Friday, May 31, 2013

"Like a Prayer"

Just like every other girl who's ever gone to an 80's-themed dance party in college, Madonna's "Like a Prayer" immediately becomes your dance anthem. And for some reason, 97.1 WASH FM likes to play it. A lot. So if you see me driving up Wisconsin Avenue to work in my sexy (not) Honda Civic with my window rolled all the way down, I'm probably jammin' to this tune. Below are some photos documenting my fun 80's times at Dartmouth. Because everyone dressed like this back then.

I remember buying that shirt at some random store near my grandma's house in New York. It's a man's shirt, but it was probably less than $10, and I knew exactly where I'd wear it, so I bought it. And I knew those silly scrunchies my mom had would come in handy some day!

 My sister visited me for one of the big weekends at school, and I wanted to show her a good time. I told her ahead of time to bring 80's stuff, but I let her borrow the shoes and earrings to complete the ensemble.

I also bought this dress in New York, somewhere near Union Square. I think it was around $40, which was a little steep seeing as I was just an intern barely making anything during that entire spring. But how could I leave a dress with a zipper running down the front?! I had to have it. It had to be mine!

My sorority sisters and I love this party, so we always liked to go together. The dress I'm wearing was actually a bequest from one of my fellow Thetas. "Put it on, wear it out!"

Notice that the pink tights and black leg warmers have made a second appearance here...And I'm wearing the big heart earrings my sister wore...Reduce, reuse, recycle!

 Again with the heart earrings. And this time I paid homage to Top Gun with my aviator sunglasses (another bequest). And my friend Forrest here broke out the pink jacket. LOVE IT!

Yep, those 80's dance parties at Sigma Nu are some of my favorite college memories. I'm so glad I documented them!

Disney's "Pocahontas"

Just like any other American girl, I love Disney Princess movies. But rather than talk about all of them here, I'll just go one by one (come on, I've still got about 200 blog posts to write!).

I recently saw that Pocahontas was on Netflix, so naturally I had to stop whatever I was doing and immediately watch it. There are many reasons I love this movie: I like the story, Mel Gibson does a great job as the voice of John Smith, and it's just a pretty film to watch. But the #1 reason I like Pocahontas is the soundtrack. Of course that goes for many Disney films, so I'll break it down for you.

I like how the songs in this film aren't about love (I hear enough of those on the radio, thank you very much). Songs like "Steady as the Beating Drum" and "Just Around the River Bend" are songs about how to lead to your life. Are you steady and stable, resisting change because you know what works for you? Or are you always waiting for what's next, seeking out new and different experiences? From my previous blog posts I'm sure you can peg me into one category (ahem). "Listen with Your Heart" is about being true to yourself, doing what feels right; that will lead you to your destiny. I frequently contemplate my life choices, what my future holds for me, etc., and songs like this are a fun way to ponder these serious thoughts.

Many of the songs are quite political. "Mine, Mine, Mine" is about the Europeans' greed for gold in the New World (love the play-on-words, as "mine" can be the possessive or the verb). "Colors of the Wind" (arguably the most famous song of the movie) exemplifies the parallels between the two cultures and their view of Nature (yes, Nature with a capital N). I took a class in college called "Wilderness, Culture and Environmental Conservation," and it was easily the best course I ever took. We read about how the Native Americans adapted to Nature, and while using its resources, continued to respect Mother Earth. Europeans on the other hand were of the "Judeo-Christian" ethic. Genesis in the Bible pretty much says that God created Earth for mankind to procreate and prosper; they believed the land was theirs and could do what they wanted with (or to) it. "Savages" continues with the dichotomy of the two cultures. The Europeans saw the Native Americans as wild beasts to be tamed (or hunted); the Native Americas saw the Europeans as unnatural, like machines, even stating "I wonder if they even bleed."

This difference in cultures is both a blessing and a curse for the human race. While it's fascinating to learn about other societies (i.e. Anthropology, and I'm not talking about the store), and discover their worldviews and how they celebrate humanity, the fact that we are different scares us. This is especially true in America: we fear Muslims, we fear Communists, we fear illegal immigrants. I'm not saying these fears aren't valid. But I think it's fair to say that these differences between us are what lead to war and death, and I believe will be the cause for human annihilation (if global warming doesn't get to us first. But that's for another post...).

Sorry for the tangent. But it's it amazing how an innocent Disney movie can bring to the forefront such deep, political, and serious issues?

"I wish you all the best"

If I hear this one more time from a guy who doesn't want to see me anymore, I'm going to punch him in the face.

