concrete jungle.

the following is a letter I wrote earlier this year when I was looking for internships in New York. I stumbled across it in my Google Docs and thought it would be cool to share with you guys. enjoy!


JANUARY 2016

I can’t lie to you. New York has intimidated me for a long time. It’s uncharted territory, like Mars, or Australia, and I have only in the past couple of weeks made any attempt to actually rectify that, thanks to my neo-New Yorker mom. She made the move from Philadelphia to Hell’s Kitchen over the summer, and while I spent my fall semester in London, she sprouted wings and flourished there. Seeing my mother so in love with New York, and knowing that mother knows best, I figured I would give la Grande Pomme a fair chance. As expected, as she is right about everything else, my mother was right about New York.

I am constantly surprised by how quickly we as humans can adjust to new environments. The few trips I’ve taken to Manhattan recently have not been enough to truly decide whether or not I can blossom there, but I am feeling more and more confident about it with every passing day. I took the New York subway once, and by the second trip, I knew where I was going. With each passing moment, I can see myself living and working in New York more and more. Almost every time I speak to someone in my field, I am told that I should consider looking for internships and future jobs in New York if I really want to make an impact in the media, and I am starting to agree with that.

Until I left Philadelphia, I never wanted to leave Philadelphia. After spending four months studying in London, I am realizing that while I love Philadelphia, and while it will always be my home, I am pigeon-holing myself by expecting to stay there while pursuing my career (whatever that may be). How can I possibly grow in a city I already know like the back of my hand? London is just as crowded, big and intimidating as New York, and I still fell pathetically in love with it in a matter of days, giving tiny Philly a run for its money. If I can handle a massive metropolitan city like that in Europe, I know I can handle New York too.

I am a third-year journalism and public relations student at Temple University. I am 20 years old. If you ask me where I see myself in five years, I don’t actually know what I would say. I could end up doing investigative reporting for HuffPo in New York or doing PR for Taylor Herring in London. I could end up staying in Philly and writing for the Inquirer or find myself somewhere totally different. The possibilities are endless. I have no idea where I am going, and I’m okay with that. All I know is that I have to consider any and all of my options.

Philly has had me for 20 years, and London got me for a few months, but now I’m thinking it’s time to give New York a shot. There are aspects of both my hometown and Londontown in Up and Downtown, and with every comparison and connection I make, ten new things make their way onto my Pro-New York list. Every time I think about my potential career path(s), I am more and more drawn to the idea of thriving in Manhattan, and I intend to make it happen. New York is big and intimidating, but so is my future, and I am ready for it.


xx Gabi

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home away from homesickness.

the following is a short stream-of-consciousness post originally written for my personal tumblr blog, slightly edited to exclude the many profanities originally included in it. 

I’ve been missing London so much lately.

I miss my boyfriend like hell, but now that I’ve spent time with him outside of London and in Philly, I’m realizing just how much I actually miss London itself. They’ve become two separate things because they’re no longer connected the way they used to be. I miss Simon beyond words, but now it’s becoming very clear to me just how much London as a city has come to mean to me. It’s no longer just because Simon is there and I want to be where Simon is. Simon was here, in my city, in my apartment, nowhere near London, and I still missed London.

I miss the tube, the underground, my commute to and from school. I miss the streets and the cars and the people. I miss the dirty-ass Thames. I miss Boots. I miss Oxford Street, and Primark. I miss the countryside full of greenery and cows. I miss the train ride to Simon’s house. I miss Simon’s family, Simon’s friends, Simon’s car. I miss having such easy access to the rest of Europe. I somehow miss living in a tiny closet, because I was living in such an awesome place with someone who ended up becoming a really great friend of mine. I miss walking through Kings Cross, and up the road to Angel to yell at Vodafone for their awful customer service. I miss Brian, the professor who had us meet him in bars every other week and then just walked around talking to us for three hours and called it class. I miss the pubs, the atmosphere. I miss surprisingly delicious real-chicken McDonald’s. I miss Pret. I miss Nando’s. God, I miss Nando’s.

It has always blown my mind how much any given song can take you back to a particular time in your life. It’s crazy to me that I hear My Way by Fetty Wap and want to burst into tears because it reminds me of London. I listened to it on repeat for an hour today. Just put my headphones in, sat up straight, closed my eyes, and hoped that when I’d open them, I’d be on the Piccadilly Line.

