I Survived 10 Days Without Internet

Hello all!

Remember my last post on First World Problems? I guess you could categorize this as one of those…

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It happened, I’m not sure why, but it did. I came home from a long day at work, attempted to turn on the tv  to catch up on my favorite show, and…nothing. After many frustrating phone calls back and forth with Comcast, we had determined that my modem was shot. Dead. Done. Finito.  I had no cable and no internet access; what was originally anticipated to last only a few days went on for almost two weeks. As someone who loves constant background noise (I wake up to my favorite radio talk show, I cook with my favorite sitcoms on in the background, I put my makeup on to music) the sudden silence felt a bit deafening. What’s more, I could barely send and receive text messages. In today’s hyper-connected society, I was in the equivalent of a black hole. What was happening on Instagram without me?! What happened on the last episode of Game of Thrones?! As disarming as it felt, there wasn’t really much I could do about it.

So, I tried to make the most out of the quiet time. When I first moved into my apartment years ago, I spent several weeks without internet access (and furniture, for that matter) and was rather creative with my time. I organized my kitchen cabinets, gave myself manicures, and watched all of my favorite classic movies over and over again. This time around, I used a bit of the time to catch up on chores, and treated myself to a few Redbox dvd rentals. The closest Redbox to my house conveniently happens to be close to a 7-11. I might have ducked in for movie-watching snacks more than once. With access to Netflix and Comcast On Demand, I almost never rent movies. During this last stretch, however, I watched a number of great ones: Elizabeth, Far from the Madding Crowd, Atonement, Crimson Peak, and Pixar’s Inside Out; all of which I would highly recommend.

At one point, I busted out an old radio to listen to in the mornings while I got ready for work. It was a little scratchy sounding, but at least I didn’t have to worry about burning through all of my data! I poured through my cook books and threw together some delicious dinners and desserts. I finished the book I had been reading and cracked open a new one, with 800 pages to entertain me. I went out for cups of coffee, took a few yoga classes, and went to bed at a reasonable hour every night. When I finally got reconnected, I didn’t feel my usual impulse to turn on the tv every time I entered my home. Who would have thought that resetting my cable would turn into a whole mental reset? As much as I missed the music and the noise over the last 10 days, I suddenly feel more comfortable with the silence. I was initially worried it would all make me feel a bit anxious, but instead, I can curl up with a book, and it feels better than alright. With unplugging, although involuntarily, I’ve been reminded that I can enjoy my own company, fully and without distraction. Hey! If you ever get bored, you can always talk to yourself!

Just kidding…

EVA♥

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Hello everyone!

I’m not sure if many of you remember this, but a while back I wrote a biting review of the Tinder app (you can find it here)? And I told you all about how it wasn’t “better than real life,” how it was superficial, and how the majority of men on there were poorly presented?

Well… I have a confession to make.

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I sort of found one on there. And by found, I mean, I’ve been seeing a guy I met on Tinder for the last six months or so. You may have seen his disembodied hand here and there, or perhaps noticed that I’ve been stealing his photos for some of my most recent posts. I know some bloggers feel a bit dicey about sharing too much of their personal lives in their writing, and yet I put all this other ridiculous life-related nonsense on here so why not? I was the one that decided to be all high and mighty and share my opinions in the first place, so here goes nothing!

I began my original Tinder post with the disclaimer that this was all for blog-related purposes, yadda yadda. I downloaded and deleted it, only to download it again, to later delete it. Long story short, Tinder made a great recreational, post-cocktail bonding activity for myself and my girlfriends. Who doesn’t like some good old-fashioned ogling and complaining about members of the opposite sex? I know men do this too, although perhaps sans complaining. It’s admittedly quite fun to hand your best girlfriend your phone and tell her to “have at it!” Let’s be honest, I haven’t had the best track record, but I keep trying and things keep getting better, so I must be doing something right.

