl in the couple got self conscious. She looked at me and stiffened, as if I was being judgemental or weird.

 

I gave them privacy.

 

The woman behind me was rather close to me. Whisper distance. People don’t stand closely to each other in Los Angeles. Not the way they do in other cities.

 

In other countries.

  

She was writing in her book. Such a student thing to do, I thought. She was on the older side and no undergrad at UCLA does their readings. She must be a graduate student. Too cutesy to be a professor though.

 

Yes, too cutesy.

 

She snaps, “Give us some room!” to the boy behind her. He’s my age. I feel uncomfortable that she included me in her accusation. She sound protective, though. I like that. It’s kind of her.

 

She continues changing her body language to being more and more defensive. She’s making a wall between me and this boy, and she’s turning so that her rear is facing away from him.

“Ugh, this guy is totally on top of us,” she grumbles. (I love the word, “grumble”.) I laugh.

 

“Yeah, huh?” I’m clearly a witty conversationalist.

 

We begin talking. She tells me he pinched her butt. Multiple times. I agree that that is strange. We begin talking. She asks me what I study. (World Arts & Cultures) She collects art. Have I heard of Mr. Brainwash? (I’m insulted she even asked.) Do I know of unique galleries? (You bet! Wait, only like 1.) She does location and art scouting, too.

Aren’t these cookies great? Here’s my card, email me the name of that gallery.

 

I do.

Fashionable Rage

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It was 8:30pm, and there was only thirty minutes left of lecture. This late night ritual is a rare one at UCLA. As a university that mandates full time scholars, night classes are not a luxury allowed to us. However, this particular course is taught by a guest lecturer of sorts—the director of our Center for the Art of Performance.

Our professor, the director, is being interviewed because we students keep asking about what exactly she does. We were certainly all curious eight weeks ago, but it’s been two and a half hours. Our curiosity is waning.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the interviewer makes a comment, “rage is all the rage nowadays—it’s fashionable.” My friend and I look up, make eye contact, and immediately scratch it into our notebooks: rage is fashionable.

She’s just so on point. Immediately I think of the internet culture’s obsession with rage. Jenna Marbles pops up in my head. As a close follower of Jenna Marbles, I’ve watched my own humor follow hers—ranting. I don’t know why, but people love listening to each other rant (as long as it isn’t too personal).  It’s rampant in our popular media and has been for decades.

For context, we were discussing social change. And to be realistic, spreading rage can occasionally catalyze change. More often, though, it just spreads an unproductive form of anger.

I’m no genius. I don’t have an answer for why this is. All I know is that now that I know about it—I have a choice whether to be (or not to be) fashionably enraged.

A Letter From My Future Lover

So I really suck at keeping up with this blog, but I’m going to do my best to get back into it. I’m going to worry less about being perfect and worry more about getting out content. This post is a reaction to a letter written by a friend of mine, which was taken up by Thought Catalog.

“My Dearest Amanda,

I know your friends call you Mandy, but I think Amanda is so much more sacred, so much more graceful. Before I tell you how much I love you, I need to thank you for a few things. First of all, thank you for your shitty childhood. Yes, I know, it was out of your control. What was in your control, though, was your choice to grow out of it. In the midst of disaster, you decided you weren’t going to be crushed. You decided to grow, instead.
That’s another thing, thank you for being so grown. I know you like to pretend that you are young. You say you like to go out and you spend long nights with friends. I know you, though. I know you like a glass of wine and a book over anything. I know you’d rather have a conversation than a drink.
On the other hand, thank you for being so god damn immature. You frustrate me so much. You always need to be right. You’re so passive aggressive. You’re the messiest person I’ve ever met, and yet your inbox is always clear. That’s something I don’t understand.
Thank you for fucking up. Like, horribly. You seriously went on a date that got you a $500 ticket? That’s adorable. You failed classes? That’s human. You said no to commitments? Thank god.
Thank you for taking a break from dating to face yourself. You talk about your “dry spell” constantly and how happy you are that it’s over. But how would you have even found that dance club we met at? If you were always at dates would you have had time to invest in salsa lessons or your photography or that thriving blog of yours? I don’t think so. In fact, I don’t think we would  have ever happened if you kept seeking out men to fill your dread of the real you.

See, because out of that that pained, horny, artsy disaster that dry spell came a woman. She had found a way to balance love and a career. She found a way to be a leader and a caretaker at once. She had hobbies and opinions and drive. She had a job. She worked out when she wanted and ate what she wanted and said what she wanted. She traveled and backpacked and hiked. See, the woman you are came from the woman you were, and that’s the woman I fell in love with.

