Take things as they are and don’t question them. Don’t explode from sadness or unquestionable doubt. Keep moving forward and you’ll find the person you’re meant to be. Keep it all in and you’ll be rewarded. Be pretty, act mean, don’t let others dictate your happiness. Selfish people live longer. Lust and desire only last so long and then there is nothing, so moving on is key to any relationship. Let people in but only for a moment because once they see inside your soul, you’re done and they know how to hurt you. Be afraid but never show it. Courage and hope is the only facade you can show to the people around you. Don’t let it all infect the being of your flesh. You’re better than that. You don’t care. You’re over it. Shrug your shoulders. Put on your lipstick and fake it until you make it because everyone is a phony.
Thanks to Liv Purvis and everything she does, she inspired me to toot my own horn about the things that happened to me this year. The “Anti-Bucket List” as the cool kids are calling it these days. When I was trying to think of what to write down, I started scrolling through the photos from this year and realized what a strange, incredible, odd and all the other adjectives between “amazing” and “ehhhh” there are–because I know there are a lot! So, without further ado, my list.
1. Learned how to properly walk in heels as I have always been bad at it and shunned all heels from being on my feet. But hey, look at me now, mom, bet you thought this day would never come.
2. Cut 10 inches off my hair because why not?
3. Looked up if you can legally take a cake on a plane and learned that you can and now the next time I fly, I will be sitting there with a full carrot cake in my lap, serving it to passengers to make friends.
4. Went to New York and saw and hugged and kissed people I haven’t seen in ages. I’ll be seeing you all soon.
5. JK Rowling got a Twitter account and everything in life was great.
6. Graduated university. I DID IT. Alas, it was pouring down rain and my mom couldn’t get a decent shot of me walking across the stage, but it happened.
7. Went to the top of the Arch for the first time and didn’t poop my pants.
8. Won 3 Instagram contests. Hell yeah.
9. Quit my job at the bank to pursue a job in writing and all things social media and haven’t had a single regret.
10. Got into a car accident, totaled my car and bought a new one all within two weeks. Cried a lot. But Gunther treats me right (my car, for those who don’t know his name).
11. Sat front row at STLFW and promptly fainted at the end. I mean, Fashion Week, right?!
12. Mauhaus announced they’re making a cat cafe here in STL and everything in life will be perfect once that happens.
13. Made really amazing, beautiful, unique, and wonderful friends.
14. Still loving the Oxford Comma even though work tells me not to use it. WELL LOOK HERE, KELSEY. I’M USING IT! (But not at work because, ugh, we don’t use it.)
15. Became part of an epic Girl Gang.
Name: Chad Curtis
Where do you rest your head at night? In the suburbs of the twin cities, MN.
Is that where you’re originally from? Nope, I was born in Michigan (so I’m told), raised in St. Charles, MO, and then moved to Ames, IA for college before I ended up in MN.
Best thing about the city you live? Anybody can find something to do. Whether its food, music, sports, lakes, beer, etc., there are a multitude of options for entertainment. The people up here are pretty great as well, so finding a friend to join you for all of these activities is also an easy task.
If you’re not originally from the city you currently reside, what is the best thing about your hometown? Going to Cardinals baseball games! If you haven’t been, then you’re missing out on one of the best things to do in STL. 😉
What’s one thing that tourists do that you wish they didn’t? Flock to the Mall of America and make traffic a nightmare. I do my best to avoid that area.
Best places to eat? That is a tough question. I’ve only scratched the surface of the MN food scene in my short time here, but from my experience Black Sheep Pizza is an option you can never go wrong with, and the pork banh mi from Lu’s Sandwiches is my current addiction.
Where all have you traveled? I’ve been to just about half of the states, and I’ve also been to Kenya twice and spent a night in Amsterdam. I plan on adding to that list in the near future.
What is your favorite place that you have traveled? Definitely Kenya! I went with Hopeful Africa, a non-profit that was started by a good friend and fraternity brother of mine, and had such an amazing experience the first time, I had to go back for round two.
