Lady Love Part 3: The Many Talents of Lorelai Gilmore

So I have a bit of a confession. In my spare time, instead of solving issues of world hunger or tearing through my (GROWING!) reading list or trying new, exotic cuisine or showering, I’ve gone rogue. I’ve went through the looking glass, and there’s really no turning back.

Yep, I’m re-watching all of the seasons of Gilmore Girls. I went back to the very beginning (a very fine place to start) of Rory and Stars Hollow and Dean (the boy she SHOULD have broken up with much earlier) and Jess (the boy she SHOULDN’T have broken up with…at least until Junior year of college). It’s such a frothy, fast-paced world of perpetual fall days and festivities and old timey barber shop quartets and cars that stay unlocked because, heck, there aren’t any felonies in Stars Hollow.

And Lorelai. Beautiful, batty Lorelai.

Sometimes when life is getting me down, when I feel extra paranoid or kind of blue I remember that one time when Lorelai turned on her car lights because her porch light went out and the yard needed illumination and think, hey kiddo, you’re doing just fine. Here are some lessons I’ve learned from the coolest lady around:

get. it. girl.

get. it. girl.

1.) Staying true to yourself is the only real option.

Kooky, oddball, hilarious, weird. These are all words that consistently come to mind when describing Lorelai. Obviously she’s striking and lovely to look at, but that’s not who Lorelai is, yafeel? She doesn’t cook (at one point she becomes upset with Luke for making her stir), she doesn’t people please (one look at Emily Gilmore’s perpetual side-eye at her daughter and you know Lorelai honestly doesn’t care), and she raises her kid the way she sees fit. Pizza, Twizzlers and coffee for dinner? NBD. Lorelai is Lorelai and won’t be bothered with who she is supposed to be…or who she’s supposed to be with.  That’s actually a really powerful quality in an Instagram filtered society bent on being perceived as perfectly perfect. For the record, if Loreli had an Instagram I feel like it would be filled with photos of piles of dirty laundry and unflattering shots of Michel.

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2.) Pop culture is actually pretty powerful.

Pop culture gets a bad rap.  The thinking goes, if you have enough time to make E! news and People magazine your daily bread then there isn’t enough brain space for things like global warming, politics or existential questions. It’s a valid argument, but one that fails to give credit to the lack of sleep many pop culture fiends can live on. I like to think my existential thoughts in the morning and leave the Marry, Do, Kill Celebrity Style for my late night ruminations.

The thing about Lorelai is she is QUICK. Not only in her talking speed, but in her wit. She’ll drop a reference to Anna Karenina and in the same breath deconstruct the meaning of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. And it works. It works in a scary kind of way. Similarly, my knowledge of pop culture occasionally scares me. I frequently find myself asking How in the hell do I know this much about Gwen Stefani or The Kardashians or Ina Garten. Sometimes I feel like I should dedicate my brain to other things, but then Lorelai reminds me it’s okay to have copious amounts of frivolous knowledge. In fact…it might make you a more well-rounded person.  Go with me for a second, pop culture is the great connector. I can’t tell you how many awkward conversations the mention of Blue Ivy has gotten me out of. It relaxes people and allows them to open up, much, much more than global warming does, for the record.  So maybe Lorelai was on to something…or maybe she just really, really liked “Breakfast Club.”

3.) Never underestimate the power of a strong woman. 

Lorelai is one tough broad. She raised a child on her own when she was basically a child herself. Yeah she was privileged growing up and yeah she wound up in a pretty idyllic little town, but for a good chunk of her life, it was just her. She is incredibly self-reliant. I on the other hand tend to lean toward leach-hood when it comes to people I really care about. I think Lorelai appreciates her friends and family (kind of), but when it comes down to it she’s able to create a life in solo fashion. This is a powerful example, not only for women, but also for everyone.

Do you watch Gilmore Girls? Who is your GG character spirit animal? If you don’t watch it, why are you crazy?

Citing erraday:

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Put on Those Travelin’ Shoes: Why I Make Time for Travel

There’s only four ways to get unraveled; One is to sleep and the other is travel. – Jim Morrison

Hi there. It’s been much too long, friends. My reason for the delay is a good one, even though on principal I kind of hate lame excuses. But this one isn’t lame, I swear. I’ve been, you guessed it, traveling. Le sigh. I recently got back from a long cruise where I spent a good portion of time hiding from the sun, hanging with my wonderful family, slathering SPF all over my body, and eating my weight in ze foodz. Traveling is such a wonderful little thing we as humans are allowed to do. Our world is so vast, and we are so small, so it’s only natural we’d want to crawl over it like ants seeing whatever is possible during our little lifespan.

