Sunday, June 30, 2013

Bar Blunders

At dinner before heading out
Last week we went out for one of my best friend's 21st birthday. I know you are thinking of every cliche that comes in hand with a 21st birthday...and chances are all of those things you are thinking right now probably happened x10 on this special night. Being newly 21 myself I was beyond excited to expand my bar horizons. I mean expand beyond the classy bars that I have experienced thus far which range from the night everyone at Woody's got thrown up on by some reckless girl on a mission, or when the bouncer with braided sideburns wasn't there at Northside for karaoke night.  Clearly I have a long way to go on expanding my bar sophistication. As we hit the town for my friend's big night out we were all prepared for just about anything.  We went all over downtown Cincinnati, everyone clad in flat sandals in anticipation of this night that was just asking for an ankle sprain (everyone except the birthday girl in her 4 inch heels of course). Our first stop was going to this new roof top bar that just opened called 21c. It was one of those places where you had to put a name in, elevator to the top, and proceed to carry on your night with a city view and posh white couches.  This group of newly legal gals had no idea what places like this looked like. So naturally when our name got called we all chugged the gin and tonics that were ordered during the wait...primed to be on our best behavior. When we got to the top of the elevator ride I realized what it felt like to be the youngest person at the bar. Here are a few ways to avoid the happenings on the roof top at 21c.

1. Do not walk into the bar like a field trip class going to the museum: we roll in with half of  a first grade class (11 people) on this tiny rooftop space that barely has room to stand oohing and ahing the whole time. I'm not sure what was worse getting looked at like we were a stampede of rhinos charging in, or tripping over everyone's feet in our snakelike shuffle towards a standing place. Smaller bars like this better accommodate more intimate parties and are usually in an atmosphere where the mood is softer and not as much 'just chugged my gin and tonic' drunk. Come on have a little fun people.

2. Resist the urge to simultaneously whip our your cell phones and not say a word as everyone snaps instagram pics upon first arriving, you look like tourists: I am fully guilty of taking tons of pictures at this place the other night. How could you not when all you have been used to seeing are frat boys doing shots and passing out on nasty vinyl bar floors? As I was snapping away I looked around and realized the other 10 people I was with were doing the exact same thing standing side by side
Such a fun group of people around the illegal to sit on hot tub
blocking the entire view for everyone else while we got stares that I'm shocked didn't cause our phones to self destruct.  I think part of getting older is realizing that your world does not need to be documented minute by minute through a fancy "twilight" filter. Their less than friendly stares forced me to continue to snap in secrecy, but also challenged me to be more aware of being present in the moment as opposed to thinking about how cool I'm going to look online. 

3. Low lighting, expensive wine, and people eating seaweed appetizers while discussing the morality of city rehabilitation means use your inside voice: How could you blame us for this one, where we come from the louder you talk at the bar the more fun you're having with your friends, which correlates with your overall coolness level.  When we walked into this place where 60 people collectively were not talking above a whisper it seemed only natural to try and turn the volume up by shouting about pictures and to come "see the view over here." I'm sure there was some form of gasping at this gorgeous scene too.  I may have loudly inquired about getting a group picture only to see the woman to my right sipping some sort of martini that probably cost half my rent roll her eyes causing me to immediately realize how I looked like that 5 year old who gets overly excited about seeing the gorillas at the zoo.  Noted, be quiet at cool bars, or at least around expensive martinis. 

4. Do not sit on the hot tub cover: This just topped it off as I identified myself as the least sophisticated person at the bar by sitting on the hot tub cover instead of casually leaning against it like everyone else. The security guard who may as well been working for the FBI the way he was patrolling the place quickly called me out for my mistake, reinforcing the lack of awareness that I felt in this whole situation.

Best friend and I rooftop in down town post getting scolded for my hot tub fiasco

Despite how these suggestions make it sound like we had a horrible time at this 'too cool for school' bar, we really did have the best time.  The scene was gorgeous and an intimate feel that was ideal for starting out night of debauchery out. As someone who can be called overly sensitive and too concerned with others opinions, I am sure that I was hyper aware of the disapproval of our presence. It was amazing to start the night with a glamorous view with some of my oldest friends. We had an opportunity to chat and pretend like we lived the sort of life where bars like this were a regular event.  It was a much needed glance into how much fun being legal could really be. Luckily we didn't stay at the fancy bar too long. We quickly found out way down to Tin Roof where people were spilling drinks and bouncing a blow up doll around the room. Now this is what I'm talking about! Back in our element with shots being hammered and stumbling blurry eyed into the graffiti bathrooms among the blaring country music... umm does anyone want to go back to 21c?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Monday, June 24, 2013

How Fast Are You?

How fast are you?

10k Race up a Costa Rica mountain

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me that in my life I could have paid for my college education twice. I work at a running specialty store which obviously employs a few serious runners among other fitness addicts.  Would I classify myself as a fitness addict? Absolutely! A runner? I try to pretend like I have ability in that department.  Logging about 20-30 miles a week depending on how busy things are, I clock in at average among my co-workers.  My average existence at work is comprised of hours and hours (literally) of fitness routines from tabata to yoga to biking. I don’t mean to be obnoxious but ask me any question about fitness and I promise I will have something to contribute. It’s not that I’m trying to look like Jessica Alba or anything (if only), but I really do get more excited about a workout  than I would a brownie ice cream sundae; which is saying a lot because there isn’t much I wouldn’t do to get my hands on one of those bad boys. But apparently all of those things (like that one time I scaled the South mountains of Arizona after running 5 miles) don't matter because I didn’t log my time on running to win afterwards, scrutinize my GPS watch to mentally note how fast I am at every moment in my step.   

