Chapter 21
The Dreaded Question
January 16, 2019

I think all of my friends would collectively agree on one of the most dreaded questions I ask them. When they sense it’s coming up in conversation, their eyes divert. Their thoughts begin to race and their strained memory starts wheeling. It’s like watching a cartoon; If I squint, I’m able to see their brain going to work (yes, exactly like that Spongebob episode where all he knows is fine dining! And breathing!). I can see their face tense up with anticipation and, maybe, even a drip of sweat forms just off the corner of their forehead. They hold their breath. Here it comes.

Have you seen (insert movie here)?

Time stops. Their hopeful face fades to disappointment as they realize….not only have they not seen it, they have never even heard of the movie I’m referring to. As everyone is well aware, I’m a big movie fan so this comes up a lot. So! On that same note, I received the below text from one of my best friends (happy 10yr friend anniversary, kyle) that sparked some thought:

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 I laughed and told Nick. That’s when he suggested I should start highlighting/recommending some movies monthly on my website/blog along with where it’s offered to stream (or if you have to *gasp* buy a DVD). So, that’s what I’m going to do! Hope you enjoy. Maybe we can start a really kickass movie club eventually.

SASHA’S PICKS: JANUARY
Back to the Future (1985)
· The trilogy; Just get these bad boys out of the way (at LEAST part one) and then I’ll feel less anxious that you haven’t seen my favorite movie of all time!
· How to watch: Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, iTunes, Google Play, Youtube, Vudu, comes and goes from Netflix + HBO

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
· Wes Anderson is one of my favorite directors and this whimsical stop-motion film feels like a giant hug to the viewers
· How to Watch:  HBO, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, iTunes, Google Play, Youtube, Vudu, comes and goes from Netflix

Eighth Grade (2018)
· Bo Burnham’s directorial debut and I actually didn’t hate it? I actually loved it and think it was one of the top movies to come out of last year
· How to Watch: Amazon Prime Video, Youtube, Google Play, Vudu

-S
@readysetsasha

Chapter 20
The Happiest Place On Earth
October 27, 2018

It happened; it finally happened. Nick and I took a trip to Disney in September in celebration of 1) his 26th birthday and 2) our 2 year anniversary! Once I found out he had never been before, I knew It had to be our next trip (no complaints from me). As an added bonus, we bought tickets to go to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom one of the nights of our stay.- highly recommend.

Day 1
We flew on Jetblue from LGA which we love because they have their own terminal separate from where the main construction is. It is smaller and less stressful in my opinion. I was nervous about our flight because we would be flying directly in the path of Hurricane Michael. Thankfully, it was only delayed 30 minutes and we arrived safely in Orlando. Since we booked our stay at the Pop Century, this was going to be both of our first times riding on Disney’s Magical Express- a motor coach that shuttles guests to their designated on-site hotels with cheesy welcome videos that add that uncomfortably great, touristy charm.

At the check-in area, both lines were really long, so we decided to split us to race to the front. I was chose the mobile check-in line, which was supposed to be faster in theory, but was taking the same amount of time as the other line Nick was standing in. Even though it was a close race, I ultimately won! We were told we were staying in the ‘90s building (hell yeah) and were given 2 anniversary pins to wear, of course. For those of you who didn’t know, the Pop Century recently renovated and redesigned all of the guest rooms into modern, chic getaways complete with a murphy bed + table. The rooms feel more airy and relaxing after a long day at the park and in the Florida sun.

That night. I made us reservations for Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs! I was so excited to try this new restaurant with Nick, but I felt so incredibly sick the entire time whomp, whomp. I only was able to sip on miso soup. I can’t wait to go back, so I can fully experience it- Nick raved about the Orange Chicken dish! We walked around for the rest of the night and eventually caught the bus back to our room where mickey cartoons always are on loop playing on the TV.

FYI: Our trip was 4 days, but we were only going to 2 parks: Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom.

Day 2: Hollywood Studios
You may be wondering:
Why wouldn’t she go to Epcot to drink around the world?
Who has the money for that when I now have to FLY to Orlando instead of having the luxury of driving.

Animal Kingdom, all the way!
Yes, I agree! It was so hard to turn down Dinosaur…but, Tower of Terror is simply my favorite. Plus, Toy Story Land!

I was really excited this day because I was going to ride some of my favorite rides and experience a brand new attraction: Slinky Dog Dash! We were able to ride/ see everything in the park until it was time to funnel into the Fantasmic amphitheater around 7PM- another first time experience for the both of us. Needless to say; it’s a must-do when visiting Hollywood Studios. By the way- I wore a vintage MGM Studios T-shirt to the park to show where my true loyalty stands.

Day 3: Magic Kingdom + MNSSHP
I couldn’t wait to see Nick’s reaction when he first stepped onto Main Street USA. The weather was picture-perfect for Florida as we waltzed down the street, starry-eyed. Our first stop was the Carousel of Progress. I had to show him the HISTORY and get the song they sing stuck in his head. Since we spent the entire day here as well, we were able to knock out every attraction (with the exception of Peter Pan- who has that kind of time?). Plus, the verdict is in: Nick’s favorite attraction is…..drum roll

Pirates of the Caribbean!

As the night started creeping in, that’s when things get spooky. For the halloween party, the park “closes” for regular ticketed guests and starts giving wristbands to only party guests with tickets around 6PM. One of the best parts about attending is people watching. Some of the costumes people come up with are so thoughtful and whimsical; an amusing atmosphere to be in for sure! Unfortunately, I was sick leading up to our trip so we didn’t end up having a costume- just matching Mickey shirts. Definitely my excuse to go back next year. Tip: Certain rides have a special overlay to them- Space Mountain turns into Hyperspace mountain when the ride is completely in the dark and there are surprises on Pirates. The best part of the entire night is the Boo To You Halloween parade! It’s truly a fun experience and interactive parade with the best themed-tune ever.

