Monday, March 28

Guilty Pleasure

Just so you don't think I've fallen into a well or got dumped in a ditch or anything, I wanted to pass along something to show you I'm still alive and kickin'

Here's what I've been losing my mind over working on for the past 3 months as part of my Master's program.

It is our bookazine, Guilty Pleasure!



What is a bookazine you may ask? It is the cross breed of a book and a magazine. It has some features of a book (i.e. text heavy, consistent design and layout features) but reads like a magazine with a variety of topics and monthly editions.

What's a Guilty Pleasure you wonder? Simple: reading this blog entry while you're supposed to be working. (Ahem, caught you!) It's also things like tequila. and chocolate. and Real Housewives of Every City in America Worth Visiting (except Miami, because if I were to visit there, I'd most certainly bitch slap both Christy AND Larsa across the face). Basically a guilty pleasure is all of the wonderful things I devote my blog too.



This project was certainly a learning experience for me. I learned how to submit article and photo release waivers, preflight PDFs for print, and control my temper so I don't climb over a table and attack fellow group members when they disagreed with me.


It was magical.




I've got 1 more paper to complete this week and then Sean and I are Boston bound on Friday! Regular blogging will resume next week!

So for now, please, for the love of all things holy and good in this world, go pour yourself a glass of wine the size of a swimming pool and read Guilty Pleasure. (Much like a fine wine, the content gets better with age alcohol)

Tuesday, March 15

Bad, bad blogger

I know. I know.

I'm MIA.

I could spend the next twenty minutes filling this blog post with link backs to past posts in an effort to fill the void of creativity I'm currently experiencing, but I'm not going to do that. Instead, let's play a numbers game:

17 = days until I move back to the United States
6 = number of suitcases I need to pack all of our belongings in
6,500 = words I must have typed into reports by March 31st
40 = pages of content and layout design that must be edited and shipped to Thailand for print by tomorrow
0 = number of tequila shots I've done in the past month (maybe that's why I'm feeling so blah?)
150= posts I've written on Quarterlife Quandary
0= dollars I've received for writing said posts on Quarterlife Quandary
_ _, 000 = dollars I've spent on getting my Masters (you don't want to know the first two numbers. Trust me.)
13= Nutella cookies I baked
11= Nutella cookies I immediately ate
8 = new wrinkles on my forehead

It is with all of these numbers in mind that I must take a brief break from posting. I often use the analogy of a duck to symbolize my desired work ethic. I like to appear calm on the surface while paddling like hell underneath...but right now, I'm more like the cray-cray version of Natalie Portman in Black Swan, doing nose dives into a bucket of chocolate to self-medicate. I'm feeling a bit of a blog burnout so before I go shaving my head and smashing car windows with umbrellas and golf-clubs, I need to check myself into the Betty Ford Clinic for Blogging. The next 3 weeks are going to be insane and out of respect for my sanity and your intelligence, I don't want to clutter the cyber world with my half-hearted attempts at humour.

Fear not, my friends. I will be back.

I'm still doing the 52 Flavors Challenge in my "real" life, I just haven't had an opportunity to blog about it. I've also already have a line up of post ideas just waiting to be written. Among them: what the hell is happening to the Real Housewives Franchise? I want to punch Tamara in the face this season and don't even get me started on Miami. Fer real.

Until then....

xx Marie

Friday, March 11

Feelin' it in my toes

One of the things I love most about Barcelona (and subsequently one of the things I loathe about London) is the energy and vibe of the city and its culture.


Gone were the hard stares and cold shoulders of people bristling by you, hurrying to their next destination. The feeling of Barcelona was one of complete enjoyment. People were not as rushed, instead they spent their time soaking in whatever the day had to offer.

(It goes without saying that any city that has a two hour lunch followed by a three hour siesta is game in my book)

This city had some serious spirit to it and I liked that. Music and laughter filled the streets and plazas of the neighborhoods wherever you went. People were so friendly and open.


They also don't take themselves so seriously. Well, except maybe this dude:

He looks kind of serious. And scary.

It seemed that everywhere we went, people were taking time out of their day to simply enjoy life. Sean and I were getting on the Metro around 6pm on Friday night in Placa Catalunya, one of the busiest sections of town, and came across this taking place in the subway tunnel:

video

Where else do you find strangers doing the samba during rush hour? I, of course, felt obliged to join in. Hey when in Barcelona Rome, right?

We are three weeks away from being back in Boston permanently and I am a month away from starting my full time job. This summer will be filled with 45 hour work weeks, researching and writing my Masters dissertation, wedding planning, and hopefully a few races. It will be busy and stressful to say the least, but I am going to make every effort to keep the spirit of the city with me when we go back.


Something about Barcelona moved me. Perhaps it was all the music or all the fantastic sangria that had me feeling funny, but the city just spoke to me. Sean and I must've said a thousand times, We should've moved here instead. Let's never leave! (Don't worry Mom, we did) But this trip was exactly what I needed to snap out of my winter funk and get my head right. It is times like these I am so grateful for the opportunity to travel. With every new country and culture I visit, I learn something new about myself. Barcelona reminded me to slow down and appreciate the small things in life and that it's okay to take a breather every once in a while.


So thank you Barcelona and your sunshine-filled days for healing my soul and allowing me to feel the energy of this city right down to my toes!

*** To see more Barcelona pictures, you can visit here and here. ***

P.S. Stay tuned on Sunday for my 52 Flavors update and a post about the food and flavors of the city! Sangria, Cerveza, Cava...oh my!

Wednesday, March 9

Bittersweet Barcelona

Greetings from reality! I can't honestly say I'm happy to be back in the real world, but I suppose I couldn't live on that balcony forever.

