Happy [Insert Holiday Here]!

Whatever your holiday of choice may be, Happy [insert holiday]! Whether you’re lighting your menorah or putting ornaments on your in-house shrubbery, I hope your recent days have included a few too many presents and far too much cake. And even if you’ve simply been relaxing while the world runs amuck (lucky you), I hope you’ve put on at least a few pounds. Not only because it’s winter and you’ll need them to keep warm (except in LA), but also because the more you put on, the less people will notice how much I put on. See that? You still get to eat your slice of pie (or two), and I don’t look as ridiculous when I return to LA and am bursting out of my clothing. I think we call that a win win.

These past couple of weeks I’ve become more cultured than ever before. Not only did I light the 8th candle of the menorah to conclude the last night of Hanukkah (please contain your enthusiasm), but I did so as I read a prayer in Hebrew. I have absolutely no idea what I said, but you know what? It doesn’t really matter. I read in Hebrew and that itself is an accomplishment for a monocultural creature like me. And you can bet your sweet bit (goodness, Stephanie overdose) that I’ll be lighting that menorah for years to come. Mostly because then we can play dreidel and I get to eat gold coins. #motives

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A few days after I had my first Jewish experience, I dove right into that New Testament and celebrated Christmas. We went to mass on Christmas Eve (then we don’t have to interrupt our toy-playing on Christmas Day), and the priest brought up some pretty valid points:

  • Don’t drink and drive. Ever. It’s not worth it. (And if a priest tells you, then you know you really can’t do it)
  • Jesus wasn’t ‘accidentally’ born in a manger. The manger was a trough for feeding cattle and swine, and Jesus then became the bread of life for all of humanity. (Mind blown)
  • Jesus had grandparents. (I know, I know–it’s too weird)
  • Don’t ever leave a Starbucks because people will inevitably start talking about you.

Okay, that last one is kind of a stretch, but the point is valid: as much as you talk about others, others are talking about you, too.


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Church on Christmas Eve


We went to church, came home and had a good cry (okay, maybe that one was just me), tucked ourselves into bed and waited for the jolly ol’ guy to make his way down our (nonexistent) chimney and drop off the goods. We awoke Christmas morning to an unreasonable amount of presents (Santa spoils us) and hearts that had grown three times over night (please, get my Grinch reference). My family and I (Stephanie included) spent the day together and ended the night with some dessert, Apples to Apples (it would have been Cards Against Humanity, except we decided to keep it clean in honor of Jesus’ birthday) and liars’ dice.

I’ve been visiting with family in the mountains since the 26th, and although I’ve gained a few (and, no, I’m not talking style tips–although they’re much needed), I’ve loved every second of being with my family. The traditions and gifts are always fun around the holidays (and not to mention, the FOOD), but to me, the holidays are my time to just be. Be with my family. Be present. Be a slightly better and happier person than I was yesterday. Every holiday season the tangibles become less and less important, and the moments become increasingly more so. I guess that’s what they call growing up. And if that’s the case, then it clearly isn’t hell to be old; it’s actually quite a blessing.

As the New Year approaches and as everyone creates a ‘brand new them’ (in regular Megan-fashion, I’ll be guilty of this myself), I encourage you to brainstorm ways to create a different ‘you’. And not a ‘brand new you,’ but maybe just a ‘slightly improved version’ of you. And sure, maybe that’s hitting the gym more or actually making it to that yoga class once a week (life always gets in the way). But I challenge you to take it beyond your physical being. You’re still the same you, regardless of your casing. Think about what makes you, you, and think of ways in which you can strive to be a better human: a better daughter or son, mom or dad, student or employee. Maybe even just a better listener or a more attentive friend. Give yourself a reason to be who it is that you want to be; and more importantly than that, give yourself a chance to be that person.

“If you knew how capable you are, you’d stop worrying and start amazing yourself.”

There’s no better time than this moment; there’s no better person than you.

