Thursday, February 28, 2013


I feel like most people fall into two categories when it comes to Starbucks: they either love it and go all the time, or they never go because they think it's too mainstream and/or overrated. And then there are a couple of us who fall in the middle: I love me a delicious chai latte, but I hate paying over $4 for the smallest size. So I really only go once in a while. Sometimes I'll treat myself, but mostly it's when I'm with my mom (who is definitely in category A), or if she has bought me a gift card, in which case I feel obligated to be done with it and I take all my friends so we can finish it off. So if I were to give Starbucks a grade, I guess it would be a B+. Their drinks taste amazing (though their baked goods are so-so), but the prices are outrageous.

I'm afraid I might get some serious hate-mail from some die-hard Starbucks fans...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

It's okay to be quirky

Admit it: we're all a little weird. And that's okay! If we were all the same the world would be pretty boring (well, unless everyone was like me. But that's a topic for another post!). All of us know there's something about us that's a little off: could be a strange hobby we have, or a wacky sense of humor, or just the things we're interested in. Like I've said before, my thing ( of my weird things), is unicorns.

I just love them! This is the newest item in my collection: my mom brought back this huge sleep shirt from Excalibur in Las Vegas (how did I missed this gem when I went there for my senior spring break?!). It's absolutely ridiculous, silly, and NOT sexy, but I love it all the same. And everyone should love their quirks like that! They are part of who you are, and everyone who loves you likes your little traits, too. I have a coaster that says, "Embrace the total geek in yourself. Life is too short to be cool." I have lived by this saying probably since 5th grade (clearly I have never been cool, and I accepted that long ago!), and you should, too!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Not many people know this about me, but I like to write poetry. I guess it started in English class when students were forced to write poetry, but since I liked the rhyming aspect, I enjoyed those assignments. I even won $75 in a poetry contest in high school. The poems from my school girl days are pretty fluffy: they're about animals and fashion and the like. And the poems my dad and I write every Christmas to holiday songs are pretty silly. Some of my favorite poetry that I wrote was for a Hinduism class in college, in which I retold the story of the Ramayana through Taylor Swift. I wrote my own lyrics to the tunes of four Taylor Swift songs, and it actually turned out really well (so not only does Swift heal my heart with her songs, she also helps me get good grades in school).

But I do have more serious poetry as well. My winter break between 2008-2009 was the first time I was in love, and I just had the urge to write about it. I think in a single weekend I wrote 2 or 3 love poems that just jumped in my mind and I had to write them down on paper before they disappeared (I don't think I had written any poetry since my sophomore year of high school at that point). And I've written songs about heart break, too, some being very dramatic (the "OMG, I'm going to die this hurts so much" kind) and others simply have a resentful tone about them (the "Man, you are such an idiot to let me go" kind). Granted, no one gets to read these poems, not even the people that they're about. They're just my favored form of self-expression, meant for my eyes (and heart) only.

I think it's very important to find a way to express yourself that doesn't involve other people. Of course venting and crying to your mom or best friend is the easiest and most immediate method of expression, but sometimes you either are alone, or you just don't want to bring someone into the situation. So whether that's writing in a journal, meditating and musing over your own thoughts, creating some work of art, etc., it's such a relief to be able to get your feelings out without necessarily having to show everyone how you feel.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Taylor Swift

Now, say what you like about Taylor Swift, but I swear she is the epitome of every girl's/woman's heart. I dare you to find a woman who can't relate to at least one of her songs (whether it's about being in love or about heartbreak [it's gotta be one or the other]). I feel like when I listen to any of her songs, I can name a person or situation in my life that she's singing about. So I totally recommend jamming out to Taylor Swift whenever A. you really like somebody and you two are in love B. you like someone and he doesn't like you or C. you don't like someone anymore. And let's face it: you're at one of these stages of your life all the time (or maybe even more than one of these at once). Which means you should have Taylor on repeat. All. The. Time. At least someone understands you and what you're feeling!

