15 Thoughts I Had During My Company’s Open Enrollment Presentation

It’s that time of the year again. Companies are trotting out their HR department to give us the annual open enrollment presentation. It’s the time to take a look at all your benefits and make sure they fit all your needs. It’s also the time when most twenty-somethings are confused af. What does everything mean? Am I dying? Do I care? These are all the thoughts I had during mine:

1. Why isn’t there any food at this meeting?

2. I could really go for a muffin right at this very moment.

3. Wait, why am I not allowed on my parents’ insurance anymore? Did I magically turn into an orphan at 26?

4. I need to make a dentist appointment.

5. Why are all these options so confusing? Which one prevents me from dying?

6. I need to make a doctor’s appointment

7. Wow, I really don’t care about any of this.

8. I could go for a donut right at this very moment.

9. Why isn’t there any food at this meeting?

10. Why do I have to be subjected to the intimate details of my coworkers health insurance problems right now?

11. They’re talking about life insurance now. Have to write that will soon. Who should I give my Instagram password to?

12. Wait, do I need glasses? Warby Parker is cool.

13. This is taking forever and there’s no food.

14. I’m still not sure about anything I just heard.

15. I wonder if they can forward this entire presentation to my mother.

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5 Reasons You Should Stop Flake Shaming Your Friends

Have you ever been so amped to attend an event with your friends and one of them decides to cancel on the plans? We end up feeling annoyed, inconvenienced or hurt that our friend is choosing not to spend time with us. Although I fully understand the feelings of betrayal, I am here to say that it is time to stop flake shaming. We are now adults with full lives and sometimes we can’t make it to everything, no matter what we said earlier.

DISCLAIMER: This doesn’t absolve the constant flakers. Learn to say no in the beginning. Other people are also planning their lives around these events. Consideration is key. I am the queen of denying invitations. It is okay to say no, because “No.” is a complete sentence. Accepting an invitation to something that you really don’t want to go to just to send a lame excuse when the date approaches is annoying. Do better.

Now that we have gotten the truly reprehensible flakers out of the equation, back to the issue at hand.

There can be a multitude of reasons why someone can’t make it out, and honestly no one really owes you an explanation. However when your friends text you in earnest to let you know they can’t make it and you proceed to guilt them, it sends a signal to them that you don’t care about them or their situation.Once someone believes you will never take no for an answer, they will always say “yes” to attending something with you and then drop out last minute because they can’t escape your pressuring ways, thus creating a flake cycle. So keep these potential reasons in mind before you get all shamey the next time a friend cancels on plans.

1. They don’t have any money

The economic anxiety of millennials is no joke. We are mostly underemployed and underpaid. Rent isn’t cheap and student loans are crippling us. And have you been paying attention to the price of avocados? Your event or gathering could have snuck up on your friend like a thief in the night on a non pay week. Don’t go around having the economic solutions of Paris Hilton. Be a little compassionate. Sometimes groceries are more important than your happy hour, JAN!

2. They hate the other people going

First of all, share your expected guest list in the beginning, it will save a lot of heartache. Second, stop inviting people that hate each other to your gatherings and expecting everyone to get along because you want them to. Yes, cordiality and civility are nice and go a long way but let’s save putting arch enemies together until really important mandatory life events. Mimosas and bad blood don’t mix. And honestly, you should probably thank the flake friend, because the inevitable drama would probably put a damper on everything.

3. They are in a different mental space

Why would anyone believe that I was serious about going hiking? Especially, when it was said at a happy hour? That’s your fault for believing the ramblings of a drunkard. You have only yourself to blame. Seriously, there are times when we commit to plans and then when it’s time to go, we can’t even fathom why we would ever agree to participate in such a thing. These ones are the hardest to accept, but do it. Your friend was younger and full of life when they said they would go with you to the museum. This isn’t the case anymore and it’s okay.

4. They are tired 

Living is exhausting sometimes. Let people rest. The end.