Keep doing all of the amazing things that you do and keeping pushing through those seemingly endless holiday parties. I know you’re sick of wine, but #fearnot: New Year’s parties will have champagne. See, we’re on the upswing.

-Megan

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May Your Days Be Merry, and May Your Future Be Bright

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I’m only 20. And although I often feel ancient (I swear I just had my 10th birthday like 3 seconds ago), I know that I have so much ahead of me. I’m 2 decades into what’s likely to be an 8+ decade journey (yikes it’s 1/4th over), and yet I’ve only had a small taste of what I’m going to experience and accomplish in my lifetime. And if life tastes this good now, I can’t wait to taste the next 60+ years (hopefully it’s as delicious as the bread pudding at Baraco LA).

So much of my life is consumed with worrying about “tomorrow” that I often forget that today is what truly matters. Today is the only real guarantee in life, and (if you want to be super cynical) we really don’t even get that reassurance. It’s more like right now–this moment. I don’t know where I’ll be in 10 days, let alone 10 months. And God forbid you ask me about the next 10 years because I just finished finals and all I’m thinking about is hibernating and trying and repair the irreversible damage I’ve done to my poor, overworked brain (uh, I think they call that learning?). But as for the next 10 minutes, I can tell you that I’ll still be sitting here, pecking away at this keyboard. And that makes me happy. Do the things that make you happy. There’s no healthier or better way to spend this moment than with a smile on your face, next to someone you love. (Cue: someone I love who doesn’t distract me so I can finish this post in comprehensible English… still searching.)

I may not know (exactly) where my life is going or where I will be in the (not so) distant future, but I know that I have a future. And grab your Ray-Bans ladies and gentleman (fashion tip: aviators look cool on just about anyone) because it’s looking pretty bright. And I don’t say that out of arrogance or overconfidence; I say that because I have all the right tools at my fingertips. Now, if I could just learn how to swing that hammer without smashing my fingers…

I go to an incredible university, I have the world’s most supportive parents (read: statement excludes times when you unnecessarily pierce body parts) and nothing but opportunity and possibility ahead of me. If that’s not living the dream, I don’t know what is.


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If you had told me then, where I would be now, I would have told you that you were crazy.


In times of high stress (aka finals season and my entire life this past month since forever) it’s easier to hate school and complain how useless and hard it is instead of appreciating its benefits (see below: yesterday’s post; quite the turn around). But I am so thankful that I even have the opportunity to get the education that I’m getting. Do I feel any smarter than when I first graced South Central, Los Angeles with my presence some two years ago? Not really (don’t tell my parents…), but I chalk that up to A. not being able to see even the most incredible changes within yourself, and B. most of what I’ve learned is intangible. I can’t tell you exactly everything from every chapter of every textbook that I’ve read skimmed (I’m trying to be more honest so I can get on the Nice List), but I can tell you that I’ve learned a hell of a lot about who I am, who I want to be and how to get there.

So as I look back at yet another completed semester at USC (wow, time flies), and as the holidays (far too quickly) approach, it’s only right that I think of all the reasons that I’m #blessed: family, friends and the many ways that love finds its way into my life. But in this moment, I’m most grateful for my right now. I’m grateful for every detail of my life–no matter the size–that will make my life even better tomorrow than it is today (if it’s possible). I’m healthy, I’m happy, and I’m finally home for the holidays. What else could a 20-year-old girl ask for? (Mom, if you’re reading this: A pair of Warby Parker ‘Raglan’ sunglasses in Pearled Tortoise; I’ve got to shade my fragile blue eyes from that future somehow, right?)

I’m also thankful for the cup of coffee that I’m going to have after finishing this workout (the one thing that I’m not thankful for today). It’s not always the most fun thing to do bright and early, but the only way I’ll ever live to see tomorrow is if I take care of myself today. That starts with health, which means my day starts at the gym. Lucky, lucky me.

Get that workout in, count your (innumerable) blessings, shade your precious eyes from your illuminating potential and most importantly: keep doing you.