Day 4
We spent this day being lazy, exploring around the hotel and visiting Disney Springs one last time to see one of my best friends, Alex. The final day of vacation is always a challenge and the time goes by so quickly and then all at once. We barely made it back to the hotel in time for the Magical Express to transport us to the airport. Not to worry though since our flight ended up being delayed for 3 hours once we arrived at the gate. By some miracle, however, we managed to secure seats together on another flight that was departing to NYC immediately 2 gates away- Thanks, JetBlue! Our in-seat TV’s were the only ones not working- but you win some, you lose some. We were just happy and thankful to be getting home before midnight!

This trip was one I’ll never forget- mostly because of the part when I was sick (read: the whole time). Being with Nick and going through this adventure with him gave us such amazing memories I’ll always look back on. Now to plan our next trip…

-S
@readysetsasha


Chapter 19
Vacation Szn
May 21, 2018

I finally did it.
It felt so wrong, it felt so right, don't mean I'm in love tonight. 

I took a week off of work and I liked it.

Ever since I've come back, I feel refreshed, yes. But am I ever happier than when I left? I mean, I had a pretty awesome vacation that went almost-perfectly. I'm not ready to cast those memories aside and jump back into work. I need a day to...relax..from my vacation. I really wanted to stay through Sunday, since that was Mother's Day. The plane tickets to depart on that day were unattainable so, we traveled back one day early to have things more in order- mentally and physically. It worked wonders. I was able to take my time readjusting and turning off the coveted vacation mode portion of my brain. I wasn't juggling through bags and panicking about if I remembered to pack my shoes during my red eye flight. 

Everyone has a different travel style- Personally, I am very particular about traveling once I'm at the airport. At the airport, I always overthink the security checkpoint.

I take off my shoes, right? Did I put the liquid in a plastic bag? Oh shit, I have to take the plastic bag out of my suitcase and get another tr- 

After that- I have one mission.
That mission is to find my gate and figure out if I have enough time to strategically bring my bags with me to the bathroom and/or get a coffee/food/drink. But enough about my travel anxiety...My vacation was one I'll never forget. I was able to take Nick to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in Orlando, FL. We stayed at my favorite on-site hotel- The Hard Rock and had the most amazing time. My brother and parents were able to take the time off as well and met us there for the 3 days. We were waking up at 7AM to go to the parks, lounging by the pool in a cabana when Florida turns up the heat and then go back to the parks until they closed at 10PM- only to repeat the next day.

The rest of the week, we really unwound. We drove down and stopped by to visit family and all of the food that goes with that in Jupiter, FL. We ended the trip with going to my house in Miami. My family + Nick embarked on an attempt to create the cure for the zombie apocalypse in an "escape room" experience at Fox in a Box. It didn't work in our favor, but here's a picture to prove it.

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Already planning my next work hiatus. 

-S
@readysetsasha

Chapter 18
Just…Be Nice?
March 28, 2018

Whew. I know. 2 blog posts in one WEEK? Sash, how do you have the TIME?!
Spoiler: I do not, but I digress.

Whoever said Millennials were “lazy” was seriously disturbed.

After working 9-6PM (on a good day), I need to force myself to carve out a chunk of time to dedicate to my personal projects. I’ve been seeing so many friends (IRL) and people-you-forget-you-are-friends with on Facebook starting their own business or simply doing really awesome things? Like, people are now asking for donations via Facebook in lieu of birthday gifts, etc. I’m not just referring to people who sell Herbalife or any other company that has a similar business model- like REAL businesses are popping up, with either tangible items or thought-pieces garnering a huge audience along the way. One big example is a friend from my college dance team, Chelsea, who started Babes Who Hustle shortly after graduating (go follow).

The point of this is to say: support each other. Support by sharing. Support by liking. Support by engaging with content and simply being a positive, great person? Social media is integrated in all of our lives essentially, so we might as well embrace it. Odds are whoever shares their projects are proud, yet extremely nervous to open themselves up to criticism. If you see a project fail, support the next thing someone puts out.

Having said all of this, maybe Millennials aren’t so bad after all?
Or maybe I just surround myself with really artistic, driven and inspirational people.
Lucky me.

-S
@readysetsasha

Chapter 17
Taurus Season is Coming
March 21, 2018

What the second day of spring in NYC looks like: the 4th nor’easter in 3 weeks.

A lot has happened in the last few months that I need to finally get down in writing (text). For those who keep up with me, Alexa: play Sasha’s flash briefing:

Okay, here is Sasha’s flash briefing.

Let’s start with the bad.

  • I’ve felt a lot of emotions while experiencing a loss in the family

  • The never-ending winter isn’t the best compliment to my moods

  • Moving apartments for the 4th time in under 2 years (this one is for the best though)

Okay, got it. Now, let’s focus on the good stuff.

  • I was promoted at work (eep!); I’m now an #offish media planner and even just sent out my first recommendation this week

  • Signed my first official lease to live with Nick in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

  • Traveled to Philadelphia for the first time

  • Watched a bunch of movies, consequently ate a lot of popcorn

  • Going to see P!nk and Lorde in April

  • April is my BIRTHDAY MONTH, so let’s party

I’ve felt a lag in inspiration to design, create and post new things. Lately, I’ve felt more grounded and balanced (Taurus season is approaching quickly) which I’m hoping fuels my passions. I’m optimistic about where my life is at and where it’s headed. I’m slowly collecting some audience specific questions on my Instagram (@readysetsasha) via my story! Simple polls and #fun stuff to help me curate my content better, hope you’ll follow along - I guess you could say things are turning up Millhouse.