Really, you wish me all the best? Let's be real here. You clearly don't like me anymore. You never want to see me again. And yet you're telling me you hope everything goes great for me and that my life will be awesome without you? Give me a break. I certainly don't wish you the best. Now I'm not saying I hope you die or rot in Hell for eternity. But if you twisted your ankle, or your current girl friend cheated on you, I wouldn't feel sorry for you. So let's cut the BS and be honest. Why don't you just say,

"Look, I know we've been going out for a while, but I'm a quitter and I'm done. And there's this other chick who's sluttier than you, so I know I can get some from her. So....yeah. Buh-bye."

I'm going to think you're an a**hole either way, but at least the latter statement is the truth.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


I just realized that I have never blogged about how much I love Twitter! I deleted my Facebook account after I graduated from college (time to move on and grow up!), but I missed sharing my thoughts, ideas, and photos online. Twitter to the rescue! It's so easy to use, as long as you can be concise enough to fit your message into 140 characters. That takes practice, but after a while you get the hang of it and become used to being short 'n' sweet! I also really like the "re-tweet" action. I read so many tweets that are funny or political or trendy that I wish I had written; by re-tweeting it, I can show that 1. I support the message and 2. I want to share it with my followers. And of course I mainly look at tweets that include photos; I can't help but click that little photo icon! I don't miss Facebook at all since Twitter has all of the same things I loved about the former: sharing your status, "liking" others' messages, and looking at photos.

I love how fast Twitter is! Not only are the messages short, but my feed is always changing, so I can tweet once every minute and still know that most people aren't seeing all of my tweets. There's no way to overwhelm the news feed because there's so much turn-over. And since it's in real-time, I enjoy live-tweeting, whether I'm at a concert, other event, or watching a TV show (ahem, "Ready for Love"). Then other people who are doing the same thing at that same time can share the experience with me!

Plus, shorter messages means less reading.  Read your Facebook post is like homework!

Starting off as friends

I don't believe in starting out a romantic relationship as friends. Now, I'm not saying that if you did meet your special someone as friends that your relationship is invalid. That's just not the road I choose to take.

For one, I think that chemistry should be there from the get-go. Yes, the chemistry you have for a friend can blossom into romance. But I think that if a man wants you, he should be physically attracted to you as soon as he meets you; ideally, you think he's pretty cute, too. I concede that the mental chemistry can take a couple dates, but if it's not there after a little while, I'm not patient enough to wait for it to come around. That "spark" should be there right away. That's the feeling that makes you want to date someone!

Starting off as friends can make you feel safe and secure, something you should want in a relationship. You already know each other, you've met each other's friends, there's less mystery and doubt. BUT say you're friends, you eventually start dating, and then you break up. Now, not only have you lost your boyfriend, but most likely it's going to be an awkward friendship, too. Quite frankly, if I have a great friendship with a guy, I'm not going to mess that up by sleeping with him. I've always said I'd rather have a friend for a lifetime than a lover for a night.

It's like Harry says in When Harry Met Sally: "Men and women can't be friends. The sex thing gets in the way." I can't agree more. While I do have a couple of male friends, I guarantee that they think I'm cute, and if I wanted to kiss them they'd be more than open to it. But they're stuck in the friend-zone with me.


I have never been a fan of gelato. Now I don't mean I don't like the taste. I think gelato is delicious, and I'll admit that if I had a personal gelato shop of my own, I'd eat a scoop of pistachio gelato every day.

BUT it's just so expensive! I went to Dolcezza the other day in Bethesda for the first time. The gelato shop has been there for some time (it's actually very cute, with periwinkle walls and pristine white accents of fancy chairs and pretty mirrors), but I've always walked past it because of the cost. I'd rather buy a whole half-gallon of ice cream than a teensy cup of gelato. But since I had never been in before, I figured I should try it. And you know what? It was even MORE expensive than I expected!!! The smallest cup available was over 5 dollars. FIVE DOLLARS for less than two scoops of gelato. Are you kidding me?!?! And was it worth it? No. Yes, it was yummy, but I could have had at least a pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream for the same price, if not a s**t ton of Breyers.

Clearly I will NEVER go back. And, yes, I'm going to write a scathing Yelp review, too.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"My Wish for You"

Since I'm going to see Rascal Flatts in concert at the Delaware State Fair this weekend, it only seems appropriate that I should blog about one of their songs. Granted, I love a lot of their songs (hence why I'm seeing them live for the second time), but for this post, we'll just focus on "My Wish," written by Jeffrey Steele and Steve Robson. I can't just pick one stanza that I like, so listen to the whole song with the link below!

This song is a little confusing because I'm not sure who's supposed to be saying these words to the listener. Is it the men of Rascal Flatts? Is it a family member, or an ex? Or is it God? 