List five places you want to travel to: It’s hard to pick only five, but here goes nothing– Barcelona, Prague, Australia, Italy and London.
Insert one of your favorite photos you’ve taken on your travels:
Chad Curtis is a recent graduate at Iowa State University and when he isn’t traveling all around the US with his company, he likes to attend concerts and drink beer. Lots and lots of beer.
My very first vlog is up online for the whole world to see and judge me quite harshly on. I’ve never done any type of videos before, so it’s not very good at all. But, I enjoyed making it and trying something different that I can hopefully get better at.
So far this month, I have painted my nails thirty-one times. I haven’t brushed my hair. I ate six pints of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food. And only cried twenty-two times. Mostly during TV shows, four times during HeyClaire’s video to her mom.
I started off the month by falling out of love and hiding it quite intensely. I didn’t realize it would take me three months and not responding to texts to finally get over someone. But, I stopped answering phone calls and text messages and left things to the last minute before canceling again. It’s still something I’m continuing to work on, but not very well.
June is always lonely for me. I used to love the summer as a kid, but the older I get the more I long for the Fall and new beginnings instead of the excessive heat of summer and my clothes sticking to the backs of my legs. Yet, this month was about rain, and more rain, and the continuous monotonous rain.
But then it became about the starts of projects and songs and books and movies and TV shows and candles and lots and lots of candles and friends. Actual friends. Which is strange for me to not have everyone I want to hang out with spread across the globe, but a small group I can call and go to a movie and dinner with. It became about learning new things and juggling three jobs and slowly trying not to lose my mind in the process.
June, you’ve been about learning to take chances and not be so scared to take the next step. I have been so scared lately. Scared to make the wrong step and ruin my life forever, but JK Rowling didn’t have her life figured out by 23 and I’ll figure it out one day. I hope. Maybe in July.
*went off on a different course whilst speaking, but this was the main idea.
12 October 2013; 8:23AM
Cigarettes and pine is what Scotland smells like. Nat and I got off the £13 MegaBus smelling like sweat and lack of sleep after 9 hours of attempting to sleep in an upright position.
The bathroom was our savior at 8 in the morning where we wiped down our skin with baby wipes I kept in the sides of my bag and dry-shampooed the sides of our hair. I watched as Nat meticulously put on her MAC Russian Red, fluffed up the sides of her hair before shaking her head and shoving her orange beanie over her blonde hair.
Cigarettes and pine. What an odd smell.
It was too early to check in with our Couchsurfing host and the light was just coming up in the Medieval town. The dark stones echoed under our boots as we made our way to the city centre to find wifi and coffee.
After sitting in Costa for nearly an hour, we found food and the bus to our home for the weekend. The place was weird with a bunkbed in the living room and two couches. A Spanish couple mumbled something to us as we walked through the door. A South Korean boy nodded as he grabbed tea from the kitchen. Another boy from the Philippines asked us our names while our host locked the door behind us. A cat walked around my legs.
I’m Natalie and this is Mackenzie.
We took another bus. We had no idea where to go. The Docs were too expensive, so we ended up looking at bargain priced items from Misguided and looking at old Cathedrals. We walked up the streets and down the streets and through old churchyards where graves have been since the 1600s.
The city built on top of another city.
We were tired and decided to see The Elephant House, where JK Rowling wrote those books on a napkin. I had a coffee while Natalie read which bands were going to be playing at some festival sometime soon in the local paper that happened to be laying on the table next to us. There was graffiti in the bathroom.
This way to the Ministry with an arrow pointing down into the toilet.
Across the street was Nandos where we stuffed our faces with peri-peri sauce and a nice cheeky chicken sandwich before walking to a local Tescos at night. Edinburgh Castle was lit up in the sky like some kind of beaconing force lighting our way forward to aisle 4 to pick up cheap red wine.
