gratitude diaries

gratitude diaries #8.

It’s almost here, it’s almost here! My very favorite holiday of the year!

Matt and I are packing up the car and heading back to Pennsylvania tonight after work, so please please send a little no-traffic vibes my way because I have no idea what to expect leaving Brooklyn on Thanksgiving Eve. (I promise to send some easy travel vibes right back atcha, so your own travel karma definitely won’t suffer.) For the past few years, I’ve traveled back to Pennsylvania a few days before Matt, but this year, we decided to make the trip together. It seems like the married people thing to do — plus, I have enough work to finish up today that I’d kind of rather knock it all out right here in my normal office so that I can go home tonight and fully sink into holiday mode.

It’s been quite a while since my last edition of Gratitude Diaries (the last entry was back in June!), and with less than 24 hours left before the most thankful day of the year, this seems like the perfect time to bring back one of my very favorite blog series. And while I’m naturally appreciative of big picture things like my family and my health and my home and my marriage, I happen to think that these posts are that much more fun when I focus on the smaller details that can be easier to brush off or take for granted. I try to practice gratitude daily in an easy way (I’ve kept more detailed gratitude journals in the past, but I find that I often fall off the wagon if my personal expectation is that the entires should be long and detailed) by noting one thing I appreciate at the end of every day on my monthly calendar. It’s kind of the equivalent of crossing days off countdown-style, but it looks a lot more colorful and makes you feel a lot better about life in the process!

Here are a few things I’ve been feeling a little extra love for over the last few weeks…

  • Afternoon walks, because whether you work in a traditional office or out of your home and for yourself, it’s important to step away from the desk when you can and get some fresh air, even if it’s only for a few minutes. So many of us eat lunch in front of our computers (guilty!), so we owe ourselves a little time away from the to-do list whenever possible. It helps break up the day!
  • Couch naps, because even with all of my sleep issues, I can still crash HARD on the sofa every once in a while on a weekend afternoon — and there are few things that feel better than that.

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  • Friends with puppies, because I’m loving having an excuse to visit with one of my besties and squeeze in some puppy snuggles at the same time. Plus, I get to be the kind of cool aunt that goes for fun walks and offers treats for cute behavior but doesn’t have to get up in the middle of the night and wait around for the pup to do his business in the cold.
  • Cookie dough ice cream, because I picked up a pint for myself the other night while Matt was out with friends and I’ve never regretted anything less.

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  • My new holiday dress. I fully plan on rocking this little number from Shop Ashley Le Mieux as much as possible this season! The boutique has tons of great — and affordable! — pieces available for holiday. Shop this link to check it out. I think they’re running great sales this weekend, too!
  • Vitamin Dbecause, as I mentioned in this post, it’s really helped my sleep and generally made me feel a lot better.
  • Grown-up friend sleepovers, because there are few things I find more hilarious than spending a Sunday morning lounging around on an air mattress with friends from out of town after a long night out.

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  • Zumbo’s Just Desserts, because it’s my new Netflix obsession and I’m trying to get everyone to watch it. Picture your favorite American baking show, but add desserts that are as magical as anything out of Willy Wonka, plus some seriously amazing Australian accents. My only complaint about this show is that there is only one season so far!
  • Hot chocolate, because ’tis the season! I’m going to be totally honest with you — sometimes, I’m only in it for the whipped cream and/or marshmallows… but no one can tell me how to drink my cocoa!

Friends, I’m certainly grateful for you, as well — today and always. I am so appreciative of how you continue to grow this community with me, and I can’t wait to see how we continue to support each other and celebrate life’s moments in the future.

Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one of you!

And if you’re already thinking ahead to all of the shopping opportunities ahead of you post-Thanksgiving, then you best stop by again on Black Friday! I’ll be kicking off the November giveaway… which means you’ll be able to grab something fun for yourself without waiting in crazy lines or even paying a dime.

