Falling flat

I’m not the type of person to go around blaming my problems on other people, but sometimes I have to wonder if my grandfather didn’t sort of give me the short end of the stick in terms of genes.

I mean, sure, I got the fiery Italian thing (although I guess I should give a little credit for that to my Irish grandmother..) and the big hands thing (for a brief mental image of my grandfather, imagine a 6’3” Italian man threatening you with “the Big Five” if you misbehave. That’s just good parenting.), but for all the helpful things he passed down, most of them are trumped by this single negative: flat feet.

Which lead us to today’s life lesson:

Life lesson #81: Flat feet do not bode well for walking miles through Manhattan.

Don’t get me wrong, exploring my favorite city is in my top 15 favorite things to do. But there are times when I find myself wishing (shamefully) that I owned a pair of crocs. (Not the super ugly kind, this kind.)

But alas, I do not own them. And at that price, I probably won’t for…well…ever.

For now I’ll just have to suck it up, soak my aching feet, and embrace the fact that as long as I’m walking in NYC, there’s really not all that much to complain about.


Early Risers

When you wake up in the morning, there’s a point of no return (to sleep).

This point is different for everyone. For some people, it’s the second they open their eyes. For others, it’s after they’ve gotten dressed. For others, it’s hours later, also known as “not having a point of no return to sleep.”

For me, it’s after I’ve put my contacts in. The terrible part about this is that I typically put my contacts in about a minute after waking up. (The curse of the rather blind.) Meaning, once I’m up, I’m generally up.

Even if I was stupid and accidentally set my alarm for way earlier than normal and now have a bunch of time to kill before work.

But it’s different for everyone.

Why I’m not a cat person

I think, in general (and I’m going to get backlash for saying this), men are fairly simple creatures to understand.

Sure, they go through the same, well, similar emotional turmoil women go through, and I’m sure there are plenty of examples of the male species who are deep and tortured and I couldn’t possibly begin to get. But for the most part, figuring out the dudes is not rocket science.

That being said, from time to time I encounter some factor of the masculine brain that simply baffles me. Case in point: the catcall.


The very nature of the term is absurd: How many cats come when they’re called? And I don’t want to generalize and say that there isn’t a woman alive who enjoys having a total stranger verbally accost her on the street, but for the most part, I think catcalling makes your average girl a little uncomfortable. And more importantly, it is literally the worst way to actually get with a girl.

Think about it. When was the last time a guy in a car honked at a pretty girl and she turned around and said, “I WANT TO GO HOME WITH YOU.”?

I’ve been thinking about this recently because on my new street in Brooklyn, though it’s rather adorable and very, very safe, it’s nearly impossible to get from my doorstep to the corner deli without getting catcalled.

Although according to my roommate Erica’s boyfriend Paul, I get the nicest catcalls of anyone he’s ever heard. Case in point: Last night the three of us went out for a drink and some random guy walking by told me I was beautiful. I ignored it (as virtually every girl would, thus my POINT), but Paul goes, “Wow. That was really…polite for a catcall.” I told him that was pretty standard. I typically get that or some comment on my eyes (which are around the size of your average cartoon deer’s). I guess that is preferable to something truly filthy.

But given the ineffective nature of the catcall, why has it stuck around so long? You’d think at some point men would reach an age where whistles and muttered “compliments” would seem inappropriate.

Not so, according to the man in his sixties who called me “beautiful lady” as I walked to the park this morning.

I know this sounds like I’m bragging, but a catcall is not something you brag about. The difference between a catcall and a legitimate compliment is that a compliment is something especially for another person. A catcall is something especially for anything with a vagina. Besides, you all know compliments just make me uncomfortable.

So, my catcalling fellow humans, what’s the point? Anyone have any insight? Or at the very least, a great catcall story to share?

IKEA (n.) Swedish for “test of wills”

Life lesson #66: IKEA is not for wimps.

In fact, nothing about moving would serve the faint of heart. Whether you’re shlepping 90-pound boxes up three flights of stairs or hoping desperately that the new sofa you just bought will stay securely tied to the roof of your car as you coast along a Brooklyn freeway, when it comes to moving, pantywaists need not apply.

Which is why it’s so fortunate that I am a moving warrior.

Today was my first trip to an IKEA. I mean, I was familiar with the custom: giant warehouse, loads of inexpensive furniture, Swedish sensibility, etc. What I didn’t know is that IKEA is not just a store. It’s an experience.

When you go to IKEA, you’re not just going to walk away with a cheap futon. Oh no, it’s a place where you can find yourself the proud consumer of a streamlined living room and a streamlined view of the world. The IKEA experience includes dining on delacacies in the cafeteria (including Swedish meatballs and a free breakfast during the Memorial Day Weekend Sale!!!) and learning why clearing your own tray is not only better for the wait staff, but better for the world in general.

