Posts Tagged Washington DC
Will it be warmer than NYC? No, but I can never get any DC friend time, so this weekend will surely be awesome. Besides, inauguration is finally over. I’m ready to talk about something else, but lord knows the rest of DC will still be in political mode. Do they ever get out of it?
What I’d really like to do is travel somewhere sunny and inspiring…like Tucson!
A year and two months ago, I made a spontaneous decision to move from DC to NYC, my dream city. I’d been living in the northern Virginia/DC area for nearly a year and a half, and while I loved the friendships and work connections I’d established there, I felt really out of place in the hyper-political atmosphere. A California native, DC lacked the quirky culture and character I’d grown up around, and every time I rode the metro back to my Ballston (or Falls Church) apartment, I felt 60 years old. Certainly not 22. I desired the kind of excitement my dad experienced when he resided in Manhattan and Brooklyn in the 70s. Throughout my childhood, he talked nonstop about NYC, and I vowed at a young age to follow in his footsteps and eventually try to make it there myself.
So in fall 2011, I applied for a prestigious job in NYC, landed it, packed up my things, and headed northeast. A lot has happened since then. And by that, I mean I arrogantly waltzed into New York with a glamorous full-time job and am currently bouncing around as restless, wannabe MPDGs do. When I’m not scrambling to freelance and maintain my tiny space on the Internets as a blogger/commentator/journalist/ranter, I’m nannying for a wide-eyed 4-year-old who makes me cookies in his spare time (because I’m just that awesome, duh). At first, I thought one of the perks of babysitting was being able to ditch my ugly corporate clothes and wear jeans five days a week. But as I told my buddy Crystal, I’m getting a little burned out on the insane state of things, and I want my boring clothes back.
Needing to get away from dreary, perpetually chaotic NYC, I ventured down to DC this weekend.
The weather was warmer, everyone seemed happy to see me, and more people than I ever could have expected asked to hang out. That’s how life was when I lived in the DC area: I despised the slow, unreliable public transit system and the sterile atmosphere, but was never short on loyal friends once I got settled into my routine. They’re not just good friends either — they’re relatively stable folks who show up to work on time and know how to have fun afterward. As I mentioned in a recent blog post, everyone in NYC (including me, to an extent) is a disaster. That’s the draw though, and I do feel a greater sense of belonging among the free-spirited city dwellers here. I didn’t pursue art the way I do now while I was still living in DC, and that’s why I’m here today. Not having to drive or wait more than five minutes for a subway is also convenient. When I’m ready to go home at the end of the night, I want to be in my bed within fifteen minutes. When I was in DC, this simply wasn’t possible. Just look how long I had to wait for the metro at SEVEN P.M. ON A SATURDAY:
Though energizing and thrilling, NYC can bring you down if you’re not careful. I really needed to see my DC friends, as I know I can count on most of them for anything. It was also a reminder that I’m not as alone as I sometimes think. Sure I’m always around people in NYC, but many would agree it can feel isolating during the winter. My NYC friends are terrific, but I just happen to have a larger circle in DC. Who knows? Maybe I’ll move back in 2014. Crazier things have happened in my life.
If you followed me in my former life, you know I devoted lots of Interwebs space to griping about D.C., which I found to be incredibly stuffy and uncultured. Though my views on the nation’s capital remain the same, I realized yesterday that I miss the area and should visit more often.
