My Climate Story: Snow Angels


I spent most of my childhood in a wondrous place — a mostly desolate, and largely untouched, part of Northern Vermont. I remember trudging through snow that reached as high as my rib cage, trying to maintain my balance as I sported a puffy 90s neon snowsuit. Each attempt to catch my breath resulted in a deep, chesty cough. Some days the temperatures were 20 degrees below zero. The frigid air burned my throat and lungs, but I had an intense and amorous appreciation for Mother Nature and her limitless power and strength. Winter was my dad’s favorite season. It was mine too. 

My dad was the one who taught me how to snowboard and he watched me fall, and get back up again, for hours. He let me ride on the back of his snowmobile as we ventured through the many wooded trails, weaving through the pine trees among the mountains. He brought me along when he went ice fishing on the thickly frozen lake. We built snowmen and snow forts and made snow angels. I owe my love for nature to him. We are connected by our love for this world. Winter was my dad’s favorite season. It was mine too. 

Just before I turned 17, my dad passed away. I didn’t spend my winters up in Vermont anymore. He was the one who brought our trips to life. He was what made them so special. Surely I couldn’t handle a season as strong and powerful as a Northern Vermont winter on my own. Winter was my Dad’s favorite season. It was mine too. 

I turn 26 in a few months and a lot has changed since I was a child. Winters don’t feel the same anymore, no matter where I go. Not just because my dad is gone, but because the planet is changing. I don’t have to trudge through the snow anymore because there is hardly any snow to trudge through. My throat and lungs don’t burn from the cold anymore because temperatures hardly fall below zero. I still have an intense and amorous appreciation for Mother Nature, but her strength is diminishing with each passing day. 

I’ve recently made it my mission, my life’s work, to protect the world that once meant the world to me. And not just for me, but for all the little girls who just want to make snow angels with their dads. To be as lucky as I once was. My dad and I, we are connected by our love for this world. I feel his presence in every gust of wind and I see him in every silent snowfall. He remains here with me, alive, in each of these wondrous moments. Winter was my dad’s favorite season. It is mine too. 

100 Concerts And Counting: The Shows & Songs That Shaped Me

Music, Personal, Uncategorized

I’ve been working hard to beat the winter blues with loads of indie, rock, and EDM shows. My calendar is a true testament to the many late nights and pulled muscles I’ve endured these past few weeks. I haven’t gotten much sleep, but all of this got me thinking, how many shows have I actually seen and heard in this lifetime? (And dang, how much money have I spent?) Music is special to just about everyone, but I never quite realized how much it meant to me until I sat down and reflected on the past 11 years.

As the artist CSS once so repetitively stated, music is my dead end, music is my imaginary friend. The great thing about music is it can hold you when you need to cry, it can be your punching bag, and it can set your soul on fire. It knows you better than you know yourself and can reveal more “ah-ha” moments than your therapist ever could. Music is everything.

In 2008, I saw Avril Lavigne perform at the Mohegan Sun Arena. I was the ripe age of 14 and this was the first time I stepped foot inside a venue. I was instantly hooked. There was something deeply intimate and special about being at a live show. From the bass reverberating up through my spine to the hot, sweaty mess of a pit I shared with several hundred strangers, every set served as a baptism. I had found my religion, my faith.

In an effort to fully appreciate all that music has done for me, I’ve compiled a list of every concert I can remember attending (mostly in order). Each one providing me with a special, vivid memory that I continue to cherish. With each line item, I’ve also listed my favorite song, in case you feel like listening.