But that doesn't really matter. I simply like that this song speaks about going after your dreams, achieving what makes you happy, and being a good person by forgiving others and lending them a helping hand when they need it. There's just absolutely nothing negative about this song! Every word makes me feel good. It makes me think of my parents, because I know that they would say those words to me: they've always wanted what was best for me, and have always encouraged me to do what's best for me. And in return for such good advice, I hope that I can do right by them now and in the future, too.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Indoor Rock Climbing

I'm not the most adventurous person in the world. Okay, that's the understatement of the century. I don't like roller coasters, I would never skydive, and climbing Kilimanjaro has absolutely no appeal to me. However, there are moments when I feel bad ass. One is when I'm snowboarding, and the other was when I went indoor rock climbing the other day.

Again, being the cautious person I am, and wearing the title of "Princess," I probably will not rock climb again. However, it was fun while it lasted! You wear these funny little shoes (which made me think of bowling...), and then start climbing! It takes a little while to get a feel for which rocks to grab and which path to take to reach the top, but once you get going, it's not too hard! But, your body becomes sore soon after you begin. I first felt it in my forearms, then my shoulders and back, and eventually my glutes when I was using more of my lower body. I'm sure my form was not great: I could tell I was hugging the wall rather than letting myself hang or jump from rock to rock like a monkey. Once you become fatigued, it's hard to get going again; my body pretty much gave up on me.

But at least I looked the part! I can act like the sexy, outdoorsy, adventurous athlete...even if I don't really feel like that's my identity! I guess it's a part of who I am...a small part...a sliver...

So, I'm not going to become an avid rock climber anytime soon. I might mess up my next manicure...

Dating outside of the metro area

Although I grew up in the country and went to college in a rural town, I have lived in both New York City and the DC Metro Area and have gotten quite used to the city life. It actually makes it difficult for me to socialize with those who do not live within the metro limits. I occasionally will make the effort to drive to see someone who lives closer to Baltimore or even on the Eastern Shore if I'm already over there to see my parents, but usually, I just cross those people off my list. I shrug my shoulders and say, "Well, I guess I'm not going to hang out with him/her." I've certainly learned that trying to date someone who doesn't live in DC (like in Baltimore or Fairfax in VA [like the equivalent of Jersey for NYC]) is more work for not that much fun. You end up spending so much on gas (and wasting your time in traffic). Why bother when you can find someone who either lives in your town or is just a couple metro stops away? Dating is supposed to be fun, not a chore. So unless I can walk from the metro to your place...Sorry, buddy, you're out.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Drink more water!

I think this is one health tip that is ignored all too often. You know how you've heard to drink 8 glasses of water a day? Well, there's a reason for that! Your body is at least 70% water, so you need water to survive! Water not only keeps you hydrated, but it also helps cleanse your system and remove toxins and waste from your body. Both good things, right? So when you drink a lot of water, you feel better, and you look better, too! I guarantee your skin will show an improvement just by drinking more water (hmm, that should have been in my post about dry skin...).

Now, I'll be honest: I don't drink 8 glasses of what a day. But here are some of the things I do to make sure I get at least a few glasses in:

1. I always keep a glass of water at my desk at work. I don't drink too much water at home, but at work, I drink at least 3 glasses a day. I don't even think about it. I'm just busy sending emails, taking notes, sitting in meetings, and unconsciously I take a sip every once in a while. This way you're not thinking, "Ugh, I need more water to stay hydrated." You just automatically do it!

2. Take a water bottle with you to the gym. I frequently see people who work out without one and then go to the water fountain maybe once or twice while they're at the gym. With all that sweating, you need to replace that moisture in your body! I cannot work out without a water bottle with me: every couple of minutes I need a sip! This is important so you do not become dehydrated. And again: you won't really need to think about this one. You'll just naturally feel thirsty, and then naturally take a drink. That's it!

3. Have water as a snack. Now this decision you do have to consciously make. When you're getting hungry, but you know you're going to have a meal an hour or two later, you're going to want a snack. So while you may be thinking of having some potato chips or candy or other junk food to tide you over, replace those thoughts by drinking a glass of water. Water fills up your stomach just like food does, but it has ZERO calories (okay, so does Coke Zero, but that has chemicals and unnatural sweeteners and the like. Water is 100% natural!). This way, you can wait until lunch/dinner without feeling starving or feeling too full once your meal comes around!

So, readers: any tricks or tips on how you stay hydrated?


So we've been having some pretty funky weather in the DC/MD/VA region this spring. First of all, spring arrived SUPER late. Usually by April it's sunny and warm, but this year there was a lot of rain (even snow!). And then there have been days when it felt like we completely skipped spring and went straight to summer (high humidity, 80+ degree days, etc.). And lately we've been having a lot of thunderstorms! Now, I think lightening is really cool, so I enjoy storms...just as long as I'm not outside in one. A lot of times the storms happen late at night, and the next morning you can tell it rained, but it's back to sunshine. Those are my FAVORITE. I know the plants need the rain and all that jazz, so it's nice when it rains at night (when I'm in bed and don't care), but then the next day I can enjoy good weather.