And let me just tell you about the woman I fell in love with. She is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever set eyes on. She’s so confident, yet somehow she shares her heart with everyone she meets. She’s the type of woman who notices people. She talks to everyone, from the cashier to the homeless lady we pass every day (I love that, Amanda).  She wants to give to the world but for some reason she also gives so much to me. She is raw. She is changing the world. She only wants good for people. She can make an entire room laugh. She can laugh over an entire room. She is a beacon of grace and leadership and talent. There is no other woman I will ever want to be with, because my Amanda is enough for a million lifetimes.

So yeah, I decided to write you a love letter on a Tuesday morning. The coffee’s on.  I’ll see you tonight, gorgeous.

Japanese or Ethiopian tonight? I think Ethiopian…I’m feeling handsy. 😉

Love, ….”

10 Ways to Get Ahead Before You Go To College

Here’s a handy list of how to be awesome before you belt Vitamin C all summer. For those of you graduating from college, many of these are a must.

1. Make a LinkedIn, and tell your friends to, too.

So here’s the deal, LinkedIn is getting more and more popular. When I was in high school, I occasionally got requests, but I wasn’t impressed by it, so I didn’t invest. I regret that every day, because there were some truly fantastic people trying to connect with me.Not to mention, now I’m struggling to catch up with all of the rockstars I met in high school–professional or otherwise.

If you have a profile already made before you graduate, all of those names will be fresh. Additionally, if you told them to make one, too, you’ll get to connect.

2. Get a professional email.
Along with that LinkedIn bit, don’t make your profile  using your goofyemail@useless_host.com.
A professional email means yourname@host.com. Organize it with folders, such as: classwork, work, newsletters, passwords, etc. If you have the opportunity to get a name@school.edu email address, make that one professional, too.

Tip: If you intend to jump right into the professional world, ask for a domain for a graduation gift. Having First name@lastname.com is just great, and will only run you around $15 a year, if you do it right. Additionally, if you intend to  get into communications, design, or marketing of any type, you’ll love yourself for already owning a space.

3. Take down all of your stupid s**t on Facebook. 

Take down all of it. The hot tub pictures. The prom parties. The pretend drinking. The real drinking. Anything with you smoking.

The internet is a free and open place. Did your dream school not accept you despite your glowing application? Don’t doubt this as a reason. Too many adults are realizing this the hard way (like this woman). Even having bad grammar on social media can ruin your job prospects. Don’t join them.

4. Get over your plethora of awards, volunteering, etc

While these experiences may come up in entry-level job interviews, sorority rushing, and pretentious parties, they don’t matter much beyond that. Putting too many of these redundant high school experiences on your resume will look weird, and you’ll know that at your first cruel interview when the interviewer laughs at the dates you listed.

I wrote a more anecdotal piece about this, too.

5. Get over your reputation, too.

Same deal, different story.  If you had the sad misfortune of living in the same school district, going to school with the same 300 people for a dozen years, then you will not understand this process. Unless you condemned yourself to another 4 years of being with the same high school crowd, COLLEGE IS FREE REIGN.

Reinvent yourself. Could mean you get hotter. or smarter. or nicer. your choice.

Tip: Talk to someone who’s moved a lot. They know the deal.

6. Get a file hosting account

You should have had one of these in high school, but if you didn’t, get one ASAP. I would recommend Box, Dropbox, and GoogleDrive because they’re free.

These are ASSes. As in Ass Saving Services. Printer in your dorm stopped working? Well maybe your friend works somewhere with a printer. Most schools have printing labs. Your library best have a printer. However, many times you have to use an ancient computing device to be able to print your stuff.  This is when you will love me for telling you to get one of these. Ass saving at its best.

Tips: Once you get one, look up the tips on how to get more memory. Better yet, make friends with the people who do that shit for fun.
Also, make a bit.ly that’s easy to remember so you don’t even have to sign in to download the item. (Just remember they’re case sensitive.)

7. Learn to Love Podcasts 
Podcasts and their creative cousin, tutorials, are education’s gift to both non-enrolled and insanely stressed students. While many schools keep their daily podcasts of lectures under wraps, they usually have public ones too. Different courses require different methods of studying, but for conceptual things like biology, philosophy, and books, podcasts rock!

Podcasts can be both video or audio. Honestly, video is only necessary for formulaic (duh) subjects like math (it’s hard to visualize a formula).

Places to find podcasts and tutorials:
Your University Website (another professor could be a great way to review!)
iTunes U
Khan Academy
Udemy

8. QUIZLET

Quizlet quizlet quizlet. Quiz fricken let. I can’t rave enough about them.

This service should be so expensive. But it’s free, and awesome, and they finally made an app. They’re your flashcards online. You can just print the cards (alphabetically, or randomly or in the order that you made them). You can just copy paste a document of your vocab and they’ll make flashcards from them.

