NO SOCIAL MEDIA SEPTEMBER

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I’ve tried and failed to take a break from social media in the past. Often it’s that I needed it for work, but mostly I’m just addicted. Finding myself increasingly frustrated with who I am in real life as a result of what I project online, I decided it was time for another go. For the whole month of September.

There are several reasons I think it’s time to take a break from social media:

  • The time is right. I stepped away from my social media consulting work to a full-time role where my corporate social media work is currently minimal. I have no online presence to maintain but my own.
  • Social media distracts me. Speaking of work… I keep Tweetdeck, Facebook and my phone on and in my face every second of the day. I don’t always address everything that comes through but I do notice it and make a decision about whether or not to respond. It may only take a split second–Respond? Don’t respond? What to say?–but all those questions add up and lead to a real life psychological problem called decision fatigue wherein the quality of our decisions deteriorates over time. (Not to mention, science says small distractions are making you a terrible writer.) As for social media distractions during real life socializing, I hate myself for looking at my phone when another human’s face is in front of me. But I do it all the time. I love having my phone handy as a camera for capturing memorable moments but the instant sharing of those moments and subsequent search for validation via likes and comments rips you right out of what was happening.
  • Social networks make me anti-social. The internet is an enticing environment for an introvert because it makes you feel bolder and more in control than you are in the always unpredictable real world. You can create, project and maintain any image you want without concern for the unexpected. This can be a really good thing. I’ve met some of my very best real life friends online, and even my boyfriend was the Tinder jackpot of the century. Unfortunately, ongoing online communication creates a false sense of social interaction where we feel connected but are increasingly more isolated.
  • Social media makes me lazy. Nothing really has ever made me sadder than my mom (who is not on Facebook) saying, “Please don’t forget to send me pictures.” I think being online we fall into this lazy pattern of passive sharing where a blanket public post is enough to satisfy just about any announcement. I’m as lazy about sharing my life with important people as I am about celebrating others when big things like babies and weddings get boiled down to a single-click like.
  • I am wasting my time and yours. There are definitely some very thought-provoking, intelligent pieces posted online (more so on Twitter than Facebook) and I’ve found it to be the ultimate news source, but for the most part the social world is awash with clickbait garbage, celebrity news, and lists of shit we should be doing to be better at [insert literally anything here]. There was once a time when Facebook really was a place to keep up with what your friends are doing. Now it seems to be a neverending string of mindless time-wasting distractions we can’t seem to stop sharing. I think this is why I prefer Instagram to anything else right now because it (usually) really is just a behind the scenes (highly filtered) look at someone’s life rather than a look at the nonsense the read online.
  • I have some fun stuff going on. I’m training for my first triathlon at the end of this month. I’m going to Vegas for the first time with my girlfriends for absolutely no reason at all. I’m crazy crazy in love. My little sister just moved into town and now we get to hang out sporadically. My brother’s baby won’t stop growing. I have a huge work event in NYC in a few weeks. I’ve made my triumphant return to yoga and it feels so good. And I just kind of want to see what it feels like to participate in those things without the desire to tell everyone about them as they unfold.
  • Social media is fake. Everything you see about me online is an image. It’s me, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a carefully crafted, perfectly timed, filtered image of what I want you to know and see. I know this about my end of the deal but somehow forget that it’s true for everyone else, and I get caught up in the comparison trap. One of the clearest realizations of this for me was being at events and seeing them unfold in real life and then seeing the snapshots people shared online afterwards. I’ve been to events that I haaaaate and then realize when I see everyone else’s pictures go up that had I not been there, I would have been super jealous to have missed that super awesome posed candid moment. What we share and what we actually do aren’t always mirror images, and the filtered snapshots always seem more enticing than what really went down.

I don’t hate everything about social media. I just hate the way I manage (or fail to manage) my time and myself on it. Ultimately I just want to step away, take a breather, and figure out what’s for me and what’s for show, what I need and what I don’t, and what it feels like to live in the 90s again.

I will still be blogging here all month in what I hope is a less instant, more thoughtful way.

PS – I can’t even tell you how many times I have said “See you in November” and been reminded that October is also a month. October. See you in October.

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Caturday 8.30.14

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Hello and a very happy Caturday to you!

This week the cats are proud to report that they have switched their meals over to Castor & Pollux Organix, a food that is tested on animals only to the extent that it is given to shelter pets for taste testing. This is what they say anyway. Please feel free to correct us.

The cats asked me to switch their food after learning that companion pet food companies often utilize brutal and unfair testing procedures on their peers. (Iams is one of the worst, by the way.) We had no idea!

So far everyone is pleased with the new food but me because I have to buy it.

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Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

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It’s like as soon as I wasn’t able to work out at full max I just threw in the towel and ate chocolate chip cookies and pizza. Don’t care.

It was actually during the making of these cookies Monday night that the crippling pain of my bike mishap first surfaced. I was fine for an hour ride and most of the evening but around 9p started to realize something was way off. While I can’t say I would push through so much as a headache to, say, finish a race, I will hop around on one foot until I die to finish baking cookies.

Katie Levans, Athlete of the Year.

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Wear It: CYCLE COMMUTING STYLE

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Last week my parking company called to inform me I had been “accidentally” parking in the wrong lot right next to my building instead of the lot I pay for half a mile away. What a convenient error I had been making. Only on days when it rains. Or when I wear heels. How odd!

