I Doubt Most of This Makes Any Sense.

Friday, February 28, 2014

My brain never stops. There's a song by Matchbox 20, I can't think of the name right now, in which there is a line that perfectly describes me: I think I might need this in my life, And I think I'm scared, I think too much. That's me. 3 AM. Writing this post with heavy eyes and a racing mind because I can't seem to sleep.

Here's a pretty random post of things I've seen/thought about this week. Stress the word random because none of these really go together, and many of them have no bearing on my life whatsoever, but they run through my head like lightening bolts, scorching my brain with their memory and fading ever so slowly. Run-on sentences are also a commonality of 3 AM writing. Don't send the grammar police; it will be gone by morning.

The idea that the Sochi Winter Olympics was rigged.
Were you watching what I was watching during the Women's Figure Skating finals? Because what I saw was Kim Yuna wiping the ice with Adeline Sotnikovas. Russia's Sotnikovas was great and all, but gold? After this happened in the middle of her program?

And then you know, Kim nails her program only to get the silver? Yup, totally makes sense. I smell favoritism. Click here to read more about it or go to Johanna Goddard's blog because she inspired this thought. 

How women shut each other out. Sometime last week I stumbled upon this post on the The Everygirl website and it kind of blew my mind. I remembered hearing tales from older business women about how it's other women in power that do the most harm to females in the workplace (I'm talking judgmental stares and the like). But to be reminded of this idea and in this way was sort of mind-blowing. Women stay hating other women. I really dislike the word 'hater' or any variation of it used in that context, but I'm not sure how to put that differently. The opinion piece goes on to completely blow my head off by throwing out a reason for why we do it: in order to blend in. "If you support other women, people around you might notice that YOU are a woman." What?!?! Did ya think you could hide it? (Any Disney nerds out there thinking Mulan right about now?) Maybe I'm being naive, but despite feeling like I related better to my guy friends as a teen, I don't recall wanting to hide my gender and blend in. I was just me and I got in where I fit in so to speak, which just so happened to be playing Playstation and watching WWF with the guys. As I got older and girls stopped being petty (at least for the most part), I found it just as easy to relate to girls in college who were into the same things I was. And although the idea of not wanting to draw attention to your femininity baffles me a bit, what baffles me even more is how this leads to the "hating." In fact, not only does that sort of behavior suggest that hatred is the general feeling towards business women, but by shutting other women out, you are agreeing with it. It's like "yup, she is female, lesser than, and so she should be shut out" as if we're not condemning ourselves in the same breath.

Am I ready to be an attorney? I haven't wanted to think or talk about this for a while, but recently, I've kind of been forced to. People keep asking if I'm working yet, and when I say no because the job market sucks (which it totally does), they give me this sad face and offer words of encouragement. And I think "So-and-so is sadder about it than I am. What's wrong with me?" At first, I actually dared to think I didn't want to be a lawyer anymore, like at all. And it scared the holy heavens out of me because that'd mean I wasted 3 years of my life and I was officially lost. But I think it's more of a matter of "when" not "if". I know I want to be a lawyer; when I'm in the midst of it all, I really love it. But right now, I'm not in the midst of it all, and I think I'm okay with that at this very second. And it's weird.

Filtered water isn't so bad. You might call in bougie, but I hate faucet water. My delicate (pulease!) palate just can't bare the taste. And I'm one of those people that can taste the difference between tap and bottled water, so don't try and trick me (many have tried, all have failed). But my prissy little bottle water ways were becoming quite the expense, so I invested in a Brita filter and it may be one of my best investments to date. Once I got over that voice in my head that says "It's still tap water, don't fall for it", I was good to go. 

I'm a shit texter. One of my girlfriend's legit just told me that she avoids texting me because I don't text back quickly enough. That sounds a bit extreme, but I'll be real - I'm a shit texter. I mean, the kind of person who starts a conversation and responds back for a few minutes and then doesn't text back for days because she's forgotten about the text. *Winces* I know, I'm really embarrassed about that. It's ridiculous and it's mother effing rude honestly. I've got to get better with it. 

$13,343,517.33. That would be how much money my college raised this year for THON. If you don't know about it, THON is a "year long fundraising and awareness campaign for the fight against pediatric cancer," and ends in a 48 hour long dance marathon aka THON Weekend, during which participants neither sleep nor sit. It's long and grueling, but it's truly an amazing experience and an amazing cause. I'm always so proud of my alma mater for how we pull through and raise more and more every year. FTK! WE ARE...

I'm the kind of girl who buys boxes of Girl Scout cookies online. That's right. Suddenly, I had an insistent craving for a Samoa, and after scouring the internet with a special locater app (yes, there's an app for that!), I discovered that Girl Scout cookies wouldn't be around until late March. So, what did I do? Logged onto ebay and bought more boxes than I care to admit. Three days later and you know what, they taste like the cookies of the gods. I regret nothing.