5. They are sad

This one is very important, and could manifest itself as any of the other reasons listed. People are going through real life struggles — sometimes silently and sometimes out loud. You might not know it, but shaming people for not being able to make it to your event can deepen their sadness. It’s hard to get out of a rut, it’s even harder to do it while people are ignoring the deep hole you are in. So consider this one the most before you go over the deep end and make someone feel bad for not being able to make it to your second BBQ of the season.

If you really want to spend time with your “flake” friend go to them, do something free, make them feel like they aren’t just another body at a party. Flakes of the world, try to do better with other people’s time. Your friends want you around them because they want  to share these experiences with you.  Wherever you do fall in the scenario, let’s just treat each other better.

The Party’s Still Here: Return of The Jersey Shore

Get crazy, get wild! Let’s party, get loud!

 

The Jersey Shore defined a generation.

The show about twenty-something hot messes exploded on the scene the winter of 2009, and quickly became a cultural phenomenon. We followed Snooki, JWoww, Pauly D, Vinny, The Situation, Angelina, Deena, Ronnie and Sammi Sweetheart’s drama and antics like they were our own. And let’s be real. They were.

When the show premiered I was a college junior and surrounded by Italian Americans at my tri-state suburban university. We listened to house and partied until we couldn’t anymore. We watched our friends in their own version of Ronnie and Sam relationships and had more Snooki moments then we care to mention.

Back then, Jerzday for me meant coming back to my townhouse and getting ready for a night out with my sorority sisters. With clothes strewn about and girls taking shots in the shower, we would come together at 10pm to start a game of power hour and watch our favorite guidos/guidettes party up and down the boardwalk. Then we would head out for the night and have our own fun. Life was simple.

Jerzday is a little different now.

We’re no longer coming home to a big group of raging friends after half listening in class, I’d rather take power naps than play power hour, and our good times take us a little longer to recover from. We check in with our friends on social media and scroll through their shiniest highlights. We have lived full lives since Jersey Shore ended in 2012, lives filled with babies, weddings and job promotions. Lives dampened by bills, debt, losses and failure. We’ve grown up.

When the announcement that the cast was on their way back to our TV screens with “Jersey Shore: Family Vacation” I was excited to watch. Hoping that it could teleport me back to those times when I would gather around with my best friends and watch people being reckless, just like us. Nostalgia has inspired the reboot of many of our favorite shows, but there is something different about rebooting a reality show with the same people. We get to see exactly how they have grown within the perspective of our own growth.

First of all, I would like to point out my appreciation to MTV for premiering this at 8pm and not 10pm, like the original run. Because we’re old and tired now and I may not have have been able to make it. I feel seen.

The season premiere of Jersey Shore Family Vacation updated us on what has been happening since we last saw the roommates – Deena’s married, Pauly D is a famous DJ, Vinny is skinny, Snooki and Jenni are moms and wives, Sam is in a happy place (and not in Miami!), Ronnie is expecting a child with a woman who is not Sam, and Mike “The Situation” is sober. A far cry from the carefree roommates we met in Seaside nine years ago.

Their first party scene on television is filled with “back in my day” anecdotes and excuses about why they need to get crazy. They don’t go out anymore and this is their time to shine. We watch the cast get back into their old groove, but there is something about their partying that seems slower, a bit more laboured. (Ron being surprised that Jenni could still drop it like it’s hot was definite age shade) When you are past your “acceptable” partying age what seemed carefree 5 years ago now feels irresponsible. I watched them get wasted and immediately thought about their future hangovers. WHO AM I? What has society done to me?

The rest of the episode is more of the same, hard partying in between real adult moments. Jenni and Nicole, deep in the throws of mom guilt, crying about how much they already miss their children. Deena and Ron arguing about their friendship when tested by breakups and death. Watching Vinny refuse to eat the bread of his pizza while drunk because carbs are the devil and our metabolism hates us now. The roommates are just like us. Dealing with real life and also finding time to let loose. Just because we got older doesn’t mean we don’t like tequila.

