Interweb Finds: Dream jobs, Gillian Flynn’s influences & more

Interweb Finds

My birthday was the best, you guys.

Not only did I eat the tastiest sushi at my favorite local spot and drink mai tais in the tiniest, diviest tiki bar (pictured above!) with friends, but I also spent the rest of the weekend exploring the O.C. and hanging out with corgis at Corg-a-palooza, or Corgi Beach Day. There were hundreds of corgis. On the beach. It was as magical as it sounds. Pictures to come.

But now, web finds!

Speaking of corgis, Melyssa’s letter to her corgi pup Monja was just about the sweetest thing ever. (Do you feel the same way about your pets?) Aaaand while I’m on a corgi kick, here’s a video of a tiny corgi playing with a pumpkin. Okay, I’m done.

Have you seen Gone Girl yet? Author and screenwriter Gillian Flynn lists her biggest influences for the book.

Through stories of her encounters with racism, Amanda explains what it’s like being biracial:

“Being biracial means I’m always, eternally, perpetually both races, not what’s convenient for you.”

A long and fascinating read about a sting in the desert that ruined lives—and it was all over illegally removed Native American artifacts.

Creepy and unethical, or harmless fantasy? I vote the former. People are stealing baby photos on Instagram.

Grumpy Cat has an angry competitor, and I couldn’t love him more. (THAT FACE!)

The once-beloved Beverly Hills hotel is practically deserted, and the celebrity boycott is only hurting hotel employees.

Have you heard of Dream Jobbing? I’m on the lookout for my next gig!

I hadn’t noticed, but the musical fade-out is fading out, and the explanation is actually pretty interesting.

“The Beatles preferred cold endings throughout their career, but they became more open to the fade-out after they stopped touring in 1966. No longer burdened by the need to recreate their songs onstage, they got a lot more creative with their endings, and it was during this period that they recorded some of the all-time great fade-outs.”

Unbelievable photos of Melanie Griffith and her pet lion. (Um?! That playful swipe of the paw looks deadly.)

Something to make you feel better that your’e not the only one, and worse because, well, it sucks: student loan repaying is so complicated, even a top expert can’t figure it out.

We need to stop saying babies ruin bodies. It’s not just harmful, it’s completely shallow and is a disservice to the beauty of motherhood.

You’re in a relationship and you’ve laid out your baggage and issues. Great. That doesn’t excuse you from never working on them, as Jas so wisely explains:

“Instead of transferring the blame of our own shortcomings to the ones who refuse to indulge them, why don’t we ponder the following: you don’t get a free pass just because you alert your partner to your emotional baggage and bad behavioral patterns. It doesn’t make you a better partner and grant you a pardon from the negative things that you do.”

 

That’s all the web finds for this month! I’ll be back Friday with some alternative ways to celebrate Halloween. In the meantime, why don’t you say hi on Twitter?

A quarter-century of wisdom (take it or leave it)

25

The internet is obsessed with being twenty-something—in list form.

Especially when it comes to turning 25.

A few choice headlines from Thought Catalog:

“The 25 Scariest Things About Turning 25.” “25 Things A 25-Year-Old Should Do.” “25 Things Every Woman Should Have By The Time She Turns 25.” “21 Immature Dating Habits You Should Grow Out Of By 25.”

(Couldn’t the author of that last one think up four more immature dating habits to make the headline a tad more consistent?)

I, too, am particularly moved by the significance of turning 25. Partially because that’s how old I turned today. And because it’s how old my mom was when she had me. (Whoa.)

But I don’t feel compelled to tell my peers what they should be doing, as so many lists suggest. What gives me the right? I’m only 25.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t learned a lot worth sharing, though. My crazy gray hair that won’t quit clearly indicates there is some wisdom to be gleaned from my quarter-century on this earth.

For example, I’ve learned (thankfully early on) that it’s more important to be smart than pretty. And that it’s even more important to be kind than smart.

