Saturday, December 31, 2011

Who is that woman I see...staring back at me?

A puddle, a mirror, and glass windows at night all have one thing in common: When you look into them, you see
yourself…your physical self at least. When you look into a cappuccino, you see foam. But not this morning. This morning when I looked into my final cappuccino of 2011, I saw a reflection of memories and moments of 365 days of laughter, of tears, of smiles, of joys, of sadness—365 days of life—365 days of Me.

Many people will say that you are a man or a woman when you hit 18—that you have suddenly gone from being a teenager to a well-mannered adult who should be treated like one. Girls and boys are now used as terms to describe children, and man and woman are words that now describe you or your friend.

But I don’t think I really considered myself grown up—I don’t think I really considered the reflection I saw to be a woman—as opposed to a girl—until this year—until I really felt as though I grew up.

Over the course of the year, I made a grown-up decision to return to the states as my wallet grew thinner and my ambition expanded. I beat bouts of anxiety and downward excitement with conversation and coffee. I defeated dismal days of dread with an optimistic outlook. And I challenged myself beyond belief.

I made family a priority.

I kept my best friends--the best friends in the entire world.

I made new friends.

I found a family of comradery in a world full of comedy.

I discovered that the city is lonely til you reach out and make it not so lonely.

I learned that people here will support you as you unconditionally support them, and that giving a lot, means receiving a lot more.

I forged a friendship with several inspirational mentors who I never struggled to let criticize and push me towards my goals and my dreams.

I released those from my life that were creating a negative film over my perspectives and I made my own decisions.

I reconnected with those that I had lost touch with days, months, years ago; who once were a large part of my life, but had since been lost due to distance and time.

I kept in touch with those that I left just over a year ago to tackle my trembling fear that I would never return to Italy.

I let people in.

And I let me…know me. I smiled. I laughed. I cried. I joked. I stumbled. I stood.

And in the foam of this beautiful and delightful fragile cappuccino…I reflect. And I think “Looking pretty good Libs…Looking pretty great.”

Here’s to 2011…and Here’s to 2012—a year of excitement.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

"Let your heart be light; From now on, our troubles will be out of sight"

A reindeer stares a young girl in the face, and snow falls all around, as she shakes the globe with glee.

A relative jumps up and down in celebration.

She giggles. And then she claps "More. More. More"

The sound of a child on Christmas morning may be the ultimate sound to wake up to after Santa has eaten his cookies and drank his milk; after all the stockings have been hung; the presents left beneath the tree. It is certainly the most precious gift to have when you open your eyes and realize the magic still exists, that not all cheer has been lost--that tradition has carried on, and that it will be a merry little (or big family) Christmas after all--a merry little--or big life after all.

I don't have a child. But I have a beautiful, wonderful, brilliant, adorable young niece who calls me Bibby. She rips the paper on each gift, just a little, that isn't hers, and then smiles and giggles again. We all begin to laugh, proclaim cuteness, and then we go on to repeat the process as she finds another bow to take off another gift.

There are a lot of people who might argue with me that this is not what Christmas is about.

But it is...It 100 percent is. It's about being with someone, or someones who make you truly happy--who bring a smile to your face with the smallest gesture--who find your flaws and love you regardless--who wake up in the same place as you--and get just as excited to see you as you get to see them. Today that's my niece...but another day it could be a friend--or a family member. It could be that special someone, or it could be a pet...who knows. That's what celebrating, not only Christmas, but life in general is about...Getting excited for each-other--Getting excited to be with each-other. And getting excited for whatever your day may bring...every day. It's about reaching out to those you've lost touch with--and those you haven't lost touch with. It's about saying hello--love yah--hope to see ya soon. It's about loving, and living, and celebrating.

Plane flights may be too expensive--snow mounds may be too deep--but good cheer doesn't have to just be once a year.

So giggle really loud, like a little girl with a snow-globe. Jump up and down. Feel excitement. And wherever you are--whoever you are with--today--and every day--have a very Merry Wonderful Life now.

To all my friends, my family, and strangers who pop on over.
Happy Holidays to you !

Monday, December 12, 2011

I am so excited---and I just can't fight it!

We are just nineteen days away from a new year--a new year of wonder, a new year of hope, a new year of surprises. And a new year to celebrate. I cannot contain myself--I am so excited--(and I just can't fight it) for the good things I can see this coming year--I was so excited that I had to just post now--instead of 19 days from now.

Do you remember the first time you ever felt excitement?
No, not THAT type of excitement (though, I am sure you remember it). I mean the first time you jumped in the air for joy with your best friend and engraved a memory in your mind forever? I do.

It was my seventh grade year of middle school. Spring. And one of my best friends and I at the time were sitting in my parents office space-staring at the telephone waiting for it to ring. My friend hadn't yet signed my 6th grade year book, which had now been sitting in my room for nearly 9 months, so she began to pen a long living message.

Then the phone rang.

"I am calling for Libby Segal"
A voice on the other end came in clearly.
"This is she, " I said while I motioned to my friend that this was the call....
"I wanted to congratulate you on...." before the voice on the other end could finish his sentence I was jumping up and down with my best friend screaming.

I confirmed that I heard correctly and I hung up the phone.

I had officially made the middle school softball team after a week long tryout of running, throwing, catching, fielding, and hitting- I had made the first team that I had ever had to try out for - and it set my expectations for life- not only in working extremely hard but in honoring that payoff with excitement-- and pride.