Plus, even though I’m craving the sunshine so badly, working from home does feel like a Twilight Zone-esque, adult treat. I’m thankful for a company and team that are flexible to allow employees to get work done from home. The MTA’s service is terrible on a gorgeous day and that perception sharply declines during weather emergencies. So, very appreciative I don’t have to cram onto the L train today.

I’ll be back with even more thought-out updates soon when the sun decides to show up.

-S
@readysetsasha

Chapter 16
Spongebob Squarepants: The Musical
February 25, 2018

For Valentine's Day, Nick got me one of the best gifts: tickets to see Spongebob The Musical on Broadway. If you know me, this was a moment I have been waiting for since the first episode aired on May 1st, 1999. And let me tell you...it was so worth the wait.

The performance takes place at The Palace theatre in Times Square (obvs).  After elbowing through crowds of tourists, we got inside to discover a paradise that could only be found in Bikini Bottom. Everything was under-the-sea-esque: blue streamers, sea-sponge shaped lights & Patchy the Pirate waiting for the show to start.  The audience began to fill up with early 20 year olds, adults and select few kids (ugh, only true 90s kids remember, amirite). 

I went into the show not knowing much. I didn't even listen to any of the music beforehand. As I was browsing the Playbill, I realized that every song in the show was written/produced by other famous groups/artists? David Bowie, Aerosmith, Panic! At The Disco and John Legend are among the A list talent involved. I caught myself laughing out loud throughout the entire show. Who knew I needed to see Plankton rap or Squidward perform a show-stopping tap number proving he's not a loser that made the audience emotional? The costuming & production quality of the show was top-notch (uhh sometimes I forget I'm seeing shows on, legit, Broadway). Plus, the writers effortlessly squished in some inside jokes for #TrueFans that didn't feel forced at all. The premise of the show surrounds the countdown to doomsday for the city of Bikini Bottom, so as you could imagine, it's a story about courage, adventure, panic and somehow still having the best day ever.

When I heard Spongebob was going to be written as a musical, I rolled my eyes.


How could it possibly be any good? How could it not be cheesy?


Well, sports fans, this girl gives it a 10/10. 

-Sasha
@readysetsasha

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Chapter 15
The Return of Vine?
December 6, 2017

Vine means a lot to me. The feeling is mutual among the millions of users who utilized the platform during it’s run from 2013 to it’s tragic shutdown at the start of 2017 (even more validation that 2017 has been the worst year ever). Over those 4 years, I spent endless hours revining, laughing and creating bonds with people over a simple reference. Vines have become a giant inside joke and a sense of connection to people.

I’m writing about this short-lived app because today, creator Dom Hofmann, tweeted out this.

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Previously, he hinted at the idea, which already got me pumped:

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So this project seems legit.

In creating this sequel to Vine, I can only hope they stick to the original…pretty much everything. I have nightmares of seeing what the integration of pre-roll advertisements would look like. Stick to utilizing influencers to CREATE content for the brand (this has actually launched a significant amount of professional careers after the app closed).

I spent so long weeding through “comedians” and what the “popular” vines were (terrible, sorry Lele Pons), but ultimately distinguished my sense of humor with the more “indie” Viners with quirky, unique visions (Gabriel Gundacker). But truly, the consistent laughs came from the authentic viral videos & the noble edit accounts that made them viral sensations.

One thing I regret is not creating more of my own content. With this new platform (if it launches successfully), I hope it could open that path for those who didn’t get to fully use their ideas and creativity to it’s potential. Fingers crossed this all plays out.

Honestly, I just want to laugh again.

-S
@readysetsasha

Chapter 14
The Florida Project (2017)
Directed by Sean Baker
Written by Sean Baker & Chris Bergoch
November 10, 2017
spoiler free review

Let me start by saying: I hate trailers. Most, if not all, of my favorite movie experiences are when I don’t watch trailers or even read about what a movie is about. I had seen hints of this film floating around the Twitter-verse. The hints came in the form of this intriguingly pastel motel with an overarching rainbow in the sky (below).

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That alone caught my attention.
However, the mainstream media buzz began when it first premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.
Last weekend, I decided to venture to the Nitehawk in Williamsburg, BK for a 7:00 PM showing with my boyfriend. It’s a local theater that includes an intimate bar as well as dine-in services in each theater. Well, all showings for that day were sold out which got me hyped that other people wanted to see this movie just as badly.

The Florida Project was a true depiction of the reality of living on the poverty line just on the outskirts of the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, FL. For my fellow Floridians, the areas just before the street signs turn purple. Unlike Stranger Things, there is no upside down. This is best described as the in-between. The audience is put into the passenger’s seat- where 6 year old’s are at the wheel.

The motel where the story takes place is called The Magic Castle with Bobby, played by Willem Dafoe, as the manager. He delivers an A+ performance, by the way. Its inhabitants are rough, yet believably real. Moonee is portrayed by mini-superstar Brooklynn Prince who spends her time exploring with other kids in the complex- best friends Scooty (Christopher Rivera) & Jancey (Valeria Cotto) who lives in a similar perfectly pastel motel down the street.

Moonne is the daughter of Halley (Bria Vinaite) – if you are taking notes, I insist you note that this duo was a match made in heaven. Their performances were raw and captivating. It really took me by surprise. At times it felt more like a documentary than fiction.

This movie is not feel-good. The story is gritty, raunchy and captures the humbling feeling of desperation. Kinda of like that feeling when your ice cream cone is melting too fast and you can’t savor it all before it drips onto the floor.