Happy Weekend, lovebugs!


Where's The Paparazzi?!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Showing up real quick for extra credit today because I get to be a celebrity again! Erin from Two Thirds Hazel created another Blogmopolitan Quiz and of course I'm filling it out because I can't pass up an opportunity to do a quiz and blabber about myself. Honestly, I really hope she makes this a recurring thing because I always have so much fun filling it out. And by always, I mean the two times I did it, but who's counting.
You know you wanna do this too. (Lying is bad for the soul.) Head over to Erin's blog, fill it out, link up and comment below to let me know that you did it. Reading everyone's responses is almost as fun as doing it myself. (Almost!).

"But The Gym Is Closing"

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

...so goes my favorite excuse to skip my workout for the day. Forget the fact that I've waited until nearly midnight to get my sweat on. It's way too late now, so I better rest up for tomorrow. And then, into the bed with a cup of tea and my current novel, I go.

If this is your main line to get out of a workout, check out these great HIIT workouts that you can do at home. I've tried some of these with great results while others are rather new to me. But the bottom line is, contrary to popular (or maybe just my) belief, you can get a hell of a workout in 15-25 minutes and at home. Consider this a sample of small manifesto of HIIT workouts I've collected over my fitness journey.

Tone It Up's HIIT Workout from the Love Your Body series
The great thing about this video is that the ladies formulated the moves to be super quiet. So, if you have people living beneath you, you can get your workout in without someone banging on their ceiling with a broomstick. Another good thing: it's only 18 minutes total! Wam bam, thank you ma'am. But don't be fooled. This workout (& pretty much every TIU workout) kicks my ass, which is bad, but oh so good too.

24-minute HIIT Routine
I discovered this routine in a workout book I owned a few years ago, and it was a major factor in helping me get fit the first time around. Consider it my "tried & true"; no matter what new exercises I find, I'll always rely on this one. It's longer than other HIIT workouts because it allows for a longer rest period (which you could always shorten to increase difficulty).

There are 4 exercises, performed one after the other, and then the entire set is repeated 6 times. You perform each exercise for 30 second and then rest for 30 seconds.

*note: I = increase difficulty; D = decrease difficulty

Squat Jump
I: Click your heels together when you jump as it requires you to jump higher; D: Do straight up squats.

Pushup to plank 
I: Add a pushup after returning to pushup position; D: Remain in one position for the entire 30seconds.

Alternating Lunge
I = Add weight or try leaping lunges; D: Don't alternate until the next set

Jumping in place
I: Try tuck jumps; D: Lower your jump or just do toe raises.

The Catching Fire HIIT Challenge
Remember that note I left to myself after seeing Catching Fire in theaters? Must be as badass as Katniss Everdeen. Well, I'm trying to make good on it. Or at least I have every intention to. I barely got through one set with modifications and I nearly died. But I mean, even she's struggling through it and she is iinnn shape. It's a killer 12-minute routine and it's an entire 30-day series, which gives you a schedule and variety. I can't wait to start this challenge when I'm a bit more fit, but for those of you who are already there, you may find this to be just what you need. Check the video below; it's tough! (Warning: most of the instructors on this channel believe in very little material as clothing, so only view if you aren't offended by such things).

CHECK-IN #3: In the bustle of Mr. Big & Tall's birthday and Valentine's Day, I skipped the second weigh-in. But I'm down -11 since the first check-in! :)

12; 3; 4; 5 - me. 

How To Feel Beautiful

Monday, February 24, 2014

Truthfully, I'd say that around to 40% of the time, I don't think I'm beautiful. Is that strange? I mean, I know that my 'level of satisfaction' with my appearance should probably be higher. I'm working on it daily by tweaking what I don't like and celebrating what I do. Here are some of the things I do and remind myself of to keep my spirits up.

Realize that no one is perfect/there are different kinds of beauty. Not that I need to add any more fuel to my JLaw-obsessed fire, but Jennifer Lawrence's response to her Dior campaign photo pretty much said it best: "Oh my god, I haven't seen this. That doesn't look like me at all... Of course it's Photoshop, people don't look like that." Exactly. People don't look like that.

We are so bombarded with photos of airbrushed celebrities and tv shows with totally made-up characters that we forget - no one wakes up flawless. (Except maybe Beyonce, she just might). We all rise sleepily from our beds, grumpily and with our eyes half shut. And furthermore, there isn't one particular archetype for beauty. Both Jennifer Lawrence and Beyonce are considered universally gorgeous, yet they look nothing alike. Just ponder that... So if you don't look anything like either of them, it's cool, and it doesn't make you any less stunning.