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DO THE D.A.N.C.E! (Shows From 2008 – 2019) 

  1. Avril Lavigne — Everything Back But You
  2. Jonas Brothers — A Little Bit Longer
  3. Demi Lovato — Don’t Forget/ Tell Me You Love Me
  4. Hannah Montana (lol) — We Got The Party
  5. Justice — D.A.N.C.E/ We Are Your Friends
  6. Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! — We R Who We R
  7. Our Last Night — Humble
  8. Woe Is Me — N/A
  9. William Control — N/A
  10. Capture The Crown — N/A
  11. Blood On The Dance Floor — Mosh & Roll !
  12. Jeffree Star — Legs Up
  13. Orgy — Blue Monday
  14. 3OH!3 — PUNKB*TCH
  15. Big Chocolate — Blue Milk
  16. Crizzly — FRL
  17. Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2x) — Countdown
  18. Keys N Krates — Dum Dee Dum
  19. Mac Miller (4x) — Frick Park Market
  20. Flume — Holdin’ On
  21. ODESZA (2x) — Say My Name/ Sun Models
  22. Panic! At The Disco (2x) — Build God, Then We’ll Talk
  23. twenty one pilots (4x) — Ruby/ Migraine
  24. Best Ex — Lonely Life
  25. Bonsai Trees (4x) — Lift Off
  26. Baggage — Flint
  27. Lorde — Green Light
  28. Run The Jewels — Jeopardy
  29. The 1975 — Chocolate
  30. Flo Rida — Right Round
  31. TLC — Creep
  32. Matt & Kim (2x) — I’ll Take Us Home
  33. Janelle Monae — Django Jane
  34. Kesha — Backstabber
  35. Fetty Wap — My Way
  36. X Ambassadors (2x) — Unsteady
  37. Outkast — Hey Ya!
  38. Imagine Dragons — Gold
  39. Pretty Lights — One Day They’ll Know
  40. Arctic Monkeys — Do I Wanna Know?
  41. Weezer — Beverly Hills
  42. A-Trak — Heads Will Roll Remix
  43. Girl Talk (2x) — Once Again
  44. Bad Things — Anybody
  45. Grouplove — Tongue Tied
  46. Vance Joy — Riptide
  47. Local Natives — Wide Eyes
  48. Jake Bugg — Two Fingers
  49. Iron & Wine — Boy With A Coin
  50. Magic Man — Paris
  51. MisterWives — Our Own House
  52. Cage The Elephant (2x) — Come A Little Closer
  53. Hozier — Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene
  54. Elle King (2x) — Shame
  55. James Bay — Hold Back The River
  56. Allies — Laid Back
  57. Kanye West — That Part
  58. Chance The Rapper — Juice/ Blessings
  59. Chromeo — Sexy Socialite
  60. Zhu — Faded
  61. Grimes — Kill V. Maim
  62. Metric — Monster Hospital Remix
  63. Robert Delong (5x) — Happy/ Jealousy
  64. World’s Fair — 96 Knicks
  65. J. Cole — She Knows
  66. Lolawolf — Bitch
  67. Action Bronson — Actin Crazy
  68. Purity Ring — Ungirthed
  69. Thundercat — Them Changes
  70. M83 — Midnight City
  71. MGMT — The Handshake
  72. Tyler, The Creator — Tina/ Sandwiches
  73. (2x) — Nights With You
  74. The XX — Crystalised
  75. Fleet Foxes –– Mykonos
  76. The Killers — When You Were Young
  77. Beck — Loser
  78. Miike Snow — Paddling Out
  79. Years & Years — King
  80. Death Grips — No Love
  81. Justin Timberlake — My Love
  82. Dave Matthews Band — Ants Marching
  83. John Mayer — My Stupid Mouth
  84. AWOLNATION — Sail
  85. Max Frost — Adderall
  86. Same Setton — Wine
  87. Betty Who — Human Touch
  88. Two Feet — I Feel Like I’m Drowning
  89. Phony Ppl — Before You Get A Boyfriend

(Spotify playlist HERE!)

Festivals include: Warped Tour 2013, Firefly 2014, Meadows 2016, Governor’s Ball 2016, Panorama 2017, Panorama 2018.

With 89 first-time shows and 22 repeat shows, I’ve had about 111 opportunities to damage my eardrums, and let’s be honest, I probably have. But it was all worth it. I’m so grateful for the artists who bring me to another realm, where nothing gets between me and my bass. This music will live on forever, no matter what, which reminds me…

Happy Belated Birthday, Mac Miller. We love and miss you dearly. You surely made this world a better place.

