Thursday, June 16, 2016

Finding Balance in Chaos

I'm that person. You know, the obnoxious snob in your office that when you're forced to play a pointless, team-bonding ice-breaker, and she's asked what her choice of super power would be, she asks for more hours in the day. Yep, I'm her. 

I am her because my life currently is a revolving door of NGO internship, PR internship, and communication assistant job. There are never enough hours in the day to check every box and put my head down on the pillow knowing everything got done today. 50 plus hours a week are spent on my beloved MacBook. Rhianna's "Work" basically sums up my summer so far: Work, work, work, work, work, work. Type, type, type, type, type. Scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll. May I add, both internships are unpaid. So, if you want to feel like a street performing monkey, take an unpaid internship. You're guaranteed to feel like a semi-talented chimp within your first week. But hey, who's complaining. It will pay off in the end, right? (I am in desperate need of reassurance). 

The bing of my phone notifying me I have new emails sends a shiver down my spine. The inner monologue beings- "Oh no, not more. Please be spam from Fabletics. Or US Weekly telling me the latest Khloe Kardashian drama".
*Checks email*
*Adds tasks to never ending to do list*

In the midst of a work-induced frenzy, I decided to make an irrational decision while I'm still a reckless teenager (T-minus 35 days). After flying back from Vegas, spending 48 hours straight working, and unpacking/repacking I found myself next to my long time friend en route to New York City for the weekend. Anna and I flew across country to meet our other friend/ globe-trotting buddy Mariel and her boyfriend, Adam, to celebrate Mariel's 21st.

We hit the ground running once we landed in JFK at 5:30am. We threw ourselves together, and off we went to Chelsea Market, Eataly, and Union Square Market. The flowers, the baked goods, the vegetables. Can you tell we enjoy farmers' markets?

Central Park was waiting a jump on the subway away. After walking through the park, we hopped into the iconic row boats to take a pass under the gray skies. The ride was filled with many near tipping occurrences, pretzels, and humidity. A goose family swam past us, with their 7 little goslings all in a row. (Yes, gosling is the correct term for goose babies. So yes, Ryan Gosling's full name is Ryan Goose-Babies. You're welcome.)

Hanger and exhaustion began to set in, so we made our way to the beloved and raved about by CHLOE in the West Village. My verdict? The guac burger, half-half fries, and peach tea are what dreams are made of. I'd totally go vegan if I could eat at by CHLOE everyday. I promise to make a pilgrimage to their newest LA location for the kale cookies + cream ice cream. Food call? Answered. Now a nap needed to be addressed. After a snooze, it was time to get back on our feet.

The mission: Slip on a black dress and pursue dumplings. After doing extensive research, and sending my Aussie roommate to scout out the location a month prior, Anna and I arrived at Vanessa's Dumplings in the Lower East Side. Within a few minutes came out our piping hot bundles of goodness and the spiciest wontons of life. We came. We drooled. We conquered. Once filled with dumpling-yumminess we headed to East Village is search of the highly hyped Momofuku Milk Bar. Now while we do have a Milk Bar in DC, I have tried to go. But, ya girl was not down to stand in line for over an hour in the November cold for even colder cereal milk ice cream. So here was my first actual chance to get my hands on some Momofuku delights. While I played it conservatively and got only one compost cookie (Impression: sweet, salty, crunchy, good chew, shareable size), Anna went to town. She walked out with a bag, which can tell you the amount of delectables she got, housing crack pie, at-home cookie mix, and a cereal milk cone avec corn flakes (Impression of cone: more flakes s'il vous plaît!!). With soy and sugar on board, we headed to the top place in New York to both go and avoid, all at the same time: Time Square. It was Anna's first time, so her pupils needed to be overwhelmed in bright lights and bad American Eagle ads. 