Of course I think all of this weird weather is due to climate change, but we're not going to go into that...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


For as long as I can remember, I have had vivid dreams. Some people claim they never have dreams, or forget them as soon as they wake up. I usually can remember most of each dream, including tiny details; some dreams I can remember from years ago just because they had such an impact on my psyche. Here are some, just to name a few:

1. Growing up I definitely had a lot of those dreams where you feel like you're falling. I remember one when I was skateboarding and grinding down a rail, but woke up when I fell off in my dream. You feel shaken up even though nothing actually happened to you! You're out of breath, your heart's racing. It's amazing how the mind can control your physical reaction just to thoughts!

2. All of my nightmares involve getting attacked. I think this is because I honestly have no idea how to defend myself. I don't own a gun (let alone know how to shoot one), I've never taken karate or self-defense classes, and I'm not a big person, so punching someone out is out of the question. The first one I remember was actually about a dog. In my dream I owned a gray miniature schnauzer (I don't remember the timing of my dream, but my dad had a good client who owned this type of dog, and maybe I had seem them recently...not sure). He and I would frolic and play outside, and he met a squirrel in the woods who he became friends with. But the sky was turning dark from a storm, so I told the dog we needed to go inside. He didn't want to leave his friend, but I made him. Then I was in my bed (it looked just like my real bedroom), and the dog comes into my room with glowing yellow eyes. He starts growling at me and speaking to me in a gruff voice, telling me how I had made him leave his friend and how he was angry at me. And then he lunged at my throat...That's when I woke up. This was years ago, and I can still picture those stirring images! I've also had multiple dreams about big men coming after me; I try to stab them or run away, but I can't. So scary!

3. I had one dream that felt like a movie it was so long and detailed. Leonardo DiCaprio was the leading man (of course!). It started out back in time with two Native Americans in a canoe on a river, and they had necklaces that were symbolic of something, but you didn't know what. Then we're transported to the present on a large ship (Titanic, anyone?); there are people on it as well as cargo. Along the storyline, you meet many characters, many of which have these same necklaces. DiCaprio is like a detective (that's not his job, but he's just curious) and tries to figure out what it means. At the end, we find out that the necklaces indicate that people are somehow involved with trade, usually for something illegal (in this case it was boot-leg videos). I mean, a dream with such a plot is crazy!

4. And of course I've had dreams of the men in my life. Those who have hurt me and are still in my subconscious. I dream of breaking up, I dream of getting back together, I dream of meeting up as friends and talking about the good times. I've dreamt I'm holding someone's hand only to wake up and see my hand squished between my knees. I'm not sure I can say these are the most disturbing dreams, but they worry me in that I can't stop thinking of people from the past. How can I move on consciously if my dreams won't let me?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Handling stress

Okay, I realize I am probably the last person who should be giving advice on handling stress (seeing as I've been a worry-wart my entire life). But I do have some tips that I think work, and you can take 'em or leave 'em.

-Breathe: I think everyone can agree that taking a moment to close your eyes and take in a few deep breaths can calm you down. It centers you, and since you're focusing on your breath, you're not thinking about whatever has you worried. Just do this for a couple of minutes, and you should feel a little better.

-Eat comfort foods: Now this one you have to be careful with. If you go over-the-top with the ice cream or mac-n-cheese, you're going to have one more stress to deal with (i.e. weight issues). But having a happy snack can calm you down. I usually go for candy (chocolate, jelly beans, doesn't really matter, just something with sugar in it). Of course this is a temporary fix, but it can settle you down at least for a little while.

-Exercise: Exercise is a great way to get that stressful energy out of your body. Go for a run, take a kick-boxing class, whatever you like. Exercising can take your mind off of the things that are stressing you out. Plus, the endorphins aren't too bad, either.

-Vent: Sometimes you just need to let it all out! But, again, use caution with this strategy. You don't want to turn into the friend/child/sibling known for whining all the time. But every once in a while, it's okay to go to that person who has the shoulder you can cry on and just talk about why you're stressed. After discussing your feelings, you understand them better, and they don't seem as overwhelming or intimidating.

-Get plenty of sleep: Sometimes your body is feeling out of whack because you're not well-rested! Even just getting an hour or two of extra sleep can instantly make you perk up. If you're sick and not feeling well, you try to rest a lot, right? Well, treat stress like an illness and get some sleep!

What are your tips for de-stressing? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Treating dry skin

This might be TMI, but after my lovely sunbathing trip in Los Angeles, my skin is now peeling. Ew.

