Wednesday, June 11, 2008

ode to craving constant motion

Hello my name is Stephanie and I have a problem.

I'm addicted to being anywhere but here.

In recent months, I have begun to think that I may have been suffering from some kind of brutal, unrelenting infection that has taken over my brain and made me feverishly mad. I fantasize of beaches, cities, and mountains, often fixating on these images over and over in a feverish state of mind. I will taken often brakes at work to check my account to see if I could manage to squeeze in another quick weekend jaunt to friends or family scattered around the country.

After running or taking walks around the same neighborhood streets that I have been living in since I was an infant, I check for ticks, or perhaps traces of West Nile-any rational, tan gable piece of evidence to attribute my wildly advancing case of wanderlust.

I suppose someday I will tire of traveling. But not this year, not this age, not now. I am very proud to be upwardly mobile and thrilled that I have the means to pick up and just go (translation: I still live at home) where ever and whenever I please.

It's a cycle that thrills me to no end, the planning, the packing, the discovering of far away codes and customs, the sound of me describe where in New Jersey I'm from, and why I'm there, the sampling of different food and drink, and just the feeling so much more empowered because of the experience of "going there and doing that."

In a very "lie-on-the-leather-sofa-and-tell-me-your-problems" type of psycho-analytical exploration, I will hash into my lack of travel past that I think has directly effected my all-consuming travel present and future.

I would say that my willingness to explore has been in direct correlation to the rise in cost of a gallon of gasoline (that i have thusfar seen in my life).

I remember taking glimpses up at the signs when I was very young and a backseat passenger in my parent's Chrysler Plymouth van, seeing figures like .78 or .79 up atop a high sign while I whiffed the toxic fumes (which, by the way, to me always smelled good. What can i say, i've always been a very olfactory-oriented person)

Unfortunately, those trips were usually just around town or to the local shopping mall, and never really anywhere exotic. My first taste of long distance travel (that I can remember) came about in the summer between third and fourth grade and my family and I drove to Williams burg, VA. All I remember is a really long bridge, (maybe it spanned the Chesapeake?) and alot of fighting with my younger brother to keep the clunky car phone my dad insisted on carting everywhere with him on his side of the backseat.

Fast forward to college. Having not been outside of the time zone, and only been as far west as Shippensburg as a freshman,(tragic, i know) I guess it was fate that I would meet friends who were just as wander lustful as I soon became. There may not have been jet setting (hello public state school budgets!), but there were many a roadtrip, with some favorites including Vermont, Montreal, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Washington D.C., and Upstate NY.

Still, upon graduation from college, many friends of mine were dismayed to know that I had not been outside of the EST time zone. To remedy that, eight of my college friends and myself trekked off to Ireland last summer (see aforementioned posts for the break-down of that trip) and I can honestly tell you, ever since then, I have been going non-stop.

In an approximate 13 month time frame I have been to the following cities/places:
New York, NY (at least six time this year)
Toronto, Canada
Pittsburgh, PA
Buffalo, NY (once last May once this May)
Philadelphia, PA (alot of times too)
Washington D.C. (alot)
Miami, FL
Los Angeles, CA
San Diego, CA
Atlanta, GA (okay it was on a layover, but still it was HOTLANTA!!!)
Ft. Lauder dale, FL
Niagara Falls, NY (canada's side too)
Harrisburg, PA (not exactly glamorous i know, but still)
Burlington, VT (love love love)
Saratoga Springs, NY

And now, with a stretch of summer unfolded in front of me, (not to mention my economic stimulus check burning a hole in my wallet) I am at a crux: where to go next?

While my co-workers have their summer '08 plans set out for international cruises, trips to the Cape, and other exotic Island destinations, I sit in front of the weekly Sherman Travel Deals newsletter giddy with anticipation.

See the only bad thing about having this overwhelming sense of wanting to be anywhere but here is the doubt that creeps into my mind and manifests itself every time I plunk down my credit card for that flight, or that hotel, rental car, or whatever...perhaps i'm being too liberal with my goings and comings, maybe i should be focusing my mind and money and efforts on moving out of my parents house, on donating cash to a charity or instead be steadfast on focusing on where i'm at (who i am, all that psycho-babble bullshiest) in the present moment.

Yeah, all that, or I could go to Italy this summer with one of my best friends.

Which would you choose?

