Five Things My Tiny Apartment has Taught Me

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I’ve been living the tiny life for about five months now and I’ve definitely learned a bit during that time.  I thought I’d share you a little wisdom about my little living space.

  1. You Only Need What You Need. Before I moved to Boston I had a large apartment with a giant granite island, in-unit laundry AND a dishwasher.  (Me and my manicures are still mourning the loss of the latter.)  I also had a lot of closet space and kitchen cabinets which made storage easy.  That being said, the more space you have, the easier it is to collect stuff over the years and that’s exactly what I did.  Right before I moved I purged everything.  There wasn’t everything from t-shirts to tea towels was reconsidered.  If I hadn’t worn it in the past six months, I donated it.  IF I had another saucepan just like it, I donated it.  If it was a reminder of something I wanted to forget, I tossed it.  If it was a document I hadn’t referred to in the past five years, I shredded it.  Everything I didn’t absolutely need to keep, I got rid of and it made a giant difference in my less-than-giant new abode.
  2. Screw Everything… into the walls that you can.  Anything that you can get up off the floor or another surface (i.e bathroom/ kitchen counter) is space saved for something.  I’m not suggesting you go wild and pin everything to the walls, I’m just saying if something is able to be equally functional while wall-mounted, go for it.  I’ve hung all my bathroom storage, mounted my TV to the wall and even hung some pans on the walls of my kitchen.  Doing this not only helps to open up storage opportunities but also has a decluttering effect.  Speaking of which…
  3. A Clean Apartment is a Happy Apartment.  Because my living space is so small, any clutter, dirt or dust is ten times more noticeable.  Staying on top of cleaning and organization will make the place feel bigger than it really is.  I also find that the more organized my space is, the more peaceful it feels and who doesn’t want that?
  4. Curating Your Space is Important.  When you live in a small space, it’s important to make it feel like a space customized for you and the way you live your life.  By virtue of your place being small, most of it will be viewable from any given angle so think about how that will affect the layout of your furniture and how someone would flow through your space.
  5. Compact is Key.  Whether it’s a pull-out couch, a bench that doubles as a storage option or a nifty folding table, furniture that’s small when you need it to be small and a bit bigger when you need it to be bigger is a god send.  Your space is precious so make sure that the things you fill it with are as functional as they are beautiful.  I bought this kitchen table and it’s pretty much changed my life.

Whatchya Readin’?

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It was a resolution of mine to read more books this year.  ( Much more doable goal than the illusive six pack.)  So far I’m off to a great start.  I’ve been a reading fiend the past few months and it’s been absolutely wonderful.  I’ll show you my reading list if you show me yours, deal?  Ok, perfect.  Here’s what I’ve read, what I’m reading, and what’s next on my list.

5172b0s2busvl-_sx329_bo1204203200_    Look at the Birdie by Kurt Vonnegut  In college I had a bad Vonnegut experience so I was reluctant to humor the boyfriend and give his favorite author another go.  That being said, I’m so glad that I did.  Look at the Birdie is a collection of unpublished short stories from the late author.  It’s an incredibly easy and pleasant read that reminded me how much I love great storytelling.  While the products of both are completely enjoyable to read, I find that there’s a great difference between a great writer and a great story teller.  Fortunately for us, Vonnegut is both.

dont-worry-it-gets-worse-alida-nugent-cover-676x1024  I already wrote a post about this insanely hilarious and completely on-point book about navigating life as a twenty-something.  Here it is.

midnight-in-the-garden-of-good-and-evil  Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt  About halfway through this book, I knew it was going to be one of my favorite books of all time.  The characters are so eccentric and illusive and the story is so fascinating and entertaining that it’s hard to believe it’s based off of entirely true events.  Once you start, you won’t be able to stop. It’s The Great Gatsby meets murder mystery with a seventies southern twist.  Best read with a julep in hand.  There’s also a film adaptation with a seriously killer cast, pun intended.  If you finish the book and just can’t get enough of Georgian history, check out my previous post about my impromptu road trip through Georgia.

