Why Millennials and Parties Don’t Mix (and why it’s a problem)

The New York Times recently published an article called Death of the Party, in which the author points out how much younger generations have opted out of the traditional chip-and-dip, mix-and-mingle kind of get-togethers that you might have seen on Mad Men (or, you know, in real life).

There are plenty of reasons why millennials and parties are incompatible, and they all make sense; it’s harder to host parties (the expense, the space, the expectations for awesomeness), and it’s easier to ditch out on them and opt for something less emotionally demanding.

But for previous generations, the anatomy of a traditional party was simple. Invite guests (and everyone actually RSVPs). Make food and drinks. Clean your house. Dress nicely. Play music. Enjoy pleasant conversation. Do everything possible to make your guests feel welcome and at home.

Millennials and parties aren't a good match—and it's a bigger problem than you think. [Read more…]

How to Survive the Holidays When You’re Far from Home

I spent last Christmas with my landlord.

We had moved into her apartment building when my husband got accepted to medical school in Grenada—and since we couldn’t afford plane tickets home for the holiday, we decided to spend it on the island.

We were prepared to have a lonely Christmas. All of our friends traveled back to America, and we were literally the only people in our apartment complex. No big deal, I thought. Between studying abroad, mission trips, and summers spent with relatives, I had plenty of experience being far from home.

But this time? I wasn’t sure I could make it. Sure, I had spent other holidays without immediate family—tearing up turkey legs with college roommates or unwrapping presents with in-laws—but at least those bore some resemblance to the festivities I celebrated with my own parents and siblings. This time, I faced a completely different culture and had almost nothing to keep me grounded.

Everything on the island felt like the opposite of Christmas: the weather was still hot and steamy, stores weren’t coated in lights and tinsel, and the blaring holiday music was filtered through Caribbean beats and instruments… oh, and forget about finding hot peppermint mochas or snowmen. How was I supposed to celebrate Christmas here when nothing about it felt familiar?

If you're traveling or living abroad, celebrating major holidays can be tough. Read about how to get through it here. [Read more…]

Millennial Spotlight: Jessica Cook

I’d love to say I know Jessica Cook from one of her showbiz gigs— commercials for Axe and Mary Kay, music videos, hanging with Toby Turner (watch this or this), MTV’s Awkward, or The Voice Tailgate—but I just know her from our high school algebra class.

She was still awesome back then, though: a helluva voice in the school choir, a counselor for one of my class retreats, and just really nice in general. I’m glad others have taken notice—a lot of others, actually.

I reached out to Jessica over a year ago with these interview questions (note the Leno reference!); and yes, I should have posted our chat sooner. Still, I hope you take her timeless message to heart: get a vision, work really hard for it, and don’t be afraid to stand out.

Actress Jessica Cook came to LA knowing nobody--but not for long. Read her take on why hard work and vision can still make you successful. [Read more…]