Identify & play up your favorite feature. I'm sure that 99% of women can write a laundry list of all the things that they dislike about their figures. We constantly grapple with the imperfections in ourselves, pointing out small chests, narrow hips, big noses and thin lips. But, we rarely take a moment to say, "yeah, all that, but damn I've got a great ass." Most of us need to have many more "damn, dat ass" moments. So, go ahead. Have a moment. Take a second to appreciate the things you love about yourself. We all have at least one (if not, many) once we stop looking at all the negatives. 

Accept compliments. When's the last time you responded to a compliment with "Oh, no. You're kidding" or some other similar comment? Stop it, now! Not only does it not promote self love, but it can be damn frustrating to the compliment giver, and eventually you'll end up with this response.

I know it isn't easy to just say 'thank you' when someone says you look pretty on a day when you feel like utter crap. I get. Sometimes, you really are surprised when someone hits you with a compliment on the worst hair day of your life. But just learn to accept it with grace. I took this line from my dad (who totally stole it from Jay-Z, for the record) as a way to respond to compliments instead of a simple 'thanks' which, I think, seems too full of myself at times: "Thank you, you're far too kind." 

Don't insult yourself. This little gem is the companion to the tip above. Along with accepting compliments, don't speak negatively about yourself. So much easier said then done, I know. But think about it - there are plenty people out there who aren't going to like you for one reason or another. Why be one of them?
Huffington Post featured an article on how to silence your inner critic. Although I believe that positive self-talk is effective for me, I really like #2 on this list, which leads me to my next tip. 

Do something! There's always gonna be something that you don't like about yourself. Some of these things, we will just have to learn to love, but there are features that we can do something about. Maybe you have a few pounds to lose or think you'd look best with a bit more muscle. Hit the gym for 35 minutes a few days a week and revel in the results. Feel like your skin or hair is looking a little dull lately? Treat yourself to a new skin regimen or hair treatment and stick to it! Or if you feel like your teeth are yellowing a bit, kick that old smoking habit, put down the 7th cup of coffee and go for a teeth whitening session. Can't stand those dark under eye circles? Sleep more each night. Whatever it is, take the time to create what you think is the most beautiful version of you

Take an awesome selfie. There's no better feeling than loving the way you look in a photograph. Maybe that's why 'selfie' was the word of 2013. Now, I'm not advocating filling your Instagram with selfies, but if you're feeling down, treat yourself to a little photo sesh. Style your hair, put on a little makeup or a killer outfit, and snap away. Play with your angles! Most of us look better in photos with the camera slightly above us, but if you know your perfect angle, then work it. Make faces or simply smile directly into the lens. Now, save that picture to remind yourself of how beautiful you are. This is you; don't forget it.

Find beauty in everyone. I saw this quote somewhere and it couldn't ring more true. "When you choose to see the good in others, you end up finding the good in yourself." I think that's true of beauty too. I try to look for the beauty in others before pointing out the ugly bits, whether that's physically or mentally. Sure, the direct meaning of this quote is that the finding good is makes you a good person. But, I also realize that when you look for the best in people, you are automatically more understanding, more loving and more forgiving, and you eventually learn to direct those qualities inwards. I find that I'm kinder to myself. The lips I once scrutinized in the mirror as unshapely and too large for my face, I now see as full, plump and the perfect canvas for my favorite red lipstick.

Although I'm sure most women's 'level of satisfaction' is higher than mine, I'm interested to know how the readers of my blog feel. Leave me a comment below if you care to share and/or participate in the poll below! (And I'd love it if you encourage the women you know, bloggy friends or otherwise, to respond to the poll too.)


Pictures: 1, edited by me; 234 

I Only Have 4 Years To Do All This S#!t

Friday, February 21, 2014

A few days ago I playfully said to my boyfriend after he did something silly: "You can't do these things anymore; you're 26 now." To which he responded by telling me to "go ahead, bask in it and get your hits in for the next few weeks while you can." His subtle way of reminding me that I will be 26 on March 6th. He's just so sweet.

So, now that I've been reminded that I will soon be leaving my early-twenties behind for far less greener pastures, I decided now's as good a time as ever to solidify my 30 before 30 list and get that bad boy up here. I'm also tired of having a 30 by 30 button over to the left without an actual list. I feel like a fraud. So here we go, acknowledging that I'll be closer to 30 than 20 in the next couple of weeks. Shoot me now.

In no particular order...

01) Be admitted to practice law in New York.
This one's kind of a given. I didn't graduate law school and suffer through the bar for bragging rights. I can't practice before I'm admitted, and I have a few more hoops to jump through before that happens.

02) Create & stick to a morning routine.
I just feel like this is something a real adult would do. As of now, I may putter directly into the kitchen for some semblance of breakfast food, or I may plop down on the couch and get lost in my Instagram feed. And more often than not, I climb right back into bed. But 30-year-olds don't do that. They wake up before their alarm, prepare the breakfast of champions, go beast mode in the gym, shower and dress in record time, and then go fight crime or something.