I woke up at 5:45 on Saturday morning to catch an Amtrak train, which arrived three and a half hours later, and I was relieved to show up to sunshine and humidity. Around noon, I taxied over to northern Virginia for my best college buddy’s baby shower, which gave the two of us a chance to catch up and laugh about school memories. It’s unusual to view the contrast between now and 2007, when we went out 3-4 nights a week, were attached at the hip, and served as each other’s wingman for Kappa Alpha parties. She graduated a year early, and before she moved back to D.C., we spent two days straight cleaning up her apartment. Back then, we did everything as a pair. We went on a KA date dash to Mexico together, did a cross country road trip from Tucson to D.C. in three days, rolled on the floor in stitches during a showing of “Twilight,” and spent a many afternoon at Starbucks on University Boulevard. When we didn’t feel like going nuts, we dined at Macaroni Grill or Olive Garden, as cooking simply wasn’t our thing. Our lives are different now, but we’re all around healthier. Her fiance is a stand-up guy and comes from a great family. Though I can’t say the same about myself, I shy away from idiots these days and have recently exercised some self-control and discipline to avoid toxic romantic relationships and trysts. My sleeping habits are slightly better than they were in college. We’re too old and tired to stay out until 4 a.m., but we didn’t have a whole lot going on sophomore year, and goofing off is only fun for so long.
Catching up with everyone was just what I needed, but I also appreciated having the chance to munch on real food. Here are some of the things I ate in D.C.:
As you may have gathered, I finished the day at Union Pub, which was shockingly empty for Cinco de Mayo. The few bar attendees were watching the Kentucky Derby, which was full of ladies in eye-catching hats. I had a mini-reunion with the tireless Andrew Staroska over drinks and ate some fired chicken tenders before heading back up to the northeast. Chatting with Andrew reminded me of the elements of D.C. I miss — running into people I know, everyone being interconnected, southern influence, excessive heat and humidity, small bars, cheap drink specials, etc. Of course, I could never move back to the land of suits and business buildings, so don’t expect me to live there again. Quick vacations are all I need, but I could definitely use more of them given the amount of friends I have in D.C.
Thankfully, my new roommate, Jen and I are tight. She brought me more Juicy Couture products on Friday!
Summer is almost here, and that means I get to have fun again. Expect fun stories from my end, especially tomorrow: I get to see David Sedaris again! Any suggestions on what I should ask him? Last time we met, I professed my writer’s love for him and the encounter was rather awkward, so I want to give less of a starstruck schoolgirl vibe this time around. We’ll see if I have it in me to contain my excitement at being in his presence.
Two weeks from today, I’ll be covering CPAC, the annual conservative political action conference, in Washington. My political views have changed immensely in recent years and months, especially since moving to New York City and observing the shameless, disgusting spending habits and greed of northeasterners, but I’m thrilled nonetheless to reunite with friends and former coworkers. What better place for that than a nerdfest?
CPAC is going to be particularly intriguing this year. For one, Palin has finally agreed to make an appearance. Occupy Wall Street will be a hot topic — and undoubtedly criticized. There’s also that whole upcoming election to take into account. Mitt Romney, who will likely be the GOP candidate, is signed on to speak at the event (it’s unlikely that he’ll announce he’s dropping out this time around, but if he does, conservatives are most definitely screwed). Herman Cain, Andrew Breitbart, Paul Ryan, Newt Gingrich, S.E. Cupp, Ann Coulter, and a bunch of other big name conservative commentators will be there. CPAC is a worthwhile experience no matter what your ideology, and I know I’ll come out of the experience with tons of funny stories and awesome new memories.
Anyway, I look forward to seeing all my friends again and covering the highly anticipated speeches. I’m sure a lot will go down at CPAC, too. I met some awesome people there last year and am glad we’ll have another chance to hang out. You couldn’t pay me to leave New York, but DC is home to some of the greatest friends I’ve ever had, and for that, I cannot totally poke fun at its bureaucratic vibes. Countless good memories were made here, some of which are best described in photos. Here is what I think of when DC comes to mind:
Though a nuisance, relocating whips you into shape. You’re constantly lifting large boxes and running around, leaving little time for meals. I experienced this phenomenon when I moved to DC last summer and am going through it at the moment.
This summer, I packed on a few pounds thanks to happiness (hunger for life, as they say) and countless outings with friends, but it’s fairly easy for me to lose weight, so this whole moving thing has had a visible affect on my petite frame. My pants, which used to be tight around my waist, fit loosely now. I always unintentionally slim down in fall and winter, but wish things didn’t happen this way. I’d rather be jubilant in summer than tiny and freezing during chilly seasons.