If you face this problem this summer, here are some tips:

1. Exfoliate. The skin is dead, and there's no sense in trying to fix the problem now. It's too late! So try to remove the skin as much as possible. I recommend taking a shower with a puff or loofa (see photo of regular shower puff and one with a handle to wash your back); the rough surface will help to break up and remove the dead skin cells. Do this every day until you think all of the peeling skin is gone. Keep in mind that exfoliating is a healthy thing to do anyway, so I use these every time I shower.

2. Lotion up. Put lotion on the area every day (if not multiple times a day) to nourish the new, delicate skin. Lotion can also mask the dryness of peeling skin, but again, it's better to get rid of what your body doesn't need anymore!

And of course try to prevent this when you can! Wear sunscreen (extra! lots! tons!), and moisturize daily no matter what time of year or how much sun you're getting.

Graduation Ceremonies

In my lifetime, I have now attended 7 graduation ceremonies: three were my own, and four for my sister. While each one of them is special, I find them to be an odd celebration. At least for my family, my sister and I were not the first kids to graduate from high school or college, and there was never any doubt that we would receive our diplomas; graduating was inevitable, so why make such a big deal out of it? I suppose some would say it's the pay-off for all your hard work, but really, is sitting for HOURS in a crowd when it's freezing your idea of a celebration? A trip to Europe or a new car would be better (though more expensive, and you can't ask your parents to spend MORE money on you when they've just paid your entire college tuition). It's just that these ceremonies are all the same: they take forever, someone gives a speech about going after your dreams and not being afraid to fail, someone sings a song and says a prayer, and then everyone tries to escape all at the same time at the very end. Thank goodness my parents only had two children. I'm hoping I won't have to sit through one of these again!

Well, at least not until my sister has kids. Then I'll be the "cool aunt" and I'll have to come...

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Star Trek

So, I'll admit it...My parents are Trekkies (i.e. super-fans of Star Trek). They have been watching the show for years, and I grew up watching it with them. I remember Kirk, the ladies' man of the original series; Worf with his wrinkly Klingon forehead from Second Generation; all the characters fascinated me. So of course I was excited when a new Star Trek movie was created in 2009, and I just saw the newest film. Not only did I think the movie was pretty true to the original show, but the actors are PERFECT! Even watching an old episode right after seeing the movie, Chris Pine really does look like a young William Shatner; the same goes for Zachary Quinto and Leonard Nimoy. Handsome, futuristic men? idea of SciFi porn.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Physical Therapy

Now, I know that some people swear by physical therapy and really think it has helped with their injuries. But I am not one of those of those people. I think of physical therapists as the witch doctors of the 21st century. They make you do funny movements with your body, stretch things out, and attach you to a electric thing that zaps your muscles every couple of seconds. Sometimes they'll even put this cold goo on you and rub it with a magic wand (oh, I'm sorry, "ultrasound."). I can tell you right now that this "therapy" only made my condition worse, to the point that I wish I had never agreed to do it in the first place. Not only did I waste my time, it was a HUGE waste of money, too! For every session (which they insisted I come in 2-3 times every week for a month), they billed it for $110. And for every time they use the electric zapper thing (which was every visit; they never explained that there was a separate charge for that, otherwise I would not have done it), they charged $50 extra. In the end, I was charged over $1,500 (including cortisone shots in both of my knees, which, let me tell you, have also done no good). Thank goodness I have health insurance so I don't have to pay the entire fee, but I'm still out a couple hundred bucks for absolutely nothing. What a waste!

Anna Karenina

So, I saw the movie Anna Karenina when it first came out in theaters last year. I really liked it, and the film inspired me to read the book. I had owned the heavy thing for years and never actually read it, and I thought the journey would be easier now that I could picture the characters and I already knew the plot. I started reading around Christmastime, and I only just finished it. It's not like I read parts of it every day, but the thing is bigger than your average Harry Potter book, so it was very intimidating. Plus, while the story may have been revolutionary in the time of Leo Tolstoy, the plot of a woman cheating on her husband is bland for this day-and-age. The book goes on and on, while the movie easily sums up the tale. Of course the movie may be more surface-level than the deep religious pondering of some of the book's characters, but sometimes I don't want to be deep; I just want to enjoy a good book. And this one is just so lengthy, so wordy, so too much, it was hard to have fun reading it. Am I glad I read it? Yes: It's a classic, and now I know the story and can say I've read it. Would I recommend the book to anyone? No.

Shops in airports

I am WAY behind on my blog posts! Vacations seem to do that. I will try to catch up, and you will be reading lots of posts about traveling in the meantime.

