“Topping Off” in the South of France

- relaxed, free, rested IMG-20140716-WA0011 IMG-20140716-WA0020 If Madrid taught me to slow down, Nice forced me to STOP. You know that book full of research and lists I made for each city? I didn’t look at it ONCE. When I arrived in Nice I had been hauling ass around the UK and Spain for a week and a half only to spend a ten hour layover in London Gatwick Airport watching Pirates of the Caribbean and The Ruins. IMG-20140716-WA0021 So I landed with two objectives, and two objectives only:

1) REST.

2)Free the Tata’s.

These may be done simultaneously or separate, on a beach or in my bed, and in no particular order. Now, there are exactly two ways of going topless at a beach on the Cote D’Azure. I can only dimwittedly compare them to the two ways you get into a cold pool on a hot summer day when you are a kid; you can start with your toes and comfortably inch your way in (or in this case out), or you can go balls (tatas) to the walls and cannonball in because #YOLO.

Here, I give you step by step instructions for both in case you’re an American girl like myself and you and your #whitegirlprobz chest ever finds itself in dire need of some free time.

Method One or ‘The American':

Step 1 – Arrive at the beach and pick a spot where there are absolutely no humans in the general vicinity that may see and therefore judge you.

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Step 2 – Arrange your towel, bag, shoes etc. in a fashion so that once you are out in the open you will not need to move in order to reach anything.

Step 3 – Lay face down on the towel, while checking constantly to make sure that no one has joined you.

Step 4 – After about an hour of incessant neighbor checking, awkwardly and with great difficulty, take your top off while your chest is still firmly to the ground, therefore essentially defeating the purpose of going topless in the first place. (but don’t worry, you can still share on Facebook and Twitter that you did and they’ll be none the wiser.)

Step 5 – Lay in the same position for entirely too long, all the while wiggling and jiggling because you are laying with your boobs and face straight on rock and it is THE most uncomfortable thing in the world. Not to mention that you can’t even relax because you are constantly looking around and checking to make sure that no one has come to gawk or take pictures of your crude self. IMG-20140716-WA0012 (this is literally THE ONLY photographic evidence you will see of me going topless in France so if that’s why you’re here, HELLO and GOODBYE!!)

Step 6 – Panic! Because how in the heck are you going to get your top back on without anyone seeing your tatas?

Step 7 – After a half an hour of awkward and uncomfortable fidgeting, you finally manage to get your top and cover-up on without your boobs every having left the towel or seen the beautiful light of day. Time to head home with your head down in shame. Halfway because you can’t believe you took your top off in public at all, and halfway because you are dissapointed in yourself for your halfass attempt at freedom.

There’s a secret Step 8 here if you are still with me here – Step 8 – On the Walk of Shame home you realize that over the rock hill about 10 yards away there were about 6 topless girls (not in a group), doing there own damn thing while kids played, dogs ran and no one gave any If You Seek Amy’s. AT ALL. Zero.  So you go back to your hostel and grow some balls (or tatas), and regroup. IMG-20140717-WA0005 Method Two (The Normal Non-Paranoid Way):

Step 1 – Arrive at the beach with only your bottoms and a dress cover up. (Not wearing a top forces you to not back out)

Step 2 – Throw your crap on the rocks, rip your dress off and run into the water Phoebe style with your arms, legs and tatas flailing about in all their glory and splendor.

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Step 3 – Now that you are nice and wet (and half naked) go adjust your towel, lay down like a normal human being with your tatas to the sun and enjoy your day because you are in France Dammit and NO ONE cares. You wanna know who doesn’t give a shit about your boobs? These girls don’t give a shit! IMG-20140716-WA0018 This dog and his owner don’t give a shit! IMG-20140716-WA0014 IMG-20140716-WA0019 These rocks don’t give any shits at all! IMG-20140716-WA0015 This guy who makes you rethink the term #SURFBOARDT couldn’t give any less shits! IMG-20140716-WA0017 And best of all, this honey badger? He never gave any shits to begin with. IMG-20140717-WA0006 So go one ladies, let those tatas free!!! I will fill you in on a little secret. I laid on the Pebble Beach of Nice for two days and I tried each method. Guess which one I did first?

You’re absolutely right. The American. Because I’m from #Murika and although we all love to say we don’t care about what anyone thinks of us, we are the most paranoid, acceptance-needing, tata sucking people on the planet.

But guess which one made me so I happy and carefree that I ran through the mist fountains on the way back to my hostel with my dress on and my purse and everything? Not Day One, that’s for damn sure. IMG-20140716-WA0016 From my tatas to yours, Maggie the Free, @mag_and_cheese

The Art of Appreciation, the Appreciation of Art

It is hard to believe that I am already onto my fourth stop. I have come to see my trip as a pilgrimage of sorts. Except with public transportation and occasional WiFi.

