Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Strange Addiction

  Fads. They come in to style almost as quickly as they go out of style. These fads range from fashion, to electronics, to slang phrases, even just ideas. Some can be personal short-lived obsessions, others can be a global trend. Regardless, we all get caught up in the next big and best thing. Here is my list of current strange addictions. I cannot pinpoint the exact reason I absolutely adore these things, I just do. I cannot explain why I am simply unable to live without these things at the moment, I just can't.
1. Instagram and Snapchat
    Seriously. They're addicting. Like...ever tried crystal meth? If yes, then you know what I'm talking about.
2. The phrase "long hair, don't care"
    All of a sudden, I just can't seem to stop saying it. It applies to just about everything that happens in my
    >My Friend: "I'm slightly considering staying up all night to relive my childhood by watching the Rugrats
       Me: "DO IT! Long hair, don't care."
    >American Eagle Sales Clerk: "I don't know which sweater it is on the's either the crew neck
                                                   or the scoop neck. Screw it, I'm going with scoop neck."
      Me: "Long hair, don't care."
   >My Sister: (as I make a ridiculous face snapchatting a friend) "I've never judged you so much."
     Me: "Long hair, don't care."
    See? Applies to everything. Relatable to everyone
  3. My new frother
      Now, when I make tea, I can make the milk all frothy and delicious. I used to drink tea about twice a
      day. Because of this has been increasing exponentially. I think I had five today...?
  4. Andes Mints
      They.Are.So.Good. Eat them alone? Delish. Get them as your after-meal mint at Olive Garden? Yum.
      Bake them into brownies? Have trust in me and just do it. That is an experience that really just cannot be
      described. Seriously, put half of your brownie batter in the pan, lay down a layer of Andes Mints, then
      the rest of the batter. Just do it.
  5. Scarves
      I never thought I would be one to pull of scarves. They were a knit garment I wore in the winter time
      outside when it was really cold, and that was it. Now? I wear them ALL THE TIME! Have a plain shirt
      you wanna dress up a little bit? Throw on a scarf!
  6. Henna
      To make this story make sense, we must start with the simple fact that my family means everything to me.
      So, as you can imagine, it just feels wrong when my older sister is away at college. BUT our tradition has
      become that every time she comes home, we buy a box of henna from Michael's, and she just goes to
      town on one of our body parts. I don't know if it's the henna, or just the fact that my sister is home, but I
      love it.
  We all have those fads. They come, they go. Some we look back on fondly, some we look back on and say "what was I thinking?" From Sparkly Uggs to YOLO; from Gangnam Style to mustaches, these trends are everywhere, and not one of us are completely immune to being sucked into the fun at least a little bit. Sometimes you've just gotta say "long hair, don't care".

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Santa's Gift To Our DVR's

  This season brings light and happiness to so many multiple facets of our lives. The smell of holly and gingerbread int he air. The merry sleigh bells on street corners collecting for charity. The ever present jolly Christmas tunes reminding us what a lovely time of year it is. But one of my absolute favorite things about this countdown to the big holiday is the made for TV movies that infect every channel from Lifetime to ABC Family.
  Sure, there are the classic Christmas movies that we all know and love. Who can resist Tim Allen growing a beard and a belly in The Santa Claus? Whose heart doesn't melt when The Grinch returns all of the presents to Whoville and breaks the heart-o-meter? Who doesn't want to help Buddy the Elf spread Christmas cheer by singing loud for all to hear? However, what I find cinematically magical about this time of year is the sheer amount of under appreciated Christmas movies out there. Are the plots deep and dynamic? No. Are the actors going to win Oscars for their moving performances? Probably not. But, that doesn't change the giddy feeling I get when I spy a new piece of holiday movie magic on my DVR.
   Here's the basic plot of any of these movies. Someone is getting a little blue because something in their life is unsatisfactory around the holidays. But then amidst the lights and magic of Christmas, they meet someone who changes everything. Suddenly, the main character feels the merriment of December. They want to ice skate, and drink hot chocolate, and see Santa. Somehow a kid gets involved who thinks Santa's magic can cure anything. But, uh-oh, a problem arises. There's conflict. Suddenly, it's looking like it's going to be a blue blue Christmas. Right when the main character is losing faith in everything about this cursed time of year, Christmas cheer pulls through and they're swept off their feet in the snow. They fall in love and live happily ever after. The End.
   The sap in these movies is so potent, I feel like I can almost taste it. Want to see for yourself? Here are some of my personal favorites...
1. The 12 Dates of Christmas
   ^seriously, that one is awesome, if you watch just one, make it this one
2. Holiday in Handcuffs
3. Dear Santa
4. Holly's Holiday
5. The Mistletones
  ^I haven't actually seen this one yet, but I'm so excited to!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Pretty Little Liar