I have spent several hours in airports during the last two weeks. I take in all of the shops and restaurants, and in general, I don't buy anything because everything is overpriced. I usually pack my own food (PB&J and apple slices every time), and I tend to ignore all of the stores. But during this last trip to California, I had an hour layover in Chicago, so I needed to entertain myself. I started walking, and was immediately taken in by these cute little guys:
How could I resist?! Maybe it's a silly girl thing, but a cute stuffed animal will always make me giddy. I had to have them. But I couldn't justify buying something so ridiculous for myself. So I bought the giraffe for my mother, the round caterpillar for my sister, a leopard for my friend in Los Angeles, and a unicorn for me (bet you didn't see that one coming). So if you're going to throw money out the airport-window, buy something for someone else. Then you won't feel so bad!

Hotel rooms

I am staying in a hotel this weekend for my sister's graduation from Boston University. I usually stay with friends or family while traveling, but if my parents are willing to pay for a room, I will gladly sleep in the second bed. BUT, I do have complaints (as usual):

1. Hotel rooms are always too cold! I'll admit that I'm pretty much always cold, but these rooms are freezing! There's no excuse for the AC to be that high. You'd think  hotels would try to save money, so why would they waste it on making freezers out of the bedrooms?

2. Every room should have a mini-fridge. When I travel, I rarely eat breakfast out. I like to have something right when I wake up. So it would be nice to be able to buy and stow away small bottles of milk and orange juice, maybe a catch my drift. But instead, I have to fill up the bucket of ice and stick my quart of milk in there overnight. Yum.

3. Hotel shampoos and soaps suck. I have never had anything dry out my hair or skin as quickly as that (not even the sunburn I'm dealing with now). I feel ickier coming out of the shower than I did going in! The travel-size shampoos and body wash are pricey for what they are, but they are SO worth it.

That's all for now. I'm sure I could think of other things, but I've got more posts to catch up on, so I'll stop my rant right here.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Techniques of Sunbathing

Yes, there are techniques, and yes, I am a sunbathing expert. It is by far one of my favorite activities, and as soon as the weather starts warming up after a rainy spring, I'm immediately out on the lawn ready to soak in some sun. So here is how to get the perfect tan:

1. Find the perfect location. Ideally this would be somewhere on the equator or southern California (where I am right now!), but that's not always possible. So instead, find a sunny spot in a park, your back yard, a roof-top pool, etc.

2. Bring your toolkit. This includes a sheet/blanket (larger than a towel for laying out), sunscreen, sun glasses, hair ties, a book or magazine, a water bottle (to prevent dehydration), and snacks. If you want the perfect tan, you want to be prepared and have everything with you.

3. Get the right angle. When you're standing up, see where your shadow lands on the ground. Wherever it does, put your blanket down there, and then face towards the sun if you're on your back, away from the sun if you're laying on your stomach. This way, you're getting the most coverage of the sun on your body. If you face the wrong way, shadows will cover you, and those parts won't get tan.

4. Rotisserie-style. I usually sunbathe in 30-minute increments, flipping from my back to my stomach (and then vice versa) every half hour. You could do longer or shorter, but sometimes it can be hard to sit still for too long. Just make sure you do the same amount of time for both sides: you don't want your stomach to be tan but your back to be pale! So bring a timer, or use the alarm clock on your phone, to make sure your timing is accurate. And you can stay out all day, or just do an hour. Any time in the sun is better than no sun at all!

5. Use sunscreen! I always put sunscreen on my face even before I head out to take in some rays. The skin on your face is very delicate, so you really want to protect it! I usually don't put sunscreen on the rest of my body for the first hour, just so I can get a strong base tan. But after that, I put it on all over (and re-apply if necessary). If you notice after one day you got really pink, make sure to put extra sunscreen on those places the next time you lay out. And don't forget chapstick for your lips (most have SPF 4 in them)! Burnt lips are not cute.

6. Prevent tan-lines. Unless you're sunbathing in the nude, tan-lines are inevitable. But you can prevent some of them. I wear a bandeau bikini top so I don't have straps to leave lines on my top. I never wear jewelry (no rings or watches especially), and I only wear sunglasses when I'm laying on my back so that I'm not getting direct sunlight on my face and therefore setting myself up for raccoon eyes. I also usually get a smaller size in bikini bottoms so that more of my bum can get tan. Just a thought...

If you follow these steps, by the end of the summer you will be perfectly bronzed!

Flying into different time zones

Hello from California! Since I was flying over from the East Coast, I knew I'd have to deal with the three hour time difference. The best way to handle this is just to sleep the whole way over. I had an early morning flight (~6am), so I was already tired from waking up at 3 in the morning. Once I got to the airport, I also took some medicine that has a drowsy side effect so that I knew I would knock myself out. I did indeed sleep through most of my flight, so when I arrived in Los Angeles at 11am PCT, I was ready to go. I was able to be awake and alert until about 11pm, so I transitioned to the time change very nicely. So if you have a similar trip coming up, try to normalize your body to the new time zone as quickly as possible!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Tim McGraw's "Better Than I Used to Be"

If you don't know the song, here's a video of him singing it live on The View:

I can really relate to the first stanzas of lyrics:

"Better Than I Used To Be" -written by Ashley Gorley and Bryan Simpson

I know how to hold a grudge
I can send a bridge up in smoke
And I can't count the people I've let down, the hearts I've broke
You ain't gotta dig too deep
If you wanna find some dirt on me
I'm learning who you've been
Ain't who you've got to be
It's gonna be an uphill climb
Aww honey I won't lie

I ain't no angel
I still got a few more dances with the devil
I’m cleaning up my act little by little
I’m getting there
I can finally stand the man in the mirror I see
I ain’t as good as I’m gonna get
But I’m better than I used to be

The first two lines are so me.I always joke that I'm like an elephant: I remember everything. So if you crossed me once, I'm not going to forget it, and you'll be forever in my memory as the person who did X or Y to me. At that point I cut those people out of my life. Snip, snip, you're out! If you don't make me feel like a ray of sunshine every time I'm with you, I don't want to be around you.

Now I realize this is a bad attitude to have. For one, people make mistakes, and while some of them may be totally horrible, most of my grudges are based on petty things that happened years ago. And even if I can't forget something, I should be able to forgive it. At this point, I haven't mastered the art (or attained the virtue?) of forgiveness. It's one of those things that's easier said than done. Yes, I can tell myself that whatever happened is ancient history and that to be at peace with myself I need to let it go. But actually feeling that way? It has yet to happen. I've prayed that God would let me forgive these people who have done me wrong, but it's kind of like the little boy in Liar Liar wishing his father could lie again: I don't actually mean it. I mean, I do mean it, but not as much as I mean my prayers for my family or for our troops overseas. So maybe that's why I haven't been able to forgive and forget. But I'm working on it!

I do feel like I'm "better than I used to be." If you knew me in high school, I'm a completely different person now. At 17, I was selfish, self-centered, and thinking, "I am leaving this one-horse-town to go to an Ivy League college, and I'm never going to see you hillbillies again!" In the seven years or so that have passed since then, I've transformed. Maybe not completely into a butterfly, but I'm no caterpillar either (pupa?). I'm more thoughtful towards others, I appreciate my friends and family more than I ever have before, and I've become an independent, productive member of society. I like to think that my 20's will be a great period of growth for me: economically, spiritually, socially. In just my first year of being on my own, I have grown so much, and I pray that I will continue on that path. I don't know if a person ever reaches that point of being as "good as [you're] gonna get" or if you can always become a better person. But I'm glad to be on the right track, even if I'm not sure of the end result.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The world is your runway!

Do you ever feel like you're lookin' so good that you should be on a catwalk? You've got a cute outfit on, you're all made up, and your heels make you feel like your legs are 10 feet long. You can't help but wanna shake your stuff! I don't know about you, but when I'm feeling that way, I start to get a techno beat in my head, the kind where you want to sing "untz, untz" along with it. My strides get longer, my pace is faster, and of course I'm hoping people are noticing (Newsflash: they're probably not. But it still feels good to think you're being noticed!). These sensations are when I feel really confident, not only in how I like but in who I am. I'm thinking, "I can take on the world, and look hot while doing it!" So let that be your mantra of the day/week/month/your life. Nothing can beat that!


I LOVE pashminas. My professor for my "Introduction to the Old Testament" class my freshman year in college wore them all the time. I thought she was so cool, with these scarves and chunky jewelry and beautiful curly blonde hair: I wanted to be like her! So I immediately bought a couple of these "summer scarves." Now I must have 10 of them: teal, pink, red, orange, three green ones...One for every outfit! I think they are not only a fun accessory that dresses up an outfit: they are also very practical. If I'm not wearing a pashmina, I at least carry one in my bag, just in case: it could get cold, and you want to wrap something around your shoulders; it could start raining, and you can wrap it around your head if you forgot your umbrella. Every girl should own at least one. Then you'll fall in love and have to buy more!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Easy Chicken Recipe

Since living on my own I've slowly but surely been teaching myself how to cook. But I'm still at the stage where I make uncomplicated recipes: the fewer number of ingredients, the better. So here is how I cook chicken (when I don't just dice it up into tiny bits and sautee it on the stove):

1. Take large chicken breast and cut into 3-4 pieces. I like the Eating Right brand at Safeway.
2. Cover each piece with Lawry's lemon pepper sauce. I just squirt some in a bowl and roll each piece of chicken in it (messy!).
3. Place in toaster oven (on the little metal sheet thing that came with your toaster oven) at 350 degrees.
4. Cook for 15 minutes, then turn the pieces over and cook for another 15. If you cut open a piece or two and can see they're not cooked all the way, you can either leave them in the toaster oven for a little longer or pop the pieces in the microwave to finish the job.

