August 31, 2011

Who Needs to Cook?

If your kitchen is anywhere near as dirty as mine on a daily basis, you want to make sure that you are in there as little as possible. If I had more control, I would have a nice, clean kitchen to cook some healthy meals in and experiment with new recipes, but I live with 14 girls so as you can imagine I have very little control over what it looks like. Believe me, having to clean someone else's old pasta sauce out of a pan before you even start cooking is less than inspiring.

So, I try and create healthy, fast, and cheap meals that require little-to-no cooking. If you have this problem too, I have a suggestion that just might help! I have a fool-proof "recipe" for a healthy dinner that's really helped me get through the summer. I make this concoction probably 3 or 4 times a week, with little variations every time.

Starch - This can be brown rice, cous cous, or (my new favorite) TJ's ready-to-eat lentils

Frozen Vegetables - I like mixes that have as large a variety as possible. There's one called "Hodgepodge" at TJ's that has broccoli, corn, green beans, carrots, red pepper, and probably some others that I'm forgetting.

Cheese - I prefer feta, but anything else that somewhat "crumbles" would work

Fresh tomatoes - I use TJ's baby heirloom tomatoes. They're so beautiful and fresh!


1. Put starch and frozen vegetables in microwave-safe bowl and heat up until warm

2. Add cheese and fresh tomatoes

3. (optional) Add some sort of sauce - be creative!

4. Mix it all up and enjoy! Healthy, Balanced, and Colorful!! 

Yes, it's that simple. And incredibly cheap. A week's supply is under $10. Cheap "cooking" perfection!

August 29, 2011

Thoughts on the 2011 VMAs

Last night was MTV's Video Music Awards. I love award shows, and I especially love watching what people wear to award shows and admiring all the glitz and glamour. I have to admit I was a little surprised this year by the fact that I didn't know many of the artists and by how casual the event has become. The days of boys in fitted suits have been replaced by old shirts and dirty, baggy shorts with thick gold chains and a strangely large amount of YSL belts and jackets. Not my personal preference, but I guess this is the show to do it at if any. In general, I think the girls did a better job of dressing for the occasion than the guys. Most of the dresses were short, fun, and sparkled with glitter and sequins. Besides the ladies of Jersey Shore whose dresses were too short, too fun, and too sparkled, I thought that most of the girls looked great.

The main talk of the night, however, wasn't the dresses. It was Lady Gaga showing up as her male alter ego, and Beyonce announcing that she's pregnant. I was very impressed by both of these for their creativity and perfect execution. Lady Gaga is as bizarre to me as ever, but I respect what she does and I have to admit I'm always entertained whenever she performs.However, - and I realize this makes me seem completely like a mom - I think that, as the #1 most influential celebrity according to Forbes magazine, Lady Gaga has a responsibility to be a good role model. I understand the beer, maybe, but the cigarette smoke could have been avoided. Many of her fans are just learning in school why smoking is bad, and then they see their favorite pop star basically promoting it. Not good.

Beyonce's moment was so incredible, especially when the camera was on Jay-Z and he was smiling from ear to ear. They're a power couple if I've ever seen one, and I can only imagine what a gorgeous and talented kid they'll have.

The main disappointment of the night to me was that Adele didn't win anything. Everyone was so excited to see her perform and her songs have literally blown up, and yet she came away empty handed. Hopefully she can put out another few great songs and next year will be her year. She's so refreshing with her big hair, sweet accent, and true raw talent. I might argue she is my favorite artist right now. 

I was also a bit disappointed by Miss Britney, who I normally adore. Her speech was really awkward and the tension for the kiss with Lady Gaga was weird and unnecessary. The whole thing seemed uncomfortable and it kinda hurt to watch.

If you don't have an opinion about Lady Gaga's entrance, Beyonce's announcement, or that ridiculous yellow block on top of Katy Perry's head, that's ok. I understand that this is not nearly as important to the world as Hurricanes or Hunger, but it does have its place. While I can't argue that the redeeming factor for this particular award show is vocal talent (besides Adele), there are some incredibly talented entertainers at the VMAs. The VMAs allow people to escape the problems and pressures of real life for a few short hours to appreciate how creative humans can be. From a young age I loved award shows because they gave me something to work towards. I have no talent that I could ever use to win a VMA, an Oscar, or a Grammy, but something about it all is alluring and inspiring to me. I would love to wear those dresses, and I would love to thank Britney and Beyonce for the way that they have been able to show me that work can be fun if you love what you do. I think I'll be there one day. Maybe doing the PR or reporting on the events for inclusion in SELF magazine, but either way I will make it happen.