All my love and thanks for each one of you in my life (or the fact that I somehow end up in your inbox at wee hours of the morning).

-Megan

Not(e) Taking Any More Finals

I guess you could call me a globe trotter. And no, not a Harlem Globe Trotter, but I’m flattered you think I’m that coordinated. A Central California, I5 globe trotter (okay, so realistically, maybe just a California trotter). I’ve driven 1,370 miles in the last 3 weeks, and that’s only calculating the distance traveled between my house in LA and my home in the Bay. Not only am I tired of driving, but I’m tired of living out of a suitcase. So is my roommate.

Thank goodness finals are over because I’m sick of studying, and I’m out of blank notecards. And since notecards are the only way to productively study (fact, not fiction), it looks like I would be SOL.


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I’m embarking on my 5th trip along the 5 today (wow, I sound so ‘LA’), and this time I’ll be staying home for a while. Finals are finished and now the holidays can start. Stephanie will be joining me in the Bay for her first Northern California Christmas (hopefully the first of many), and, as I think about just how incredible these next three weeks will be, I’m reminded of how thankful I am for the extremely privileged and beautiful life that I have.

See you in San Jose.

Keep doing you and finish those dang finals if they’re still torturing you.

#thefinalpush

-Megan

Pubicly Embarrassed

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Either my L key is broken or public libraries have gotten pretty freaky in the last 10 years. And no, spell check clearly doesn’t check for words being used in the correct context. At least I hope not…

The last post I published had the world’s most horrifying typo. And I don’t mean ‘as’ got typed as ‘ass’ or ‘but’ had an extra ‘t’ thrown on the end to indicate my rumpus. I mean embarrassing to the degree that instead of ‘public library,’ I wrote ‘pubic library.’ Yes, you read that correctly this time. PUBIC. And no need to go back and check, I already fixed it. But trust me, it was there.

The state of my well-being when I realized this? (Thanks for the message, Aunt Sue) In shambles. I cried my eyes out for a solid 6 minutes and then realized a multitude of things:

  • I really need to hire an editor (Sorry Steph, you’re slacking)
  • Everyone makes mistakes, and it’s absolutely okay
  • It’s a bigger deal to me than it ever will be to anyone else
  • I’m only human

And that last one, I think, is probably the biggest one for us to remember–in all aspects of life. We’ll never be perfect, and holding ourselves up to the standard of perfection just starts our day off on the wrong foot. The mere fact that we say “we’re only human” is astonishing to me. Only human. Do we realize how amazing it is that we are human? That’s like saying “I’m only dating George Clooney,” or “All I’ve done with my life is cure cancer.” Yeah, okay. Nbd. Give yourselves some credit, people! You’re doing amazing things, and I’m so proud.

On that note, I’m still sitting here with my tail between my legs as I relive each of you reading my last post when it was published. And no matter how much I try and validate that it’s okay to make mistakes, it’s still going to haunt me for the rest of my life. But as my bf told me when dealing with the Megan aftermath of this situation (and by bf I mean best friend, obvi), “It’ll be a pretty great story to tell Ellen when she asks about your most awkward moment.” So yes, you’re absolutely right, but A. I guarantee by then I’ll (unfortunately) have even more awkward moments. And B. If I ever make it to Ellen, then this little mishap will be greatly overshadowed by whatever it is that got me on Ellen… [insert ways to success and stardom here].

So bottom line: yes, I make mistakes–we all do. But I’m okay with that because it mean’s that I’m 100% human; I have a beating heart and nothing but the best intentions. I’m going to continue to make mistakes throughout my life, and I’m just going to take those mistakes as signs that I’m trying. If I wasn’t doing what I love (blogging), I wouldn’t be making typos, but I also wouldn’t be getting joy and fulfillment out of doing what brings me (and hopefully you) so much happiness.

Bottom line #2: be CAREFUL. Proofread your work, check who’s in that group text before you send your messages (we all know how that one ends) and watch what you say and who you say it around. Make sure you don’t insult the weird cheese dish at your company Christmas party while standing next to Betty, your secretary (it’s probably her mother’s recipe) and don’t make fun of anything you find in your mother’s closet before St. Nick comes; odds are, it’s probably one of your presents (yes, it’s happened).