The only real problem with IKEA is that you want everything. Literally.

Emma and I had roughly two hours to scour the gigantic kingdom for a couch, coffee table, bookshelves and a dresser—the feat was almost too much, even with my loyal parents by our sides. The real challenge, though, turned out to be getting our Swedish treasures home. Fortunately, my dad is a wizard with twine, and we got everything home without a hitch. (Again, literally. We’d already returned the U-Haul trailer we’d rented to get the rest of my crap to New York.)

The only thing left to do was somehow put everything together. Emma and I conquered these bookshelves: (sorry they’re sideways)


But the real victory, my magnum opus, is this:


Go ahead, you can ooh and ah. I’m impressed with me, too.

I BUILT that thing with my BARE HANDS. I don’t know if you’re as excited as I am, but the point is that Ty Pennington better watch his back.

Life Lesson #38: The Most Shameless of Self-Promotions

Life lesson #38: Shameless self-promotion is still a little shameful. (Hey kids! Check out justinelorelleblanchard.com!) See?

I am, in general, not a braggart. I hate cover letters because they make you explain why you’re the most awesome applicant. I was hesitant about starting a blog because who the hell cares what I think? I’m bad at accepting compliments; I always tack something onto my “thanks” that undercuts why I’m deserving of compliment. (“Oh this dress? Oh thanks! It was, like, a dollar at Target.”)

The problem is, I’m in an industry where simply doing good work and hoping someone notices just doesn’t cut it. You have to sell yourself, and you have to sell hard.

If you clicked on the link in the life lesson above, you can see where this is going.

My school is on this kick of getting all the students to buy their domain name and create a site to post their résumés, clips, etc. And so, being a good little student, that’s what I did. Gag.

It’s not that I’m not proud of the site. In some ways, I am. I mean, it looks ok. When you click on stuff, it generally takes you where I intended it to. It’s more the idea of “look at me! look at me!” that I’m averse to. But hey, a starving journalist’s gotta do what a starving journalist’s gotta do.

So who wants to hire me?

Death (effect) and Taxes (cause)

You wanna know something fun? It’s possible to be as poor as you’ve ever been the EXACT SAME YEAR you make more money than you ever have before. Isn’t that kooky*?

It turns out that if your summer internship doesn’t take out money for taxes, and no one notices until March 24th, you just have to write a giant check to the IRS. And there’s really nothing I love more than giving people the money I earned.

Lately it seems like everything in my life revolves around how much money I have (or don’t have). The economy has become like the new global warming—the ultimate scapegoat.

Person A: Why didn’t you do the dishes?

Person B: Dude, in THIS economy?

But I really am trying to stay optimistic. I mean, there’s a pretty good chance I’m going to have an internship this summer that will pay me $20 a day! Ka-Ching! (That’s a cash register noise…it’s better in person. Don’t believe me? My roommate Emma will vouch that I’m excellent at sound impressions.)

And, I mean, any DAY now things are going to start picking up. Right? RIGHT?

*effed up

Emo-tional Day

I’m not a big crier. I swear. I mean sure, I get choked up when a little kid starts talking about miracles or their older brother or how much they love their kitten, and I wept like someone had killed MY boyfriend at the end of West Side Story. But who didn’t? (Besides robots. Because you would have to be INHUMAN not to cry at the end of that movie.)

But despite my will of steel, I always find myself practically hysterical when I get frustrated or supremely disappointed. Which happened today. In public. And even though I ran away from the problem and drove the twenty minutes home, I was STILL sobbing, which led to making my emotion-phobe roommate incredibly uncomfortable. (Although she hid it well for my benefit. Gotta love her.)

The point is, I hate people seeing me cry. I am NOT a pretty crier. You know what I mean: I’m one of those mascara-running, snot-dribbling types. Plus, I work pretty hard on this invincible exterior, and I don’t like having the illusion spoiled by sniffly tears. So I googled ways to keep yourself from crying. Here’s what I found, in order of helpful-ness:

Least helpful: Calm down by taking slow, deep breaths.

Oh really? Oh, I should probably just get it together then, huh? Thanks for that world-rocking advice. Thanks a lot.

Maybe helpful: Shift your jaw forward and press your tongue to the roof of your mouth.

The theory is that by making a face not compatibly with crying, you will confuse yourself enough to hold off the waterworks. Sounds plausible, but with my luck I’ll just end up an uglier crier.

Most likely to be helpful: Anticipate situations where you might cry and visualize yourself dealing with them.

Practice makes perfect, right? Usually I cry when expected to explain myself (yeah, SO helpful), so it makes sense that mentally preparing would help me keep it together.

Eventually, though, everyone needs to have a good cry now and then. I’d just prefer to have mine while in my pajamas with the Jets and the Sharks.