*I do not own any of the above images.

August 25, 2011

My F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

When I have a bad day, a slow day, or really whenever I have 30 minutes to spare, I watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S. For those of you who are under 10 years old or live under a rock, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. was a TV show in the 90s that ran for 10 years. It followed 6 people – Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey, and Ross - on their journey from being 20 to turning 30 as they worked, fell in and out of love, and drank a lot of coffee.
 I discovered F.R.I.E.N.D.S. during a particularly low point in my high school career when I pretty much spent 2 or more weeks at home in isolation. I had just had a huge fall-out with my friends and wanted nothing more than to live vicariously through the exciting lives of other people. Since then, I have made up with my high school friends, but there is still a strong part of me that feels very close to the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. cast and grateful for how they helped me get through such a rough time. I realize that they are just actors and their true personalities may be nothing like the show, but I still feel like they are really my friends and would probably have a heart attack if I got the opportunity to see all 6 of them together. Yes, I know this is both pathetic and incredibly sad, but it’s ok, I’ve accepted that.

Often I think about which character from the show represents me the most. Then I realize that one of the main reasons I love the show so much is that each and every character is a piece of theatrical genius. They all have such great characteristics and I feel like each one is an exaggeration of something that I am or, more realistically, something that I want to be. So, here is how I would describe each character in one or two words and why I can relate to them.

Monica – Neat – Monica gets incredibly stressed out very easily. Like me, she needs to have her life, her closet, and her relationships as organized as possible. She does things by the book and really wants to make other people happy. People are shocked when they see her being rebellious, breaking a rule, or drinking too much.
Rachel – Needy and Ditsy – Rachel is the one who seems to benefit most from the experiences and lessons of the other friends. She is always in a romantic relationship, and when she isn’t there are always men in her life. When something good happens to her she’s excited to tell others right away. She seems to sometimes lack common sense (a pitfall of mine as well), but she is able to laugh at herself and I have definitely picked up that useful skill from her character.
Phoebe – Eclectic – Phoebe doesn’t care at all what anyone thinks of her, something that I strive for but can’t say I’ve really achieved. She speaks her mind, dresses in really colorful and bizarre clothes, and pursues a singing career even though she is an absolutely terrible singer. I suppose Phoebe is the least relatable character to me, but I admire her and she always inspires me to just be myself and not worry so much.
Chandler – Awkward – When Chandler is uncomfortable, we does weird dance moods or laughs awkwardly. I often use humor to get me out of horrible situations, and I would say he is hands-down the funniest character on the show. Chandler has taught me to be honest with myself about who I am. He doesn’t pretend to be a sports star or a ladies’ man. He’s the funny guy, and he accepts that.  

Joey – Confident – Sometimes I find myself quoting things Joey says when I feel really good about myself. He isn’t ever in particularly good shape and he isn’t my idea of “hot”, but he knows how to talk himself up and his confidence makes everyone fall in love with him.

Ross – Sweet – Ross is definitely the nicest character on the show. He often goes out of his way to help other people. Ross is a hopeless romantic, always wanting to fall in love. He is sweet to his sister, Monica, and his parents, and always supports all of the other characters in their achievements and failures. I often think about Ross when I’m with my brother because I want to be a supportive sister and have the close relationship that Ross and Monica do.
Ok, so now you probably think I’m crazy and that’s ok. I’m not really that crazy. My family and my "real-life" friends know about this obession and just count it as one of my many quirks. I just love this show and can't help but realize how much I have learned about myself from the characters and their experiences.

August 24, 2011

Body, Brains, and Babies

As you can tell from the name of my blog, I think a lot about the future. I think about getting married, having kids, having a career, and doing fun things like traveling the world. Much of what I do now I do because of what it means for my future. I work 40 hours a week to pay for school. I go to school so that I can get an education and a good job (yes, I see the irony). I work out so that I am fit and in good shape for when I get older. I eat as healthy as I can so that I don't age too fast and don't get wrinkled. Yes, this is really what motivates me. Naturally, I am pretty thin and decently smart. If I had no job now and never went to the gym, I would probably look alright and could probably get a mediocre job after graduation. But that's not enough for me because that hinders my ability to have the financially-stable, energetic, healthy family that I want.

