Thursday, January 31, 2013
If there is one thing I can't stand (okay...there are probably a million things I can't stand, but this particular complaint is pretty high on the list), it's when people waste food. I don't know if this was beat into me as a child or now that I'm on a budget the idea of throwing away any form of sustenance seems like throwing money down the drain, but either way, I just refuse to let food go bad. Most recipes are meant for a couple of portion sizes, so when I am cooking for myself, I am bound to have plenty of food left in the pan. I actually do this on purpose: now I have lunch for work for the rest of the week! If I didn't eat left overs, I'd be making PB&J for myself every morning before heading to the office, which would be pretty sad. And frequently I eat only half of my meal at restaurants so that I purposefully will have leftovers for the next day (one, cutting all meals in half is actually a good idea to maintain your weight, but two, this is a very easy way to enjoy a gourmet meal TWICE!). And of course there's the old saying, "There are children in Africa who are starving!" Of course you eating your meal will not magically feed those poor kids, but the idea is a good one: appreciate all the food that you have, enjoy it, and don't let it go to waste!
I apologize that this post is coming late (though I'm pretty proud of myself that thus far yesterday is the only day I haven't written a blog post). I just wasn't inspired until late last night!
I had dinner at Newton's Table in Bethesda. They have a rather gourmet menu (which is a little pricey), but I was most interested in their desserts. The one that caught my eye was the banana caramel roll. Banana+Caramel=Heaven. So I had to try it. While it was small (it was a 4" roll that had been cut into 4 tiny pieces), it tasted amazing. It was one of those desserts that you can't help but make yummy noises while you eat it. Then of course it was drizzled with caramel, and once the roll was gone I made sure every speck of caramel was gone from that plate. I probably liked this treat so much because banana foster is one of my favorite desserts of all time. You just can't go wrong with banana goodness!
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
I eat cereal for breakfast almost every day. That's what I ate growing up, and you know how I love a routine. But, even someone as fond of cereal as I am can get bored of eating the same thing over and over again. I could change the type of cereal I buy, but the basic cereals are cheaper, and usually healthier (sorry, Lucky Charms). What I like to do is spice up my morning meal with some tasty additions. I usually add in banana slices, along with a handful of walnuts and some Craisins (SO much better than raisins). If I have fresh berries on hand, I'll add those, too. Suddenly my dull cereal is exciting! Ok, maybe I'm the only person who gets excited about cereal. But when it looks like this, how can I not be psyched to start my day?
<-- This morning I uses some leftover blueberries I bought from Trader Joe's. The majority of the berries went into blueberry muffins, but the rest either go in my cereal or in smoothies. Getting my antioxidants for the day!
Monday, January 28, 2013
"You're supposed to be the leading lady of your own life, for God's sake!" -Kate Winslet in The Holiday
I love this movie, and I love this quote. I can't stand when women let life just happen to them, like they are passive actors in their own lives. Make your own destiny! Don't stand idly by waiting for the right job to come along or the right man to ask you out: make it happen! And don't take the easy route, either. Sure, I could have taken the first job offer I was given: I would have been canvassing door to door for Environment America making $25K a year (slave wages in this day and age). But instead I spent six months living with family and sent over 100 cover letters until I landed my dream job with The Nature Conservancy. Networking didn't get me the job, and I didn't take the job because I had friends there. I worked hard for what I really wanted, and I didn't just follow the pack. I make decisions for MY life for ME and no one else.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
I know there are a million baking blogs, and I'm sure half of them are dedicated to cupcakes. I do not claim to be a cupcake aficionado, but I do have a sweet-tooth, and it's hard for me to turn down baked goods. This is especially true of FREE desserts. I unfortunately (or fortunately, depending how you look at it) live very close to a Georgetown Cupcake, where they offer free cupcakes EVERY DAY. All you have to do is look at their profile on Facebook or Twitter and find a post about the daily secret flavor. Now I'm not that much of a pig to go every day: one, my work isn't close enough to do so (since they don't open until 10), but two, while I love most desserts, I do prefer some over others, and I will forgo those of less-superior flavors. Yesterday's flavor was Lemon Coconut, and today's was Strawberry Lava Fudge, both excellent choices. I highly recommend trying these cupcakes: since they're free, what have you got to lose?
