In Lieu of a Post

Please accept these photos of a recent flight. I promise to get back to you tomorrow!







S/o to Lake Superior and Wisconsin for looking fabulous in the winter. I am glad to be rid of you -31 Minnesota windchill. We’ll talk more about the importance of travel in reference to self-care this week.

What do you do on a flight? Fan of introspection, or do you love escapism?


A Weekend in Cincy

One of the great things about being alive in 2014 is that almost every city has a nice little hipster community. To be young and informed in this age means that local breweries, restaurants built on juxtapositions and high-end cafes are your stomping grounds. And smart venture capitalists help these niche shops, because good beer and good food are essential to 20-somethings.

This weekend I visited my sister in Cincinnati, a city in the stream of upcoming hipsterdom. At the heart of culture is Over-The-Rhine, right in downtown, Cincy’s response to New York’s Greenwich Village, Minneapolis’ Uptown. It has everything a young 20-something likes a mid-size city: good culture and better beer. Here are a few of my favorites parts.

Findlay Market:

Located in the historic Over-the-Rhine (OTR) district, Findlay Market is charming and memorable. Inside the market, butchers display prime cuts of meat alongside local gelato and cheeses. Outside booths sell produce and plants, even candles and ceramics. Just past the booths, established shops help the culture thrive—a tea shop (Churchill’s Fine Teas) and a wine bar (Market Wines) to name a few. The market is open most days from 9AM to 6PM. Check online for more details.

Rhinegeist Brewery:

A few blocks away from Findlay Market sits a fairly new brewery: Rhinegeist. A giant, open-air environment makes Rhinegeist part frat house, part high-end brewery. On a Saturday afternoon young kids ran screaming past (families welcome) and 20-somethings played cornhole by giant murals by local artists. Long community tables somehow made the brewery friendly and intimate.

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On top of that, Rhinegeist has some great beer. Their seasonal IPA (Saber Tooth Tiger) is hoppy, but not overpowering. The Oktoberfest (Franz) is also a strong contender, sweet and smooth. They do well in the midwest, a land known for its high-quality local beers. For a fairly new brewery, Rhinegiest certainly knows its market.

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Finally, on the trip around OTR, we landed at Senate, a new eatery specializing in foodie hotdogs. As a five-year vegetarian, I sort of feared this place. While they have a handful of vegetarian options, most places are skittish about substituting. Thankfully, Senate is not one of those places. Vegetarians need not fear this hotdog king—a good selection of signature hotdogs can be made with veggie dogs. I wound up with Una Nocha Con Nick Lachey (the Lachey brothers are local Cincy celebrities), and I couldn’t be happier. Gourmet hotdogs are just as good as you think they’re going to be.

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Obviously, Cincinnati has so much more to offer. The great thing about downtown is that it appears to reinvent itself often, opening new shops, restaurants and breweries often. If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend a trip. If you love good food, good culture and great beer, it’s the city for you.

Do you have any good local eats/drinks? Let me know in the comments!

Saying Yes

I am a textbook introvert. My ideal Friday evening involves staying in my apartment, watching a few hours of Netflix by myself with some good dinner and a great beer or wine. Sometimes I’ll let my cats snuggle up against me as I write later, but for the most part my bedroom door stays closed.

I don’t think being an introvert is a bad thing. I don’t think there is anything wrong in finding energy in solitude, in spending quality time alone. But I do think, personally, that there is a fine line between being alone because I’m an introvert and being alone because I’m depressed. I realized this fact recently when after watching several seasons of Teen Wolf in quick succession I found it strange that more hadn’t happened in my life. The emotional, fictional adventure I’d gone on with the characters was just that–emotional, but fictional–entirely hollow.

The TED Radio Hour recently did a podcast on happiness, “Simply Happy.” One of their speakers, Graham Hill, became a millionaire at a young age after selling a start-up company in the late 90s. After a few years of too much money, Hill realizes just how much stuff he has accrued, and begins to edit his life. This quote comes from the podcast:

“As a way of editing your own life, let’s just remember that what really matters in life is memorable experiences, connections and relationships. Space and stuff should support that.”

I probably have too much stuff, but that’s, strangely, not the lesson I took away. That Hill makes a point of saying that life is about memorable experiences really stuck with me. It’s like one of those truths I’ve always known, but have never really had to face. Obviously, life is connecting and interacting with people, but when faced with the decision to make real, relational connections with people or to stay in and live the hollow fictional life, I’ve found I need to focus on the real connections to find joy. Which, as an introvert, is often a very hard decision to make. Fictional lives are easy and neat, conflicts resolve quickly, everybody gets to say their piece, every decision feels essential to the plot, everybody matters. Real relationships are much more complicated, they’re messy, riddled with double meanings, often directionless, confusing. But it is ludicrous to live only in the fictional world, to spend much of your life as an escapist.

Which is why I’m making a point of saying “yes” more often. I hope to challenge myself, to be outside my comfort zone, to build to new relationships and connections.

I can easily waste away my entire life. But by saying yes, by meeting new people, experiencing new things, making new connections and memories, I will combat that wasting away.

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Here’s to saying yes more often. To accepting the offer to vacation with new friends, to making new connections. Let’s get ourselves going.