Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Lessons I've Learned from the Queens of Comedy; Kristen Wiig Edition

Kristen Wiig is HILARIOUS. I love all of my SNL girls, but she cracked the top three for me (If you HAVE to ask, the ones above her are Tina Fey & Amy Poehler, obviously.) She's someone I would love to go karaokeing with or even going to play BINGO at the community center or something, because it would be the best night! Of.My.Life. She's a strong woman which I just LOVE, she's an excellent writer (Bridesmaids!), hilarious comedian and a great actress. 

1. I run the risk of sounding like Captain Obvious here, but I love to write. I've written since I was in 7th grade and haven't stopped since. I like the research that takes place leading up to an essay just as much as actually writing the essay itself (yes, I'm that kid that loves English homework!) and I also love the creativity that goes on in writing stories or poems. I love it all. I haven't always been able to admit that. It's a closely guarded secret (well, not anymore I guess) that I've kept for a long time from most people. I was always afraid of what other people thought about what I'd written because it was so deeply personal for me. When I started this blog last November (2013) is was to get over this very fear. And this helps me to be braver. Your creativity is your life force. Don't let ANYONE tamper it down. Create for you and you alone, and let others' appreciate it if they want to.

2. Yes! Most of us have been there before. I definitely have. A good 1 1/2 years in my late teens that I would call definite ROCK BOTTOM for me. But that's okay. Instead of resenting that part of our lives, embrace it. Don't let it hold you down and keep fighting the good fight!

 3. Figure out what your strengths are and play to them. You can be proud of yourself and enjoy your greatness without being cocky or arrogant. AND YOU SHOULD! If you don't know what those things are just yet, don't fret! Dedicate some real time to soul searching and meditating. If you're still struggling to find what you're good at, make lists of all the things you love, even the little things or try a whole bunch of EVERYTHING until you find what you love and are good at. If you have trouble acknowledging or accepting the things you're good at, don't hesitate to ask your friends and family what they think your strengths are. Guaranteed they see your talents even if you don't

BTW: You don't have to be GOOD at the things you love to do them. Just sayin'. I LOVE to draw but I'm awful at it! 

4. Seriously true words. Listen, I know having the courage to do what you love isn't always easy. I never had a thought in the world about doing anything other than my favorite thing in the world (soccer) until I got hurt really bad and physically wasn't able to do it anymore. And after that I got scared. For the first time in my life I wasn't sure about who I was, where I was going or what I wanted to do. It was the absolute worst time of my life. I didn't want to commit to anything else because the last time I had done so, it ended in the worst possible way. I had had the snot kicked out of me and I didn't think I could handle going through that again. But you know what, NOT doing what you love (even if it's your second best thing) is miserable. It's no way to live. You might get hurt again. You might fall but then again you might fly. Be true to who you are and jump off the cliff, even though you don't know what's underneath you. Believe in yourself, it's the only parachute you need.

5. Yes! Break down those walls! I mean, Bridesmaids was a real turning point for the industry, being a comedy completely centered on a female cast and written by a woman, no less! I love the headway she's making in a male-dominated field. It's inspirational for us career-minded women to see someone who's taking it head on. You go girlfriend! Girl Power! (Sorry, I'm a 90's kid...) It doesn't matter what field you're in, as a woman, you can be game changers. You WILL be game changers! Work hard and don't be afraid to challenge the norm!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Dating Purgatory

“Hanging out” is the purgatory of the dating world. You’re just stuck in limbo! What are we doing?? You’re either just friends or you’re potentially interested in being more than friends. And if that’s the case, just flippin ask us on bloody D-A-T-E. It’s not scary and it DOESN’T mean commitment, okay people!?

It’s like we live in a movie that never has the good endings! Maybe someone hit pause and we’re just waiting for it to start back up again? No. Screw that, I hate waiting. Maybe we just need a casting change, ya know? Like in soap operas where they kill off one of one of the main characters to bring on a new, more interesting and even better one. Yeah, I like that. Metaphorically speaking, of course. I’m not homicidal. Just irritated and stuck on this perpetual (not so)Merry-Go-Round of mid twenties “dating” hell. Welcome to adulthood, I hope you like being alone. That’s the sign at the entrance, in case you missed it on your way in.

