Sunday Morning Soliloquy - Musings of an Urbanite: July 2014

Thursday, July 31, 2014

What is My Ultimate Festival Style?


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With Lollapalooza a few days away, I have yet to find my music fest style inspiration. 

Instagram is loaded with fashion bloggers in short shorts, kimonos and bold accessories, but I can't relate. I've been going to music festivals longer than most of those girls have been alive, so I'm taking my own fashion journey to uncover my own festival fashion essentials and define My Ultimate Festival Style.


Lollapalooza Fashion Tie Dye
Tie-Dye and Goofy Matching Hats - NEVER My Festival Style


The Music Fest Evolution 

The Music Festival has been around for a while, there was Woodstock, a 3-day peace festival in 1969, and then the attempted revivals of Woodstock through the years. Lollapalooza and others, including, Lilith Fair, Monsters of Rock, and the Warped Tour toured bands of similar genres for a single day event. In the 80s, summer was considered concert season, and because we went to concerts all summer long, there wasn't a focus on one fashion, style or look.

80s Music Fest Fashion
Basic Black Almost Always My Style
With friends at a show in Paris as an exchange student my senior year

Today things are different, music festivals are big and can be the pinnacle event of one's summer. Owning that "festival look" has become a defining moment in every young girl's summer. In the summer fest spirit, I tried to imagine myself as a 20-something who just giddy over a summer festival and looking for fashion inspiration. What would be my Ultimate Festival Style?

Inspiration to Uncover My Ultimate Festival Style: 
  1. My past concert style. Working a little nostalgia into festival style can be fun. To visualize the past, I dug out old photos and asked friends how they remembered concert style. 
  2. My musical taste. Because fashion differs by festival, musical taste plays a big role in the style selection. I looked to music I like - past and present.
  3. My concert goals. Whether it is meeting a guy, meeting the band, making new friends, impressing old acquaintances, or simply surviving the heat - looking fashionable is imperative. 
  4. My concert behavior. Fashion at music fests tend to be dictated by actions and accomplices, outfit selections must take into account of how aggressively one intends to enjoy a festival weekend. 
  5. My trend tolerance. Whether we like to admit it or not, we think about what others are wearing at concerts and how we want to look in comparison, therefore festival style is driven by what is trending now.

My Past Concert Style

According to friends and photos, my past concert style was all over the place. Depending on the concert and the era, I wore everything from hot pink floral pants with pink converse high tops, to black mesh crop tops and a tank top over a long black fringe skirt, to floral baby doll dresses with Dr. Martens, to flannel shirts and leggings, and let's not forget the the summer concert style favorite - cut off denim shorts and cowboy boots.

For those of us who who grew up in the 80s, oversized clothing, printed shirts, concert t-shirts, or t-shirts with words across the chest were all the rage. In the late 80s, my Rolling Stones concert t-shirt was a mainstay. In the early to mid 90s, it was one of my many graphic tees, like the one below.

Leyla The College Years
Graphic shirts with stupid words - a former favorite look of mine
Taken in the early 90s



Printed T-shirt with Cut Off Denim Shorts Festival Style
I would wear this vintage style motorcycle t-shirt now,  find it at Pink Mascara

My music taste, my behavior and my concert goals influenced my fashion choices back then too. I frequented shows where there were sure to be mosh pits and I was sure to be up close to the stage. This precluded me from wearing sandals or heels, that way I was safe when stomped on or pushed by some big skinhead.

Sneaking into shows was another behavior that was the norm (for me) in my teen years, which meant I rarely wore skirts. In the likely event that I had to hop a fence to get in, or dodge security, I wouldn't have to worry about a skirt slowing me down.

Comfy Music Fest Look
Relaxed and Ready - an Ideal Music Fest Look
Black leggings and a plain T - comfy light weight cotton + a touch of lycra by James Perse


My Musical Taste

I like girl music, good old fashioned rock and roll, British music and American music that sounds like British music. Because I have always appreciated a wide range of music, dressing for a certain musical genre wasn't my thing, instead I would dress like a girl and tweak or accessorize my outfits to the genre of music for each concert.