Foot in mouth moments are inevitable, but let’s try to make sure that when they do happen, our toes are nicely pedicured (preferably in festive colors) and our teeth are brushed and flossed.

Keep doing you, and try to keep your feet below the waist if at all possible.

-Megan

Tamales? Pero no soy mexicana…

Three things that you probably don’t know about me:

  1. I speak (mostly) fluent Spanish. I know, my ethnic features were a dead giveaway…
  2. My mother–with some help–makes the best tamales. Why? Because they’re made with maximum love (obviously, I mean, it’s Julie) and minimum masa. Who likes carbs anyway? (Is butter a carb…?)
  3. I love tamales.

Let me catch you up on a little bit of my life during the past week, though, so you don’t feel so lost. Last you knew, I had just gotten back from a crazy 15 hour journey through the desolate land of Central California (see below for details) and was safely tucked away in my apartment in South Central (safely is a loosely used word here). Well, I was in LA for all of 85 hours (that’s about 3.5 days, I know, you’re tired so I took the liberty of math-ing it out) until I turned right back around and headed northbound towards my gorgeous homeland of Northern California.

I would be lying if I told you that I didn’t listen to Taylor Swift the entire 6 hour drive home, but when you’re driving I5 all by your lonesome, someone has to keep up the morale. Cue T-Swift, Track 1 of 1989: Welcome to New York. Let’s just say I’ll be making my way to the Big Apple in the next year, and I’ll be jamming to that song (on repeat) until that day comes. So stay tuned. Literally.

I got home Thursday night (about a week ago for those of you who have already checked out for Christmas–aka ME), and since my return, I’ve managed to cram in quite a few festivities including: freaking out my mom as I walked in the door (she had no idea I was coming home!), going to a Sharks v. Bruins hockey game (I could never turn down a Bruin beating), my first trip to the public library in probably 10 years (SOS when you need a PC and you only own Apple products), a 3 hour conversation with a stranger at Starbucks (in my defense, I was trying to study), my mom’s annual tamale party, a few killer workouts and a few more great meals (turns out, I like my eggs over medium). Oh, and some intermittent studying, which is the “reason I came home.” At least that’s what I told my parents…


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Beer(itos) and Best Friends


I’m kidding, I’m kidding. I’ve actually been studying my hiney off (hence I haven’t posted recently!), which is painfully hard considering that I’m surrounded by love, comfort, incredible food and the potential of endless adventures that don’t include school work. But studying is fun too, I guess… right?

Despite the boatloads of studying (thankfully not literal boatloads–I see more boats than any person ever needs to), there’s nothing greater than being in college, coming home from school and seeing your parents completely okay without you (did I just say that?). And although at times most of the time I wish their everyday worlds were more centered around me (if that’s even possible), I truly do love seeing them so social. They’ve spent enough of their lives wiping my nose (not to mention booty) and making sure I have enough food in my tummy; it’s about time they start doing things for themselves. I think this is the stage of life that my mom always talks about called ‘maturity’?

So when I came home from the gym on Sunday to find my parents making tamales with some of their work friends, my heart (and stomach) smiled as I thought: A. Thank goodness there’s food because I’m starving, and B. I’m so blessed to have the family and friends that I do. I know it’s no longer the month of Thanksgiving, but anytime (especially the holidays) is a great time to be #thankful.


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Something I’m not thankful for? These three finals that are bound to kick my butt next week, and this workout that’s about to knock me off my feet. At least I can think about those tamales to help get my heart rate up. Son mis favoritos 🙂

Keep doing you (and make eat some tamales).