(Trust me, I would've if it were possible)

There are so many things I want to tell you about our trip to Barcelona, but because this is a blog and not the next great Russian novel, I'm going to break it up into a series of posts.

As many people already heard me constantly bitching and whining about know, the main purpose of this trip was to run the Barcelona Marathon. But after a case of anterior compartment syndrome and being prohibited from running and high heels, my marathon dreams were dashed (as opposed to me...who was hobbled. har har har). Going into the trip I knew there was no hope of me running the race, so I was surprised by how emotional I was when we arrived. There were tears involved. Quite a few of them.

After a few minutes of wallowing and self-pity, I dried my eyes and got a hold of myself. As part of my marathon registration, I was enrolled in a 4k Breakfast Run the morning before the big day. Even though 4k is nowhere near the 42k I was hoping for, Sean and I decided to wake up early in the morning of our first day in Barcelona and do the race.


I am so glad I did. The "race", albeit for fun rather than a medal, completely changed my attitude about everything.


I wanted a run in a foreign city that would forever change me and that's what I found, even if it was less than 3 miles long. Funny how life lessons are hidden in the strangest of places isn't it?

I will always remember this race for a number of reasons. First of all, there was this guy:

Oops, sorry. Wrong guy. But he's pretty cool, too. I meant this guy:


South Africa's representin! There was an insane amount of pride people had for their countries that weekend. As we stood at the starting line, announcements were made in a million different languages. They also played Mamma Mia to kick off the race. Who knew ABBA was the international anthem?

Here's our attempt at a video. It's only 11 seconds long, but I promise it'll be the most amazing 11 seconds of your life. (Errr, maybe. Depends on your quality of life I suppose)

video

Another cool aspect of this race? Women are outnumbered by 6 to 1. Not only does this make for superb eye candy while mid stride, but I totally felt like a bad ass leading a pack of men.



(See that one girl there? Yeah, I smoked her. I know, I know...it's supposed to be about enjoying the experience not your time, but sometimes you just can't control that competitive spirit)

Speaking of the views though, this was definitely the best part of the experience. Huffing up a hill isn't so hard when this is to your right:


The homestretch of the 4k had us entering through the Athlete's Tunnel of the 1992 Olympic stadium. It was so cool. Everyone started cheering and yelling. Sean managed to get a quick video of it:

video

Getting to be in the front of the crowd entering into an empty Olympic stadium is pretty darn nifty if you ask me. It was especially great getting to do it with Sean. A former marathoner himself, he hadn't run a race in six years due to a knee injury.


So getting to cross the finish line together, despite both of our injuries was something special. It was also really metaphoric for us. We've been struggling a lot lately with the stresses of living in a foreign country, being homesick, and having no money. In many ways, our time in London really put a damper on our spirits. As we watched our savings drain away to mere pennies and Sean spent many months out of work, we questioned our decisions. But as we crossed the finish line, hand in hand, we realized that we did it together.


We won our own private race. We're getting by and in many ways we are thriving. When you look at it, our time in London is like the 4k. It's shorter than we had anticipated and we may have been injured along the way, but we've accomplished something together. So I needed to quit the tears and appreciate what I did have instead of focusing so much on what I didn't. I no longer look at that breakfast run or our time in London as a 2nd rate consolation prize to the real race, it's simply another form of training...

because ultimately the marathon still awaits us. Marriage, jobs, babies: The whole schabang. And I know without a doubt that we'll cross that finish line together too.


(Well, except for the whole poopy diapers thing. That's all Sean)


Sunday, March 6

The blogger is out.

Pardon me for the lack of updates these past few days. I've been so busy.


Regular posting will resume on Wednesday. Unless, of course, I decide to just live on this balcony in Barcelona forever (especially if I can figure out a way to have a constant supply of sangria out here)

Adios!


Wednesday, March 2

What's In a Name?

Well folks, it appears to be about that time for ole' Quarterlife Quandary to get a name change.

Come next month, I will be turning 27. I will also be returning to Boston to start a job that I'm really excited about...

This means I will no longer be "quarter-life" and since the only quandary I've had lately is whether to be completely jealous of Bethenny's abs and boobs or use them as inspiration, I need to make a few changes around here.

Come mid-April, I will have a new look and hopefully a new name, but I need YOUR help in picking one! I'm still in the brainstorming process and I'm not sure what I want yet. But I do know what I don't want.

I do not want a name with the words eat, run, healthy, or happy in the title. There are already a million blogs out there with some variation of these words. I get it, you like eating and running. You are also very healthy and incredibly happy about that fact. Rock on, sister. But I'd rather be labelled with something more akin to my personality, my true inner cynic. Do you think tequila-guzzling persnickety curmudgeon would be too long for a domain name? Perhaps.

This whole brand-naming, reinventing my blog business is a tough nut to crack. I've had problems in the past defining who I am as a blog writer because I don't like putting myself in just one category.

My blog has multiple personality disorder. I wish I could be like Prince and just use a symbol to represent me. My symbol would be super fierce. Maybe a wine bottle with a Lilly Pulitzer label with alcohol that tastes like chocolate and gives you the ability to run marathons at a blazing speed while simultaneously obsessing over reality TV. That shouldn't be too difficult to conceptualize, right?

So now I'm turning to you for inspiration. Whacha got for me? And just for good measure, I've made sure to pre-register for the following domain names: www.marieisawesome.com, www.marieissobeautifulIcouldcry.com, and www.IwanttobemorelikeMarie.com.

I'm kidding.

Maybe.
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