I’ve learned that it’s okay to say no when it truly is right for you, but that sometimes, you need to say yes when it would be easier to say no.

I’ve learned the value of finding and honing your voice, both written and verbal. After about 20 years of writing, I truly feel at ease in a voice that belongs only to me, and that’s a beautiful gift. It’s a lot more challenging to be vocal off the page, but talking about the things I’m passionate about has helped me find my voice in other important ways. Like everything else, this takes practice, and I’m getting better at it.

I’ve learned not to struggle against the uncertainty of life, because what’s the point? I’d rather see the beauty in it. I don’t know where I’ll be a year from now, and I’m oddly excited by that.

And I’ve learned that there’s nothing “scary” about turning 25 (or 30 or 50), and that unsolicited advice about what you “should” do or be or have or aspire to is bullshit. Society tries so hard to tell us otherwise, and a lot of companies make a lot of money by doing it. But when I look at real people – the people I’ve grown up with, the people I’ve met and had a connection with and never saw again, and the people I hope to meet someday – I know that there is no such thing as the right or wrong way, but just our many, varied, flawed and beautiful ways of living our lives.

And no way of life worth striving for can be easily summed up in 25 bullet-pointed commandments.

So cheers to 25 and beyond – here’s to not having our shit figured out and being quite all right with that.

Feminist to Follow: Augusta Gail

The blog world could use more feminists like Augusta Gail.

The self-described grrl power princess is a Southerner who moved to Hollywood to pursue her writerly dreams, and Augusta’s blog of the same name is where she talks honestly and openly about her experiences of embracing herself through feminism. That’s why she’s this month’s featured Feminist to Follow.

Feminist to Follow: Augusta Gail

photo by Aurora Lady
 

Why do we need more bloggers like Augusta? She’s not afraid to get personal, and she’s not afraid to talk about the taboo. She curses and she’s open about her flaws, yet she can drive a point home and will make you love yourself more in the process. I admire her spitfire spirit, and I think you will, too.

Here’s Augusta in her own words:

“I wasn’t always a very good feminist; in fact, I spent much of my high school and college years completely disregarding the idea of feminism. It wasn’t until my life – and my self-esteem – hit rock bottom that I truly discovered, and embraced, feminism.

As a writer, I immediately realized that I wanted to combine my love for writing with my love of grrrl power, and create a place where girls (and guys) could find inspiration, reassurance, and share their stories. Writing about feminism is important to me because I want women to know that they’re so much more than a stereotype, or a dress size, or something to be stared at. It’s important because, every day, a teenage girl makes herself miserable trying to look a certain way and appeal to certain people. I want to encourage girls to embrace self-love and self-confidence. It’s important because, every night, women walk across parking lots with their keys clenched between their fingers, expecting to have to protect themselves.

I want to help create a world where there is no rape or violence against women – a world where yes means yes and consent is given the utmost of importance. I write about feminism in the hopes that people will join the fight for women’s rights and equality. I write about feminism because it truly changed my life, and I’m so incredibly proud to be a feminist!”

Some must-read posts from Augusta Gail:

The Story of My Selfie – On reclaiming confidence and self-love with selfies.
Feminism is SexyCan you wear sexy clothes and still be a feminist? (Yes. Here’s why.)
The Magic of Menstruation“If the thought of lady bits bleeding freaks you out, well then, you should probably keep reading.  Because, let’s be honest, you need to get over it.” ‘Nuff said.

 

Make sure you check out Augusta’s blog for every more great posts. (And if you missed the first installment of Feminist to Follow, meet Kate from Clear the Way here.) 

Who are some of your favorite feminist bloggers?

How to befriend anybody (even if you’re an introvert)

create a spark

I am a journalist and an introvert.

My job requires me to talk to a lot of strangers—including, sometimes, strangers who don’t want to talk to me—and my very nature dictates that I’m often perfectly content to keep to myself.

The challenges and pleasures of being forced into conversation with people I might not have much in common with has taught me a lot about befriending people in everyday life, and meeting new people has become all the more enjoyable for it.