The Case For Leaving Your Phone Alone


Every year, I plan an annual friends weekend at our camp in Vermont. We spend our days swimming at the lake, roasting s’mores over a crackling fire, hiking in the woods, and playing old board and card games. It’s my favorite part of every summer and I only have one rule for those who wish to join me:

Don’t touch your phone.

This rule has increased in rigidity over the years, beginning as a friendly suggestion and evolving into a hard requirement. It sounds terribly anal of me, but let me explain with a simple math equation:

Question: If six friends are together at the lake house and all six of them are on their phones, exactly how many friends are having fun?

Answer: Literally none of them.

Now, I’m not some overbearing Luddite who curses at the sight of a smartphone, but there’s a time and a place. I use my phone often too, but typically when I really need it or for short periods of time when I’m alone. I’m not any kind of perfectionist when it comes to this, but I do regularly put in the effort to improve. Phones are wonderful pieces of technology that offer endless benefits to human beings, but they’re also inhibiting our ability to socialize, to engage, to live in the present.

phone gif

It’s easy to get glued to our phones. In fact, we become truly addicted to the use of technology through those little hits of dopamine that shoot to the brain. We want so badly to scroll through new Tweets and view every single story on Snapchat because it just feels good to us. But these feelings are fleeting and more often than not, we’re left feeling unfulfilled and depressed that we’re not traveling around the world with our dogs or eating that cool, new rainbow waffle that everyone’s ranting about.

I’m not trying to drive this point into the ground, but I urge you to think about your life. Think about the moments that have brought you the most joy. Think about your current relationships and how you spend time with the people you love. Are you satisfied? Or are you engaging in half-baked conversation with glazed-over screen time eyes?

If you care more about the connection of the wifi than the connection you’re building with the friend sitting next to you, it’s time to put in a little bit of effort and do better. It doesn’t feel nice to be the person on the receiving end of a dead conversation. Some suggestions? Put your phone away when you’re out at dinner. Strike up new kinds of conversation to avoid awkward lulls. Keep your phone away from your bed at night. Fill your time with more personally enhancing activities. The list goes on and on.

Relationships are like flowers, if you don’t constantly water them, they’ll die. Your phone will always be there. Put that thing on silent and go live your life.

The Story Behind The Rooster On My Back


People often point out my tattoo and ask why I got it. Typically, I respond with a mechanic, “It’s for my dad.” It’s definitely not the descriptive answer they were hoping for, but in reality, I’m sparing them the lengthy and emotional response, which often leads to discomfort. The discomfort isn’t on my part, because I have no problem sharing my story, but to some, it can be a little too much to handle, especially in a casual conversation.

So in short:

“Hey, cool tattoo! What’s it for?”
“It’s for my dad.”

But since today is Father’s Day, I figured now might be the best time to revisit the origins of my tattoo. I really do have a strong connection to it and maybe some of you might like to know why.

My tattoo is of a black and white rooster. He’s gearing up to fight, positioned in a strong stance. My dad was a fighter. He was tough and strong, the strongest person I had ever known – and will ever know. His Chinese zodiac sign is also the rooster. He would have been 48 this year. Most importantly though, one of my dad’s favorite songs was Rooster, by Alice In Chains. I still listen to it often and somehow find peace and comfort within its dismal lyrics. Simple enough, right? The song is called Rooster and I got a rooster on my back. The story doesn’t stop there though.


My dad owned a Ford F550 dump truck. (I named it Sheila, and he named it Brutus.) That truck was his baby, the son he never had. It was the first vehicle I ever learned to drive, which meant I could pretty much drive anything after that. When my dad passed away, Sheila/Brutus remained a vital piece of my dad’s presence and served as a reminder of him constantly. The first time I drove the truck after his passing, I was a mess. Sobbing uncontrollably, I was wiping pools of tears from my eyes just so I could see the road ahead of me. I parked the truck and sat there, talking to myself, my dad, the universe, really. I just needed someone to be there. Soon after, I pulled myself together, put my big girl pants back on, and turned on the radio. The song that was playing? Rooster.