Regardless of the insanity of moving away and trying to lock down a new place to live, I’m having a ball. Earlier today, I took my giant duffel bag, laptop bag, and large purse on the train to Penn Station. As I waited to board, a random old guy approached me and said, “If you were an octopus, you could carry five more bags.” I certainly didn’t have enough arms for my mission, but I managed just fine without throwing out my back (we’ll see how I feel in the morning!).
At four in the afternoon, I arrived at the train station and seriously considered lugging my stuff a mile to the Chelsea area, where one of my buddies lives. As some of you already know, I avoid taxis at all costs. For one, I’m very do-it-yourself with regards to travel, and I would rather not burn money on needless car rides. I learned this afternoon that I must dispel my cabbie aversion in NYC, especially if I’m carrying big bags.
I had no choice but to hail a taxi today, and I flagged someone down within seconds. Laugh if you will, but I was proud of myself for pulling that off, especially since I’ve heard it’s impossible to get a taxi in busy NYC. The experience is actually much easier here than in DC, where cabbies often refuse to drive beyond district boundaries. Plus, cab drivers accept credit cards here. Who would have thought transportation could be such a breeze?
The cabbie dropped me off at Starbucks, which was flooded with people. Standing by the coffee cream and sugar counter, I worried I wouldn’t be able to get a table, let alone one close to an electrical outlet. Seconds later, a guy with a ponytail stood up from his seat and complained that Starbucks is too commercialized for New York. With that, I rushed over to his open spot, accidentally whacking some of the customers with my luggage in the process.
Before I went on a drama camp trip to NYC in high school, my father warned me about hostile, pushy, rude New Yorkers. A former concrete jungle cabbie himself, he said Californians and New Yorkers may as well be different species, as west coast natives are much friendlier, more laid-back, and happier. They’re more concerned about contentment than power and less likely to screw you over, he said. New Yorkers have a reputation for being abrasive and inherently cold, but I beg to differ. Most people respond well to kindness, so I try to be sweet everywhere I go. Wear a smile on your face and no one is going to scream at you for being a pain.
Today, I resembled a typical disheveled Starbucks hobo who brings too many bags to the coffee shop, but I wasn’t poorly received. I smiled at everyone in sight, and no one scoffed at me for taking up tons of space. I manned my turf for three hours before my friend got home from work, but check out my temporary Starbucks home. I held the fort for so long, I didn’t even get up to wash my hands or purchase food. By the time I ate something at the end of the night, I was shaking:
Thankfully, I made it to my buddy’s apartment this evening and am enjoying myself in the city, so hopefully I’ll have a much less dramatic train ride back to DC when I return in a few weeks to retrieve more of my belongings!
At my going-away happy hour last night, Evan joked that I can always occupy Wall Street in the event that I can’t find an apartment. Boyle, my trusty former colleague, said he’d never speak to me again if I were to join the protesters, so I’ll pass on that move, but at least I know it’s an option!
A little more than a year ago, I flew from San Francisco to Washington, DC with my Toshiba laptop and giant red suitcase in hand. I took a taxi to Falls Church, where I would be moving the following day, to stay in a Best Western for the night. Though I’d secured a place to live, my situation was unsettling at best. An unemployed new college graduate, I still believed that applying for jobs on Monster.com and JournalismJobs.com would actually get me somewhere, so I emailed my resume and cover letter to the listed DC area position openings that night.
Meanwhile, the hotel was poorly lit and without an elevator, so I yanked my large rolling bag up the stairs step by step until I got to the end of the hall. Once I reached the hotel room, I called my mom, who hadn’t stopped crying all day.
She wasn’t sad that I’d moved across the country, but experiencing guilt for forcing me to do it alone. A few weeks earlier, I’d asked her to accompany me on the trip, but she said she was too busy to offer a hand. This was uncharacteristic for my eager mom, so I assumed outside sources had advised her to take the tough love approach. Nevertheless, I was a little hurt, not because I was incapable of pulling off the move alone, but because I’d wanted someone around for moral support. When it came time for me to fly to DC, she felt awful about refusing to join me on the stressful endeavor.