Twitter: @taylorswift13

Sunday, February 24, 2013


I LOVE sunglasses. The bigger, the better. I feel so glamorous in them, like Jackie O. They spice up any outfit, from a cute sundress to jeans and a t-shirt. And not only are they stylish, but they protect your eyes from UV rays. So why not look awesome AND be safe at the same time? If it's sunny out (and I haven't been completely lazy and I've actually put my contacts in), I'm wearing shades. And of course you need more than one pair! I have a black pair, a brown pair (kind of like tortoise shell), and a pair that has just one big lens that makes me feel like a hot motorcycle chick (similar to this). Sunglasses are an accessory that every woman should have, just like a pashmina scarf or a great pair of big earrings: throw any of these on, and you look 100% more put-together (and hotter, might I add).

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Count Your Blessings

"It's a great day to be alive/I know the sun's still shinin' when I close my eyes"
-Travis Tritt/Darrell Scott

Since graduation, I sometimes go through these spells of feeling like I don't have direction, or wondering what I'm doing with my life, etc. (you know, all those angst-y things I should have gotten out of my system in high school; obviously I've hit mental puberty super-late). But I know that I have an amazing life and that I should be thankful for everything I have. I have a supportive, loving family who is always there for me; My friends are amazing and bring so much light to my life; My job is so much fun, plus I get to help a good cause that I believe in at the same time; the list could go on and on. And although I thank God for all of these things every night before I go to sleep, sometimes my prayers are more like a broken record, rather than me actually focusing on the words as I say them. I don't want to take anything for granted, because I know there are millions, BILLIONS, of people in the world who would give anything to be in such a fortunate situation as I am. So whenever I feel depressed or I'm questioning my life's purpose, I always try to go back to the things I'm sure of, the things that bring me joy, and I remind myself that I've got it so good. I know I should be satisfied with my life just as it is: I just have to keep telling myself that. I know things could be SO much worse, and it's greedy of me to ask for anything more than what I have. So count your blessings, and don't ask for more of them. Be thankful for what you have, because that may be all you're gonna get.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Stick to your guns

"If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything." 
-Alexander Hamilton (supposedly)

Any-hoo, it doesn't matter who said it. I think this is an incredible quote to live by, and I try to every day. I'll admit that my strong opinions and convictions can make me stubborn, but I truly believe in my thoughts and morals, and I will not let anyone sway me. The same goes for setting and achieving goals. Once I set my mind to something, I will do it, even if it's hard or isn't fun. This can go from silly things like finishing a book (no matter how bad a book is [or movie for that matter], I will finish it; I feel like I'm at the very least culturing myself) to something serious like finding the perfect job (yes, unemployment for 6 months was horrible, but I stuck it out for the right thing to come along, and now I LOVE what I do). And this quote goes for finding love, too: I know exactly what I want in a partner, and I refuse to settle for anything else. And I don't give in to what men want just because they want it: if a man wants anything other than your complete happiness, then he doesn't want you. Don't let anyone try to change your mind about the things that are important to you. Otherwise, you'll lose yourself.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Here is another post on how to dress appropriately for work but still look sexy for your date right afterwards. Cardigans are a girl's best friend when it comes to this presto-chango look. A cardigan is any button-down sweater: it can be over-sized or cropped, cotton or angora, etc. We all have strapless and/or low cut shirts that are just slightly too revealing for the office. But a cardigan is the perfect cover up (especially since it keeps you warm! I don't know about you, but my office is always too cold!). I must have one of these cute sweaters in every color; they're just so handy!

I bought this little black sweater in NYC for probably $7: it matches every outfit so it can be thrown on anytime. The sexy corset underneath is from White House- Black Market, on sale this past fall for $15 (and a size 2! Hallelujah!). It's a pretty top, but clearly not going to fly at work. But with a cardigan it's good for the office AND a night on the town!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Groupon and Living Social

I'm not sure when the whole online coupon/deal thing happened, but it's pretty awesome. I've been taking advantage of it since living in NYC (since let's be honest: the majority of the deals are in metropolitan centers), and now that I'm living on my own with a budget, they are a lifesaver. I mainly buy restaurant deals. A girl's gotta eat, and why not try a new place in the meantime? I've had delicious pizza, amazing brunches, and fancy dinners. I've also bought some items for my place, like towels and mixing bowls. And my favorite deals have been for painting classes. I've always wanted to paint, and I never had the opportunity to take a painting course in college. So now I have my chance (Plus, I don't trust my own creativity, so it's wonderful having a class where they tell you exactly what to paint and how to paint it. It's guaranteed to be somewhat satisfactory.). Below are two of the pieces I've done so far (sorry for the low quality photos).