After receiving a phone call that I had been given the internship at NYC Media just over two years ago, my excitement also elevated--significantly. I was moving somewhere new, somewhere amazing, somewhere perfect. I was moving to the big city. And every time I get a new project, a new assignment a new challenge, here at the office, I react the same way. Many people will tell you that this is how I often get after even the most tiny significant thing in life. "I tried a new cappuccino today." "I met a great friend today...I think we'll be friends for a super long time!!!" "My boss told me I did great today!!!" (Seriously--I just get excited about so much that laughter and excitement are tied for my two favorite emotions).

Because that's how we have to treat life. With every moment that compliments our efforts and our hardships and our commitments with a smile on our face and a gut feeling of anxiousness and heart full of joy. With that feeling that baseball players get after hitting a walk off home-run- or that children get after receiving an ice cream cone after a perfect score on a math test. We need to celebrate our accomplishments and share that celebration with others. We need to jump in the air as if we can touch the clouds- and we need to keep working toward that next moment, that next excitement: that next chance to dance on top of a bed with our best friend.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

"I'm not stopping for you-No matter what you do-I'll just keep on dreaming"

“Weren’t you the one that said I would be nothing

And now I am about to prove you wrong”

-Rebecca Black

In one of my middle school yearbooks, there's a message scrawled out making fun of my bright red face that never seems to fade. There’s another message noted about my hair and another about something dismal. In middle school, these words hurt—and they are forever engraved in a yearbook that I look back on.

The truth is—middle school is tough. Kids are mean. As 12 and 13-year olds we endure some of the hardest times of our lives. We aren’t even really beginning to figure out who we are yet and suddenly we are answering to classrooms of kids who think they know exactly what our life is going to look like—and what we are going to look like and what our lives will be for the rest of it.

If we are too tom-boyish as a girl, we may be the last invited out for a girl’s night. And if a person is too girly as a boy—they get ridiculed and picked last in kickball. Kids use words like gay and fat and ugly and corny and loser and suck-up to harm others. They tell peers they would be prettier if they just ______. They make "jokes." They make internal bruises.

If we put ourselves out there—and let people define us, we are often harassed to the point of exhaustion. It’s sad, and hurtful, and terrible—and PAINFUL.

On Monday, I will be acting on set as a suicidal figure for a PSA that my station will be releasing next year. To get into the role, I will focus on sad thoughts and sad feelings. I will channel middle school—I will channel moments where I felt little—where many people feel little.

About seven months ago, I heard the song “Friday” for the first time by Rebecca Black. Until now, I didn’t know how young she was—I just knew that I envied how viral her video went in just days. Katy Perry then asked her to be a guest in her own video and Jimmy Fallon parodied it with Taylor Hicks and Colbert. I thought it was awesome. And now that I know she’s just a young teen…I think it’s even more awesome.

Rebecca Black was 13 when the video dropped. And immediately thousands and thousands of people began hating and ridiculing her for “nasalness” and “cornyness.” She received hundreds of thousands of comments telling her how horrible she was. And up until recently I didn’t realize just how drastic the insults and words were. She received messages that she was fat--and that she'd just be so much prettier if she became anorexic. She received DEATH THREATS. People are fragile—we tend to forget this…we break.

If anything, Rebecca Black, now stands out as a role model as she has handled the bullying with grace. After having to leave school she told her story to ABC –You can see her interview here:

Just a few months ago, Jamey Rodemeyer was bullied, literally to his own death.

When we are younger, our parents teach us that sticks and stones will break our bones but that words will never hurt us—but they do—and they can cause a whole lot more pain than a scratch or break or a bruise…They can change us for life.

We need to stand up in the face of bullying—no matter what the circumstance and remind ourselves—our 13-year-old-selves—and our 23-year-old selves—and our 50-year-old selves that the only person who can define who we are—is us.

“Your life is in your hands

So take it just as

Far as you can

But trusting in yourself.

Forget everyone else”

-Rebecca Black

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I am NOT the Little Mermaid...I wouldn't trade my voice for anything

"I'm not afraid, I'm not afraid
To take a stand, to take a stand
Everybody, everybody
Come take my hand, come take my hand
We'll walk this world together through the storm
Whatever weather, cold or warm
Just lettin' you know that you're not alone."

Standing in a league of veterans I was a minority newbie at the Occupy Wall Street protest, last evening. I made sure I was one of the first into Zuccotti Park, after going through months of keeping myself removed, watching from afar. I sat restlessly on the end of my chair for most of the day at work, waiting for the second I could go down the elevator and walk over to the park. Up until yesterday, I sidelined myself.

Often times, during my sports career, I was told that by watching our teammates, and our leaders, that we can pick up a lot, that we can learn, and that we can become competitive when we, or our coach, chooses our time to make moves and have an important impact in the game. Like sports, this tactic seemed to work for me in regards to the current movement of the 99%. Hassled on numerous occasions for what people perceived as me being "apathetic" toward the cause, I remained calm and diligent about my research, my reading, and my questioning and concerns. I didn't want to march or protest until I knew exactly why I was marching or protesting. I wanted to be educated, and I wanted to feel prepared when I finally stood up for my beliefs and for the betterment of others.

Early on, the media was not down at Zuccotti. The camps seemed like they could soon die down. People on the outside of the movement weren't yet taking it seriously, making jokes on Twitter, Facebook, and in blogs. And then something happened. The movement got bigger...and bigger...and bigger. And then it started taking over not just parks and bridges, but cities, states, and countries all around the world. People from California started linking metaphorical arms with people in NYC. People in Italy marched in Rome, a bit more violently, but nonetheless--they marched. And then at once, the media began to obsess over the realities of the demands, the realities of the struggling class, the realities of police brutality on sites, and the reality of the movement. Suddenly--more people took notice, and more people understood--and more people cared.

