Shallow Is Important, Too

I feel there is a pervasive school of thought that believes that people should only nourish their deeper selves. While it is important to nourish the finer thoughts and feelings one has, it is also important to nourish the shallower parts of the person.

For example: you aren’t with your partner (if you have one) simply because they look a certain way – at least I hope you aren’t – and you aren’t with them simply because they have a lot of things in common with you. You’re hopefully with your partner because you not only find in them a good, compatible friend, but also a physically attractive human being. It’s important to have things in common and to get along with your significant other. It’s also important to be attracted to them physically. Does being with your significant other because you’re both attracted to them (shallower) and compatible with them (deeper) make you shallow or deep? It makes you both – you can be both! You are a multifaceted, multilayered human being. Both these things – physical attraction and compatibility – are important to maintain a happy relationship.

In another vein, it’s okay to enjoy things that aren’t necessarily “of substance.” The idea that only books or movies or what-have-you that are exigent is an old one. Victorians looked down on novel readers, because novels typically didn’t have a point other than to entertain. But that’s okay. It’s okay to like things that don’t teach you some kind of lesson! It’s okay to like things that are just fun – you’re allowed to have fun! Things that are just fun, or pretty, or entertaining, are good and valid too.

So, it’s okay read Dostoevsky, but it’s also okay to read a romance novel, or two or three. You are a multilayered, multifaceted human being. Don’t just attend to one part of your being and starve another. This goes both ways: don’t starve your deeper self to feed the more shallow part of the self, and don’t starve your more shallow self because you think it doesn’t need nourishment. It does.

Go read War and Peace, or US Weekly. Watch Citizen Kane or Pitch Perfect. Go volunteer at a homeless shelter, or go swimming. Do what makes your soul happy, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it.

MBTI Reflection

I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test twice in my life. When I was fourteen, I was an ENFJ. Since nineteen, I have been an INFP. The letters of INFP stand for Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving. The opposite type would be ESTJ, or Extroverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging.

INFP types are known as “the writer” type. I know, I know, you’re so surprised. The woman who runs a blog has the personality type that’s known as “the writer.” I share this personality type with many great literary figures, such as William Shakespeare, Laura Ingalls Wilder, A.A. Milne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, J.R.R. Tolkien, and more.

What do those four letters mean? What is an introvert? What does it mean to be an intuitive feeling perceiver?

Introverts are typically people who lose energy by being in the presence of others for too long, and enjoy and require a great amount of alone time to recharge. This is because they rely on internal feelings rather than external elements for inspiration and energy. Introverts tend to be introspective and reserved.

Intuitive types see meaning in things that others might not, and tend to see the big picture. They are your typical English major: concerned with the overall message of a piece, and along the way noticing, collecting, and giving meaning to metaphors, symbols, and signs. Intuitive types are concerned not with the past or present, but with the future. This, combined with their ability to see the big picture, means that often they do not act, caught up in dreams, and end up having to do things last-minute.

Feelers are those who rely on their emotions more than logic when making decisions. They are concerned with other people and their feelings. They are compassionate and idealistic, sometimes to the detriment of the truth. They are also communicative about their feelings, whether in writing, speaking, or other art forms.

Perceiving types are open to new experiences and information, which can lead to procrastination. Being open to new things can delay action, because someone who is waiting to take in new information is also waiting to act based on that possible future information. The constant question of the Perceiver is, “What else is out there?”

I would say this type fits my personality pretty well, as well as the results from a test taken online can. I am inquisitive, open, idealistic, and optimistic, an excellent communicator and a procrastinating perfectionist. I worry about others and their feelings, and make decisions mostly based on my own “gut feelings,” though I do like to think things over as well. I am definitely a future-oriented and big-picture thinker. Like many of my type, I express myself through various forms of art – for me, these are music, drawing, photography, and writing.

What is your MBTI type? Do you think it’s correct? Comment down below!

 

Family Stories: Ellis Island

My great-grandparents were born and raised in a small town inland of Naples, Italy. Mariglianella was a small community of farmers at the time. My great-grandparents, Pasquale and Carmela, likely didn’t have anything past an eighth-grade education. In the 1920s, Pasquale came to America, and Carmela joined soon after. They sailed from Naples into New York City – Ellis Island, to be exact. My grandfather, Pasquale Mariano Dimaio, is their youngest child.

