After reading this book last year, I was inspired to inject some adventure into my life and took up hiking (yes, I take books very literally). My fiance :) is a former Eagle Scout and was eager to renew his outdoorsy, adventurous side so we bought some hiking boots (highly recommend going to Paragon in Union Square), and started hiking at Mount Taurus, a really beautiful and moderately strenuous trail that our friends introduced us to and the two of us have gone back many times since. Back in April, I decided to do my first solo hike up Mount Taurus. That's right, I hiked up a mountain, by myself, and DID NOT DIE.
There's a first for everything.
On a beautiful Saturday morning, I boarded the Metro North and headed for Mt. Taurus, which is located near the small town of Cold Spring. You can walk from the Cold Spring train station to Mt. Taurus and choose a number of trails to get to the summit. I chose the white trail since that's the one I was familiar with and took about two hours to reach the summit.
Since I had been on this hike before, I had some swagga while trudging along the trail, but at one point I didn't pay attention to the trail blaze, made a wrong turn, and confronted this unfamiliar path. It was a little creepy, especially cus I was all alone and hadn't seen other hikers for a long stretch of time.
Luckily, all I had to do was back track a little, retrace my steps, and find the appropriate blaze, those markings on a tree that identify the route.
These little white circles were my beacons along the mountain, springing up right when I didn't know where to go, assuring me that I was on the right path.
I had lofty expectations that I'd figure out all my writing dilemmas, solve plot holes in stories, and find the answers to all the grown up problems that ailed me, but I was too busy huffing and puffing and making sure I didn't slip on a jagged rock to even think about plot points. Maybe this indicates there's a larger message about staying in the moment and paying attention to the task at hand and blah blah blah. But it's late and I'm too tired to think about that. I'm just pretty proud for trekking that thing alone.
Whenever someone tells me I can't do something, I'll remember this day and know that I can do anything as long as I work (and sweat) my ass off.
Oh and afterwards I totally treated myself to icecream from the local icecream store. Now there's a great motivator!
Last weekend, P and I and some of our favorites peeps met up at The Richardson. Many glasses of Cava were had. Bourbon was sipped. Cheese plates made their rounds. And lots and lots of hugs and well wishes kept everyone buoyant.
It was also a wonderful reunion of sorts, seeing people that we hadn't seen in ages. My girlfriend and her adorable baby girl, who sported ear plugs like the rockstar Brooklyn baby that she is. There were old roommates from college. Friends from Miami. UCB friends. It could've been totally stressful and awkward to have so many disparate groups of people in one room, but there is no greater unifier than bourbon.
My only regret is that I didn't get to take many pics but I guess sipping Cava trumps instagram any way.
At the end of the night, P and I were exhausted and lightheaded from all the bubbly, but the next day we were still on Cloud 9.
So thanks to everyone for creating such a memorable night. We are very lucky.
Omigoodness, Letitia Baldrige absolutely charms with stories from her time as Social Secretary at the American Embassies in Paris, Rome, and the Kennedy White House. The days when diplomacy was synonymous with elegance, style, distinction, handwritten letters, and fine china. Oh, to have worked at an Embassy at that time! I guess I would've also had to deal with stuff like the aftermath of WWII and a little diversion called Bay of Pigs. But the clothes! The French food! Jackie O! I'm obsessed.
Some fun tidbits from the book:
-Tish Baldrige was a whipsmart Vassar grad, but no company would hire her because she was a woman. Fluent in French, she hoped to get a job abroad with The State Department, but they scoffed and said she could only maybe get a position as a secretary. So she taught herself how to type and eventually ended up at the American Embassy in Paris. Le sigh.
-She caused a huge scandal organizing her first White House dinner for government heads by serving alcohol. Not only were the Kennedy's the first to serve alcohol at a function when press were present ( a big no no) but they were also the first to serve it on a Sunday evening, upsetting many Baptists and temperance advocates. Oh, and Presidential dinners usually served alcohol on trays, but at Baldrige's event, they had TEN BARS. Now that is entertaining.
-She organized a White House dinner in honor of the President of Pakistan at Mount Vernon, George Washington's old home, which was the first time any sort of dinner of this scale was hosted there. Guests arrived in PT boats coming up the Potomac river and were greeted with a glass of Mint Julep upon arrival.
This is the first song I played the night P first kissed me. It was a cold, winter night. Another blizzard had passed through the city and hedges of snow fortified the sidewalks. But I didn't care. I floated past them, wrapped in giddiness and anticipation. There was a long wait for the L train so I cocooned myself with music from my iPod, replaying conversations and bits and bobs from our night, and wondering when we would see eachother again.
Last Wednesday night, P got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
I said yes.
I replayed this song today, tearfully remembering that first kiss, our second date, not knowing that it would lead to two of the happiest years of my life.
"I bomb sometimes, and that’s okay. I do that a lot. If I don’t screw up I’m doing it wrong. And some of being unafraid to bomb comes from knowing that I’ve dedicated myself to a life of performance and, I’ll say it, being an artist. I know that every show I do isn’t going to be the last show.
Rumpus: I really like that mentality.
Aguero: It’s freedom. It’s absolute freedom. I think some of the benefit of being a storyteller, of being a performer, is that I’m able to get up and lose my self-consciousness. I get to be the baddest motherfucker in the world for X amount of time."
Great interview with storyteller and Moth host Peter Aguero.
Surprisingly informative and helpful! I really wish I had read something like this right after college. It covers time management, public speaking, commanding a meeting, and how to pursue your backpocket dreams while maintaining a full time job (my fave part obvs). And because Kate White is a Cosmo editor, the chapters have well organized lists like 11 ways to stand out. You can find it on Amazon here.