When I first began my journey, I had planned to blog my adventures as I encountered them. But I wasn’t quite sure how often, what format or even the subject matter about which I would write. Each city thus far has done well to present me with a theme in which to learn, and subsequently write about.

I am learning an immense amount each day. More so, in many ways, than all that I learned in 18 years of scholastic education. While history and culture have been a prominent aspect of my learning, more important than anything I am learning a lot about myself and learning about how Maggie can squeeze every drop of lemon juice out of my lemon I have been given. *this is a life metaphor, please insert any fruit you like if lemon displeases you*

In many contexts of the phrase, Madrid was everything that Dublin was not, and likewise. In this particular context, I mean that when you think of Ireland, what do you think of? Shamrocks, leprachauns, rainbows, beer… that sort of thing. Well that is exactly what I got in Dublin and it was spectacular. So when I got to Spain, I expected the same type of visit with bullfights and flamenco and Mariachi bands all loud and colorful. I got none of it.

The first night I went to bed underwhelmed and dissapointed, like the kind of dissapointment a young girl might feel if she asks Santa for a grey pony but instead gets a black one. The kind of dissapointment that deserves a swift kick in the face, and the ego. I mean HELLO!!! You are in SPAIN!

My brain must have sorted out my troubled ways in my sleep because when I woke on my second day I rose anew. I decided to spend the day at the fabulous museums of Madrid, some of the best in the world, and something that always gets my mojo going. By the end of the day, I appreciated the city, and it’s culture and history more than I would have appreciated or enjoyed any Mariachi band or bullfight.

That is exactly what Madrid has taught me. Appreciation. To appreciate opportunity, neutrality, and the Spanish Sun. It has taught me to appreciate art in a way that I never have, the grass underneath my feet – wherever that may be, and to appreciate honor and taking my time when I feel like it is necessary.

For instance, if the Spaniards hadn’t taken their time in catching up with modern warfare technology (and chosen to remain neutral in World War II), they would have had to rebuild their city as many times as London and Berlin due to bombs and fires. Instead, they spent a short while after their civil war patching up tiny bullet holes because it was fought mostly on land.

When I decided that I wanted to do this trip, I made the decision that it would be an ”Eat, Pray, Love” type of journey and experience for myself, but more importantly a learning experience. I engulfed myself in documentaries, books, blogs etc. Admittedly, I mostly focused on Rome and the Vatican, the history of British monarchies, and World War II which I have been fascinated by since my dance school did a piece about Auschwitz and each of us were given specific characters and stories to research and portray.

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I basically forgot about Spain entirely, but in my own defense, their steadfast neutrality over the years throughout decades and centuries of combat proves that perhaps that is exactly what they intended.

My third day in Madrid, I began the day with a walking tour. If only I had started with this, but perhaps then I wouldn’t have gotten the same tour guide and BOY! Am I glad I did. I was introduced to Harriet in Puerta del Sol. She had the most adorable, British accent and explained that she had come to Madrid for a short language course, only to never return home.

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Harriet was a lot like Noel from Dublin. One of those people who truly enjoy what they do. Somehow, she managed to cram in hundreds, thousands of years of Spanish history, culture and architecture (and all of the silly little anecdotes) in about two hours while managing to also not let any of us get mugged. If the accent hadn’t been enough to keep me clinging to every word, her charisma and endless knowledge was there to fill in any bullet sized Spanish Civil War crack.


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I won’t bore you with anymore Spanish history than I already have. Chances are you don’t care about history like I do, nor do you have two hours to read about it, nor would I be able to weave it into a two hour tapestry with the same grace as Harriet.

I walked away from Harriet and her tour with a new found respect for Spain, and Madrid and their melting pot of culture, I am sure I could spend more time here and travel to places like Barcelona or Seville to see what I expected, but I almost feel as though it would tarnish what I now appreciate most about this city. This city taught me to take my time and not just when I am going into battle, but each and everyday. Slow down, enjoy the moments, and take a siesta.

When I accepted the cities terms, and slowed myself down, I visited the Prado and the Reina Sofia, Sofia being my favorite, but only because it was less religious and easier to navigate. I began to see the art in a whole new light. Like when you sit there and look at them for hours trying to dissect each detail that the artists depicted.  Subtle nuances in each brush stroke or character. Why did the painter put that person in? They don’t seem to fit – but they must be there for a reason.

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I saw the flowers all over the city, and in the botanical garden that I thought was too far away and I would miss, only to pass it on a roundabout way I took to get from the Prado to the Reina Sofia. I fell in love with the endless Plaza’s and their beautiful fountains. I took my shoes off and ran through the Buen Retiro park, before sitting down underneath a tree, and by a waterfall, and by a lake to read. (This is one of my favorite parks so far, second only to the St James Park in London.

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I appreciate Madrid, myself, and the people and path that led me here.