I’m happy the cast is back and the season looks like it will be a whirlwind time. I don’t think I’ll be making it a staple like I did in ’09, but when life allows, I’ll definitely watch to live vicariously through America’s favorite hot messes. However, Jerzday will remain as just Thursday this time around. 

 

 

10 Restaurants to Visit this Spring

By Michael La Corte

As the snow thaws and the weather begins to warm, the spring is an optimal time to visit some of the city’s best restaurants for top notch meals and fantastic service (not to mention delicious libations). Whether you’re uninitiated with the city’s best offerings or you’re a fellow common restaurant goer, here’s a list of some of the best spots to check out this season:

 

Prune
East Village

Prune

A quintessential New York restaurant, Gabrielle Hamilton’s Prune is straightforward, charming, and free of pretense. Hamilton’s wife, Ashley, currently runs the kitchen, but the food is as enjoyable as its ever been. Hamilton is also a NYTimes columnist and an author with some deeply enjoyable memoirs and cookbooks. If the lemon semifreddo is being offered as a dessert, do yourself a favor and DO NOT MISS IT.

Alta Calidad
Prospect Heights

An incredibly imaginative Mexican restaurant free of the trapping of the usual Mexican-American fare, this eatery boasts some super unique offerings (like pumpkin blossom quesadillas with oaxaca espuma) and some strong drinks, too. This spot is also quite affordable, but without missing out on culinary artistry and impressive flavor.

Miss Ada
Fort Greene

With authentic Mediterranean/Israeli cuisine and a beautifully decorated back patio, this Fort Greene restaurant might be the ideal spot for a spring dinner. Don’t miss their unusual hummus offerings or their spectacular octopus appetizer. The service isn’t ideal, but the food is pretty darn good.

Olmsted
Park Slope

Olmsted

A darling of the Brooklyn food scene that recently just added brunch to its offerings, Olmsted is helmed by Chef Greg Baxtrom and the kitchen is currently being run by Chef de Cuisine Jenny Treantafilos. With a minimal menu and no dish over $30, this tiny restaurant is a true gem. (I may or may not have ordered the entire menu except for 1-2 dishes. Whoops). Sitting at the counter overlooking the open kitchen is super fun, too, and you can have some great chats with the cooks.

Ko
East Village

If you happen to have an alarming sum of money readily accessible, go to Ko. Boasting 2 Michelin stars, the crown jewel of David Chang’s Momofuku empire offers a heck of a meal. With stunning service and 13-15 (!) courses, Ko provides the diner with a truly memorable evening that doesn’t feel stuffy or overdone.

Cote
Flatiron

Newly adorned with a Michelin star, Cote is the newest restaurant from the team behind Piora. A higher end Korean steakhouse in a club-esque setting, this is also an ideal party/birthday spot. Also quite affordable, Cote also has incredibly high quality meats and spectacular banchan to fully round out your meal. The grills on the table are obviously pretty darn fun, too.

Hemlock
Lower East Side

hEMLOCK

One of my favorite from an aesthetic perspective, this tiny eatery offers delicate, focused plates in a small space with an open kitchen. It is also boasts natural and organic wines. This is an ideal spot for a vegan or vegetarian, too. They also have some incredible desserts, too, and it’s probably optimal to order a whole slew of small plates for the table to enjoy.

Finch
Clinton Hill

Located in the bottom floor of a townhouse, Finch offers a full bar, two dining rooms, and a fully open kitchen. The chef’s welcoming nods and smiles are quite welcome, and although the service is oddly hushed, the flavors are anything but. Yet another spot that offers lots of vegetarian and vegan dishes, as well as some lovely and strong drinks.

Atoboy
NoMad

Honestly, this restaurant offers one of the absolute best deals in the city. For only $42 per person, each diner chooses 3 courses of Korean-inspired dishes that are absolutely stunning. Simultaneously subtle yet immensely flavorful, I still haven’t gotten over my meal at Atoboy. They also had one of my favorite desserts of all time, featuring burrata – a type of cream-filled mozzarella cheese – that must be tried to be believed.