Though a little nervous that evening, I knew I’d be fine without her assistance and could always call friends for some words of wisdom and pep talks. What I really needed, though, was some food, so I looked out the hotel window to see if there were any eateries nearby. Of course, there was nothing in sight, so I resorted to the hotel Mexican restaurant, Miguel’s.
My burrito was marginal at best, but I should have expected that. I’d known since 2008 that the east coast produces awful Mexican cuisine. I could barely stomach half the meal, which was making me nauseous, so I paid my bill and headed back to the lonesome room. Though exhausted from my early morning wake-up and cross country flight, I couldn’t sleep that night at all. I was nervous, uncertain, and worried about my choice to move to the DC area. What if I couldn’t find a job by December? Would I be able to afford my rent? What if I had to settle for something outside of journalism? Would I ever have the chance to write again?
A while back, one of my co-workers said her younger sister always makes last-minute, spontaneous choices that seem to work out no matter what. She waits until the last second to find a place to live or a job, but somehow she makes both of these things happen. In some ways, I’m a lot like my colleague’s sister. Everything comes together. When I graduated college with zero job prospects in May 2010, I felt as if my younger friends couldn’t fathom my decision to go to France and take a few months to figure out where I’d like to move. Some said my Europe trip was irresponsible, but I’m so glad I had the opportunity to stay in the south of France for a month and a half after graduation. I began working when I was ready and somehow landed an amazing first post-college job. As I’ve said a million times, I’ll never, ever be able to thank Tucker enough for taking a leap of faith and hiring me before Christmas 2010. No matter what critics say about him, he gives young, hard-working individuals jobs when most places wouldn’t even return the phone call of an entry-level applicant. I was beyond lucky to have been employed there right out of college. Anyone is lucky to be part of TheDC.
Considering the thrilling whirlwind of the past year, I’m not too concerned about tomorrow. With my laptop in one hand and red UA duffel bag in another, I’m boarding a train for New York City to start working at The L (L) office, get a feel for the city, and finalize my living situation. There are tons of uncertainties ahead and I’m nervous, but my mindset is much more relaxed than it was a year and several months ago when I landed in DC as a jobless, inexperienced, bright-eyed 22-year-old. I’m off to a much larger city and an amazing position, so there’s less to fear. I’ll produce great content consistently and continue bugging friends of friends about getting together for coffee, so exciting things are bound to happen.
This time around, I didn’t think twice about the fact that I’d be tackling this alone without my mom. It’s probably better that she stayed home last year during my DC relocation because now I’m calmer and more prepared to move to NYC alone.Of course, I’m not completely alone in any of this. My Brooklyn buddies Emily and Hillary have offered to take me under their wing in the event that I need some help, my colleagues have been 110 percent supportive and patient with my move, and many of my college and DC buddies have hooked me up with their NYC contacts. Besides, ten of my close DC friends showed up to my goodbye happy hour tonight, so I’m immeasurably grateful for those who care enough about my accomplishments to see me off the evening before I leave DC. Thanks to those who showed up tonight: Joey, Evan, Lisa, Alec, Boyle, Will, Derek, and Josh, many of whom joke about popping up in this blog. Well, you’re in here again, and you’re all here to stay <3Lisa and Laura!”
Thursday marked the end of my tenure as a Daily Caller online editor. As Matthew Boyle expected, I received tons of goodbye hugs and good wishes from everyone throughout the day.
In the morning, office manager Laura B. brought Krispy Kreme donuts, which were demolished by noon:
I had my usual weekly coffee trip with Matt Lewis and went out to lunch with Vince, with whom I worked most during my time at TheDC. In my last hours at the office, I made two slideshows: One dedicated to fall and another about redheads. I wish I’d written a big story of some sort to go out with a bang, but as Vince jokingly said, “She’s been comatose for two weeks.”