 

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gratitude diaries #7

If you’ve been following the blog recently, you already know that the start of summer has been a whirlwind for us over here in the Kosik household. We’ve been traveling every weekend for the past six weeks (except for the weekend I ran the Brooklyn Half in May), which has been a little exhausting, to say the least. It’s been hard to catch up on both my work and “life stuff” on the days between trips, and I’m generally feeling like I’m only doing a mediocre job at basically everything. Have you ever been there?

All of that being said, though, I think I’ve been doing a little too much whining here on the blog about all of the travel  — and there’s really no reason for it! As much as all of the miles and logistics have me feel a little nutty, making these trips back and forth to see family and spend time with friends has been crazy rewarding. I love having the opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones, and to be part of the many exciting moments happening in their lives this year. When you’re struggling to keep track of the celebrations going on around you, it’s a pretty good problem to have!

In honor of all of this (and to keep my attitude in check, of course), I’ve decided to put together a rapid fire-style edition of Gratitude Diaries for today. Here we go! Lately, I’ve been feeling especially grateful for these little things…

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Summer in the city, no filter necessary.
  • Summer weather, because even when the humidity gets me down, being in the sunshine makes me the happiest camper.
  • Dads everywhere, because we got to celebrate Father’s Day this weekend!
  • Welch’s fruit snacks, because there’s never been a better road trip food, and there never will be.
  • Metallic gold nail polish, because it makes typing and driving and cooking look a lot better.
  • Takeout nights with friends, because when you have people who are willing to crowd into your teeny tiny apartment to eat Thai food on the floor, you know you’re a lucky girl.
  • Running, because it feels a lot better after you’ve taken a few weeks off.
  • Costume jewelry, because why wouldn’t I treat myself to a colorful ring for $9?
  • Classic movies on Netflix, because I love falling asleep to them night after night.
  • Sisters, because mine are pretty awesome, and I’m so happy I’ve gotten to spend so much time with them lately.
  • Friends who get married and/or buy houses, because they give us all a reason to celebrate BIG!
  • Target, because it’s still the only place where I’ll buy a bathing suit — and even though I always spend roughly twice what I planned when I shop there, I’m never mad about it.
  • New stacks of magazines, because I always forget how much I love a fresh magazine until I have one in hand.
  • Trader Joe’s frozen Cauliflower Pizza Crust, because it helped me make a delish (and mostly healthy) dinner in less than 20 minutes the other night.
  • Instagram stories, because I think they’re really fun and I’m trying to get better at them.
  • Soft black raspberry ice cream with hot fudge and rainbow sprinkles, because it’s one of my favorite things about visiting my hometown in the summer.

And finally…

  • GIVEAWAY DAY, because it’s coming up on Thursday! Don’t forget to come back and check it out!

What are you feeling grateful for? Fill me in with a comment below!

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gratitude diaries #6

Guys. GUYS. Where did this day go? I feel like I blinked and it was already over. I usually try to get the blog written and posted by early afternoon at the latest, and here I am, typing this out to all of you simultaneously with cooking dinner. I’m trying to replicate the delicious lunch my friend made me when she spent the day working with me at the apartment on last Tuesday’s snow day, and she’s a pretty major boss in the kitchen, so this multitasking effort could easily bite me in the butt before the evening’s over. The recipe involves fancy things like poaching eggs (me? poach an egg?), so we’re just going to have to wait and see how this project goes. Fingers crossed!

After a crazy day, I’m itching for a little gratitude, so let’s go ahead with a new round of Gratitude Diaries, shall we? (You can check out the last one here!) Here are a few (of many) things I’m appreciating today…