Haha I only say this tongue and cheek, it sounds like I am depressed, but I swear I’m not. It’s almost amusing to me, almost.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

BEST Names in Literature: Or How I Spent 4 Days Trying to Name my Dog

Yes, Brown Eyed Girl has her very own Brown Eyed Pup and yes, he's adorable and perfect! Frankie James. I guess it's true what they say, women who don't have babies have dogs (or cats). And he really does fill a void in my heart, in the best possible way

In preparation of Frankie's arrival, I spent 4 days straight just trying to pick out the perfect name. It's very important, you know, because a name says a lot about a pup. You wouldn't want them living up to a troublemakers name or even feeling pressured to be perfect by a moniker like Gatsby. These things are very important and so much consideration was taken before the appropriate name was selected and given. 
*Frankie James*
I know where you think this post is going and don't worry, it's not a "birth announcement" like it might seem because well, he's not a new born or... a human. This actually focuses on those 4 days I spent coming up with the perfect name. You see, I wanted something taken from my favorite works of literature that would be sure to give him the confidence I see in his potential. 

Yes, I know I actually ended up naming him after my favorite (and legendary) soccer player from England (even though he's a German dog) but you know, I did the work anyway and came up with a list of the greatest names in literature. I don't really think they need any explanations- they're either memorable by their effect on culture, because of their effortless coolness/villainous or even simply because of their uniqueness. 

Here are my top 20 character names in literature, and believe me, it was difficult to narrow down!  

1. Fitzwilliam Darcy/Elizabeth Bennett, Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
2. Bond. James Bond. Series by Ian Fleming
3. Ichabod Crane, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
4. Atticus Finch/Boo Radley/Scout/Jem, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
5. Jay Gatsby, The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
6. Sherlock Holmes/Dr. Watson, series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 
7. Monroe Starr, Last Tycoon by F Scott Fitzgerald
8. Alice/The Mad Hatter, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
9. Count Dracula, Dracula by Bram Stoker
10. Victor Frankenstein, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley 
11. Tom Sawyer/Huckleberry Finn, Adventures of... by Mark Twain
12. Milo Minderbender, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
13. Scarlet O'Hara/Rhett Butler, Gone with the Wind by Margarett Mitchell
14. (who is) John Galt, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
15. Katniss Everdeen/Effie Trinket (and ALL the rest of the characters), Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
16. Severus Snape/Luna Lovegood/Bellatrix Lestrange, Harry Potter Series, JK Rowling
17. Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
18. Holden Caulfield, The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
19. Hester Prynne, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne 
20. Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

*Rules to Live By*

In my child psychology class we were asked to think about what advice we'd give our children (or maybe ourselves if we could!) in their teen years. My professor had us write a list of things we'd want them to know, things we wish we had known or learned the hard way. It was actually a really good project because it helped me re-evaluate my life and how I was living it. If I had a daughter in high school right now, I'd be having to say "do as I say and not as a do" an awful lot! 

It's like Lewis Carroll wrote in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" when he says "She generally gave herself very good advice, though she very seldom followed it." I don't know about you, but I'm just like Alice, all the timeDo you ever think about the advice or reassurings you give your best friends, sisters or nieces? We are so loving and encouraging and forgiving with other people, but when it comes to us, we go all Regina-George-with-a-burn-book! And we KNOW better, we know what we should do and we should love ourselves and not be as critical, but for most of us, that's hard! 

Making this list for my future daughter or my nieces really reminded me of things I needed to hear and ways I can be better in my own life.