Leyla Arsan in High School
Striped Cropped Summer Sweater - Chilly Weather Festival Style
A girl in girl clothes, taken in the late 80s at my friend's house

If I were to select one music festival based on my past musical taste, it would most certainly be Riot Fest. And surprise! I am going to Riot Fest in Chicago this September, and guess what, I'll be dressed like a girl. But not the girl below, if I had a daughter she might be dressed like the girl below.

Late 80s - Young, Angry Leyla Festival Style
Long fringe (or crochet) skirt would've been a festival look at the request of my HS boyfriend, I would have happily obliged.

Depending on the group of friends, (or my friend Adam who I still go to music fests with) I might be going to see Metallica, The Cult, Monsters of Rock, or some obscure guitar legend. If this was the case, I was almost always in black pants or black leggings a white t-shirt and a flannel. Sometimes I wore a flannel under another flannel, the top flannel was quilted and would serve as my winter coat. No better way to keep it sexy than in flannel!

Late 80s Flipping The Bird Style
Oversized men's flannel shirt and baggy pants was my thing about three years prior to the popularity of grunge music.


Plaid Button Down Shirt - Grunge Girl Festival Style
Except I no longer dress like this, ever.

It may come as a surprise, but I NEVER liked grunge music. It may come as an even bigger surprise, but I was, and still am, a fan of House music. I had a set of high school friends that I would frequent clubs with on all-ages nights to hear DJs spin and watch dance-offs. I swear to god there were dance-offs between men - I would not make this up. My naturally giant hair was always a huge hit with the dance music crowd.

Have You Seen Molly? EDM or Northcoast Music Festival Look
The rave / club kid look has forever been popular by confused children and doesn't seem to ever go away.


Heading to The Riv with High Hair in the 80s - Early 90s
What else does one wear when listening to House music all night long? 

By the time I was 16, I was working in a record store and going to about two to three concerts a week. I almost always met new people or ran into people I wasn't expecting to see. Whether they were kids from rival high schools, people I met at different concerts, or my boyfriend's ex-girlfriends, running into someone was imminent and looking cute was an important part of the concert experience. If I was going to impress others or one-up my boyfriend's exes it had to be done stylishly. 

Other times, my concert goal was just getting to the concert, in which case I just wore whatever I had on. Or borrowed something from a friend. I'm sure you've guessed by now that I was not a very good student, I mean who could be with all these other priorities!

Whatever I Woke Up In 1992 Festival Style 
I probably scored a ticket to something from someone and had to borrow a shirt from my boyfriend. Check out the T-shirt Best Sellers at ChicNova.


Festival Style
Casually Piss Off Others in this Wildfox T-shirt Festival Style
I met the band, my friends ditched me and now I'm not sure how I'm getting home.



My Concert Behavior 

This is KEY information needed to unveil my festival style! I was (and sometimes still am) an aggressive concert-goer. That means that I will see all of the bands I came to see, I will get to see from a perfect location, I will not leave until all of the lights are on and then I will go out afterwards.  Staying until the end of a show and going out afterwards may not have been a problem for me in the past, but these days, to make it for three days and three nights, I need stamina and a strategy that incorporates a pragmatic approach to style.

Illegal Backyard Bonfire Festival Style
In College, listening to bands play well into the morning hours in some backyard.


Light Weight Black Cargo Shorts - Utilitarian Festival Style
Great for carrying beers you stole from the media tent AND your multiple cell phones.


My Trend Tolerance 

This is probably the most important piece of the puzzle! Some of the styles I've seen on the lovely young ladies in the blogs and the Instagrams of contemporary fashion icons showing off their festival looks. I have an extremely low tolerance for this sort of shenanigans. Can you see ME in a flower crown? If you ever do see me in a flower crown, check my pockets and confiscate whatever I may be ingesting because I've had too much.