They were entirely too kind to even give me the benefit of the doubt (which I didn’t deserve) but threatened to boot my car if I ever “got confused” again anyway. Touche. I walked out the door to move my car and instead drove it straight to a bike shop and bought a new ride I can park inside the building without getting in trouble. Take that.

I needed a new bike for the triathlon anyway since apparently you can’t compete on a beach cruise (who knew?) but I felt like using it as a commuter would be an excellent way to train and also avoid additional parking tickets. The problem with riding your bike to work, as Jim Halpert knows, is it looks a little something like this:

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Oh, Activities.

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Let me tell you about how my request to do more things landed me immobile and unable to do any things.

First of all, I’m that person who has to be doing something at all times. The one who, while on vacation, presents you with an hour-by-hour itinerary of the day’s activities like, “LET’S DO ALL THE THINGS THAT ARE POSSIBLE TO DO WITHOUT STOPPING OR SITTING DOWN.”

Over the weekend my boyfriend got his first taste of this when I requested that we “do more things” so we don’t fall into a rut of me sitting around in a sweatsuit watching Bravo every single night, which I’m pretty sure looked to him a little something like this:

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Goddess Lentil Wrap

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I don’t like making wraps at home because it’s always a disaster. But if I’ve learned anything from Chipotle it’s that the best and only way to cram a whole bunch of filling into one flimsy piece of bread is to reinforce it with foil. Duh.

So today before yoga I threw all the leftovers I had into a whole wheat tortilla, reinforced it with foil, and reaped the benefits of not spilling shit all over the place. It was delightful.

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Back to Food

 

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I’ve been in a depressing food slump since returning to regular full-time working hours back in January and last week decided to start creeping back into cook-at-home mode. Mealtime is important to me. I like it official at a table with real dishes and multiple courses and no electronic devices in sight. The reality, though, is that I eat at my desk or standing over the sink or, worse, on the couch in front of the TV (and computer and phone all at once).

Part of it is that I’ve lost the free time I used to have for cooking and baking whenever I felt like it, but more of it, I guess, is that I’ve lost my curiosity about food. Just after college when I first made my switch from reading nutrition facts to reading ingredient labels, I became hyper-vigilant about what’s in my food and where it comes from. What went into the food I ate became more important than how few calories it had, a revolutionary concept for me at the time. Suddenly all the fat-free, sugar-free, low-carb “health” foods lost their allure when I learned about what was in them. And so began my love affair with whole unprocessed food–full fat, real sugar, and all the (right) carbs–and the beginning of the end of a lifetime of disordered, misguided food restriction.

From there I started experimenting in the kitchen, figuring out ways to make the stuff I know and love but with ingredients that passed a new higher standard. I learned new techniques, tried new foods and told everyone about it. That’s where blogging started. For the first time in my life I wasn’t actively trying to lose weight by eating as little as possible and, wouldn’t you know it, with this new approach to real food (plus the start of my yoga practice) I lost a bunch of weight. I eventually decided to study nutrition to see if, how and why the new way I was eating was in fact the right fuel for my body.

I studied everything from the microbiological effect of food inside our cells to the greater socioeconomic implications of our global food system. I worked in food science labs and food pantries and government agencies and school cafeterias. I learned about hunger and obesity and how to calculate the exact ratio of nutrients in a feeding tube formula. I memorized nutrition needs for AIDS patients and diabetes patients and heart patients and pregnant women and athletes and every stage of life from conception to death. I built a virtual restaurant from the ground up (architectural blueprints, appliance selection, menu creation, food sourcing and go-to market strategy). I re-wrote vegetarian versions of USDA-compliant school menus. I launched PlateShare. I was curious (and passionate) about everything. I devoured food and anything I could learn about it.

But at its simplest, I just cooked for myself every night because I love it. And that’s all I really miss, bringing it back to food.

Caturday 8.23.14

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Happiest of Caturdays to you and yours.

It’s official, a wealth of rationality rained down upon me and I’ve decided to bypass my dream apartment and just move into one double the size next door. Reasons include: ease and cost of move, overall square footage, ride or die Plaza Midwood for life, and that lovely skyline view I just can’t let go. It is more than I need but less than what I was shooting for so I’m happy with it.

Plus, these jokers will get their own room.

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A Day in Food

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I’ve fallen into a depressing food slump that involves a protein bar for breakfast (so basically no breakfast), a lame salad for lunch and I don’t even know what for dinner. Just whatever I can slap together without chopping or cooking anything. The laziness is at critical mass.

In an attempt to reignite my interest in what I eat, I forced myself to prepare and document a throwback to some of my favorites. Here’s what I ate today…

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Wear It: STRIPES AGAIN

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Last weekend I went to Virginia to meet my boyfriend’s parents. They’re British so I felt this neurotic Kate Middleton level of style pressure in the days prior to departure because apparently I have wildly skewed caricatures of the motherland in my head. What to wear what to wear? (Insert British accent.)

I wanted something that said more “Katherine” than “Katie” because my whole life I’ve thought maybe just maybe I’d eventually grow into that name and maybe just maybe it would be this particular weekend. I thought I’d be Katie as a kid, Kate in grad school (never happened) and Katherine as a full-fledged adult. Even if no one ever calls me Katherine, I can at least embody her in clothing.

To meet the parents, Katherine (I think) would wear a modest and impeccably tailored knee-length dress, arriving polished, perfumed, and probably behind very big sunglasses.

Katie, I regret to inform you, arrived in jeans and a white t-shirt with an empty Chipotle cup in tow. Can’t win ‘em all, y’all.

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