The first is a dandelion painting I did for my mother, and the second is my take on Van Gogh's The Starry Night. I have received the same comment for both of these: that there's a "whoosh" quality about them. So I guess I'll take that and run with it, because clearly that's how my paintbrush wants to move. I have since bought a pack of FIVE painting classes, so there will be many more to come! The next one will be a rendition of Van Gogh's Sunflowers (clearly I kinda have a thing for Van Gogh), and I'm hoping that if I can take a class where you can just do your own thing, I want to make my own version of O'Keefe's Manhattan. Groupon has made me an artist!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Capella

I had no idea what a cappella (or a capella) was until I got to college; I had never even heard of it before. But during orientation I saw several singing groups performing my favorite songs WITHOUT instruments. I never knew a human voice could make so many sounds! I was immediately hooked, and when my first-year roommate joined the Dodecaphonics (or "Dodecs"), I went to EVERY one of her shows. And when the Dartmouth Aires were on the show "The Sing-Off," I had to watch. And it was there that I discovered Pentatonix. This small group of five singers has big sound, and their arrangements are beyond unique. I saw them perform last night at The Fillmore, and they were just as great in person. If you've never heard an a cappella group perform, or haven't listened to these particular groups, you definitely should check them out!

Here are some YouTube links:
The Dodecs-
1. Insomniac:
2. You Oughta Know:
3. Tempted:
The Aires:
1. Queen Medley:
2. LOTS of videos on their website:
1. Video Killed the Radio Star:
2. As Long as You Love Me/Wide Awake:
3. Gangnum Style:

And see if there are any local a cappella groups near you! They're so much fun to watch, and if you sing, you could try to join, too!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Reading the Classics

So, I'm still in the middle of reading Anna Karenina, a humongous book that is taking me forever to finish. However, I think it's important to read, since this Tolstoy novel is such a classic. There are many books that are considered "classics," and I believe every person should try to read them, or at least most of them. While attending a private middle school, I read Romeo and Juliet, Treasure Island, Lord of the Flies, and others; in high school I read The Grapes of Wrath, Pride and Prejudice, The Tempest, Animal Farm, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, etc. And in college I took a class on the Old Testament, the Bible being the greatest classic of all. Since graduation I have read others, like The Catcher in the Rye and The Jungle. These stories will never be forgotten, and it's amazing how often current society references them, whether in movies, other books, comedy shows, etc. So it's important for you to educate yourself and know these tales (at least the gist of them) so you can understand these other allusions.

Pink Nation

This post is meant for yesterday...

So, I joined Victoria's Secret's Pink Nation in the spring of 2009. I forget how I heard about it, but I knew you could get deals and steals by joining (for free), so I did. For becoming a new member, I received a free over-sized tote bag, which to this day I still use as a laundry bag. So, I assumed that I would get lots of other freebies and prizes, too. Occasionally I receive coupons in the mail for a free thong or something like that, but all in all, Pink Nation has been quite a disappointment. Sure, I can get some perfume if I spend $75, but for someone who has a bra in every color and 50+ pairs of panties, I'm not going to spend $75 at Victoria's Secret. Every once in a while, Pink Nation will host "exclusive" after-hour parties at PINK stores across the country. I finally went to one last night, and it will be the last. First of all, it's not exclusive. I made sure to print up my ticket and everything, but honestly, any woman who walked into the store was allowed to attend. Secondly, the deals are nothing to rave about: $10 off of $50, $15 off of $75, etc. You could win free stuff, but it's through a raffle, and of course you have to be there to win; the raffle doesn't even start until half an hour into the party, so if you show up on time (like I did), you're going to have to stand around for 30 minutes just for the chance that MAYBE you'll win something (which I'm sure was something lame like an Iphone cover or a feather-weight T-shirt that will disintegrate the first time you wash it). Plus, this morning I received an email about getting those same deals even if you were unable to make it to the event; why would anyone bother going to the party in the first place then? I will not revoke my Pink Nation membership, but I will no longer try to convince my friends to join either.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Culture Yourself