 

 

Not All Who Wander Find the Banshee’s Comb

-lost, intrigued, found

If you know me even just by this blog, you know that I like lists. I like making them, smashing them, reading and sharing them, and most of all I really like organizing them, only to be reorganized once I’ve crossed a few things off. I don’t know the term for this type of person although many would call them uptight, insane or OCD. Alas, if you find the term somewhere, my name will most certainly be associated with it. IMG-20140710-WA0007 So you can imagine that for a trip of this sort for a person of this nature such as myself, I made a few lists. A book of lists actually. In addition to packing, bookings and financial lists, for each city I researched and compiled a list of the top spots and recommendations based on my family, friends, books/documentaries, and most importantly, the internet – specifically TripAdvisor and Triposo. Two lists per city, one for attractions, parks, museums, monuments etc., and one for restaurants. My plan for these was not to make a minute by minute itinerary but more to keep a running mental note of things I didn’t want to miss. You might not believe me, but I have not gone crazy over them. I haven’t been to one city where I crossed everything off, and I literally have not been to ONE of the restaurants in any of the cities. The point to be made about these lists is this – organizing them to begin with kind of goes against the entire premise of this trip. So, at the beginning of each day, I have picked a few things that were all in the same area of the city that I am in, made my way to that area, and wandered. If you haven’t ever wandered, you should totally start. Like, right now. Stop reading, and go wander. I am flipping over my ‘Be Back in Five’ sign, which in Europe seems to mean, ‘I’ll be  back when I wake up from my siesta.’ Don’t you worry, I’ll be right here waiting until you return… IMG-20140710-WA0009 Welcome back.  So, how was your adventure? Did you find anything unexpected? I’ll bet you did. And I’ll tell you why. If you are truly WANDERING, you have absolutely zero expectations. So literally everything should be unexpected, and that is what makes it like ten times more magical. IMG-20140710-WA0008 When I was wandering through Dublin with my brother Cooper on our first full day in Ireland we came across a sign that was pointing to a National Leprechaun Museum. YES. Well, in all actuality, I really just wanted to get a picture for my boyfriend. He has this thing for little people. (Honestly, I’m pretty damn short, and I have wondered if that’s why he likes me.) So, I knew he would appreciate that such a place existed in the first place. But a tour was just about to start and the tickets were reasonable so what the heck? I am wandering. And maybe if I wander through the leprechaun tunnel there will be some Lucky Charms at the end of the rainbow. I could go for a light snack. IMG-20140710-WA0012IMG-20140710-WA0020IMG-20140710-WA0017IMG-20140710-WA0014IMG-20140710-WA0015IMG-20140710-WA0016       Well, I was thoroughly impressed and enjoyed every minute of the tour. The facility itself was clean, bright and engaging. But Noel, our tour guide, completely stole the show. I must preface this statement by letting you know that the Irish were the absolute most friendly, happy and genuine people as a whole that I have come across. They all know so much about their heritage and are absolutely thrilled to share it with you. Kind of like me and my lists. With that being said, if Ireland was to elect a president, and it was based on charisma, knowledge and sincerity, I vote for Noel. He knew so much of the folklore of the Leprechauns, Fairies and (remember this for later) the Banshee. But most importantly, how these legends played into the history of Ireland itself. One story in particular caught my attention, if not for Noel’s story-telling, but what happened after I left. If you don’t know of the Banshee, she was a well known female ‘fairy’ of sorts (I think) that was most infamous for being a sign of death to come. She was often said to be seen combing, or wearing a comb in her hair. And it was said that if you were find one on the ground and pick it up or take it home, she would come to take it back, along with your life. IMG-20140710-WA0010   IMG-20140710-WA0011 Now, perhaps it’s because I was never really paying attention, and perhaps it’s because people in Ireland more than anywhere else are aware of this legend and take caution to not pick up any combs, but I shit you not, after I left and continued my wandering that afternoon… I found three, 3, THREE combs. One in a museum, one on the sidewalk, and one in a bathroom. As a traveller I saw this as sure sign of death to come, so if I am gone by the time this post publishes, you know it was the combs of the Banshee. So beware, mind the combs. You’ve been warned. IMG-20140710-WA0018 IMG-20140710-WA0013 The moral of this story is… Wander. and when you find something unexpected (other than a comb,) investigate.  It should also be noted here that while pouring a pint of Guinness is fun, it is not my cup of tea, or beer I suppose. Although whiskey and Red Lemonade or a shot of ‘Cock Sucking Cowboy‘  are both quite delightful. IMG-20140710-WA0019 (1) Lastly, and again I cannot make this stuff up,on my outbound flight from Dublin to Madrid, I looked out the window and reflecting of the clouds was a shadow of our plane encircled by a rainbow halo. It was beyond magical, and I had to blink a few times to make sure my mind wasn’t decieving me. I am sure that it was some scientific light reflection or something completely ‘normal’ but it filled my heart with joy just as the people, and legends of Ireland had. So what have you learned so far on the journey’s of Mag&Cheese? 1)Follow your instinct and dance with street performers 2)Forget the list every now and then and just WANDER. 3)DON’T, under any circumstances, pick up a hair-comb. Besides the whole death-by-Banshee thing. If you really need to brush that bad, just follow Ariel’s lead.
IMG-20140710-WA0025 Sláinte from Dublin,

Maggie the Wanderer @mag_and_cheese

ADVENTURE IS OUT THERE!! (And Big Blue Cocks)

I just have to get a picture of the big blue cock. How had I not noticed it before? Right there in front of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. I’ve made my way through a million times and somehow managed to miss, on each occasion, the big blue cock that will ultimately lead to the most exciting night in London. You’re right. I should probably explain before some prude gets the wrong idea and reports this as inappropriate. This is the big blue cock I speak of:

And this man is why it made it my favorite night in London: ManPointing And this is why: After a historically enriching and stunning day trip to Stonehenge and Bath, my brother Cooper and I hopped off the bus at Kensington South and took the Underground to Covent Garden. I wish I had discovered it sooner, and will definitely be returning my next visit to London. We stopped in at The Sussex Pub for a traditional “British Pub meal.” After quickly winning me over with Bangers & Mash, Scotch eggs, and a ginger beer, we continued down towards the London Eye by way of the Golden Jubilee Bridge (a magnificent view any time of day.)

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Cooper turns the corner of the National Gallery first and oddly casual says, “Oh. That’s a really big cock.” I do the mature thing and think of someone similar to a Blue Man Group actor but with clothes on and his big blue cock hanging out of his pants-zipper. My mind vividly and quickly decided that this was what my eyes should be searching the crowds for. Cooper snickers at the look on my face and points… “No, there.”

Slightly disappointed, not even going to lie. Regardless, my reaction is similar to what it would have been had I seen what I imagined.

I MUST have a picture.

As I too turn the corner at the National Gallery, there are street performers scattered about like it’s New York City or Venice Beach, Ca. Let me tell you – I have spent hours, days even at each of these places. I have never, NEVER, been as enamored, fascinated, intrigued as I was by the man in sunglasses and a suit, facing away from the crowd. His boombox emits techno-beat music and every minute or two he changes from one basic position to the next. Exhibit B: ManPointing2 I cannot look away. Waiting and waiting for the next pose, his next move. Something is going to happen, anything could happen. Cooper gets annoyed and antsy. Why does she care? He’s not doing anything at all. But that is exactly why I do care. I decide I need a picture of him too, which means I am obligated to offer a Pound or so. I snap the two photos you see here and move in to drop my coin.

As soon as the little gold coin hits the bottom of his case, his hand is wrapped around my wrist. Oh shit. I am going to die. I am literally going to die, right here, right now, in the middle of Trafalgar Square. My last image of this world – a giant blue cock.

He continues, taking my phone out of my hand and my backpack straight off my back. Okay, so I’m not being murdered and thrown into a fountain all “Angels & Demons” style. I’m just being mugged. This is definitely a ploy. A partner in crime will round the corner any second to grab my things and be gone while I am hypnotized, distracted and bewildered. Just like that.

I try to get away. Unsuccessful. I shoot my brother a desperate look using kin-sense to tell him to watch my things, because I am diving into the deep end. I mentally hold my nose, close my eyes and dive. The fear gone, I become a part of the spectacle. You know those dolls that you position in any way you want and they stay like that, all Gumby-like? That’s me now. He moves the sunglasses onto my face from his and begins to bend and place my arms and legs. Then to the details, he tilts my head, bends my knee and folds my hands.

The crowd has gathered quickly by now as he positions himself into my pose. He’s balancing on one toe while he locks in with my eyes and whispers, “stay,” acompanied by a nod. I realize we are creating a still. I’m throwing a punch straight into his jaw as he is thrown back from the sheer force of my fist, just like a slo-mo from the Karate Kid. A minute later he comes down from his pose and the crowd lets out a gasp, along with cheers and applause. I thank him and reach for my bag, but he pushes it back. We’re not done. A few bends and adjustments later, we’re a couple of award winning ballroom dancers in a Viennese Waltz. More cheers, He takes his sunglasses back, shakes my hand and throws me down into a duel bow.

I run back to Cooper and smile the rest of the night. (Imagine my typical perma-smile but like… BIGGER.) He was waiting for me. And I am so glad that I let myself trust my gut.

Dear blue cock mystery man,

Thank you. Thank you for reminding me (as if I had forgotten), maybe strengthened is a better word. You strengthened my belief about why I am here to begin with. I am not here to party like many backpackers, and I am here to learn. But most importantly, I am here because I am an adventurer. I am brave. And I have killer (and many times proven) instincts.

Somehow, over the years, I have lost the ability to allow myself to be that bold and exciting person and except those qualities out of fear of opinions. I need to follow my instincts, and I need to allow it to guide me through my adventure like it guided me to you tonight. If I can have a moment equal to this everywhere I go, it will be worth every sacrifice. So thank you for making me believe that I am here for the right reasons, and allowing me to follow my heart.

For the rest of you following my trip, there is clearly more to London than a street performer and a big blue cock. I promise. But I’ll save those moments for a blighty day.

From London with Love,

Maggie the Brave @mag_and_cheese

These Boots Were Made For Walkin’

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Anxious, Prepared, Free

OKAY, okay. So they aren’t exactly boots. But you get the idea! (And they are super adorable) Indecent ExposHER is BACK!! And just in time for my trek across the pond to backpack through Europe. Today I board a GREYHOUND bus to New York City by way of Toledo. 16 long hours later I will arrive in the big apple with 12 hours to spare before my flight leaves for London. After months of planning, preparing and working 60 hours a week while I finished my degree it is a surreal feeling to actually be this close to boarding.

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I’ve gotten a lot of shock and disapproval from peers and strangers alike who find out about my trip. Most are in disbelief that I am taking forms of transportation such as a Greyhound bus and staying in those terrifying deathtraps Europeans call Hostels.

They may be in awe of how ‘crazy’ or ‘stupid’ I am, but I am in awe of how narrow-minded and gullible so many people can be. To answer the questions on everyone’s mind –

Yes. I have seen ‘Taken’. No, I don’t plan on inviting strange men to share a taxi with me as soon as I hop off the plane.

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Yes. I have seen ‘Hostel.’ But this movie, like so many others is a crude exaggeration of events that rarely, if ever, happen.  Also, I booked all of my hostels via Hostelworld.com – they come with simple booking, reviews and ratings based on everything from location and proximity to attractions, cleanliness and safety, as well as many pictures of all different parts of the hostels. Many include free wi-fi, complimentary breakfast and walking tours, and provide lockers and female only rooms.

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Yes, I know that I probably could have found a plane ticket for equal to the price of the Greyhound and for far less travel time, but have none of you ever just wanted to have that experience. This whole trip is about new experiences and exploring new avenues of all facets of life. What better time to experience riding in a bus cross-country than right now?

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No, my parents aren’t crazy for ‘letting’ me go. First of all, I will be 25 my second full day in London. My parents don’t ‘allow’ me to do things anymore, not that they ever really could anyways. I’ve always been the type to set my eye on something and get it no matter what, or how long it took.  But most importantly, my parents are extremely supportive and excited for me. They have both provided a great deal of knowledge, supplies, and a little money too to help me along the way. I’m sure like any good parents they are nervous, I am their little girl after all, but I know it’s the good and exciting kind of nervous. They have also been sending me to places such as New York City by myself for various auditions and callbacks since I was 16 so they know I can handle myself!

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Michael too has been extremely supportive in helping me plan and prepare for my trip. Like my parents, he knows I can handle myself and understands what this trip means to me. Although, I am pretty sure he’s concerned I may meet an Italian man and never come home. Little does he know he should be more concerned about the ones with the English or Irish accents (o;

So – now that we’ve cleared that up. I’ll let you in on my plan! I leave for NYC (by way of Toledo, OH) this afternoon. I’ll arrive in NYC early and have all day to explore and enjoy my last day state-side. Then I hop over the pond arrive in London and have all day to breathe in the British air before my brother, Cooper, arrives from Russia to join me for a short while. That night, we celebrate our arrival and their departure with myself – an American, my brother – we’ll call him a Russian, and his Scottish friend who’ll have his Austrian girlfriend for a night out in London!

My total plans include 11 cities, 8 countries, all in 5 weeks! Stay tuned for any and all travel related updates and posts, WanderLists, Geocaching adventures, Hostel/train/plane/bus reviews pictures and more!

Bon Voyage!!

indecent exposHER 2.0 (Farewell to #Freberg14)

 – smarter, thankful, social -

Twelve weeks ago, I opened up my blog indecent exposHER to the world because my teacher, the brilliant Dr. Karen Freberg said I had to. I had had the name and concept in one of my journals for over a year, and was to scared to actually make it and share it with the public, but I couldn’t be more thankful that I had to push it out of the womb for a grade. Who knows how long it would have taken for me to ‘let it go’ otherwise.

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Many of my posts up until this point have been either about social media, or just about various and sundry topics or events I found interesting to talk about. I plan to take a few weeks off after today, as this is my last required post to be graded for the semester. I have a few final papers and projects that require my time, energy and badazz wryting skillz.