 

513okn5tcjl-_sx320_bo1204203200_ Doctor Sleep by Stephen King  I’m a Stephen King nut.  My grandfather, a former publishing executive, introduced me to his first book, Carrie, and I’ve been hooked ever since.  I’m in the middle of his novel Doctor Sleep which is the long-awaited sequel to his lauded book, The Shining.  (Another must-read.)  While it’s a hefty book, it’s a serious page turner with both familiar and new characters.  Fear not my fellow Shining fans, Danny Torrance is still at the center of it all.

41giajvpdkl-_sx332_bo1204203200_ Summer of Night by Dan Simmons  After hearing about my love for a good mystery, Dylan suggested this book.  Once I read the synopsis, it quickly moved to the top of my reading list.  It’s creepy and suspenseful and, after peaking at the first few pages, beautifully written.

517r8gmvvzl-_sx283_bo1204203200_ The Class by Erich Segal  A dear friend of mine gave me this book a long time ago for Christmas.  It sounds like it’s a book best read slowly, with lots of breaks to sit and think.  From what I gather, it echoes the moral magnitude of the Dead Poet’s Society.  It’s one of those books I know I’ll love, I’ve just been waiting for the right moment.

 

Any of these titles do it for you?  Have you read them before?  What should I add to the list?  Tell me everything.  Speaking of reading, here’s another post you might like.Happy reading!

What I’m Packing: A Weekend Road Trip

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I’m a big believer that always having something to look forward to is a great way to motivate yourself through the sludge of the week.  Since we work during the real-person weekends, Dylan and I consider Mondays and Tuesdays our weekend.  This “weekend” we’ve decided to take a mini road trip and head to Western Massachusetts to go hear Gloria Steinem speak (eek, I’m so excited), visit some dear friends of ours and stop by some of our favorite spots from our boarding school days.  I’m particularly looking forward to eating at our pre-prom taco spot and my favorite bookstore  in the entire world.  Since I’m already thinking about what to pack, I  thought I would share with y’all a little bit about my weekend-away essentials.

The Perfect Packing Tote– When it comes short road trips, I’m a big fan of packing all of my stuff into a giant tote rather that zipping it up in a smaller duffle or a piece of luggage.  When I’m riding in the car I’ll often want to grab something like a scarf, hand creme or a snack and it’s a pain to rifle through a perfectly packed and zipped bag.  I love this tote (pictured above).  Not only is it huge, it’s also got giant pockets all the way around.  I’m able to fold up all of my clothes and leave them undisturbed in the middle and pack my toiletries and all my other goodies I might want during the ride in the easy-access pockets.

Clothes, Clothes, Clothes-  I have to admit that, when it comes to clothes, I’m a bit of an over-packer.  I like to have options and feel prepared.  To avoid looking like this dude, I try to pack versatile pieces that are comfortable and can be dressed up or down depending on the the plan for the day.  I pretty much never go anywhere without at least one of my denim shirts. (I’ve had this one forever and it’s only gotten better with time.)  I also always bring two pars of pants, usually jeans, because spills are eminent in my life.  A scarf is also a must for me because I’m constantly cold.  Plus, it can double as a blanket, makeshift pillow or even an eye mask.  Layering is pretty key for me during any trip so my jean jacket is a frequent travel companion.  Lastly, I always pack two pairs of shoes: one neutral pair of sneakers that will go with everything and one pair of nicer boots or sandals that can elevate any of my outfits.

My Not-So-Big Beauty Bag- I like to keep my beauty routine pretty brief when I’m on any vacation so that I’m not stuck in the bathroom for an hour in the morning.  That being said, I do have a few must-haves.  I bring my face wash, cleansing brushtoner,  moisturizer, and a spot treatment.  I also bring my own Dove Beauty Bar.  Hotel soap usually dries my skin out and makes me itchy and there’s something about the smell that makes me feel so clean and comfortable.  I’m a pretty big fan of bringing some sort of brightening mask because traveling always makes my skin look a little tired.  These sleeping masks from Sephora are fantastic and super reasonably priced.  I never pack a toiletry bag without perfume (I’ve been loving this floral one lately).  It’s the last thing I put on when I get ready and it makes me feel totally pulled together.  Finally, I hate washing my hair when I’m only gone for a weekend; If I do that then I have to bring a hairdryer and it’s so clunky and takes up so much space so dry shampoo is a must.  This one is my tried and true.

Not Pictured Needs

Whether I’m going to be gone for two days or twenty days I always have a book.  Here’s my latest read.  Bet you didn’t see that one coming.