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Today I got a new roommate! Now, this situation was easy for me since I was not the one moving. My previous roommate made a very swift transition: she found a new place about a month ago, packed up her stuff just a day or two before moving out, and she was gone by noon today. Quick and painless! So, if you ever are the one moving out, follow her steps by planning ahead and having a friend (or in her case, boyfriend) with a car to help you move everything out in just one or two trips. Around 4 today my new roommate arrived. She had spent the day packing up her things and going to IKEA to pick up her new furniture, and she showed up with a U-Haul filled to the brim. She too brought along a big strong man to help her out. I pitched in (always a nice gesture when you're moving in with someone new) and carried what my little arms could handle. But having 3 sets of hands made things move a lot faster!
Tim Gunn. Plus, I'm sure she'll find things she doesn't really need and will downsize a bit.
I'm excited for this adventure! A new roomie (and hopefully a new good friend)!
Friday, January 25, 2013
Since I just bought another one of these recently, I thought I should celebrate the bandeau. This "strip of cloth" (definition on Wikipedia) is much more than just that. A bandeau is yet another fashion piece that every woman should have on hand. They are perfect for wearing under thin shirts (from featherweight cotton tees to actual see-through shirts); nude-colored ones even give the illusion of bare skin without actually giving anything away. Bandeaus also can turn any top or dress with a deep V neckline into a demure outfit appropriate for work (Cleavage at work is NOT okay. Well, unless your occupation has to do with your appearance like a model, an exotic dancer, etc.). And if you have a cute bikini but don't want tan lines from the straps, a bandeau eliminates that problem. There are many varieties, and like my mother would say, "If you like something, buy one of every color!" So I have a simple navy blue one, as well as a lacy black one. And I can almost promise that I will at some point get another one. When many bandeaus cost less than $20, they're hard to resist!
<-- Daytime look: bandeau, briefcase, no make-up, glasses, hair pulled back
(modest, proper, conservative)
Night look: no bandeau, clutch, full make-up, --> hair down (sexy as hell)
Thursday, January 24, 2013
I know I'm a beginner at this, so I probably shouldn't be writing a post on how to blog. But I'll tell you my strategy on how I go about creating a "web log."
First of all, my rule is to write every day. Although that isn't necessary, I do think some sort of consistency helps. You could write once a week, or every other day, or whatever, but I do think having a routine keeps you on point and encourages you to continue writing!
Also, choose a topic that either interests you or that you know a lot about. This is why there are so many cooking/recipe blogs: people love food! I mainly write about me and my thoughts: clearly this is a narcissistic endeavor. But the more you like something, the more you'll want to talk about it, and therefore the more active you'll be in blogging.
And add photos! I mean, who doesn't like pictures of cupcakes, dresses, or your favorite celeb? I do not include as many pictures along with my posts as I should, but not only do pictures enhance the look of your blog, but they can even lead to more online hits and traffic (the same goes for Twitter).
Speaking of Twitter: cross-promote your blog on other social media sites! If you have a Facebook, mention your blog there, or tweet every time you write a new blog post. This also will lead to more traffic to your blog and help you gain more followers. I've been blogging for less than a month, and already I have over 900 views of my blog (granted not all of these are individual users, but still!); I credit this to the fact that I advertise my blog on Twitter and Glipho.
Look at other blogs for ideas, too! I follow many of my friends' blogs, mainly just to admire their creativity. Other people's thoughts, ideas, and words can inspire you! I hope I have inspired you to start writing yourself!
"The pen is mightier than the sword." -Edward Bulwer-Lytton (some old British guy)
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
I had quite a scary experience last night. I went out to dinner with some friends, and afterwards walked them to the metro. While we said our goodbyes I saw in the corner of my eye a guy who definitely was a little off. So I started walking quickly home (like a power-walk pace) and thought nothing more of it. But then one of the friends who I was just with called me and said that she thought she saw someone following me. I turned around, and sure enough, the guy was still there. I booked it (i.e. RAN) to the closest open store (at this point it's almost 9pm) and hid inside. I told the clerks that I was hiding out, and after a few minutes, I felt safe enough to go outside. I walked maybe a block to another street, and I saw the same guy there. So I ran back into the store, called the cops, and explained what was going on. The police came, picked me up, and drove me safely home.
Now, I am mad at myself that I was smart enough to notice a strange man, but not enough to look behind me after a block or two to see if he was following me. I'm glad part of my natural instincts were kicking in, but if my friend hadn't called me, I never would of looked behind me, and he would have followed me home. So thank goodness for friends who truly care about you!!!
When it comes to things like this, it doesn't hurt to have a friend with you. If it's late at night, I am always with someone. But this was a Tuesday night before 9pm in a very safe neighborhood. I have lived in this same place for almost a year, and this is the one and only time I have ever felt unsafe. While I like to think this incident was a fluke, you can bet that I won't be walking home by myself anytime soon. So use the buddy system and walk together!