When I return, I will be more topic-centric with my posts, and hopefully more frequent as well. Among other things, I plan to write about travel, Jennifer Lawrence, movie, tv and product reviews, and most importantly, cheese. I’d also like to revamp the site with a new layout and design that is more user and reader friendly, now that I am starting to know my way around WordPress, which is awesome by the way (when I first started to get the blog together, I first tried out Blogger and hated it!) I also need to set up IE email addresses, home/about me pages and an ad page to make it a little more professional. indecent ExposHER 2.0. I could use all the help I can get, so if you know people, send ‘em my way!!

jlaw kosair

IE has had many ups and downs; the most exciting up being last week after I posted the UK/UL rivalry blog. For those of you questioning my allegiance to the Big Blue Nation – I have bled blue since I could walk or talk and that will never change.

 

Before last week, I would get excited if my blog saw 100 views a day. This Wednesday, after the hype of the games had worn off, my blog fell from 2,648 views a day to 800 and I acted like it was the day after my birthday and the excitement of all my gifts and friends had worn off. I don’t know if you can classify that as ‘viral’ but it was a huge step for mag and cheese & indecent exposHER. Reading some of the people that I didn’t know’s ‘shared’ posts on Facebook and Twitter was delightful. A few that I was able to locate said that they identified with me or the post, and my good friend HSWAG sent me screenshot of her Facebook where a friend that she goes to school with had shared it.

Most importantly, I really didn’t expect it. I threw that blog together at the last minute and it took three days before I woke up to a WP notification that it was blowing up. It was like Christmas. All it took was Michael sharing it, and after a few UofL students and fans liked and shared it, that was that.

I’ve had a field day watching the countries that IE reaches more than anything else.  Outside of the U.S., IE has been visited and read in 30 countries including the United Kingdom most often, along with many of the countries I will be visiting this summer – Spain, France, Ireland and Italy. It also reached my personal favorite – Australia, and then some very interesting countries like Sudan, Libya, Romania, El Salvador, Bermuda, Singapore, Indonesia, Russian Federation, Canada (eh?) & Croatia and most importantly – the one I have never heard of – Saint Kitts and Nevis, the smallest sovereign state in the America’s (Caribbean) both in area and population.

Before I bid #Freberg14 and indecentexposHER 1.0 adieu, I want to thank everyone that pushed me, helped me, edited me and shared me. Dr. Karen Freberg, WhiskeyBen, SearchingforPirates, Ellie Restivo, Michael Ciresi, Josh Green and Hannah Seaver to name a few. Y’all are awesome and I love you for it (o:

thanks

10 Reasons JLaw Should Come to My Graduation Party: An Open Letter

 – hopeful, anxious, cheerful -

I posted a few weeks ago that I wanted Jennifer Lawrence to come to my graduation party.  Well, its 37 days away and I am more excited than ever!!!!!!!!!! (Can’t you tell by my excessive use if explanation points? They’re my absolute fave!) But it has come to my attention that I still haven’t actually asked her. Oops. Typical. So, I am counting on indecentexposHER (IE) to get me through the six degrees of separation before I run out of time, since she is probably off being fabulous and shooting for Chanel, or another Academy Award winning role, or virtually anything more important than a random’s grad party.  But alas, a girl can dream.

Dear Jennifer,

I am graduating from the University of Louisville in 5 weeks, and nothing would make me happier than for you to be there. We’ve never met, and I’m not much of a fan-girl. But you are everything I wish I could be, and famous isn’t one of them. You are brilliant, honest, fun, beautiful, happy and confident. And I think America needs a girl like you, which I’m sure is the reason why you hear more people saying they wish you were their best friend, instead of wishing to be you. That is more of a compliment than you could ever ask for. So, in case you need a reason to come back to Louisville for a day, here’s 10:

1)      Because L1C4.

2)      Because food. (since I am traveling to Europe, I am having a themed party – with a food from each country I am visiting, which include both Italy and Gemany) You’re welcome.

3)      Because we’re both clumsy, so if you fall – no one will notice!

4)      Because there ain’t no party like a Maggie party. And you are totally cool enough -

cool

5)      Because the odds are ever in your favor.

my pumpkin last Halloween (o:

my pumpkin last Halloween (o:

6)      Because food is good and so is laughter – and I’m pretty sure you like both.

7)      Because we love you!

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8)      Because someone searched “Everybody loves Jennifer Lawrence” and IndecentexposHER.com showed up.

everyoneloves

9)      I’m not this girl, who spent $25,000 on plastic surgery to try and look like you, only to massively fail.

I do not own a cardboard cutout of you. So there's that.

I do not own a cardboard cutout of you. So there’s that.

10)   Because I said please (:

So Jenn, I can call you that right? I’ve made my case. Before I even began college, I had the choice of staying in LA/NYC and going for a career in dancing, acting, modeling and singing.

I chose to come home, and be ‘normal’. I hope it was worth it, I genuinely feel like I am where I need to be. It took me 8 years to get through, but I finally freaking did it. You probably have about a billion more important and more fun things to do than come to a total stranger’s college graduation. But if you don’t – and I haven’t creeped you out too much, You are cordially invited to this girl’s celebration. It would literally make going to college worth every penny that I owe. (Except really it won’t – I’ll be paying this shit off until I’m old. It’s terribly ironic.) Cheers to American Higher-Education!

Sincerely, @mag_and_cheese, author of indecentexposHER

PS: your dad can come too as long as he doesn’t flip me off (;

car

 

http://www.plumfund.com/pf/magexplores

Why This Blue-blooded Wildcat Wore Red Today

bourbon

In case you didn’t know, there’s a basketball game tonight. 9:45, EST, Lucas Oil Stadium, Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament. And at the end of the day, this one game is mind-boggling more important than then championship game.This kind of event takes over the state for an entire week. This afternoon, on my drive home from work (in Louisville), the traffic update let me know the traffic in both Louisville and Indianapolis. I can all but guarantee that more Cards and Cats fans alike will tune in to watch this game, or travel to the arena tonight than they will for the next three rounds of whoever advances on.

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I don’t care who you are or what teams you have been a fan of your entire life, you can never understand basketball, until you live in the state of Kentucky. And even then, you can’t understand the inner turmoil of a former Wildcat, born and bred to bleed blue for the BBN, who moved to Louisville, and in 43 days will be a graduate of the University of Louisville itself. Who am I supposed to root for?

No UNC/Duke, or Ohio State/Michigan rivalry can compare. For starters, none of those schools have the sports records, not just basketball, that UK and UofL do. These rivalries don’t evoke such phrases as “Louisville doesn’t exist” and a laundry list of memes poking fun at the other team’s coaches and records.

(By the way – all I did was search bbn on Google and this is what came up. over half of what Big Blue Nation talks about, is how much they hate Louisville.)

But I’ll tell you what. The hardest part about deciding whether or not I was going to wear red today, was a lot less about what I thought, and a lot more about what others were going to say. I’ve never seen a card fan wearing something that incorporated blue on it just to show how much they hate it. Only a Wildcat would do that. And I’ve got to admit, Cardinals are a whole lot more accepting of others than Wildcats. Hands down. If I wore red on UK’s campus when I was a student there, I wouldn’t have been surprised if I would have been kicked out of class, or better yet, kicked off campus. Coming from someone with equal parts Louisville and Kentucky friends on Facebook, I see 10 hate posts about Louisville to every one hate post about Kentucky. Today I had one class on campus, about a fourth of the class was wearing blue, and I had friendly conversations with a few of them. Does that mean we’re not loyal fans? To a lot of people in these parts… That’s exactly what it means.

We can talk numbers all night, I don’t know very many of them, in fact most of them that I do know belong to Kentucky, probably because they remind you of them literally, every single chance that they get. At the end of the day, UK has a historic basketball program. They have more national titles, more everything really. But if you look at the numbers over the last few years, I hate to break it to you crazy people, but UofL takes home that cake. The more impressive thing to me, is that they can handle being good at more than one sport, and on a better budget, as I recently read.

More important than anything, and I beg any UK fan to deny me this, the Louisville team deserves this Win more than any of the UK teams under the Calipari regime. I like Calipari, I respect him and what he is able to accomplish. And for a certain kind of athlete, one who is interested in stepping on UK to bigger better things, that’s fine. They don’t care about UK, they are using you all. This team of Cardinals came to stay. They have worked and learned and progressed as a team, most of them for more than one year. If Kevin Ware was one of Calipari’s guys, Calipari and the rest of the team would not have been out on that floor crying like they were at U of L. They don’t know each other, and more importantly they don’t care. This game means something to Louisville, more than it will ever mean to any UK player in this ‘one and done’ mindset. Kentucky is a technicality in between its players and the NBA draft. Pitino is a great coach, Calipari is a great recruiter and an excellent marketer.   Player by player, Kentucky hands down has a better group of individuals. But this isn’t one-on –one. And Louisville with-out question has a better TEAM.

I never in a million and one year’s thought I would be a student at U of L. And a million years would have gone past after that first before I saw myself wearing cardinal red, throwing my L’s up and cheering on the cards … in public. But I challenge any one of my fellow wildcat, blue bloods to be a student at this school and not become a fan of this school, its students, its athletes and its program. It really is doing so much, in so many aspects: sports, social media, sign language programs, online programs, internship development and study abroad programs to name a few.

So, without further ado…

#gocards!

Y’all better do me proud and not make me regret my decision today.

Also… There’s this.

A Suitcase Heart

-wanderful, anxious, prepared-

suitcaseheart

When I was in high school, I told my parents that I would be expecting a car for my college graduation.

hummer

Yup… that’s 16 year old me in a Hummer. Totally realistic expectations.