*Rules to Live By*:
1. Love yourself, every part of you, and don't let anyone make you feel otherwise. And fall in love with as many things as possible.
2. Be a dreamer. Never let anyone tell you that you can't. 
3. Never begin sentences with "No offense but..." Just because you say "no offense" before you say something nasty, does not make it okay. It's not a free pass to be rude.
4. Be honest and kind.
5. Don't panic. Stop. Breathe. Think.
6. Don't waste your time worrying that other people are thinking about you. They're thinking about themselves, just like you are.
7. Never change your haircut/color or get a facial before a big event.
8. Do unto others as you would have them do unto to you. I.E. Thou shalt not kill...or you know, flirt with your BFF's boyfriend.
9. It is better to buy one expensive thing that you LOVE rather than a couple cheaper things you only like.
10. When you get upset, ask yourself, "does it really matter?" Be honest. If the answer is no, move past it.
11. The key to success lies in how you pick yourself up from failure. Everyone fails, don't beat yourself up over it. Get back up, dust off the dirt and do it again. When it's something you love, NEVER give up!
12. Only buy clothes that make you feel like doing a happy dance. Seriously, if you only 'sort of' like it in the dressing room, you'll hate it by the time you get home.
13. Always stand up for yourself, your beliefs, and people that can't stand up for themselves.
14. Look on the bright side of things; there's always a silver lining. And if you can't find the bright side, look at the funny side.
15. Life is not fair. Get over it.
16. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow. Sometimes, its merely about survival. Keep your head up, "just keep swimming". 
17. Laugh at yourself. It's okay!
18. Don't have regrets. The only thing you can change is the present, so learn from the past.
19. If you start regretting something and you find yourself thinking "I should've done...", always add "but then I might've been mauled by a cougar or hit by a giant blimp. You never know what could have been down that alternative road
20. Tough times don't last, tough people do. 
21. Shoes are always worth the cost.
22. And you can never have too many!
23. Travel as far and as often as you can.The world is a beautiful place and pictures don't do it justice.
24. Always accessorize with a smile. :)
25. Most people deserve 2nd chances. But don't be afraid to cut off the people that don't!
26. Always give 100% of yourself. 
27. Never eat noodles on a first date. Ever.
28. Trust yourself and your instincts.
29. Appreciate the small things in life. If you want to eat that amazing looking cupcake, then eat it! Life is short!
30. Shoes are statement pieces. They are actually art that you wear on your feet. No one intends them to be comfortable. Strap 'em on and shine that megawatt smile babe!
31. Never get upset over getting lost, it's not worth it. Plus, some places you'd never find if you only read the map.
32. Stay away from birds, spiders, snakes, clowns, music boxes, old rocking horses, attics, basements, dark woods, haunted houses, tilt-a-whirls, and creepy motels. 
33. It's okay to play hooky every once in a while...that's why they're called "mental health" days.
34. Take time to be still and silent. Meditation really is all it's cracked up to be.
35. Always listen to your music loud and sing the words even louder. How else do you enjoy it??
36. Live and learn. What fun is perfection anyways?
37. Winter days are made for staying in your PJ's, snuggling up in a warm fuzzy blanket by the fire, drinking hot coco and watching a movie.
38. You ARE worth it. If it's important to you, then that's all the matters.
39. Brush and floss your teeth!
40. Read as often as you can; books take us to amazing places when we're stuck in just one.
41. Wear nail polish that makes you happy. (Pink is a proven mood booster for when you need an extra pick-me-up!)
42. I don't care what they tell you, there's always a good reason for a new purse!
43. Let your guard down- life is for living, not always playing it safe.
44. Open up to people and listen when they open up to you.
45. Get rid of all the people in your life that make you feel like crap. They aren't worth your tears and the people that are would never make you cry.
46. Dance in the rain- God's giving you a gift, so enjoy it!
47. Always be there for your friends, no matter what. Be the friend that's always on their side.
48. Never walk by a perfectly crunchy leaf without stomping on it. I don't care how old you are.
49. Being happy is the most efficient and cheap beauty secret. Plus, you'll live longer.
50. Always play Clue by candlelight when the power goes out. ALWAYS. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The *BEST* Summer Movies to Enjoy NOW!

Truth time: I'm obsessed with movies. Seriously, I personally own 500+ movies and TV seasons. It's a sickness. Much like music, books, and makeup, when I love something, I collect it. I never just like something; I either love it or hate it and I don't feel anything in between. And I LOVE movies. Every genre. Cheesy chic flicks, classic, indies, western, rom-coms, action, horror, you name it, I love it! But there are certain movies and styles that are *PERFECT* for summer. In fact, if you haven't watched these yet, do so. Like now. Heck, call in sick (there's always an elusive "bug" going around!) and spend a day just enjoying the best of cinematic history! It's a great way to beat the triple digit temperatures and avoid a sunburn! :)

1. Dirty Dancing

Who doesn't love this movie, I mean honestly?! First of all, it takes place in the summer at a country club resort-type thing with hot dance instructors, I mean, come on! Second, it's like a right of passage. Baby goes from good girl to dirty dancer faster that you can say "I carried a watermelon!" And third of all, did I mention Patrick Swayze is the hot dance instructor?? The movie practically screams SUMMER

2. Parent Trap (Lindsay Lohan version)

I love this movie. Like any girl born between 1986-1990, I loved it when it came out and I haven't stopped loving it since. My favorite part of the movie is whole time they're at camp and they pull pranks on each other and then they're sent into isolation and there's this huge storm and Leo's picture gets blown off the wall and they eat Oreos dipped in peanut better and then they discover that they're twins! I mean, TWINS PEOPLE! I was (am?) so jealous because this was the dream. Go off to summer camp for a week and find out you had an identical twin sister that you could pull "switches" on everyone with! I mean, Hallie gets to go to England you guys! ENGLAND. Summer camp was NEVER as cool as that for me! Not to mention I always wanted a secret handshake like Annie's! 

3. The Goonies

A bunch of kids on an adventure filled with treasure, scary monsters and a pirate ship! Who could ask for anything more?! This is a classic for a reason! I love the friendship between the boys. Followed closely for this same slot would be "Stand by Me" and "Sandlot". 