We sat outside in a hotel parking lot next to a movie theatre and popped open the bottle of wine. Stumbling out of the bars next door were girls in short dresses and heels waiting for their boyfriends to slip their arms around their waists to take them home. After a half hour, we had a buzz going and bought tickets to see a movie. I fell asleep in the movie. There wasn’t a happy ending.
We took the wrong bus home.
Glasgow from a train is beautiful. Fast, wild and free. It is full of bacon butties and IRN-BRU. When we got out of the train station the air was full of feathers in the square. It looked as if they just had a pillow fight and everyone was laughing.
We walked to another Cathedral where people were checking the “vibes” of the spirits in the place. I was really hoping there wasn’t anyone there as I stepped on a gravesite to get the perfect picture for Instagram. Sorry.
I found my own personal TARDIS. I found signs outside bars that I identified so well with. We had pizza and white wine and talked about boys and walked through a fun fair watching children screaming and eating candy floss by the fist full.
Two hours later, we were watching Children of Men with the South Korean, the Spaniards and the Filipino and sipping Soju.
The next morning we almost snuck out through a window since the doors were locked but we made it to the train station in time all while Nat wore her dollar sign socks.
This month’s “Friendly Advice” comes from the lovely Alex, whom I met in London a couple years ago.
Name: Alexandra (Alex) Wong Tuai (2-E)
Where do you rest your head at night? On a pillow I stole from my younger sister. In my bed. In Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
Is that where you’re originally from? Nope, I’m from Seattle, WA.
Best thing about the city you live? Some of the people that are closest to my heart and soul live in the same city right now.
If you’re not originally from the city you currently reside, what is the best thing about your hometown? The best thing about Seattle is the harmony of nature and city.
What’s one thing that tourists do that you wish they didn’t? Stop in the middle of the street/subway/anywhere to take pictures/check their phones.
Best places to eat? This dumpling place hidden away in Brooklyn by my old university. Anywhere that can feed me quickly if I’m hangry.
Where all have you traveled? Hahaha oh jeez. China, France, Spain, Great Britain, Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Morocco, South Africa, Wales, Italy, Croatia, Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Thailand, Taiwan, India, Nepal, Turkey, Portugal, South Africa, and I’ll be heading to Australia and New Zealand in the next couple of years.
What is your favorite place that you have traveled? South Africa without a doubt.
List five places you want to travel to: South America, South East Asia, all of the United States I haven’t seen, the Scandinavian countries, the rest of the African continent, the Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia.
Insert one of your favorite photos you’ve taken on your travels:
Alex Tuai is a recent graduate of Long Island University in New York City, where she studied was a global studies undergrad. She loves to watch countless episodes of Doctor Who and beauty vloggers on YouTube.
Things I am: Daughter. Friend. Sister. Co-worker. Graduate. However, not very good at any of those things. I thought by now I would learn how to be good at one of those, but I’m just 23. I’m still free falling. I’m still searching. I’m still hoping.
I have five new freckles that I already called the dermatologist about for an appointment. Just to make sure. My wrist pops when I shake new people’s hands. I finished all the Netflix Original Series and discovered that I like Cherry flavored pop tarts over Strawberry.
I’ll never be fit and active like my brother. I’ll never be an extrovert like he is and the rest of my family and I wonder if that bothers them. That I’m so quiet and mainly nod my head at family functions.
I spend more time searching desperately for jobs, refreshing LinkedIn, Twitter, and Monster as if I have a spasm in my fingers.
The future is a scary, scary place.
Sometimes I feel like I’m going to end up in the same location and never go anywhere else in life and I think that terrifies me the most. I know it scares me the most because that’s not the place I want to be. That’s never the place I wanted to be.
Most of the time I want to pack my bags and travel through Europe. I want to work in shitty bars and kiss stupid boys and drink a bit too much. But that all will happen next year. I’m submitting a new application. I’m going to move to France and speak solely in French and be only my most pretentious self.
But for now, I’ll dream of those things. Nights on the Seine and oversexed men. Until then, it’s me and the movie Frank and my bed and ice cream. Which isn’t too bad at this moment.