Truthfully, I’ve just been excited to start working at The Levo (League) and move to New York, so I guess you could compare me to a high school senior who has just been accepted to college. You know you’ll miss the familiarity of your home and nice classmates, but are looking forward to a new beginning elsewhere. Though the whole endeavor is nerve-wracking, I’m proud of my decision.
Earlier today, I read a powerful piece by my acquaintance Jessica Pearce Rotondi over at Huffington Post Women. Titled “The Upside of Being a Quitter”, the article explains why it’s okay to walk away from something that gives you a bad feeling in your stomach or is simply unbearable.
“The key to success, it seems, lies not in never quitting, but in knowing when to quit,” Rotondi writes, adding that there’s a stigma against quitting everything from jobs to weekly yoga classes. We’re told not to give up on love, our dreams, and our work, but should we suffer something we hate just for the sake of being able to say we pulled through it?
Of course, there are big losses associated with quitting, and you could suffer financially as a result. One woman was a sliver away from tying the knot with her fiance when it dawned on her that he was not the guy for her. Rotondi writes of the woman:
“Ultimately, she realized the material cost of plane tickets and printed invitations couldn’t outweigh the emotional costs of marrying someone wrong for her, and so she ‘quit’ before the wedding. She is now happily hitched to a man she adores and with whom she has raised four sons.”
Imagine if she’d “toughed it out” and sealed the deal with Mr. Wrong. Would the doomed-from-the-start union end in divorce or cause the woman a lifetime of misery? As they say, quit while you’re ahead.
Reading through Rotondi’s story, I couldn’t help but think of my own current situation. Since January, I’ve wanted to live in New York City, but when my D.C. lease went up in August, I decided to stay in the area for another year to get a little more experience at TheDC. It seemed much safer to remain where I had a steady job that I loved. But as summer came to an end and my new best buddy Nikki moved back to California, I realized there was little keeping me in D.C. besides my job. Regardless, I wanted to cover women’s issues, reside in a cosmopolitan city, be surrounded by art and creativity, and avoid politics, so I knew I may have made a mistake in choosing to stay in D.C. another year.
When I was presented with the incredible opportunity to relocate up to New York City and write for a chic website geared towards professional women, I seized it. Yes, I’ll have to move again and clear out my D.C. residence, but the cost and inconvenience of lugging my stuff up north are trivial compared to staying in the wrong place for at least one more year for the sake of security.
As Matt Lewis said yesterday, “The greatest way to guarantee a stress-free existence is to do nothing and avoid risks.” We both agreed that’s no way to live life.
After saying goodbye to everybody yesterday, I went out for drinks with colleagues Laura, Paul, Matt Boyle, Steven, and Peter (also known as my twin):
Can’t forget Steven, my trusty fellow online editor.
Saying goodbye to my colleagues was much harder than I anticipated. I cried after Vince and his wife Alison said bye, and was shocked to get not one but TWO hugs from eccentric, hysterical reporter Neil Munro, who scolded my friend Nikki this summer for being “too cheerful.” When I graduated college last May, I never expected to make such amazing friends in the labor force. I’m pleasantly surprised to have been proven wrong. Thanks for the memories, guys. <3
Yesterday, I attended First Friday, a monthly happy hour that attracts aspiring politicians, political journalists, Hill staffers, and wonks. I usually run into friends at First Friday, so I go every month regardless of the inevitable political discussions. Joey and I became friends through a University of Arizona political club as freshmen, but we don’t typically talk politics, so we jokingly whined about having to chat about the election that night.
Joey and I arrived at the gathering fairly late and soon learned that cups of Bud Light were free until 7:30 p.m. We pushed past the others to grab drinks and then retreated outside. I bumped into several friends, all of whom congratulated me on New York. After they wished me good luck, I asked if they had contacts in the area. By the end of the night, Joey made fun of me for posing this question countless times.
“God, you’re asking EVERYONE if they know people in New York,” he said, shaking his head.