However, every now and again I get this weird voice in my head that says "What if?"... "What if you only have a year?" "What if you're never going to have kids?" "What if your ultimate goal is never going to come true?"... Am I just wasting my time?

Of course, there's no way to know. And truthfully I would hate myself if I stopped trying my best just because I thought maybe my dreams wouldn't come true anyway. But, if I stopped living for what might happen tomorrow and started living for today, this is what I would change:

- I would still eat salads and berries and all the healthy food I love, but I would add a lot of chocolate. And ice cream. I would have pizza for dinner more often and have a soft baked chocolate chip cookie every time I had a cup of tea (which is about 3 times a day).

- I would live closer to my boyfriend and my family. I'm two hours away right now because of school, but if I knew that I wouldn't have all the time in the world to spend with them later, I would move back home immediately.

- I would work less and go to the beach more. I would spend more time doing things like going to the movies, going dancing, and meeting new people. Imagine how much I could get done in the 8 hours I spend at my desk every day.

- I would worry less. A lot less. I wouldn't worry as much about my health or my looks. I wouldn't worry about always saying or doing what I "should" do. I wouldn't worry about living debt-free, and I wouldn't worry about being able to support myself financially. I wouldn't worry about damaging my liver with alcohol or my skin with tanning. I wouldn't worry about getting in trouble - with the law, with my work, with my teachers. I wouldn't worry about how what I'm doing now will effect my future in any way.

I guess, like everything else, it comes down to balance. 90% of the time I do what I should or what is best for my body, my brain, and my {eventual} babies. Every once in a while, though, I do throw caution to the wind and do, say, or eat exactly what I want. I'm going to work on making that a bit more balanced (maybe 60/40), but I've always leaned towards taking the safer, more predictable route. I know this about myself and I don't try to fight it. I do know, though, that I only get to live once. So I try and find happiness in every day, even if sometimes that happiness comes from daydreaming about what the future might bring.

What would you do if you knew your actions now wouldn't effect your life in the future?



August 22, 2011

The Stripper/Librarian Dilemma

In The Ugly Truth, the movie with the gorgeous Katherine Heigl and the equally good-looking Gerard Butler, Mr. Butler's character tells Ms. Heigl's character that in order to be a perfect woman with girlfriend or wife potential, she has to be both the stripper and the librarian. She has to be witty and stunning. She has to be able to hold a conversation but look good in a tight backless dress. 

In Crazy Stupid Love, the movie with Steve Carrell, Julianne Moore, Ryan "Photoshopped" Gosling, and Emma Stone, Mr. Carrell's character tells his wife that she is both wildly sexy and incredibly cute. This, in the movie and in life, is the ultimate compliment. Girls want to be cute, silly, and funny, but don't want to lose the spotlight to some other girls wearing higher heels or lower shirts. 

Unfortunately, both of these movies hit on a real truth. The truth is, no man wants to be in a serious relationship with a slut. However, not many men want to date a prude, either. You can't be just a stripper. You can't be just a librarian. You can't be only sexy, and you can't be only cute. You have to have a bit of both, or rather a bit of all 4. Of course there are exceptions, but I am talking about the over-arching rule of thumb.The girls that have the most success in the dating world are going to be the ones that achieve the perfect balance of sexy and smart.

Now, finding the right balance between sexy and smart is not always easy. In my opinion, it is more important to be true to yourself than to try and fit into the "perfect girlfriend" mold. No boy or man is worth your time if you have to change who you are for them to like you. But, it can't hurt to be aware of the dilemma since you have probably at some point felt the pressure to be sluttier, smarter, sexier, or cuter. 

The answer to this life-long dilemma, I think, is confidence. Confidence makes any girl, or man for the matter, seem smarter, sexier, and cuter. Be confident when you walk into a room, and be confident when you talk about what you want to do with your future. If you doubt your brain or your looks, so will everyone else.
I know this is easier said than done. I personally struggle with this dilemma often, and regularly have to rely on by family and my boyfriend to provide me with the confidence I need to feel like I am smart, sexy, and altogether doing things right.