Day two start with a bang. And by bang I mean a confusing, turn-around, uptown-downtown, what-the-hell kind of subway ride. In order to cope, my mind has blocked out the sweaty, never ending ride and all I can remember is bits of a mix of B, E, green, orange, Brooklyn, Court House, and Penn Station. After subway, sprinting in wedges and high-waisted shorts, and a cab ride, Anna and I made it to our brunch reservation at Hotel Chantelle. 92 cent cocktails? Hello. Carding and X-ing those of us under 21? Also hello. Accompanied with the pretty cocktails was live jazz music that made you sway, Parisien decor that make your eyes sparkle, and frosted-flake crusted stuffed French toast that made you swoon. 

Saturday became an "errand" running day. And I do literally mean running. First stop, the Russ & Daughters store front on East Houston. My father had two stipulations to me going to New York: I needed to bring back plain bagels and coffee cake for his consumption. Russ & Daughters is perfection: air conditioned, quiet, and filled with the most glorious scent of cream cheese-bagel-lox.  After a bagel debacle, let's not get into it, and almost an hour waiting in the calmest line, we were on the move again. Next stop: Dominique Ansel Bakery in South Village. We walked through the lined streets of stores, window-shopping on our way to the birth place of cronuts and cookie-milk shots. The pastry case was whimsical, colorful, and playful. I passed on another sugar rush, but we enjoyed the warm day on the glass sunroom in the back. 

After some time sitting in front of the blowing AC, we walked to Baked in TriBeCa. Here's where the coffee cake came in. With a box full of perfect crumb topped squares, our quad heading further south to Battery Park. When planning for this trip, visiting the Sea Glass carousel was a top priority. First, Battery Park is gorgeous with a view across the water to the Statue of Liberty and a landscape of various textured greenery and flowers. I could spend all afternoon there soaking in the sun, the chatter, and the summer air. We rode on the carousel with Carly Rae Jepsen blaring, which only made the experience that much more memorable. I really enjoyed being inside a fish. I never thought I'd type that sentence. But yet, here we are.

From Battery Park, we went to freshen up and drop off our goodies, before meeting my mom who was also in the City. We made our way to Wall Street just before the sky opened and hot rain began to pour. Typically east coast weather: a beautiful sunny morning turns to muggy afternoon and a 7pm rain shower. We found a Neapolitan pizza place not far from her hotel in the Financial District. So we munched on our pizza and took in our day. Not long after, we were packing up our dirty clothes and foodie souvenirs. We had to reschedule our flight to early Sunday rather than later in the evening. With our memories and belongings collected, we headed to bed to jet off to JFK and then SD bright and early.

In 48 hours, we traversed hundreds of streets, walked dozens of miles, and shared many meals. In the craziest city in the country, and one of the busiest cities in the world, I found balance. With grants, Instagram posts, SEO tactics, and the Gates Foundation spinning in the back of my head, I was able to be present and enjoy the company of friends. I saw a city I've been to before in a whole new light. And while I came back to loads of laundry and emails, I could breathe because I had replenished my need for laughter and beauty. Before New York, my creativity was parched. Post mini vacation, my balance was restored.

I treasure the time spent with those I love. Mariel, Anna, and I have walked the world, and enjoyed the rides of life's ups-and-downs together. They inspire me to push boundaries, and we support each other's ambition to be better human beings. 

Even on the busiest of days, when it seems like any minute spent not typing or answering emails is a minute wasted, make sure to stop, smell the roses, and call your mother. Because,  A) she misses you and B) you need a break to refocus, rebalance, and re-center yourself. I firmly stand behind taking time to balance your life and priorities. I also back spontaneous trips to New York. There's nothing better than coming home with a suitcase reeking of everything bagels, in the best way possible. 

Here's a behind the scenes look at what goes into making a CL post. Because sometimes I find very strange photos during the editing process... *insert Drake's "Hold On We're Going Home"

I got my eyes on you...

Monday, May 23, 2016

Out with the Old, In with the New

Cause if you for a second forgot this Taylor Swift anthem, you don't anymore.

I’m here to deliver a public service announcement to any and all who are reading this. is about to become a construction zone – obviously not literally, but there will be major renovations happening in the coming weeks. It’s going to be an HGTV-style overhaul.

What can you, the loyal viewer, expect? A change in both content and overall presentation.