Following the arrest on the Brooklyn Bridge, early on in the protest, I remained vigilantly on the outside of it all, still, convinced that there were details missing, that something was being displayed improperly, that the arrest of all the protesters somehow was blown out of proportion. But then I kept reading, kept learning, kept pushing forward on my own movement to educate myself. And I slowly began to understand the wants and the needs--the way the bail out truly worked out and how we were all sold out on the side. I began to understand that students were never going to see the end of loans, that our children would never have the money to afford an education--and that we may not have the money to raise them in a healthy home. I can barely feed myself nutritiously--and affordable, how could any of us begin to afford the life of another human being. We were being sold out on the cheating ways of those above us--we were being sold out by the 1 percent.

BUT again, even with more understanding, I remained on the sidelines. However, like a field hockey player, I'd turn to my teammates or co-workers and nudge to ask what could be done...what they felt would make the game more playable, how the players could truly shine. I was starting to care a bit more, but was still unsure I was ready to hit the park.

That is until Tuesday morning when I woke up and my Twitter feed had exploded with updates about a violent and illegal raid of the park at 1:15am. That is until I read that the entire encampment had nearly been destroyed, that people's tents were ripped to shreds, and that the community library had been tossed in the garbage. That is until I read that nearly 200 people had been arrested....That is until I read that there was a media blackout.

As a woman who studied to become a media elitist one day, a documentarian, a seeker of the truth, I was outraged by the fact that journalists were not permitted to cover the event on site, that press persons were not allowed to show the whole world what was happening in the late hours of the night when protesters were peacefully sleeping. I was outraged that people lost everything they owned--and that no news stations could show the terror. I was outraged that press persons including a camera person that I have worked with was arrested for doing what they are trained to do: give people the news. I was outraged that the voice of the people was taken away by people who had traded theirs for money and guns ( protect?). I was outraged that people's things were stolen--and destroyed--and that 2 am became a legalized hunting period for the occupier encampment-in military fashion-a fashion that had been practiced behind closed doors earlier the same day. I was outraged enough--that i became passionate--passionate for the movement, and passionate for my voice. Because no matter how hard anyone tries, you can not steal someone's voice--you cannot steal someone's First Amendment.

And while the enforcing officers and city officials declared that it was for the safety of the journalists, I became even more outraged...and passionate toward this cause.

We send our journalists to wars--they ride in tanks--they take slaps and punches in the face--and they are held in foreign prisons and tortured--but suddenly we are worried about their well-being at a public park that is being raided at 2am?

I became so passionate that at 5:00pm, following a long day at the office, I made my way to Zuccotti Park, and I chanted with the protesters: "Let us in," and I listened to stories, and I thanked media people for putting their efforts in to be there--to show people what was happening. I watched as the medical team tried to restructure their center area--after losing all the cold medicine that they had been using to help those who had become sick. I observed as police officers stood illegally on walls that they told protesters, "No one could stand on due to safety issues." I spoke with people who had been there before and they asked questions and then made statements and then helped people understand the movement better. And I watched as this community developed much like our early settlers did--through strife and movement. Slowly--but surely. Apart--but together.

And I spoke up during stacks and told the park full of people, how they had inspired people each and every day, and how I was happy that they had inspired me--how change would come--how it was working. And then I looked around at the sea of veterans...and suddenly knew that veteran vs newbie didn't matter. We all were fighting for the same thing--our voices to be heard--the voices of the majority of the world to matter. The voice.

And I wouldn't trade my voice for anything.

Note: If you haven't joined the movement yet, I suggest asking as many questions as possible, researching, reading, finding out what you can be passionate about, finding out what matters to you and then throwing yourself in there.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end...

Standing on the sidelines of a field hockey match up between my summer field hockey coach's college team, and my high school team-mate's team, I watched and realized how bitter-sweet any end to this match would actually be. For one of my friends, the season would be over with a loss; but, in addition, for one of my friends, her career would be over with a loss. Neither one was ready to lose. The game took double over time to cater a winner...and that winner was the one who would be fortunate enough to have her team next year--to have her sport--My summer field hockey coach.

My friend, and my high school teammate, who played her heart out, along with the rest of her teammates, knew exactly what this loss meant: it meant the end to something that started as just a fun after-school activity, something that grew into the daily routine of life--something that became part of her...something that truly owned a huge chunk of her heart.

I watched as girls walked off the field, with pride in their hearts but tears in their eyes. I watched as parents hugged their girls who were baffled at how field hockey could be such a huge part of their life one moment--and gone in an instant the next. And I watched as hearts broke over something that had become closer to them than anything else over the last 10 years of their lives. And I was suddenly reminded of all those feelings--all over again.

And I was reminded, again today, when I read that the University of Maryland may be cutting their swimming teams after this season. After the field hockey team was eliminated at URI, my mother and I wrote a joint article for Inside Higher Ed. entitled: Foul Play which uncovered the emotion behind losing your sport-ending your sport-giving your life to sport.

As athletes, we spend our entire careers devoting time, energy, and body parts to a sport that welcomes us with open arms--to a life that promises us pay-off with the pay-in. We work hard so that we can attend Division 1 colleges--though no one tells us how difficult it will be once we get there. We give up going out on Friday nights for a curfew that is bestowed upon us so that we perform better the next morning. We form bonds with teammates and coaches. We lose ourselves and find ourselves. We discover our strengths--and our weaknesses. We learn what it means to lose--and what it means to win. We gain pride--and passion. And we fall in love--with sport. So when we lose that--it only makes sense that our hearts break--that the pieces are left on every field or in every pool or on every course that we ever played on, swam in, or ran on. That we feel like an out of tune piano--or an unsharpened knife in the drawer. When our team is taken away from us--or when our careers end due to it being time for it to end--it is unexplainable the emotions that go through us. There will always be some void...but we have to remember that there will always be the memories to fill that void:

As my mother wrote in that article: "To use words like death and grief--is not to exaggerate."