4. Pirates of the Caribbean 

I LOVE this movie. The first one is obviously the best and I can never get sick of it, and I've seen it a thousand times, easy. When it first came out on DVD (in 2003!!!), I watched it every day for a week. And not just because Johnny Depp is and always has been my favorite actor (I watched Edward Scissorhands when I was a little girl and that sealed the deal for me), and not because it was always my favorite ride at Disneyland, but because it's funny, full of adventure, tropical locations and well, pirates

5. Independence Day (Or any Will Smith movie will do!)

Will Smith OWNS summer you guys. I mean really, it isn't summer unless you watch Mr. Smith save the world from one thing or another. And it doesn't have to be Independence Day (actually, I take that back, you SHOULD watch it on the 4th, or you're NOT an American.) But really, pick any Will Smith movie you want. It'll work. Trust me.

6. Jaws 

Nothing spells out S-U-M-M-E-R like a good old fashioned shark movie. Whether it's JAWS, Deep Blue Sea (Thomas Jane ya'll!) or any movie involving a scary beast in water, it will make you think twice the next time you're swimming in the middle of the ocean (or a lake) and someone starts driving the boat away from you and yelling  "just think of everything that could be swimming underneath your feet right now!" Not that a hold a grudge or anything. And not that it still traumatizes me or created a deadly fear of large bodies of water.

7. Grease 

I've got chills! They're multiplying! If you're in need of a summer musical, look no further. The best songs in any musical, the dancing, the John Travolta dressed as a greaser...I mean, everything about this movie/musical is perfection. And the best ending/song. EVER.

8. The Notebook (Or insert ANY Nicholas Sparks film here)

Nicholas Sparks' films/books are the same exact formula. Every time. And that's not a complaint. The man knows how to sucker us in more than Zac Efron's abs. Just saying. The formula is perfect: Hot boy (Ryan Gosling, Zac Efron, Josh Duhamel, Channing Tatum or the OG Shane West) + cute likeable girl (Rachel McAdams, Mandy Moore, Amanda Seyfried) + summer love+ carnivals+small southern town+something depressing= insta hit. 

9. Indiana Jones

Everyone's got a favorite Indy, so I'm not going to even go there. Indy is great for summer because: 
A) Harrison Ford (I should be able to stop there and it would be all the reasoning you need) 
B) Exotic locations that you can't afford to actually travel to on summer vacation but you wish you could 
C) It's super fun and packed full of action, adventure, and comedy 
D) Well...Indiana Jones is both an action hero AND a hot professor...
He's the best of both worlds

10. Secret Window

I really LOVE this movie. Yes, Johnny is amazing, as always, but I also love Stephen King and this adaptation of the novella "Secret Window, Secret Garden" is great. If you haven't read it, you can find it in the compilation "Four Past Midnight". I suggest you bring it with you on your next camping/cabin trip. ;) In 2004 when we went camping we brought a portable DVD player and watched this movie in the middle of the woods with my Grandma (she loved scary movies!) and it was one of the best times of my life. Basically, in the summer aim for any movie that takes place in the woods. If you're really into scaring the crap out of yourself, watch them while you're there or right before you go. It'll terrify you that much more! 

Other horror films taking place in the woodsBlair Witch Project, Cabin Fever, Wrong Turn, Friday the 13th, Cabin in the your discretion, as always.  

Happy viewing!! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Music Madness: What the 80's Taught me About Love

I'm an extreme music fan. I know that's probably obvious, and the people who know me are rolling their eyes about now, but it's the plain and simple truth. I love music; every kind and every decade has something in it that I LOVE. If you asked me for a "favorite", there's no way I'd be able to narrow it down, and even if I could, it would be different depending on the day of the week or the particular mood I'm in at that very moment. Music is just so amazing. I was listening to my 80's pop/rock playlist called "Take On Me" and was just lost, as I am on occasion, in the lyrics and sounds of that decade. 

SO MANY GOOD THINGS happened in music during that time and as I listened to bands and songs that I've heard a million times, it made me realize how much I learned from those songs. I started getting into "the 80's" when I was a sophomore in High School. Yes, I was born in the 80's and so it was "past my time", but I fell in love with it anyways, around the time that life really changes as a teenager. Thinking back to that and listening to these music legends made me realize how influential they were, and not just for other musicians, but for us as listeners. 

So I decided to compile a list of some of my favorite songs and everything they taught me and still teach me about love, loss and really really good melodies.  

1. Lovesong, The Cure (1989)

"Whenever I'm alone with you, you make me feel like I am home again. Whenever I'm alone with you, you make me feel like I am whole again…However far away, I will always love you. However long I stay, I will always love you. Whatever words I say, I will always love you. I will always love you."