Flower Child Festival Style - No, Never!
Flower crowns are completely stupid and the overalls aren't much better, I did the overall thing, but a little different than this (see below), you can find all this stuff at WetSeal.com


Oversized Overalls Hillbilly Stoner Festival Style
Old Style beer bottle on the counter, garbage bags piled behind me while I play catch with an apple - why not? This was the 90s!


Trendy Hat Festival Style (Trendy Triplet Mom photo credit)
Floppy hats, fedoras, straw hats - they're all over the music fest circuit. Hats galore at Wet Seal.


Fedora Hat Festival Style
Festival Fedora Look Keeps My Crazy Hair Under Control 
Yup, that's me in my mid - late 20s, I think this top was made of bathing suit material.


Kimono and denim shorts
Wannabe Hippie Girl in a Kimono Festival Style
I really don't understand this weird kimono look. What's the point? If you must have a Kimono, check out Milanoo for a wide range of styles. Or you can find Kimonos at Wet Seal (obviously).


Denim Vest at Coachella -- No, No, and No! (Free People blog
Not sure who keeps convincing people that denim vests are a good idea, they're not.


Short Floral "Skater Dress" Festival Style
Light and easy dress are perfect for summer festivals


Leyla Arsan
My Floral Festival Style + My Friend in Her Denim Vest Festival Style
Cheers! This was my senior year of college and I'm pictured wearing my favorite dress (at the time).


Before we finally uncover MY Ultimate Festival Style let's take a quick look back at my fest fashion from the recent past. Keep scrolling for my 2014 music festival reveal! 


Leyla Arsan Festival Style
Leyla's Festival Style in 2008 (or '09) 
Sitting in the shade at Lollapalooza in the lightest tank top I owned because it was 1000 degrees.


Leyla Chicago
Leyla at Lollapalooza in 2013 
Look, I'm wearing sandals I must not be afraid of skinheads anymore!

My Festival Style in 2013 
 Third Day of Lollapalooza



~~ But here is the GREAT reveal... My Ultimate Festival Look for 2014 ~~

Hot pink burqa! 
Just Kidding!!

Realistically, my Ultimate Festival Look for 2014 will probably be something closer to the pic below - gray JBrand Jeans or cargo pants with a black T-shirt. Riot Fest is in September, so I will probably need a jacket too. Oh, and one of those purses that charges your multiple cell phones, because I never leave home with less than two.

JBrand Cargo Skinny Pants (Denim Blog photo credit)
This could be a great look, lots of pockets and that oversized t-shirt looks comfy!


Stay Tuned... I plan to write another FESTIVAL STYLE blog post, this time I will be selecting the festival style of the 23 year old I sit next to at work. This is going to be awesome. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

5 Question Friday With David Himmel


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5 Question Friday - The Sarcastic Edition

Where I ask friends and interesting strangers to answer the same 5 questions, it happens on Fridays. 


I'm excited that 5 Question Friday is finally in full swing! I had a tough time motivating people and then my friend David (a comedy writer) pulled through this week. I have a few others are in the pipeline too, voila, that's a blog series!

We always start with a photo, a description of how we met, short bio (David's is very short), followed by the 5 questions.

David Himmel Chicago

David Himmel
David and Leyla have a friendship anchored by a shared love of ironed bed sheets and hating the kids who think they're cool while sitting in a bar they think is cool. Sometimes, it seems, David and Leyla are the only two people who understand each other. They've been extremely drunk together several times. David is a writer.


1. What defines you? (Be descriptive, is it your job, family, a certain skill or talent you may have?)

Malcontent. I suppose that's a word that defines me. I'm happy with my work, my friends, my family and mostly, myself. But I have a hard time being happy.