When I lost field hockey at a sophomore in college, I compared it to losing a friend--to losing a relative--to losing someone that I loved. It still feels that way. But like losing friends--and losing family members and losing people we love...we learn to find ways to look back on these things--these events in our lives, these huge parts of our lives and smile at what we were lucky enough to have. And suddenly the void of that person or thing is filled with smiles of memories...moments in our lives that we know we can't ever return to, but that we were fortunate enough to have.

Disclaimer: In regards to the cuts at UMD--I do not support UMD's decision and intend to write a letter to the university. I understand that universities are undergoing hard times right now--just as are all businesses, but cutting academics and sports are entirely too heartbreaking for students and athletes that we tell to dream big their whole lives.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

In plane flights, in paychecks, in good times, in do you measure a year?

Five hundred twenty-five thousand

Six hundred minutes…

How do you measure, measure a year?

In plane flights, in paychecks, in good times

In cappuccino?

In choices, in smiles, in laughter, in love…

Five hundred twenty-five thousand

Six hundred minutes

Five hundred twenty five thousand

Journeys to have…

It's hard to say how quickly a year goes by. 12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days. Fast. Slow. On repeat.

365 days to make an impact. 365 days to experience change. 365 days to make a difference. 365 days to live from one memorable moment to the next. I often find that I can't measure my moments by my years in my age, because I find the truest and most wonderful moments to be those I don't expect, and don't plan. I find the spectacle of life in being most truly beautiful in the spontaneity of living it without knowing--without seeing what's next--without having an eight ball to say it will all be okay.

I may appear differently to people, always planning, always scheming my future, but it is in the decisions I make on whim that have made most of my life it's own spectacle. It has been in the decisions that I have made to take chances and risks that have made me incredibly grateful for the years behind me, and the years that I can see ahead.

It has been 12 months/52 weeks/365 days since I packed my bags, boarded a plane, woke up in a different time zone, and stumbled across cobblestone with a backdrop of the Tuscan landscape. It has been one year since I moved to Italy...since I took a leap, made a jump, and landed on my own two feet with no regrets.

It has been a year of meeting people, a year of leaving negativity behind, a year of saying goodbye, a year of fresh starts, humble endings, and letting go; it has been a year of traveling, a year of exploring far off destinations, a year of believing in myself and every choice; it has been a year of beginnings, a year of risk taking, a year of fine-tuning; it has been a year of pushing others, a year of reaching out; a year of living. it has been a year of forging ahead, a year of discovering what I truly want--a year of finding who I truly am.

It has been a year of seeing that even if our initial plans don't follow through, there's always something else standing by, ready to take us in it's arms, accept us, and warm us back up to our positive glow.

On November 5, 2010, I believed that on November 5, 2011 I would still be standing on the cobblestone, sipping on cappuccino, and living with a beautiful Italian man in a castle (okay maybe a bit of an exaggeration)...but I did believe I would still be in Italy making a life of my own there. But I was wrong. I am not in Italy...I am not in Europe. I am back in New York City, where I first moved to on a whim, nearly two years ago. I have been home for three times as long as I spent in Italy. For those of you that don't want to do the math--that means I have been home for 9 months. And what I have found is that while Italy made me happy, New York has made me feel home. I should have known this in the arguments over the greatest city in the world, while I lived in Rome. I should have known this after I heard Alicia Keys second version of Empire State of Mind--and cried. I should have known this from the start. But it is in the decisions we make--and the experiences that we have--that we can have those moments of clarity--those moments of beauty when our minds and our hearts meet in the middle and finally match--and those moments of certainty of what we want and where we want to be.

I know what I want--and where I want to be. I know who I am--and what I want to do. Most of all I know that this last year isn't the last good year...No. It's just the start.

But this year I am not going to measure...I am just going to live (of course--one cappuccino at a time).

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Libs on the REAL: A toast to 100 posts and more

It only seems fitting that my 100th post is the day after one of my dreams came true. Last night I had the opportunity to do stand up comedy for the first time at Gotham Comedy Club. And if I thought I couldn't love NYC anymore, I was completely and utterly wrong. If I thought my friends couldn't be anymore amazing, I was completely ignorant. Because there is ab-so-lute-ly no doubt in my mind that I do live in the best city, and that I do have the BEST friends. (And if you try to fight with me...I guarantee I'll win)

Last night was one of those moments that you imagine a television show to run in slow motion, in order to exaggerate the wonderfulness of it all. Last night was one of those moments where you realize you can do something you never believed you could, and where you realize that picking up the world and shaking it up a bit--isn't so difficult. That picking up your own life--and shaking it up a bit, isn't so difficult

Looking out at my friends--new and old, my co-workers, my brother, his wife, the strangers I didn't know, and the other comedians there to perform--I felt at ease. I don't think I have ever felt so much support in my entire life, and I've definitely never felt more fortunate to know the people that I know, who come from all different walks of life.

As each friend had walked through the door earlier in the night, I gushed with happiness. At one point, I thought, wow...I think I am more excited for all my friends to be in one place--than I am to even get on that stage right now. I don't know how to say it any other way but that these people--these friends, these co-workers, these family members--they mean more to me than they could ever know, than the word love could ever mean. I appreciate not only their support of my night on stage, but their love and passion and desire for life, in general, as it ignites me to want to succeed and do well in my own.