Score: 10/10
-S
@readysetsasha

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Chapter 13
A Year in Review
September 15, 2017

Welp, it's officially been one year since I packed up my life in a fifty pound suitcase, cried on my first day of my internship and met my boyfriend. The first week I moved New York City was a whirlwind of emotional adrenaline and getting lost. Actually, that entire first month.

In the last year, I have continuously challenged myself and pushed the boundaries of what I'm comfortable with. I am not here to tell you that in one year I have "found myself." I am actively still searching for my definitive voice, but I have begun to discover my true passions. I love to create and think of new ideas, designs and artistic visions.  I hope, in this next year, to truly find an avenue to let these passions flourish and become successful what I put my mind to (once I figure out what that is). 

At the start of September, I moved to my first ever apartment in Brooklyn. Being a bit removed from the city has been a breath of fresh air. Previously living down the street from Penn Station was, imaginably, a nightmare. The nights were filled with constant construction, police sirens and loud tourists loitering post-madison square garden concerts/hockey games. Brooklyn (Specifically Williamsburg) feels more like a neighborhood and somewhere to retire after a hectic day of my full time job. I am still in the process of ordering furniture/art and making my room as cozy as ever. I am in love with the location and cute coffee shops on my block. 

This is a mini new year's eve party for myself since I want to set new goals for myself. One of the main things is really developing this website into a more interactive, relatable experience for my followers and to create a powerful relationship with those who are genuinely interested in following along on my young adult life. I haven't figured everything out- wanna figure this out together?

-S
@readysetsasha

Chapter 12
Bullying
August 2, 2017

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here. I’ve had a lack of inspiration and a lack of faith in myself.  In the midst of our current political climate, I feel as if this post will be as relevant as ever since the current leader of our country is the textbook definition of a bully. It’s a topic I’ve had on my mind for (almost) my entire life and I know I’m not alone.

I know, I know.

Sasha, you sound like a little kid complaining

Sasha, not ALL men.

Sasha, just ignore them.

But, you know what, this is my blog so I’m going to cry if I want to.

If you think this is a slam poem solely focusing on men, you are wrong. But it is one giant subtweet. In elementary school, the first bully I encountered was a girl in my class. This girl was in every one of my classes from when I was in pre-school to 5th grade. That’s 8 years. Of course the bullying didn’t start until around 3rd grade. She was taller than me, slimmer and was very proud about her ability to run really fast.

As you could’ve guessed: I did not run fast.

I honestly don’t know where the hate stemmed from, but she always chose to single me out. It got to the point that when I reported an incident to my teachers, they would shrug. My complaints were so often, no one seemed to care what was happening. So, I thought I was making a big deal out of nothing.

Moving into middle school, I made the mistake of staying friends with a classmate who went to an all-boys school. I was one of his only girl contacts, and I foolishly was strung along- because, what, I was around 13 years old. I met his new friends, introduced them to my friends- and so began a plummet into gaslighting with enough breathing room to seem like things would be alright in the end.

Quick vocab break:

Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality.

As a young woman, my sanity was questioned by these “friends” and even boyfriends.
Crazy. 
That was their label for me. If you didn’t know me, but you knew them, you knew me as that “crazy” girl. Sweet, right? The difference between elementary school and this instance is I know where this bullying stemmed from: All because I was led on by a guy repeatedly who would then deny involvement. Plus, they didn't like when I would call them out on their bullshit on their "boys only club" mentality. 

As the years went by, I was lowered deeper into a situation where I felt there was no escape. All of my friends were intertwined with this group of guys. I was dating one. Maybe they were my friends but just joking all of the time? The list of reasons to stay outweighed my will to put energy into making new friends at school.

So I stayed. For almost another 8 years. To this day, although I have broken off contact, I am still being harassed by the few I have yet to block from social media platforms. I am not here to go into details since that could be turned into a novel, a feature film, Broadway show, etc.  

I am here to say never surround yourself with destructive people who make you question your own emotions or reality. Never stick with people who won’t stand by you or help defend you. Distance yourself from those who bring you down, don’t support your ideas or talk shit about people they claim to be friends with. And definitely, DEFINITELY, do not ever apologize for being yourself. 

And to those who are reading this and actively still harass me: click here.

-S
@readysetsasha

Chapter 11
Blurb From my E! True Hollywood Story
April 27, 2017

Movies are so important to me. It’s my best go-to small talk topic. It’s usually one of the first things I say when I introduce myself to anyone- I need them to know I am enthralled with movies and movie making. My love for movies illustrates certain aspects of my personality. I feel as if you can learn a lot from what movies people are into. It’s very telling, to say the least.

For all of my Office fans/avid-binge-watchers out there: you know that episode when #RyanStartedTheFire? Well, they were playing “Desert Island” in the parking lot. In this hypothetical scenario, you can only pick 3 movies to watch for the rest of your life. As you ponder about yours, here are mine:

1. Back to the Future

2. Fantastic Mr. Fox

3. School of Rock

What a mix, right? Well, I was going to say Jaws but then I would never want to try to swim to safety. Also, Pirates of the Caribbean would be a back up- but only if I had some rum.

Anyway, back to my point. Isn’t is the worst feeling when you LOVE a movie, let someone know who you WANT to like, and then they roll their eyes once you tell them? Or they sigh? Or they just straight up walk away from you? Even worse is if they haven’t even seen it. Then I’d walk away from them.

I grew up with my dad being a photographer/videographer for a local news station in Miami. Since he was (still is!) heavily involved in editing/producing his news pieces, he would point out different cuts, angles, etc in every movie we watched. I also had the best school video projects ever. It made my brother and I watch the behind the scenes features on DVDs for fun + even make our own mini-films on an actual brick (a camcorder).  Maybe if I ever become famous, I’ll let them show my first films on my True E! Hollywood Story (do they still do those).