2. What song that energizes you when you are looking for motivation? (maybe it is more than one depending on what you need to get motivated for) 

When I was a kid and played sports, I was motivated by either Survivor's Eye of the Tiger or Regulators by Warren G and Nate Dogg. Now, my motivational song changes with whatever band or record I've been listening to most. As I write this, it's Braid's Light Crisis off their new album, No Coast. It's not a motivational song, but it's one that I dig musically and relate to lyrically. I tend to like music with a driving beat and some guts, so just playing Brody Dalle's album Diploid Love gets me going. Of course, my all time favorite tune is Brandy (You're a Fine Girl) by The Looking Glass. Whenever I hear that, I want to be lazy and in love and half drunk in a perpetually warm sailor's paradise.


3. If you were to show up to a potluck, what would you bring? (and why? And what kind of potluck is this?) 

My go to dishes are pretty universal, which makes it easy on me because I have trouble deciding what people will enjoy eating. Luckily, these dishes are tried and true. Seven-Layer Taco Dip. Homemade Guacamole in a Red Bell Pepper. Tri-Tip. McDonald's Chicken Nuggets. That said, I tend to avoid potlucks. I love a good barbecue, but potlucks are so often associated with office parties and PTA events and I have no desire to work in an office that has potlucks or be a parent who cares about his kid's school.


4.  Describe your perfect day. 

It starts by waking up and getting to work at 3 a.m. At 10 a.m., my literary agent calls to tell me that my latest novel has made the New York Times Best Sellers List. My girlfriend and I make breakfast. My agent calls again to tell me that the novel has been optioned by a movie studio that doesn't suck and that I'm writing the screenplay adaptation. I go swimming and sailing. I have some sex. I get good and drunk with the girlfriend and a handful of my best pals. One of them pukes on the floor of the bar. Before I fall asleep, my best pal texts me that his latest novel was also optioned for a movie.


5. What would you do if you won $1 million in the lottery? What would you do if you won $100 million?

If I won a million bucks, I'd play that Barenaked Ladies song terribly loud. Then I'd pay back the money I owe my grandmother and father. I'd pay off my girlfriend's student loans. I'd buy a new car and put a down payment on a killer house with a garden for my girlfriend and a yard for my dog. Then I'd buy a boat. Then I'd write a huge check to Gilda's Club Chicago. And then one to the IRS. With $100 million? Same thing, but I'd give more to Gilda's and play that Barenaked Ladies song 100 times.


You can learn more about David in many ways:  


Or leave a comment and ask a question!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Nothing Beats Summer in Chicago


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I try to enjoy summer in Chicago as much as humanly possible, so I took a few days off last week. 

My friend Jen was in town, we planned a day at Six Flags and the rest of the weekend was dedicated to enjoying the beautiful weather. Because if you live here, you know, nothing beats a summer in Chicago


An Ordinary Thursday in July


Not bad for my first #Jumpstagram. 
Many followed after this one, we had to ask (and coach) 14 year old kids to take our photos.


When in Rome, you behave like a civilized human being. 
When in Gurnee, you pose for stupid pictures with a larger than life chicken.


Jen and I first started going to Great America together when we were in our 20s. 
Now Jen lives in Houston.

I met Jen at J. Brown and Associates, an ad agency in Chicago (now called something else). When I was laid off in 2002, Jen called in sick the next day and we went to Great America. That's how the tradition started! 

Marigold Madness Six Flags Great America
Marigold Madness!

I will tell you my favorite story about Jen. She was once overheard saying "a monkey could do my job" in the cafeteria of the agency she worked for, the following week she was fired. No need to tell you, Jen no longer works in the agency world. Good for Jen! 


An Ordinary Friday in July 

Veggie Hash and Hot Sauce
Breakfast at 3rd Coast Cafe

I eat the same thing every weekend - a double expresso and the veggie hash with two eggs over easy and hot sauce. I never finish the whole thing, it's my thing. If I'm feeling adventurous, I'll get a short stack of blueberry pancakes, but only if the moment strikes me. 


Swimming Pool Chicago
I live in a building with a pool, I have no regrets. At least none related to the pool.

Whenever someone says, "I have no regrets!" I think to myself... how boring your life must be, I have plenty and hope to have a few more. If you have no regrets, it means you're not taking enough risks. By all means, have some regrets.