Hand creme is another important bag essential.

What are your musts for a weekend away?  Anything you do mid-drive to make the drive go by?

Do You Talk to Strangers?

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Lately, I’ve been going to my local coffee shop to do my job applications.  It makes me feel like I’m actually getting something accomplished by getting ready and heading out the door versus staying in my PJs all day.  Maybe it’s been serendipitous, but for the past two weeks, I’ve sat next to the most interesting people having the most interesting conversations during my coffee shop time.

Usually, I sit there with my earbuds and sip my very large latte while hoping that they don’t realize I’m definitely eavesdropping.  Then there are other times that I can’t help myself.  Someone says something funny and I laugh or they debate an answer to a question that I know and I chime in.  Sometimes it leads to a great chat and sometimes it’s a brief exchange but either way, I enjoy it (I hope they do too).

It might be because I’m still getting used to living in a new place where all my friends aren’t just a phone call away. Is that it?  Am I just a friendly yet friend-starved coffee shop patron?  Or is this forming habit making me seem like the neighborhood’s new crazy coffee lady?

Let me know what you think.

P.S. If you’re ever in the Boston/Brookline area you absolutely have to check out these two places.  First, Tatte.  There’s something for everyone and not a bad item on the menu.  Next is Pavement Coffee House.  Their dirty chai lattes are both incredible and incredibly large.  You’ve also got to get one of their multi-grain everything bagels.  SO good.  Plus, they’re both great places to strike up a conversation with strangers…

 

I Dunno, What Do You Want to Do?

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Like many, I suffer from severe indecisiveness.  This malady is made worse when having to make a decision with one or more other people while trying to decide what to do or, even harder, where to eat.  A few years ago, my father, in his travels, discovered an incredible app that completely solves the problem.  It’s called UrbanDaddy, have you heard of it?  It’s got listings for most major cities and not only recognizes which city you’re in, but also  which neighborhood you’re in– how cool is that??

All you have to do is plug in what you’re looking for (brunch, dinner, drinks, dessert), who you’re with (boyfriend, girlfriend, friends, parents, your ex, you name it) and then you get to plug in a wild card.  You can stipulate that you want karaoke, dancing, to breakup with whoever you’re with, you’re looking for a place with good beer, the list goes on.  It’s amazing.  After you input your information you just have to click go and it generates a long list of possible places that you could check out.  While it doesn’t make the decision for you, it definitely makes the process a million times easier.  Check it out he next time you’re playing the “I dunno game” and let me know what you think!

Night and Day

I feel like there are endless articles about the routines of highly successful women that are already established in their careers but none about the highly motivated and really inspiring young women that are paving their own way to success.  I decided to ask some of the super inspiring and motivated young women that I know to share their evening and morning routines to get some new ideas for highly effective habits.  Let me know what you think and share your routines too!

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Clareese, 24, Orlando, Florida, Current Job: Gallery Consultant, Dream Job: Mogul

I tend to get out of work around 7 or 8pm have gotten into the dirty little habit of going out to dinner almost every single night. Turns out that I will pay any amount to avoid having to deal with ingredients, cook times, and dishes. After dinner I go home and if it’s not too late I like to unwind even more with some Netflix. When I’ve watched my fill of home design shows or Wisconsin-based murder mysteries I brush my teeth and wash my face. I always put away any clothes I left laying out earlier in the day and tidy up my workspace and vanity. I also like to read a bit before bed to give my eyes and brain a break from all the screens I’ve been staring at all day. When I can’t keep my eyes open anymore I double-check my alarm, turn on my sound soother, and hit the lights.

Julie D., 26, New Smyrna Beach, FL Current Job: Executive Assistant, Dream Job: Entrepreneur & Writer

At least 30 minutes unplugged from tv, laptop, phone before “lights out” guarantees my best night’s sleep. I make sure to complete my skincare ritual so I feel my best and look my best the next morning then I drink hot decaf tea or hot water with lemon to relax and hydrate.  Lastly, I set my phone on silent – except alarms. You can’t be your best self if your REM is being interrupted by texts and calls. As an executive assistant I get texts from our CEO at all hours of the night. Thankfully she doesn’t expect me to answer until 7am.

