Who Says You Can’t Go Home?

This past 4th of July, I found out that my boyfriend had no idea that it is required to play “Born in the U.S.A.” by Bruce Springsteen on Independence Day. What do you mean, you didn’t grow up with Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi playing every other song on the radio all summer long? What do you mean, YOU DON’T KNOW WHO BON JOVI IS???

I played him several Bon Jovi songs in a row. I still don’t think he was impressed.

“Born in the U.S.A.” is a mandatory staple on any 4th of July fireworks playlist. Everyone in New Jersey, the state where I spent most of my time growing up, knows this. (My boyfriend also didn’t grow up listening to a playlist a local radio station curated for the fireworks show. I’m starting to think Missouri is anti-American.)

Of course, we’re ignoring the fact that “Born in the U.S.A.” is itself critical of America. That’s not important – you either play it on July 4th, or you get the hell out of this state.

This was my childhood. Heading out on our family’s motorboat to watch the fireworks over the river on the 4th. Picking up porkrolleggandcheese – all one word – to take to the beach. Late-night diners and taking pride in not pumping your own gas. Dealing with jughandles because you don’t have any other choice (you can still complain about them, though.)

Then I graduated from high school, and my family moved away.

Continue reading “Who Says You Can’t Go Home?”

Wander Weekly #4: Are We There Yet?

Wander Weekly is a weekly post on what I’m consuming at the moment.

You may have noticed that this roundup doesn’t always feature items related to the week’s theme.

But I’m heading up to the good ol’ Dirty Jerz this weekend (also known as the Jersey Shore, Jersey, my home state, or what I had to defend the most in college.)

So, this week, we’re road trippin’. Whether you like it or not.

I am –


ICYMI, a photo was found recently that experts say shows Amelia Earhart and her pilot, Fred Noonan, safe and sound on the Marshall Islands after her disappearance in 1937.

I have no idea how anyone could identify someone from this grainy, black-and-white photo, but I’ll go ahead and trust the experts and get excited about it anyway. And I would totally watch a movie about this updated version of Earhart’s story (one that hopefully does better than this one.)

A bit freaked out by:

This website is meant to be pretty ominous, but it does get you thinking on how all the data being collected out there can impact the way we act.

Related: on my way home from work the other day, I listened to a podcast that talked about this New York Times Magazine story from a few years back. It’s about how Target hired a statistician to help predict customer shopping behavior – to the point where they could tell when someone was pregnant before that person had even told anyone. Here’s a take on it from Forbes if you’re looking for a summary.

Also, Target did REALLY WELL from this uber-“target”-ing strategy (sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Apparently companies know us better than we know ourselves. I work in marketing, so this really shouldn’t be news, but still. Thoughts? Arguments? Concerns? I have some.

From the NYT:

As Pole’s computers crawled through the data, he was able to identify about 25 products that, when analyzed together, allowed him to assign each shopper a “pregnancy prediction” score. More important, he could also estimate her due date to within a small window, so Target could send coupons timed to very specific stages of her pregnancy.

Kind of makes you want to pull a Ron Swanson.


Vutheara was one of the first people I ever followed on Instagram and is now one of my favorite photographers. He’s based in Paris, where I studied abroad, and I took a lot of inspiration from his photos to find hidden gems of the city.

He also travels a decent bit and takes stunning pictures everywhere he goes. Definitely follow if you’re a Francophile or just looking for some wanderlust inspiration.

Notre-Dame de Paris 🐦

A post shared by VuTheara Kham (@vutheara) on

Come Fly With Me 🎶

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Listening to:

  • “Dancing in the dark” by Bruce Springsteen

Had to throw some Jersey pride in here (this one is on-theme!)

Bonus Pro Tip:

Katie Bonos not only has the best first name (duh), she’s a fellow alum from my alma mater and just set a new Denali ascent speed record. Oh, and she trained while also studying for the MCAT.

If motivation-by-stickers worked for her, I see no reason not to try it.


Interested in more recommendations? Discover more Wander Weeklieshere.