We all lie. There is not one person out there who has not done or said something at least slightly dishonest. These instances of mistruth can be good intentioned white lies to spare someone's feelings, or they can span to malicious deceit. Sometimes we lie when we think we have no other option. However, if my parents have taught me anything in the last seventeen years, it's that there is no such thing as a secret.
    Everyone finds out everything eventually. It's a humbling yet inconvenient fact of life. This lesson has been proven to me time and time again, and each time, I feel a little stupider. That moment that you know your'e caught in a lie and there's no going back, that's the moment, I've learned, you must just come clean about everything. There's no point in continuing to try to cover it up or hide what you've done. While coming clean and facing the truth will be awful and painful, and may be embarrassing, it'll only be worse if you don't confess.
   However, I do find a silver lining of comfort later, when I'm reflecting on the situation and I have that moment that I realize my regret. I realize that the regret comes whether I get caught or not, because while lying may seem right and important in the moment, it just ends up internally torturing me later. That torture, my relentless conscience, that's what reminds me that, even though I've done something bad that I can't take back, and I'll have to face the consequences, I am still a good person.
   I am a good person who will learn from my mistakes. Though I know for a fact that I will continue to make errors in judgement and do things I will regret, I just hope that my past mistakes protect me from committing the same stupidity twice and to enhance my judgement with each regretful act of idiocy.
   We all lie, we all do stupid things, and we will all have regrets. But tomorrow, you'll think about it a little less, and the next day a little less, then less, and less. Then a few months later, an enticing opportunity to be reckless or dishonest will present itself, and while it might look like the more attractive or easier option, you'll remind yourself. Everyone finds out everything eventually. And you'll ask this worth it? For there are no secrets.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

I can't believe this is it. My last year writing you as a child. My last time writing you from under my parent's roof. This is why I write you this letter. Is it okay if I still want to believe in you? Is it okay that I don't want this to be my last letter I ever write to the jolly man in a red suit who will slither down my chimney on Christmas Eve? Over the last year, I have been forced to do a lot of growing up. In the past, there was always someone there who could ultimately tell me the right answer, even if I guessed wrong. Now, I am facing decisions that are mine and mine alone, and no one out there has the definitive answer. No one is there to hold my hand and tell me what to do.
   As I face adulthood, and the difficult decisions I have ahead of me, is it okay if I still let sugarplum fairies perform a delicate ballet across my dreams? Is it okay for me to fantasize about what your elves are cooking up for me in your workshop? Is it okay if I jump every time I hear a clatter on Christmas Eve, because I know for sure that it's Rudolph landing on my roof? Is it okay that I still leave you cookies and milk to aid your tiring journey across the world?
   Santa, all I want for Christmas is to never stop believing. I want to always have a conviction that there is a certain magic that the holiday season brings upon us all. I never want to give up on the notion that singing the tune of The 12 Days of Christmas will put a smile on anyone's face. I never want to stop believing in all of the good in the world. Even when we're forced to face so much bad at some times, I never want to stop believing in the fantasy, the excitement, the giddyness, and the pure absolute magic of Christmas. It's a time when friends feel a little friendlier, and families become a little closer, and the streets become a little brighter, and our hears become a little warmer. Next year, I may no longer be a child, but please, never let me stop believing.



Sunday, October 21, 2012

Crazy Concoctions

    I've always been a huge fan of mixing and matching. When it comes to clothes, jewelry, food, and so on, I find great amusement in putting together new and unusual combinations. This comes out particularly when I bake. I can't tell you how much fun I think it is to just throw in some new "secret ingredient" to put a twist on an old classic recipe. Not going to lie, more often, these concoctions honestly end up being disgusting. Or at least not as good as the original. My biggest example: raspberry white chocolate brownies. Sounds good, right? Nope. Not even a little bit. But that's what experimentation is all about. I'll throw some stuff together, take a taste, sometimes I'll cock my head and say "hmm...". Sometimes I'll repress a gag reflex. But the ultimate reason for all of this concocting and combining is for that rare moment when I lift the finished product to my lips, sniff, chew, swallow, and that smile creeps its way along my face. That smile of success; the accomplished smile of knowing that I have discovered something great.
   It's hard to realize new combinations that are better than the favorite regulars when it comes to baked goods because they're favorites for a reason. People have passed down the classic recipes for generations because they were the good ones. However, today I had that rare moment. Rapidly browning overly ripe bananas sat atop my kitchen counter, and I had a pantry full of pumpkin. Dilemma. What do I want? Pumpkin bread...banana bread...what to do? SMASH THEM TOGETHER!
   I spun the mixer round and round, mushing squishy bananas with creamy pumpkin. A splash of vanilla to bring out the sweet banana flavor, and dashes of Fall spices to intensify the aura of Autumn goodness that is associated with fall. Into the oven the experiment went, and as I eagerly awaited the results, my house grew more and more heavily in fragrance.
   The bread is served with dinner, and I slice it with a shaky hand, nervous that I may have just created a great-smelling monstrosity. My family lifts slices to their mouths, and I await with bated breath to hear the taste verdict. It's clear upon their faces: firstly confusion. Is it pumpkin bread? Is it banana bread? Who knows? Then, the smile: who cares? It's different, new, spicy, sweet; it's a success. Nothing can give me more satisfaction.