03) Run a marathon.
I don't tell many people about this goal, because most of my IRL friends would laugh their heads off if I did (Many of them have heard me talk about how much I dislike running). But the truth is that I'm beginning to enjoy running and more than anything, I want to be able to run a marathon.

04) Be a published author.
Well, we've been on the "to do" list since I was about 12, haven't we? I talk all about why this hasn't been accomplished in past years here. But suffice it to say, I'm deciding to believe in myself now, and it feels really good.

05) Buy a camera & learn photography.
Before I started blogging, I had no desire to buy a $600+ camera that I had no idea how to use. I even broke a few digital ones during my drunken college adventures without mourning dramatically for the loss. But, now? Now, I must have one. I want pretty, non-grainy pictures just like everyone else.

06) Invest in a quilted Chanel purse.
I don't think I need to explain this one. Click here for the beauty.

07) Become more fluent in Spanish.
I minored in it in college and it was my mom's first language, but I think in English and translate in my head, so I sound like a damn idiot when I speak. My accent's fine, but by the time I decide what I want to say, figure out how to say it Spanish and push the words out, whomever I'm talking to has lost interest. So, I need to get it together.

08) Cook the majority of Thanksgiving dinner.
I DID THIS! I actually cooked Thanksgiving dinner this past year, and nobody died. #winning. And I've got evidence here!

09) Go on a "Girls Only" vacation.
Can you believe I've never gone on vacation with just the girls? Family vacations, of course. Large groups of friends, sure. But no drunken debauchery fun trips with just the ladies.

10) Feel confident in a bikini.
I'm sure getting fit is on everyone's list in some way because who doesn't like to feel confident in themselves? I've got a ways to go, but I really miss feeling confident in a itsy, bitsy, teeny-weeny bikini. And if I don't do it now, I'm not sure I ever will.

11) Visit London (again) & Paris.
Traveling is just at the top of my 'all day, erry day' list. But London & Paris are the two cities that  I've always wanted to see but haven't. I saw London for about 4 hours when I traveled to Oxford, but it wasn't nearly enough!

12) Host a dinner party.
Even if it's in a restaurant, I want to invite everyone I love to dinner and just enjoy everyone's company. I imagine basking in that love, and feeling genuinely happy.

13) Meet a blogger.
Part of what really attracted me to blogging was how interactive it is. I love that what starts as reading one another's blog can turn into a real life friendship. And now that Erin over at Two Thirds Hazel has debuted her baby, Blogcation, blates have been taken to a whole new level. Escaping the cold and cruising the Caribbean with dozens of bloggers, a million fruity cocktails and tons of sun? I can't say no.  

14) Move into my first "real" apartment.
I love Manhattan, and I love living in my teeny apartment all by my lonesome. But, I can't say I'm not looking forward to a full kitchen, a bigger bathroom and more closet space eventually.

15) Attend a Superbowl or NBA playoff finals game.
I'm pretty sure I missed my chance for the Superbowl this year because it was in New York and probably won't come back for a while. But an NBA playoffs game might be possible if either the Knicks or the Nets got it together anytime soon. (Yeah, fat chance.)

16) Read 100 books.
Now that I have time, I'm all about reading. I recently flew through the Divergent series, and I've just ordered way too many books offline. With a Goodreads goal of  24 books this year, I think I can hit this goal in 4 years.

17) See a great concert.
So excited to be able to cross this one off the list because of the amazing KOL concert I went to last week! Now, to see Thirty Seconds to Mars in concert, and we've blown this goal to smithereens.

18) Take a road trip. 

I never drive my car because it's not practical at all in the city. But I miss her, and I'd love to venture the open road for a few days. I'm talking rest stops at sketchy gas stations and a paper map with my route drawn in marker.

19) Dance the night away in a foreign night club.
I did this once in Italy when I was 16 and it was one of the best times of my life. I fully support repeating it.

20) Make a serious dent in my debts.
Because college and law school weren't free and scholarships don't cover everything. And sometimes, you just needed that new outfit that you couldn't quite afford. (Not really, but you charged it anyway.)

21) Go to a gun range & learn to shoot a pistol.
I'm actually really afraid of guns. Holding something that could kill a person scares me, and the fact that lots of people who have no idea how to use it have one scares me even more. I'd like to get over this fear by learning to operate one. Plus, I'm sure I'll feel like a badass once I do :)

22) Write 500 words per day.
Even if it's not my profession, I can't say I'm a writer if I don't write often. And although that's not a lot - in fact, it's about ½ of what most writer's write daily - I have to start somewhere.