I want people to know that you can't overreact in this day and age. Some people might argue that calling the cops wasn't necessary, but I think it's better to be safe than sorry. Unfortunately there's no safety ride like in college that is specifically for driving young women home at night. But police are here to keep us safe, so when you're feeling UNsafe, you have every right to call them to help you. Even if you aren't 100% that you're in danger, it's worth calling for their help.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
There is a place and time for each piece of jewelry, but a woman should always be wearing some sort of ornament. In general I wear a gold pair of hoops, a signet ring my father received for his Bar Mitzvah, and if the outfits calls for a necklace, a tiny locket my aunt gave me on her wedding day. I'll admit that I am kind of lazy and rarely switch these up, though I may change my rings so that the gemstone matches my outfit (although I don't recommend being too matchy-matchy with a whole necklace/bracelet/ring/earrings set). I also have a couple of statement necklaces (which are all the rage right now) which can really bring a great "pow" to your outfit. I have long earrings for formal events and bangles for fun summer outfits, but in general I stick to classic pieces that are good anytime, anywhere. But collecting jewelry is so much fun, and it's good to know that you have a variety you can count on should the right occasion arise.
Here are two rules my mother taught me about jewelry:
1. You need a ring of every gem stone. Since I was 13, she and my father have been helping me with this goal, and once I have more disposable income, I'll take over.
2. Once you're all ready to head out for a night on the town or a hot date, take one piece of jewelry off. Chances are you overdid it.
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
*All of the links in this post are simply examples; I do not actually own those same pieces.
Monday, January 21, 2013
Well, if you get federal holidays. It's always nice having a random long weekend in the middle of your month, so cherish the extra break. Take a short trip somewhere and visit friends and family. Or run all of those errands you've been putting off and go through your entire to-do list. Try making a new recipe. Or sleep in and then laze around the couch watching football or movies. Spend the extra day as your like: just make sure to appreciate it!
Sunday, January 20, 2013
I have not had a walk of shame in a very long time, so this post isn't about me. I actually want to advocate preventing your friends from having a walk of shame. Now I'm not saying to completely cock-block them, but just making sure they stay safe. Frequently I go out dancing with my friends, and one of them will meet some guy she likes, and she will want to go home with him. I, being the voice of reason, always like to say that, while it's none of my business, she doesn't know this man and that it may be unsafe to go back to his place. I say get his number, hang out another time, it doesn't need to be right now. I always like to go home with the girls I bring out with me: we go out into town together, and we end the night together; everyone is accounted for. And in the end, it usually works out. Either the guy texts her the next day for a real date (in which case he really did like her) or she never hears from him (in which case he's a jerk and it's better she didn't go home with him). Better safe than sorry, and in this day and age, you can't be too careful. So look out not only for yourself, but your friends, too.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
I have a friend visiting this weekend, and whenever you have someone come see you from out of town, you want to make sure you show them a good time. So make sure you know what kinds of things there are to do and see in your home town! I know where the best restaurants are, which bars are fun to go to, where to go dancing, etc. Your guests are following you, and they're spending their vacation time to see you, so don't let it go to waste! Even if you don't plan ahead of time every second of every day while they visit, at least have a couple ideas of what they'd like to see or the types of places you'd love to show them. And don't forget the camera!
Friday, January 18, 2013
Whenever I have guests visiting, I always like to pick them up for the airport. Now, as my previous post stated, I'm not the biggest fan of driving. So it's very convenient when friends fly into Reagan National and I can metro to get them (and then help them navigate the trains back). But, I will go to BWI if a friend is flying in there (given if it's after work hours). It's a nice gesture, and who doesn't like having a friendly face to greet them after a long flight? It's like that scene at the beginning and end of Love Actually: all those people hugging and kissing and reuniting. The next time you have a friend, family member, or significant other flying in to see you, let them see you at the baggage claim with a wide grin (and flowers if the occasion suits).
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Maybe I'm a fan of public transportation because I never had it growing up. We lived in the middle of nowhere, and you had to drive 30 minutes to get to the next town that had a decent movie theater and real stores. So you can imagine how many hours my family spent in the car (an hour every day from middle school to high school...). NOT fun.
When I got to college, the fact that I could WALK to town was a miracle. Within a 20 minute radius, we had a CVS, lots of restaurants, a movie theater, a hospital, an art museum, several upscale clothing stores...all in walking distance! This was when I decided that I didn't want to live in the country when I grew up. Yes, it's a beautiful place to visit, but I've got too much to do and see to spend all that time behind the wheel.
