Nail Art Investments as a 20-something “with a plan” 

No one wrote the roadmap for 20-23 years of age. So, there are essentially no rules. Every post-adolescent I know walks around like they were just released from house arrest. The beeping ankle bracelet is off and we are allowed to walk to Starbucks (way too often) because who the hell is gonna stop us? Our parents live at least 30 miles away and even if they were close by..we are legally free..

Because there are no rules, there are also no first warnings. There is no one to say “hey Abb, maybe you should do your laundry because going commando to an in-person lecture is wildly inappropriate!” There is no one to explain how W-4s work. We have to make our own doctor’s appointments. I can’t even spell amoxicillin, I had to Google that while I was on hold!

I recently started buying myself manicures. I thought that was a good idea. In December of last year I got my first set of glorious acrylic nails. They were so goddamn shiny! But you can’t just go once! It costs so much money to get them filled. My nail tech Lilly loves to ask me about my love life. Lilly inquires about my personal life as she scrapes off my cuticles, we have fun. Because nail care is not covered by insurance, my bank account runs thin like my nail beds. But it’s not a major loss because Lilly can remind you that I’m not spending that money on dating. 

One morning in March, I realized I was in need of an acrylic fill real bad. I decided to throw all other responsibilities out the window and go see Lilly. To my great surprise, Lilly had the day off, so they put me with another nail technician. Immediately this woman was showing major red flags. However, she told me that she had been in the business for 8 years, so who was I to judge her technique? She made my cuticle bleed on 4 different fingers. I winced as she covered my open flesh with nail glue to stop the bleeding. She then gave me one of the worst manicures of my life. I walked home in a seething rage. I just kept thinking, “why the hell did I just spend so much money on this absolute mess?!” 

The next day, I went back to the salon and Lilly kindly fixed my nails for free. She asked me who did my nails the day before and I reluctantly named the culprit. I told Lilly that the nail tech said she had 8 years of experience.

Lilly looked at me and replied, “Honey, she lies.”  

Dealing with rejection like Pete Davidson

Creative people beware! This business is not for the faint of heart! Writers should anticipate a lot of rejection! 

If I hear one more warning about this industry I’m gonna move to Palm Springs and become a professional lounge by the pool girl. I’m gonna live on Vitamin D and spicy margs.

Like c’mon! As scary as this business is…it’s fun right? Even though I’ve written plenty of articles, it’s still terrifying to press submit. Sometimes I question where the hell my ambition comes from? Why do I keep taking risks even though there’s no guarantee?

Then I think about Pete Davidson. Our ‘resident young person’ on SNL. The king of Staten Island. He’s a funny guy!! I went to his live show in 2018 and had a great time! His humor is filthy and self deprecating. Sure he’s a great comedian, but he’s not physically attractive by most standards.

AND YET…have you seen the beautiful celebrities he dates?? This man is out here taking risks for all of us. Pete has dated Ariana Grande and that girl from Bridgerton who looks like she nurses baby squirrels back to health. Presently, he scored Kim Kardashian fresh off her divorce. Pete Davidson keeps dating beautiful and successful women.

However, we have only seen his success stories in the media. We don’t read: “Breaking news: resident SNL drug user Pete Davidson gets rejected on Tinder by 35 women each week!”

We only get the highlight reel. So when I submit 15 articles and 2 get chosen, I’m basically Pete Davidson.

I’m going to keep taking risks because the good articles will be chosen. Not every piece will be a winner. Similarly, not every million dollar socialite returns Pete’s calls.

We just wake up and keep trying 🙂

Love + Higher Ed

“What is college? Stop going until we figure it out!” 

John Mulaney was joking when he said this, but was he really? Because what is college, but a group of 20 somethings sharing YMCA-style communal living spaces and all of their secrets. College is the trophy we are awarded for finishing high school: the most stressful, acne covered years of our lives. College is glamoured as the “good old days.” We are expected to be our happiest selves once we get there. Not to mention potentially finding our future spouse?! I could discuss several inaccuracies about college life. However, today I am discussing one topic specifically: love & sex. 

Television and film has conditioned us to believe that our future soulmate is living down the hall in our first year dorm. The story goes that we will begin as friends. We will develop feelings and begin a steamy, sexual relationship. However, by October, we will fall in love and become exclusive. Flash forward 10 years, we are married with kids and everything kind of “worked out.” News flash, this narrative is false.