Nevertheless, he offered to put me in touch with one of our UA classmates in Manhattan. Joey had a valid point, though. I’ll stop at nothing to meet people in the area. In many situations, I’m timid, but not when it comes to moving, job searching, and interviewing. Whenever I have to do those things, I channel my assertive mother, who will literally stand at a grocery store line for an hour and talk the employee through each of her purchased items if she thinks she’s been ripped off. When need be, I’m aggressive, and I’m taking that approach to my relocation.
Thankfully, I’ll be in NYC in a little more than a week. I’m staying with a friend for a while as I search for places to live. That brings me to my obvious request:
If you have any friends or contacts in the NYC area, please drop my name and email address their way. I’d love to get to know people up there and possibly find a roommate, so I beg of you to point me in the right direction. Thankfully my colleague Kells has been a tremendous help putting me in contact with his cousin, who has introduced me to her buddy in need of a roommate, so I feel like my pestering has been effective, albeit annoying.
So, if you know anyone in the area, help me out
As I get ready to move on to big and exciting things, I can’t help but think about how much I’ll miss my D.C. co-workers and friends. I had an awesome year at TheDC and will definitely miss my employees who watched me grow, stumble, succeed, take a plunge, and get back on my feet again.
First and foremost, I’m grateful for homepage editor Vince Coglianese, the ultimate calm in the storm and leader. He’s kind of like the parent who keeps his cool while everyone else panics. As I’ve said in previous entries, Vince oversees a lot in the office and is the go-to person for almost anything, so I’ll miss his guidance and patience. I’ve never seen Vince lose his cool, and I’m not sure what would happen if he were to break. We all kind of depend on and feed off his strength. He looks out for everyone, has comedic timing, is an expert headline writer, and an all around awesome person.
I’ll miss Steven and Paul, two other excellent editors who know how to handle stressful situations and keep everyone relaxed. I’ve known Steven almost a year and will never forget all the funny conversations we had about growing up in small towns and meeting the most unusual people imaginable. Crazy people flock to us, and neither of us could decide who had worse luck with random strangers.
Paul has a calming demeanor and never complains, and I foresee great things for him at TheDC and beyond. His patience and willingness to work beyond his capacity will serve him well in the future. Kells is quiet but observant and picks up on things many people don’t notice. Joe is another calming presence in a sea of chaos, and he has an uncanny way of knowing how to flesh out practically any story and connect with all staff members. Expect to see big things from Michelle, our new video reporter who tackles serious issues and is kind to everyone she meets (it’s because she’s from California!). I’m going to miss the quiet compassion of my “twin” Peter Tucci, who was born two days after me in the same southern California hospital. He looks nothing like his family members and bears a striking resemblance to me, so the ongoing office joke is that we’re siblings:
The veteran reporters — Alex, Jeff, Boyle, Will, Caroline, CJ, Alexis, and Neil— will keep producing exceptional content and making TV appearances. I’m really going to miss Boyle, who comes to the office every day bursting with enthusiasm, story ideas, and theories. Most of the time, he’s so passionate about his articles that he gets jittery. I’ve never met anyone like Boyle, so if you have yet to cross paths with him, you’re missing out on what many like to call “The Matthew Boyle Experience”.
Laura B. will continue running the world and managing the office, an overlooked but crucial task. Her job is much harder than I think anyone realizes, but she’s appreciated by all. She also has impeccable fashion sense, which I’d love to emulate. Once I lock down an apartment in New York and have my funds in order, my next priority will be to invest in a new wardrobe. Am I selling my soul to a shallow, materialistic industry? Perhaps, but I want to keep up with New Yorkers in pace and style.