My senior year of high school, the honors choir of which I was a member was invited to sing in a larger choir at Carnegie Hall. We took the train up from Washington on a sunny spring day and stayed in the Roosevelt Hotel. We spent half our days sightseeing, and the other half learning and rehearsing the music for the performance. We saw Pippin at the Music Box Theater, wandered around Times Square, and, my favorite activity, took the ferry to Lady Liberty and Ellis Island.

I’d wanted to go to Ellis Island ever since I had done a project in the eighth grade on my great-grandparents and learned their story. It had always held an attraction for me, even before then. I’ve always loved history, and abandoned places, and much of Ellis Island is decrepit. I’ve always loved the stories of hopeful immigrants coming to America to make a better life – I still do.

Going through the museum was a great experience. I loved seeing the history of immigration in the United States. But my excitement mounted when I moved outdoors to the wall. All over the island, winding here and there and everywhere, was a silver wall, full of names. I searched and searched, and couldn’t find my family’s names. I knew they were there, though. Imagine my delight when I saw their names! I touched the letters tenderly and almost cried. Because of these two people, I am able to live the life I do. They had a dream, and I am a result of it. I am eternally grateful to them for their courage and tenacity.

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My Bedtime Routine

(DISCLAIMER: This post is not sponsored.)

Everyone should have a bedtime routine. Bedtime routines can really help you to fall asleep and maintain a healthy sleep schedule, or any sleep schedule at all. This is mine, and it’s worked like a trick for years.

First, I take off all my makeup, every bit of it. I wash my face with my Neutrogena Hydro Boost hydrating cleansing gel, and use the moisturizer in the same line. Then I brush my teeth, take my medications, and comb my hair before hopping in the shower.

I like my shower very hot. I tend to get cold, so much so that my skin mottles, so hot water is both a relief and a remedy for that. When I shampoo my hair, I place the shampoo from my hands on my head and massage it to the scalp, but don’t apply it past the base of my head. I lethte shampoo sit, so that it can run down and wash the rest of my hair. Next, I apply conditioner, but only from the hair at the bottom of my ears to the ends. I let the conditioner sit in my hair while I shave, clean myself, exfoliate, and moisturize. The last thing I do is rinse the conditioner with cold water.

Once out of the shower, I towel-dry my hair before spraying Redken One United throughout it. The spray smells wonderful, and it functions in so many different ways – as a leave-in conditioner, a heat protectant, etc. I also apply my face mask, Pacifica Wake Up Beautiful. I typically wear a big T-shirt and shorts to bed. I make sure to drink a glass of water, and refill it in case I wake up thirsty in the night. I trade my contacts for glasses, apply lip balm, and settle into my bed with a book after setting my alarms. Once my eyelids begin to get heavy, I mark my place, remove my glasses, and go to sleep.

 

How to Maintain a Happy Long Distance Relationship

Some of you may know, I have been in a relationship for almost three and a half years. For about two years of that time, this relationship has been long-distance. We’re still rock-solid, so I thought I might share a few of the tips and tricks that have worked for us. Some of these tips are important for non-long-distance relationships, too!

Communicate.

This is essential in any relationship, but in one where the majority of communication is through technology, whether it be texts, emails, or video chatting, communication is crucial. Especially when it comes to texts and emails, and even to some extent phone calls, essential parts of conversation are missing – to name a few, tone, emphasis, and body language. Being clear about what you mean is so important, because other contextual conversational clues are missing. Choose your words carefully.

Include them.

Communication in a long-distance relationship is also inclusion. This means not only sharing news with your significant other, but sharing when you think of them or see or hear something that makes you think of them. It means sending videos and pictures, too. It means letting them know about your day, even what you think may be insignificant. They want to know, just as you want to know about their day.

Be involved.

Being involved doesn’t just mean asking questions, though that is a necessity as well. Being interested and involved means actually listening to what your significant other is saying, and not just waiting for your turn to talk. It means responding to what they are saying, too, and doing so until they are done. It means following up on things they’ve told you in the past. Everyone loves to be listened to; everyone loves to know what they’ve said has mattered to and stuck with someone.

Visit.

Okay, this one is beyond obvious. But, let me elaborate. Of course it’s important to visit your significant other in a long-distance relationship. However, it’s even more important to figure out the amounts – how long you will visit, how long you’ll go between visits, who will travel when, who will pay for what, for example. These are important conversations to have when in a long-distance relationship.