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  • The mini getaway I took with my mom this weekend. Mom and I both snuck away from our weekends for one night this past Saturday to have a little girls’ night. Originally, we had big plans to fly to Florida or the Carolinas for a late-winter warm weather trip, but this scaled-back version ended up making the most sense logistically for both of us… and it couldn’t have been more perfect. We did some shopping (let me tell you, it feels really good at this point in my freelancing life to finally have some extra spending money to treat myself to new lipstick and a fresh spring coat… and to not have to stress about it!), drank martinis, and saw Beauty and the Beast. It always feel great to have quality time with my fabulous mama.
  • Healthy runs! With all of the crazy changes in temperature we were experiencing here in New York over the last few weeks, I’ve been feeling sort of perpetually under the weather. Now that I’m FINALLY feeling consistently better, I’m feeling such a difference in my half marathon training, and it’s making me endlessly happy. Even though I’ve run a few of these races now, every single year I talk myself into a total state of panic that I somehow won’t be able to pull it off again, and since I wasn’t feeling so physically great over the last few weeks, my nerves were totally getting the best of me. I’ve had some much better runs lately, and I’m finally feeling excited about the race!
  • The Marvelous Mrs. MaiselFriends, you NEED to watch this show. The pilot is up on Amazon, and Matt and I watched it on Sunday night and both loved it. It’s rare in our house to agree on a television show, so don’t take this recommendation lightly! It’s funny and different and interesting and fresh and… well, I’ll just let you check it out and tell me what you think.
  • Springtime. I think I speak for everyone in the Northeast when I say that all of the weird ups and downs with the weather here were getting seriously old. We finally seem to be getting some more predictable temperatures in the last few days, and those temperatures are leaning in the direction of SPRING! I never realize how ready I am for winter to end until it finally ends. Here’s to happy springtime things like bare legs, outdoor meals, and open windows just around the corner!
  • Beauty and the Beast. Growing up, Belle was “my” princess, and the animated Beauty and the Beast movie was always my favorite Disney story (which is saying something, since I grew up as a serious Disney girl). I had a good feeling about the live-action remake that came out last week, but it exceeded my expectations! My mom and I had so much fun going to see it, and we both felt like this version did the original justice. I’m really grateful for that little bit of magic in a world that recently feels sad and scary so much of the time. I can’t wait to take Matt with me to see it again — he just needs to see it… and so do you!

What are you feeling grateful for? Please share in the comments below!

***And come back on Thursday because it will be giveaway time! This month’s prize is super cool and something a little different… you’ll definitely want to check it out : )

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gratitude diaries #5

It’s been a total whirlwind of a week. I spent about 24 hours in Pennsylvania yesterday, driving back and forth on our local highways to a few meetings and doctor’s appointments, trying to make time to stop at the occasional Starbucks to catch up on e-mails here and there. Needless to say, although I’ll definitely have some work to do this weekend, I’m so excited that it’s Friday. Matt and I are having a little staycation in honor of the holiday weekend, and I’m looking forward to catching up on sleep, finishing my book, and two date nights.

To help give myself one last boost to get me through the rest of the day, it seems like the perfect time for another Gratitude Diaries. It’s been way too long since I posted one of these (check out the last installment here). I’m going to try a more casual format today (did I mentioned how tired I am?). Here we go!

I’m grateful for this unseasonably warm weather. It was such a treat to walk outside today without my heavy coat, and even though it’s bound to be short-lived, I’m enjoying every second of it while it’s here. 

I’m grateful for my parents and for the way my relationships with them continue to change and evolve in my adult life. 

I’m grateful for my Origins Charcoal Mask for being a total lifesaver for my face after two days full of driving. 

I’m grateful that I found a (legal) parking spot close to the apartment last night so that I didn’t have too far to walk when I made it back to Brooklyn at 11 PM.

I’m grateful to Matt, who had fallen asleep on the couch last night but set an alarm on his phone so that he would be awake and ready to catch up with me as soon as I arrived.

I’m grateful for the Hamilton soundtrack, which kept me going in the last hour or so of my drive back to New York. There were cars quite literally drag racing around me on the highway, so I was in dire need of something to distract me.

I’m grateful for the many interesting people I’m meeting and getting to interact with in my writing life. 

I’m (really) grateful for chocolate cupcakes.

I’m grateful for my cozy little apartment, which I am alway so happy to come home to.

I’m grateful for the promise of a fun night eating Thai food and catching up with my girlfriends over buy-one-get-one-free cocktails. 