Erin, 25, Orlando, Florida, Current Job: Graduate Student and Graduate Research Assistant, University of Central Florida Sports Business Management, Dream Job: Analyst for Major League Baseball Franchise

My job is in the sports industry, so regular hours are not a thing for me. Depending on game schedules, I sometimes work until 10:00 pm. On particularly long days, I like to come home and go for a run to unwind. I recently bought little lights to attach to my shoelaces so I can run in the dark and not be worried – this was by far my best purchase in a while. After unwinding, I get ready for the next day. I don’t like to feel rushed in the morning, so I prepare everything the night before. I lay out my clothes and put together my workbag. I also prepare all my food for the next day – typically a smoothie for the morning, a salad for lunch and a piece of chicken and some vegetables for dinner. I always have nuts, berries, and clif bars to bring with me since I never know how long I’ll be away from the house – these snacks are my savior! Before finally settling into bed, I stand in a hot shower to relax and ease out all the day’s tension.  

Olivia, 24, Washington, DC, Current Job: Key Leader at Lululemon Athletica, Dream Job: Special Agent

Because I’m an early riser, I pack up my duffel with my yoga and CrossFit gear, my clothes for work, my laptop and anything else I will need for the day. I typically take a bubble bath before I get in bed.  It warms me up and also helps me to unwind after a day of running around and dealing with difficult customers. Recently, my boyfriend and I have made an effort to lessen the use of laptops, phones and iPads before bedtime so we will usually read in bed (currently loving The Mulberry Bush and When Calls the Heart) for a while before turning in.

Ashley, 24, Boston, MA, Current Job: Law Student, Dream Job: Judge on the U.S. Supreme Court

I am terrible at sleeping; it is almost impossible for me to do! I usually try to get my work done at my desk and try not to do homework in bed. Since I already have a hard time sleeping, I try really hard to associate bed only with resting. One thing I can’t do is leave a mess; I have to make sure my sink is empty of dishes and my floor is empty of clothes. I like to take my showers at night because I don’t like to carry the dirt of the day into my bed. I have a very active mind and it’s hard for me to shut it off. I need my room to be completely dark (I have a sleeping mask!) and I need a fan on for white noise. I am not terribly strict about electronics in bed, sometimes I watch episodes of something familiar for background noise that I don’t feel I have to pay attention to.

Julie M., 25 (OMG when did that happen), Washington, DC, Current Job: Public Relations Specialist, Dream Job: Director of Communications/ Crisis Communications Consultant 
I try and go in my room and separate from my lovely roommates about an hour before it’s time to pass out. I like to check email one last time and flag things that I may have missed or really need to jump on the next morning.  Winter is a new thing for me so I compulsively check the weather and lay out my outfit the night before with approximately 6 “what-if” options. I also pack a change of shoes because my second biggest fear in life is tumbling down the escalator at the Pentagon Metro.
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Clareese

Disclaimer: I have a pretty cushy job situation in that I never really have to be at work earlier than 2pm. So sorry.My alarm goes off at 8am every morning and the first thing I do is turn on the Keurig before brushing my teeth, washing my face, and slathering on more eye cream. By the time that’s done with, my coffee is ready (thank goodness because I don’t have the brain power for anything more at this point). While I’m not a fan of the snooze button I am all for crawling back into bed with my coffee while I scroll through Instagram, SnapChat, Facebook, and my email. And then I always, always make my bed. I feel like it really starts your day right (and solidifies your decision to get out of it) and it only takes a minute or two. After that I eat breakfast while I scan the New York Times and BuzzFeed; because while I need to know how the Iowa Caucasus went down I ALSO need to know what kind of doughnut I am. When I finally figure out that I’m a strawberry-glazed doughnut, I clean up around the house and then it’s time for a work out. I like to work out about five times a week and in the mornings and only the mornings so if I miss my 10am-11am window a work out is probably not going to happen. It’s either yoga or the Tracy Anderson Method . When all of that is said and done, I shower before figuring out what I’m wearing to work which is pretty easy since it’s almost always head to toe black. And with that and a spritz of Jo Malone, I’m out the door. 

Julie D.

I Drink 8oz of water first thing when I wake up and I don’t skimp on breakfast. I typically have a hard boiled egg, berries with yogurt, and cereal with almond milk. the next step is to get outside – ideally to workout, but on the days I simply can’t for whatever reason, a brisk walk with the dog is still a must for a good start to the day.