Who could forget the wonderful professor Matt Lewis, my trustworthy mentor at both The Daily Caller and Townhall.com? I’ve known Matt since my lowly intern days in 2008, and even back then he wanted to know my story. For someone who frequently goes on TV, Matt is one of the most down-to-earth, approachable folks I’ve ever known. Interns, entry level employees, senior reporters, and execs flock to him. Matt often jokes that people frequently come to his office to chat and subsequently slow down his writing process. Of course he doesn’t mind this, and there’s a reason why people turn to him. He’s nice to everyone, and I think it’s because he made it on his own in journalism and television. He came from a small farm town in Maryland and made his way up through hard work, persistence, and drive. Matt is my hero and I’m really going to miss our bi-weekly coffee runs and chats. Of everyone at TheDC, I feel luckiest to have gotten to know Matt.
There’s also the famous, mysterious Jim Treacher, who is also the wittiest person in the world. He’s another excellent mentor at TheDC and I’m beyond lucky to have worked alongside him. He’s as approachable as they come, so please tweet or Facebook at him one of these days. You’ll be glad you did! Like Matt, Treacher is an open, kind-hearted public figure who takes an interest in those who have talent. He doesn’t care how popular, unpopular, conventionally normal, or weird you may be. He spots talent instantly and welcomes all. I’m going to miss his hysterical one-liners, but thankfully I’ll always have my daily dose of Jim Treacher on TheDCMorning!
Last but not least, I’ll miss my “Chocolate Buddy” Alex Treadway. For the past year, the two of us have wanted chocolate at the exact same time of day at least once a week. In the late afternoon, we raid the office kitchen and refrigerator for something sweet, but of course chocolate is hard to come by with a large staff of hungry workhorses.
After a while, we discovered our mutual adoration for afternoon chocolate and dubbed each other chocolate buddies. At around 3 p.m. once a week, he’d place an Oreo, Kit-Kat, or Hershey’s kiss on my desk to fulfill my insatiable chocolate craving. As a going-away gift, I gave him a bag of chocolates all for himself. Hopefully he’ll find a replacement chocolate companion upon my departure. I’ll be working with a team of young foodies, so I’m sure I’ll have no problem finding someone who shares my affinity for treats.
Like Boyle, I am overflowing with ideas for my new position at The Levo (League) and cannot wait to bring my zest for writing to the website’s swanky Manhattan office. I wholeheartedly love Caroline, Amanda, and Elizabeth’s mission — for the site to be a resource for young working women— and hope to spread the word on this amazing community.
To echo one of Boyle’s old Facebook status updates, “DAILY CALLER 4 LYFE!” I’m proud to be a lifelong fan of TheDC, but even more thrilled to start writing about topics that are closest to my heart and become somewhat of an ally, advocate, and support system for PYPs (pretty young professionals).
When I used to write weekly columns for my college newspaper, I tried to advise my fellow classmates on a broad range of issues. Around Halloween my senior year, I opined that expensive costumes are unnecessary and pleaded with readers to do the “holiday” on the cheap to cut costs during a recession. Though silly, the article started an interesting campus dialogue. That week, a girl approached me at Gentle Ben’s bar and said my column had convinced her to go to Goodwill for a costume rather than a pricey party store. Several other friends vowed to do the same. I remember feeling proud that I’d gotten through to someone with my writing.
This is exactly what I aim to do at Levo (League). If I can help even one person with an issue pertaining to PYPs, I’ll feel satisfied and accomplished. After all, I never forgot the way my Halloween piece resonated with a handful of girls. I’d love to do the same for PYPs in need of guidance.
With that, I coin the phrase, “LEVO (LEAGUE) 4 LYFE!”
A few weeks ago, I flew home to northern California to visit family. I’m not totally sure why I booked the last-minute plane ticket, and when a family member asked me, “What was the purpose of you coming home?” (as if everything, even trips, needs justification), I said, “I have no idea. I simply needed to get out of the nation’s capital.”
Though I had no answer for him, I had an awesome time at the house. One morning, my mom took me out to our favorite breakfast joint, The Heavenly Cafe, a secret roadside treasure in Scotts Valley. After ordering two waters and a dark roast coffee pot for the table, I complained to my mom that D.C. was a stifling environment in serious need of creativity and color.
“At least California has character,” I told her. “D.C. is the most sanitized place in the world. There’s no soul, no passion, no personality to that awful part of the country.”