23) Decorate my apartment to exactly my liking.
I've lived in my apartment for well over 3 years and I'm just now beginning to decorate for aesthetic purposes, as opposed to just function. It's a little embarrassing when people come to visit. I was busy in school sure, but that's no reason my place should look less loved that a college dorm room.

24) Spend a whole day without my cell or the internet.
Sometimes, I can't stand how attached to my phone I am. And I've heard others comment on how freeing it is to just unplug.

25) Grow out my hair.
My hair's decently long at the moment (shoulder-length) but I want hair down to my booty, damn it! I'm talking my hair, not extensions even though I love them dearly.

26) Learn to play the guitar.
I own a beautiful Fender guitar and I can barely play it. It just sits pretty in the corner of my bedroom, unused and out-of-tune.

27) Practice yoga more regularly (at least once a week).
I use to practice weekly about a year ago, but I stopped once I began picking up a little weight. For me, yoga becomes excruciating when I'm heavier because my wrists take a hell of a beating in the process. I tried a few months ago and ended up in tears the next day. I'll stretch into a pose occasionally these days, but my namaste is seriously lacking.

28) Watch every movie that won an Oscar for Best Film.
I think watching all the winners since the academy started in 1929 is a great way to witness the history and development of film-making. Plus, there are some pretty great movies on that list.

29) Hike or go zip lining in the rain forest.
It's always seemed like such a great experience whenever I hear other people talk about it, but I've never been presented with the opportunity to do it. So, I'm just gonna have to make the opportunity.

30) Be married or in a committed relationship.
Goodness. Who would've thought this would've been anywhere on my list?! Surely, not I. But something in the past few months has convinced me that I want it all after all. I'm turning into such a sap, I swear.

Come Get You Some {Giveaway}

Thursday, February 20, 2014

I come to you unexpectedly today with my butt comfortably planted on my couch as I binge watch Property Brothers on HGTV. (Don't knock until you try it.) And even though you weren't expecting me, you're gonna be glad I showed up today because I'm handing out free goodies! Well, not really handing it out as much as giving it away. I'm participating in a giveaway hosted by Allie, and we're throwing $105 at ya so go grab it below! You're welcome.

(starting top middle, going clockwise)

Sara Magdalena

The Kari Diaries

Classy Living

A Hundred Tiny Wishes

All Things Natalie Christa

From One Journey To The Next
Blog // Bloglovin // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest

I'm off to watch these bros turn a hellhole of a house into a palace. And then maybe apply to be on the show because I mean, who doesn't want a palace. 

Soul Skaters, Together There's Nothing We Can't Do!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

But for real though, when I was 10, I thought I was a soul skater, just like Brink. I remember digging out my blades and strapping them on in the morning to go to school. And when my mom would tell me I couldn't rollerblade to school, I'd respond with "When you woke up this morning, did you say 'today, I'm gonna talk' or 'today, I'm gonna skate'"? And yes, I got grounded for that. But it didn't matter, I was a soul skater.

About a two weeks ago ago, I completely fangirled over Stephanie's post over on her blog, Not Entirely Perfect, because I felt like I was instantly transported right back to 1996-ish. Granted, I was only 8 in 96, but the memories, oh the memories! That post inspired me to do two things: (1) watch Brink! immediately, and (2) look up where Erik Von Detten and all of my childhood friends idols ended up. We all know what happened to well-known kids like Ryan Gosling, Amanda Bynes, MaryKate and Ashley Olsen, Justin Timberlake, Hilarie Duff, Leo DiCaprio, Claire Danes and the like. But what about those kids that were on the covers of Teen Beat but never graduated to Teen Vogue?

Bug Hall -- Who doesn't remember the Alfalfa and Little Rascals? I seriously still quote this movie as an adult that's how much it's ingrained in my brain. Don't give me a dollar if you don't want me to sing. Besides guest starring on shows like Charmed, CSI and Cold Case, he's got quite a few movies coming out in 2014. Oh, and he's grown out of that awkward stage and is pretty cute now. Google him.

Ben Savage -- I wrote a post months ago about how I wanted to be Topanga from Boy Meets World so bad because my 8 year old self was pretty much in love with Cory Matthews (and because she was is stunning!). He was legit my first crush evar. Let's be real, he was a bit of a nerd, but he was also hilarious and pretty much the perfect boyfriend to Topanga. And now? Well, he's the perfect husband to Topanga in the BMW spin-off, Girl Meets World premiering this year.

Anna Chlumsky -- I probably watched My Girl over a dozen times as a kid. I loved it. And when I watch it back as an adult, I realize that Anna Chlumsky had acting chops for real. To be able to do those tough, more adult scenes like Thomas J's funeral and her crush on her teacher at that age, well, damn. With all that talent it's too bad she gave up acting in 1999. She's realized acting is her calling since then (duh, girl!), and has starred in 30 Rock, Law & Order, Covert Affairs and Veep, a role for which she was nominated for an Emmy in 2013.