A bit of “movie-magic” has been taken away from me. I’ve become too critical of each movie I see. I’ve become spoiled by watching all of the classics that are so iconic- whether it be for cinematography or special effects (practical over CGI any day of the week, folks). This has always been one of my passion points- that’s why I loved growing up going to Universal Studios.

I just want to talk about and watch movies into the abyss (The Abyss- one of my dad’s favorite movies, by the way).
Maybe I’ll even make one someday.

-S
@readysetsasha

Chapter 10
I'm in a Pickle
April 6, 2017


Living in New York isn’t how glamorous as movies set it up to be. Don’t get me wrong, I have those unreal moments (like, oh my god I live steps away from the Empire State Building) and when they pop up it’s magical. But I’ve hit a wall.

The wall is a realization that I’m not fulfilling any of my passions. This city gives you a lot of hope, but that hope doesn’t last too long. You start realizing almost everyone around you has at least 10K followers on Instagram. The person next to them has 10K more, their own successful podcast, and a studio in Chelsea. And then next to them is Tom Hanks casually strolling through Central Park.

Maybe being towered over by giant buildings and almost getting run over by taxis every day is draining. 
Or maybe it’s because the web of connections I’ve made are all doing #big #things + sharing them via social media and meanwhile I feel like I haven’t lived up to my potential.

The issue, I think, is that I have too many ideas. I have so many thoughts swirling around in my head that feel like a perfect soft serve ice cream cone, but in reality it’s melting. My melted ice cream is creating a real mess lately that’s quite literally frozen me. Sharing (or oversharing) on social media platforms is a common occurrence now. People can’t wait to land an internship or job mainly to formulate the perfect #HumbleBrag status- when in reality, they just want to brag. Which, side note, I wish people would just be straight up happy/proud about what they are doing and not turn accomplishments into something to feel embarrassed about posting. We are all humble, but sometimes you gotta toot your own horn, ok.

Basically, I’m stuck and am hoping to get struck with some solid inspiration sometime soon. I am hoping to find a job/career I truly love waking up and going to. I am hoping for some real, honest, genuine guidance from someone, not sympathy.

-S @readysetsasha

-S
@readysetsasha

Chapter 9
Let’s Get Ready to Rumble
March 7, 2016

The scariest part about being an adult is that real panic suddenly comes to the surface.  This panic is usually unleashed by a rent bill, being sick alone, or your body waking itself up early on weekends. Will you ever be able to sleep in again? The panic can also come from moving away from home, finding your footing in a new city, or not having a Publix nearby. I mean, can you believe New York does not have a Publix? Publix is being greedy and too exclusive.

Moving away from a slam poetry session about Publix’s corporate greed, I’ve been thinking about having all of these small panic moments and the reality check it gives me.  Every problem seems bigger than the last, but I remember I eventually overcame the last problem (somehow, who knows).

Life has proven to be the heavyweight champion of the world. No matter what defense strategy we may prepare, Life comes out of its corner and comes at you from a new angle. The element of surprise is something Life specializes in.  If we can’t all agree on politics, I think we can all at least agree that Life is a major bitch. 

In your boxing ring, you have to assemble the toughest team to help you last longer and longer each round before the bell rings. There can’t be too many people on your team because of the small space that lies in your corner, but there can be plenty of people in the audience who are rooting for you. Think: Bonesaw fans via (the first and best) Spiderman movie. My (small) team catches me when I collapse in the corner. They fix me up and send me back into the fight stronger and faster than before. 

When panic strikes, charge up in your corner with your team and then go and kick some ass.

-S
@readysetsasha

Chapter 8
New Year, No Tonsils
January 29, 2017

            2017 has started off in the weirdest way possible. I accepted a full-time position as an Assistant Media Planner, I got my tonsils removed, oh and Donald Trump is burning the world down. A lot of good news has balanced all of the terrible news that floods my social media timelines regarding Trump’s latest disastrous executive orders and childish tweets. It’s like everyday the weather forecast is cloudy with a small chance of seeing the sun for 30 seconds- maybe. I’d rather it be a chance of meatballs, personally.

            I ended one chapter in my life to begin a real job. I get a salary now, people. I get benefits! I get free snacks! I get to work in a really awesome building in TriBeCa with a great company! It’s intimidating, though. Stepping into a new position that focuses on something I haven’t handled before is quite intimidating. Especially when I found out I needed to have an emergency surgery to get my tonsils removed.

            Let me back up for a minute. To give you some insight, I have been sick (almost) the entire time I have been here.  It started off as one bad case of Tonsillitis that kept me out of my internship for a few days. Then it didn’t seem to go away.  Panic was setting in as I saw confused looks on doctor’s faces because of my frequent visits. After months of this chronic pain, with recommendations from multiple doctors, I set the date for the surgery.  Unfortunately, it landed on the second week of starting my new job.

            I was very lucky (and thankful!) to have my parents fly up for the procedure and stay with me a few days after. Leaving the hospital and recovering in a giant hotel bed was definitely the right move. 

            For the last 11 days (so far), my diet has consisted of KFC/Popeye’s mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs and ice cream. As I wait for the excruciating pain to subside, I have finished re-watching The Office and re-started it, watched hours of Let’s Make a Deal and The Price is Right and tried to remember what it’s like to feel normal.

I am looking forward to February- some more positive things are happening! This is the month I return to being healthy and feeling like my wacky self again. In 2 weeks, my parents are visiting again- this is the original time they were supposed to take a vacation before the sudden recent trip. Valentine’s Day is uh, happening (confetti falls as I dance around in it)! Most importantly, I have a coupon for free chips and guac at Chipotle.