More than that? They make games! And tests! And review software! So worth it. So fun. I used to have study sessions where we all sat there making flashcards during the session, then used them to review later on our own. Super useful.
Side note: I’m on a Quizlet Crusade. I’ve literally converted dozens of people to using Quizlet. You’re next. Because they rock.

9. Become a Brand Ambassador

So this is an obvious one for people already interested in marketing, but being a Brand Ambassador (or Brand Influencer/Brand Representative/Street Team/whatever) can help you learn a lot about organizing people and events, too.

Most ambassadorships want you to table at events and get connected with organizations. What a fun way to get to know a club you might be interested in without awkward membership requirements! You’ll also work with someone running the program. Sometimes this is outsourced; I had that experience with Spotify. However, smaller orgs will have an employee, or sometimes even corporate intern run the program. You’ll be able to connect with someone already moving through the corporate ladder via LinkedIn, and you’ll also find out a lot about who is getting hired in that sector.

If you can think of a service or brand you already love, look them up. If they don’t have a program advertised, email them! They might love the idea so much they’ll start one and you’ll have your foot so far in the door you’ll surprise yourself.

10. Research your school.

This includes the obvious, like taking advantage of orientation, looking up recent articles about your school, and Googling your professors.

However, this also means paying attention to the stereotypes of your school. I recently found out that UCLA was in a documentary called Shmacked. I was so shocked. My whole senior year, I had kept my ears opening for “party schools” and “smart schools”. I knew Boulder, Arizona, Santa Barbara and San Diego were party hotspots. I knew Berkeley and Stanford were full of really smart people, but they partied hard. UCLA? Nothing. Crickets. Pins dropping. But here is someone who thought differently. Keep those ears and eyes open.

This blog post is dedicated to all of those seniors, someday seniors, and no-longer seniors that I did my best to guide through the process. I know you think I’m insanely different than I was in high school—and someday you’ll stop being so judgmental. All in all, I hope I said at least one useful thing to you.

No One Cares About Your Past

Growing up, I had a lot of older mentors. All of my siblings (at the time) were older than me. All of my friends were older. I myself was older than most of the people in my class were. As I watched one of these mentors go through college, he constantly came home saying, “I wish people realized that no one cares about their past!”

 

He didn’t mean their background, or their childhood, or anything like that. He meant their high school reputation. He was annoyed with going on dates with girls who would go on and on about how popular they were in high school, despite being close to getting their degree.

 

For me…that’s hard to imagine. Maybe UCLA is full of people who acknowledge we were all amazing in high school.  Maybe I’m not dating those types of people.  But outside of popularity, we can’t get over high school, and I wonder how bad that is.

 

This comes because tonight (April 23) I’m going back to a warm memory from high school. Long Beach had just created a new award. It was going to be the Emerging Youth Leader Award, for someone who “demonstrated ethical leadership in their sphere of influence, involvement in local community issues, and strong communication skills” and I received it in 2009.  The award had already existed, but this is the first time they were going to give it to a young person. I was so honored. My dad actually showed up. I felt like a moral celebrity, which was weird, but fun.

 

In finding me on LinkedIn, one of the award coordinators excitedly emailed me. Shortly after we caught up, she asked me to come to their reception at a nice restaurant tonight, because “It would be great to have an Emerging Leader Award Recipient and get an update in person.”

 

Of course, I’m beyond stoked. I was so absolutely stunned and excited when I got the actual award. I felt like my silent efforts were suddenly shouted on mountaintops. But should I forget that? My past pulled me back tonight, and I’m super stoked about it. I learned so much in high school, and that’s okay.

 

 

 

I learned my job at Wetzel’s Pretzels in a matter of days. Everyone was so stunned, since most of my coworkers didn’t learn each restaurant  (working at Wetzel’s is actually working at Rx, Wetzel’s Relaxtation and Greenhouse in Ackerman) until about 3-4 weeks in.  I recently read my employee review, and the same thing was recorded on it. When I got tested on sanitary precaution, I passed with flying colors. I told them I had managed my old student store, so of course I knew the standards. He replied, “No one cares about your past, Mandy.”

 

Not Curly Enough

At Camp Elk, 2012
At Camp Elk, 2012

“I’M SORRY MY HAIR ISN’T CURLY ENOUGH FOR YOUR STANDARDS!”

It’s something I want to scream nearly every time I go to dinner with my boyfriend’s family. These events are often…I’d say about once a week. His little sister Danielle, 15 years old, wants to straighten her hair. This is an argument I’ve seen unfold since my first visit with his parents a little over a year ago. His mom cringed whenever his sister mentioned it. Tension immediately rose at the table whenever it happened.