The real college dating scene is a gruesome reality that makes you nauseated. It’s unpredictable and hilariously lacking romance. This was disappointing for me from the start. 

Luckily, there is a new show that is definitely more accurate in its depiction of college romance.

The Sex Lives of College Girls was recently released on HBO Max. It is a world of college students created by comedy legend Mindy Kaling. In this show, the characters have casual sex, navigate college friendships, and are generally challenged with finding their respective identities. The characters are thrust into the college hook up scene. They are forced to navigate the allusive “talking stage” of every relationship. They experience the constant fear of being ghosted by someone they like. For anyone who hasn’t dated in college, the jokes in The Sex Lives of College Girls won’t be as funny. But those of us who understand the embarrassment of waiting for a Tinder reply will find the characters hilariously relatable. 

Is The Sex Lives of College Girls glamorized? Of course it’s a television show. But, I wish I could have watched this show as a first year. It would have been nice to feel normal. 

Dating in college isn’t all terrible. With every rejection, we are redirected to something better. Notice I said “something better” not “someone better.” That something better could be crying over ice cream with your best friends. It could simply be using an open date night to catch up on much needed sleep. Through every rejection we learn pretty important lessons.

So, do I really know why we go to college? It’s not the perfect place to find love. Maybe it’s the perfect time to find ourselves.  

My Mind Is A Low Budget Film Maker

Most days of the week I am grateful that I’m not a psychologist. I have no interest in understanding the inner workings of my own brain, which is why I pay my therapist to do it all for me. However, I have always been interested in dreams. Why do we dream? What does this dream mean? Why is my brain directing movies in my head?

My brain’s movies are indie and low budget for sure. The messages are convoluted, which makes them even more exciting to investigate. I have spent entire therapy sessions trying to understand what my dreams mean. I am often unsuccessful. The plots simply do not make sense.

I once dreamt that I was on a tropical vacation with my family. Unfortunately, the island was engulfed by a tsunami. Did I mention the ocean was made of melted chocolate? The only humans on the island were my family because everyone else was a life size gummy bear. This story only gets worse, so I will spare you the details. Just know, the ending was actually happy. My family was safe along with many of our gummy bear friends!

Do all of my dreams end happily? Of course not. My most vivid dreams are anxiety dreams. Anxiety Dreams are defined (on Wikipedia) as unpleasant dreams that are often more distressing than nightmares. The feelings of anxiety from the dream often remain in your mind throughout the day. My anxiety dreams typically accompany REAL situations in my life. 

You might be thinking..what the hell am I supposed to do with my own anxiety dreams? I am wading into the pool of my subconscious and I don’t know how to swim!! Also, why am I wearing this bikini when I don’t have a tan?? 

Regretfully, I must tell you that anxiety dreams don’t just go away when your waking hours make you anxious. One thing that has helped me is going to bed while listening to a podcast or audio book. When I implement this extra step into my routine, I fall asleep with a distraction. I dream about the podcast or book. 

Does this strategy always work? Of course not. My brain just makes really shitty student films. 

Also, Mr. Big is dead…so now I will never purchase a Peloton.  

Adele in 2021 Vision

Let me set the scene, the year is 2010, I’m riding to school in the car with my mom. I’m a fifth grader probably wearing an Abercrombie Kids graphic tee and sporting a purple feather from Ellie Rogers’ 9th birthday in my hair. My mom turns on Kiss 108 Boston’s premier top 40 FM radio station at the time. The first song to play is “Rolling in the Deep.” Adele’s powerhouse vocals blast through the speakers of our Honda Pilot. I had never experienced heartbreak at 10 years old until then. My biggest emotional burdens included school cafeteria lunches and missing Nintendo DS chargers and yet, I was transfixed by Adele’s voice and how it made me feel. Little did I know that millions of people around the world were moved by this woman as well.

“Rolling in the Deep” went on to take the  #1 spot on the Billboard Top 100 for seven weeks. “Someone Like You” was the  second single that  also went to #1. Her album 21 would go on to win six grammys including Album of the Year. Adele’s unique sound became iconic seemingly overnight. The amount of Adele covers I heard on American Idol AND in the Village School cafeteria were striking. When I asked my friend Caroline how she remembers Adele she said, “I used to love her.” Adele became a household name and national sensation. 