That's what i thought.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

i want to name my child bret

Okay, no worries, there's no plan of children in my eminent future (although after this past weekend I wouldn't be surprised---JK!) but I came to a recent realization that I LOVE BRET MICHAELs. As in the blonde-locked, 80s hairband frontman of Poison. Ahhhh. And the best thing about my crush is that my co-worker Jess is right there with me! (P.S.-We think that Posion is coming to town late summer. We're so there!)

So this recent crush I've been nursing on the Pittsburgh native (Steel City Hiyaaa!) comes right on the heels of an AWESOME weekend spent in Central PA hashing, camping, and just being generally crazy with some great people!

Now if your eyes blinked a little wider when you glossed over the word "hashing" don't be alarmed: I promise there were no illicit substances (at least not to my knowledge) present.

Even though the hashing motto is "A drinking club with a running problem," I tend to gravitate towards "a running club that doesn't take itself too seriously and likes to carve out really cool trails in the woods for sport." This past weekend was my second time hashing, and although I enjoy running anyway, the whole concept is something that I am just getting acclimated to.

Another really cool thing about the club is the whole subculture that comes with it. Now I don't want to risk divulging too much detail, dear reader, but I do want you to understand that most hashers seem to be pretty Type A-9-5-buttoned-up types who are all about partying just as hard as they work. Most are over the age of 25, with a vast majority of them above that, so I'm assuming that it's only appropriate to keep the debaoucherouness (sp?) to an ambigious mininmum. For the sake of identity protection, as well as just pure fun, tag names are given to each hasher-they tend to err on the side of inappropriate, (re: crude sexual humor) or serve as constant reminders for an embarrashing occurrance.

So getting back to this know it was a good one when it's the Thursday after and you're still trying to piece it together with the assistance of photos, a dozen people's testimony, and scrapes/bruises.

Until next time....

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

yay for booze and freelancing (not both at once)

Trying to make good on one of my New Year’s resolutions, I dipped my big toe into the proverbial pool that is freelancing tonight, by taking a seminar course that was titled “Breaking into the beer, wine, and spirits niche.”

Throwing caution to the wind (as well as my sobriety-the course included a wine tasting which did leave me a bit flush) I decided yesterday that March 19th would be the date; I’m seriously going to get serious about cracking the shell and pitching myself as a brand-work skills that will no doubt supplement my career and just looks like a lot of fun.

First things first: besides my career interest, I knew this was course was going to be right up my ally: I mean, hello! What (normal) 20-something doesn’t like the prospective thought of getting paid to drink!

Okay, okay, so it’s not that simple: we’re not talking about just picking your old haunt and getting hammered on cheap pink well drinks. Instead, the course focused on the extreme and relatively untapped (no pun intended, haha!) market that lies out there for writers that would love nothing more than to revel and write all about the culture of drink.

The instructor Kara, was an accomplished freelance who said she stumbled into the booze niche by complete accident. Honestly I think that’s great; and while the exact details escape me (forgive me it’s been a long day) I couldn’t help but wonder if she “stumbled” into the market because she was drunkenly babbling with a bartender, asking him about he pretty colored bottles at an off-the-wall-yet-still-retardedly-expensive uptown bar.

Anywho, the class began with a brief syllabus overview, and she explained quickly that she intended to basically inform the class of 10-person class that she hoped they would come away from the discussion with a fast and dirty knowledge of the appropriate avenues to both conduct research, and places in the alcoholic beverage market to pitch ideas to.

See that’s the very thing about freelancing, it seems so obvious that the market is just some great fuzzy entity that has it’s arms forever outreaching and attracting writers. It can be, but it’s a bit more tricky then thinking that you can simply write, la,- la- lance freely, and just get paid for it.

So back to the seminar that I was at. It was very informative, although the focus was on wine. Wines cool and all, but I prefer the beer and spirits end.
(And now I’m going to interrupt this posting for a shot-out: thank you, to all of my guy friends-you guys know who you are- for taking me [and Pam, Laura, Holly, Abbie, Flo, etc.] on endless microbrewery tours in PA/VT/NY/pretty much every state we’ve visited. I seriously accredit my love of the brewed beverage to all of you.)

A really EXCELLENT point that the instructor brought up is the fact that even in the recent meh-economy-stuff that’s been going on, there is pretty much always going to be a hearty market for the hard stuff. Think of the serious dough that those glossy mags charge for the prime real estate for the back cover advertisements. And besides when you’ve had one of those days that just straight up suck-we’re talking dog throwing up on the carpet-which makes you miss the bus which makes you late for your promotional presentation day, what are you likely to reach for? A drink.