In college, for two of my off-terms (like summer breaks but not necessarily in the summertime), I lived with my grandmother in New York City. This 80-year-old woman has lived in the city for over 50 years, and never got a driver's license. Why? Because she doesn't need it! She walks at least a mile every day, even if it's just walking from store to store in her neighborhood or visiting friends nearby. And then there's the Subway*. New York's subway is so spread out that you can reach all 5 boroughs (well, I guess a ferry to get to Staten Island), and it is open all the time! I didn't have my car when I was living with her, so I learned how to use the Subway very quickly; otherwise I wasn't going anywhere! I loved the fact that I could just get on a train and read a book or chat with a friend without having to focus on the road or sit in traffic. I love multi-tasking, so if I can finish my latest romance novel while on my way to a date, I'll take that.
So I was very happy to move to another city, DC, that has public transportation. Now WMATA isn't perfect: there is always track work which slows everything down; the stations actually CLOSE at night; you can easily wait 20 minutes for a train. But it's very handy to have when you're going from one end of DC to another, or you want to grab drinks with friends but don't feel comfortable driving home. And while I rarely take buses, those too are quite handy to have when you're going across town (plus they're cheaper than the Metro).
I hate driving (I don't like anything I'm not perfect at, now that I think about it...), and my "time is money" outlook makes me try to be as efficient as possible. So maybe that's why I'm such a fan of public transportation. But it is good for the environment, too! Less carbon dioxide released to perpetuate climate change! So the next time you have the option to take public transit, go for it: it'll give you time to catch up on the news and at the same time you'll be doing a good deed for the Earth.
*I know the New York Subway has been damaged due to Hurricane Sandy, but I have no doubt that the city will get the Subway up and running and in top shape so it works like new.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
It has now been rainy/wet/foggy for the past four days, and I'm getting sick of it, quite frankly. The only consolation I get is that it's not snow (I don't own a snow shovel, so I'd be in big trouble, and after spending four winters in New Hampshire during college, I'd be fine if I never saw a single snowflake again). But you know what they say: "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade." So why not make a fashion statement to beat this weather? A classic, trench-style raincoat is a timeless piece that every woman should have in her closet. It's stylish AND useful!
I love the one I have from Land's End. The print makes it fun, and I need more fun on these rainy days. And while you're at it, get a cute umbrella and rain boots, too. It's hard to pull off multicolored polka dots or funny designs anywhere else. You can even wear patent leather heels or flats in the rain: just wipe them off with a paper towel and voila, they're clean as new (unlike suede or other cloth materials which can get ruined when wet). So even if it's not sunny weather, your outfit can be bright and happy :)
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
I started doing yoga this fall: for one, it's trendy and super-cool, and two, I'm paying an arm and a leg for my gym membership at the Washington Sports Club, so I might as well get my money's worth. I only did it every couple of weeks, but now I'm trying to make it every Tuesday night if I can. It's vinyasa yoga, which means your body flows with your breath. I find it very relaxing and calming, so when I'm done at 8:30pm, I just want to melt into my bed.
This post isn't about telling you that you should take yoga. But I do want to tell you about one particular part of my class: the mountain pose. You stand at the edge of your mat, feet hip-width apart, with your arms down by your side but your palms facing upwards. You stand tall, your chest open, your eyes closed. You focus on your breath, feeling the energy surge through your body as you inhale, and feeling completely grounded as you exhale. The pose is supposed to make you feel like a mountain: strong and steady. I think that's how we should feel throughout our daily lives. You are strong, unnerved by the challenges that you face, knowing that you can stand up to any adversity that comes your way. You stand up for your beliefs, your work, your friends, anything that is meaningful to you. And in return, those things will only make your stronger.
Monday, January 14, 2013
Now, those of you who know me personally are already aware that I cannot say enough about exercising. I became a gym rat in college, and haven't stopped working out since. I don't go every day, and it's not like all of my workouts are super-intense. But even on the lazier days when I just jump on the elliptical for half an hour, I always tell myself that it's better than no workout. There are really no negative aspects of exercising (except perhaps for the chance of injury, but just be careful). The release of endorphins makes you feel great, a toned body looks awesome in a bikini, and your overall health will improve drastically. Notice that I said nothing about losing weight. That's not why I work out, and I'll admit that my biggest weight loss came from dieting, not exercising (though I don't recommend this. Yes, I lost 20+ pounds by simply not eating anything, but even if this could be a very fast way to lose weight, it clearly is not the healthiest). If you want to lose weight, then by all means, exercise! But this does not have to be the purpose of working out.