-Megan

Awful Carma

Life sucks. No, but actually. You think you had a bad day? Bad weekend? Or maybe your family (okay, in-laws that you’re legally forced to call ‘family’) was just a little too much over the never-ending far too short holiday weekend? Yeah, well if you listen really closely, you’ll hear the world’s smallest kazoo (I know, how annoying) playing for you. Because 15 hours of my Sunday definitely top yours in suck-age. Guaranteed.

Besides the fact that I had the most incredible company with me on an unbearable journey through the beautifully landscaped route of I5 between San Francisco and Los Angeles (all you Californians will know just how sarcastic that last sentence was), everything went wrong. I left around 9:30am in the pouring rain (as if my departure wasn’t dramatic enough) and headed towards I5 South. I picked up my cousin Beau along the way (bless his soul), and about 4 hours into the trip, my car started making some startling *ding* noises. Freaked out (and knowing my horrid luck with car mechanics) I pulled over to find out that my engine was just a little warm. Okay, maybe a lot warm. But no big deal, right? Wrong.

We let the engine cool off for a while, ate our weight in leftover Thanksgiving desserts (thank you Auntie Janet for your extreme Pinterest interest), I used the ‘facilities’ and then we got back on the road… for a quarter of a mile. Much to my (anticipated) dismay, my poor car was already overheating. Mind you, it’s like 60 degrees outside and until you hit the Grapevine there isn’t a hill in sight; clearly Chuck (yes, I name cars) was throwing a tantrum. So, I did what any girl would do in this horrifying situation: I called my knight in shining armor to come rescue me (aka my incredible father) and pulled out Cards Against Humanity to pass the time. So there I was, in the middle of Lost Hills, California, on the side of the highway, stranded. For hours and hours. I told you, your weekend wasn’t that bad.

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About as real as it gets.

Ten hours after my departure time, my dad liberated Beau and me by driving down to give us his car and taking my tired-engined baby into his hands. How did he (or will he) get home without a properly functioning vehicle and absolutely nothing within a what seems like a bajillion mile radius? I have no idea. But I’m sure he’ll figure it out. He’s a pretty smart guy. If he ever makes it back, I’ll let you know.

I rolled into Los Angeles around 11pm after some lovely and unexpected LA traffic. I finally got back to my apartment around 12:30am post a much-needed In-N-Out cheeseburger and dropping Beau off at school. It took me 15 hours to travel it 346 miles. Fifteen hours. Other things I could have done in that time:

  • Driven to LA going 23 miles per hour the entire way
  • Driven to LA, forgotten something, driven back to my house to get it, and almost made it back to LA again
  • Flown all the way across the country… 3 times…
  • Flown to Australia
  • Run 90 miles at a 10 minute-mile pace
  • Driven to Canada and become fluent in French
  • Driven to Mexico (far into Mexico) and probably gotten arrested and detained
  • Caught up on all of the reading I haven’t done in my classes throughout the semester (But why would I? Boringgggg)
  • Sit on the side of the road trying to make my way to LA, laughing about each and every little thing that was going wrong (Obviously, I picked this one)

And pretty much just about anything else you can think of. And I mean anything.

To give you a taste of how high quality this day was (as if you don’t have an idea already), I started this post sitting in the parking lot of a Denny’s, in the middle of the “Golden State”, blasting Taylor Swift’s new album (while simultaneously killing my car battery—I mean who cares at that point), and snacking on some cooked, (almost) thawed chicken. I love my life, I love my life, I love my life. I’m hoping if I say it enough, I’ll start to believe it.

But as horrible as the day was, there were some pretty amazing parts, too. Not many people can say they’ve been stuck with their 18-year-old cousin for 15 hours and didn’t run out of things to talk about (thank you Lord for my uncloseable mouth). And not everyone has parents that would drive 4 hours to save their stranded kid who’s stuck on the highway on her way to back to school—one that costs them far too much money to begin with. I’m a pretty lucky gal. All I know is that it could have been worse.

How? I could be a Bruin.

#fighton

See, there’s always something to be thankful for.

Keep doing you. Oh, and check your water pumps to make sure they’re functioning properly (where was this advice 24 hours ago?).

-Megan