Shari Lewis (Lamb Chop) -- I had to include Shari Lewis, because although she wasn't a kid star, she was freaking Lamb Chop! As a child, I was obsessed with Lamb Chop's Play-Along. When my dad gets to reminiscing down memory lane, this is usually his first stop. Judging from it's multiple Emmy wins (I'm talking every year it was broadcasted), I wasn't the only kid who loved the show. Sadly, Lewis passed in 1998, but we still have "this is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend". How fitting :)

Erik Von Detten -- Besides being the inspiration for this post basically, this skater boy stole my heart in Brink! (sorry, Cory) and I continued to buy every magazine he was in and watch anything I could with him in it, like Escape to Witch Mountain and So Weird. It's understandable though. I mean look at that hair and those crystal blue eyes. *Swoon* Detten's most recent credit is the voice of Vic in Toy Story 3.

Raven-Symone -- As the cutest addition to The Cosby Show in 1989, little Olivia stole everyone's hearts. And she was a little comedian even back then! Have you seen those Olivia Boss Chick memes on Instagram? Click here to laugh your ass off. After roles in her own show, That's So Raven, and the Cheetah Girls movie series, Raven-Symone continued to act in episodes of other shows as well as playing the role of Deloris in the Broadway musical Sister Act in 2012.

Lee Thompson Young -- Who could possibly forget the Famous Jett Jackson? He was so cute, and he was famous but still normal, or at least as normal as a famous person could be. Say hello to my third crush :) After the show ended in 2001, Lee Thompson Young continued to get good roles, including numerous Disney channel movies and the movie Friday Night Lights. He had one of the lead roles in Rizzoli & Isles, a TNT series, when he passed away late summer of last year. Some stories have very sad endings :(

Larisa Oleynik -- Alex Mack from The Secret Life of Alex Mack was my twin. Except I had no super powers and falling into a vat of chemicals couldn't explain my weirdness. Although overshadowed by bigger stars like Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger, Larisa Oleynik continued her career with a supporting role in 10 Things I Hate About You in 1999, and she's scored multiple movie and television roles since then, including a few episodes of Mad Men and Pretty Little Liars in the past 2 years.

Shawna Waldron -- You may not remember her by name but most of us 90s kids know exactly who you are talking about as soon as you say "Icebox" from Little Giants. She was the only girl on the football team and she kicked ass on the field. Waldron's credit list is decently long and she's still acting, mostly as a thriller actress, but she'll always be the girl who taught me it was okay to be tougher than the boys.

Mackenzie Rosman -- Little Ruthie, the youngest of the Camden family on 7th Heaven, isn't so little anymore. It seems that she took a few years off between the show and her current movie/show credits in 2011, to grow up. And grow up, she did, posing for Maxim magazine in July 2013.

Kirsten Storms -- When I catch Zenon, Girl of the 21st Century on the Disney channel, I freak out a little bit. Zenon made it completely okay to rock bright pink, purple, blue and silver in one outfit with super-high pigtails to top it off, because it was the future. Ready for the crazy part? The movie was set in the year 2049, which seemed so far in the future when I was 11, but most of us will totally be alive then. Creepy. Since playing and reprising the role of Zenon for two more movies, Kirsten went on to voice an animated character in the Kim Possible movie and star in General Hospital.

Emmy Rossum -- In 1999, she made being the smart girl in school totally cool in the Disney channel movie, Genius. And when I recognized her in the film adaptation of my favorite broadway musical, Phantom of the Opera, it was like opening my eyes to a new, adult, gorgeous, opera-singing Emmy Rossum. She's amazing. Now she stars in the show Shameless, which I hear is great.

Christy Carlson Romano -- We all know what happened to her Even Steven's costar, Shia LaBeouf (he became super hot, albeit a little weird. end of story), but what about his older, smarter and slightly annoying sister Ren? Christy voiced the lead animated character of Kim Possible for the Disney channel show of the same name, and she also acted the lead role in ABC Family's Cutting Edge. Oh, and apparently Christy was just as much of a brainiac as Ren was. She met her now-husband while studying at Columbia University.

Tahj Mowry -- Tia and Tamara were cool and all, but I loved Tahj and his show Smart Guy. I tuned in every week to see what new challenges this super smart 12-year-old faced in high school where his sister, brother and family friend also attended. It was dramatic and funny, and I still sing the theme song when I think about it. Tahj turned out to be quite the singer as well. Although he starred in a multitude of Disney channel shows and movies as well as the ABC Family show Baby Daddy, you can check out his covers on YouTube to hear him sing.