Remember they have a life.

Your significant other has a life of their own, separate from you. That means that sometimes they’re not available when you are. This does not mean they don’t love you or prioritize you; it just means they’re living a life of their own. It is more significant that someone include you as an important part of their complicated life, than that someone only waits by the phone for you, though that’s difficult to remember when all you want is to talk to them and they’re not available.

Be affectionate.

It can be incredibly difficult to feel loved when your love isn’t anywhere near you. They can’t touch you, or smile at you, etc. That’s why it’s important to tell your love how you feel about them. Don’t hold back; send that random “I love you” or “I miss you” text. Heck, every once in awhile, send a long message about everything you love about them. It’s a nice reminder to receive during the course of the day. Everyone wants to be loved, and everyone deserves to be loved. Remind your love you love them.

 

Fall Date Ideas

Go pumpkin- or apple-picking.

Pumpkin or apple picking are essential fall activities. Go pumpkin picking with your love, and take the pumpkin home for carving. Two activities in one! Or, go apple picking, and figure out something to make or bake with the apples you pick. Again – two activities in one!

Explore a corn maze.

Corn mazes are fun. There’s something about everyone trying to make their way out of somewhere that adds excitement. It’s a silly and fun activity, one that hopefully will take you less than an hour.

Take a walk.

Walk through the beautiful fall foliage and enjoy the cooler weather as you walk. Take pictures, if you like. Be sure to look up at the trees more than down. Crunch through the leaves on the ground.

Have a picnic.

Fall is the perfect time to have a picnic. The bugs are dying, the air is cooling, and there’s a blanket of leaves on the ground. Take a big blanket or two or three, a few games, some picnic food, and maybe some alcohol (to help keep warm) and have a grand old time.

Have a Netflix binge-session.

Crack open a window, light a fire, make some tea or cocoa, pop some popcorn, and snuggle in blankets and pillows to watch five seasons of an old favorite or a new obsession. You can take breaks to make more tea or popcorn where you can talk about the show or anything else. Be sure to order delivery, to make the night complete!

Go to a bookstore.

Ah, the bookstore. The perfect non-date date. You can choose to go your separate ways and peruse the books, or you can sit in the comedy or romance section and read to each other and have a good laugh.

Watch some scary movies.

Personally, I have never enjoyed scary movies. I’m easily startled, and jump-scares can and often do begin a panic attack in me. But some people sure enjoy scary movies. Find some favorites and use it as an excuse to get closer – adrenaline can increase affection, and scary content can be an excuse to cuddle.

Go to a game.

This could mean your local football team, or a game at the end of the baseball season. Either way, live sports are always fun. Get some beers and hot dogs and cheer. Don’t forget to bumdle up – or do, it’s another excuse to cuddle!

Go on a ghost walk.

Perhaps the most or second-most famous holiday of the fall is Halloween. Autumn nights with a chill in the air are the ideal time to walk around your city and learn about the famous local hauntings. Is that just a breeze, or did a ghost just walk by?


Attend a fall festival.

You can see the livestock, or eat festival food, or ride the rides. There’s enough at a county fall festival to keep anyone occupied for a few hours. Plus, with the combination of the leaves and the neon lights, it’s a great place to snap some pictures!

 

Autumn Playlist

  1. Autumn Leaves – Nat King Cole
  2. Do I Wanna Know? – Arctic Monkeys
  3. Castle on the Hill – Ed Sheeran
  4. I See Fire – Smooth Progressions
  5. Dog Days Are Over – Florence + the Machine
  6. 40 Day Dream – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
  7. Youngblood – 5 Seconds of Summer
  8. Where Are You Now – Mumford and Sons
  9. Curse Your Branches – David Bazan
  10. Back to Black – Amy Winehouse
  11. Where the Streets Have No Name – U2
  12. On the Way Home – John Mayer
  13. Gold – Once the Musical OBC
  14. You Ain’t Alone – Alabama Shakes
  15. There Goes the Fear – The Doves
  16. Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene – Hozier
  17. October Road – James Taylor
  18. Arsonist’s Lullaby – Hozier
  19. You’ve Got the Love – Florence + the Machine
  20. Solace – Scott Joplin
  21. Shrike – Hozier
  22. Hopeless Wanderer – Mumford and Sons
  23. Back to You – Selena Gomez
  24. Crying Wolf – ZZ Ward ft. Kendrick Lamar
  25. Hold On – Alabama Shakes
  26. April Come She Will – Simon and Garfunkel