Gold Coast Chicago
My walk home on Friday night after drinks with Chanthana on the patio at NoMi
Photo editing was automatically done for me in Google Plus


An Ordinary Sunday in Chicago 

Chicago Lake Front Path
I went paddle boarding at SUPChicago on North Avenue Beach
This picture is just of the lake front path.

Paddle boarding was fantastic. I was nervous at first but it turned out to be much easier than I had anticipated. I paddled north from North Avenue, went past Fullerton and back. I got cocky at the end, a tiny wave hit, and in a split second I found myself hitting the water in the most ungraceful manner. I wish someone had taken a photo of that so I could share it. Next time I am taking a GoPro.



Lake Shore Drive - Summer in Chicago
Lake Shore Drive on a hot summer night.
Photo edited via Google Plus Auto Awesome.


The end to a beautiful summer weekend in Chicago. Until next week! 


Here is what I'd like to do this summer: Visit National Parks and Give Back
Here is what I did last summer: Visit Glacier National Park (Part 1) 


Saturday, July 5, 2014

My plan to rediscover America, visit National Parks and to give a little back


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Rediscovering American won't be easy, I'll need your help.

My plan to organize a small travel group of like-minded individuals who enjoy solo travel but want more from their travel experience. And, I am going to start right here in America.


Midwestern Farmland


My Solo Travel Style 
I've been a solo traveller for most of my adult life. I love the freedom and sense of adventure that solo travel offers, I rarely get lonely and I never have to make compromises. Until recently, traveling alone has suited me just fine, but the more I travel, I realize there are certain disadvantages to traveling alone - particularly for a woman. For example, your chances of dying in the woods are far greater when alone, you might be mistaken for a prostitute (or even worse, a German), people have a tendency to ignore, or abhor, you in the Middle East, you're more likely to end up sitting next to someone who smells on an extended leg of a train trip or bus ride. And there is one other big problem with solo travel, it costs more money.

When I hit the road, I need a map, a good guidebook, a journal and about 4 hours of sleep. If there is something to be seen, I will see it. If there is something to be done, I will do it. Everything else is up for grabs, where the day takes me, that's where I go. Most often I travel alone because I have no other choice. I hate group travel, I have no significant other, and even if I did, there would be no guarantee that this person would have the same appetite for travel as I do.

Leyla Solo Travel

Read more about my travel style here: Catch Me If You Can - traveling with me is not for the weak.  

Taking Control of My Travel Destiny 
I want to bring travelers with travel styles similar to mine together. An organization, a travel group, or travel club, of like-minded individuals who have a thirst for knowledge and penchant for adventure (more along the lines of adventure-light, we're not dragon slayers but simple thrill seekers). We are the type of traveler who can spend the morning hiking a trail, the entire afternoon in a museum and end the day with a three-course meal, fantastic libations and stimulating conversation.

When it comes to travel, we are extreme planners and doers but we leave room for interpretation. We have every detail planned but would throw it all out the window if we met a charming local who invited us to have lunch in their village.

We understand the value of living in the moment. We love going solo but have done this long enough to know that there is safety in numbers. Physical safety, financial safety, emotional safety, whatever it may mean to the individual, but we are only interested in calculated risk.

Petra

If you want to read more about my trip to Jordan: Petra, Amman & The Dead Sea

Filling a Travel Void in My Life 
There are many travel groups for all sorts of travelers, why should this one be any different? There is something I cannot find in other travel groups I've researched, I see a void. I will explain by telling you about the void in my life, obviously not all of them, but the void related to travel.

Last summer, I did something I had not planned to do, I rediscovered America. Over the course of 12 days I traveled across the United States, I rode the Amtrak for 81+ hours, from Chicago, through the Rockies, to the Northeast and then down the California coast, making 4 stops along the way. Although I frequently visit larger cities within the United States, prior to this trip, it had not occurred to me that there was much to see outside of major metropolitan areas. That cross-country trip made me realized how foolish I had been, my own backyard was filled beauty, mystery and a rich history overlooked by many other misguided Americans like myself. Americans who have lost sight of their future because they don't know their past.
(Feel free to insert your own political opinion here, but I will tell you that this country was not built on greed nor fear. Look it up.)