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I had struck up a few conversations with people I had been “matched” with, and I was pleasantly surprised at how polite the majority of them were. Once again, this wouldn’t be hard to do in real life. However, I’ve been told by male friends of mine that I’m somehow “scary” for men to talk to, or some such nonsense. Anyway, I decided to meet one of my matches for a quick lunch one day while I was commuting to work in San Francisco. I made sure to tell one of my girlfriends about my plans, lest I find myself in need of a fake emergency in case of the dreaded really bad date. Maybe I was a tiny bit obsessive about it, but you never know. He looked almost exactly like his photos. Typical first date awkwardness ensued;  I had a big bowl of carrot soup and he ate kale salad before dropping me back off at the office. I saw him again that Saturday, and again the week after that, and the week after that. It’s funny how these things work sometimes. I wasn’t necessarily looking for anything, but had apparently found something wonderful. Now, whenever someone complains that online dating is weird, or that Tinder is “just for hookups,” all my girlfriends are quick to make an example of me: “Eva met her guy on Tinder! And he’s great! Not crazy or anything…that we know of. Eva! Show them a picture!” 

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Am suddenly shining example of strange dating success. Sure, it can get awkward when people ask how we met. Depending on how either of us is feeling, we’ll either tell people the truth or say we met somewhere horribly mundane, like Starbucks. Yet, I’m pleasantly surprised at how many people are quick to share their positive dating-app experiences. The game has certainly changed since my parents age, and I feel like technology has quite a bit to do with it. But I don’t think any amount of new websites or apps will ever help us figure some things out. I’m fairly certain that men will always be bizarre and puzzling to me, but then again, most would probably say the same things about me. Meanwhile, I can always leave them in a corner somewhere while I go shopping.

Just kidding….sort of.

EVA♥

Five Things

Happy Wednesday all!

We’re exactly halfway through the week, yet I remain convinced it’s Thursday. Don’t you hate those kinds of weeks? They just seem to drag on forever. Between all the work-related gigs, Taco Tuesdays, thrifting, and requisite summertime fun, I’ve been frantically searching for new content and topics to write about. Funnily enough, it’s always the minute I stop making a concerted effort that I have the most prolific ideas. Everyone has a different creative process, I guess. Enough chatter- on to the weekly Five Things!

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If you happened to be anywhere near a beauty blog yesterday, you’ll have been made aware that it was #NationalLipstickDay. In a nod to many people’s (myself included) love of lipstick, I recommend that you check out a piece on the lovely Joanna’s blog, A Cup of Jo, where her new editorial assistant executed a “Lipstick Challenge.”  Digging in to the depths of her lipstick drawer, she wore a new shade every work day over several weeks. I might just be a huge beauty junkie, but I found this weirdly fascinating. And also now want to own blue lipstick. Yes, it sounds strange, but just check out her look on week two! So pretty.

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Yes, here’s a gratuitous sunset shot for the week. We’ve been having the most spectacular sunsets in the Bay Area as of late, so I naturally have to document them as soon as I get a chance.

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If you’ve ever been to Starbuck’s, you are totally familiar with the baristas propensities to utterly screw up the most basic names in existence. I get a lot of Ava and April, but never before have I seen a “Hayva.” Extra points for creativity to that one. For more funny misspells, check out Buzzfeed’s 27 Times Starbucks Failed So Hard It Almost Won.

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Photo c/o Daybreak & The Bold Italic

Did everyone know that the early morning dance party is now a thing in San Francisco? I happened upon this latest trend while perusing the Bold Italic this morning. For those people who genuinely enjoy dancing, but don’t always have the energy to go out-and-about every Saturday night, you can attend this dance party on a random Tuesday, right before work. Lasting from 7:30-9:30am, next week’s fun offers atypical fare- no cocktails, but coffee, tea, and breakfast treats in abundance. This is way better than running on the elliptical at the gym for an hour. Just saying.
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With the big birthday fast approaching, I’ve been frequenting Sosh, an app that I can best describe as a more personal Yelp that’s strictly for social events and activities. While only available for certain US cities at the moment, Sosh allows you to search by the activity you’re interested in- be it happy hours, fitness classes, concerts, or restaurants, within your neighborhood of choice. You can also write reviews and bookmark activities and events you hope to attend in the future. I have 33 events bookmarked currently,inlcuding Dim Sum at Yank Sing, cocktails at the “Vegas inspired” Drake lounge, and an outdoor movie screening in Washington Park. I’m looking forward to chipping away at them very soon!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Wednesday!

EVA♥

Watch Me Juggle…on Instagram

Hello all!

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I’m on the Instagram bandwagon everyone! You can now follow me @Watchmejuggle!

I can honestly say I’m surprised at how much I enjoy this app. Despite my “following” numerous people completely independent of the app itself for a long time, I had lumped this particular application in with the likes of Twitter: primarily overrun with teenagers with a penchant for over-sharing. And, yes, maybe the stereotype of Instagram being the land of selfies, coffee art, and inspirational quotes rings true, but who cares! I honestly enjoy seeing those types of pictures posted by my good friends, and I clearly enjoy participating.

Instagram brings me back to the early days of Facebook, where security settings were straightforward and profiles consisted only of albums and wall posts. Your interactions on Instagram consist only of “liking” or commenting on other users’ pictures, and “tagging” friends in photos. That’s it! And don’t get me started on the wide variety of apps out there based solely on Instagram. Not enough filters for you? Never fear, there’s apps like Photo Editor by Aviary, Afterlight, and countless others to give you more of a variety. Then of course you have your editing apps to “touch up” your photos, apps featuring overlay capabilities to add writing or those hilarious little lights you see on some photos. The possibilities are seemingly endless. If posting your photos publicly isn’t your thing, you can make your profile entirely private or simply use it as a means to follow others. There’s really no obligation to post anything yourself. On the contrary, if you have a passion for selfies go forth! You’ll now be able to bond with others over this odd social trend. Quite a fun, artistic app really.

This world is an interesting place, so why not take photos and share them? Makes sense to me…

EVA

A Complicated Relationship…

Hi everyone!

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I guess you could call this post a continuation on one of my previous ventures, “Adventures in Apps.” Today, I wanted to focus on a little thing called Twitter, and the newly complicated relationship I have with it. Undeniably, my experience with this social media oversharer began when my father sat me down, and very seriously asked me what a hashtag was.  This was funny enough by itself, but what was possibly even funnier was my explanation. (Note: just because I’m young-ish, doesn’t mean I know exactly how the internet works. You’re talking to someone who is typing this on her HP laptop circa 2008, next to a copy of WordPress for Dummies.) My ensuing diatribe went something like this:

“Well…a hashtag is, like, something that was initially intended to serve as a form of categorization…?

But, now people just start everything with this little pound-sign thing…?

Because it’s amusing…?

Like, if I put #amusing in a tweet…you could look up #amusing…and see my tweet…? As well as all the other people who used #amusing…?

Kinda sorta?”

I honestly don’t think he understood, and I don’t blame him. I’m still not entirely sure I understand myself and am pretty sure I fail at social media. Don’t even get me started on tweeting AT people. Anyway, once I set up my Twitter account, I literally googled “How to use Twitter,” and then read through an entire page entitled “Mom This is How Twitter Works.” It’s filled with great examples and how-tos, but possibly confused me even more than before. There’s also a poignant little section on Twitter vs. Facebook. Interestingly enough, there is quite an existing overlap already, even without Twitter unveiling its new layout, so that it now looks exactly like your Facebook profile. Too bad most of my generation is already over Facebook. Remember when it used to be just for college students to connect with their current and former classmates? I miss those days. You’re lying if you’re telling me you don’t. I’m sure everyone is thrilled to have their mother, their nosy coworkers, and their grandparents on Facebook now. We love you, but we also don’t want you to see our incriminating LasVegas photos taken at 5am that one time on Spring Break.

Anyway…

Twitter itself is quite an interesting concept, and can be a fantastic way to obtain concise information about anything under the sun in a mere glance. My Twitter feed is essentially all my local and world news, consolidated in one long stream. I wake up in the morning, scroll, and read all the headlines in under a minute. Fabulous thing, technology. Being a woman with varied tastes, I enjoy following news organizations, NGOs, and political figures as well as fashion magazines, cosmetic companies, and Youtube personalities. Now, what I find slightly disturbing is that when I scroll through my Twitter feed, I will find the latest on the Syrian refugee situation, right next to an article extolling the virtues of coral lipstick for summer. This phenomenon often makes me feel like the most ridiculous human being. “There’s war all over the world and hundreds died in riots, but OMG those shoes would look great with this bag!” It’s undeniably easier to compartmentalize these parts of your life without Twitter. On the other hand, it’s hard to derive any kind of meaningful perspective from this seemingly random stream of information. You take it with a grain of salt, as it were.

Unfortunately, Twitter can also be a place where the endlessly narcissistic flock to tell everyone what they had for breakfast that day, or share their medical histories. My rule: if you would not say it in everyday conversation, it does not belong on Twitter. Just say no.

In the end, I’m still not entirely sure what I think of Twitter. It’s been a fantastic sounding board for all of the little ideas, pictures, and one-liners that pop into my head at random. I also enjoy connecting with many of my students on Twitter, as it’s perhaps less personally invasive than Facebook. I was, truthfully, it’s biggest skeptic; yet it’s ability to allow its user to customize their preferences makes it a lot easier for those not so keen on sharing their personal lives to enjoy. If you’re on the fence, give it a try. You can always blame me if it doesn’t work out. And then I’ll have something else to write about…

EVA

Adventures with Apps

“It’s like real life, but better.” 

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Hello all!

One one particularly mundane weekday evening, I decided to plunder the App Store and see what I could find. Now armed with my updated iPhone, I decided I would try to update myself on what was new in social media. Yes, I am now on Twitter (you can find me @4evamaria), but there is something increasingly disturbing about all this rapid-fire spread of information. I appreciate being able to receive quick notices from the local news, from NPR, from the UN. I do not need mid-day reassurance from Cosmopolitan that “Yes, you can find a hot bikini even if you have giant boobs.” Really?! Could we be more crass?

Regardless, I do hear plenty of positive anecdotes when it comes to apps. One of my best friends works for a fantastic one, Google maps saves me constantly, and I adore Spotify for being able to play my music on the go. Lately I’ve heard quite a bit about one in particular: Tinder. Recently made famous by it’s mass-use by the many Olympians in Sochi this past Valentine’s Day. The premise of this app is to locate members of the opposite sex within a 5/10/30 mile radius of you and to expedite an interaction. It’s quite simple in design, really- a sort of selective, tech-based mixer.  You are presented with photos, and are given the option to move along (swipe to the left “Nope!”) or give a stamp of approval (swipe right). Yes, this app rejoices in making superficial judgments of people, and you are only matched if both parties “like” each other.  Now, a friend of mine had had a surprisingly positive experience using this app: they met up for happy hour, and before she knew it, were attending each others’ company Christmas parties. It may not be the most romantic of stories, but at the very least you’ve expanded your social circle. I decided to take Tinder for a test drive, not expecting much of anything, yet hoping to have enough insight that I might share it with all of you. Hint: it’s certainly not “better” than real life.

It takes about 8 seconds to sign up (only possible if you have functional Facebook account), set your parameters, and start swiping. And I mean, swiping. I was moving through these photos so fast, my hand started to cramp. (Does anyone get carpal tunnel from this?) I was met with a barrage of images, almost all of them discouraging and strangely generic. I’m not sure what disappointed me more, the fact that I was so gladly judging people solely based on appearances, or these people presented themselves so poorly. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that the face you present to the public doesn’t matter, that you can’t judge a book by its cover, etc. But, if I chose to go to work everyday wearing sweats, not brushing my hair, and looking like an all-around mess, would you trust me to teach your children? I think not. Take some pride in your appearance, that’s all I’m saying. To further elaborate, here are some examples of the things I saw:

Men hugging their dogs (Ok, so you like animals)

Men in bed with their dogs (Ok, weird)

Men holding massive cans of cheap beer

Men surrounded by women. Need I say more?

Men with mugshot-like photos. Looking like a serial killer is not attracting the ladies, sir.

The John Waters mustache. When was that ever a good idea?

A man. With a Tuba. On a beach. Why?

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We’ve all decided the duck-face is unattractive. What makes it even more appalling is that you’re a 32 year-old man doing it.

Despite all the negativity, I can see how this app can be addicting. When you do match with someone, it’s an instant ego boost. You can puff out your chest and say “Look! These people who I think are attractive find me attractive too!” You now have a concrete list to be proud of, as bizarre as it is.  After all of the endless scrolling, I became painfully aware of the fact that I was most likely being subjected to the same treatment on another phone. Paranoid that all these people could see me, I quickly deleted the app. If anything, I learned a little bit about myself. Cliché, I know, but it made me feel better. In my humble opinion, you’re instantly more attractive if you can approach someone in person and strike up a conversation, even better if you can make them laugh. And, although I did appreciate the pictures of baby animals that some gentlemen chose to post instead of themselves, how about putting the phone down and looking around once in a while? Pull out your earbuds and smile at someone or say hello. They say that loneliness is a growing epidemic among younger generations, and I can see why. Let go of your electronic best friend, and go out there and meet some people. See real things.  Learning how to connect to humanity in a real way is so much better than this app.

Just a thought.

EVA♥