My absolute favorite love song. Cure front man, lyric sorcerer, and brooder-extraordinaire Robert Smith wrote this song for his fiance before they got married, and I swear it will be at my wedding. But it doesn't even have to be about 'romantic love', this is just LOVE to me; it's not perfect and sometimes things or distance get in the way, but it doesn't matter because that person is home to you. They make you whole again like nothing else could. And nothing else matters

2. I'll Melt with you, Modern English (1982)

"I saw the world crashing all around your face...I'll stop the world and melt with you. You've seen the difference and it's getting better all the time. There's nothing you and I won't do. I'll stop the world and melt with you."

This was a very nontraditional sound of Modern English, who were in fact a Punk band from the UK, and in true 80's fashion, it's not as happy of a song as it sounds. Lead singer Robbie Grey said that it's actually more of an apocalyptic-style love song, with the lovers dying in their last embrace together. The song for me is very moving. In a not-so-literal way, love can be epic. In fact, it should be. The world should be able to explode around you when you're together and not notice. That may sound naive or unrealistic but I hope to have that some day.

3. Separate Ways, Journey (1983)

"Here we stand, worlds apart, hearts broken in two. Sleepless nights, losing ground I'm reaching for you. Feelin' that it's gone, can't change your mind. If we can't go on to survive the tide, love divides. Some day love will find you, break those chains that bind you... you know I still love you." 

This is my *favorite* Journey song. Losing someone you love is really, really tough. I think one of the hard things about relationships is that you don't have control over the whole situation. You can't make someone stay, no matter how much you love them. At some point, everyone goes through this and it's one of the more beautiful "break up" songs out there. It's not vindictive or laced with poisonous insults; it's broken and sad and desperate, but in a really good way. I hope you understand what I mean when I say that. I love the line towards the end when Steve Perry sings "If you must go, I wish you love." It's like a surrender, he's waiving the white flag, acknowledging that he can't stop her from leaving even though he wants to but he still wishes her the best anyway. That's love.

4. Alone, Heart (1987)

"You don't know how long I have waited to touch your lips and hold you tight. You don't know how long I have waited and I was going to tell you tonight. But the secret is still my own and my love for you is still unknown. Till now, I always got by on my own. I never really cared until I met you. But now it chills me to the bone. How do I get you alone?"

This is the greatest power ballad of all time, and inspires some serious drama-induced interpretative dance moments and fist pumping whilst singing along. (That's not just me, right?!) Its Shakespearean theme of unrequited love is heart breaking yet moving, because who at one point in their life hasn't been here? It sucks. Like no other. The Wilson sisters prove for one, that girls CAN rock and for two, that sometimes love is the worst. Along with anything worth while, you have to put yourself out there and that takes a lot of courage. Just make sure you don't lose out on your chance. Be brave!

5. Don't You (Forget About Me), Simple Minds (1985)

"Look my way, never love me. Rain keeps falling down. Will you recognize me? Call my name or walk on by? Rain keeps falling down. Don't you forget about me."

I love how cinematic these lyrics are. True, it was created for the Breakfast Club, the best movie of the 80's, and blares at probably the most famous freeze-frame moment in movie history with Judd Nelson's fist pump, but the song's got cred of it's own. Again, with the unrequited or perhaps unknown love like the ones before, this IS the 80's to me. I feel like this is the song that plays in the moment of your life when you're sitting in the cafeteria eating lunch with your friends and your secret crush walks by in slow motion (obviously) and makes eye contact with you and heart implodes in your chest cavity with the thought that he might talk to you. 

6. Love is a Battlefield, Pat Benatar (1983)

"You're begging me to go, then making me stay. Why do you hurt me so bad?...Believe me, I can't tell you why, but I'm trapped by your love and I'm chained to your side."

Love and feelings are complicated. I know that's probably the most painfully obvious statement ever made, but there's a certain point in your life that you learn this. I mean, really learn this. As we grow up, relationships get complicated and sometimes difficult and painful, so we have to know what we want. And we have to learn when to fight tooth and nail and when to walk away. Because LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD YOU GUYS. 

7. Enjoy the Silence, Depeche Mode (Okay, this released in 1990 but RECORDED in I get a pass)

"Pleasures remain, so does their pain. Words are meaningless and forgettable."

This is one of my favorite DM songs, but this lyric has always stood out to me amongst their slew of amazing lyrics. Some things/people that can make us temporarily happy or feel really good also bring us pain and heartache. Sometimes, the pleasure isn't worth the pain that directly follows it. I'm sure their are people who've been in toxic relationships that understand this sentiment exactly. The next line, I love. Because in the beginning of the song he's talking about how words are "like violence" and pierce through him and then in the middle he sings that "words are very unnecessary, they can only do harm". And then this. To me, it's talking about broken promises; at first when someone you love goes back on their word or says hurtful things, it's really painful. But if it happens repeatedly from the same person, you become almost numb to it, their words cease to mean anything, even the good ones, because they've broken your trust. Like the old adage says; actions speak louder than words.   