Ben Foster -- Alongside Jewel Staite, Ben Foster starred in Flash Forward as Tuck and I ate it all up. A relatively overlooked actor, Ben really is quite phenomenal. He's like a chameleon, taking on character after character and making it believable. I loved him as Trevor Adams in Bang, Bang You're Dead, a movie that tackles the topic of school shootings in masterfully, but he's also had great roles in X-Men:The Last Stand, Alpha Dog, and 3:10 to Yuma.

Sometimes, it's just fun to see how these kid stars grew up right along with us. This is just a list of stars I remembered to look up from the shows I loved in the 90s and early 00s. I'm sure I'm missing tons of people. Shout 'em out in the comments below!

123456; 7, 8, 91011, 12131415

How I Ended Up at Madison Square Garden Twice in 48 Hours

Monday, February 17, 2014

I can only remember going to MSG once in my whole existence of living in this wonderful city. That sounds really bizarre but, honestly, most New Yorkers don't visit the typical tourist-y hotspots. So when I found myself at MSG twice in just as many days, it was almost comical. And it ended up being the best days I've had in a while.

As long as I've known him, Mr. Big & Tall's talked about his biggest birthday dream: to see Kobe Bryant play at the Garden. Strangely enough, it always worked out that the LA Lakers played the Knicks either on or near his birthday. This past December, I decided I wanted to make that happen. And I kind of succeeded. It wasn't the Lakers (Kobe's hurt and isn't playing this season anyway), but the Sacramento Kings came to New York, and being the most amazing girlfriend ever, I got tickets!

But, of course, I couldn't just hand the tickets over unceremoniously. (How boring would that be?) So I sent him on a scavenger hunt around the city. You read that right - a scavenger hunt. And the poor baby didn't even know what awaited him at the end of it all, but he accepted the challenge anyway.

I purchased bold colored envelopes from Paper Presentation (my new favorite store!) to use for the clues because they had to be noticeable enough. And this 'antique gold' color was calling out to me from the shelves because of how metallic yet muted they were. I wrote clues on each card stock and placed them within the envelopes. The most difficult part was creating the riddles that would lead him from one clue to the next.

Of course, not everything went according to plan. Nothing ever does. He ended up going in the complete wrong direction at one point, I got multiple phone calls of confusion and we were a late to the game. But nothing can take away from the spectacular moment when he realized that we weren't just meeting at MSG - we were going inside. I wish I could've captured the look on his face; the childish grin from ear-to-ear that he wore from the moment he saw the tickets until the first timeout was priceless.

After researching for days, I finally decided on these tickets in Section 109. I literally spent hours on virtual tour type websites to make sure I knew exactly the view I was getting. And I was pleasantly surprised as we were way closer than I expected. In pictures, it looks really far, but we could see the details of the sneakers each player wore. That's really freaking close!

I was sure that it couldn't get any better - and then it did. We had decided to have a pretty chill Valentine's Day. In the past, like our first Valentine's Day, we took trips to resorts and did all the over-the-top things newly-in-love couples do. But over time, we've just used the day to eat lots of chocolate and watch movies. And that's what I thought was in store for me this past Friday. I woke up to 2 dozen roses and chocolates, which was a bit of a surprise but still pretty relaxed. At around 7:30pm, I got a text to take a taxi to 33rd and 7th. And there, he handed me a card with two tickets to see the band I love (second only to 30 Seconds to Mars & maaaybeee Imagine Dragons) in concert: Kings of Leon!

And even with the scent of sweat and smoke in the air, we danced, and drank beer, and sang screamed along with the songs. And I loved every moment of it  

Simple Valentine's Day Makeup

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I love a simple makeup look, especially for Valentine's Day as guys (not to say it's all about them) usually prefer a more natural look. At least that what my boyfriend says. I've also been loving the softer, bronzed look to a strong contour lately. Here's the look I'll most likely be wearing this friday. It's not nearly as complicated as this picture makes it seem - I promise!

Items pictured are ones I use; Items written beside them are alternatives.

I don't usually use a primer as I find it doesn't to much for me (unless I'm not wearing makeup), but if you do, apply it first. Using a face brush like the amazing Sigma F80 flat top kabuki, apply a single pump or two of the foundation (YSL Le Teint Touché Eclat) to your entire face. Avoid using too much product. Remember, we want to keep this look natural and luminous.

Prime your eyelids if necessary. Dip a flat brush into both 'Sin' and 'Naked' (Urban Decay Naked Palette) eyeshadows and pat the color onto your lid. Using a blending brush, place 'Buck' into your crease and blend upwards.

Apply a thin line of eyeliner (Benefit's Kohl liner in Onyx) on your lid close to your lashes and wig it out slightly at the end. Use the opposite end of the liner (or improvise with a q-tip!) to smudge the liner out in upwards motions. The aim is to fade the black so it's not as harsh. In a 'v' shape, blend 'Handwritten' (MAC) almost on top of the liner from the outer corner towards the middle of the eye. Then use that same color and a pencil brush to blend under the eye.