HAHAHAHAHA

I started my last year of college in August of 2013. Eight years after I had made my graduation car demand, and with a car I already love, I realized that our time and money could be better spent with an experience of a lifetime rather than tangible stuff. I have always had a wandering mind, a cognitive need for exploration and knowledge. I have seen people my age with passports that make mine look like I cut it out of construction paper in Kindergarten, and thought to myself, ‘Why not me?’

pass

Well… Why NOT me? I have never been the type to sit on the sideline and mope because I can’t do or have something. Where people see one straight line with a road block to a desired outcome, I see curves and twists and turns. Stairs and slides and all kinds of different ways for me to get around the blockade and get what I want.

I came to the realization that if I didn’t make this happen now, I may never get the same opportunity to explore without a family, a job or old age getting in the way.

Don’t get me wrong – I plan to travel when I am a little old lady, and one day when I have kids I want to show them the world too. But you and I both know that neither one of those experiences are the same as backpacking through Europe for 5 weeks alone in your 20s.

Over the next few months I will continue posting updates, plans or tips that I have encountered along the way. These may range from packing lists, things I need to do or have, to my tentative itinerary, financing and even the resources that I have found useful along the way.

As many people as there are out there that do this sort of the thing all the time, I have yet to find a kickass website that really lays it out for people. This is what you need to do, this is how you need to do it and this is when you need to do it by. My hope is to be that site for a few other lost souls trying to find the mind through travel, and it will also hopefully help me organize my own plans and thoughts!

see the world

 Let the countdown begin!!! Days until departure: 102!

PS: check out my PlumFund!!!

The Reluctant Writer

- empty, open, reluctant -

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Turning in a paper for a budding writer is what I imagine turning over a child to an adoption agency just after it’s been born would be like (please don’t freak out – I realize that there is much much more of an emotional and physical toll on a mother at that point – just bear with me here).

My point is, you spend all this time, and anguish letting every little detail stew and grow, and then you hand it over, never to be seen again in the same light. You might cross paths again later, but so much will have changed. To you, it will never be ready. But somehow it was perfect the moment you thought up each word.

And yet, turning in a paper is the most anticlimactic experience I never expected. This past week I had six papers due. Yup, that’s right. One, two, three, four, five, and six. Now, I clearly love writing. When people ask me what I am good at, it’s usually the first thing I say. And I would much rather have written these six papers and four more than taking exams instead. But SIX papers?

The thing is, I have gone through school with the knowledge that I could spit out a paper in a no time, turn in a rough draft and get an ‘A’ with no sweat. In high school, I took advantage of this. I wrote my entire senior portfolio in two nights, submitted rough drafts and got a proficient. I guarantee it would have been distinguished had I actually cared enough to edit them.

This solution failed me when I got to college. All of the kids that were never as good at writing and school in general were now whizzing through because they knew how to be students, while I quickly fell behind the curve. Perhaps it was my age; I graduated from high school at 16. I was not ready. I took a few years off and came back on my terms, when I was ready to do it my way.

Still knowing that I could get away with putting in no effort on the papers I would need to turn in, my mindset had changed. I spend time on these works of art. Lots of time. I send them to people to help edit for me, just like I do each blog.

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I have always been afraid of looking like a fool. I actually bit my Kindergarten teacher because she told me I was saying a word incorrectly. I just KNEW I wasn’t. I had given my mother specific instructions to correct me when I misspoke so as to not sound any less than I saw myself. Turns out, my mother had let this ONE word slip, because it was freaking adorable. Shocking.

Anyways, I take my time on my work now. I don’t want to let it go until I know it fully meets the criteria set forth by the teacher, or the magazine or newspaper or what-have-you. I want to know that the work I submit was excellent. Not just because it looked like the Bhagavad Gita compared to some of the other papers that get turned in, but because it really is good.

So I go to class each day this week. I turn in my children, one by one. For me, it’s dramatic and stressful. I have to take a moment to send it off on its own. I am scared for it. How will it survive and perform without me there to defend it? Did I forget to tie its shoes and dot the i’s? To the professor, and to all of my classmates around me, it seems so dull. Like nothing happened or changed in the world at all. It’s just a grade to them. It is so much more to me. It always will be.

ties

Am I being melodramatic? Possibly. Most likely actually. But this sting, this painful sorrow I feel when submitting my words to people, it is what tells me I am doing what I was meant to do. And one day, someone that I am handing my work into will be just as excited to see it as I am to give it away. I will find the right adoptive parents, and my work will be in good hands. That will be a happy day. But for now, I sulk in the worried feelings I have for my papers. My six papers, all alone in such a big and scary stack of uninspired companions, in the hands of someone who probably doesn’t care.

essay-paper woman buried