8. Take On Me, A-ha (1984)

"So needless to say of odds and ends, but I'll be stumbling away, slowly learning that life is okay. Say after me, 'it's no better to be safe than sorry.'"

I love this song, and the music video is one of the greatest of all time. Life is about trial and error, it's about learning and figuring things out for yourself. And taking chances, being vulnerable and putting yourself out there. We heard growing up that it's 'better to be safe than sorry' and I love how they flip it around and instead show that playing it safe can be just as bad. The hard truth is that sometimes throughout our lives, we have to take risks and let down our walls. If we don't, what are we living for? Or are we even living?

9. The Tide is High, Blondie (1980)

"Every girl wants you to be her man, but I'll wait, my dear, 'til it's my turn. I'm not the kind of girl who gives up just like that. The tide is high but I'm holding on, I'm gonna be your number one."

Oh Blondie. How are you so awesome? While the song was not originally written by Blondie, it's made popular by them, so it counts. Debbie Harry is so cool. I was going to try and say something more poignant than that, but it just seemed to sum it up. Some people are worth waiting for. I feel like this is self explanatory, but it's something I learned as I got a little older. When you're younger, your quick to just move on to the next. But when you're older, you realize people come with baggage or sometimes the timing isn't right and you have to decide if they mean enough to you to wait for them. And sometimes they are. (Ross & Rachel anyone?! Okay, that was a 90's reference, but I had to!)

10. Keep on Loving You, REO Speedwagon (1980) 

"And I meant every word that I said, when I said that I love you I meant that I love you forever. And I'm gonna keep on loving you, cause it's the only thing I wanna do. I don't wanna sleep, I just wanna keep on loving you."

I had to end on a power ballad. And this one is phenomenal. Though the story behind the song is sad (singer Kevin Cronin's wife was cheating on him and this was his response), the sentiment is beautiful. It's a song about unconditional love and that's few and far between nowadays. Isn't that what real love is? Unrelenting and unyielding? Despite everything else, loving someone so wholly is the most amazing thing. And if you don't sing this song in your car at the top of your lungs with the windows down using your fist as a mic, there's something wrong with you. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

*Wanderlust*, An Addiction

London, England
Wanderlust, a strong desire for or impulse to wander or to travel and explore the world. Let me tell you, I could probably be President of the Wanderlust club, if there was one. (Can I make one?!) And it's not something I picked up in adulthood, I've felt this way since I can remember, since at least elementary school. I've always been that kid who had lists of places she wanted to travel, pins stuck into maps and grandiose aspirations of things she wanted to do. I've dreamed about certain places (ehm, France and England) since I was very young. I know I'm not the only dreamer, because John Lennon told me so, but I always felt like my desire was a little stronger than normal. My wanderlust leaves me restless and anxious and physically aching to travel.  
Paris, France
And I LOVE to travel. But it's never enough; the hunger is never satiated. There are always more places to see, more things to do, and never enough time or money to do them all. Even as (or especially as) I write this, I want to travel. No, it's not even that I want to, I NEED to. And it's almost indescribable. I'm constantly dreaming of a plane fight away, checking into a hotel and setting off on a new adventure with my camera in hand. I dream of finding a small eatery where the locals pick up their favorite chocolate or cheese or bread. Or stumbling upon a football game in a pub and staying the afternoon with new found friends. Or sweating the morning away hiking on an unknown trail on the backside of a mountain. These aren't new aspirations either, I've made (and blogged) about my bucket list before. But why do I feel like this? I know that that makes me sound like a Psych major, but I am, and I can't help it. What is it about traveling that makes me simultaneously giddy and restless with anticipation? And why do I feel suffocated and slightly out-of-my-mind when I go too long without at least taking a day trip away?
Listen, I know I'm a Sagittarius and by nature we have "restless energy" and a "need to travel for personal, business, or b/c of that overwhelming need to escape". I know that as a person, I need to get away to clear my head. There's something almost magical about physically moving out of your environment and into a new one, even momentarily. But is there something more than that? 
Rome, Italy
Is it the act of packing your life into a suit case for a couple weeks and leaving everything else behind? Is it the open road or the excitement of being on a completely new continent in a matter of hours? Is it the culture shock? The new food to eat? People to meet? Places to see? Is it the shopping for new vacation clothes or new music to put on your iPod? The clearing of your SD card in preparation for new pictures or the prospect of having those new pictures framed on your walls? Is it that glowing tan you come home with or all the goodies you buy for your friends/family, just because you want them to experience it too? Is it the hope for something more? For the kind of life changing experience that brought about "Eat, Pray, Love" or "Under the Tuscan Sun"? Is it the rush of searching for a new mug in every new city you visit? 
St. Petersburg, Russia
But I'm pretty sure it's ALL OF THAT. Scientists have become pretty interested in the idea of "wanderlust" themselves. Studies have found that travelers have a chemical reaction in their brains, showing that changes in scenery stimulated brain rhythms. Another very interesting find was that travelling also releases the hormone adrenaline into your system, which acts as a stimulant and which many people find extremely rewarding. This makes complete sense for people like me who are natural "adrenaline junkies" and always seems to rather enjoy that "flight or fight" response. 
Barcelona, Spain
Martin Milton, a British Psychologist, believes that it also has to deal with effects that getting out of our comfort zone seem to have on us. He says that “there is evidence that the degree of difficulty, getting out of our comfort zone, makes the experience richer and more emotionally rewarding.” Is that why we crave travelling? For me, it's a legitimate physical, as well as mental and emotional response; I have to get away from everyday life and experience something new.
There is just something so liberating about it, about being somewhere different and exciting. Milton seems to agree. "Too much routine can be stressful, so can too much variety...but one aspect of travel that attracts us is the way it frees us from other people’s expectations. At work, we strive to be what is expected of us; travel releases us from that. The jungle doesn't know us, and we don’t know it." Building on this idea, Bruce Chatwin says that there is evidence that “monotonous surroundings and tedious regular activities wove patterns which produced fatigue, nervous disorders, apathy, self-disgust and violent reactions” in people involved in studies. So maybe this our survival instinct kicking in? Perhaps our brain and body recognize the benefits travelling gives us and urges us to fulfill it?
Venice, Italy
The truth is, for whatever reason, we seem to find joy in it. And by joy, I mean pure undulated euphoria. We seem to find happiness and rejuvenation and peace in places we've never been. We seem to discover a little more of ourselves in the open road or museums or old castles in Europe. For me, it's these prospects that keep me going, that get me through each work day or through the hellish semester. It's the reason why the calendar hung at my work desk are pictures of places in Europe- because I need that hope, I need something to look forward to, I need that escape, almost daily. It's a lust only comparable to that of Ryan Gosling, and which nothing else can fill. And as it seems to benefit our health, why not give in to it every now and then? ;)
Bran Castle, Romania
I think TS Elliot said it best; “we shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
New Zealand