To be a well-rounded individual, I think it's a good idea to culture yourself. At college, this was very easy because we had our own art museum on campus and concert tickets were $5 for students; of course all of these activities were well within walking distance, too. However, things can be just as simple out in the "real world" if you know where to look, especially if you're living in a city. This afternoon my roommate and I wandered the halls of the National Portrait Gallery and the American Art Museum, both of which are under the Smithsonian umbrella and are therefore free. I always love art museums, probably because I am fascinated by how talented all these artists are and how I was born without such skills. Or it could simply be the fact that I can appreciate anything beautiful, and paintings and sculptures certainly are that.

There were a couple pieces I saw today that I absolutely fell in love with.They all happen to have women in them, just by coincidence, but I think this is because 1. I just think the female form is prettier than that of men and 2. I have fantasized about having my own portrait done since seeing How to Make an American Quilt, Titanic, and As Good As It Gets (so all my artist friends: don't be shocked when I commission you one day to draw/paint/sculpt/photograph me [naked]).

 "The South Ledges: Appledore" by Childe Hassam drew my eye because it looks JUST like a Monet, one of my favorite artists. "The Libyan Sibyl" by William Wetmore Story at first just looks like yet another marble sculpture of a half-naked woman (clothes back then clearly never fit properly). But the detail in her hair and necklace amazed me, and anyone who can make stone look like soft flesh is pretty awesome. "The Mirror" by Robert Reid has such wonderful texture and color to it; plus, in my grown-up dreams I have a room with an Asian screen in it where I can get changed and look at myself in the mirror and get pretty, and this piece epitomizes that fantasy.

I also appreciate music. I was able to get tickets to see the National Symphony Orchestra perform at the Kennedy Center three times for $33 ($11 a ticket! Not quite as cheap as at school, but that's still an amazing deal!). I haven't gone to any of the shows yet, but buying the tickets is half the battle in making oneself more cultured. I will also be going with a friend who used to play piano and sing in the Chamber Singers group at school, so she can help teach me little nuggets while we watch. It's always more fun to appreciate art (in any form) when you're with someone else, even if it's just to share your perspectives and observations with one another. So the next time you're bored on a weekend afternoon, grab a friend and hit up a museum or a show! I guarantee you'll learn something, and a good dose of art can completely turn a worthless, lazy day into an accomplished one.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Candy for Breakfast

Okay, not really for breakfast. But early enough in the day that grown-ups would say, "How can you eat that right now?" Like I've said before, I have a HUGE sweet tooth, and even when I'm 90 I won't pass up the chance to grab something from the candy bowl at any restaurant/store/home/etc. This craving for sugar has no sense of time, and it kicks in whenever it pleases. Granted, usually this happens as soon as I see a piece of candy (you know the eyes and stomach are linked in mysterious ways). So this morning when I got a delivery of flowers and chocolates at work (ProFlowers clearly wasn't on top of it yesterday), I immediately had one (okay, two...) pieces of chocolate right then and there. Luckily I had enough self-control to then put them in my desk drawer and not eat anymore for the rest of the day. But I guarantee that tomorrow morning I will be hankering for another one. Maybe I just need a sugar rush to get me going in the morning. I mean, you lose a lot of sugar when you exercise, right? ... Or maybe that's just my excuse...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Rules

These apply whether you're in a relationship or not:

1. Wear red or pink (or purple I suppose): These festive colors are linked to this romantic holiday, so show your V-Day spirit with fashion! It's like St. Patrick's Day and green: they just go together!

2. Eat candy: Of course chocolate is the assumed candy for Valentine's Day, and it comes in many forms. You could enjoy a variety of candies in a Russell Stover box, nibble on some little Dove chocolates with love notes on the inside of the foil, or indulge in chocolate-covered strawberries. But I do know of some people who don't like chocolate (gasp!). So those people get conversation hearts. Sorry: that's what happens when you don't like chocolate.