If you’re an ant, I’m an ant.

There are many reasons people travel, but true Ginger fashion, I’ve narrowed down my reasons to three. These are why I habitually stuff my things in a suitcase and hop onto flying contraptions at the blink of an eye.  My intent with this is to inspire a little wanderlust in you while giving you the push you need to plan that getaway and ant your way around the world (yep, ant is a verb now).

Reason 1: Traveling presses that reset button

Day after day, it’s easy to get caught up in that ever-expanding, ever-annoying to do list. Buy groceries, send 60982 emails, take a shower, mow the lawn, wash your hair (LOLZ), catch up every season of Gilmore Girls. You get it. Taking a much needed break allows you to do exactly what you want for a set period of time, to do list be damned.  Travel also makes a little headspace for life when you finish your trip (more on that later).  On a vacation you get to take long lunches (something I thoroughly believe in), sleep in, look at trees, sniff clean air (depending on where you’re traveling), talk to random people, do a cart-wheel, etc.

I can do these things most days, you say. My retort: When is the last time you did a cartwheel?

A real cartwheel, not the butt only in the air, feet never leaving the ground mess adults tend to do. Taking a vacation, at its core, is an act of spontaneity. It doesn’t matter how Type A, planned to the max you may try and make your vacations, something always sneaks up on you, and usually that thing is freaking LIFE. Traveling opens you up to the wacky, insane, beautiful, hilarious world we live in. You’re able to meet new people, hear new accents, try new food, look in the mirror at yourself in a new way. What’s even better is travel reminds us how very similar we all are.  At our very core, we all just want to laugh and love and eat good food, amiright? Travel grabs your hand in a non-creepy way and helps you press the reset button that seemed just out of your reach mere seconds before.

Reason 2: It forces you to make time

Time? Time for what? More like time for whatEVER (see what I did there). Traveling gives you space. Wherever your destination, for some reason a vacation gives you permission to do what you love–writing, reading, trying out a new language, running, telling a lame joke, experimenting in the kitchen or through ordering a new, wacky dish.  These are all things we’re allowed to do everyday, but for some reason we tend to prioritize them lower than something as riveting as investing money or paying a bill or picking up your puppy’s poo. Yes, technically those mundane things are important; however, on vacation your thought process is Heck I’m already giving myself free time, I might as well ____________(fill in the blank with frivolity aka fun).

But for the love of all that is holy, don’t judge yourself. If you relax by watching a couple episodes of Real Housewives of New York in a fluffy hotel bathrobe while attacking the food in the mini bar like a ravaged wolf, go for it! Something I always do before leaving for a trip is perusing a book store for the perfect book. Sometimes it’s a challenging book, sometimes it’s frothy and easy, but it’s always something I want. Then I use the vacation as an opportunity to tackle the book into submission. An added bonus is if I ever re-read the book, I’m instantly transported back to my vacation!

Reason 3: It reminds you why your life is pretty stinking awesome

One of my favorite feelings in the world is falling into my own bed after a long flight home. After vacation, no matter how fabulous, no matter how beautiful, there is truly no place like home (clicking the heels, donning the red shoes). Vacation both expands your horizons and allows you to zero in on why you’ve chosen your little slice of the earth as home. It’s great drinking a new, fancy schmancy latte from a fancy schmancy coffee shoppe where seats are tiny and uncomfortable and the lighting is perfect for Instagram, but it’s just not the same as the corner shop where they know your order and (occasionally) spell your name right on the cup. It’s almost like your life after a vacation is perfectly filtered–brighter, clearer, more likable. It might be ironic going somewhere else just to remember how awesome life is back home, but it’s an irony that this Katy or Katie or KT or Caidey (yes that’s happened before) is willing to accept

Now I’d love to hear from my fellow travel bugs. Why do you travel? What are things you bring on your trip to unwind? Is anyone as obsessed with RHONW as I am? 

3 Kiddie Pool Classics or 3 Easy-to-Read Classics that Shouldn’t Scare the Pants off of You

Hey all! Today is the day you’ve been waiting for. The day I offend literati all over the inter web by comparing books that are stained with their (AND MY!) tears of adoration, to the shallow end of a pool. It’s going to be a ball. If you’ve made it this far, I assume the pitchforks aren’t quite sharpened and the torches only dully glowing, so please hear me out before things get cray.