Erin

I have a very specific morning routine. I wake up at 5:00 am and immediately make myself a mug of hot water with lemon and honey. Part of my job requires managing my boss’ social media account, so while I drink my lemon water I search for inspirational or controversial sport stories to post throughout the day. By 6:00 am I am out the door for my run or morning workout. By the time I finish my workout, I’m ready for a big breakfast to help start my day and get down to work!

Olivia

I’m usually up at 5 am to get to CrossFit or a hot yoga class with my coworkers. I’ll fill up two bottles of ice-cold water and that will usually fuel me through my classes. On the drive over, I’ll listen to the news and after class I’ll head to my favorite juicer to get my morning Super Green smoothie. I have admin time each morning as Director of Digital Engagement, which is when I’ll check and respond to emails, read each of my favorite blogs for inspiration, and then head over to our Facebook page and try to put together at least one product post or community update before hitting the store floor!

Ashley

I am just as bad at waking up as I am at going to bed. Habitual snooze-button masher, party of one! To offset that, I usually set an alarm about 2 hours before I need to leave (But normally wait until around 1 hour to actually get out of bed!). I start my day off with making coffee in my French press  and checking my email. Sometimes I like to make bulletproof coffee, which is adding butter and coconut oil to your coffee and blending it. It sounds weird, but it’s creamy, delicious, and keeps you full and alert.

I usually wake up to around 20 emails just from over the night. I’m treasurer of the Student Bar Association at my law school, and oversee budgets for around 100 different organizations.  After I get my coffee and check my emails, I take my dog for a walk (Or as I like to call it, a “promenade”). It’s about 10-15 minutes long, but it helps wake me up and lets me bond a little bit with my dog, Ringo. Then I pack a breakfast to take to school because I’m not interested in eating right when I wake up.  If I’m staying on campus through lunch, I’ll try and pack a homemade soup.  I like to use mason jars so that the seal is tight and there’s no spillage in my bag. Once I’m all packed up with my food and my books for the day, I’m ready to go!

Julie M.

I wake up, turn on a light (I have no windows, fun fact about what the word “den” means in DC) and check the social media I manage for my job first thing, because the general public is coo-coo for cocoa puffs and likes to comment mean/explicit/political things overnight. Then personal Instagram / twitter because you need the balance of relatable memes and overnight news. 
I then drag myself to the bathroom, & turn on a podcast while I get ready. Hair, makeup, clothes on. Check weather again, brew coffee, run out the door begging my roommate to lock it because I am always late for the shuttle or can’t find my keys (because winter means quadruple the amount of pockets.) I commit the cardinal sin most mornings and skip the food because why take 10 minutes to cook eggs when you could be burrowed and warm in bed.
I can’t stand mornings, so I do a task and reward myself with the little things. Like congrats, you did it you actually got up. Here’s a podcast to keep you entertained and thinking about someone else’s life and problems. Curled your hair AND did your makeup….Kcups all around.
I hope you all enjoyed reading these as much as I did.  I definitely have picked up a few ideas to incorporate into my routines.  What do you think?  What are your morning and evening keys to successful and productive days?  Here’s a post from the past you may enjoy too!

 

A Weekend Away

I’m making a run for it

Thursday I’m heading to San Francisco to visit my good friends and escape the Florida heat.  It’s a short trip but a long distance which means that a strategically packed carry-on bag is a must.  Here’s what I’ll be bringing on my flight:

  • At least two books.  I’m choosing between The Catcher in the Rye, Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s and the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
  • A neck pillow- I found this one but it might be a bit too ridiculous.)
  • A blanket- I bought a small fleece children’s blanket from Brookstone a few years ago and now I don’t get on a flight without it.  It’s the perfect size.
  • Cozy Socks- I don’t know about you, but my toes always freeze mid-flight.
  • This is basically like a shower in a can.  You’ll look and feel refreshed and no one will ever know that you spent five hours in a middle seat crammed between two men three times your size.
  • SNACKS- Enough said.
  • Headphones- I have the utmost sympathy for the baby experiencing airplane ear aches but four hours of crying is both heartbreaking and head splitting.

