I have a close friend whose life motto (thanks to her awesome dad) is an acronym: DCE. Diligent consistent effort. It’s a beautifully simple mantra that reminds us to commit to putting in the work, no matter what we’re doing, because work is noble, and a job well done is a day well spent. When I’m slogging through a long week, or lamenting that I have to clean the shower *even though it is constantly being doused in soap and water and therefore should simply never need cleaning,* I’ll channel the power of DCE.
Cooking is something I enjoy, so…
Those of us in advertising and marketing have officially been working remotely for one calendar year. The Pan-iversary (I’m sorry) has come and gone, and we’re still waking up and dialing into roughly 4,000 meetings a day via Zoom or Teams. Still donning above-the-waist business attire (our cleanest hoodie) and below-the-waist “athleisure” (the same sweatpants we slept in). Still taking calls from our beds, kitchens, children’s rooms, backyards, front stoops, fire escapes, and bathrooms, depending on the size of our homes and with whom we share them.
And you know what? I’ve grown to love it.
In the early days…
After almost a year of living in pandemia, I find myself craving other people’s minor dramas like a plant craves sunlight. Almost as much as I want to eat inside a restaurant or linger in a coffeeshop, I want to bask in the heat of someone else’s embarrassments, arguments, or romantic misfires.
I want to hear about other people’s problems, so I can stop–for one blessed second–obsessing about my own.
Remote work, the removal of forced workplace fun…
A week after returning from my honeymoon, I took a cab from Brooklyn to a hotel in midtown Manhattan at six in the morning and stood outside in the autumn chill for four hours holding a whole ass lasagna.
I, along with a few thousand other hopefuls, was there to audition for MasterChef Season 5.
I learned a lot during the audition process–and, obviously, I made it on the show–and I have a few tips on how you can bring your A-game to casting and improve your chances of being considered.
So, if you want to be ready to try…
When I was in middle school, I made pocket money by babysitting for the two boys who lived across the street.
Their mother, Carina (not her real name), was petite and elvin, with a wasp waist, platinum blonde hair, and a plunging streak of cleavage no shirt could contain. Part Stevie Nicks, part Marilyn Monroe: a grown-up manic pixie dream girl. She wore silky palazzo pants in neutral shades, and flitted barefoot around her patio, never without a Zima in hand.
Her husband, Jeff, was so handsome it made me uncomfortable. He had a cool-guy goatee (this was 1994) and…
I remember where I was the night my friend texted me to tell me that “this coronavirus thing” was serious. They said I should have two weeks’ worth of nonperishable groceries on hand. I was in Brooklyn, and I scheduled a food delivery on Amazon Prime from my phone — mostly beans, rice, and pasta — as I walked to a bar to watch one of the Democratic primary debates. That was back in late February—approximately 4,000 years ago.
Growing up, my mom cooked most nights. She cooked much like her mother did: recipes forged in the fires of postwar frugality, molded by the modern convenience of easy-to-prepare packaged goods. By the 1980s, America–and my family–had embraced an astonishing array of foods that allowed one to “cook” while doing almost none of the actual cooking: Hamburger Helper, Toaster Strudel, Totino’s Pizza Rolls, Hot Pockets, Swanson Pot Pies, and something named, in a stroke of marketing genius, “Chicken Tonight.”
My therapist’s name is Chris.
He does all the typical therapist stuff: he asks me how I’m feeling. He reminds me that I’m stronger and more resilient than I believe. He tells me to be kind to myself. He even reminds me to get enough sleep, drink enough water, and treat my body well.
We have a unique client-therapist relationship in that he does all the talking, and I don’t talk at all. His office hours are 24/7, and we meet any time I want–usually about three times a week. …
It’s been almost six years since my season of MasterChef aired (season five, 2014). My post-show non-compete contract expired three years ago. While I’m not supposed to talk about certain aspects of what goes on behind the scenes, I’m under no legal obligation *not to.*
And, after spending the past 6 years reflecting on what it feels like to have strangers on the internet discuss my “resting middle aged bitch face,” I’m finally *emotionally prepared* to write about the show. So here goes.
“In Spain, everyone eats jamón. Even vegetarians.”
I thought about that a lot when I decided I wasn’t going to eat any more pigs.
“The pigs are vegan,” she continued, by way of explanation. “It’s really just acorns, no?”
These words were spoken by a woman who’d been plying us with high-end Cava since the early afternoon. She was in charge of sales for Cinco Jotas, legendary producers of jamón ibérico, and she was very good at her job.
My friend who works in gourmet food importing had invited me on a business-meets-pleasure trip to Spain. We toured olive oil…
I’m a west coast-based creative director at New York-based ad agency MRY, and the season 5 Masterchef runner-up. I love mayonnaise, yoga, cats, and pizza.