The secret to befriending anybody? It’s not so secret: you just have to ask questions.

We introverts typically don’t require large groups of friends to feel happy and fulfilled. In fact, many of us prefer to have a handful of close friends and wouldn’t be sad if we hardly ever went to parties.

But what many of us do value is having meaningful conversations and making one-on-one connections. You can have those connections with almost anyone you meet, and you don’t have to suffer through small talk to do it.

Good conversation is a skill that can be learned. Before an interview, young journalists often will come up with a list of questions written perfectly neat in fresh notebooks and will cling to those notebooks for dear life, hardly straying from the order of their list. But the more interviewing experience they get, the more comfortable they become having conversations that flow naturally and asking smart follow-up questions.

As I’ve developed those conversational skills, I’ve gotten better at listening and picking up on the things that people will open up about, if asked. I’ve seen people’s eyes and body language become more engaged and less defensive by showing my genuine interest and endearing myself to them. You know what always does that trick? Asking someone to explain what they do: Not just “what do you do?” but “how do you do that?”

A few simple questions to keep the conversation going:

  • What do you like to do?
  • What is that like?
  • How did you learn to do/become interested in that?
  • That sounds challenging. (Not a question, but a good way to get someone to elaborate on the challenges of their work or hobbies – everyone thinks their job is hard.)
  • How did you two meet?
  • I’ve been meaning to check out new [books/restaurants/running routes]. Do you have any suggestions?

Of course, the more you talk to someone, the more specific-to-them questions you can ask!

If you assume the mindset of an interviewer, at the very least, you’ll learn something interesting about whoever you’re talking to, and chances are, they’ll automatically warm up to you. And if you’re talking to an equally thoughtful person who reciprocates the interest, you’ll have an engaging two-way conversation that you both can get something out of—possibly even friendship.

This method is good for anyone, and introverts especially will love this style because it puts the focus on the other person and on having a genuine dialogue. You’ll come off as outgoing and engaging by simply asking questions.

What tips do you have for making friends? What are some of the most surprising connections you’ve made as a result?

 

 

 

Through the Lens: photos from September

del-rey

I learned two very important things this week.

The first: Never feel guilty about taking some necessary time off. (Letting go of the guilt of not blogging feels really good, it turns out.) The second: Never say you haven’t been sick in a while. (Your throat will feel sore the very next day.)

September was an intense month all around. Not only did I get back in full-swing at school, but L.A. had temps in the 90s and 100s much of the time. Here’s a look at some of the highlights from September in photos, starting with a visit to Playa del Rey.

water playa boats

The yacht below came chugging into the marina with music blasting and people partying. Its name? “Wet Dream.” Stay classy.

wet-dream seagullburied-boat

I also went back to the Arts District to check out a funky flea market with tons of talented artists and vendors. I was easily distracted by murals and puppies.

arts-districtbootsflea-market corgi

Last week, John and I flew home to the East Coast for his brother’s wedding, and we had a blast partying and staying up too late, hence my feeling under the weather. I didn’t get any photos of the wedding that weren’t blurry—mostly, I just enjoyed myself. (It’s pretty sweet being the best man’s date—V.I.P. treatment!) But I did manage to snap a couple of shots in Annapolis and Baltimore. Going home twice in two months was a nice change of pace from my last eight-month stretch. If I could keep up this new track record, living far away from family wouldn’t seem so bad.

belvedere-square annapolisProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

This week, I’m trying to take it easy and shake off this bug. I’ve been reading a lot lately, managing not to kill my basil plant and thinking a lot about spring. I’ll only have a handful of credits left to take for school, so my mind is on employment. (Whoa.)

I’ll be doing more of the same in October, which also happens to be my birthday month. I’ll be turning 25 in a couple of weeks, so I’m deciding what I’d like to do to celebrate. Any suggestions?