The main excuse I hear from people about why they don't work out is because they don't have the time. If something is important to you, you make time for it! In 2013, make it a point to exercise, even if it's just a little bit. Go for a weekly run, take a Zumba class, own a set of hand weights that you can lift while you watch TV. You've got to start somewhere, and sometime, so why not now?
Sunday, January 13, 2013
There are many tips I could give about personal grooming, but since I have 365 of these posts to write, I'll just give you one at a time. So, #1: Trim your nose hairs. I'm sure your instant reaction is "Ew!" but I think this is a part of personal hygiene that many people overlook. Nose hairs are something that people take for granted: they help filter the air you breathe, trapping solid particles so they don't go into your lungs. That's a pretty important thing, right? But nose hairs can still do their job without actually sticking out of your nostrils. If I'm looking at your profile, and I can see a dark hair descending from your inner nose, we've got a problem. Now some of you may be thinking that this is only a problem men face (and let's be honest, you know they don't notice AT ALL), but women should also keep their nose hairs tidy. This can easily be done with a tiny pair of trimming scissors, or with an electric trimmer specifically made for this purpose. "The ends justify the means," so just get it done, however you can. And this isn't something you have to do frequently: nose hairs don't grow that fast, so even every couple of months should do the trick. This is a preventive measure: the last thing you want is to have a friend, family member, or significant other look at you and say, "What is that sticking out of your nose?!" Yes...let's avoid this situation at all costs.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Brunch seems to be particularly popular amongst young professionals (probably because they're out late at night and can't wake up), and in DC brunch is "the thing" to do on the weekends. Now, I'm an early riser, and I need to eat as soon as I wake up. So brunch has never really been my thing, since by the time 11 rolls around, I've already eaten. However, since it's a trendy thing to do, I'll go with it. I have had brunch a couple of times, and I must say, I do greatly enjoy it. Eggs, sausage, pancakes...Why must we save these foods for only certain meals?! And of course buffets allow you to have a smorgasbord of scrumptious things without having to order every single item on the menu; as a small person, it's sometimes hard to get my money's worth at a buffet, but I either stuff myself until I pop, or I finagle my way into getting a to-go box (I can't believe I never got kicked out of Homeplate brunch for all the times I took food out from there). Brunch is a wonderful way to enjoy delicious food as well as catch up with friends over mimosas. Below are a list of restaurants that I recommend for brunch. Cheers to the best meal of the week!
The Chesapeake Room (Eastern Market)
14K Restaurant & Lounge (Farragut Square)
American Tap Room (Bethesda)
Friday, January 11, 2013
After graduating from college, I realized how important my friends were to me and how much happiness they bring to my life. But once we all got jobs or went off to grad school, we were all over the country (all over the world!); we couldn't just text each other to grab lunch and be at the food court in 10 minutes. So I have made it a point to stay in touch with the people I grew really close to in school. Several of my sorority sisters live near me, so I get to see them quite frequently, which I am very grateful for. I have friends who I Skype with every once in a while, those who I talk to on the phone regularly, and last year I took two vacations strictly to see friends. Each friendship is special to me in its own way. I have friends who I go to for advice, some who make me laugh no matter what, and some (okay, just one) who stay by your side when you've had a little too much fun on your 22nd birthday. There are the older girls who I look up to, and the younger ones who see me as a mentor. They have seen my highest highs and my lowest lows, and nothing can replace the loyalty of a good friend. No matter what time zone they're in or how long it has been since you've last seen them, take the time to keep in touch: email, call, text, write...or all of the above! Good friends are hard to come by, so hold on to those relationships! They will last you a lifetime.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Since it's January, many people have made the resolution to lose weight this year. This usually involves a lot of dieting. While diets certainly help people shed those extra pounds, changing how you eat can affect your health in negative ways, too. If you decide to cut out dairy products, where are you getting your calcium? If you're going to become a vegetarian, what about your iron, which usually comes in the form of protein? Of course there are food substitutes (spinach seems to have every vitamin in it you can imagine, which is why I try to eat it ALL the time). But you may not be getting all the vitamins and minerals that you need. Every morning I take a multivitamin as well as a calcium pill (young women should get LOTS of calcium. I have friends who poo-poo this idea, and all I can think is, "Well, I hope you like osteoporosis!"). Now I have heard that you shouldn't take some vitamins together, or that you should take them at different times a day; I cannot prove or disprove these theories, but quite frankly I don't have time to worry about that. I feel better just taking them, and so should you!