Cafe Altro Paradiso
SoHo

64897Cafe_Altro_Paradiso_Photographs_by_Daniel_Krieger_2017-1287_1

An offshoot of Flora Bar and Estela, Cafe Altro Paradiso is the Italian component of Matter House restaurants. Their fennel and provolone salad is a star dish, and the vaulted ceilings and all-white aesthetic makes this such a great spot for almost any occasion. They also have the “best burger in the city,” so that’s another good reason to stop by.

BONUS:

17 Summer Restaurant
Lodi, NJ

17 Summer

In case you find yourself in North Jersey sometime soon: come here for the best food you’ll get outside of the city.

A Decade of Missed Milestones

All the things you’re supposed to do by 30 and all the things I did instead

By Olivia Drabczyk

When I was in middle school 28 years old felt ancient. I knew that if I made it to 28, I’d be a real adult and then I’d be satisfied. My friends and I would talk about all the things that we would do by the time we were in our 20’s with self proclaimed authority over “the important things in life.” Somewhere along the way we had picked up on which milestones mattered and on the concept of “failing at life” before you were 30. Now that I’ve made it to that ancient mark and am teaching middle schoolers of my own, I realize we weren’t the only ones. I had lunch with a group of 7th grade girls the other day and one stated emphatically, “ if I’m still living at home with my parents by the time I’m 22, I should just kill myself.” Somehow generation after generation is getting this message that the life worth living looks and sounds and feels a certain way. And yet, generation after generation is disappointed-at least a little bit. Each of us finds ourselves within a life that we can’t recognize as important because it doesn’t match the mold. When we worry about these missed milestones; however, we miss the fact that the life we are in is uniquely our own and because of that, is perfect. So in the spirit of embracing the quarter life crisis  here’s a list of milestones I’ve been matching myself up against for too long and the list I stumbled upon for myself along the way.

Buy a house

Given the realities of the market, this milestone seems to be on its way off the list, but it still feels important to address. Just like my 7th grade students, I thought a sure sign of a failed life was still living with one’s parents. And yet, here I am packing up my clothes and planning for a move back to my parent’s basement in a few months. What I didn’t realize when I was 12; however, was that it was possible to live at home AND have a full life. My address doesn’t account for the countless countries I’ve visited and joyous meals I’ve shared with strangers and friends around the globe. Instead of putting money towards a down payment, I spent my summers and school breaks living out of a suitcase, checking items off my life list. And every time I’ve come home, I am relieved it’s my mom waiting for me at the terminal. Because something else I’ve realized in my travels is that in so many places around the world, living with your family is an honor. It is the norm. Somehow we got a different memo. We were told that you need to move out, “spread your wings” and subsequently scrape by and struggle. I have spent the last few years post college teaching abroad, traveling, and wasting way too much money getting Seamless deliveries to apartments I shared with my very best friends. And then there are the other realities most of us face which prevent us from signing on the dotted lines and getting a set of keys to our new place. The reality of a monthly student loan payment that leaves you with next to nothing. The reality of living in a city where rent is significantly more of a percentage of your paycheck than the recommended amount, and where having a healthy social life almost requires you take out another one of those debilitating loans. There is the reality that your family may need you to “chip in” for a bit or that some unexpected paternity test may put a serious dent on your credit card balance (more on that later!). And of course, there is always the reality that you may have been doing your taxes wrong for years because let’s face it, they really just need to start teaching us about this in school, and you owe the federal government more than you are willing to admit (or is that just me?).  I don’t feel like a failure because I’m headed back with mom and dad. We should find comfort in the ebbs and flows of life, and acknowledge that sometimes a narrow focus on buying our own home dismisses all the homes that we could let fill our heart if we let things go off the excel spreadsheet budget a bit.