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Lessons I've Learned from the Queens of Comedy; Zooey Deschanel Edition

I'm a huge Zooey Deschanel fan. Back in 2002 she was HILARIOUS in The Good Girl alongside Jennifer Aniston. It was my first exposure to her and my first initial thought was that this new girl (eh? eh?) could really hold her own in scenes with Jen, which was a fete in it of itself. She actually stole the show in my opinion. And it wouldn't be the first time. The next year Elf was released with a blonde Zooey showing off her singing pipes. I mean, WHO WASN'T CAPTIVATED BY HER VOICE?! I bought the Elf album just for her rendition of "Baby It's Cold Outside" and it's probably one of the most played Christmas Songs on my iPod. If a girl can shift the attention AWAY FROM Will Ferrell in one of his best roles, than she's a serious game changer. And I don't think anyone would disagree with me when I say she was the best part of 2008's Yes Man. When I found out she was staring in her own show (New Girl), I was ecstatic. Probably more than an acceptable amount. I've been glued to the show since the pilot and I'm an avid She & Him fan because like I said, her voice is purely captivating.

I think what people, myself included, like the most about her is that she's completely relatable. She's so genuine and real, it seems like she's someone you could meet in the nail polish isle at Sephora or at a dog park or could be an old friend from high school. She's unique; she sparkles in a world which can often lack luster. And maybe the best thing of all, she's a great inspiration and role model. 

1. See what I mean? Totally inspirational. Don't let someone steal your tenderness. A lot of times nowadays it seems like the world uses this as ammunition against women, especially in the work place. Like, if you're a woman and you want to be respected or you want to do well at you're profession, you have to be a hard-Miranda-Priestly-style-B or something. The women I respect most all have that tenderness, that vulnerability, that love of life and everything in it that makes someone so lovely to be around. Embrace those things, don't run from them. This is something I'm still working and she just puts it's so beautifully.   

2. Find power within your femininity. Find power within who you are as an individual person. You don't need to look, dress or talk a certain way. Power comes from knowing who you are and embracing it. No one can give those things to you, you have to stand up and take it. Own it. And no one can stop you once you've done that.

3. I love the idea that through your breakdown comes your breakthrough. I really do believe that. We have to fall and fail and get hurt to become stronger, smarter and wiser. We need these experiences in our lives. It's like building a muscle; you have to literally tear the old muscle in order to re-build a stronger one. So bring on the pain, bring on the trials and the heartache and take chances that are scary. You can't fully live, can't fully appreciate all the good emotions without experiencing the bad ones too. 