I've quoted One Tree Hill many times before, but that won't stop me now,
because really... "their art matters--it's what got me here."

But even after last night, I have the confidence to art matters too--it got me here too.

I started this blog originally to brief on my New York City life and the reel--to discuss my internship in television, my daily star sightings, and my feelings on the entertainment industry. I started this blog so that I could receive the last three credits I needed to graduate with a double major in college. I started this blog, with no intention of it lasting till now. I called it Libs on the Reel. What I should have been calling it all along was Libs on the REAL. Because I started seeing that the reel life I was experiencing--was leading me to an entirely amazing REAL that's moments aren't captured in slow motion to exaggerate their wonderfulness, one that can't be rewound or paused to literally re-take or take in a moment, and one that wasn't just a projection on a screen. A life that's moments are worth waking up for every morning--not ones just worth imagining.

The first sentence I ever wrote in this blog was:
"When I was younger, I swore I would never go to school in New York, and that I would never live in New York..."

After last night--after finally feeling like I had found my niche, after seeing many of the people I care about come out to support me and my endeavors...I think the new first line of my blog should be:

"I don't think I'll ever leave New York City...again."

Monday, October 10, 2011

I can sleep when I make it...

"It gets exhausting doesn't it?"


"Trying to make it... you know...putting all your money, your effort, all of it into one thing?"

"But I love it...every second of it--I have to..."

It's just another day in New York City. There's another girl, with another notebook, writing next to another coffee shop window.

There's another guy strumming another guitar in another subway tunnel.

There's another person trying to make it--exhausting their funds, their energy, but never exhausting their dreams--never waking up to a world full of nightmares.

It's a city that sparkles with ambition and that shines with desire. It's a city of magic, a city of passion, a city that never exhausts. It's a city of dreamers. It truly is a city that never sleeps.

"So you don't get exhausted of it...ever?

"No...I can sleep when I make it"

Monday, October 3, 2011

She was an American Girl...

"American Girl" could likely be the theme song to Amanda Knox life. The woman, arrested and charged for the murder of her roommate in Perugia, several years ago, was acquitted today at just about 10:00pm Italy time.

The road for her has been long and exhausting. And it's the story that any American girl could have found herself a part of--if they were in Amanda Knox situation.

In 2008, I studied abroad in Rome, Italy. Prior to going, I had not known the aggressiveness of European culture or the many cultural differences that there are--In fact, that's why I went--to find out. But what I learned, rather, was that many men can be very confusing with young women---young women who can be persuaded by good looks and a romance language--young women who can easily be swooned by a twinkle in an eye, and a shiny vespa to ride on the back of--young women who have never ventured outside of their American state...young women who are too trusting.

Even when I returned to live in Italy, I found myself on a date with a young Italian man in a small city outside of Florence--Brisighella--a man who I had met through And while I admit it was not my best choice--or my brightest moment, I felt okay at the time. This does show--just how naive we can be--even after having lived there, previously. Nothing happened to me--and it turned into a lovely day, at a wonderful Truffle Festival, in a beautiful city, but who knows what could have happened to me. We just NEVER know. And that's why we take chances and go with our gut. Knox never looked back when she pranced into a police office to discuss what happened to her roommate, because by all evidence, she had nothing to be worried about--she clearly was not there.

I have MANY Italian friends...and so did Amanda Knox...but it's easy to misunderstand--with a language barrier, and it's easier to be taken advantage of by strangers--just as it would be for someone in America who isn't fluent in English--or for a Russian in France, who doesn't know French. Anywhere that there is a language barrier and that there is someone who is relatively new to a place--there is likely to be some sort of misunderstanding. It can happen in foreign countries--and it can happen in our own cities.

So when Knox was taken in for questioning, following her roommate being found dead, it's no wonder she was coerced into a "confession," and it's no wonder that she was soon made out to appear as a "Foxy, Knoxy"--a name she had actually picked up by being good at soccer, not by being a sexy young woman in America.

Looking back at the entire trial--the entire four years that this has gone on, it is CLEAR as day that this could have just as easily been any other American girl--any person I studied abroad with--any American I met when I lived there recently--or even me. Many people will say that Knox was dumb--silly--stupid--naive. But I firmly believe that in ANY case in a foreign country, anyone would come off as dumb, silly, stupid, and naive--especially when language is a barrier--when a translator is feeding words into your mouth--when police officers are forcing you to believe something happened the way they want it to appear it happened, and when the MEDIA is hounding you and creating a persona for you that you never once filled at home.

Reading Twitter feeds today and Facebook statuses, it is still unbelievable to me that many of the people commenting are unaware of the man who has actually confessed to the murder--the man who convinced police that Knox was there--in order to lessen his own years in jail--the man who's footprint was left in the blood--and who's feces were left in the toilet. But it is NOT unbelievable to me that an American girl got caught in the trial of such could have been any of us.

Welcome back to the states, Knox. Salute.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I hope you are lucky enough to hold the most fragile thing in the world...Love

If you can remember a time you were in love, and you can still smile about it--then it wasn't lost at all. It's never going to go away. And that makes you one of the luckiest people in the world. Some people never find good love--some people never find love at all.

