RoomHop: Happy Healthy Living
Written by Bwog Staff
Bwog likes to hop from room to room, and sometimes, when we find something good enough, we post about it. Other times, we just harass the residents for free snacks and then quietly leave. If you would like your room to be hopped, email us at [email protected].
“The trouble with always trying to preserve the health of the body,” G.K. Chesterton once wrote, “is that it is so difficult to do without destroying the health of the mind.” Chesterton may have had a point, but you would never know it from the girls of Cathedral Garden suite #2A, who pull off the “mind-body health” thing effortlessly and with grace and style besides. The six suitemates—Kelsey Brown, Hannah Carter, Olivia “Livy” Grosvenor, Jenna Lauter, Morgan Marmaro, and Angela Zhao; all BC ‘13—run a special-interest housing group dedicated precisely to that art of striking a mental-physical balance: the art, essentially, of living.
Happy Healthy Living House (henceforth referred to as HHLH) was the chance by-product of two developments last spring: Morgan’s increasingly frequent, health-conscious dinner parties in the Quad kitchenette, and the Kelsey-Hannah-Morgan workout buddy system that was also emerging at the time. Given Livy’s involvement with a Harlem nutrition education initiative; Jenna’s dance background; and Angela’s general levelheadedness, it seemed only natural for them to come on board as well. Soon their group application had been processed and ResLife had granted them a spatious five-bedroom, two-bathroom suite at CG—only minutes from the Whole Foods at Columbus and 97th, no less!
The situation could not have played out more perfectly. Hannah took on the role of suite coordinator and helps mediate conflict and manage the suite programs they plan together; she is also the authority on medical health, with a family history in medicine and an internship at a genetic test center to her name. Livy, who participates in CU Roadrunners and plans to run the NYC marathon before she graduates, is the physical health authority, so to speak. Jenna, who is “always willing to talk to you,” has continued to be the dancer-in-residence and the keeper of emotional health. Kelsey, who just received her yoga certification this past summer, leads the suite in spiritual health. And Angela, who also has a dance background (that’s her best friend and former troupe-mate on those ads for Shen Yun Performing Arts!) meditates daily and adheres steadfastly to Falun Dafa and is, as such, the mental health person. She also dispenses fashion and body-loving advice, informed by her Barney’s internship, for the girls, who happen to all share a dress and shoe size. Morgan, of course, has continued her proud tradition as chef de cuisine, so she acts as the preserver of soul health, as it were. This symmetry—especially perfect for a suite whose mantra is “balance”—was not intended, but it “does work out that we all have [our] niche,” says Hannah. Additional friends (frequenters of said dinner parties, especially when the menu includes Morgan’s celebrated “purple chicken”) are deemed “honorary members,” and their visits are specially appreciated in light of CG’s twenty-minute, “75-calorie” walk from campus.
The suite itself reflects the varied but complementary lifestyles of its suitemates. Not all New Age-y (though there is a spice chart and an abundance of Tibetan prayer flags), the décor has an edge, as evidenced by the common room’s Haight-Ashbury street signs (overlayed with a snazzy blue fabric Morgan’s mom gave her for curtains). The girls also share almond, soy and milk milk, three guitars, a basil plant, and a whole cheese drawer between them, and try at least once a week to make an effort to cook and listen to music together. (Their favorite song is “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show.) And yes, there is crunchy granola—courtesy of Kelsey, who makes it herself.
And as for the days, infrequent as they are, when things don’t work out and Hannah’s mediating and Jenna’s comforting aren’t enough, the girls have a “mix ‘n’ match profanity generator” called Creative Cursing, filled with yet-uncovered exclamations like “fetus muncher!” It is fun little details like these that allow the girls to remain self-aware and coexist in peace. After all, Chesterton may have said that mind-body health is difficult, but who said it had to be boring?