-S
@readysetsasha

Chapter 7
It’s Christmas Time in the City

December 27, 2016

If you are a scrooge and can never get into the holiday spirit, I have the solution for you. Just make a quick visit to New York City between Thanksgiving and the month of December for a boost of true joy.

Yes, vacationing here is great, but actually living here is even better. Especially during the holidays. Aside from braving some crowds of tourists (who stop in the middle of the sidewalk for no reason whatsoever???), the atmosphere in the city is magical. Lights are wrapped around everything: buildings, trees, apartment balconies. Elaborately decorated Christmas trees shine in the lobby of every building and store windows, like at Lord & Taylor, dazzle with elegantly designed displays.

One impromptu night, I roamed the city (with great company) to witness all of the NYC holiday “must-see” spots after grabbing a cup of hot chocolate at the Starbucks below the Empire State Building. The itinerary was simple: needed to see things on the way to the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. Here’s what I saw:

·         Lord & Taylor window displays

·         Bryant Park Christmas village + Christmas tree

·         Saks Fifth Avenue (a mini light show on the side of the building)

·         30 Rock Plaza/Christmas Tree

·         Park Avenue (around 42nd)

·         Radio City Music Hall (and surrounding area)

PRO-TIP: If you easily get overwhelmed with emotion, I recommend not going on the first night it snows in the city- especially if you’ve never seen snowfall before. Avoid holding back tears and then eventually crying when you arrive at 30 Rock. Oh! And grab some caramel popcorn to accompany the sightseeing. 

-S
@readysetsasha

Chapter 6
Checking Off My Bucket List

November 29, 2016

This Thanksgiving was different. Different in all of the right ways.

I didn’t get to fly home to Miami (305 til I die) and spend time with my entire family like usual. I missed them dearly, but got a glimpse of all of them and the delicious food – thanks, FaceTime.

Instead, my mom flew up to New York to stay with me so I wouldn’t be alone on the holiday weekend. She, quite literally, crammed into my tiny room for a few nights where we barely had enough room for the both of us to stand up at the same time. We were able to do something together that I have always dreamed of- see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in person.

On Thanksgiving morning, we woke up around 7 AM. I live on 34th street (where the parade ends) so we didn’t have a lot of traveling to do to get close to the action. The streets were alive with walking puffer coats, scarfs and police barricades. To gain street access, the NYPD directed us down to 41st street & 6th Ave. where people were filling the sidewalks with anticipation. My mom and I nestled into a spot on a corner and waited.

And waited.

We stood there, shivering, for about an hour and a half before the parade route finally came rolling down the street in front of Bryant Park. I was jealous of the people gathered on lavish balconies and inside warm buildings with a prime view. Seeing all of the giant balloons float just above me was a surreal feeling after all of the years watching the spectacle from my couch in Miami. I tried to take as many pictures as I could without watching the parade through my phone screen. It was incredible and so fun, just like I imagined.

My mom and I spent the rest of the day napping, going to the movies, eating an Italian themed dinner on the Upper East Side and watching murder mysteries on my laptop.

I loved watching the parade happen right in front of me and checking off this event from my bucket list, but I found myself daydreaming of being on the couch at home while my mom prepares food for Thanksgiving dinner. I missed begging my brother to wake up to watch it with me. I missed live-texting my best friend, Lauren, about the Broadway performances being aired on NBC and the scary Elf on the Shelf balloon (even scarier in real life). I missed the awkward family conversations. Most of all, I missed being able to watch the National Dog Show that follows the parade on TV. 

-S
@readysetsasha

Chapter 5
The Day My Life Changed Forever

October 24, 2016*
*Even though I’m writing this today, my life-changing moment happened on Friday, October 21st, 2016.

Next year, my Facebook notification will read: On This Day, you met Lady Gaga.
No, no, let me repeat that for the people in the back.

I.                    MET.              LADY.                    GAGA.

I can’t even put into words how this even happened, but I’m going to try.
It all started when my friends and I were scheming to camp out for stand by tickets for Saturday Night Live. The host: Tom Hanks. The musical guest: Lady Gaga. It was the perfect show to risk all odds and temporarily live on a sidewalk behind 30 Rockefeller Center. I was ready. Mother Nature decided otherwise. Of course, the weather was terrible. It was raining all day and supposed to rain all night, as well. My hope was dwindling as I saw one of my bucket list items slipping away from me. Around noon, it stopped raining and my hope resurfaced to only quickly plunge again. Reports on Twitter showed people camped out with tarps/mini tents and already about 60 people in line- and I wasn’t even off of work yet. It was a bust.

As I sadly called my mom letting her know my dreams were CRUSHED (read in dramatic tone), I was wrapping up my work day. I had just finished a project and had 30 minutes until my weekend began. I was leisurely (and drearily) scrolling through my Twitter feed. Then, I saw it.

This tweet.

Lady Gaga was going to be at her dad’s restaurant, Joanne, to personally sign autographs for her new album that was released that day. I had been listening all day, naturally. My mind went blank. My friend’s text messages lit up my phone screen: You have to go.

Without even properly looking up where exactly I needed to go, and with technically 15 minutes still on my work day clock, I threw everything into my backpack (I was prepared to camp out, remember) and sprinted to the elevators. It was do or die.

I put on my headphones and was blasting her new album (cheesy, I know, sue me) as I quite literally was running through the streets of New York to get to Grand Central Station. (In case you were wondering, I needed to take the shuttle to Times Square and then the uptown 1 train to get off at 66th/Lincoln Center). When I emerged above ground on the upper west side, I was disoriented but headed to 68th, praying I somehow made it in time. She tweeted at 5:05 PM and I arrived around 5:30 PM. There was already a line down the block. I hopped in line, not really knowing what was even going on. Soon, part of her team came walking down the line making an announcement. They had 200 copies of her CD, you had to buy one right then, cash only. That meant only 200 people were set to get in. I had to sprint around the corner to an ATM to take cash out to buy the CD (I already had a digital copy). The other little monsters in line graciously held my place.