I wish someone had told me those exact words when I was younger. Instead I made friendships with all the wrong people. I became best friends with Joey and Dawson, I invited Zack and Kelly over for playtime, I asked Lucas and Brooke to go out with me every Wednesday night, and I went on endless dates with Cory and Topanga. While they each offered me escape from real life, from dealing with the bullies at school, from dealing with the loneliness--they also offered me a number of terrible an imagination of how the world really spins:

1. You should definitely have a group of six friends. The gender breakdown doesn't really matter, just as long as that group of six friends can be the root of one long-lasting relationship.

2. You can skip class and get away with it ALL the time.

3. You will have a teacher or principal that actually becomes your best friend. (I think this explains why I am Facebook friends with many teachers dating back as far as 5th grade). (Please see 1. Pacey's English Teacher girlfriend. 2. Mr. Belding. 3. Mr. Feeny).

4. If you do complete the task of having your ONE group of SIX friends, then your group is bound to go through every single teenage issue: IE: (Teen pregnancy-please see Haley in One Tree Hill; Abby for rehab in Dawson's Creek; Zack for drunk driving accident in Saved by the Bell; and Cory and Topanga for high school engagement: And we can't forget about school shootings, sex with your English teacher, death from illness, divorce, stars of the high school basketball team, becoming valedictorian, etc).

5. You absolutely WILL fall in love and get married to someone you met in high school. It may not be the person everyone thinks you will marry--but you WILL marry someone from your high school group. (Please see Joey and Pacey; Zack and Kelly; Lucas and Peyton; Haley and Nathan Cory and Topanga)

The truth is it doesn't work this way at all--not one bit. In fact, every time I have fallen in love it's been not only with people (who I didn't even go to high school with)--but with places--and memories.

Love is much bigger than the cliche teen drama.

It's the place you visit--and one day tell yourself you will return to.

It's the person you shared all your secrets with--even if you knew them for just three months. And it's the memories you look back on--and smile about, even though you know you can never go back. It's not something you imagine, and it's not something you physically hold in your hands...but it's the most fragile thing in the world.

And if you can find it. Well you are a lucky one.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"It's better than drinking alone"

He’s dressed in an orange button down shirt and he is wearing a blazer in order to cover a coffee stain, a stain that I notice only when he pulls back the bottom left part of his jacket. He is waiting by the clock—yes that clock—the one in the train station you see in all the movies where a boy meets a girl, yes that storyline, in that big city…that storyline, in that train station, in that big city, where they fall in love.

I can tell he has noticed me awkwardly staring off into space, alone against the wall, that is placed perfectly between tracks 16 and 17. I can tell this because he is awkwardly looking at me and then away as I catch his eye.

I’ve lost my train of thought as I watch the track numbers, the train lines, and the final destinations rotate on the board—the world moves while I sit still…still and alone.

“So who are you waiting for?”

A voice interrupts my already distracted state.

I probably could have thought of something witty to say to this stranger, this stranger who is wearing an old dirtied pair of converse, but I don’t, and instead, I look up and I realize it’s the man I was exchanging awkward glances with. I pull down my headphones.

“No one,” I say.

“Oh come on, a pretty girl in Grand Central, alone, surely you are waiting for SOMEONE.”

He takes a seat next to me.

I look at him, he’s got ruffled brown hair like the main character in Almost Famous. “Well we are all waiting for someone, aren’t we? But today, I am not expecting a familiar face. Let’s be honest—Justin Timberlake is on two billboards in my subway station—he’s the only familiar face I see anymore.”

He laughs. “Honestly, though?”

“Honestly. Today, I am just looking for a lot of unfamiliar faces that are experiencing a lot of familiar feelings as me.”

“Well aren’t you just chipper,” his green eyes are glowing.

“Okay, pretty boy—who are you waiting for so patiently here in the great Grand Central?”

“I’m not.”

“Oh…so you can be here all alone…but I can’t?”

“I’m not patiently waiting—I am impatiently waiting. I got stood up.”

I think to myself…great, stood up, now he thinks I am the rebound. Couldn’t I have just been waiting for a train? Couldn’t I have just lied and said I was waiting for my boyfriend? Couldn’t I have just not looked so damn lonely. I should have smiled more while I was sitting alone. I should have had a book out. I should have just not awkwardly stared at him—and then away.

“I hope you aren’t hoping that I was stood up too so that we could play this out like a silly movie.”

“No. I was thinking sitting was a better option than standing. My feet are killing me. I really need a new pair of shoes.”

He is right…He does need a new pair of shoes. I look around, all the stair cases are empty…and some walls are bare. “You had other options…”

“Well, if we are sharing this feeling called loneliness, we might as well not be drinking it alone.”

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Memorializing the Past, Envisioning the Future

It's not every day that you wake up and plan to visit a graveyard of thousands of people--but yesterday I did. Yesterday, I visited the 9/11 Memorial where just over 10 years ago innocent people, heros, and every day workers lost their lives as three of the center's buildings collapsed after two planes crashed into the Twin Towers. The Memorial recognizes all those who died that day on each of the two planes that his the towers, those who were in the buildings, bystanders, silent heros, and those that were on the other two planes that crashed into the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.

It's nearly unimaginable what America would look like now if 9/11 had never happened, what the news would be focused on, how many people would still be in New York City, what our economy would look like, what kids would be learning in schools, what our tolerance in terms of equality might be, what disaster or tragedy may have happened instead.

It's a wonder how many troops lives we could have left unharmed, what the front page of the New York Times would be, each and every day since then--what millions of photos of New York may look like now, who our president might have been from 2004 through 2008.

The truth is that the moment the first plane hit the Twin Towers was the moment America's lives were forever changed--the moment our world became a little more fuzzy--the moment things came crumbling down.