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
I was VERY proud of myself this morning. For some time, the toilet in my apartment has been acting up. The handle frequently gets caught, and the water will continue running until I jiggle it. Then the handle got a crack in it (too much use? haha), but it continued to work, so I didn't worry about it. Finally, this morning, I went to flush, and the handle turned a full 90 degrees, and the toilet did NOT flush. I knew for sure it was broken.
Now, having had to deal with the jiggling for a while, I already knew what the inside of my toilet tank looked like (if you haven't looked in there, I suggest you do, just so you know the mechanics of how indoor plumbing works). So when I took the lid off the tank, I knew exactly what had happened. The handle is usually connected to an arm that produces the flushing motion, and these two parts were no longer connected. And it wasn't like I could put them back together: the plastic was in shards (i.e. not a clean break). I discovered this at 6:30 this morning, and knew that this problem had to be fixed immediately. Now, normally for this sort of problem, I would contact the closest man I know and have him come over. However, my father lives 1.5 hours away, my neighbor had already helped me for over an hour the night before setting up my new TV, and I have no boyfriend whatsoever to mention. Plus, my landlord wouldn't be able to come over until after work, and I was NOT going to leave my business sitting in the toilet all day. It was time to take matters into my own hands.
I looked up online what time my closest hardware store opened, and lo and behold, the store opened at 7:30. Perfect! So I had breakfast, got dressed, and drove over. The staff was very helpful, and gave me the parts I needed. I quickly drove home, and using the beginner IKEA toolkit my uncle bought me as a housewarming gift when I first moved in, I got to work. I easily removed all the old parts, and surprisingly had the toilet working like new in less than 10 minutes. I was amazed! I, a total princess, fixed a toilet, and in a matter of minutes!
1. Get to know your toilet. You use it multiple times a day, so you might as well learn the ins-and-outs of all the wonderful things it does for you. Okay, the one thing it does for you, but that one thing is very important and makes our lives oh so much more pleasant.
2. Learn to fix stuff! Of course, I'm not swearing off having a man help you out every once in a while. I will continue to ask pretty much any man in my closest vicinity to carry a large box for me, and Ryan Speers will always be my computer guru. But if you just need to use any simple tools (screwdrivers, hammers, wrenches), or the whole concept of your project is "Righty tighty, Lefty loosey," I bet you yourself can get the job done. If my pretty little hands (long, painted nails and all) can reach into a toilet tank, yours can, too.
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Safeway's Just For U app is pretty handy). My mother even gave me a cute little Hello Kitty notepad with a magnet on the back for my fridge (see picture below. I have yet to unwrap it!).
Post-it notes. But each time I get something done, I love being able to cross it off, and I feel more accomplished as I go down the list. I recommend you try it! Even if it's just a list of errands you have to run over the weekend, once you see that you've vacuumed, gone to the bank, AND picked up the dry cleaning with time to spare, you'll feel efficient and be very relieved that you're all finished.
The same goes with keeping a planner with you at all times. Even if you have Outlook linked to your smartphone, I still recommend having a planner where you can quickly jot things down. You'll never miss an appointment, meeting, or luncheon again! And always write in pencil: you never know when something will get cancelled (or when something better will come up!).
The same goes with keeping a planner with you at all times. Even if you have Outlook linked to your smartphone, I still recommend having a planner where you can quickly jot things down. You'll never miss an appointment, meeting, or luncheon again! And always write in pencil: you never know when something will get cancelled (or when something better will come up!).
Monday, January 7, 2013
Everyone knows that even if you love your work, you'll hate your job if you don't get along with the people at your office. You may have landed your dream job, but if your co-workers seem clueless or your boss acts like a psycho, the job is no longer everything you had hoped for. However, this is a problem of everyday life. There will always be people you get along with, and those who you can't stand. You have to make the best of your situation, so face your foes. People-skills are very important, not only at work but at the annual family reunion, with your drama queen girl pals, or on a date with your sexy UPS delivery man. So if you don't have the perfect relationship with the girl down the hall at work, why not put those interpersonal skills to the test? I like to think that everyone has something in common with everyone else: some interest or hobby, a place you've both visited, or just the fact that you're both human. Try to get to know the people who rub you the wrong way even better than the ones who you do get along with; you actually have to put work into it, and the payoff is worth it. Make chit-chat and try to gauge what he or she likes; be a good listener and sympathize with their thoughts. Genuinely trying to understand a person puts anyone at ease, because they see your good intentions. In the end, even if you don't become besties, you'll be more comfortable, and therefore happier, at work. So don't quit your day job just yet!