3. Pamper yourself: Take this to mean what you wish. You could enjoy a candle-lit dinner with your sweetie, give yourself a mani-pedi, take a luxurious bubble bath, whatever suits your fancy.

4. Call/Text/Email your loved ones: Valentine's Day isn't just for lovers! Call your parents, grandparents, siblings, college friends, etc. and let them know you're thinking about them on this special day! Everyone likes to get some extra love during the holidays, and even the simplest gestures can mean a lot.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"Out with anger, in with love"

I just heard this saying today, and it has already become my mantra. Sometimes when you're super-frustrated or angry about something, you'll just keep it inside and let it fester, which only makes you feel worse. Now I'm not saying to chew your co-worker out or go crazy on your date who stood you up last week just to relieve some stress. You want to get it out, but let's do so in a ladylike fashion. For one, you can always vent to a family member or friend who is completely outside of the situation: he or she can be a supportive listener without having a bias. And of course I would advocate exercising to release those angry feelings: go for a long run on your favorite trail, take a kickboxing class at your gym, or try some yoga poses, all the while repeating this quote in your mind. Just thinking, "Out with anger, in with love" may be calming enough, telling yourself not to dwell on these things, and to embrace the most important emotion of all: love. Love for your friends, love for your health, love for yourself.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


This winter, be sure you're pampering your skin! The cold air can dry it out, so make sure to nourish it. I myself put Neutrogena's Oil-Free Moisture lotion on my face twice a day; your face has more contact with the environment than other parts of your body, and the skin there is more delicate, so you should take extra care of it. The only other body part that is out in the open are your hands. Your hands can dry out very quickly, causing cracks to form and perhaps giving the skin an ashy appearance. I always keep some lavender hand lotion in my desk at work, and any sort of Bath & Body Works lotion near my bedside so I can put some on my hands (and feet) before I go to sleep. "But what about the rest of your body?" you ask? After every shower, I moisturize from head to toe with Jergens Ultra Healing body lotion. I guarantee this will solicit a "Wow, your skin is so soft and smooth" from your significant other (or not-so-significant other(s)...). Taking care of your skin is one of the most important parts of your beauty regimen: your face (and therefore your skin) is the first thing people notice about you, so protect it!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Local magazines

I just started receiving The Washingtonian this year (an $18 subscription sounded like an okay deal, especially since I usually pay $4 for one copy of Cosmopolitan). I think reading a local magazine like this can be very helpful, particularly when looking for things to do or see in the city. I've been reading the February issue, which is all about the best restaurants in the DC Metro area. Now I want to go and try all of them! I also receive Bethesda Magazine, which is VERY local, and it always features coupons and deals for stores and restaurants in the area. Local magazines can tell you about upcoming events, exhibits at art galleries, etc., things you may not have known about otherwise. It's good to stay up-to-date on what's going on in your city or town, and plus, reading a magazine is more fun than a newspaper!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Make Your Own Cards and Put Hallmark Outta Business

So, I started making cards sometime in high school. A friend of my mom's had a home party for Stampin' Up!, which is like Mary Kay for card making supplies like papers, stamps, inks, etc. I really liked it because it was like scrap booking, except really useful! I love sending cards, from thank you notes to birthday cards, and that can get expensive ($4 for a piece of paper from Hallmark? I don't think so.). Now I can stay within my budget, plus add my own special touch to each card!

This afternoon, a group of friends gathered at my place to make Valentines. Now, I don't have all of the card making supplies with me: they're at my parents' house (in our special card making room, no less). But recent graduates are inventive and always find a way. We all pitched in what we already had: construction paper, scissors, glitter glue, the works. But we did have one handy gadget that we bought specifically for this occasion: the Embossing Heat Tool from Paper Source. This mini hair-dryer turns stamps and glitter into shiny liquid for beautiful card effects! We were all mesmerized as the gold glitter magically became what looks like gold-leaf ink. 