We eventually sold the truck, but just before that, I took it out one last time. When the truck came to its final stop in my driveway, I remembered that song. Again, I turned on the radio and heard Layne Staley belting midway through the chorus. Maybe it was a coincidence, but maybe it was something more. I chose to see those unique moments as signs. Similar to what the song says, “No, he ain’t gonna die.” My dad may not be with us anymore, but he’s still very much alive – just not in the physical sense.

People see my tattoo and sometimes think it’s a bit too big or a bit too masculine. They say it isn’t really “me.” Truthfully though, that tattoo isn’t for me. It’s a representation of my dad and how I want to remember him – as the tough, but loving guy who’s always watching my back.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy. I love and miss you dearly.



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To my dad, the other dads who were taken too soon, and the men and women who stepped up to the plate when they were needed – thank you so very much. You are to be celebrated today and always.

International Women’s Day: A Personal Timeline of Gender Inequality


women4It’s International Women’s Day today and there is so much to celebrate. We’ve come a long way. Still, I’d like to focus for a bit on the struggles women still continue to face in everyday life. In my 22 years of living, I have encountered countless situations of gender inequality. If I asked any woman on the street to recount her experiences, I’m sure she would come up with a number of examples as well. On this day, I’d like to share a few personal stories to illustrate my point.

Age 8: My parents thought it would be a good idea for me to take up karate. They understood the challenges of the world and felt it necessary to teach me strength, both physically and mentally. I grew to love karate and practiced the art regularly. I wanted to continue succeeding, so I asked my instructor if I could become a part of the regular sparring matches that took place in our studio. He was hesitant. In his eyes, I was too young, too weak, too feminine. How could he allow his female pupil to get trampled by the boys? Would it be acceptable for him to let a boy hurt me? I didn’t possess these fears. I possessed the will to be the best of my class and I would stop at nothing to achieve that title.

With thorough convincing, my instructor allowed me to spar. Turns out, I was pretty good. He watched over me much of the time to ensure I didn’t take too many hits, but I was always fine. As I continued to practice, I became stronger and more nimble on my feet. I began to beat all the boys in my class and more often than not, I left them crying. My instructor named me Fireball and would continue to call me as such for the remainder of my time there. About a year later, it was clear I was excelling past the level of my fellow students. I would be no longer allowed to spar for the reason of being too good. Ironic, right? I didn’t want to quit though, so my instructor and I reached an agreement: I could spar, but only with the boys in higher age ranks. Picture a nine year old girl sparring with a 15 year old boy. It’s an almost comical illustration. Still, I held my own and excelled. I distinctly remember losing badly once in my time at the studio. I got kicked in the stomach so hard I couldn’t breath and I involuntarily threw up from the pain. Considering all of the sparring matches I had been a part of, I was pretty pleased with my success rate. When I left the studio for good, my instructor told me I was the best student he had ever had. This was only the case because I fought hard to prove myself.

Age 14: It was time for me to find a job. Arguably, I was a bit young, but there were an assortment of under-the-table farmhand positions up for grabs in my rural hometown. I was hired to work on a tobacco farm and I couldn’t have been more excited. At that time, I was one of three girls. Our jobs were to hang the tobacco leaves on the backs of the trailers. The boys had different tasks. They went out to chop the leaves with hatchets, drive the tractors and somehow find the time to help us with our simple, menial assignment. I asked the boys if I could join them, but the answer was always no. Girls couldn’t chop. They weren’t as fast, as clean to cut, etc. They just weren’t built the same. I finally took my inquiry to my boss and challenged him.

“If I can keep up with the boys while chopping lines, can I go out with them?”

He hesitated, but had no reason to say no. Besides, he knew I wouldn’t keep up. It was impossible. My boss challenged me to chop three lines of tobacco. If I could do well and keep up with the rest of the pack, one of the hatchets from the big, white bucket would become mine. I took to the row and began chopping. Three rows later, I had done it. My boss was shocked, but he kept up to his end of the deal. After that, no one ever saw me without a hatchet. I was aptly named Crazy Chop due to my fierce swing. I loved that nickname. We would often race and by mid season, I would always come in first. One summer later, I was driving the tractors before most boys were ever even asked. I was only 15 at this time, but rural America plays by different rules. Again, I had become the favorite and it was not by luck or chance.

Age 17: I found myself working inside a theme park. I had been there about a year at this point and was ready to expand my skill set. I wanted to become a drummer. When I announced this, I was met with a few quizzical looks. Girls didn’t drum. In fact, to my knowledge, there had only ever been one girl drummer and no one spoke very highly of her. I didn’t care. I was going to drum. I knew I was disadvantaged in more ways than one. I couldn’t read music to save my life and auditions were only two weeks away. My good friend Ben met up with me a number of times to help me prepare. I am still so grateful for him. In all honesty, my audition wasn’t great, but I gave it all I had. Two weeks later, my supervisor let me know that I was selected, but would be watched under great scrutiny. In other words, if I could keep up, I could perform. I was overjoyed. To make things even better, I found out another girl was selected as well. Two girl drummers. How incredible. I practiced my pieces every single day. I banged on trash cans, couches, anything I could find. I memorized everything without ever glancing over a music sheet. I owe so much to my supervisors and fellow team members for allowing me a chance. To this day, I still remember every beat and pattern, but boy, did I work for it.

Age 19: College was quickly approaching and I needed to save up. I took up a second job at a restaurant and began as a hostess. The job was fun, but I wanted more hours. My manager explained that if I could learn to bus tables, he would schedule me. I eagerly shadowed my coworkers who of course, were all men. Some of them encouraged my willingness to learn. Others laughed right in my face. “What makes you think you can bus? Can you even pick up a table? What about a bucket of ice?” I was coerced into proving myself, yet again, by displaying acts of strength. I could carry the bucket of ice and with help, I could lift the table. Even still, some of the men were not convinced. I was a hostess. I should stay one. I never did end up busing tables, not because I was deterred, but because new opportunities presented themselves.

Age 22: Here we are. Living in the present. I am now 22 years old and I’ve had six internships. Internships mean having interviews, most often conducted by phone. More often than not after saying hello, I was greeted back with, “Oh, so you’re a girl.” Most people assumed my gender as my name is considered unisex. This sometimes makes me wonder if I get an advantage out of recruiters assuming my gender as male. I probably do.

The field of public relations is typically female dominated, which can be refreshing in many ways. However, I can’t tell you how often some of the women (and few men) complain about it. They often express the feeling that we have too many women in one place and jump at the chance to hire more men. Yes, you’re reading that correctly. It boggles my mind too. Now I will soon be faced with new challenges. I plan to enter a field that is a bit more male dominated. I will be competing at higher levels and displaying more intensive skills. My fight for gender equality will only become more difficult from this point on.

I share these somewhat negative experiences to prove that change, no matter how small, is possible. I have become the best version of myself through facing various forms of gender inequality. I am stronger and smarter than I would have been if left unchallenged. Women can fight back and they can succeed. It certainly isn’t easy and there is still a great deal of work to do, but we must press on. The highest glass ceiling still has not been shattered, but I am convinced that one day, we will all have the same view of the stars. So many incredible women have paved the way for us and it is our turn to make progress for ourselves and future generations. Let International Women’s Day bring you a sense of strength and empowerment. Continue to fight the good fight. Show everyone who’s boss.

woman 3

“Remember the dignity of your womanhood. Do not appeal, do not beg, do not grovel. Take courage, join hands, stand besides us, fight with us.” Christabel Pankhurst


The Year of the Rooster and the Weekend of the Pizza Butt Tattoo


Senior year… it’s a lot. It’s a time where anyone can become overwhelmed by anxiety-inducing thoughts of job hunting, apartment searching, homework, capstone projects, internships, extracurricular activities, and everything else that could possibly be going on. Those are the things I could go on about forever, but I don’t want to do that. Instead, I’d like to talk about my weekend, which resulted in a rejuvenated mental space and significant drop in blood pressure.  