I think the librarian/stripper dilemma comes into play in more places than just romantic relationships, though. At work, at school, and at the gym, you want to look good and be taken seriously. You want to feel good about yourself and show others what you know and what you can do. With some confidence, this can be much easier to achieve.

I'm in no way claiming to have all the answers. This is just one minor observation. I applaud the, um, strippers of the world and the librarians alike if they are able to find happiness living in one extreme or the other. Also, I know that a lot more goes into being a well-rounded person than just sex appeal and brains. When I heard those quotes in both of those movies, however, they hit home. They made me realize, once again, that life is all about balance.

I'd really love to know what other people think about the stripper/librarian dilemma. Do other women feel effected by the pressure? Do guys agree that this is the perfect combination? I'm excited to hear some input!



August 21, 2011

How To Get Through College With {Some} Dignity

So, seeing at though it is Sunday morning and Sunday morning comes after Saturday night, this seemed like an appropriate time to write this post. Entering into my last year of college, I have seen my fair share of dignity roaming around with no owner, having been abandoned after one too many plastic-bottle-vodka shots.

I think that coming out of college with good grades, some good friends, some knowledge gained, and some good memories is hard enough. Add on the task of leaving with your dignity and no incredibly embarrassing stories, and you have a real challenge. I'm not saying that I've done this perfectly. I've had my share of not-so-great nights. I'm in a sorority which basically means that there is an opportunity to make a fool of myself every single night if I so pleased. But I must admit I think that I have done a pretty good job of getting through college so far and not abandoning my dignity on the way.

If you, or your child, are entering college any time in the new future, here are my 5 tips. I know it may sound insane, but graduating with dignity is almost as honorable as graduating with a degree.

1. If you start your night with "I probably shouldn't go out tonight..." you are right. Whether you've been sick, have a midterm tomorrow, or are emotionally unstable, in most cases when you say these words you would be better off renting a DVD and making some popcorn. No matter what your friends tell you, remember these equations:

Vodka + antibiotics = vomit
Partying + midterm = bad grade
Drinking + Sadness/Anxiety = drunk dialing ex-boyfriend/girlfriend, waking up in bed of a stranger

2. Get a hobby - or preferably a job - so that your college career is a balance of more than just drinking and going to class. Think of it in terms of percentage:

School + Drink = 50/50 = Liver Damage, Loss of Dignity
School + Job + Drink = 33.3/33.3/33.3 = Extra Money, slight Liver Damage
School + Job + Drink + Gym + 25/25/25/25 = Perfect balance (in my opinion)

3. Tread carefully with social media. While it may seem tempting, especially as a freshman, to inform your 500 closest Facebook friends that you are "sO DrUnkk Omg!" or ask them "Why do I always fall down the stairs after I throw up LOL!" or report that you are "Struggling hard-core this morning - why did I take that last handlepull? #lame", this is probably not a good idea. 

First of all, employers and grandparents alike can find these statuses, both of which are less forgiving than your friends when it comes to deciding how much you can get away with before your dignity is gone. Also, sometimes bad nights can happen without much consequence and you can get away with it, dignity in tow. If you announce it to the world, however cool you think it makes you look, you are giving away this gift - and your dignity. Plus, things that you put on the internet are there forever. Statuses, photos, etc. - FOREVER! ... Would you want your kids to go online one day and find out that you once had to ask the Facebook world "haha where are my panties?"... I think not.

4. You don't have to be wasted to have fun. Ok, I know I might sound like I'm practicing my mommy skills a bit early, but it's true. I've had plenty of really fun nights that included minimal alcohol. Sticking to a manageable amount for your height and weights guarantees that you are always in control. I offer two more equations:

Male + Too Much Alcohol = Overly confident, uses pick up lines like "What's your sign?", Forgets that "No" doesn't mean "YES PLEASE!"

Female + Too Much Alcohol = Forgets why she should say "No", Falls down stairs, Exposes private body parts

Neither of these are particularly fun or at all attractive, so avoid being the overly drunk guy or girl.

5. Don't cheat on your tests, your homework, or your girlfriend. You will get caught. It won't be pretty. Loss of dignity. Enough said.