I have been classified as a non-runner due to my lack of passionate relationship with pounding my knees to shreds on asphalt roads repeatedly, and not enjoying hours of looking directly ahead listening to the blood pump in my brain. How could you not enjoy hearing your hoarse breathing that may as well be coming from a water buffalo sweating in the mud hole for miles on end? Or receiving the constant shouts from random drivers who somehow manage to find time in their day to shout at a total stranger (that is an entirely different soap box all together).

Don’t get me wrong I love to run. It has been an aspect of fitness that I incorporate into almost everything I do for years now. The freedom to be on your own and go wherever at your own desire is incredible. I am just feeling a little cynical after being surrounded by “the fastest people this side of the Ohio.” And after being told that I don't run when I could have sworn I went for an hour yesterday.  If you are someone who feels a little anxious at the thought of never changing anything about your fitness chances are we may be in the same boat on this issue.  If I ever tried to become the kind of runner that these fast people claim to be I would probably have to start hurdling random street objects and giving high fives to spice things up a bit. 

The typical conversation goes…

New person: “how fast are you?”
Real Runner: “HA! Riley doesn’t run.”
Riley: “uh yea I do…”
Real Runner: “oh yea how fast are you…”

To which I really want to respond fast doing what? I like to think that I run pretty fast when there are sketchy people lingering on the sidewalks or hanging out in the park that my route runs through. Yesterday I ran way slower because my pony tail kept whipping me in the face. Do you know how hard it is to maintain pace while getting jabbed in the eye continually? When I am about to start my period I feel like a porpoise whale tumbling down the street, knowing that I look like I am running through cement. Sometimes I am so stressed out pre-running that I hardly notice I exceeded my distance by a few miles, and out did my intended pace without even noticing.  Especially when I run by my work…during those times just call me Riley Hall. 

the South Mountains in Phoenix AZ
During high school fast was a term used to describe how bold you got with the boy in the back of the movie theater. In this case I don’t feel comfortable discussing my speed at work. I may even do my best to depict myself as slow in that department.

It’s not that they are trying to be mean or anything when they say that. I can understand how easy it is to exclude when you specialize in something… like me and squats or brownie sundaes.  But you can’t just count out those who are trying, otherwise we wouldn't have any real runners in this world. Oh you ran into get coffee at a record time this morning? I have no misgivings to call you a runner at that point in time way to go.

Basically what I have been ranting about is that I don't will never know how fast I am. I’m too much of a control freak for that…if I can’t give you the realest and most impressive answer with full confidence in my numbers, I will most definitely avoid your question.

I guess the next time it happens a better response than “who are you? And when did you know my life?” may be something like

“I’m fast enough…”



So I guess I wanted to write this blog because I like to pretend like I have some sort of ability as a writer, and have never tackled real life writing. Really writing stuff down has served as a form of therapy over the years, if not an insurance policy for my difficulty with remembering what I had for breakfast. Writing has always been some overly structured obligation or topic that I was told to cover. There is something that is terrifyingly challenging about writing your life out for someone else to read...I guess I'm dreaming big that someone would actually want to read anything I have to say...but for this post's sake I'll continue to dream.

Found at
I have always been obsessed with lemons. Not in a sexual way that makes me some kind of weirdo. More in a way that I literally crave the taste, the sour citrus is magic on my toung and the smell can make me slip away from my worries and just inhale deeply…. maybe it is a little sexual? I eat lemon flavored anything and will experiment with putting lemon on anything. There have been countless days when I can remember reducing myself to a painful acid fueled stomach ache on account of drinking too much lemon juice in my water…oh it gets weirder.  On Pinterest I have searched the word ‘lemon’ more times than I would like to admit, and am drawn to anything that is colored that shiny yellow shade like a dog to bacon.  Regardless of my strange obsession you really can use it for and with anything you want…really! I was even more surprised at how perfectly lemon fit into my life when I decided to search the definition of what it meant one day. Turns out lemon is not only a term for one of the most glorious fruits in existence, but is also used to describe people.  By definition a lemon can be

 “a person or thing that proves to be defective, imperfect, or unsatisfactory” 

I know this sounds a little depressing but after reflecting on this past year and the current state of my personal life lemon may have more pertinence than simply garnishing every food I eat.  It has been a period of transition, embarrassing regret, and a tidal wave of unique relationships. This past year you could say 'shit hit the fan' for a little while. Really the shit has perpetually hit the fan multiple times in 21 short years of much so that I think it should be documented somewhere.

A lemon person may not necessarily appear as a mess from the outside or to those who have no interaction with said person. They probably have felt like a disappointment more times than should be admitted, and things are typically a little unpredictable.  Lemon people also like to listen to moody music while writing things like this.

Whatever comes of these words is merely a contemplation of the life of a lemon person and how this person manages the day to day. It's not necessarily a negative thing. We all have a lemon moment in life whether you are in the midst of serious relationship troubles, or simply craving some baked goods.