I owe this weekend to my best friend from home, who graciously drove through the insidious traffic of I-95 just to see me. We’ve known each other for about six years now and while I’d say I know most every detail about him, I also know to expect the unexpected when it comes to our plans together.

The weekend began with a night out with friends. I corralled some of my favorite people and we spent the evening playing Jenga, Battle of the Sexes, Spoons and a variety of card games. It was a small gathering with a limited itinerary, but I loved every second of it. I wasn’t focusing my attention on strategically planning one thing from the next, which meant I could focus on what really mattered – my friends.

After a late night of socializing (and asserting my dominance as Spoons Champion,) my friend and I woke up questioning what the day had in store. Admittedly, I was a bit anxious not having a solidified plan by 1pm, but I did my best to roll with the punches. “Maybe I’ll get a tattoo,” he said. I looked at him with puzzled eyes, waiting for what would come out of his mouth next. “Maybe I’ll get a pizza slice… on my butt.” By that time, I didn’t really know where to start with my questioning or if I should even bother trying to understand at all, so again, I rolled with the punches and we set out for another spontaneous day. He did end up getting the tattoo and for a while I thought he was crazy. It taught me something though. Everyone’s definition of happiness is different and no two people live the same life. He came to New York for an experience and boy, did he get one. A permanent one. On his butt. Still, I applaud him for living so freely.

I woke up the next day feeling a little more relaxed, simply because there was one solid plan in the day’s foundation. If you can’t tell by now, I’m a bit eccentric with time and schedules and the desire to know what’s going to happen at any given second of the day. (I’m working on it, truly I am – and this blog post is a testament to that.) We took a train into the city around noon and showed our support at the “Not My Presidents’ Day” rally at Trump Tower. Of course, we didn’t make signs, because even that was deemed too organized for my friend, so we brought nothing but our fists and voices. It was an inspiring event that I could reminisce about for hours, but I’ll save that for another post. After leaving the rally, the rest of our day was free. We walked around aimlessly through Central Park and in any direction we felt would elicit interest. In total, we walked more than 90 blocks, which worked well for my friend because he was too sore to sit much anyway.

Without realizing it, this spontaneous, unplanned weekend gave attention to most all of the big rocks in my life. By big rocks, I mean the most important facets of my life, the facets that sadly sometimes get ignored.

I spent time with some of the most important people in my life. I enjoyed nature both on Long Island and in New York City. I protested for a cause that feels significant to me. I watched some random dude shave my best friend’s butt. I took a deep breath and relaxed. On any given day, I try to organize my rocks in a structured, effective way, but rarely do they get the attention they deserve. When I allowed myself to go with the flow and enjoy the moment, I found the things I really care about found me in almost magnetic force. It was a really good weekend and made me appreciate so much of what I have in my life. I may not be getting a new tattoo anytime soon, but I definitely hope to live a little more freely. I challenge you all to do the same.

Image result for cartoon pizza slice with glasses

(P.S. This was the tattoo inspo, which was quite literally found on Google Images an hour before the appointment.)

Behind the Curtains of the First Presidential Debate

Blog, Uncategorized

On September 26, 2016, Hofstra University had the privilege of hosting a third consecutive presidential debate. With just two months to prepare, the university had a lot to do and very little time to do it. That’s where I came in. I was one of the lucky 300 students chosen to assist in this monumental, historic event. I was allowed to see both sides of the coin, something very few people could see. Most watched the debate on their couches at home, thinking little of what went on to make it all happen. I had the ability to be apart of the action, then watch it all unfold on screen.