I think reading is one of the most powerful things you can do.

I think opening a book, diving into it, feeling the feelings of the characters,and empathizing with people and situations outside of your narrow world is noble and brave.  I fall at the feet of the writers of classics.  I’m not worthy of cobbling the shoes of Austen, Faulkner, Dostoyevsky, and O’Connor. Though if they asked me to cobble, cobble I would (man cobble is a fun word).  Calling one of their works a “Kiddie Pool Classic” may not confirm the respect I feel, but it might entice someone to crack open a great book, which I feel is a grand effort all the same.

A Kiddie Pool Classic is an approachable classic. It’s a read you can’t help but devour like chips and queso on a Friday night. It’s a classic that won’t make you feel like the zit faced redhead swaying alone by the punchbowl at the high school dance. I’m a ginger so I can perpetuate this stereotype.

Taking a bite (or nibble) out of the classics is an admirable goal, but sometimes their language, context, and character development (or lack thereof) is difficult to swallow and even more difficult to understand. Especially if, say, you have a full time job and barely any time to water your (dying) plants, let alone tuck in to chapter 797 of Anna Karenina.  These three Kiddie Pool Classics are by no means shallow, but they are approachable and un-put-downable (sry I’m a scholar with my made up words).  Think how great you’ll feel once you read the last page of your first Austen book and finally, finally understand what all the fuss is about.  So here are three classics I absolutely adore and recommend if you want to take a walk on the Wilde side (see what I did there?)

BeFunky Collagess

Whoops, Wilde isn’t on this list, but the joke was worth the lie. 

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

K, predictable right? It’s an American classic, one often referenced and lauded, and it’s a slim lil’ book.  The story is thick with drama, heartbreak, and love (all things I prefer with my afternoon tea). Fitzgerald’s language and glitzy then grimy 1920s setting is downright addicting. The famous characters of Daisy, Nick, and (le sigh) Jay are what will help you battle that 4 o’clock desire to mindlessly scroll through your Instagram feed, and instead tell your lazy self No, today I choose culture. Today I choose Literature with a capital L…or something like that. Gatsby contains themes of living in the past and the broken American dream, themes that are pretty stinking relevant today.  After reading Gatsby you’ll also be able to do what all great readers of literature love–snootily comparing the book to the movie. This time, you’ll be able to honestly say the book is better, because it seriously is (even though I love me some Baz Luhrmann and muh boo, Leo)

Emma, Jane Austen

I’m going to come right out and say it. If you “love” (yes, I’m putting the word in hostile quotations) Jane Austen because of her romantic words and general appreciation of the weddin’ things, then talk to the hand. That’s not my Jane…sorry.  Good ol’ Austen was a complicated broad, one that loved snark almost as much as I do.  She was a master of satire, irony, and slamming her society, which means (GASP) she actually didn’t get all googley eyed when suitors came to call. People kind of freak out when you tell them that most of the time Austen was making fun of the air heads of her society rather than gushing over just how much baby’s breath belonged on their wedding centerpieces. With this in mind, reading her works is a little more fun. The novel Emma is about the main character, Emma (see easy!) a”handsome, clever and rich” matchmaker who doesn’t need anyone or anything because homegirl has. it. togetha. Because she has money in the bank, she doesn’t see much need to marry. Instead she (badly) plays matchmaker with her friends and at times acts like a total brat who simply cannot understand how people do not totally agree with her.  The book is lively and funny and brimming with interesting characters. And it comes with the benefit of saying you’ve “read” (insert watched Kiera Knightly version) something besides Pride and Prejudice.

The Color Purple, Alice Walker

Ok, ok, ok, I know, a story of racism, rape, incest, and heartache isn’t exactly what you’d expect in the Kiddie Pool Classic section. The Color Purple has many moments of ugly, but that’s because we as a society experience many moments of ugly. This truth was no different in the 1930s. It’s a Kiddie Pool Classic because once you start, once you grasp Celie’s rural Georgia and get a feel for the language and her struggle, it’s damn near impossible to put down. The book is structured as an epistolary novel or a book of letters (Literary buzz words for $100, Alex.) from Celie to God. They are personal and heartbreaking and powerful.  Against all odds (abuse, bigotry, loneliness) Celie holds onto her dream of being reunited with her sister which seems to make such deep, dark moments bearable. Walker’s writing style is cutting and unapologetic, which I think we all need a little more of every now and again.

What is your favorite classic?