If I've made you hungry or just plain curious, try it for yourself...

Banana Pumpkin Bread

2-3 Ripe Bananas + Slices For Garnish (optional)
2 Eggs
¼ Cup Vegetable Oil
1½ Cups Pumpkin Puree
½ Cup Brown Sugar
½ Cup Sugar
2½ Cups Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
½ Teaspoon Nutmeg
½ Teaspoon Ginger
½ Teaspoon Allspice
1½ Teaspoons Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
¾ Cup Raisins (Optional)
½ Cup Chopped Walnuts (Optional)


1. Squish bananas until and stir together with eggs, oil, and pumpkin.
2. Add brown sugar, sugar, flour, baking powder, soda, spices, and vanilla.
3. Fold in raisins and walnuts.
4. Split dough evenly into two lightly sprayed 9x5 bread pans.
5. Garnish with banana slices.
6. Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Ink On The Page

     I must start this blog with a disclaimer. I am a proud Kindle owner and huge e-reading fan. The whole e-reading industry saves paper, is easier, faster, and the way of the future. However, even though in the last five years or so of owning a Kindle and seldom picking up a hard copy of an actual book, the magic of books is not lost on me. While I adore the feeling of my slim and sleek kindle in my hands, nothing quite compares the feel of a new book. 
   Whenever I pick up an actual book, a spark is ignited in me. All of the possibilities this novel may hold. The shocking drama, the psychologically thrilling mystery, the tear-jerking romance, it's all contained within this beacon of words. The power language can have over an audience continues to amaze me, and that's where the power and mystique of a book comes from. That irreplaceable smell as you flip through a new book; the author just waiting for you to uncover the secrets and fantasy they've laid out before you. The tangibility of the ink on the page. The feel of the rough pages as they slide through your fingers as if you can't get to the next sentence fast enough. As hard as Amazon may try, none of this can be quite perfectly replicated in the form of an electronic device.
   When people ask me if I miss the feel of real books ever since I've switched to e-reading, I tell them no, because it's true. While I miss the feel of pages and the new book smell, I really don't miss the soreness in my wrists after hours of propping up a heavy hardcover. I don't miss having to lug out a booklight if I simply can't put down a book way past dark. E-reading is good, it's a big step in the right's just the little things that I miss.
   As I was sorting through books at my local library for an upcoming book sale today, I couldn't help that twinge of excitement every time I picked up another book that sparked my interest. Browsing the titles, reading the inside covers, feeling the pages: none of this can quite be compared to browsing the Kindle e-book store on While e-readers hold an ecological and economical intelligence, a huge convenience, and a futuristic attitude, books hold an unparalleled magic. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Beauty and the Not So Beastly

Alright. I have a bone to pick with the world. Lately, it's becoming a bit of a trend to take the classic Disney movies that we all love and cherish and revamp them into these new dramatic spin-offs. There have been two Snow White movies, Alice in Wonderland, the TV show "Once Upon A Time", the list goes on and on. Now don't get me wrong, I am all for the creation of these new and interesting takes on the old classics. However, my problem comes in with the Beauty and the Beast spin-offs.
   There was Beastly, now a new show "Beauty and the Beast", and there are rumors of an upcoming Beauty and the Beast movie starring Anne Hathaway. All sounds lovely, right? I mean, who doesn't enjoy watching the brainy but beautiful Belle who feels like an outcast find unexpected love in a castled full of enchanted teapots and cursed princes? WRONG! Neither of the recent takes on the classic movie have done well at all, and I can tell you exactly why. Without fail, they completely mess up the beast!
   I realize that in today's world, we're very caught up with appearances, especially in the world of Hollywood. We want to watch movies showcasing flawless faces that we can fantasize about. So, how does Hollywood deal with a story line that calls for the romantic lead to be a beast? They take an extraordinarily handsome actor, cover his flawless face in some rugged tattoos and silvery scars, and call it a day. Newsflash: THIS DOESN'T MAKE THEM UNATTRACTIVE! The best is supposed to be furry and animalistic, with claws and fangs. Making the beast a brooding teenager just makes him seem annoyingly sad...not scary.
   A man with weird tattoos and scars could easily assimilate into society, so seeing these so-called "beasts" need to isolate themselves and see themselves as a monstrosity is just plain ridiculous. The animal-like Beast of the Disney version is lovable, and his pain and loneliness are realatable. I have distinct memories from when I was very young of being incredibly disappointed at the end of Beauty and the Beast when the beloved Beast transforms back into the handsome prince. I looked at him and thought: "where's Beast? I don't know this guy."
   If Hollywood wants to revamp Disney movies into new action-packed and aesthetically interesting movies, I'm all for it. However, if they want to do it right, they need to get over their phobia of having a creature that is truthfully scary-looking on-screen. The Beast cannot be a man masked with intricate ink and scars, but what he really is: a vicious, misunderstood, hairy, toothy, adorable beast.