Back in January of 2016, I wrote my very first post on Girl in Gotham City – over two and a half years ago, when I was 25 and fresh-faced, newly arrived in New York City. My brother encouraged me to start writing as a passion project, something to do on the side, a reason or “excuse” to explore my new city (as if one were needed) and share my adventures with my friends and family back home. Fast forward a few years later, and the blog has sort of morphed into something I never really expected it to – a launchpad for a writing career, one that I’ve used as a portfolio-like sample of my writing to land new gigs at other outlets.
Lately, I’ve been putting my blog writing to the side as I’ve been focusing my energies on writing for Hedonist/Shedonist, covering New York events with a particular focus on music and celebrity interviews with original photographs. It’s been an incredible experience – in just a few short months, I’ve gone from writing about pizza places in the Village (and will continue to do so because #pizzafiend), to working with/interviewing some of the biggest names in the music industry — a true insider’s experience. Sometimes I still feel dumbfounded, like, how is this happening to me?, but I mostly feel incredibly grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given. I also feel incredibly inspired to make journalism/writing a true full-time venture, and am currently working on a project with my boyfriend that will hopefully be unveiled by the end of 2018. To be able to support myself via my writing, and to work remotely (i.e. from my apartment in PJs with a chihuahua on my lap, or when feeling ambitious at Kinship Coffee)…that dream is what keeps me motivated, even when I wake up feeling uninspired, wanting to write but not sure of what to say, or wanting to write but being too busy at my day job, or wanting to write but running around getting caught in the rat-race of the 9-to-5 subway-work-subway-cook/clean/adult rat race. Humans weren’t made for the rat race – there has to be something more, right?
Lately though, because I’ve been so focused on the musical aspects of writing, I feel like I’ve been missing the personal connection that is writing on my blog – an outlet where I have free reign to write about whatever I want to write about! I was talking about this with my boyfriend a bit, who after listening to me lament that I haven’t written anything creative in a while, challenged me to write a single daily blog post for one week. Not only would this serve as an exercise in precision, conciseness, and speed (as a perfectionist I am notorious for over-editing and exceedingly lengthy posts, both of which slow up the process from PC to publication), but it would also get those creative cogs turning once more. One of my favorite bloggers is currently doing the same – though she has been on a daily-blog-post roll for over seven months (!!!) now. If she can do it for SEVEN MONTHS, I can at least do it for a week, right? Because I tend to hide behind my writing a little bit – focusing on the impersonal “you should totally check this restaurant out!”, I thought a good place to start would be to share a few things about the girl behind the blog – a list of things that most people don’t know about me!
- When I was 14, I told people that I wanted to go to NYU to study journalism and write as a freelancer. At the encouragement of my sophomore English teacher, I used to write letters to the editor that would often get published in the Orange County Register. While I ended up studying art history at Pepperdine, I am ultimately living in NYC, as an entertainment journalist…I think it’s so cool how if things are meant to be, they have a way of coming back to you.
- The real reason that I went to grad school for Italian Renaissance Art History was not because I inherently wanted to do anything art history related (by second semester I quickly learned that the stuffy environment and pretension of the field was NOT for me), but because I wanted to get back to Italy at all costs. I believed that the master’s program was my ticket back to the bel paese, and I genuinely thought I would be happy living in Italy working as a gelato dipper my entire life! (No really…I used to tell people that *face palm*).
- While living in Italy, I picked up an annoying habit of being 10-15 minutes late to literally EVERYWHERE I go now. Maybe it’s because I grew up with parents who had the equally-annoying habit of being 10-15 minutes early wherever we went? A small act of rebellion from an otherwise straight-laced child? I apologize in advance if I’m late and continually thank god for the MTA, who more often than not takes the blame for my lateness.
- I went on my first “diet” when I was in fifth grade, and probably had borderline disordered eating throughout high school, college, and my early twenties. I would over-exercise and eat, like…lettuce, and consider it a meal. I considered it a victory if I still felt slightly hungry after dinner. I still struggle with body image at times and the fact that not all clothes will look good on my body (I’m looking at you, rompers!), but I ultimately take comfort in knowing that I have people in my life who love me just as I am, without needing to change. I also surround myself (via my Instagram feed) with images of beautiful, inspiring, girl-boss women who are comfortable in bodies that look just like mine. It helps you feel more “normal” when you are scrolling, and reinforces the fact that the
perfectairbrushed standards that the capitalistic, consumer-driven beauty industry wants you to aspire to are actually the abnormality, not you. Oh – and I also love food to much to ever be a stick figure or starve myself, #sorrynotsorry (now pass the guac).
- I’m not crazy about kids, and I actually think the carefree “kids are kids so we should let them do whatever their little free spirits desire” parenting attitude is creating a frightening generation of rude little monsters that the rest of us are forced to put up with (too bold?). Despite this, I do actually want kids one day…eventually…and not any time soon…and am okay if for some reason that never happens…
- I used to NEVER cry, ever. Now I cry at literally everything, including the realization that I will live to see my parents die (DARK) and the Pixar short about the little stuffed bao dumpling right before The Incredibles 2 movie.
- Peanut butter > Nutella. Always. I will never get sick of peanut butter. Oh, and it’s pronounced REE-sees, not REE-sis.
- The top five places on my travel bucket list are Morocco, Istanbul, India, Peru, and Thailand.
- I used to play the piano, pretty well in fact. My piano teacher of three years eventually told me I had surpassed what she could teach me and recommended a more advanced instructor…sometimes I wish I stuck with it, but I also don’t want to admit that for fear of proving all the people who said “trust me, you’ll regret it if you quit” right (even if they are).
- I actually probably sorta grew up in what I now call a cult, i.e. a “startup church” where you were basically expected to go to church for like, 3+ hour sermons two days a week (and twice on Sundays). I was the first one of my family to leave, when I was 16, when I saw the bullshit for what it was. We were made to think that because we were not only Christian, but Christian members of this one, specific church, that we were better than everyone else – and I mean EVERYONE else. We were also expected to revolve our whole lives around the church, including our social circles, holidays, vacations…I even had to give “tithe” money out of my paycheck from my part-time job…needless to say, I have stories…
- Speaking of part-time jobs…I got my first job as soon as I turned 16, at a Jamba Juice as a smoothie maker. I really credit this job for making me come out of my awkward shell and for teaching this introvert how to be an extroverted-introvert.
- I wish I liked ramen/pho/”noodles,” but sadly, I don’t.
- I also don’t like beer and very rarely accept it when it’s offered.
- But I do really love Indian food – it’s probably my go-to takeout place, and fortunately one of the best Indian places in NYC is just a couple of block from my apartment.
- I could never be vegan. Not a put-down on those who are, but like…those “meat substitutes” sorta freak me out, and I like my bacon-egg-and-cheese WAY too much to ever give that up. Plus, a meal just feels incomplete without a complete, non-starchy (i.e. beans or chickpeas) protein.
- My dream neighborhood to live in in NYC is the Lower East Side/East Village area, but the Upper West Side is a close second. I will one day have an apartment there!
Since the title of this is “Let’s Get to Know Each Other,” I want to hear from YOU! What is one thing I don’t know about you (or that you very rarely share about yourself with other people)? Do you similarly hate beer and ramen? Is there anything from this list that resonated with you?
I would love to hear your thoughts, comments, and questions – so be sure to leave them below!