Following the success of 21 fans waited eagerly for another album. In 2015, Adele released her single “Hello”and the world went still  again. So began the era of 25, an album that would again award Adele international praise and yet another Album of the Year Grammy Award. 

After touring for 25, Adele quietly stepped back from the public eye. She focused on her marriage and raising her only son Angelo. She still performed, however, I stopped hearing her name in public discourse for most of high school. 

In 2018, news broke that Adele had separated from her husband and by the next year, she began posting publicly again on social media. Fans were shocked by her weight loss and suddenly her appearance was all people could talk about. The discourse changed from the mastery of Adele’s vocal ability  and songwriting to how she looked in a dress on Instagram. Women’s bodies have always been scrutinized in the media, but Adele’s situation is different.

Adele is a celebrity, however, unlike Madonna or Lady Gaga, her fans expect her to be consistent. Adele is not only consistent in her musical talent, but in her appearance. For example: Adele mostly used to wear black, conservative clothing. In her more recent public events, she has been more experimental with her wardrobe and style. Lady Gaga’s fans expect her to constantly change her appearance, Adele’s fans expect consistency from her. Adele as a celebrity is nostalgic and comforting, her fans do not want to lose that side of her. So, her appearance gets extra attention. 

Let’s get back to the music! That’s what Adele would want us to discuss anyway. Her new album 30 is set to release on November 19, 2021. “Easy On Me,” the first single off the album, was released on October 15, 2021 and has already spent two weeks at #1. It is classic Adele: beautifully heartbreaking. Adele said in her Vogue 73 Questions interview, “This new album is my most personal one yet.” I cannot wait to feel nostalgic, but I am also excited for something new. I guess that combination is Adele in 2021 vision. When asked in the interview if 30 is the beginning of a new era Adele said, “Does anything ever really end?”

21 Lessons For 21 Years

On October 20, 2021 I turned 21 years old. The legal drinking age. The year some say one “really becomes an adult.” Has my life changed since turning the big 21, not really. However, I did spend $57 on Kendall Jenner branded tequila. 

Last year I wrote one of these to my younger self. A list of lessons that young Abigail would’ve liked to have known. So, I’m bringing it back a year later..

Here’s 21 Lessons for 21 Years:

  1. Human beings are not psychic, we are not mind readers (That’s So Raven is an exception of course). You have no way of knowing what someone is thinking unless they disclose that information to you.
  2. Press-on acrylic nails are so inexpensive and easy to use. However, they’re always locked up at CVS, so people don’t steal them. Be prepared to get dirty looks from the associate who has to unlock them for you.
  3. All emotions are valid, even the uncomfortable ones.
  4. The preschoolers at JCC Kindercamp should be running Amazon or Apple. Young people are cooler and more creative than Jeff Bezos. 
  5. You can be nice to people you don’t particularly like and it’s different than being fake.
  6. Alone time is essential for you to recharge and relax!
  7. Three words: Wireless Push-up Bras (is that four words?)
  8. It is ok to be the first to reach out. Remind people in your life that you care about them.
  9. You don’t need to minimize yourself to allow someone else to reach their maximum potential.
  10. Quick hangover prevention tool: HAHA there isn’t one!
  11. Healing is not linear
  12. A year later and this girl still loves therapy!!
  13. Having family around is a beautiful gift. Cherish the time you have with people who actually know you and love you.
  14. Rejection is simply redirection to something better.

***Family members PLEASE skip lesson 15***

  1. Vibrators are shipped in discreet packaging! The college mailroom probably doesn’t know what you ordered…probably
  2. Transferring schools is really, really challenging. 
  3. Transferring schools was really, really worth it.
  4. You are a storyteller. You are creative. You are wise.
  5. Donald Trump won’t be president forever. He won’t even be president for 2 terms  😀
  6. You are not supposed to have all the answers right now. 
  7. You are loved. You are kind. You are worthy of friendship. You are worthy of laughter. You are an extraordinary human being. You are worthy of this new beginning..

“You Will Be Found”…Missing Live Theatre

Dear Evan Hansen, rose to fame on Broadway, with some viewers finding it via bootlegs on Youtube. Regardless, audiences have all been captivated by the music, the once in a lifetime talent of Ben Platt, and the story that motivated millions to keep going when life felt unbearable. The show that captivated audiences around the world is now a major motion picture which was released on September 24, 2021.