I think this hobby is a lot of fun. It's a creative outlet that you can put to good use for practical reasons. Plus, it's super-domestic: every woman needs a creative hobby, like crocheting, baking, etc. Why not card making? When you design and create your own wedding invitations or birth announcements, everyone will be impressed. And who doesn't like to show off every once in a while?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Personal Grooming: Tip #2

I don't know when it became the norm to shower every morning. Obviously cavemen never showered, and even the pilgrims only had their yearly bath. But somewhere along the way, Americans came to believe that if you don't shower everyday, you're dirty and disgusting. This is ludicrous. For one, I'd say most of us don't do anything throughout the day to get "dirty" enough to warrant a shower: most Americans are overweight, so clearly they're not sweating at the gym, and a lot of us just sit at a desk for 8 hours a day for work. Two, your hair has natural oils that are actually good for it! You don't want to wash them away every day. I have friends who swear they think their hair looks better a day or two without shampooing it, which is completely normal and natural! Three, if you're taking a shower every day, you're going through your product REALLY fast. Why not save some money by buying less shampoo? Since my hair is naturally oily, I only have to condition it once a week because the natural oils keep it sleek and soft anyway. So you can imagine how slowly I go through cream-rinse (and don't let expiration dates fool you. Your product will last longer than the date stamped on the bottle). So I suggest taking showers (or shampooing your hair at least) every other day rather than every day. You really don't NEED to shower all the time, so why do it? Don't you have better things to do with that 10-20 minutes every morning? I know I do!

Friday, February 8, 2013


I'm probably not the best person to write about because I rarely use it. I know people who swear by it when trying to find the perfect restaurant (based on type of food, location, price, etc.). I actually never use it to pick a place to eat. I use it exclusively to write reviews and rate restaurants. Maybe this is because I love sharing my opinions (which you should already know by now since reading this blog), and was created to share your thoughts on restaurants with others. My reviews range from super-fantastic to down-right nasty. Of course my favorite restaurants are romantic, dressy, and have an extensive cocktail menu (No, I am not a lush). However, I gave the local Dunkin' Donuts a high score, too: their peach sweet tea is delicious! The poor ratings I give to restaurants usually don't have to do with the food, but with the service. Nothing ruins my dining experience faster than an inattentive waitress or a bartender with an attitude. I encourage you to write some Yelp reviews, either to help other people seeking fabulous eats, or just to vent about that lazy waitress who didn't even earn that 15% tip.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Sample Sales

Sample sales are an amazing way to get designer clothes for a low price. My first sample sale was in New York City. I was living there while I had an internship my sophomore year of college, and I saw in one of the "express" newspapers that there was going to be a Vera Wang sample sale downtown. I HAD to go. I was one of the first people in line, and once we were inside, I was surrounded by beautiful pieces. There were cute suits, gorgeous dresses, and fun accessories. I myself came across this amazing jacket: the cut was so interesting, the colors were classic, and I was realizing that offices are always cold and I needed some professional jackets. I immediately called my mother to tell her that this was what I wanted for my birthday, so I used my parents' handy-dandy credit card to make this lovely purchase (well, and along with another cute jacket/shrug...sorry I don't have a photo!).

Then last night a few co-workers and I went to Crystal City Couture in Arlington, VA. While I was underwhelmed by the runway shows and the types of boutiques featured, I was adamant that I find something. Of course the first thing that caught my eye were these green and blue unicorn figurines at one of the vintage tables; unfortunately they were not for sale, so that burst that bubble. But then I came across the works of LShandi. The fabrics are so intricate, flowers and swirly designs sewn onto this delicate fabric. Although they weren't "one of a kind" (there were multiples of each design on the rack), I had never seen anything like them before. My wardrobe is all-encompassing, so when I find an item that is completely unique from anything else I own, I must buy it! I can't wait to wear this top this summer with a fun cami underneath (or not if I'm feeling scandalous) and a great pair of jeans. What an amazing find! 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Love yourself!

"Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line." -Lucille Ball

Okay, I know I've already had a few posts regarding self-esteem, but this blog is called "Confidence is Key," so there you go. I think Ball's point is 100% valid. As long as you believe in yourself, everything else will work out! The feeling that you can do anything is very powerful: positive thoughts bring positive outcomes. Of course you may hit speed bumps along the way (hello, 6-months-of-umemployment-after-graduation), but in the end it's smooth sailing again (hi there, awesome job/apartment/city). And this goes with relationships, too. If you don't love yourself, why would anyone else? Low self-esteem is a huge turn-off for me: if he doesn't think he's awesome, then I won't think he's awesome (and vice versa). I see myself as a smart, strong, beautiful woman, and as long as that's how I perceive myself, the rest of the world will see me like that, too. So follow my lead and begin loving who you are. With that kind of attitude, you'll be unstoppable!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Friends' Birthdays

Maybe I'm just good with numbers (Yeah, right. Calculus was the bane of my existence my freshman year of college), but I always remember people's birthdays. Even now I can remember the birthdays of people I went to elementary school with even though I haven't seen them in over ten years. This could be because I put such an emphasis on my own birthday (the whole month of April, as well as the first two weeks of May, are fair game for celebrating my April 27th birthday). But birthdays were always a big deal in my house growing up: My father would decorate a banner and tape it on my bedroom door so that it would be the first thing I saw when I woke up; birthday parties full of little girls was the norm every spring (since my sister was born in May). So it only makes sense that for my birthday I must have all of my friends with me as I drink my bottle of peach André champagne to celebrate another year of me. And perhaps because I insist on being treated as the best thing ever to come around since sliced bread, I make sure to shower my friends with the same attention on their special days. I will buy your meal, your drink(s), and whatever little trinket I find that makes me think of you. You will receive a text from me. And even before your birthday you'll probably get a card in the mail (I always send them early so you can enjoy them for longer!). Birthdays are the one day that is all about you and only you (well, unless you were born on Christmas or have a twin. Then you've got some competition). So live it up, and in return, make sure to celebrate your friends' birthdays as if they were your own!

Monday, February 4, 2013


I have always loved candles. Growing up, my family frequently ate dinner by candlelight at the table, fooling me into thinking that romantic ambiance is the norm for dinnertime. And when I was little I loved going around the house lighting candles when the power went out; it made me feel like we were in Little House on the Prairie or something like that. Now, I mainly light candles during bedtime. The one I have now (and my favorite) is this French Lavender Yankee Candle. Unfortunately the scent has been discontinued, but this weekend I found several of them at T.J. Maxx! I was tempted to buy them all to stockpile them, but I stopped myself at two. I light it an hour before I go to sleep, and read my book while enjoying the soothing lavender smell. I swear that it helps me fall asleep, and the scent lingers for hours, leaving my entire bedroom smelling just heavenly. Maybe this post will convince Yankee Candle to bring this scent back!

P.S. For those of you who are allergic to scented candles, or simply don't like them, I suggest trying these battery-operated candles. Their flickering is quite realistic, and you can still get that "mood lighting" you're looking for. Plus, since there's no wax to actually burn, these candles will last forever!


Again, another late post. However, I was up very late due to the Superbowl (a 30 minute delay due to a power outage? Thanks a lot, Beyoncé). So I hope you, my readers, will let it slide. The Superbowl is a very big deal, seeing as it is the most watched sporting event in America. Now, I'll admit that I will take any opportunity to host a party, no matter the cause for celebration. But out of tradition, I love the Superbowl. My parents always throw a party for it, and I look forward to it every year. Of course this year was even more exciting because the Baltimore Ravens were playing! I have always been a Ravens fan since I grew up in Maryland, and even though I live closer to DC than to Baltimore, I still wear purple. Better luck next year, Redskins. And the fact that we WON is even more awesome. I love winning!

The best part of the party is the food (obvi). I fast the whole morning and afternoon before the big game just so that I can gorge myself that night. My father's"pigs in a blanket" are my all-time favorite. We also serve chili and the makings for mini-sandwiches. Deviled eggs (my specialty) are hiding behind the Ravens ketchup and mustard bottles. Friends brought potato salad and this AMAZING pretzel and jello salad (don't knock it until you've tried it!).

And of course the star of the show (besides all of the athletes) was the Ravens cake. It certainly overshadowed my brownies! Our longtime friends brought this along with them, and we are so thankful! This is one of those cakes that has a heavy icing to cake ratio, so a sugar-rush is guaranteed. At first I just took a bite, but, like with all desserts, you can't just have one bite. So I controlled myself and just ate a little sliver. But there was plenty of cake left over, so I'm enjoying some of it now as I'm writing...
Mmmm....Please excuse me so I can enjoy this in private...