That’s all for today—I’ll be less scarce in the next couple of weeks. What are you looking forward to in October?

Beer with a Blogger: Hyperion Public in Silver Lake

With temperatures hitting record highs here in Los Angeles, it only seemed fitting to cool down with a brew or two.

Which is why I was delighted when a Twitter friend agreed to be featured in the next installment of Beer with a Blogger! It was a no-brainer when we realized we lived just a couple miles away from one another, and we met up at one of my favorite local spots.

Laura Donovan

THE BLOGGER

Laura Donovan, an L.A. native who is a regular contributor at Hello Giggles. (She’s also written for Mic, The Maude and more.) Laura is a master of writing listicles and how-tos with an authentic, relatable voice. And in real life, she’s as easy to talk to as you’d expect from her writing. Not only is she super friendly and fun, but Laura is also smart and thoughtful. I always say a good sign that someone is a genuinely nice person is if they ask more questions than you do. Laura’s that kind of person. Check out her writing here, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Hyperion Public

Hyperion Public

THE BAR

Hyperion Public, a popular neighborhood pub here in Silver Lake with a classy-yet-casual dining room up front, a dark and cozy bar room for sports-watching in the back, and a handful of sidewalk tables for people- and dog-watching outside. They have happy hour seven days a week (late nights during the weekend), and the F Yeah Fries and truffled mac are for real the bomb. Best of all? Hyperion Public is right around the corner from me, so I can enjoy myself with a beer (or two) and walk home!

Hyperion Public

THE BEER

I enjoyed the El Segundo Citra Pale Ale while Laura had the Trumer Pils. Both were incredibly refreshing on a 100-plus degree day.

save water drink beer

Hanging with Laura on a Sunday afternoon was the perfect way to cool off from the heat. We had plenty to talk about, and it was such a trip meeting someone who I feel like I’ve been following online for ages, even though I can’t remember how we came across one another. I’m so happy to have made a new friend!

Cassie & Laura

Are you a blogger living in (or visiting!) L.A.? Do you like beer? Shoot me an email at wittycassiehere (at) gmail (dot) com, and let’s go to happy hour!

Interweb Finds: How to eat sushi, grown-ass women & more

Manhattan Beach Pier

This weekend, I fell in love with Manhattan Beach.

Like, what-do-I-have-to-do-to-move-here in love. The temperatures in L.A. were as high as 110 in some areas this weekend, but you wouldn’t have known it at the coast. Manhattan Beach was a nice respite from the Venice and Santa Monica madness, and exploring made me feel like I was on vacation. So sweet.

My interweb finds posts will be monthly from now on, which means I’ll be throwing in more links with each post!

Check out this month’s web finds:

My new favorite band is Lucius, and I can’t get this song out of my head. These girls (and guys) are electric live.

For book lovers and list lovers: How many of these books have you read? I enjoy the writer’s challenging of a “Best American Novels” list to which this more inclusive list responds.

Sarah Von Bargen has been killing it with her Grown-Ass Woman series. This post on friendships might just be my favorite.

Aside from the claustrophobia and inability to walk, it’d be cool to be a permaid for Halloween. (See more photos on the mysterious permaid’s site here.)

This might be the reason we hate the word “moist.”

Do you know the right way to eat sushi? (I didn’t know you’re supposed to eat with your hands!)

So interesting: an Australian’s first impression of the U.S.

“Everything is ‘cute’. My top was cute, my hair looked cute, oh, isn’t that sign cute? I don’t think I’ve every called something cute if it wasn’t a small child or an animal…”

The oldest person to have ever lived just celebrated her 127th birthday. And sadly, the world’s tallest dog just died.

Reese Witherspoon seems so down-to-earth in this interview, and one essay argues that the upcoming films Wild and The Good Lie have saved her career. I can’t wait to see her portray Cheryl Strayed on the big screen.

College is a ludicrous waste of money. Strong words. Do you agree?

Such a thoughtful post from Shannon: Does your partner need to be a feminist?

