Monthly Archives

November 2014

Gobble Gobble!

November 27, 2014


Happy Thanksgiving! Giving thanks for everyone that’s ever passed through P&S. I’m so thankful for all of the encouragement readers continue to give me to keep this blog up and running! And as always, I’m thankful for my crazy family, my wonderful friends and my pretty pup. I hope that your day is full of happy and full of food! Here’s to another Turkey Day with the family. And remember, little moments like these make you (really) big.



The Nuptials

November 25, 2014

Last week On My Mind  was focused on the Florida wedding of one of our closest family friends. As I suggested there, this wedding meant more than cutting the cake and champagne toasts (although those things were present); this wedding was the first set of nuptials out of a group of children that had grown up together, because their parents had had met, torn it up and somehow survived together in college.

I had taken this all for granted as something that just happens, when in reality its something that you have to make happen.

When you’re small you take things at face value: “This is Aunt Kathy. This is Uncle Brad. No they’re not technically your aunt and uncle, but if you were to measure in number of sleepovers, vacations taken and New Year’s Eves spent together, they are by all accounts, close family.” So, I called them uncle and aunt without ever wondering how it got to be that way, how they eclipsed from being my parents friends to being close enough to yell at me and Kitty to eat our green beans before our mac and cheese.


THE Uncle Brad

For those of us in college, I want to put this in perspective. Uncle Brad was my father’s fraternity brother and member of his pledge class (PC 23B.C.). And there we were, on an island in Florida, some 30 years after my father and Uncle Brad had played a boot and rally round of quarters, watching the first of the tribe be married off.

The Welcome Party on Friday night was buzzing with other members of that pledge class as well; at least four other couples, all from Seton Hall in the early 80’s had made the trip from New Jersey. Buzzed on red wine and excitement (for seeing me, Matt, Megan, and Katie all in the same place for the first time in years) it became clear to me: friendship doesn’t end because diplomas are handed out. Between all the gross things my dad’s friends were saying about he and my mother, one looked at me and said, “I’d still go to the ends of the earth for your dad.” 30 years later. Huh, what a beautiful thing.

Without a doubt, the close bond between our parents enacted a close bond between the children: Megan and Matt, Kelly and Katie. In a perfect duet of alliteration, we grew up together. We progressed from riding the merry-go-round at the state fair, to  Aplinegeist every summer at Busch Gardens, to teenage angst in Aruba and half-apps when our curfew grew later. So, Megan getting married was monumental. Somehow, even though our parents had stopped forcing sleepovers and photographs on us long before this past weekend, we had remained friends long enough to see the first one of us walk down the aisle.

And then we celebrated. We celebrated in that college student and yo-pro way, mirroring the stories our parents had told us from the pubs of South Orange. While those stories, of our parents dancing to Bruce Springsteen in the early morning hours of a Thursday night had always seemed unattainable, we were suddenly that age. It would seem too, that nothing much had changed. Thanks to any early and often regiment of Bruce’s classics, we also closed down the party with Rosalita

Some photos of the beautiful wedding. Congrats Megan and Derek, so happy I got to be there to celebrate with you!







Nostalgic for spring break ’81?




On My Mind, Thanksgiving Week!

November 24, 2014

Another abbreviated week here in the District. Tomorrow I’ll be heading north, I’ll be heading home! Although Thanksgiving break is more a tease than anything, I’m welcoming it with open arms. Here’s what’s on my mind this holiday week:

thanksgiving, nj.

Thanksgiving has two identities: 1. a reason to go home, snuggle on the couch with all of your family, and eat food until you think (know) you’re going to explode. 2. the opening bell to the Christmas season. For the first part of Thanksgiving’s two-part purpose, my family is breaking in my grandparent’s new house. We’ll see if this new abode can handle the always loud, always hilarious, always two types of stuffing and extra crescent rolls kind of holidays our family is known for having. The new house offers a new kind of cozy, a new kind of tradition, but with the same people I love to hate and hate to love (I know you know what I’m saying). As for the whole Christmas season thing, I can’t wait! There’s nothing that makes me happier than giving cold weather some cheer. Plus, it means a whole month of winter break is close on the horizon.


home, nj

I haven’t been home for an extended period of time since last winter break. I decided to spend this past summer in the stifling humidity of the District, without realizing how much I would miss my house, its sounds and its smells. So, while I’m thrilled for turkey, a nice tryptophan nap and apple pie, I’m more excited to light a fire and sit on the couch in my family room, just as if it were a Sunday night in high school. This break, as I said before, is a bit of a tease. I’ll be hopping on another train south on Sunday afternoon. Instead of it being as bittersweet as it has been in the past, this year I’m viewing Thanksgiving break as a taste tester: “Look Kelly, this will all be waiting for you again in two weeks!”

gwu v. seton hall, the rock.

On Saturday November 29th, many threads of my life will intersect at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. Its the Seton Hall GWU basketball game and oddly enough I have connections to both sides. The stands will be full of my parents rooting for their alma mater (SHU) and their college friends, frat brothers, roommates all rooting for SHU alongside them. Next to them will be me and The Boy in the Polo Hat rooting for the team that has brought us nearly zero glory for the past 3 and a half years, but are fun to root for just the same. Across the court will be my best friend, her family and the family of her boyfriend, starting SHU guard, Jaren Sina, who I know, like, and am going to feel pretty odd cheering against. I’ll keep the heckling to a minimum, but I can’t say the same for the Boy in the Polo Hat.10167717

immense amount of work, everywhere, all the time.

I misrepresented my break a little bit. I forgot to mention that each time I’m snuggling on the couch or sitting by the fire, I will also be doing one of the 4 large assignments that I have due upon my arrival back in DC. Thanksgiving break is going to be a lot of writing (as in a min. 20 page paper), a lot of reading (as in a media law test right when I get back), and PowerPoint creating (as in one more solo presentation to round out the semester). While, I’m pretty disappointed, its my last semester of a crazy finals schedule. When I’m only taking 2 classes semester, this will be a thing of the past, a blip on my memory. Right now though, its pretty scary, and this blurb must be short because as I’m writing it I’m starting to panic.

The Phone Interview

November 19, 2014

Some of the best emails begin with, “I’ve looked over your resume and you seem to have good experience. The next step is an interview…” Pure. Joy. Somehow you’ve made it out of the pool resumes that look almost identical to yours  and on to the desk of someone that really matters. The only thing that could possibly mar this initial joy though are the words that follow, “When is the best time to reach you for a phone interview?”

No. Not one of those. The bell tolls, and somehow after that initial rush of joy your job dreams already seem dead.

How are you supposed to flash the, ‘please employ me, I’m worth it,’ smile that you’ve been practicing in the mirror? How are you supposed to reel them in with the pearly-whites your parents paid mega bucks to have straightened in order to make you marketable? This is the cold hard truth: you can’t. On a phone interview you must rely on knowledge, experience, quick-wittedness and the sincere hope that the interviewer doesn’t hate your voice.

And what if they do hate your voice? This is something you’ll never know because a phone interview inhibits our ability as interviewees to adjust ourselves to the vibe of the interviewer. On a conference call, hiding in our room so our roommates don’t hear our fake professional voice, we are stripped of the basic ability to adapt to a situation. We become a floating voice, who can’t even see the person who holds our futures in their hands.

If we’re being honest here, no one really connects with a floating voice talking about the time they had to make a hard decision as the head of their sorority. And you know why? They can’t see the passion in your eyes when you tell them that at least 3 of your friends were mad at you for at least 8 days, but you did it for the greater good of the organization.

Instead, you could be rambling on about the blog posts you edited at your last job and your interviewer, trying hard not to, may be zoning out counting the minutes until they get the leftover General Tso’s chicken they have waiting for them in the refrigerator. All of this is because its hard to connect over the phone. A person is more than their resume and more than their voice.

But when presented with this harrowing task, we have to be up to it, because sometimes a 30 minute phone call is the only way we have to dazzle them. So: we try our hardest not to say ‘like’ or ‘um,’ and we hope that our words are as strong as our ability to hand gesture our way out of a question we’re not sure we know how to answer.

Plus, its kind of cool to interview for a job wearing a pair of sweatpants from middle school field hockey.



On My Mind

November 17, 2014

My week in the District is a short one this time around! Thursday I’ll be jetting down south, so here’s what’s on my mind this abbreviated week:

the wedding.

The much anticipated reason for my abbreviated week. The daughter of our oldest family friends (that’s shortchanging them, they’re family) is getting married this Saturday! Somehow, it doesn’t seem real to me. Megan was my playmate, my gang up buddy against our younger siblings, the one I looked up to as we got older (i.e. my high school obsession with Vera Bradley). Somehow her moment also signifies a big moment for all four of us kids: were not putting on talent shows in the living room anymore. Two of us are post-grad, I’muncomfortably close too, and Kitty isn’t far behind; our relationship has moved past the realm of sleepovers down the shore into real life. That’s pretty amazing. I can’t wait to see what beautiful bride Megan is and what a handsome groomsman Matt makes!  More to come on this exciting weekend!


flo-rida (wedding part ii).

Not only do I get to watch Megan walk down the aisle, but I get to do it in my favorite place in Florida. My family has been visiting  since I was a little girl, and I’m so excited to be going back. It’s beautiful in a quiet way and a perfect place to say ‘I do.’ Its going to 80 degrees and mostly sunny, my pasty skin isn’t complaining. I’ll let you know if I come home with a sunburn.

hitRECord, on the internet.

I just recently found Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s new production company, hitRECord, and I’m obsessed. It’s an online collaboration platform for artists, musicians, writers, comedians and others to publish work and watch it be revamped, rethought and possibly used in a television show or movie produced by the production company. All’s fair in love and art here: you can work an anyone else’s work if you credit them. If the production company picks your work up, you get paid. Its the perfect play-nice collab spot. If you’re a creative writing nerd like I am, check out the weekly writing challenge.


rain, the sky.

I’m not sure if this qualifies as on my mind ‘this week,’ but it is on my mind today. This may feel like a cop out, but something about the rain makes me feel better, and that’s something that I think a lot about. I didn’t have the best weekend and so I’m relishing in the rain. Not because of the cliché rebirth, renewal, everything comes clean in the rain, but because I know that sometimes its okay to cuddle up and hunker down. Sometimes I think that the rain is my comrade in arms, it understands that in a brief moment of cynicism you just want a reason to sit on your couch.


Rocked the Core

November 11, 2014

I had a lot of expectations about this past weekend’s Rock the Core: photographs would be snapped, cider sipped, sun would shine and an Americana feel would be accompanied by a folksy soundtrack. There would be plaid, fur vests, floppy hats and cable knit sweater shielding against crisp autumn air. The picture I had created in my mind was a blogger’s dream. In fact, it was this blogger’s dream.

Those subdued preconceptions I had about Rock the Core though were wrong, very very wrong.  As it turns out, I quickly forgot about my ideas because the 4:30-7:30 session above Union Market was a party! 

It didn’t matter that my 21 brigade and I were the youngest one’s there; whether 27 or 37 everyone was clamoring for coolers filled with cider and beer, the tables left out about for flip cup, oversized Jenga and the life-sized pong game. The warehouse space above Union Market was full and it was loud. It was loud even before the DJ started bumping top 40 hits and tipsy people started filling in the space in front of his speakers to drop, drop drop it low.

The most pivotal moment of the night (besides the amazing pink cider I tried) was when the DJ yelled into his mic, “Let me hear everyone that’s over 35!”

The whole place basically erupted. And there we were 21 and 22, seniors in college, back to being babies in a whole new way.

#SWUGS on campus, infants in real life. The whole concept kind of gave me hope that THE LAST YEAR SERIES is really only the last year of GW and not the last fleeting moments of excited freedom that go hand-in-hand with college. There seems to be life after graduation. Thank God.

Props to those over 35’s who got down on the dance floor just as hard as we did, you all are my new heroes.




Yes, there were floppy hats, fur vests and cable knit sweaters anyways.













On My Mind

November 10, 2014

Happy second week of November, or for some people around here, Movember! Here’s what’s on my mind this week of low 60’s and partly sunny.

Haircut 2.0


Well, it’s been approximately 8 and a half months since my unfortunate run-in with a bitter stylist and his overactive scissors. My hair reached the length I wanted it cut to in February somewhere in late July, and now my middle length hair is making me nostalgic for my long-bob. Despite my relatively new, yet deep-seated fear of Washington DC stylists, I’m cutting my hair again. No panic necessary, I’m only reestablishing the long-bob (with a sincere threat to cut the stylist’s hair without my glasses on if he goes even a millimeter above a. long. bob.) So wish me luck and pray Aveda hires people that cut like LC’s hair dresser.


The Last Registration

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 I swear that I was just a naive 18 year old registering with zeal for Rewriting Jane Eyre the summer before coming to college. With six 6 a.m. wakeup calls under our belts, the class of 2015 is registering for our last semester at GW. If that doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what does. To top it all off, my schedule is going to be sparse, leaving more time for building bridges into the real world. Let the fear and the excitement of second semester senioritis commence.

Movember, on your face.


Someone is telling guys that the ‘stache is back in style. While at first I recoiled at the sight of them, I did a little research and learned just why (if you look past the unflattering facial hair) Movember is nothing but good. To date Movember has raised over $559 million benefitting programs for men affected by testicular cancer, prostate cancer and mental health. The Movember Foundation’s website says 400 million mustaches have been grown worldwide; I can count 3 from where I’m sitting. Check out more about the foundation here and boys (or significant others/friends who will pass the info along), please check out grooming tips here.

George Ezra (swoon).

On Sunday nights on Sirius XM, BBC Radio takes over and counts down the top 50 songs in the UK. Over the summer, driving down 95 with the Boy in the Polo Hat dozing off beside me, I found my new play-on-reapeat-until-the-lyrics-flow-through-your-blood song: Budapest by George Ezra. He’s a 21-year-old with an English upbringing, a creamy voice and a bluesy way of telling you exactly what you want to hear. His music is clean and honest and I’m on a serious kick with it. His EP Did You Hear the Rain? was released on October of 2013 and he has new music set to come out later this year. Go listen and swoon with me.

Photo credit for the featured photograph to, thanks!

The Meeting

November 7, 2014

During the summer before the senior year of college there’s a huge shift. There’s less worrying about the papers and books for the upcoming semester, and far more worrying about stepping on the right rung of the ladder of success. At first, everyone panics because no one knows where the ladder even is at this point, but unbeknownst to us our DNA is coded so that the second senior year begins we all have a plan of action: make meetings with any person you’ve ever met ever in hopes that any person that they’ve ever met ever will get you a job.

Its Meeting Season.

Meetings with your professors, meetings with your internship bosses, meetings with career services, with recruiters, with the TFA man in Starbucks and that 4th degree connection on LinkedIn who worked at Rolling Stone one summer 15 years ago.

And we do it because since we got to college, every job workshop we’ve ever gone to has revolved around the concept of networking. At this point in my college career, networking is the work of gods. And so we reach out to people we feel fundamentally awkward reaching out to for help because every single person ever has told us that its the only way we transcend that line from student to coveted, YOPRO.

Somewhere between penciling them in and meeting for a soy milk cappuccino though, I always come to that frightening realization that I have absolutely no idea what a meeting entails.  What do I say? Do I ask them about Camp Bernie, where they met with my aunt 33 years ago? How am I supposed remain calm and coy when asking this person for one of biggest favors of my life? This is not to mention the awkward ‘to hug or not to hug,’ moment that always ensues upon their entry.

What I do know about all of these meeting is that I’m ordering a $7.50 cardboard cup under the guise of ‘networking’ and ‘forging new professional relationships,’ but in all reality my self-respect has diminished so much that groveling on my hands and knees for a job, in the J.Crew skirt that I wear for every business casual event ever, is not out of the question. Not in the least bit.

Despite the nerves and the groveling though, we keep going. We keep writing emails to people our grandfather knew because its the only sense of agency that we have over this whole ‘attempting to get a job’ process. Its the only thing we can do besides updating our resumés and proofreading the endless written and rewritten cover letters.

At this point, I’ll just see my next meeting as a dry run for groveling on my hands in knees in that grey J.Crew skirt in an actual interview.




November 7, 2014


two years ago on a cold january night, at the kitchen table of my childhood home, i wrote what would become the foundation of this little blog.

the peony effect was born on the understanding that peonies themselves, for most of their lives, are suspended in the moments before their world bursts into beauty. before they are the large showy flowers we know and love, they are turned into themselves with an inward facing reality and an outward pulling momentum. the peony effect is potential. the peony effect promised to find beauty in all the mistakes and the bumps along my college road beginning the winter of my sophomore year.

and now peonies and subtleties is graduating.

here, the crossroads are more defined. turn left for grad school. pass go. skip a turn. be tossed out on your behind. puddle jump to new york for an interview. take the first offer. wait for the offer you want. the offer comes. or it doesn’t.

alongside all the stress of reaching a fork in the road without any defined directions though, will be nostalgia-fueled carpe diem. free time is running out and there’s no question that the pressure will produce a pile of diamonds. senior year. we’ll drink to that. we’ll laugh to that. we’ll celebrate the city we’ve been so lucky to call home. our college lives will bloom, because our season has finally come.

the final year series will document both the stresses and the celebrations that senior year brings. if there was ever a time to blog about potential, it’s right now.

i look forward to you coming along for the ride. and as always, little moments make you big.



P&S Lifestyle

November 7, 2014

Welcome to Lifestyle! Here you’ll see my apartment walls and see my attempts at cooking. Below is one of the newest editions to my room, compliments of Society6. Check back for more of my take on decor and dessert!

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