Saturday, February 2, 2013

My Valentine's Wish List

Now that it's February, I can't help but notice that Valentine's Day is just around the corner. The candy displays in CVS alone give it away. But of course all of the women I'm around are talking about it. Some innocently contemplate the fact that they get to wear pink and red at the same time (because we fashionistas know that this is usually a faux pas). Others bemoan the fact that they are in long-distance relationships and want to throw themselves a pity party (which I don't condone). But the majority are thinking, "What is he going to get me this year?!" Some men may be very good at picking out clothes or jewelry on their own, but I'd say in general, they don't have a clue. So that is why I'm writing my Valentine's Wish List. Of course I would never actually assume I would receive ALL of these things on one Valentine's Day; this can be my lifelong list. And some of these items I know are absolutely ridiculous, but that's what wish lists are for: dreaming up the silliest things that would happen in your wildest dreams, but not actually thinking you'll need this stuff.

1. Bouquet of flowers: This one is kinda mandatory. Not getting flowers on Valentine's Day is like not eating cake on your birthday. And they don't necessarily have to be roses; I'm not a flower snob and I think they are all beautiful. Now on how to receive said flowers...In person always works, obviously. But sending flowers is just as fun. Having flowers sent to your office is the best, since they liven up your desk (as well as make all your co-workers jealous). Except for those with allergies, I have yet to meet any women who do not like receiving flowers on this special day.

2. A fancy dinner: This, too, is usually the norm for Valentine's Day. I always can appreciate a good meal, but the romantic ambiance has to be there, too. I recently bought this beautiful red dress that I am just waiting for the occasion to wear. It's rather formal (I probably would have worn it to the high school homecoming dance if I had owned it back then), so I'm not really sure when or where it will be appropriate to wear. But it's red, and I look hot in it, so I want to show it off this winter!

3. Jewelry: This can be a tricky one. There are so many factors involved: what's her taste, does she prefer silver or gold (this could refer to the color of the metal or the actual metal. I have an allergy to nickle that pretty much means I can only wear sterling silver or gold that's 14k or higher. Fits in with my princess personality, dontcha think?), what's her ring size, etc. It's all very complicated. So in this case, I think men should let their women pick out what they want (within reason of course. No Cartier if it's not within the budget!). I personally am loving the jewelry at Lou Lou in Bethesda right now. Too bad their website shows very little of what they actually sell in-store! They have these adorable little necklaces that have charms of the states on them. When I went in the last time they didn't have one for New Hampshire, but if they had, I would have bought it on the spot!

4. Unicorn stuff: My favorite animal is a unicorn. Yes, I know they're not real. But they are something I have loved since I was a little girl, and I don't think I will ever grow out of my pony phase. I came across this beautiful Swarovski crystal figurine of a unicorn that is very reminiscent of the one in The Last Unicorn, one of my favorite movies (I own the DVD and the soundtrack). And Tokidoki now has these cute "Unicorno" toys that come in "blind boxes," so you're taking a gamble on which toy you're going to get; there's also the DIY Unicorno that you can decorate yourself, but since I can't draw, I can already imagine giving it to my father and saying, "Make this pretty!"

Flowers? Check. Dinner? Check. Jewelry? Check. Something silly that only I would appreciate? Check. As long as one of these things happens for Valentine's Day this year, I will be a very happy girl!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Food Allergens and Restaurants

I discovered that I have an allergy to monosodium glutamate (or better know an MSG) when I was in college. Ever since then, I have avoided pretty much every Chinese/Japanese/Korean/Thai/Vietnamese/You-name-it Asian place. So today when a co-worker suggested getting lunch at P.F. Chang's, I was a little worried. But it's her birthday, so I wanted to go where she wanted. I called the restaurant and asked about the menu, and to my surprise, NONE of their dishes have MSG in them! We went for her birthday lunch, the food was delicious, and I feel fine (believe me, if there were MSG in there, I would have felt the effects before we even left the restaurant). From now on, I will not shun all Asian food: I'll simply call ahead and see if they use MSG. Don't let your food allergies hold you back from delectable meals!