Those are my essentials that I always always bring.  I recently stumbled across these and I’m dying to try one.  I have a feeling they make excellent stocking stuffers too (for those of you that plan ahead).  What are your travel necessities?

The Hunt is Over

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I found an apartment and it’s perfect.  I felt a little like Goldie Locks during the whole endeavor.  One apartment was too small, the other too large, but this one was just right.  It doesn’t have a dishwasher or laundry in the unit and my kitchen is the size of a generously-spaced utility closet but I love every square-inch of the place.  My neighbors seem nice and the landlord is great too.  I can’t wait to get moved in and settled.

That being said, I have a little less than a month to pack.  Sorting life out into well-labeled boxes is always a daunting task but my apartment and winter weather are a more than motivating light at the end of the tunnel.

Have any helpful packing tips?  What was your first big move like?

So I Went on a Road Trip

Wormsloe Plantation, Savannah, GA

Wormsloe Plantation, Savannah, GA

Last week I took a long weekend and went on a road trip with my good friend Leonora and her cousin Wilhelm.  Our plan was to see as many quirky antique malls as possible and the rest we were just going to figure out as we went along.  We still saw a ton of great antiques but, we seemed to somehow shift our focus to ghost tours, coffee shops and revisiting allegedly haunted houses discussed on the aforementioned ghost tours.  Don’t worry, we did some other stuff too.

Our first order of business was seeing the World’s Largest Peanut.  It was simultaneously weird, anticlimactic and totally awesome– all things that a giant, paper mache peanut located just off the interstate should be.DSC_0069

Our next stop was Atlanta.  Our hotel was in Atlanta but we actually spent most of our time in this super awesome town called Decatur.  Have you been?  I would live there in a heart beat.  It’s got great book stores, lots of history and outrageously good ice cream.  On the drive there I came across this old sign:DSC_0075And this book share:

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Before we (begrudgingly) left Decatur, we made one more stop at Kudzu Antiques.  If you get the chance to go, you absolutely have to.  Try to contain yourself as your go through the entire wall of kitschy salt and pepper shakers.

Kudzu Antiques

Kudzu Antiques 

After an hour or so, we began our four-hour journey to Savannah.  We listened to lots of Motown and made lots of stops for snacks.  Five hours later we made it to our mildly weird (but still great) retro hotel, The Thunderbird Inn.  They give you fresh popcorn and lemonade when you check in and leave you moonpies and RC Cola on your pillows– how great?!  Plus, while they don’t offer breakfast, they do provide Krispy Kreme doughnuts and coffee putting any continental breakfast to shame.

The Thunderbird Inn, Savannah, GA

The Thunderbird Inn, Savannah, GA

In between doughnuts and deciding which ghost tours would be best, we tooled around went to different shops.  I’ve been to Savannah a million times and The Paris Market is probably my favorite shop.  It’s got a little bakery in it and sells all kinds of great stuff that you don’t need but really want.

The Paris Market, Savannah, GA

The Paris Market, Savannah, GA

While I was sifting through all the trinkets, I discovered something amazing: there’s a basement level.  All this time I’ve only been seeing half of the market.  It was pretty cool…

DSC_0199 They were completely decked out for halloween.

We finished up our weekend at the Wormsloe Plantation (first picture of the post).  Apparently, it’s the most photographed site in Savannah.  This is completely understandable the moment you start the mile long drive under canopied by live oaks dripping with Spanish moss.

The trip was a blast but it was nice to get home.  Tell me about your best road trip!

If You Haven’t Done This yet You Should

Party of 1

Party of 1

I’m talking about going to the movies alone. I went this weekend the night before I took off for Boston and it was really nice. I went to go see the new Tom Hanks movie (I highly recommend it).   There was this crazy moment when I first walked in to the theatre and there was absolutely no one in it. It was library-level quiet and I was hoping that I would get the theatre to myself but, alas, three other solo moviegoers crashed my private viewing.

Nonetheless, it really felt like a treat. It kind of feels like you’re taking yourself on a date except you can go in sweatpants and you don’t have to share the popcorn.  If you haven’t gone to see a movie by yourself I absolutely insist that you do. I do it pretty regularly and I enjoy it every single time. I’m a big proponent of random acts of self-care.

What do you do to show yourself a little TLC?