Time was ticking and they soon began banding people in line. As they moved closer to me, I was in disbelief. I bought the CD and they put a lime green wristband on me.

“Does this mean I get a chance to go in, or does this guarantee…like….do I get to meet her for sure”, I asked, rambling. I could hear my voice shaking.

“This entitles you to one autograph with Gaga, yes.”

I could’ve passed out. I called my best friends. I called my mom. I wanted to tell more people, but my phone was on 20%. I didn’t know how long I was going to be waiting to get in so I put it away. I was number 68 in line. I was IN. I was going to meet her. News cameras were rolling and the excitement was filling the air. About an hour and half into waiting, Gaga’s team came out with boxes of pizzas for everyone in line. I quickly snapped a picture for evidence and then devoured it (obviously).

At 7 PM, there she was. She drove by in the passenger seat of a vintage blue Mercedes when I spotted her. “YAS GAGA” and “YOU LOOK SO GOOD” screaming filled the air when she stepped out of the car door. I could barely see her, but I saw her pink hat.

The line started moving and my anxiety was building. I was about to go in as a news station decided to interview me. I honestly forgot what I even said because I couldn’t focus on anything else. The door opened and it was my turn to go in the small entrance to the bar area. The bouncer gave me a nod as I entered the crowded area. I was free to walk around, there wasn’t a structured line, and had a moment to talk to Mark Ronson and one of his friends (?) who offered me a sip of his drink. Her mom and father were off to the side and my favorite song on her new album (“Just Another Day”) was playing lightly in the background. Then, I saw her. She was sitting behind the bar in a stunning pink robe/trench coat with green trimming with her pink hat sitting on her head. She was eating a giant bowl of plain penne pasta with butter as I approached her.

“This can’t be real,” was the first thing that came out of my mouth after I was just staring for a solid 3 seconds at her. She looked so amazing- legit flawless. Her highlight was popping and her face was glowing with happiness. She smiled and nodded to me as I began rambling about how her 2009 VMA performance changed me, how I went to the Monster Ball tour in 2011 with my best friend, Lauren in Miami, and how she has inspired me to embrace my quirky tendencies. She signed the cover of the album with a metallic silver sharpie and then said, “Look, I’ll sign another page for your friend okay?” I was shaking and said something like thank you so much I love your music gaga YAS GAGA YAAAS. As it was my time to step out of the bar, I wished her luck on Saturday Night Live and told her I couldn’t wait to watch. She blew me a kiss as I stumbled away in a star struck stupor.

After that, I almost passed out on the street. I had a follow up interview and called Lauren to share the news of what just happened. Nothing could top this moment. I don’t think I could’ve asked for a better “New York experience” than this. I didn’t even take off my wristband until last night.

So, who would you like to meet? Imagine the most influential celebrity you have distant, impossible-like dreams about meeting. Then, imagine *actually* meeting them in an intimate setting. How would you react? Hopefully, a bit more composed than me.

-S
@readysetsasha

Chapter 4
Let’s Get Talking: #WorldMentalHealthDay
October 10, 2016

Mental health is arguably more important than physical health. With that being said, today is World Mental Health Day and it’s time for people to take notice of the people in their lives who are silently suffering. I love social media because it has created a platform to start discussions on “taboo” topics. We need to start talking about them.

People who open up to you about what they are struggling with internally are not seeking attention; they are trying to ask for help. They are actively trying to create a support system around them in case they lose balance and fall. It is crucial for those listening to listen to understand, not solely to respond. Shout out to all past recruitment counselors (at FSU, at least), I am about to be #vulnerable.

I have struggled with anxiety and depression since middle school that stemmed from bullying and self-image issues that came along with being a part of a competitive dance team. I had a distorted view of how I was supposed to look and how I was supposed to regulate my daily life. I would be called out in front of my teammates because I needed to “lay off the pizza” and that “maybe” I should use my lunch time to come practice. It wasn’t just a suggestion. Having these ideals burned into my mind made me normalize them. From the dance world, I remained in the spotlight when I chose to become part of my high school’s drama troupe. With more shows and costumes, these ideas became even more normalized to the point where I didn’t think twice about it.

Looking back, being a teenager was hard. It hasn’t gotten any easier transitioning into an adult. Discovering relationships and what a dramatic break up feels like, sends the mind into even more of a downward spiral that inevitably takes down any self-esteem you may have.

Being in a sorority is a mix of preaching about #GirlPower and staying true to yourself, while at the same time having dress checks to make sure you represent the chapter how they see fit. However, it introduced me to some of my best friends who actively listened and supported me when I couldn’t support my mental health- they continue to do that to this day.

Maybe I didn’t party as much as the average FSU student. Maybe I couldn’t get out of my bed to go to a mandatory homecoming pairing party because I had an anxiety attack. Maybe I couldn’t show up to date functions because of how I compared myself to the other women in my chapter. Maybe I wouldn’t want to talk to anyone. Maybe I just wanted to dance in an empty room downstairs.

I want to speak out to those who have called mental health issues a myth.
Stop brushing off someone’s cry for help, however big or small it may seem to you.
Your support could save a life.

I challenge those reading to be active listeners and pay attention to your friends and family not just today, but every day.
We are really good at blending in.

-S
@readysetsasha

Chapter 3
Something Spooky This Way Comes
October 9, 2016

Emotions are weird. They can be any shape or size, good or bad. Most of all, they are scary- oh, excuse me. I mean spooky.