Fall in love and commit for life (get married and post an album about it!)

I’ve found that the journey towards love is a funny one. When I was younger, I got this idea that you found someone to love you for your quirks and to fall for all that made you imperfect. This would happen if you were open to it and “when the timing was right.” It was often portrayed as a very passive process, something that happened TO you, especially it seems if you were a heterosexual female. As I waited, smiling wide and laughing that big Allie in “The Notebook” laugh hoping my soulmate was watching, I got caught up in side acts, one night stands and three date long OK-Cupid relationships. I explored what it felt like to have sex without intimacy, and improved my eye contact skills. When I found a guy who seemed like the real deal, I did all the things you’re “supposed” to do. Introduced him to my family, met his, brought him to big family and friend events, wished him a happy anniversary on Instagram with our best photo together. We spent four years together doing what couples do and talking about what couples should talk about. And somehow it didn’t feel right. I tossed and turned for months wondering what was wrong with ME because I just couldn’t commit. And then I realized that the most important person I’d need to come to love was myself. I needed to believe I deserved effortless love and to not settle for less. I needed to realize that even if I met the love of my life and settled down that I would be responsible for my own fulfillment and contentedness. So often we are blinded by the search for the one to spend our lives with that we forget to improve and embrace ourselves and make ourselves someone we can lay down with every night…because boo we’re all we got sometimes. So make you precious.

 

Start a family

Even writing the word family conjured up an image of a Birkenstock wearing couple swinging a little one between them as the family dog ran ahead to the park around the corner from their house. To be fair, I don’t think there is as much harm in this being on the list as in the caveats it has dragged along with it. Start a family has always seemed to imply to start and maintain the right type of family; Where soft music played when problems were solved and there were always plenty of hugs and fresh cookies to go around. Somehow even when we don’t grow up within that type of family we find ourselves fixated on building it when our turn comes around, getting it right once and for all. A few unsuspecting months ago, after a run that hurt my chest just a bit more than it usually does, I found out I was pregnant. A few months and almost a couple of thousand dollars (remember that credit card bill I mentioned?) after that, I confirmed who the “father” was and confirmed he didn’t want anything to do with the family I was building. And instead of crumbling, my family built itself around me. Love poured out of my parents, friends, sisters, aunts, uncles, and coworkers. Without hesitation, we all vowed to love the little one growing aggressively within. I realized that our families, our villages, our tribes have already been started and are constantly being built with love and little moments. Instead of rushing to “start” a family, look around, reach out and touch the one that has already supported you to this place. They are there. Love them.

So here’s my new list. The list I hope to hear future 7th graders chatting about over pizza and mozzarella sticks.

By the time you’re 30…

  1. Do you, Glen Coco
  2. Never apologize for #1, unless it comes at the cost of hurting someone unnecessarily, then just be an adult and say you’re sorry.

Welcome to Your Quarter Life Crisis!

 

A quarter life crisis is defined as “a period of insecurity and doubt that many people in their mid-20s to early 30s go through surrounding their career, relationships, and finances.” This is what led me to start this site. My quarter life crisis sends me into a spiral of self help essays and motivational quotes. But after that, I am always inspired to go out and be better. It’s okay to live in despair for a moment, because feelings deserve to be felt. Just make sure to use that fire to build and grow into something stronger!

Because the QLC is a universal motivator,  I asked my friends what their quarter life crisis taught, pushed, encouraged them to do. Here’s what they said.

Move to New York, take a leap of faith, and stretch beyond my fears and anxieties.     – Dawn R.

Be my own hero. Ain’t nobody gonna save you from anything, so it’s a challenge of your own strength when you realize exactly how much power you do have over things… #ishowedup
– Chrissi B.

Come up with a fun password for my 401K login
 – Vinnie B. 

Get my shit together
– Daniella C. 

Do things I’ll soon be too old to do, while I’m still young enough to try
– Kaitlyn H.

Drink more wine
– Caity K.