When the teacher I had, at the time of the attacks, recently emailed me, he told me that he
asked his current 8th grade class questions about 9/11--and some of them didn't know how many planes had crashed. For all they knew was that they had been in a war since the moment they could say the word..."war."

I hope that one day the kids I have can visit this site and not be in a war, that they can talk about how well the country is doing, how nice it is not to be battling someone else.

I know those times of calm and happy are few and far between, and that life without war, in our country, and most all other countries, is rare, but I hope for their sake they get to experience that rarity, that they get to experience front page news that makes people smile, rather than news that drives people to duck tape their windows shut. That they get to live life without terror and overhyped media dramatizing inaccuracies. I hope that they get to live with people who tell the truth. And, I hope, above all things, they get to live.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Feed the Beast: an Artists' Salon

Are your neighbors banging their drums too fiercly? Is their keyboard out of tune? Is their guitar amp—a tad too loud, and their voice slightly out of tune? Then get out of your apartment and head to a SoHo penthouse where all these sounds will blend together perfectly for a delightful evening. No earplugs necessary.

This Saturday, September 17, you can step off the alleyways and into an eloquent, fun, and easy going cocktail party as Suzy Sellout and Prints Charming SoHo put on their fourth—(and likely final) Artists' Salon, a collaboration of musicians, dancers, artists, and poets who come together to perform, mingle, and interpret a specific theme.

That theme? Feed the Beast.

A 20 dollar donation is suggested (food and wine included), but you’ll feel like the evening was worth much, much more as you “dress to the nines,” connect with creative minds, and enjoy a variety soulful entertainment.

After attending my first Salon in April, I made it a point to clear my calendar for any event that the wonderful Kathrine Becker and Ari Millner planned, crafted, and coordinated in the future. Their professionalism, organization, and careful consideration of all acts is nothing short of superb.

The bottles pop at 8:30 and the show starts at 9. Trust me, it’s not something you’ll want to miss.

How will you feed the beast?

Get started by RSVPing to Kathrine at

Then head to the event for these talented artists:

Antoni Mendezona

Joe Yoga

Jiliane Russo & Friends

Suzy Sellout

David Chang

Ben Williams

Simon Morris

Howard Haines

and more!

Curated by:

Kathrine Becker:

Ari Millner:

Sunday, September 11, 2011


#On911 I was 13 and confused. Our teachers were told to turn off their televisions, keep us away from the computers and go about the day as if nothing had happened. But something had happened. Something big. Something called a terrorist attack.

I didn't know what that meant. To me monsters and bad guys wore capes and battled Spiderman and Batman. They weren't REAL people. They were cartoons, movie characters, and fictional reads. Maybe I was naive, or maybe it was the first time I realized that the Joker could actually exist, that the Green Goblin was out there--that it didn't take super powers, that it just took a dark heart.

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the attacks on our country. That means today marks the day when my blog matches nearly every other Americans blog in telling the story of 9/11, in unmasking the villain of Osama Bin Laden, in laying out feelings and memories of that day.

It's exactly ten years later and I don't understand it much more than I did when I was 13. To me, it's still a graphic novel: Good vs evil, evil hurts good, good seeks revenge, good kills evil, evil somehow still exists.

What I do know, believe, and understand is that the lives of too many were lost that day--too many people just going to work, too many who had just said goodbye to their husbands and wives and kissed their kids on the forehead, too many who were just making a subway transfer, too many who were just sticking to routine--too many who had just boarded a plane for a get-a-way, too many who were silent heros, too many who were innocent. #TooMany.

Today we remember those people. We remember the tragedy. And we remember our pride. May those memories and this feeling of pride continue on September 12, on September 13, and every day there after. Togetherness is something I do understand.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Mi Amore

Translated to English, this means my love. But most people probably know that. Love has this way of being a universal language. So when I say "love" or "amore" I know a lot of people are tuning in. I try to avoid writing about love--I often think I am too young to know what it really is, and that I am too far past my angsty years to write a post that stares it in the face and analyzes it.

.Love is a difficult thing. Even LIKE is a difficult thing.

A friend of mine and I recently tried to analyze our future by the first letters of names of boys we have dated. We laughed trying to figure out which letters would eventually form the U and I in our lives.

But what I am starting to see, learn, and understand about love is that it's not as predictable as the alphabet is--that it's not as easy as A-B-C-D. Love is not the D after C. It is not the Z after Y. It's the confusion of the "next time won't you play with me."

Love is like trying to figure out which way is north, south, east, and west, when you walk out into a dark night with no stars in sight.

Love is an expression--a feeling--a deeper part of us. It is what we say we feel for our family, our friends, and what we search for in a soul mate. It is what we believe the sole purpose of existence has come to be: "To find love--and to be loved in return," (Moulin Rouge). It's not in people, it's in passion. It's in all.

It doesn't have to be romantic, it just has to be sincere.

Sometimes we just need to believe that love is out there. Sometimes we just have to believe that love will find us--all the while we find it. We have to believe that love is out there--that it can be easy--and less difficult--that it can be worth all the waiting. Sometimes we just all need a little love.

And sometimes we will find the crooks, crannies, and nooks of our city streets, boulevards, and subway trains. In the crevice of a booth at our favorite cafe, or in the bottom of a grocery cart we've chosen to use today. Sometimes we need to just have love find us.

I believe in love. With every part of my heart. Do you?

P.S. Check out if you are in the need for some serious love right now or want to send love to someone. It's kind of like Post Secret--only...Better.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

5 Ways to Overcome your Hurricane Irene Disappointment

1. Plug your sinks, bathtubs, and other water sources, and run all faucets until the water is up to your knees. Or until it causes the floor of your apartment to collapse into the one below yours.