P.S. I should qualify this post with the fact that my boss and I are very close and have a good working relationship. I thankfully have not experienced any crazy interactions with colleagues, either. So, maybe I don't know what I'm talking about, but having a positive attitude is always a good thing, no matter the situation. Just smile and be nice to other people: you can't lose with that combo!
Sunday, January 6, 2013
I am writing this post from my couch as I watch the Redskins-Seahawks game (I haven't installed my new 40" flat screen yet, though. I need a man friend to help me out with that...). I grew up around sports: my dad plays hockey to this day, he taught me how to play tennis, and he has a man cave where he hosts annual Superbowl parties. So I've always had teams to root for and athletes to admire. However, I did not really become a true football fan until last winter. That's when I started online dating, and I figured I should know something about sports if I wanted to impress these men. So I would watch football every Sunday (the Giants, since I was living in New York at the time) and would take note of the exciting touchdowns and interceptions. And now that the Redskins are actually good, thanks to their rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III (affectionately known as RG3), I can root for the home team in DC! I think men appreciate a woman who knows a bit about sports: you know your home teams, the names of the most famous athletes, and who won the championship last season. So take the time to follow sports. You don't have to know players' stats or the history of how each team came to be. Just watch a game or match every once in a while, or even just read about the highlights in the paper. It's always a good thing to become more well-rounded and cultured, and let's face it, pro sports are a huge part of American culture. So make some nachos, turn on the TV, and study up!
P.S. One way that pro sports teams are trying to attract female fans is through fashion. Check out the Victoria's Secret PINK collection for their NFL and MLB lines. I'm still waiting for them to partner with the NHL: I want some Washington Capitals panties!
Saturday, January 5, 2013
I really didn't start cooking for myself until last year. In college there was no sense in making your own food since you (or rather your parents) had already paid the exorbitant price for your meal plan. When I lived with my grandmother for several months, I got to enjoy her delicious Jewish home-cooking at no cost (free rent AND free food?! Who else gets that in New York City?). But, once I moved out on my own, I realized that I could not survive on cereal and PB&J sandwiches. I remember the first night I was cooking for myself at my apartment, I decided to make Hamburger Helper. Well, that was a disaster. I did not have a large enough skillet (or rather a skillet with walls), so once I put the lid on top, cheese oozed everywhere. It was a complete mess, and at that moment I really couldn't understand how people could say that cooking is therapeutic.
But, since then, I am pretty proud of the progress I've made. I discovered a delicious vegetarian lasagna roll recipe that greatly impressed the man I was seeing at the time (I couldn't help smiling when he asked for seconds!). My mother also prepared me with many user-friendly cookbooks, such as Velveeta's Incredibly Easy Recipes and Campbell's Busy Family Recipes. Most of the recipes I have made have turned out very well (I swear I read the directions of any recipe five times before I do anything just so I don't ruin the whole thing) and I especially love casseroles (they make lunch for a week!). Whenever I have an open weekend, I always look forward to making something new to try. Cooking makes me feel like such a grown-up!
And not only do I cook: I bake, too! I have a HUGE sweet-tooth, and cannot resist a milkshake or cupcake. I frequently bake cookies and the like on weekends, and then have to bring them to my co-workers Monday morning just so I won't devour them all myself. And not to toot my own horn, but my blueberry muffins are probably some of the best I've ever had (I'd say they even rival those of Collis Cafe). I definitely recommend checking out any Nestlé cookbook for incredible dessert recipes; you can't go wrong!
So, what I'm saying is, if I can cook, so can you. Yes, it takes practice, but it's always rewarding when you make a new recipe and find that it tastes really good! Cooking is a skill that will last you a lifetime, and it comes in handy in so many situations (when you bring the apple pie to your friend's summer barbeque, you will be everyone's best friend). So get to the kitchen and become the next Julia Child!
Friday, January 4, 2013
I think most girls learn to use make-up rather early in life (I know my mother loved introducing my sister and I to her collection). Either girls get hooked and become experts in applying liquid eyeliner (a skill I have yet to acquire), or they just think of lipstick as part of dress-up and not part of their regular routine. Growing up, I was definitely in the latter group. I wore it to school dances, and that was about it. My sister, on the other hand, wears make-up every day, always looking fresh and sparkly. In college, I started to wear it a little more, and even now, I'll admit that I really only wear make-up on the weekends, dates, or special events for work. But every time I 'put on my face,' I am always amazed at the difference it makes. And I'm not talking about full-coverage foundation, lip-liner, and false eye lashes. Even just putting on mascara or freshening my cheeks with some blush instantly brightens my face. I feel transformed just with some eyeliner and lipstick. I think make-up is something women shouldn't skimp on: wear a little bit every day, and every time you look in the mirror, you'll want to smile (even more broadly than usual. You should always smile in the mirror!).