I’m grateful for the (slight) improvement I’ve been experiencing in my sleep cycle lately. 

I’m grateful for the ability to take my work on the road so that I can experience life and take care of myself without having to cut corners professionally.

I am grateful, grateful, grateful. 

Check out some of my favorite thoughts on gratitude from the fabulous Danielle LaPorte. Danielle’s incredibly inspiring, and her #Truthbombs rule.

 

What are you grateful for this week? Let me know in the comments below!

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gratitude diaries #3

I’ll be honest — this week has me feeling just a little disoriented.  I spent the majority of the week working from Pennsylvania where my family lives, and while I was able to use that time to get lots of work done and also do a little fresh-air-reboot outside of the city, the mid-week travel has set me off of my game.  The regular deadline cycle I’m now working on means that the weekends require work and research and Monday through Wednesday are the most intense days of writing, so I’m also adjusting to a bizarre-feeling schedule where Thursdays and Fridays are naturally a little quieter.  Add in a brewing cold virus and I’m just not quite myself.

What better way to perk up than a little Gratitude Diaries?  Here are a few things that I am feeling especially thankful for right about now:

  • Matt.  While I’m working hard to respect the privacy of my loved ones and avoid sharing TOO much about them here, it’s basically impossible for me to leave my husband out!  He jokes that he’s become the “star of the blog,” which is particularly funny given the fact that he’s about as removed from social media as you can possibly be in 2016.  I’m pretty sure that this is the only thing he reads online other than the news, which I guess I should take as a major compliment : ) ANYWAY, I’m going to embarrass him just a little bit today because he is at the top of my gratitude list.  We spent the majority of the week apart while I was working and spending time with family, and being away from him really reminded me of how much I value our little life here in Brooklyn.  Matt is my truest friend and such an incredible cheerleader for everything I do.  I’m pretty sure we both laugh about ten times more often when we are together than when we are apart, mostly about the silliest things.  I appreciate all of our weird conversations (last night, we may or may not have talked about the movie Babe for about 30 minutes) and inside jokes.  I feel really lucky to have him as my husband.
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My current favorite wedding photo (it changes weekly, thanks to the genius of Bri Cibene Photography).
  • Semi-sick days.  My throat started hurting while I was in Pennsylvania, and I’ve been feeling increasingly crummy ever since.  One of the awesome benefits of my old company was an amazing sick day policy, and I’m seeing that one of the both advantages and disadvantages of working for yourself is not having “official” days off when you’re not feeling well.  Especially in this early stage of building my business and body of work, I’m not comfortable taking a full day off just because I’m sick, but I’m also far from operating at 100%.  It feels weird to be taking breaks to relax and watch TV throughout the day, but I’m trying to be kind to my body and remind myself that, even though I may lose a few hours this week, I’m still getting a lot more work done than I ever did when I was sick at my corporate job.  I’m grateful for the flexibility I have to take better care of myself these days.  Feeling under the weather has also been a good reminder of how much I enjoy what I’m doing for work now, because it makes me sad that I’m having to scale back while I get better.
  • Good Girls Revolt.  Matt and I tend to have a really hard time finding TV shows that we can agree on, so most of the time we end up binge watching our old favorites over and over again.  I’ve never watched any of the Amazon original shows before, but “Good Girls Revolt” caught my eye last week, and we finally got around to watching the first episode last night.  I would absolutely recommend it!  I’m a big fan of music and fashion from the ’60s and ’70s, so the setting totally appeals to me, PLUS it’s about a bunch of fierce female magazine writers who I’m kind of obsessed with.  I’m especially grateful that we stumbled on this show just before the weather starts to get cold so we can start working our way through it as winter hibernation sets in.
  • My new laptop.  Somehow, my old MacBook Pro was still hangin’ in there from my college days, but it was realllllly starting to slow me down now that I’m working full-time from my home computer.  Thanks to contributions from my family members as my birthday gift, we were finally able to pick up my new MacBook Air this weekend!  Since I’m pretty frugal, it’s rare that I make big investments like this, which makes me all the more appreciative when it happens.  My old laptop was wasting even more of my time than I realized, and working on a better system is making it a lot more fun to come to work.  (PLUS, I ordered a really fun girly case that makes me smile every time I see it.)