LeylaExpress Amtrak Trip

If you want to read more about my trip across the country last year, you can check out: #LeylaExpress 

Finding the Inspiration for My Travel Success 
My cross-country trip was a great success. Amtrak was more pleasant than I had remembered it to be, and over those 12 days I met kind and generous people. I got to know more than a few on those extended jaunts between cities and listened to the stories of their daily lives, lives so vastly different than mine. Each one of the four destinations I visited were memorable but one of those stops out shined the others - Glacier National Park.

It was my first trip to a National Park, I didn't know what to expect. I am a city girl - I don't camp, I don't hike, hell, I don't even picnic! But I quickly fell in love with Glacier Park, I saw a lot and learned even more. When I first heard my guide refer to the area as, "Crown of the Continent" I knew exactly why and agreed completely, it was quite easily one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.

The people who worked in and around the Park had a profound respect and understanding for nature and history. I listened to every word they said, I took detailed notes (on my iPhone, looking like a big a-hole) and I bought books from the gift shop so I could learn even more. Reading about the history of the National Parks, the extreme dedication to the project by the founders, the personal finances that were poured into developing Glacier Park, left me with a sense of pride and unity. Something that happens less and less these days and I would like to experience that again.

Glacier National Park
Read about my Hike at Ole Creek Trail in Glacier Park

When I returned from my trip, I continued to explore my new found love of our protected lands. I started to follow the +US Department of the Interior's Instagram account @USInterior (and you should too) but didn't know too much about the U.S. Department of Interior. I decide that any travel community organized by me would be dedicated to protecting national resources and cultural heritage. By whatever means possible, we would give something back.
U.S. Dept of Interior Mission Statement: Protecting America's Great Outdoors and Powering Our Future. The Department of Interior protects and manages the National resources and cultural heritage; provides scientific and the information about those resources; and horns its trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives and affiliated island communities. 

New Travel Goal in Life - Join Me! 
My new goal is to visit a National Park each summer. It doesn't sound too hard, but it isn't easy to do this alone. Most of the people I met at Glacier Park were quite outdoorsy, one girl hunted moose(!), they were the opposite of me. They told me about the other Parks they had visited, Denali, Ozark, Grand Teton, Yosemite, Yellowstone… there were so many! I wanted to quit my job and live off the fat of the land, but I knew that was just a silly dream. Maybe I couldn't visit them all at once, but I could easily dedicate a lifetime to visiting them one at a time.

Any travel organization I am a part of would have a responsibility component, whether it was through financial resources or volunteer activity, we would be committed to the betterment of public lands, the wildlife and the people who reside on those lands. Even if you don't want to be a part of my travel group, you should consider volunteering for the US Dept. of Interior, you can find info here.

To truly enjoy all the National Parks have to offer, I know I can't go alone. I found out very quickly that hiking alone is frowned upon (and really scary). And I don't know of any travel groups for soft-core outdoors people, people who have an appreciation for history and a love of clean sheets and hot showers. To join my group, you don't need to be a gung-ho backpacker, I will source ranger led hikes, find guides that will take us safely down a river, and people with horses and guns that can help us not die together. In my travel group, there is no need to sleep outside, but we can if you want to (maybe for one night just for giggles), the Parks have great lodges. I am looking for travelers who can appreciate the tranquility and peacefulness of these wonderful places AND those who to want to give back to their nation and their people.

If you're interested in becoming a part of my travel community, leave a comment and let me know. And, because I have had a hard time deciding where to go this summer, make a suggestion too.

Which National Park have you always wanted to visit? 