“I think about how long it took me to understand the term, to not instinctually shrink away from it, and I wonder, is it more important that my boyfriend identifies as a feminist or that he acts like one?”

This post on getting stuck in the consumerism trap probably rings familiar for a lot of people. I’ve become much more aware of it myself lately.

 

That’s all for this month! Check back Thursday for the return of Beer with a Blogger.

Feminist to Follow: Kate from Clear the Way

Contrary to what comment threads on any website might indicate, there are a lot of thoughtful, intelligent and well-meaning folks on the interwebs.

Such folks give me hope that we’re not doomed to a future of violence, misogyny and overall mayhem. (And it’s tough not to feel that way when reading the news these days.) That’s why I’d like to take some time to highlight the people who are spreading good on the web by fostering important discussions and inspiring new ways of thinking.

Enter the “Feminist to Follow” series, in which I introduce you to awesome people writing about feminism.

Every month, you’ll meet a new blogger who touches on the topic in engaging and meaningful ways. And I’d like to kick off the series with the lovely Kate of Clear the Way.

Kate of Clear the Way

I only discovered Clear the Way somewhat recently, but I’m already a huge fan.

Earlier this year, Kate launched the series Feminist Fridays to open up a regular dialogue about all things feminism. And “dialogue” really is the appropriate word to describe the series, as it’s filled with words and interviews with other bloggers about their experiences. I love how the series manages to encompass everything from sexism and the patriarchy to art and music. The series is as diverse and entertaining as the rest of Kate’s blog, which also touches on fashion, decor, vegan recipes and writing.

What I love most about Clear the Way is that it has everything I love in a lifestyle blog—style, food, thoughts on blogging—but it goes beyond the basic requirements of that genre and ties in feminism in a way that makes it accessible and relatable.

Here’s Kate in her own words:

“Blogging about feminism is important because your blog should be an extension of yourself, and if you are passionate about feminism you should share it. Opening up about feminism on my blog through my Feminist Fridays series has been amazing for me and my blog because it has allowed me to talk about the things that are really important to me and connect with others who have similar passions.”

Some must-read posts from Clear the Way:

How Do You Deal: Disapproval  – in which Kate and several other ladies discuss criticism of their feminist views from others
Fem Fridays: Be Bright – a message of inspiration and support for those inevitable dark days
Everyday Feminism – a series in which guest contributors write about how they live out feminism every day

Today, I added my own thoughts to Kate’s Everyday Feminism series, and you can check it out on her blog here.

For those not already a fan of Clear the Way, make sure you check out Kate’s blog. What other feminist bloggers do you love to follow?

Through the lens: photos from August

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Why does the week after a long holiday weekend always seem to last longer?

I’m not sure what the deal with that phenomenon is, though I’m gearing up for a long, busy September. But before I do, here’s one last look back at August in photos. I spent most of August soaking up summer, playing tourist around L.A. and going bicoastal to spend some time with family at home.

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These two gorgeous girls are my little sisters, except they’re not so little anymore. When I went home, we took a trip to Oxford, Maryland, the cutest little coastal town. My sisters have spent a lot of time there, and clearly they were in their element longboarding and biking everywhere we went. They gave me a tour of all the (adorable) waterfront homes.

sisters old-house oxford-marina oxford oxford-waterfront dancer longboard

And when my college roomie/BFF came to visit me here in L.A., we went to all the must-see places in the city, including Malibu, the Griffith Observatory, Hollywood and more.

Processed with VSCOcam with se3 preset observatory capitol-records Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetThis month, I’m starting a new paid internship, going home again briefly for a wedding and hopefully having a little fun between classes and work. One goal I’m really striving for is to find a comfortable work-life balance to manage my time better. Ideally, that will mean good sleep every night (no super late nights!), efficient time logged online and an up-to-date calendar that’ll prevent me from letting anything slip by. Do you have any tips for time management while balancing school, work and life?

Check-in time: What are you looking forward to in September?