Carasmatic Life was born a year ago. And on my blog baby’s first birthday I’ve decided she needs to grow up. This little corner of the Internet has been a creative space for me to express my love for photography, fashion, and content creation. But my loves have evolved, as they naturally do. I’m not longer focused on the outfit I am wearing when I’m eating a taco, but rather the taco itself! Or the food truck said taco was made in. Or the God-gifted talented chef whose taco brain-child is making me dream of rivers of guacamole and cotija capped mountains. Or ever more broadly, the beach side town whose streets that truck calls home. Condenesed, my blog is about to shift to a more experience-based approach touching on food, travel, and capturing life’s fleeting moments. While fashion and beauty will always have a soft spot in my heart, and a place on the blog, they’re heading to the back seat for now.

As I develop and start tackling big things like “jobs”, “internships”, “graduation” and beyond I want to snap as many emotion-capturing, inspiring photos as I can along the way. Photographic style is going to change, as I will be stepping more frequently behind the camera in order to document the beauty that I can see from my own perspective. My face will still grace your computer screen, but so will new faces- the faces of people who motivate me and who stir up my creative juices. We will dive into new cities together.

These stories and these photos will be framed in a new minimalist house. Think Pinterest-hacked Ikea living room meets Parisienne chic; clean but feminine. The more reserved background will allow the inspiration to take the foreground.

The goal of creating has not changed, but the desire to illuminate has arisen. As a creator, I cannot ignore my urge to revolutionize what I have control over. As a writer, I must demand more of myself and push myself to accurately capture my life moments in an Internet-based capsule.  As a human being, I need to use my abilities to share experiences, lessons, and the journey.

Every reader deserves an overpriced thank you card with perfect calligraphy hand delivered directly to their doorstep. Unfortunately due to budget constraints during our renovation, no can do. But I can sincerely thank each and every person who has wandered their way to The time you have taken to browse, read, and enjoy in priceless. It is my wish that you will adore the finished product even more once the blog is elevated.

Please forgive me for the “noise disturbance” during construction. Check back periodically to see the progress. Don’t worry, no ugly hard hat is required.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Blizzard Bliss

Snowpocalypse. Snowzilla. Snowmageddon. Whatever hash tag you chose to call it by, the blizzard that swept through DC and the rest of the mid-atlantic region this weekend was one for the books. With record amounts of snow, neither the city, nor Californians like myself, were prepared for the heavy dump. I can say never in my life have I watched a car be completely eaten by snow in 24 hours, until now.

The strange thing about blizzards is they are ominous. They blind you with oncoming, high-speed flakes directly hitting you in the eyes. They cover buildings, cars, and landmarks, covering them in so much white that only their  fading silhouette remains to prove their existence. The numbing cold makes your teeth chatter, toes tingle, and ears ache. Yet blizzards are completely, utterly silent. Even when the snow is rushing out of the sky, the wind hurling it toward the city streets, it makes no sound. I find it… creepy.

After 36 hours of built up cabin fever, I had to break free from my warm nest of a dorm room. While I enjoyed the endless warm drinks and refuge it provided me during the worst of the storm, by Sunday morning I was dying to break free from my room. I pulled on double pairs of socks and pants, and headed out to the arctic tundra.

The snow banks were high, but the spirits were higher. College kids and children alike flocked to the steps of the Lincoln with sleds and cardboard boxes to slide down the marble stairs covered with slick ice. DC took on a new feeling, with everything covered in white. The pristine, untouched snow still remained. It sparkled in the afternoon sun.

It wasn’t too long before the chill in the air became freezing, the snow on my boots became unbearably numbing, and the white powder melted to icy water that seeped inside my gloves and socks. So back to the dorm we went, on the hunt for tortellini soup and hot coco.

I can happily say I survived my first blizzard with the help of online tropical vacation searching, bottomless mugs of tea, and a trusty pom-pom topped beanie.  

Outfit Details:
Parka-laundry by Design
Scarf- BP
Gloves- Coach
Beanie- Steve Madden
Pants (most worn pair of high waisted jeans) - BGD
Boots- Dirty Laundry
Socks- similar here

Photos by: Zachary Stoloff