Coat your upper lashes with mascara (L'Oreal Voluminous) before applying your falsies (House of Lashes Bombshell).

Brush through your eyebrows with a spoolie and, if needed, apply a brow wax to keep them in place. Alternating between the brow pencil (Anastasia Brow Wiz) and the spoolie (to brush through the brows for a more natural look), fill in your eyebrows. Aim for defined and full, but not too strong.

Next, apply a concealer (MAC Prolongwear) that matches your skin tone and doesn't crease under your eyes in an upside-down triangle shape. If you want, take that same concealer down the bridge of your nose, onto your chin and at the center of your forehead between your eyebrows.

Don't forget to apply mascara to your bottom lashes now that you've applied concealer!

Now, to set all that hard work! Dust a thin layer of banana powder (Ben Nye) on the parts that you concealed. This gives a highlighted effect. Use a setting powder (MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural) that matches your foundation color for the rest of your face. (Note: you can use a setting spray after your done as well if you feel like you need it).

I like to contour my face, but for this look, just use a bit of bronzer for a softer look. With a powder brush, place a bronzer (CoverGirl Queen Collection in Bronze) that is at least 2 shades darker than your skin into the hollows of your cheeks, along your hairline and your jawline. Blend mercilessly to eliminate any lines. Blush (NYX Cinnamon) for this look is optional, but if you use it, choose a color that gives you a gentle flush to keep the look natural.

Highlighting is my favorite part! Place the highlighter (Dior Amber Diamond) right above your cheekbones and on your cupid's bow. You can use your highlighter or a shimmery eyeshadow like UD's 'Virgin' for beneath the brow bone and in the inner corner of your eye.

Line your lips with muted pink lip liner (Jordana Baby Berry) and fill them in totally. Apply a  pink lipgloss (NARS Angelika) on top.

Valentine's Day is usually pretty low key for the boyfriend and I. His birthday is on the 12th (today!) so I usually put all my creative energy into that. And as the lovely day is wedged between his day of birth and mine (all 3 happen within a month), we just like to enjoy each other's company.

Happy Valentine's Day <3

No Dessert (Til Brooklyn)!

Monday, February 10, 2014

So remember back when I told you about my Sweat For Summer challenge? There's one small thing that I left out because I wasn't sure if I was really gonna do it or if I even could do it. For the entire month of January, I skipped dessert. That's right for 30 days I said "no, thank you" to what has always been my favorite part of eating. I have a major sweet tooth and can eat pretty much anything with lots of sugar. I'm sure I don't have to go into detail about how bad that is for a fitness journey, and, you know, for life and all.

It all started when I bought 2 glazed doughnuts from 7eleven and gleefully brought them home. After warming them up in the microwave for a few seconds, I blissfully enjoyed these sugary gems. And then I repeated the cycle again, oh and again and again. This is a pretty embarrassing story but you get the picture. Homegirl was throwing doughnuts back quicker and more frequently than she did vodka shots in college at a frat party that only served beer but where knowing one of the brothers there always hooked you up with the good shit in the back pantry while no one was looking. That sounds like an illegal substance, but I'm just talking about the rubbing alcohol in a bottle that is Vladimir vodka, which probably should be illegal. And just like the freshman 15, those little doughnuts had me feeling heavier and sluggish than ever. And so began the idea, "What if I just give these up?" Simple enough. But then I decided it wasn't enough because I'd just eat cookie after cookie, mumbling about how 'it's not a doughnut!' Giving up desserts entirely was my only option. Now seeing as I pretty much subsist on sugar, I didn't abstain from sugar or sweet things in general. By desserts, I mean those yummy bakery things and other treats we loved as children and grudgingly ate our vegetables in the hopes of: cakes, cookies, cupcakes, doughnuts (!), ice cream, and the like. Which means candy and other sweet things were still technically on the table, but, hey, gotta start somewhere.

So what do you eat when you can't have all the cookies, cupcakes and cakes? Here are a few of the treats I enjoyed during the month of January, and I'm still reaching for quite a few of these.

Strawberries & Whipped Cream

Caramel Rice Cakes

Iced Coffee 
Note: I know that it's full of sugar, but it's not a doughnut! :) And it tests my willpower, as Dunkin Donuts is full of yummy doughnut-y options to bypass.

Banana Brown Sugar Vanilla Smoothie 
Recipe here.

100 Calorie Popcorn

½ Grapefruit with teaspoon of sugar

Strawberry Banana Creams 
Recipe here

Granola & Dried Cranberry Mix

Peppermint Tea (or any tea for that matter)

It's a small victory, but I'm proud of myself for sticking to it (except for that random golden oreo I ate accidentally :\). Got any recipes for a sweet snack? Leave a comment below, and Happy Monday!
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