I was at lunch with a fellow student. We were getting paid to give tours of the housing (dorms) at UCLA to newly admitted students and their families.. We were learning about each other to fill time before the job got started. I was telling her I was going to be teaching in Tanzania that summer, my boyfriend is Isreali.

She commented, “Wow, you’re already doing Global Studies!” Global Studies was my major.

That made me sort of uncomfortable…I’m not studying my own life, I’m doing what I’m interested in. I didn’t date the boy I dated because he’s foreign. I didn’t travel because I wanted to observe the people like some sick tourist. I wanted to know what it was like for a non-profit to work abroad…and I sure learned a lot of lessons.

But is that what I look like? Some privileged white girl touring any exotic thing she can get her hands on? Is that what I am? No, it’s not…but I wonder if that’s how I seem. I’ve thought the same thing about military men who’ve married women from abroad, why should I be judged any differently?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch.

Just kidding, they would never be able to handle eating at a ranch.

Meanwhile, back at the trendy urban eating environment.

I was walking on eggshells talking to Danielle at the table. For context, this girl has seen me sit in a movie theater down 2/3 of a mimosa in a workout water bottle, and giggle my ass off to some action movie. As I explain that I can straighten my own hair in 20 minutes for quick wavy hair, and 40 for perfectly straight hair. Danielle loves it every time I say that straightening isn’t that big of a deal, especially with good product and a ceramic straightener. Every time I approve something, Danielle looks at her mom like, “See, it’s not that bad!”

However, whenever I mention something like this, a specific gaze begin to lather me with judgment. Come on Mandy, have you looked in a mirror? Her curls are WAY curlier than yours are. It would take so much longer for her to straighten her hair.

It’s his mom’s way of commenting on my foreignness. Since I’m at their table, it’s an Israeli table. Even though only one of their 5 children was born there, his parents were born there. They return annually. So if I’m sitting with them, they’ll try to not speak Hebrew out of American politeness, but I’ve been around long enough that they forget I don’t speak it.

And it’s okay that I’m foreign. It’s refreshing. It’s like when I was traveling and didn’t speak a word of the country I was in. It’s a very unique way to be surrounded, and yet alone. It’s introspective and defining.

However, his parents think we’re “moving too fast.” At this point in their lives, they had met each other, and would soon travel together to the US. I imagine all they had was each other at school. This bond is probably what led to their marriage. His mom always freaks out when his sisters say they don’t want to marry an Israeli man. I’m sure it’s the other way around with me, and my hair isn’t curly enough.

I’m not Israeli. My hair isn’t naturally thick and dark. I have a weird mix of English, Scottish, and Cherokee. My other languages are odd and not very developed. I’m artistic, not scientific, like his family values. They accept me, but they don’t want me to get anywhere close to a ring on my finger.
What they don’t understand is that I’m just as scared of that as they are.

There’s a somewhat happy ending to this story. Danielle recently attended a formal, for which her mother took her to a Beverly Hills Salon to get her hair professionally straightened. The formal was 2 months ago, and now she gets her hair straightened weekly, because “it would take too long and she would mess it up,” according to her mom and sister.  This girl used to live with her hair in a bun or a ponytail 24/7. Be it going to a party, a holiday, a hang out, her hair was up. I found out she was called a “poodle” at school from her curls. Now her hair is always down, and it’s beautiful and long. She flips it constantly, radiating confidence through her teenage smirks. She smiles occasionally, too.

Let’s Get Down To Business

Where the whole title came from anyway.

Well, at some point in my life’s journey I just started living with a guy. No, we didn’t date. We hardly even knew each other and somehow we just kind of started living together. You’ll be hearing a lot about him in the coming posts.

Funny thing is, he lives in a 5 star hotel in Beverly Hills. In all reality, that’s where he’s lived for quite some time. His parents are always moving (nothing sketch, I promise) and living in a place like this costs just about as much as leasing a house they would prefer. I won’t name names or places but that’s where I currently reside. We wash our clothes in the bathtub, which the maids must find completely odd. We do our homework in the library (I’m in college, remember?) and last but not least: we eat entirely from our mini fridge and microwave.

Yes, that little fridge that acts as mini-bar at most hotels you go to? That’s our only source of keeping food cold, and a microwave is our only way to heat things up. I’m learning to make some pretty delicious stuff in there, though.

I found myself constantly tweeting what I had for dinner, and realized that I was essentially writing a micro food blog.

And then I realized what a funny convergence this hotel life was with college life. I lived in the dorms for a year and though I had a meal plan, I knew what it was like to live out of a mini fridge and a microwave.

So here we are, mini fridges and microwaves, the completely odd hybrid of hotel and college life and you get a Mandy.