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  • Lemongrass Grill.  Because we treated ourselves to take-out when I got back from Pennsylvania and this is my absolute FAVORITE place to order from, especially when I’m sick.  Thank you, Lemongrass, for magically making my throat feel a little better!

Happy weekend, everyone!  Is there anything that you’re feeling extra grateful for this week?

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gratitude diaries #2

Happy Monday!  After a weekend of traveling, it’s good to be back at my desk, tackling a BIG to-do list.  Last week was productive, and I’m excited to share (hopefully soon) a few exciting projects and collaborations, but I had some trouble staying focused because my schedule was off-kilter.  I essentially had three and a half solid work days squeezed between my best friend’s fabulous Brooklyn wedding and a solo road trip to visit my college friends in D.C.  While I TOTALLY loved having the flexibility to fully participate in the festivities for both weekends, I missed my little office routine, and didn’t have quite as much time as I would have liked to dig into the confirmed work and potential projects that are starting to pile up (yay!).  So, here I am, ready to jump back in!

There’s nothing better than starting a new week off with an extra dose of positivity, so here’s another edition of Gratitude Diaries:

  • Long drives.  People fall into one of two extreme camps when it comes to driving– either they LOVE it or HATE it, and I happen to fall into the first category.  Living in the city for the past four and a half years, I haven’t had many opportunities to drive.  Matt and I recently bought a new (used) car, with the intention that both of us could get behind the wheel (unlike his old SUV from high school, which he preferred I not drive because it wasn’t in the best shape).  It’s so freeing to be able to jump in the car if I need to run a longer errand, and especially wonderful to be able to plan a road trip!  I went to college in Washington, D.C. and many of my friends still live there, so I decided to take myself on a little getaway on Friday.  It was great having some time to myself– listening to music and podcasts (my favorites are The Lively Show and Gilmore Guys) and stopping for snacks along the way.  Traffic was a little rough driving into Washington, but it still felt great to be on the road.  As a New Yorker, I spend a lot of time at the mercy of public transportation or walking in extreme weather, so I really appreciate the beauty of jumping in a car and being able to just go.
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The day we bought our car!
  • My college years in D.C.  I rarely make it down to Washington, but every time I do, I’m reminded of what a beautiful city it is, and how profoundly lucky I was to spend four years there as a student.  I understood when I was living there that it was a special place, but knowing what I know now about how dirty and tough other cities can be (I’m lookin’ at YOU, my beloved New York), I love D.C. that much more.  Sometimes I regret that I went to a city school and didn’t get a “typical college experience,” but when I visit Washington as an adult, I realize that living and learning there for four years was a pretty unbelievable chapter of my life.  Even though college seemed stressful when I was in it, the truth is that the stakes were actually pretty low when I was a student, and I wish I’d taken the time to just enjoy my surroundings a little bit more.
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We had the most beautiful weather this weekend in D.C., and it was the perfect afternoon for a walk into Georgetown.  I wish I had appreciated views like this more as an undergraduate! 
  • Thai takeout.  Anyone who knows me knows that I could eat Asian food all day, every day, and I’m especially grateful for friends that are willing to indulge me in that every once in a while.  I stayed with my best friend (who was the maid of honor in our wedding) and her boyfriend for the weekend, and while I cannot confirm that we ordered Thai delivery for both nights of my stay, I am not willing to deny it, either.
  • Seasonal candles on sale.  We LOVE candles at our house, especially seasonal scents in the fall and getting closer to the holidays.  Good candles can be so expensive, and since I’m trying to be extra budget-conscious these days, I haven’t been buying them.  The great news is that when you’re in your mid-twenties and visiting your friends from college, you might just find yourself wandering a T.J. Maxx store in Georgetown, and they might just have the best selection of candles on deep discount.  We laughed at the irony of bargain shopping for home goods in the very same city where we once bought clothes on “allowance” from our parents!
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If you can resist this (especially with the low prices), you are a stronger person than I am.
  • Toasted marshmallow milkshakes.  On one of our first dates the summer before sophomore year in college, Matt and I drank toasted marshmallow-flavored milkshakes and walked around the National Mall in the pouring rain, talking and laughing for hours.  Since I was back in D.C. for the weekend, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to have one in honor of that memory.  And let me tell you– I drank every last sip of that shake!