With all of this said, I must admit that I have had a lot of fun in college, and it is definitely one of the best times of a person's life. But I do know a lot of people that will graduate with little more than a blur of memories that can be summed up as: shots, puke, repeat. 

With some help from my boyfriend, I've taken time to explore the city I live in. I go for hikes and joined a gym to counteract the harm partying does to my body. I found things I like doing with my friends besides partying, like watching Teen Mom every week or having brunches together on Sundays. I put more effort into school than into finding a party for the next weekend, and I always had a job to keep my priorities straight. I love college, but I think I still have my dignity, and I am proud to be a bit of a mix between a sorority girl and a nerd. Probably a bit more of a nerd, but whatever.



August 19, 2011

Exercise and Happiness

I think that one of the main reasons I choose to exercise is because of the great feeling that I get afterwords. I feel strong, happy, and alive. I feel like I did something good for my body that will help me in the long run so that I don't wrinkle too soon or lose my metabolism too quickly. I don't only want to be a mom one day, I want to be a fit mom that can take her kids hiking and play tennis with them and run after them if need be.

I try to balance cardio, weights, and yoga. My favorite is yoga, but this can get expensive and doesn't burn nearly as many calories as a good run does. With weights, I think it's best to stick to lighter loads with more reps in order to look more like Jessica Alba and less like Jillian Michaels.

I would recommend to anyone feeling a little under the weather to increase the amount that you exercise. It really makes you feel good about yourself. You can set managable goals (such as going for a 20 minute run 3 times a week) and then work up from there, creating a sense of self accomplishment and making it more fun to go shopping for jeans because your waist is smaller! Plus, you can add a little more dessert to your usual allowance. Caramel sauce on top of my chocolate chip cookie ice cream? Don't mind if I do!

Of course, it's not always so easy to fit exercise into a busy schedule, but I promise it's worth it if you can. My best advice is to try a new work out class. In my experience, it is much easier to cycle faster, kick harder, or lift higher when there is an entire class and an instructor encouraging you. Plus, keeping your body guessing and avoiding doing the same routine over and over is much for effective for overall results.

The truth is, being happy is more important than anything. It is more important than being fit, more important than being rich, and much more important than looking good. I try every day to make the people that I love happy, and they do the same for me. But when it's up to me to ensure my own happiness, nothing does it like a good workout. And maybe some chocolate ice cream.



August 18, 2011


One of the things that I think is most important in life is balance. My life is made up of work, school, family, my boyfriend, excercise, the occasional day off at the beach, and eating. I try to keep them all as balanced as possible, but often work and school take over, and (to be honest) I pretty much choose to spend time with my boyfriend over anything else if I can.

The hardest place for me to find balance is with eating and working out. Once I start going to the gym or running, I want to go every day all day. Then I want to come home and eat salads and veggies and anything healthy I can get my hands on. I'm addicted to berries, yogurt, and granola. But I also have a weakness for chocolate. And candy. And ice cream. Basically anything with sugar.

Being in college, finding balance is an everyday struggle. Most of the people around me drink more than they eat, and my kitchen is constantly so dirty that I'm tempted to go out and buy ready-made meals instead of taking the time to prepare what I really want, even though I rarely do and normally settle for making food at home using as few utensils as possible in order to avoid cleaning someone else's old pasta dish. ew.

These are two of my favorite, easy meals to make. The first is a reduced guilt veggie pizza from Trader Joe's and a salad of tomato, cucumber, feta cheese, and chicken (also from Trader Joe's). Ok so it's not 100% home-made, but not bad for a college kid.

Then I have my salad with spinach, baby heirloom tomatoes (my new favorite Trader Joe's find), feta cheese, cucumbers, bell pepper, olives, and chicken.
As you can see, I have a few favorite ingredients that I live on. Not exactly gourmet, but whatever. And if you were wondering, yes, that is the view from my house. The ocean. Not bad, I must admit :) As often as possible I like to eat my meals on my beautiful deck, and I have many more amazing ocean pictures to share eventually.

Back to balance. I can't say I've found the perfect way to balance my life, but I try. I'm disciplined most of the time, but find it incredibly hard to pass up a cold Corona with lime (or 3), and have absolutely no self-control if a bag of M&Ms lands anywhere in my view.

How do you find balance in your life?