15 Facts about Me!

  1. I am a synesthete. (See earlier post on synesthesia.) My favorite color is cerulean blue. To me, the color represents joy and excitement, and the warmth and relaxation of the beach.
  2. Starting from a very young age, I was obsessed with the Titanic. I even met Bob Ballard and got his signed book (thanks mom!). To this day, I am still captivated by it, and Titanic the Musical is one of my favorites.
  3. My maternal great-grandparents came from Mariglianella, Italy, in the 1920s. My dad’s family has been in the U.S. for a long time, and they are mostly German-American. My dad’s surname is an Americanization of a German surname. Last Christmas my dad gave my sister and me a gift that proves we are Daughters of the American Revolution!
  4. I am a natural blonde. Until I was fifteen my hair turned almost white every summer. Also, my mother refused to do anything past trimming my hair for the first seven years of my life. I guess she couldn’t bear to cut the long, white-blonde curls.
  5. I am a lyric coloratura soprano. I studied vocal performance at Elon University for almost two years under Beth Carter’s instruction. I have sung in the Kennedy Center twice, and Carnegie Hall once, both times in choirs.
  6. I have broken my fifth metatarsal in each foot – on separate occasions, first in 2013 and the other in 2017.
  7. I love flowers. My favorite are pale pink peonies, though I also love roses, daisies, tulips, magnolia, cosmos, anemone, and hydrangea. (Thanks dad, for always bringing in your flowers from the yard.)
  8. My favorite book is the unabridged Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, though I haven’t read every page since the first read-through, because I learned which chapters I can skip. Les Miserables is also my favorite musical.
  9. I love to cook and bake, especially with unconventional combinations. One of my favorites is blackberry, ginger, and dijon on chicken, or chili powder on butternut squash.
  10. I love big band swing. I used to love the WAMU radio show, “Hot Jazz Saturday Night,” and looked forward to it every week, before it was cancelled.
  11. I’m currently in love with the TV show The Bold Type, which airs on Freeform. I love that it depicts strong female characters who support each other and lift each other up and make each other better people.
  12. On October 3rd, I will have been in a relationship with the love of my life for three and a half years. He is handsome, charming, funny, hard-working, supportive, loving, adorable, and crazy intelligent. He makes me a better me.
  13. My best friend and I have been best friends our entire lives. I cannot say enough good things about her, ever. She is beautiful, smart, strong, utterly hilarious, and quirky.
  14. I want to learn to crochet. I know how to knit (badly), but I’m told crochet is easier. It certainly looks more interesting.
  15. When I was a kid, I collected foreign coins. Friends and family heard about this, and assisted me in my collecting whenever they came back from overseas. Some of the coins are from countries that no longer exist, and I have no idea how many countries all these coins are from.

Fall Essentials

Hello, fellow basic white girls. Our favorite season is upon us; smell it, see it, most importantly, feel it. Fall, glorious fall!

These are my must-haves for this wonderful season. They involve clothing and beauty products, as well as a few miscellaneous items. I hope you enjoy!

 

CLOTHING and ACCESSORIES

Scarves

Scarves are a great way to add not only color to an outfit, but texture. It adds dimension and interest. Plus, with cooler weather, protecting your neck is important.

Cardigans

Cardigans are another way to add color and dimension to an outfit. But the reason I really love them so much is that they’re a great way to turn summer pieces into fall pieces. Suddenly that sundress is more appropriate with a cozy colored cardigan over it. Versatility is important – especially for your wallet!

Boots

I love boots. I have loved boots for a long time, especially riding boots. The best thing about boots is that no matter what you’re wearing, whether it’s a T-shirt and jeans or leggings and a sweatshirt, you’ll always look a million times more put-together when you’re wearing boots. I don’t know why this is, but I enjoy and utilize it immensely.

Statement earrings

Because the weather is getting colder, more skin is covered during autumn than in summer. This means scarves covering throats, and sleeves covering wrists. I believe because of this that the best way to make a statement with and show off jewelry is with earrings. Whether your hair is down or up, a glimpse of sparkle is always delightful.