Ta da! Dinner is served (hopefully with a vegetable. O Organics Spinach is my favorite, but that's just me.).

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Painting your nails

One thing that is ultra-feminine (and is therefore something most men like) is a woman who takes care of her nails. Yes, you keep them clean of course, but it's more than that. Longer nails are definitely preferable: they make your fingers look longer and thinner, and every man likes his back scratched. And I don't mean super-duper long: that's just as bad (if not worse) than having really short nails. And then painting them is a plus as well. I'm not saying you need to get manicures all the time: I've probably had 5 my whole life, and I don't actually like them (they're expensive, and I mess up one of the nails as soon as I leave the salon). Just once a week, tidy up your nails. Trim them, push back your cuticles, and paint your nails your favorite shade (pink is my go-to because it always looks good no matter how pale or tan I am). You can even do fun designs if you're ambitious (there must be a million Youtube videos for that). It's just one more way to look put-together, and it'll make you feel pretty and pampered!

Julie Brown - 80's Music

I LOVE 80's music. Madonna, Journey, you name it: If I hear it, I blast the radio. But this post is about one particular artist who is quintessentially of the 1980's: Julie Brown. She sings so many funny and silly songs, and they just make me smile. They certainly aren't very PC, but I still get a kick out of them. Below are a few links to her music videos (some of which are as ridiculous as her lyrics):

"'Cause I'm a Blonde"
"Earth Girls Are Easy"
"The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun"
"I Like 'Em Big and Stupid"

And there are many others! 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The National Cathedral

If you're planning on visiting DC this summer, most people will suggest that you go to the National Mall to see the monuments or take a trip to the Air and Space Museum. But one of my favorite places to go to in the nation's capital is the National Cathedral. Anyone can admire the architecture and artistry of this magnificent edifice, even if you aren't religious. Although the outside is reminiscent of other cathedrals (think Notre Dame), there are so many special parts to note at this beautiful place. There are over 100 unique gargoyles along the outside (including one of Darth Vader!), and the stained glass windows are like nothing you've ever seen before.

The windows are my favorite part. I had only ever seen stained glass that was either of abstract shapes or literal scenes from the Bible. However, these windows portray modern stories, including slavery and World War II. And the colors are incredible! When the sun shines through them, the colors are SO vibrant you can't help but stare!

 I have two particular favorite windows. One shows outer space and includes an actual moon rock. The other is the Maryland window. You can clearly see the state flag, and though this photo doesn't show it, at the bottom there is a Baltimore Oriole (the state bird), a Blue Crab, and Black-eyed Susans (the state flower).

There are also many statues and carvings at the Cathedral. Along with the religious figurines are historical figures like President George Washington.

There is SO much to see at the Cathedral that you have to make several trips to take it all in (like the Louvre). From the inside to the outside, from the multiple chapels to the gardens, there is just so much to enjoy! So on your visit to DC, don't forget this gem!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Highline

If you are planning to go to New York City this summer, my number one recommendation is to go to The Highline. Elevated train tracks were converted into this beautiful park where you can enjoy the flowers, the city's skyline, and some yummy gelato. I have been several times, including when it first opened in 2009, but all of the photos below are from June 2012.

The park runs up the length of the Lower West Side, starting in the Meat Packing District near Chelsea Market going up to W. 34th Street. Along the way are benches where you can sit and get some sun or enjoy a picnic.

 And of course you can see all of the beautiful flowers that are blooming during that time of year, and catch a glimpse of the insects that like them, too!

The architecture of the buildings around the park is also very interesting to look at. New York is known for its tall buildings, and now you have the chance to get up-close and personal with them!

There's artwork all around, too! You can see murals painted on the sides of brick buildings and sculptures scattered sporadically. It's an outdoor museum!

With all of these wonderful things to see, how can you NOT go?!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Online Surveys and Voting

So, if you can't tell that I love sharing my opinions, clearly you have just started reading my blog. But blogging is not the only way I make my opinions known on the internet. Here are a couple other activities I enjoy that let my voice be heard:

1. Twitter: I will @-mention organizations, sports teams, products, etc. that I love/like/hate. This way, they get my direct feedback instantaneously in 140 characters or less!

2. Voting in online polls. I'm sure there are many topics on which you can vote online, but the only ones I really participate in are those from People magazine. You can vote on "Who wore it best?" or "What's her best side?" (fact: it's almost always the 3/4 view of the face, which is between a frontal view and profile view). I love comparing actresses who wore the same designer dress or seeing Kate Middleton at every angle imaginable. I'm a vicarious fashionista!

3. Online surveys. I'd say I get at least one email a day for online surveys. You frequently get rewarded for your time (you get paid a little bit for each survey, and in the end you can cash in those credits for gift cards), so it's an easy way to make a little money on the side. Here are a few of my favorites: