i have a YouTube problem and i’m not afraid to say it

Wow.  It’s been 10 days since I last blogged!  I was so nervous to publish that last post, as it was so much more serious than my usual style.  Now, having gotten such wonderful feedback, it’s hard to go back to my lighthearted, silly style!

When I was dragging my feet, however, procrastinating on writing a post, I started thinking about the things I do when I ought to be doing something else, like schoolwork or sleeping.  That’s right, I thought about my procrastination techniques as a form of procrastination.  I hope now that one of my favorite ways to procrastinate–watching YouTube videos– might inspire you to blink and lose a few hours to the black hole of productivity.

At least one night a week, my roommate Maddie comes home to find me sitting on the couch, laptop on, watching YouTube videos.  This is, without a doubt, my absolute favorite way to waste spend time.  The problem for me is that YouTube is like eating M&M’s.  You can’t just have one and be happy.  (Side note: I always feel really bad for those kids who are getting potty trained whose moms give them a single M&M for #1 and two M&M’s for #2.  That is way unsatisfying and not a fair exchange.) No, when I venture on to that website, I know very well that I’m committed to at least an hour of laughing, crying and singing along.

Without further ado, I present another one of my abnormal obsessions, some of my favorite YouTube channels.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of Boyce Avenue.  Their covers are some of my favorites and they have great harmony.
-I went to a Landon Austin show earlier this month and it was the best thing ever.  He is the perfect country/singer songwriter blend on top of being adorable (with impeccable hair).  He also has a vlog channel which is a major guilty pleasure for me.
-My friend Alex (who also happens to be my music soul sister) introduced me to Tyler Ward and if there’s any guy who makes me feel like a 15-year-old fangirl, it’s him.

Beauty: (I’m terrible at makeup and I rarely wear it but these videos make me at least feel knowledgable…)
Nikki Phillipi is adorable and so unashamedly herself–something I absolutely love in a person!
-I’ve been watching Elle Fowler for years and for me, she’s that cool-older-wish-you-were-my-sister girl.
Michelle Phan is hands-down the most popular, iconic YouTube beauty guru.  She even has her own makeup line as a result of her immense internet popularity!

-I love to laugh and the Harvard Sailing Team always delivers.  Particularly notable is the hipster Thanksgiving video which made me cry laughing the first time I saw it.
-It’s not technically YouTube (hi Vimeo) but I am obsessed with watching strangers’ wedding videos.  This channel is great but I love to just search and search and watch and watch until I’ve cried several seas of tears…mostly of joy for the happy couples (not normal, I know) but also in sadness that I’m FOREVER ALONE.  (Just kidding, I don’t actually think that I’ll be forever alone…just ’til age 40 or something like that.)

Anywho, I hope I’ve given you some good material to kill an hour or four on this fine Friday!  I’ll be spending the weekend in Orlando so hopefully I’ll have some blogworthy stories when I return to Gainesville!  (After all, the last time I was there I met John Stamos!)


i’ve never met a stranger


In the last year or so, I have been made aware that something I thought was completely normal is actually not normal at all.

I talk to strangers everywhere I go.

Let’s take the last few days, for example.  Off the top of my head, I can think of quite a few people I’ve met.  There was James, who was walking a cute Labradoodle named Sterling just 20 minutes ago outside my house.  There was Eric, the man in Starbucks who I wound up talking to for almost an hour.  There was Victoria, the girl waiting in line with her precious baby Ivy at that same Starbucks.  There were countless strangers in between.

The thing is, I strike up these conversations instinctually.  I don’t actively decide that I want to talk to strangers around me, I just talk.  And you know what?  99 times out of 100, the person is pleasantly surprised and happy to talk to me.  (That 1 person is usually grumpy or rude but you know what?  I like to think maybe I could have brightened their mood just a little bit.)

It makes me sad when friends in New York tell me that you don’t speak–or even make eye contact–with people around you.  Ever.  It makes me question whether I could ever be happy living in a place like that (and I’ve always wanted to live in a big city).

I think that a lot of the beauty in life is in meeting people and not just making small talk but actually getting to know them.  That guy James?  His family owns 3 Labradoodles and he’s graduating from law school this year.  Eric from Starbucks?  He’s a dermatologist who’s lived all over the US including California and Massachusetts, and served in the Navy for 9 years.  He loves Pandora and listens to it just about every day at work.  Victoria told her now-husband just two weeks into dating him that if they ever had a daughter, they could name her Ivy.  Four months ago, she was born.

As you can see, I’m not one to just talk about the weather.  I want to know people.  I want as many people as possible to know that they are important, interesting, and worthwhile.  

This video is one of my favorites because it puts into words what matters so much to me.  Sonder is the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.  This understanding is part of what fuels the way that I interact with people and see the world.  Perhaps I won’t ever see  a person again– I’m just meant to be a random conversation in a grocery store line on a Tuesday afternoon.  I’m an uncredited extra in the movie of their life.  I personally need this dose of humility–to be reminded that the world isn’t revolving around me all the time (or even any of the time).  Take a look for yourself and see if it gives you the same perspective it gave me.

m&m road trips: a recipe for success

As promised, here is part two of my road trip ramblings.  While our instances of bad luck typically outnumber our lucky ones, there have been a few neat things to happen to Maddie and me throughout our adventures.

John Stamos

1.  The time we met John Stamos: After seeing a tire catch on fire, we arrived at last in Magic Kingdom.  No more than five minutes after we stepped onto Main Street USA, I spotted Uncle Jesse aka John Stamos.  We approached him (he was dressed pretty incognito but I know my Full House stars) and let me just say, it was pretty odd!  He was alone.  In Disney.  Not getting recognized by anyone else.  We took a quick picture and he talked to us for a minute (he was actually very nice and friendly) and then we casually strolled out of his sight and into a nearby gift shop.  There, we squealed, happy danced and called our moms.  At that point we knew for sure that Disney was the place where dreams come true.

2.  The time we were in sweet treat heaven: During this same Disney day, Maddie and I had a second instance of good luck.  We were perusing the sweet shop on Main Street USA and talking to the workers inside (who appeared to be about our age).  We were lamenting about how tough it was to make a decision when the worker offered us a sample of a candy.  We remarked about its tastiness and then he offered us another treat.  Then, while we were eating that one, his coworker said that we just had to try this other goodie.  Twenty minutes later, our stomachs were full, our pockets were still full (we didn’t need to make a single purchase) and we had made the days of the boys working in the sweet shop.

3.  The time we got into Paula Deen’s restaurant (and shouldn’t have):  Pre-Paula’s racial drama, when she still had a cooking show and was wildly popular, The Lady and Sons restaurant was a hot-ticket place.  In fall of 2011, with no reservation, a wait list visible on the hostess’s stand and a group of at least 12 people, Maddie and I weren’t very confident we’d be enjoying Paula’s food that day.  However, after a healthy dose of charm from our friend Zach, the whole group was seated (in about five minutes) and was free to enjoy fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and all the other Southern deliciousness that place had to offer.

Apart from Maddie, I’ve had some pretty cool travel stories like meeting Fergie in Rome, seeing a Zac Efron movie get filmed in NYC, dancing the can-can on stage in Alaska and other random funnies.  I must say that while the positive experiences are enjoyable, the negative ones make much funnier and more popular stories.  I think I’ll be happy with a blend of both in my future trips (including one tomorrow to Atlanta)!