Is there anything that you’re especially grateful for this week?

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gratitude diaries #1

Happy weekend, everyone!  It’s a cloudy Saturday here in New York, and even though the temperatures have suddenly dropped in a way that doesn’t make me entirely happy, I’m kind of loving the way it is so perfectly marking the start of October.  This is a low-key weekend for us, stuck right in between a few weeks of traveling and weddings, so the bad weather is just an extra excuse to stay home and relax.  So far, we’ve been watching some bad movies (Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising— I know, I have no one to blame but myself) and reading some good books (in my mission to re-read my way through Harry Potter AGAIN before I get around to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, I recently started Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and it’s bringing me endless joy even in all of Harry’s angst).

I’m starting something new with this post, and calling it Gratitude Diaries.  When I was growing up, my mom (you can check out her blog here) always encouraged me to regularly take time to jot down a few things for which I was thankful.  For the last twenty-or-so years, I’ve come in and out of this practice, but it’s always been one of my favorite tricks to keeping a journal, and has always been close to my heart.  Since I’m no personal development expert, and there’s a lot more to me than just learning to be my own boss, I’m kickstarting this series as a way to share other little bits of happiness and sunshine happening in my life.

Sooooo, here is my very first edition of Gratitude Diaries.  Here are a few everyday things I am currently feeling grateful for…

  • Grilled cheese and tomato soup.  This is the first thing that comes to mind, because we whipped it up for a quick late lunch today and it made my little fall-loving heart so happy!
  • J.K. Rowling’s imagination.  As I mentioned above, I am in the process of working my way through the entire Harry Potter series for the fourth or fifth time.  As I get older and come back again and again to these books, I am (a little) less amazed by the magic of Harry’s world, and a whole lot more amazed by the person who created it.  I am grateful to live in a time when these books have been available to me since I was a little girl, so I can appreciate them both as a reader and a writer.
  • The Brooklyn Brainery.  I checked this place out for the first time yesterday, and if you live in the NYC area, I would encourage you to do the same!  About a week after I quit my corporate job, a friend passed along information about a Freelance Writing Bootcamp hosted at the Brainery, and the timing was perfect.  I always get a little first-day-of-school-style anxiety in those situations, and I had never been to a “continuing education” class, but it was productive and inspiring.  The bootcamp, which lasted almost six hours yesterday afternoon, was a great opportunity to sit in a room surrounded by other people trying to navigate their way through this freelancing life.  I got a lot of great ideas and information, and feel like I’m not the only one figuring all of this out as I go!
  • Social media reconnections.  I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, but I just have to put it out there– how cool is it that, thanks to social media, we have the chance to get another shot at friendships with people from our past?  As my life has TOTALLY changed in the last few weeks, I’ve found myself reconnecting with several high school classmates who have been amazing resources and cheerleaders for me.  I’m grateful to have the chance to get to know them better now as an adult, when we are all so much more secure in who we are and have even more to offer each other.
  • New NYC work spaces.  In the second half of last week, I started venturing out of my home office to get a change of scenery and to force myself to focus in on writing work for a few hours at a time.  I took a little trip to a coffee shop near Astor Place on Wednesday, and met with my friend and former roommate for some co-working time at a restaurant around the corner from my apartment on Thursday.  It’s fun to have an excuse to check out new little spots, and I think I am going to learn a lot about tea as a writer trying to get out of my apartment!
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Wednesday morning’s office, with a perfect view for NYC people-watching.

 

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