“You said that already,” she replied. “Laura, I understand you’re not a fan of D.C., but I’m tired of hearing the same complaints every time we talk. If you want to be in a more interesting spot, move. Regardless, I am done with these complaints about D.C.”
Then she quoted her late father Lenny, a strong-willed New Jersey native.
“As my dad used to say, ‘shit or get off the pot’,” she said.
Most of you don’t know my mother, but she’s basically a saint. If you’re upset about something, she’ll sympathize with you to the extent necessary and provide you with solutions rather than criticism. She’s your classic Jewish mother: Every time she sees you, she worries you haven’t been eating enough, and she’ll do anything to keep you comfortable. My mom is as patient as they come, so her frank response caught me off guard.
“You’re right,” I said.
“If you want to move elsewhere, by all means do it, but stop recycling the same complaints for each conversation we have.”
In truth, my mom wasn’t the only one sick of my repeated gripes. I’d whined to people I barely knew, strangers in coffee shops, acquaintances, friends, everyone. Let me tell you, that’s no way to be popular! I’d grown tired of my own complaining, which was getting me nowhere, so I decided to make some changes in my life. Though I loved my co-workers and position at The Daily Caller, I knew the nation’s capital was no longer the right place for me to live, so I reached out to my NYC contacts about journalism jobs in the area.
A month earlier, I’d stumbled upon a phenomenal article about redheads on The Huffington Post and recognized the author as a friend of a friend. I recalled having a phone conversation with the author two years earlier, when I’d been a college junior and she was working for The Times. She’d given me journalism advice back then, so I contacted her again about New York City writing positions. Katie put me in touch with The Levo (League), a new online women’s site that aims to be a safe haven and go-to guide for young professional women, so I immediately got in touch with the lovely entrepreneurial gals behind that.
As soon as I saw the website, I fell in love with The Levo (League), which seems to be the only place on the Internet that specifically focuses on young professional females (PYPs, “pretty young professionals”) and booked a train to New York City for the interview. As I’ve said a million times, I’ve wanted to live in NYC ever since I graduated college. I came to DC instead because of all my contacts and friends there. As much as I love my social life and connections in DC, I’ve known this whole time that I should be in a more creative, cosmopolitan environment, and NYC is just that. To me, DC was a safe selection, and we all know the right risks make life worthwhile.
I traveled to NYC on Tuesday and got a feel for the city before heading up to the website’s office. The restaurants are great, passersby interesting, and atmosphere open and relaxing. I’m also quite fond of the L(L) team, so I knew the job was perfect for me. The site even published my first article, which explores the differences and disconnect between graduate students and PYPs.
That day, we got our hair and make-up done for L(L) photographs and one of the founders said, “Laura, this morning you hopped on a train, arrived in New York City, got a new writing job, and participated in a photoshoot.”
“Only in New York City could all of that happen in one day,” I said, beyond thrilled about working for L(L).
“Where do you live now?” asked the male photographer, who had just been informed that I’d accepted my position.
“The D.C. area.”
“Ew! That’s where I’m from, it sucks and there’s nothing to do,” he said.
Alas, we bonded over mutual D.C. hatred for another ten minutes. To be fair, I don’t actually hate D.C. There are plenty of exciting things to do in the area, but it’s no New York. I should have gone straight to New York after college, but I was afraid to go somewhere with no friends and few career contacts. Day by day, I regretted my choice and wondered what my dad, a former NYC cab driver and city dweller, would tell me to do. But when the L(L) opportunity came around, I informed Nikki, who had listened to me talk about NYC all summer. She was excited to hear I would finally make the move up there.
Here’s to new adventures, writing on topics about which I’m most passionate, helping PYPs navigate the professional world, phenomenal new colleagues, hopefully an awesome new wardrobe, and incredible experiences ahead.
This is a photo of me soon after I received the amazing news that I’d been invited to join L(L). My excitement is clear, and while I’m certainly nervous about relocating, I know this is the best decision I have ever made: