Salt 101

I think I'm Marmite (or, the art of being "too much," OTT, and very "chalant")

Every millennial cursed with dating in New York has either heard or uttered the words “If I’m too much, then go find less” with a he’s *so* not worth it eye roll. During rare bursts of uncharacteristic confidence in my early twenties, I have admittedly been a (truant) member of that choir, blubbering the words into half eaten pints of Ben & Jerry’s, crying over boys whose names I don’t remember today. That said, I never really believed it. The phrase felt good to say in the moment, and the sentiment should ring true without question, but in reality, feeling like “too much” has always been my biggest insecurity.

Everything I do, I do in the extreme. I love loudly. Dress loudly (the proof is here in my 75 Hard Style Challenge pudding). Share loudly. Excite loudly. And romanticize loudly.

As a result, there have been a fair share of times where my font of being has been too bold. Like Marmite, I too can be too strong of a flavor, but unlike an inanimate toast spread, I didn’t always handle someone not loving me back as loudly in the most graceful of ways.

Teenage me was the dictionary definition of a “Stage 5 Clinger.” Desperate to be friends with the cafeteria cliques who just didn't want to be friends with me, I tried and tried and never learned the “just be yourself” lessons from every Disney Channel Original Movie that filled my weekends.

College me decided that it would be easier to change, so I became less—easy, palatable, and malleable, chameleon-ing into the person that each person next to me wanted me to be. At work, with friends, with boys, in class, and so on, I quietly observed and molded. I became friends with everyone! Everyone loved me, sure, but that’s because it was all a show. If I’m putting on a performance just for you, obviously you’ll love the character I made that likes everything that you like and sees the world in exactly your shade of jaded, art school, cynicism.

In my early post grad years, I gave up entirely. I didn't know who I was or what I wanted. Feeling scared and adrift, I picked up the nearest possible personality and tried a few on for size seeing as they’d already been shaped and broken in by someone else first. Rather than switching person to person, my “palatable personality” shape shifted every few months. I was going through “phases.”

Now, it’s 2024 and I'm tired of the show. Through apologizing for "puppy-like enthusiasm" or disclaiming “guilty pleasures,” because why in the world should anyone be guilty for the things that bring them pleasure? How I take my coffee or wear my hair may shapeshift as the years pass, but my font of being will never be anything other than it is and I’m not in the business of elevator pitch convincing anyone to acquire the taste. Personally, I love Marmite.

  1. I love wearing glitter on my eyes when I know I’m going to have a hard day because I believe that you can’t cry when you’re sparkly.
  2. I carry crudités around in my purse because I think chopped up veg can be both an accessory and a snack.
  3. I will never be the girl who meditates. Running, meditative. Cooking, meditative. Sweaty dancing, wearing shoes that give me blisters, holding a martini on a dance floor, meditative. And at the end of the day, I *prefer* overthinking. Not about “big things” like the role of love in art or world peace, but about whatever happened to the Cheetah Girls or which of the actors had crushes on one another on the set of Harry Potter. The important stuff.
  4. I think it’s boundlessly fun to be cringe, pretentious, elderly, opinionated, and goofy all in the same day because it keeps people on their toes and is a reminder of all of the you’s that live inside you.
  5. And I will never fall back into the trap of “shoulds.” Reading the things I “should.” Watching the “I can’t believe you haven’t seen that's” and listening to podcasts about “personal growth.” Life itself is filled with enough lessons. The world is hard. To have made it this far, you have to have learned at least a few of them. I don’t want to “look inward” or read about inner peace. I want to look at people Eye-Flirting with one another on the M train and read pretty cookbooks and smut.

My favorite people are excited and excitable too. What they read, eat, or wonder differ, of course, but the boundless passion with which they do these things is always a level 11 out of 10.

I love silly geese who laugh loudly with all of their chins, friends who like to hold hands and skip, and strangers who want to flail while dancing because what are limbs for if not to stretch? I love calling everything a movie and everyone my best friend because life is a movie and every one of my friends is best at something.

Personally, I think life is better when lived this way. Being very very chalant over “chill” or  nonchalant, because isn’t it more fun to care too much. To wear gogo boots and tutus when the occasion doesn't quite call for it and let people wonder where you’re going. The world gives us too many reasons to be cynical, frustrated, passive, or withdrawn, making it too easy to lose one’s ability to be shamelessly giddy. To instead allow colorful leaves or a really good oat latte to make your day or befriend a stranger because of their big hat without feeling awkward is what’s hard. That's the “art.”

TLDR: Welcome to 2024: The Year of The Marmite. The year of being your strongest flavor. Being “too much.” Being effortFUL over effortless. Loving too loudly. Trying and failing. Flailing. Dancing. Jumping. Ugly laughing. Big crying. And being unapologetically excited about orange leaves and milky coffee.


What I’m eating and drinking:

  • Marmite and thick salted butter on brioche, of course (ALSO! If you haven’t tried the Marmite Crunchy Peanut Butter, it will change your life, and you can quote me on that)
  • Cardamom and Watkins cinnamon added to my illy coffee grounds (for the full Dramatic Italian Housewife in a Glamorous Silk Robe effect, I’ve been making my coffee in my Bialetti Moka Pot each morning because I love the sense of ritual)
  • Lots of jam (A few favorite combinations that I’ve made recently: Strawberry-Peach-Chipotle. Bartlett Pear-Apple-Ginger, and Christmas Jam with cranberries, blueberries, orange, and warm winter spices)
  • Caprese salad with a side of sardines for a little snack (Current favorite brands are Ati Manel and Don Gastronom—the packaging is also a work of art)
  • Horseradish pickles from the farmers market
  • Lots of delicata squash
  • And the matcha Mochidoki as a treat! I’m also dying to try the Pandan Pistachio flavor.

What I’m lusting after:

  • Don’t Let Disco Wrap & Go Necklace (but truly everything that has come from the brilliant, whimsical, fun, creative, boundary-pushing mind of Ashley Harris!)
  • Sézane Gaspard Cardigan (I have been lusting after cobalt lately and this sweater is just the richest blue, so versatile, and simply season-less.)
  • Cult Gaia Elaine Jacket (Doing the 75 Hard Style Challenge has left me aching for certain iconic pieces that feel oddly specific, but would turn “outfits” into “looks". This is a major one of them. She is DRAMA!)
  • Tomato Serving Platter from Blue Print (Just picture her int he middle of the table surrounded by muted lime green, linen placemats, white plates with subtle detailing, and red napkins tied with crocheted or lace ribbon. Can you see the vision?)
  • Staud x Wrangler The Loose Jean (I have historically not been a blue denim girl, but for these, I would reassess my life choices.)

What I'm listening to:

  • Crooner Classics
    • One thing about me? I always have and always will love the Crooners. I am an unabashed hopeless romantic, and there is something about swanning around the kitchen at the end of the day with a glass of wine, something cozy on the stove, and Dean Martin and Billie Holiday and Nat King Cole in the background that is medicine for the soul. Yes, I am an old man. No, I will never change.
  • Elvis Presley
    • My dad loved Elvis, so I love Elvis, and my brother loves Elvis. The Spotify Best of Elvis Presley playlist is my weekend music. I will shamelessly dance around the city and through the aisles of Zabar’s listening to the King on repeat. It’s tradition.
  • The Devil Wears Strava (My running playlist)
    • Though still in the works, my running playlists (and their titles) are a point of personal pride. From middle school dance bangers to hard core rock to pop hits and old school rap, this playlist keeps me dancing while I zoom.

What I'm thinking about:

  • Being an introverted extrovert.
  • Making new friends for new stages of life.
  • Clutter corners, intentional excess, and curated maximalism.
  • Supper clubs (DM @justsoiree to be added to the list!), reading parties (check out Reading Rhythms!), and community-based self care communities (like Emily Chertow’s Journaling Classes!)
  • Coziness as a mindset, rather than a blanket or a room.
  • Kitchen flow states and where the line between thinking and letting go lies.
  • Physical touch as a means of comfort, and learning how to find or ask for it.
  • Giving yourself grace for simply existing—the world is hard, your goals shouldn’t make it infinitely harder. Sometimes just getting through a day is success enough. Value it!