4. Have I mentioned that I love her? Just be yourself. It seems so cliche and so simple. But that's because it is. BE YOURSELF. Don't care what other people think or say. You know who you are. Love that person. Embrace her. 

5. Beauty isn't something that fits into a box or onto a checklist. In fact, the uniqueness about each person is what makes them beautiful. And even more than that, their happiness. Have you ever met a person that was just sunshine and rainbows? That just smiled and laughed and made you feel warm and fuzzy? Those happy people are like gravitational pulls, they just bring everyone to them and make others feel good? They, to me, are the most beautiful. There isn't anything more gorgeous than someone who not only loves themselves, but loves other people. It's so contagious! 

6. Never apologize for your quirkiness. Do things that are unexpected and make you laugh. Brighten the day of a stranger.  

7. EMBRACE WHO YOU WERE AND WHO YOU ARE. I love being a nerd nowadays even though I never tried in school growing up. I love that most of my life I was a total tomboy but now I'm very much a "girlie girl". I'm more than just one thing; I'm a complex person full of contradictions and different faucets that don't normally fit together but somehow work with me. And I am totally okay with that. I'm okay with being weird and sometimes awkward and mostly immature and definitely always being a dork. Who we were and who we are directly connected.

8. I need to be more like her. I definitely follow my heart and my passions. But she has sort of a free-spirit vibe about her that I both adore and am jealous of. I am such a neurotic planner. Almost everything I do is calculated. Who I am and who I present to the world is thought about and monitored. I'm guarded, yes, because of things in my past, because somehow being calculated feels less risky and less vulnerable. But it's no way to live. Sure, it can be good in certain circumstances, but letting go, throwing caution to the wind and just being okay without a plan and just going with the flow, that's something I envy. It's just about finding a healthy balance between taking risks and playing it safe. That's what I'm working on.

9. I NEED THIS ON A MUG. I absolutely, 100% agree with this. I'm NOT a morning person. So talking a lot in the morning is just not my thing anyways. If I could be a functioning adult and not even get out of bed before 10, my life would be grand! But on a deeper level, life can be really difficult. Life can royally suck and it can be near impossible to get out of bed in the morning. It can be near impossible to find motivation some days to just deal with your life or things going on in it! 

10. Always keep challenging yourself. I'm a person who just can't stay still, can't be stagnant. I love to learn and do and try new things. I think she's dead on here- challenging ourselves makes life enjoyable and adventurous. Plus, studies show that learning new skills in middle and late life can reduce the chances of developing Alzheimer's!

11. Have your thing and stick to it. Not that you shouldn't explore yourself and try new things, that's not what I'm saying at all. But KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS, whatever they may be, and play them up and show them off! Like our friend Zooey, my favorite feature I have are my big eyes, though I *wish* they were green or blue most of the time. That's why you'll always find me with a bare minimum of liner and mascara on, because I actually like my eyes and they make me feel good! It doesn't have to be physical things either, whatever you love about yourself, whether it's your brains, your sense of humor, your cupcakes or your crazy air drum solo's in the car (eh, yeah...that's me too). Whatever it is, be confident in yourself and show it off girl! 

12. YES!! WHO CARES!? No really, tell me, WHO CARES? Will you ever see them again? Most likely not. If they're people you do see on the regular, just remember, they're hiding things about themselves too. If everyone did what they actually WANTED to do, they would be SO HAPPY, they wouldn't WANT to criticize anyone else. BE BRAVE. And it's about time we all stopped critiquing each other and started complementing each other instead. 

13. Safe and smart can be a good thing on occasion, don't get me wrong. But she's totally right, when we play it safe, we run a BIG RISK in never experiencing anything. Safe is boring. Dare to take chances, dare to dream, dare to love and live and be free! How much are you really living if you don't? And when you get to the end of your life, what do you think you'll regret most, taking those chances or NOT?  

14. I suffer from the same addiction. It's like Carrie Bradshaw said, "I like my money where I can see it-hanging in my closet." 

15. Making other people feel good, making them happy is a great goal. I feel the same way as her. If I can make someone (even a stranger!) smile or laugh or feel good about themselves, then I'm set, I'm happy. That's probably why I want to be a Psychologist. But we can do it, every day. You never know what people are going through silently, so wherever you may be, make their day, compliment them, make them smile, because guaranteed you'll be doing that as well.

16. I had to end on this one, because it's one of my favorites. I am exactly the same way. There's something about having on a polish that reflects your mood that makes everything in the world seem right. Okay, that might be a slight dramatization, but I don't feel right without my nails painted. It's like the lacquer completes me. Or at the very least, my outfit. ;)