I miss seeing Brand New with a girl I had just met at Alexandra Palace, I miss seeing Fall Out Boy for the fourth time and meeting the love of my life at Wembley. I miss Camden, real Camden, and Shoreditch. I miss the jitters of waiting in line to meet Pete Wentz. I miss Hyde Park and high tea. I miss Kensington, real Kensington, and casually walking past Buckingham Palace. I miss seeing the London Eye from my bedroom window.

I just miss London. Damn, I miss London.

xx Gabi

I confess, I messed up.

~droppin’ I’m sorry like you’re still around~

Welp, it happened again. I blinked, and almost two months had passed since my last blog post. I confess, I messed up, but I come bearing a really good excuse (and Fall Out Boy lyrics). Indulge me, if you will.

I’ll be straight with you: this has been one of the hardest semesters I’ve ever been through. I’m nearing the end of my junior year, so I’m officially getting down to the nittiest of the grittiest of what the journalism and public relations departments at Temple have to offer. I’ve been dealing with papers, what feels like at least one exam every single week, presentations, and unfortunately, less-than-cooperative professors.

Coming back from our unseasonable and strangely early spring break in the beginning of March, it all seemed to hit me at once, and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t take a bit of a toll. All of this stressful schoolwork, piled on with the fact that I currently have $6 in my bank account and a boyfriend 3600 miles away, overwhelmed the hell out of me, and made for an admittedly unproductive and unhappy Gabi. For weeks, all I’ve wanted to do is watch Netflix and sleep. Well, for YEARS, all I’ve wanted to do is watch Netflix and sleep, but I digress. I’m f**king tired. That said, my motivation to write suffered some serious damage. I have like, four half-written posts sitting in my drafts, none of which I’ve had any inspiration to complete.

On that note, I’m sick of feeling so drained every day. With less than three weeks of the semester left, I decided to force myself to get back into the swing of things just by simply catching up with you. I know writing always makes me feel like I’ve been productive (even if I should be directing my productivity elsewhere). At the end of this semester, however, I have less than a week off before I am thrown right back in… to my CAPSTONE.

To all my Temple journalism kids, you understand why this is a big deal. Philadelphia Neighborhoods, the journalism capstone run by the ever-awesome George Miller, has been known to ruin lives. Fieldwork-heavy and writing intensive, this course is not for the faint of heart. Needless to say, I am super excited. No really, I am. George was the first professor I met as an anxiety-ridden freshman, and he made college just a tiny bit more less terrifying. Now, as an anxiety-ridden junior, I’m genuinely looking forward to working with him again, now that I have some idea of what I’m doing (ha).

As I am taking the capstone on its own, rather than with a full semester of classes, I definitely plan to post more regularly. Like I mentioned before, I am currently working on a few different posts that I hope to finish at least by the end of this semester, so stay tuned!

xx Gabi

*lyrics in title/intro from “A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More ‘Touch Me'” by Fall Out Boy

a broken down bus, an opera singer, and a $240 Uber ride.

On Friday, I hopped onto a Bolt bus from Philly to New York to visit my mom.

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(This is my mom! She’s great!)

I should have known that time and the universe were not on my side when the usually 20-minute ride to Cherry Hill, NJ, to pick up the remaining passengers, took 45 minutes thanks to the Friday night rush hour. I was a little annoyed, but whatever, I was going to see my mom. I was excited and remained optimistic. Come 6 PM, when we were supposed to arrive at our destination, we were stuck on the NJ Turnpike still about an hour outside of Manhattan… and we BROKE. DOWN.

The bus just… stopped running. Our, bless her heart, very sweet driver, said “my bus cut out on me. I’m going to try to regenerate it.” I understood what she meant, but who did she think she was, the Doctor?

After multiple admittedly scary attempts to… “regenerate” (jump) the bus, she said that she just could not get it to start up again and actually stay running, and that there would be another bus coming to save us in half an hour. Some passengers were NOT having it. Almost immediately, people started making plans to split Ubers into the city. The girl next to me casually mentioned that she had an audition to get to (I later learned that she was an opera singer), and asked if I wanted to get an Uber with her. I told her I had no money, and she said it was fine (even though 45 minutes later IN the Uber she asked if I could give her money, so I felt slightly duped, but I digress), and we joined forces with a young couple on vacation from New Delhi, India, to track down an Uber while broken down on the side of the highway. After ages of Opera Girl on the phone with our Uber driver trying to explain to him where exactly we were, he arrived, in a massive six-person car. We piled in, and were able to squeeze in one more person: an old, gay as hell, freelance production coordinator. A minute into this ride, I knew it would be an interesting one. With the Lincoln Tunnel being completely constipated by everyone trying to get into the city for the weekend, we took the long way around, which ended up getting us there faster than the Tunnel would’ve.