More information on National Parks:



Follow me on Instagram @leylaruinseverything 

Follow me on Twitter @leyla_a 




Friday, July 4, 2014

5 Question Friday with Monica Samuels


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5 Question Friday - the FIRST! 

Where I ask friends and interesting strangers to answer the same 5 questions. It happens on Fridays. 


I've wanted to feature other people on my blog for a while but I haven't had a reason or a purpose. I thought a series where I ask the same questions to each individual would be a good reason and the purpose would be to answer the same 5 questions on the same day of the week - a series. That's how I came up with "5 Question Friday".

My friend Monica agreed to go first (and she helped me write the questions). I asked her to start with a short bio, describe how we met, and then dive into the questions. Anyway, here it goes...


Monica Samuels
I’m the National Sake Sales Manager for Vine Connections, a company headquartered in CA that imports wine from Argentina and Chile, and premium sake from Japan. I’m based in NYC but I cover all 50 states and some parts of Canada, so I spend most of my time on the road. I met Leyla in December of 2005 when I moved to Chicago to work as the GM for SushiSamba Rio. Back then she had a Samsung flip phone and her social media activities were limited to sending text messages. I moved back to NYC in January of 2008 to manage the Sake Portfolio for Southern Wine & Spirits. Leyla and I still visit each other regularly and despite our mismatched energy levels, alcohol tolerance, and consumption of pork products, I have a feeling we’ll stay in each others lives forever.


1. What defines you? (Be descriptive, is it your job, family, a certain skill or talent you may have?)

What defines me is probably my curiosity and enjoyment of food and drinks. I spend most of my time thinking about what I’m going to eat or drink next, and one of my greatest frustrations is wasting a meal on mediocre food. I also think that being raised bilingually and spending my childhood in Southern California and Tokyo has given me a unique perspective. I got to observe two very different cultures, without feeling like I completely fit into either one, until I moved to NYC ten years ago and finally felt like I was somewhere that I could call home.


2. What song energizes you when you are looking for motivation? (maybe it is more than one depending on what you need to get motivated for)

I would have to pick more than one. The song that’s on every single one of my running/workout playlists is “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” by Michael Jackson. At a wedding, the song that always gets me out of my seat is “Hungry Like the Wolf” by Duran Duran, and I have a really cheesy dance that I attempt when I’ve had too much to drink. If I’m driving, which I’m unfortunately doing more and more lately, one of the songs that always picks up my mood is “This is the Place” by the Talking Heads.


3. If you were to show up to a potluck, what would you bring? (and why? And what kind of potluck is this?)

I’m envisioning a BBQ of some sort as far as type of potluck. I would bring 7 layer dip, because sometimes I worry that I come across as too highfalutin and I think everyone secretly loves 7 layer dip anyway. I would never bring something that needs any finishing touches applied in the kitchen of the potluck.


4. Describe your perfect day... 

Right now I’m traveling so much for work that my perfect day would definitely be at home. I’d sleep in late – I generally wake up early out of habit but occasionally I can sleep in until 11 or so. Then I’d go to a yoga class taught by my favorite instructor, Melinda Abbott. Then I’d get some friends together and have a picnic in Central Park supplied by Epicerie Boulud, the wonderful (albeit overpriced) French market in my building, along with ample quantities of rose wine and sake. I’d probably go get a massage after that, maybe go on a boat ride at sunset, and then have my sister cook me dinner. I haven’t had a home cooked meal in months, and I can’t imagine anything better.


5. What would you do if you won $1 million in the lottery? What would you do if you won $100 million?

I guess if I won $1 million I’d think about buying an apartment in NYC. If I had $100 million I’d donate 50% to the Fund for Global Human Rights – it’s a really well organized charity that makes a huge impact with limited resources and $50 million would be an unprecedented victory for them. I’d probably invest 25% of it. With the remainder I’d try to help out any friends or family who are financially struggling, get a crazy beach house somewhere, and put the rest in a vacation fund.

If you want to know more about Monica:
You can tweet her @MonicaASamuels 
Follow her on Instagram @MSamuels1212