Dear Evan Hansen follows the tumultuous senior year of Evan Hansen, a young man isolated and crippled by anxiety. Evan’s therapist encourages him to write letters to himself, detailing how Evan will have a “great day.” Evan’s life drastically changes when his letter falls into the hands of a grieving couple who have lost their son to suicide.

The film adaptation begins with Evan singing “Waving Through A Window.” The viewer watches a now 28 year old Ben Platt re-enter the character he originated on Broadway. For staunch supporters of the musical, this beginning will be jarring. The Broadway musical version begins with the song “Does Anybody Have A Map?” The song sets a tone for the show by allowing the audience into the homes of the two families that the story follows. “Does Anybody Have A Map?” has been left out of the film adaptation all together. Amy Adams would have given us a beautiful rendition of the song. Beginning with “Waving Through A Window” will be confusing for anyone who is unfamiliar with the story. It felt like a dramatic Hollywood movie, losing the humble beginning that the audience is comfortable with. 

This review would be incomplete without discussing the masterful performance of Ben Platt. As previously stated, Platt originated the role of Evan for Broadway nearly six years ago. Platt’s voice is incredible and he captures the emotion of the character flawlessly.

However, is he a believable high school senior? Of course not. Platt looks like a 28 year old who is struggling to graduate. As much as we all love Ben Platt, he may have missed “the window” of time where him playing the character is believable. The character of Evan would have benefited from a fresh, new performance. The creators of the film missed an opportunity to cast a new actor. Ben Platt is amazing, but he should pass this role on to someone new. That being said, audiences cannot wait to witness what is next from Platt.

A true standout in Dear Evan Hansen was Kaitlyn Dever as Zoe Murphy. Zoe is a tortured character, trying to mourn the death of her brother whom she believes never truly loved her. Dever’s performance was electric. The speeding car scene (not in the original version) was by far the most memorable of the entire film. Dever’s raw emotion was palpable, the entire theater went silent and simply lived the scene with her. Dever’s singing was impressive, but she was not the strongest vocalist to play Zoe Murphy. 

Dear Evan Hansen missed the mark…slightly. We waited too long for the film adaptation. By the time it got here, we were expecting a film that would have been perfect in 2016. A younger, more relatable Ben Platt. The original broadway cast. Maybe it wasn’t made to be a Hollywood film. There is a vulnerability that comes with a live performance of this show that the actors couldn’t accurately portray on screen.

If you’re a fan of the musical, you should see the film. The “You Will Be Found” scene was beautiful. Listening to Ben Platt sing for two hours is enjoyable any way you can get it. Just remember, if you miss live theatre, you’re not alone. Because it’s the human connection that we miss most of all.  

Lights Out On Golden Hour

Let me set the scene…two lovers ripped right at the seams

The first moments of Star Crossed are a spine tingling indication of what’s to come. What was a peaceful Golden Hour type of love has gone up in smoke. The lights are out. Things aren’t the same, but are they worse? As I dive into Kacey’s heartbreak manifesto for the second time, I’m still not sure. All I know is this era is vivid and haunting. The tracks on the album are unlike anything we’ve heard from her. 

Star Crossed the album and film were released on September 10, 2021. Kacey Musgraves has been teasing new music for the last year following her divorce from former husband, Ruston Kelly. Regarding the split Kacey has said, “it simply didn’t work.” With the release of Star Crossed, Kacey has provided her audience with a front row seat to her healing process. A healing process that has been anything, but linear. The album is seemingly split into three parts. 

The first explains what went wrong. The second track, “Good Wife” details the pressure Kacey felt in her marriage to be everything her ex husband wanted. The wife trope was filled with expectations and drudgery. “Simple Times” is a relatable track with a nostalgic style. Kacey laments about wanting to put everything on pause and “kick it at the mall like there’s nothing wrong.” She sings about wanting a break from expectation just to be with her friends. The other tracks in this first section explain Kacey’s pain and denial about the end of her relationship. 

The second section of the album exhibits all the mid-breakup feelings. That angst from seeing pictures on your phone of memories you’d like to forget (“camera roll”). Those contradicting feelings of lust and disdain (“justified”). One of the most revealing tracks on the album is definitely “breadwinner.” Kacey shares her former husband’’s jealousy of her success over a fun, 90s style dance beat…genius. 