20 minutes into this ride, we’re all talking about ourselves and finding things we have in common, and one of my best friends calls me. Now, this friend is not someone who will just call out of the blue. She’s a texter, so I saw her name pop up on my phone and my heart sank, because I just KNEW something was wrong. I pick up, and wouldn’t you know it, she’s sobbing. Personal stuff, that I can’t really discuss in a car full of literal strangers. Anxiety, meet the roof. Go through it.

I promised my friend I would call her as soon as I was in private, and hung up, immediately texting her so she could continue explaining her situation to me. It was at that moment that my knight in shining armor, Opera Girl, asked me if I could take cash out at an ATM or something when we ended the ride to contribute to what turned out to be a $240 trip. What the hell? She said it was fine! I thought that meant it was fine! I mean, I guess in retrospect, I didn’t make it very clear to her that I had literally NO money. Not that I didn’t have cash, but that I didn’t have ANY money. And I had NO MONEY. ZERO DOLLARS. So, anxiety, meet the OZONE LAYER. GO THROUGH IT. Fortunately, my mother is a saint and technology is amazing, so she quickly transferred me enough money to pay for my share of the fare. Okay, anxiety, you can come back down to earth now.

We finally drive into the city. We all agreed to get off at the location designated by OG, since she’s the one who ordered the Uber and she was now over an hour late for her audition, and since her destination was only about 15 blocks from my mom’s place, I wasn’t complaining. My mom, however, found my location through the iPhone “Find My Friends” BIG BROTHER app, saw that I was already only about four blocks away from her, and demanded that I have the driver drop me on her street, which would require him to get off of 12th Avenue and make OG even later for her audition. In one ear, my mom is yelling, in another, OG is slightly-condescendingly trying to explain to me that she’s already an hour late for her audition (I know, OG. I know), and I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. Anxiety, meet THE DEPTHS OF OUTER SPACE. Meet THE DEATH STAR. Go through it. Go through it all. Say hi to Harrison Ford for me.

I tell my mom not to worry about it. I tell her that I’m just going to get out where OG said and take my own Uber from there. Finally, some peace. My ears stop ringing. Our Uber driver, who turned out to be one of the coolest Uber drivers I have ever had, ended our trip ten blocks early so that we could all give OG our share(s) of the trip. I say it a lot, and I’ll say it again, technology is amazing. In 30 seconds, I sent OG my share of the cost via PayPal, and she received it instantaneously. After I paid, I realized I no longer had any reason to remain in the car until the end of the trip, so at a red light, I said my goodbyes and quickly hopped out. I ordered my own Uber and it pulled up in less than two minutes, and I finally got to my mom’s house. I dropped my 70 pounds worth of stuff on the ground, hugged my mom, hugged my dog, and ate a lot of sushi.

The moral(s) of the story are that A) New York is a weird, WEIRD place, B) people are nice, but not THAT nice, and C) if you ever have the opportunity to share an Uber ride with a bunch of strangers, there’s a good chance that you’ll not only survive, but actually have a pretty interesting experience.

xx Gabi

P.S. D) when it comes to Bolt buses, you get what you pay for. That said, they will refund you if they ruin your day!

paying tuition: now or later?

I have a question for you guys.

Today in my state and local politics class, we discussed the possibility of state governments one day dropping the concept of upfront tuition completely, so that students wouldn’t have to pay anything while in school, but pay 5% of their annual income after graduation every year until their higher education is paid off.

A lot of my class immediately was like “screw that, I don’t want to give up my hard-earned money,” but unless you’re so lucky as to not have taken out ANY student loans, you’ll have quite a bit of student debt to pay off in your adult life anyway, so why not?

I think this idea sounds pretty good in theory, because not having to pay tuition while still in school would make everything infinitely easier, and depending on whether or not this method would require you to pay interest, 5% a year could actually end up being less than what one would pay in order to get out of debt from the tens of thousands of loans they took out as a student.

I’m curious to know what people think about this. Would you rather borrow money to pay upfront and spend the rest of your life paying it off, or just postpone payment until you have the means to pay without taking out loans?

Talk to me, college kids.

xx Gabi

life update/ch-ch-changes.

Well guys, I’m home. Back in good ol’ filthy Philly. It feels nice, being back with my best friends, and more importantly, my bed, which you’ll be happy to hear has never been more comfortable.

Getting readjusted was a little difficult. I live alone now, and with my mom not telling me what to do, I didn’t fully unpack my suitcases for almost a week, because I almost didn’t want to come to terms with the fact that I was home. London is now one of my favorite cities, and saying goodbye to it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

That said, it wasn’t just London I had to say goodbye to. Those of you who know me personally will know that I actually met someone at that Fall Out Boy show back in October that I wouldn’t shut up about, and that someone is now my incredible boyfriend. Unfortunately, he had to stay in England, because immigration or whatever, and I am now finding myself in a long-distance relationship for the first time. Fun fact: long-distance sucks.

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Fortunately, however, I am pleasantly surprised by how… easy it’s been. Don’t get me wrong, I miss Simon like hell and I want to be with him more than I could even begin to explain, but technology has advanced so much that it has been virtually effortless to communicate with him. We still get to text all day thanks to the beauty of iMessage, I still get to see his face 700 times a day via Snapchat and hear his voice whenever we Skype (which is almost every day), and it almost feels like nothing has really changed. Sure, I’m 3000 miles away and there’s a five-hour time difference, but I slept until the middle of the afternoon regularly in London anyway. No lost time!

Now that 2015 is quickly coming to an end, I’m finding myself looking back on where I was this time last year, and I’m realizing just how much I’ve changed since then. I had a different boyfriend, different friends, and most importantly, a very different relationship with myself. Now I’m only a little bit older, but I’m a hell of a lot smarter, and I like myself maybe more than I ever have. I don’t know if that’s just because I’m no longer a teenager and I just… don’t hate everything anymore, or if I’m finally surrounded by people that actually bring me higher and push me to be better, but whatever the reason, 2015 was definitely a year of growth and personal development for me.

I hope you all had a great year and if you didn’t, I hope 2016 makes up for it.

Happy New Year!

xx Gabi

fall break 2015.

I’ve been home for over a week, and have tried at least once every day to sit down and write about my fall break experience. I realized after about eight attempts that I had no words to accurately explain it nor do it any justice.

On the subject of things that will not do my fall break experience any justice, I put together a small video/slideshow of some of the beautiful things I saw and did instead. I learned a lot about myself and my limits, ate delicious things, slept on multiple airport floors, and fell in love with a few new places. Enjoy!

xx Gabi

why should we stop googling?

The following is a response to the New York Times‘ article “Stop Googling. Let’s Talk.

The first thing I felt when I read this piece was guilt, oddly enough. I catch myself sitting on my phone scrolling through tumblr when I’m with people in real life all the time, and part of me knows that I shouldn’t be doing it. I feel bad when I live my life through a snapchat story because of the looks I get when I take a selfie in public, feeling the judgment burning into the back of my head while I try to pull a face that probably qualifies as a duck face but I try to pass off as a kissy face. For some reason, society frowns upon using technology in social situations, or really just in public, even though the same society has become so dependent on the same technology in the last few decades. So, why is it such a bad thing that we use it?

After pondering for a few days, my guilt actually turned into frustration. I shouldn’t be criticized for my utilization of the incredible technology in my pocket. I agree that people should unplug sometimes and “live in the moment” or whatever cliché you prefer, but this article suggests that we shouldn’t even use our phones to add factual backup to a heated debate amongst friends. I, for one, will never stop pulling out my phone during a discussion about film to verify the name of that actor on IMDb or checking to see if that musician is still alive, because pulling away from a conversation for thirty seconds can extend that conversation by ten minutes with the information we have such easy access to. 

I like to think that my generation is particularly special. No, that isn’t my 90s baby narcissism talking, but rather the fact that we’ve truly grown up with technology. We were the last kids to get VHS tapes, the first teenagers to get smartphones, and we’ll be damned if we don’t wholeheartedly embrace the universe presented to us at the literal touch of a button. 

Hey millennials, how many of you have ever felt personally victimized by baby boomers?

xx Gabi

P.S. In case you missed it, check out my post on a similar topic from a few weeks ago: luxury and technology

life-changing experiences + being alone.

It can be difficult to determine whether or not something is truly a life-changing experience or not. We don’t always want to label something as “life-changing” because chances are, more important things will happen to us one day, and we don’t want that powerful label to lose its meaning. That said, after much consideration, I am officially declaring yesterday a life-changing experience for me.

If any of you follow me on social media (*eh hem* Twitter, Instagram), you might’ve seen that I was given the opportunity to meet Pete Wentz yesterday. Pete, the bassist of my all-time favorite band Fall Out Boy, did a signing at their three-day pop-up shop in Camden, and I was one of the 120 fans that got to attend. (Side note: I have to give most of the credit to my girl Sam for this one. She made her way over to Camden before sunrise on Friday to wait in line for the wristbands to get in, and if it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have known that I could show up at 9:30 and still get one. Thanks for not sleeping all night so I could, babe!)

I have been a diehard fan of Fall Out Boy since my older sister put Sugar We’re Going Down and Sophomore Slump or Comeback of the Year on one of her mix CDs in 2004 and left it in the boombox in our bathroom. (Side note #2: When was the last time you heard the word “boombox”?) I caught up on FOB’s first two albums (From Under the Cork Tree becoming one of my favorite albums ever), fell in love with their next two, and survived the 2010-2013 hiatus (though seriously struggled when My Chemical Romance broke up during it — my little emo heart couldn’t deal). I reveled in the glory of their comeback during my senior year of high school and I am thrilled to report that they’re still excellent, unlike many bands that get back together and suddenly don’t know how to make good music anymore.

Being such a huge fan, I was actually kind of scared to meet Pete. It was mostly because I was worried my legs would just give out when I saw him, but it was also because I was so terrified that I would be disappointed. It is unfortunately common that someone meets their favorite celebrity just to find out that they aren’t really good people, but I felt fairly secure in the fact that Pete was known for being a nice person and that the whole universe hadn’t been lying to me all these years. (Spoiler: It hadn’t.)

With Pete Wentz in the Fall Out Boy Pop-Up Shop at Rock 'N' Roll Rescue Camden, 11 October 2015.
With my husband Pete Wentz in the Fall Out Boy Pop-Up Shop at Rock ‘N’ Roll Rescue Camden, 11 October 2015.
The newest (and biggest) addition to my wall, signed by Pete.
The newest (and biggest) addition to my wall, signed by Pete.
There’s something ironic about meeting someone known for singing and screaming on stage just to find out that they’re really quiet off stage. It is equally ironic that I, the girl who never shuts up, was completely silenced just from being in Pete’s presence. I don’t think either of us said more than two words to each other, and after he signed my new most prized possession and took a selfie with me, I was escorted out, borderline paralyzed in awe and slightly confused by what had just happened to me. At least I didn’t cry?

Alright, Gabi, we get it. You met Pete. What does this have to do with being alone?

Well, disembodied voice, if you must know, after the signing, I attended Fall Out Boy’s show at the SSE Arena in Wembley by myself. I had never been to a show alone before last night, and I think I can safely call it my new favorite thing.

I have been to many concerts in my life, and Fall Out Boy has been a large chunk of them. This was my fourth FOB experience, and by far, my best FOB experience. I was anxious about going to a show alone. I usually like having someone to stick with because the idea of getting sucked into a mosh pit with no one to pull me out is terrifying, but I realized after seeing Brand New perform at Alexandra Palace that getting separated from your friends at a show is almost inevitable. With that in mind, I embarked on my journey to Wembley alone, prepared to take on the wild crowd on my own. Halfway through FOB’s first song (after staying relatively calm during their three opening acts), I realized that I shouldn’t be fighting the crowd, I should be embracing it. I’m not really the kind of person to have my back against the wall all night at a show, but I have never been a crazy “dance like no one’s watching” person. That changed last night.

Clearly, the only logical explanation is that my friends are bad people. I’m always with them and have kept my dancing fairly reserved out of fear of being judged by them, but being on my own last night, I have never felt more uninhibited. Possibly apart from the group of people I met at the show who knew nothing about me and couldn’t justifiably judge me, no one was watching me, so I danced like it. I jumped, I screamed, I sweat, and I almost passed out from dehydration. My feet are still screaming almost 24 hours later and the fact that I have a voice right now has got to be some kind of scientific breakthrough. Having fun has nothing to do with the people around you, but everything to do with yourself. I always thought that I had less anxiety going to a show with friends than I would on my own, but going to this show alone proved me wrong. “Care-free” is the last adjective I would use to describe myself, but last night, that is what I was.

xx Gabi

P.S. If you’re interested in listening to some Fall Out Boy, you can check out my Spotify playlist, “Fall Out Boy: Gabi’s Top Ten.” If you don’t have Spotify, I can only recommend that you look these songs up on your own.

  1. XO
  2. I Slept With Someone In Fall Out Boy And All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me
  3. Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying (Do Your Part To Save The Scene And Stop Going To Shows)
  4. Dance, Dance
  5. A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More “Touch Me”
  6. Thnks Fr Th Mmrs
  7. Sophomore Slump or Comeback of the Year
  8. Irresistible
  9. The Kids Aren’t Alright
  10. Saturday

Please note that this is my personal top ten and I will fight with you about this for hours if you try to tell me I’m wrong. Someone please take that as a challenge.