The feeling you get when you're in a brand new place.
The feeling of being able to sleep in.
The feeling when you have to realize you can't be perfect at everything you do.
The feeling when, out of the blue, you get a call from a friend (who never calls you).
The feeling when you don't have to wait to cross the street.
The feeling you get when you just want a croqueta y tostada.
The feeling when your favorite song on shuffle plays at the perfect moment.
The feeling when you look at your phone and see that you have 11 missed calls and 2 voicemails from your mom.
The feeling when you STILL can't quite figure out the NYC subway system.
The feeling when caffeine first enters your body on a Monday morning.
Or
The feeling you get when you go on a first date.
The feeling you get deep in your stomach when you laugh really hard.
The feeling you get when the first date goes really well.
The feeling when you go on a second date.
The feeling you get when you wish you hadn't just mentioned how your shoulders can dislocate.
The feeling you get when your phone lights up + said cute date texts you.
Or
The feeling when everything seems a little bit brighter.
The feeling of wanting to get out of bed.
The feeling you get when you're missing someone.
The feeling you get when you eat your favorite food.
The feeling you get when you log in to check your bank account.
The feeling of wanting to stay in bed.
The feeling when the wifi connects automatically.
The feeling you get when your sports team wins/loses.
The feeling when you're dancing in an empty studio.

Or the feeling you get when you don't know what's coming next.

-S
@readysetsasha

 

Chapter 2
Start Spreading the News
September 26, 2016

A lot has happened. A lot happened very quickly. Let me fill you in. 

Let’s start with the best part: I am employed! This is the part when I popped open a bottle of champagne and confetti canons exploded all around me. Great visual, right? It totally happened.

After having a few phone interviews and taking a writing test, I received an offer via email on one dreary morning that definitely woke me up out of my cabin fever slump. I also landed this position while having a terrible, no good, can’t-breathe-out-of-my-nose cold. There is something about seeing Congratulations that can make any person explode with excitement and pride- even if they don’t show it.

Yes, I was excited. Yes, I would be moving to and working in New York City. Yes, I would be living my dream.
Then why wasn’t I bouncing off the walls? I was so confused. I was angry at myself.

An overwhelming feeling of utter doom fell over me as I realized my start date was the following Monday. I was still at home with my parents in Miami. How was I supposed to completely pick up and move 1,276.7 miles in such a short period of time? Where would I live? The streets weren’t sounding so bad at a certain point. KIDDING- it sounded terrible. I luckily ended up being able to push my start date back another week to give me a more realistic timeline. 

I made like a few eggs and scrambled to contact all of my connections who were currently doing #BigThings in the #BigApple. And I do mean, everyone. I didn’t get responses from some, but others were so helpful: referring me to Facebook apartment groups and recommendations for when I was in the city. I was able to find a place, but the move-in date was not until 2 weeks after I started working. Panic started up again.

My parents saved the day, though. After about a week of searching, we figured it out. Some blessing from above led me to being able to stay with one of my childhood friend's cousin’s apartment (did you follow that?) before I was able to move-in to my guaranteed space. It was a ray of sunshine that cut through the cloud of doom looming over me that was apparently preventing me from being happy for myself. Packing and leaving the comfort of my home and family wasn’t the easiest. I mean, I may not be able to come home for holidays. When will the next time I get to go back home? Still don’t know this answer. 

So far, being in New York has been one of the craziest experiences. I have cried a lot, walked a lot, and everywhere I go is the wrong way. I can't seem to  find anything that I need to and one morning accidentally took an express train to the Brooklyn Bridge (exact opposite of where I needed to be). I have lived in 3 different places. One of those places, I was quite literally chased out by a mouse. I have reunited with one of my best friends (shoutout to Laine) and have met some really awesome people that have made this transition much easier. 

My favorite things to do so far:

  • gasp at cute dogs passing by in Gramercy Park

  • stare at the skyline

  • avoid being hit by taxis

  • actually enjoy what i do at work everyday (digital/social media #hip stuff, ya know)

My least favorite things:

  • get lost

  • get lost

  • take the right subway then getting lost leaving the station

  • the MOUSE

-S
@readysetsasha

Chapter 1
Limbo: How Low Can I Go?

June 2, 2016

Disclaimer: I am mainly writing this to keep a log of how things are going (or not going) in my personal life and for my mom to read. Hey, mom.

Welp, here I am in all of my post-graduate glory, writing a witty blog post about life and how it feels really weird right now. Let me set the tone. You know at the end of the movie Inception (warning: spoiler alert), when the audience is left screaming and pulling out their hair because they aren’t sure whether or not Leo DiCaprio is still in limbo? Is it all a dream? Where is he? That's how I feel post-graduation.
Also, while you are reading this, I recommend clicking this link and letting the song play while you continue reading.

So, without further delay…

I am #humbled and #blessed to announce that I am unemployed!

Moving back home after 4 years of living in a college town filled with dollar drinks, constant happy hours, and “White Trash Wednesdays”, has been quite the transition. Living in Miami is ten times more expensive and places are not in walking distance. I thought I knew what my life plan was. But, in typical just-my-luck fashion, my path has changed. I am stuck in limbo trying to discover where this new path leads.

Being in limbo feels a lot like rejection emails, hopeful interviews, confusion on how to make new friends, having no car, and a lot of I’m-desperately-bored Snapchats. There is also a sprinkle of fear of actually getting a job and moving on to the next step. Am I ready to become a so-called “adult”? Do I want to let go of my YOUTH? Does this mean I have to become financially independent?

All I know for now, is I am feeling positive about the future and I anxiously await it’s arrival.
Stay tuned, mom, for what is to come.
For now, what should I binge watch on Netflix?

-S
@readysetsasha
*Did this song make you anxious? This is how it feels after graduating.