The final section of the album feels the most classic Kacey Musgraves. It’s filled with self-affirming songs and hope for better days to come. Tracks like “keep looking up” and “what doesn’t kill me” encapsulate the good days during a bad year. The second to last track “there is a light” is my personal favorite on the album. The chorus goes, “There is a light at the end of the tunnel. There is a light inside of me.” It is a triumphant ending to the album and a glimpse into what’s to come for Kacey. 

Was this a review or an ode to Kacey Musgraves? You can decide. Either way, Star Crossed is my recommendation for anyone on their own healing journey. There is a light even if you can’t see it right now.  

Why “New Beginnings?”

Homecoming (noun): a return home or an annual alumni celebration at a high school or college. I recently experienced a “homecoming.” However, my version wasn’t planned and certainly did not involve queens, kings, punch, and handmade parade floats. My homecoming was abrupt. The year was 2020 (maybe you’ve heard of it?).  March 9, 2020 to be exact. I was having a disgusting Monday. It was freezing cold and cloudy in Colchester, Vermont. My mouth tasted of chicken patties and stale peppermint tea as I walked to my 11am statistics class. I had just returned from Montreal, Canada and was feeling supremely lost at school. It seemed like everyone around me was having the time of their lives. Partying, posting on social media…partying for an excuse to post. I felt like everyone had great friends and everyone was having fun except for me. For the last couple of weeks, there were rumors about a certain contagious virus sweeping China and parts of Europe. It was that very Monday, on my rainy walk to class, that I first heard about cases in the United States. 


Within two days, my college would be closed. My mom rushed to Vermont to help me pack up my tiny dorm room, unsure if I would return to campus in five weeks as planned. News flash, I didn’t. I remained home for the remainder of the spring semester. We were all isolated, forced to learn Zoom: the communication vessel of our discontent. My Monday morning stats class looked less like a class and more like the Brady Bunch opening theme, tiny people in tiny boxes stacked on a screen. 

Amidst all of the chaos, I felt a strange sense of relief. I was free from a situation that was making me miserable. I went for walks with my parents, instead of alone. I ate delicious home cooked food, instead of cold chicken patties. I slowly began to rebuild my life. Surprisingly enough, I began to appreciate my “homecoming.” During that difficult time, I found my voice, and I began to write my thoughts down. 

Since March 2020, I’ve had countless new beginnings. New school, new friends, and a new way of looking at the old stuff. New Beginnings Blog is a combination of creativity, passion, and healing. My words and thoughts live here for your eyes and brains to enjoy. 

New Beginnings (big and small) are possible. My writing reflects that. If your life feels like a rainy walk to statistics class right now, my heart is with you. 

Begin a new chapter or an entirely new book..

Hoop Earrings: Power Through History (July 2021)

Hoops are more than just earrings. They’re a symbol of inner strength and confidence. Hoops can transform one’s mood for the better. Suddenly a simple tee shirt and jeans can turn into a fabulous expression of style. I couldn’t help but wonder, What gives hoops their power? Is it their rich history? Or is it the people who wear them? 

Turns out hoop earrings are one of the oldest fashion trends of humankind. The first hoop earrings originated in 2500 BCE in Nubia, a civilization that we now know as the African nation Sudan. In 1500 BCE, Egyptians sported hoops as a sign of beauty, wealth, and power. Hoops were also worn by Ancient Roman women as a sign of high class luxury. Hoops continued to grow with international trends throughout many decades. They reached prominence in the United States in the late 1800s. 

 During the Roaring 1920s, hoops became crucial in completing a high fashion look. In the ‘50s and ‘60s, hoops were the perfect accessory to compliment a low cut blouse and jeans. Cher and Diana Ross were notorious for wearing large gold hoops on stage in the 1970s. By the 1980s, however, hoops became a symbol of hip hop and rap music. This was a suitable transition because hoops served as a respectful nod to the African and Dominican cultures from which the style of music originated. 

The empowerment that hoop earrings provide is no coincidence. It is through their diverse history that I’ve realized that the wearer holds just as much power as the earring itself does. An influential history has paved the way for us: “The 2021 hoop obsessors of today.” Today’s hoop lovers are wonderfully flawed. We don’t always play by the rules. We are free to create, inspire, and incite change.