Floppy wool hat

I may be biased here, because I’m told I look very good in floppy hats. I don’t like wearing them during the summer, but in the fall they’re great. Floppy wool hats, like boots, make your clothing more fall-appropriate, and help you look more put together. Plus, during those misty fall days when it’s not quite raining, they’re a great umbrella substitute!

 

BEAUTY PRODUCTS

(Tinted) Lip balm

With the cooler temperatures, the air becomes less humid, and your lips can dry out. Lip balm is a great remedy, and tinted lip balm gives you that effortless flush.

Cleanser and moisturizer

Fall is a funny time. Some days it’s still summer-hot, and other days it’s almost cold. That’s why I believe that a good cleanser and moisturizer are essential; cleanser gets rid of all the oils and sweat on the face, and moisturizer replaces the needed moisture on the face.

Rosy mauve lipstick

Summer is the time for bright and bold lips, like my favorite orange-red. Winter is for those sultry cranberry shades. Fall, though, because of the natural flush of the cheeks due to falling temperatures, is somewhere between the two. I think a more natural color is the way to go, in a matte-satin shade, like my favorite lipstick with its fall-themed name, “Touch of Spice” by Maybelline.

 

MISCELLANEOUS

Tissue packs

Many of us, though we love fall, have seasonal allergies. There are also those who suffer from asthma, which can be aggravated by the mold in the air. Tissue packs are important whether you suffer from these things or you’re just prepared for someone else to need them.

Favorite fall- or Halloween-themed movie

There’s nothing like a movie with those gorgeous autumn leaf colors to get you in a good mood. One of my favorite movies of all time is Hocus Pocus! I look forward to watching it every year, and you can bet I watch it from September-Christmas.

Books, books, books!

Books are great for those days that you just want to curl up inside your room and have a quiet time. There’s an almost enchantment about fall that can help you become completely immersed in a book.

Cute Yeti

Yetis are great. They keep things hot or cold for a very long time. Whether you’re a tea, water, or coffee person, no matter how you take it, a Yeti is a good investment.

Cozy blanket

When there’s a chill in the air and you’re adjusting to it, there’s nothing like a soft, warm blanket to curl up in with a book or for a Netflix binge-session. Plus, they make great decor!

 

How to Be a Good Friend

Though social media and technology keep us more connected than ever, at least in some ways, there are other ways humans are losing connection with one another. By the way, I by no means believe that social media or technology are the downfall of humanity. This post is just a comment on how things have changed, and how to use social media and technology as well as other, more traditional methods, to be a better friend.

Be present.

That means putting down your phone, though not necessarily entirely cutting yourself off from it. Sometimes people have emergencies. Sometimes they’re maintaining relationships or friendships with people far away. Taking away their access to this completely is actually a little bit rude. Limiting access to technology when present with another person, however, is good for everyone involved. Technology can be helpful in promoting conversation, also. If someone forgets something, or wishes to show exactly what it is they mean, technology can enrich the conversation and prevent miscommunication.

Communicate.

Of course communication includes doing so when one is annoyed, angry, or hurt. But communication should include positive emotions, as well. When your friend makes you feel loved, or happy, or amused, communicate that. People tend to like knowing that they’ve had a positive impact on others, especially those they love. So yes, tell your friend when they’ve hurt you, or annoyed you, or angered you. But try also to tell them when they’ve made you happy, amused you, or made you feel loved. Positive discourse is just as or more important than negative discourse.

Include them.

Contacting someone who is always there for you is great – unless you only contact that person when you need something. Then you’re just using them, and you’re not being a good friend. Contact your friend with good news. Invite them to things. Both of these are methods of inclusion, and everyone loves to feel included.

Trust them.

This means maybe sharing the parts of yourself you’re not that proud of. It means sharing secrets. And it means that if you don’t expect to be judged, you shouldn’t judge your friend either. Trust them with your secrets – maybe not all, but being vulnerable is a way to grow closer.

Love them.

Loving someone means promoting what is best for them through your words and actions, etc., etc. We all know the conventional definitions of platonic and romantic love. However, it doesn’t mean that you have to agree with them on everything, or support all their decisions. Loving someone means disagreeing with them sometimes, but still respecting them despite that. Loving someone can mean that you don’t support their words or actions, but you still support who they are and the person themselves. Blindly approving of everything someone does isn’t true love. Love means working toward what is best for someone. You can love, respect, and support someone without supporting what they choose to do or say, especially if those words or actions are detrimental to themselves or others.