2. Turn off all your electronics and lights. Let your cell phone die. That way you can stop tweeting and Facebooking about the over hype and disappointment.

3. Buy 12 diesel fans and set them up in front of your outdoor furniture.

4. Buy a saw and cut down a tree so it lands directly on top of something valuable to you.

5. Trade places with anyone in Long Island, Hoboken, or the Jersey Shore.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The 3 Things I Learned in 26 Flights of Stairs...Aside from knowing never to wear heels when you work on the 26th floor...

As the 26th floor of the New York City Municipal Building (see tower of building pictured) began to shake earlier today, I turned to my co-worker who was already swiveling her chair around to look at me. Moments later, a third co-worker came to the doorway and said “I am getting out.” Not before long, our entire floor and the two floors of our company stationed above us were racing down 26 flights of stairs (some 28) to reach safety down below.

“What was going on? Why were we shaking? Why were people going so slowly to get to the bottom?” My cameramen were yelling at those who were taking their time on their stairs, and some of my female counterparts were kicking off their shoes to go faster. “Not too much further” I whispered to one of my friends and mentors, “We got this.”

In three weeks, the tenth anniversary of 9/11 will be upon us. While I may have just been thirteen years old at the time of the attack, sitting in a middle school code of conduct assembly in Pennsylvania—many of the people beside me, ahead of me, and behind me were New Yorkers at the time of the attack. Many of these people had an itch of terror scratching their backs as their right foot landed and then their left on the steps below.

Again questions knotted themselves together like loose cords thrown into a bag. “What news would we learn at the bottom?” “Was everyone with us?” “What was happening?”

It wasn’t until 26 floors later that I received a text from my best friend, in Pennsylvania, asking me if I had felt the earthquake that she had just heard from a police officer had rumbled through New York City.

I turned back and looked at the building which I felt as though I had conquered and breathed deeply, my adrenaline still driving hard through my veins. I thought to myself, “I felt it…I felt all of it—the shake, the terror, the adrenaline…I felt all of it.”

The whole experience reminded me of TED video entitled “The 3 Things I learned while my plane crashed.” During this intense and vivid talk, Ric Elias discusses everything that crossed his mind while the plane he was on crash landed safely into the Hudson just a few years ago.

His three lessons?

1. Everything changes in an instant—our bucket list—the things we want to do in life—we should no longer postpone any of it.

2. Regret existed in his life.

3. That dying is not scary—that he just wanted the chance to see his family again—to see his kids grow up—to be a good father.

And I get it. Before today, I had never experienced, head-on, a terr-or-ific occurrence. I didn’t inhale the smoke from the Twin Towers, I didn’t feel the wind, rain or devastation from Hurricane Katrina.

And while a 5.8 magnitude earthquake, that caused little or no damage to the city, compares very little to the tragic aftermaths of either of these happenings, I did learn some of my own important lessons.

1. I learned that it’s important to experience fear—that it’s important to know how you will handle yourself in the moments that will test you and your strength—the moments that will ask you to be a teammate—the moments that will challenge you and teach you—the moments that will define you. Today, I learned that what was important to me wasn’t just myself, but those people who have been around me for the last year and a half—who have pushed me to be the best I can be at work and that have taught me how to exceed in this working world. Like high school field hockey, I cheered on my teammates to safety and quickly make it to the bottom. From my head-on-encounter with fear, I learned that I don’t panic and that I can lead.

2. I learned that material things don’t matter—and that when a unforeseeable accident is lurking, it’s better to just go, get to safety, and concern yourself with missing items later—that the wallet with your ID, the credit cards, and the social security card mean nothing if you aren’t there to claim them—that if there is less than 10 minutes to leave a space that could fall to the ground, then you better leave the rest behind so you don’t get left behind too.

3. And finally, I reaffirmed exactly what was most important to me. Twenty minutes before the floor began to shake, I emailed my mother who I hadn’t heard from in several days and asked if everything was okay? It is odd to go half a day without an email, let alone three. As I reached the 13th floor of the building, my body felt as if it had just received a direct IV of adrenaline and my family’s picture flashed into my foresight. Now, the bottom of the building didn’t look like the plaza I normally come up off the subway into each day. No, it instead resembled my home, in Pennsylvania, which I remembered vaguely shaking during a terrible storm when I was younger. During that storm, my mother, my brother, and I sat and watched as things fell from shelves, but after a moment, the shaking was over. Now, I hoped that when my right foot hit the last step, the shaking would be over—the storm would be passed—and that I could call my family to let them know that I was okay—that it was just a building malfunction, that the construction work on the 25th floor caused something awful to happen on mine—that 9/11 hadn’t just happened all over again. As I neared the bottom, it was less important what was happening—than who I may not get to talk to after it all happened.

Sunlight began shining through the doors as we passed under exit signs to the outside world. It had felt like we traveled through a warp hole, as people were leisurely sitting and speaking to one another outside. “Did we just all imagine the building shaking?”

I was thankful to see a calmness in the world. It was an instant relief that nothing serious was happening—that my race down 26 flights of stairs wasn’t one that was with a collapsing building—that there was no attack—and that what we had experienced was a minimal natural disaster.

I reached for my cell phone, which I had fortunately kept in my pocket for the majority of the day. I quickly learned that cell phone calling service was down, texting worked, and that email was functioning.

Rushing across traffic, still a bit nervous that the tower of our building may collapse due to some sort of after shock, I emailed my family, counted my lucky stars, and breathed a sigh of relief.

“Did you feel the earthquake,” my best friend texted me.

I sure did.