Here are some of my favorite make-up items:
Urban Decay eyeliner
Maybelline's Great Lash mascara
And pretty much anything from CoverGirl.
Thursday, January 3, 2013
I have always been one of those people who has a hard time relaxing. I'm always looking for things to do, places to go, people to see; I just can't sit still! It's gotten to the point that I even have a hard time sleeping through the night. But I have found a cure: meditation. And I don't mean sitting in a cross-legged position humming "Ohm" to myself.
I suppose I see the words 'meditation' and 'reflection' as synonyms. At night, just for a couple of minutes, I like to sit in bed, close my eyes, and breathe deeply. Sometimes I just focus on my breath to center myself, but most of the time, I sit there reflecting upon my emotional state at that moment. Am I fulfilled by my job? Would I be content to be single for the rest of my life? Am I frustrated that I don't have everything figured out? Forcing myself to think about such things head-on makes me feel stronger and more in control, even if it's just in that one moment.
So I recommend that you try meditating, too! You could be completely dedicated and go to a yoga class multiple times a week, or you could simply take a few minutes out of your day to reflect upon yourself, your life, your place in the world, etc. This is being self-centered, but in a good way!
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
This is Rule #1 from the book The Rules: Time-tested Secrets to Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right (written by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider). I received a copy of this book upon my high school graduation in 2007 from my mother. Yes, the idea of this book seems completely old-fashioned: it's as if it were taken right out of the 1950's, when women were sent to college simply to meet men and then were expected to spend the rest of their lives cooking, cleaning, and raising children.
However, as a woman who has read this book at least 5 times (There are so many rules that I need to refresh my memory every couple of years), the purpose of this book is not to marry you off in the old sense. Many of the rules actually empower you to be in control while you're on the dating scene, rather than answering to the whim of fickle men. But, I like Rule #1 the best. "Be a Creature Unlike Any Other." Embrace yourself! You are unique: no one else is like you. This year, take it upon yourself to love each and every part of you, including your flaws (whether that be your temper, your jealous nature, your cellulite...). Self-acceptance is a very important part of happiness, and once you reach the point of saying, "I love myself just the way I am," you will be amazed what that positive energy can bring to your life. You'll be more confident at work, be a strong role model for your friends, and, yes, you may just attract the man you've been looking for.
If you would like to order a copy of The Rules, want to read modern-day rules (Do you let him text you first? Can you follow his best friend on Facebook?), or even set up your own meeting with Ellen or Sherrie, check out The Rules website.
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Hello, friends, family, and whoever stumbles across this blog!
One of my New Year's resolutions is to write a blog, so here it is. This blog will contain tips and advice, quotes that inspire me, and words to live by. Each day will contain a new pearl of wisdom, so by December 31, 2013, you will have 365 pearls! Pick them up and make a necklace!
So here is my first little nugget for you: make New Year's resolutions! I have made at least one every year since I was a sophomore in high school, and I usually keep them (There is one exception. My food diary resolution lasted two weeks, mainly because counting calories and measuring out my portions with measuring cups was going overboard in a very unhealthy way). This year, along with writing this blog, I will read Anna Karenina, start composting, go to my yoga and spinning classes more than once a month, and stop dating online (Sorry, OkCupid. You're becoming an addiction.). I'm going to try to stick to all of them, especially this blog!
The New Year is about making a fresh start, so why not give yourself a goal? Of course, make it something you know you can achieve. On Dick Clark's special this year, one of the Top 5 Resolutions that people were making was "fall in love." Well, you're just setting yourself up for failure then. You can't guarantee when you'll meet the right person; you have no control! So, make it something manageable and reasonable. If it's to lose weight, don't say you're going to lose 50 pounds in one month: it's not gonna happen. If it's to save money, write yourself a budget (even use an online tool like Mint.com); don't just save your loose change in a jar. And whatever you decide, stay with it! Tell your friends about your resolution, and have them hold you accountable (see the January 2013 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine). You'll feel so accomplished when you know that you set a goal for yourself, worked to achieve it, and see it through.