In total, it was a very positive and encouraging entryway into the freelancing sphere. I even made a few friends, (yay for networking) including some random guy who wants me to do some pro-bono review-style writing for a beer-oriented Web site he is launching in the early summer.

All in all, the experience was extremely positive, and I would recommend’s seminars to anyone; the instructors are accredited, (meaning they are EXPERIENCED and they know what they are talking about) the atmosphere is casual (lots of time to talk, openly ask questions) and the wine was a-flowin (we had an informal writing exercise which focused on doing the whole taste-texture-smell-color of two different Argentinean wines).

And with that, I’m off to go have a nightcap.
Until next time!

Friday, February 22, 2008

If the movie Office Space was real, this would be their job app:


Some general agency that doesn't really matter anyway is seeking someone who will fill another banal cubicle. The ideal candidate will have 10-plus years of experience of not really doing anything, as well as possessing a real "fire in their belly" which really translates into someone who has no problem adding inches to their mid-section due to hours of sitting on your ass, then this is the position for you!

Tasks of the position will include, but are not limited to, slow-but- steady insanity by means of checking your office invoices 239,983 times a day, dealing with a bunch of burerocratic agencies that won't call you back anyway, as well as making copius cups of coffee for everyone else to drink. Now, I know you specialized in coffeee brewing in college, so if you minored in the art of the filter change then please send us your resume!

Of course, like every other job on the planet, we expect you to have excellent communication skills, duh! These will come in real handy when you have to use your words and become a master linguist to defend yourself when you didn't file your TPS reports on time. You also have to know a shit load about Microsoft Excel just cuz it's so badass.

If the above specs sound like your dream job, please send us your resume to, and don't forget to post your salary requirements in your cover letter. Due to a recent recession in the economy, we cannot actually afford to pay you in US dollars. We hope you speak fluent Spanish, because pesos are the way to go!

Bitter much? Me, nah. I just am looking forward to a vaca.
Leaving for California in 4 days= one very happy Stefania.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

online stalking....the mistake that makes you feel stupid time and time again

word of advice: don't do it.
It's not cool.
Especially when you run into that person in the work sphere.

The end.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Happy new year, happy new life...a note on saving dough

"I like money. I'd like to have more of it. I keep it in a jar on top of my refrigerator."

Mad props to you if you can quote which beloved movie the above sentences are from. But in all seriousness, last New Year's I made a promise to myself: that every January I would do something a little more fiscally responsible than opening a GAP charge card to save 15 percent on that really cool sweater.

Anywho, I digress into a more serious note on investing. Now, I'm no Diamond Jim Brady, but, I do believe in the power of time. And the power of being disciplined with saving as much money as you can based upon your income. (Seriously even if it's just $20 a month.)

Last year in January I opened up an ING account. (Which, by the way I highly recommend to anyone and everyone who is looking to make the same "cents" when it comes to savings...the interest rate is so appealing, why wouldn't you have one?)
Over the course of the last 11 and a half months, I have been cultivated (and sometimes taking from) my account here and there, and I must say that while catching a great sale makes me smile, taking a look monthly at my interest paid (literally free money--or at least the closest thing to it) is even cooler.

The coolest thing (in my opinion anyway) about my online savings account is that money is there if I really do need a bit of a safety net, but just inaccessible enough that I'm not tempted to dig into it all of the time.

So my big fiscal decision for '08? As I sit here on Dec 28 I'm still not sure. Perhaps a Roth IRA, (never too young to start!) but probably on the for-front of my priorities is to find a job with a higher income. In a city that could be described as "the seat of the western world." Those who know me know what I'm talking about. Those who don't, well f$%& off.

Just kidding. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 10, 2007

gnocchi doesn't opt for plastic bags, so neither should you!

Alright, so the title has nothing to do with the actual content of this post. But, in my recent obsession with all foods of the Italian decent, (and bazaar-o pronunciations)I decided it would be fun.

In light of keeping with the character of my third-to-last blog entry (the ranting one about the end of civilization as we know it) I have been proud to say that I have been plastic bag free for one week precisely.

And how, do you wonder, have I been able to achieve such a feat? By simply taking a canvas bag to do some grocery shopping (paper is cool sometimes too, I don't know if what degree of earth-pilaging goes into creating one, but I know that they are far more bio-degradable than plastics) and re-using small plastic sandwich baggies.

I'm convinced that being more earth friendly is like how you would look to get into shape--by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, by parking further and walking, or by opting for the apple instead of the fast-food apple pie.
I guess MTV was really hitting their mark dead on when they came up with the PSA "Decrease your daily impact, improve your life" campaign.