A lot has happened for women over the past few years. I'm working on a political, and I suppose lifestyle, post about all of my thoughts surrounding the progression and overall rise of women, specifically this past year. It's a truly incredible to be a part of this new wave of women activists, and I feel that this poem by Rupi Kaur really puts this progression and our current (and future) responsibility as modern women into perspective.
It's the holiday season, people! And although the magic of the holidays leaves us jolly, the pressure is on to not be the person who gives the shitty gift. Nothing is worse than pretending to like something, so don't be the person to give it. Luckily, I have made this gift guide to find the perfect present for all of your peoples... without breaking the bank.
AND I have an entire DIY gift kits section... because everyone loves a good ~homemade~ gift.
Alex and Ani necklace with special adjustable "expandable" chain
What I love about this new Alex and Ani design is that you can adjust the chain as long or short as you want. You can really personalize the necklace to what your friend or family member is passionate about because there are so many options for charms.
Katherine Stewart Design
Gorgeous handmade jewelry by Katherine Stewart Design is sure to be adored by any gal. Every necklace has a really beautiful saying, but you can also customize it to say something meaningful to you. There are also circle rings with sayings and smaller stack-able rings.You can even help the California wildfire victims right now by purchasing one of her three necklaces where the proceeds are donated. Check out her website and Instagram..You'll fall in love!
A mini Living Proof product
Living Proof has something for every hair type and these mini products go a long way. The 2oz sizes are only $10! You can order them online but they are also in Ulta stores.
Legitimately anything from Lush
Everyone loves a good natural bath product and you can't really go wrong with anything from Lush. But, if you go in and are overwhelmed with the smell of magic, grab a Buffy Bar or special holiday edition bath bomb.
Glo Soap Bar
Love Glo Soap! This is a small company that handcrafts their soap out of all natural ingredients. They are also used to enhance self-tanning spray effectiveness. But tan or not, these soaps are natural, feminine and have a nice gift presentation.
Balm Dotcom, Boy Brow or Cloud Paint by Glossier
The Balm Dotcom is a multi-purpose lip balm that is truly one of my favorite lip products of all time. The Cloud paint is a gel-cream blush that leaves you with the most effortless rosy look. And last but certainly not least, Boy Brow is the best liquid eyebrow products I've ever used. Mix and match or just get one...Or all three! The packaging it comes in is so cute you won't even have to wrap it.
The gift that keeps on giving. This is one of the best monthly beauty product subscriptions... that she, or you, can customize online. If you know a gal who loves makeup and trying different beauty products, she will be obsessed.
Gym Shark is a small brand getting very big, very quickly. Although Nike and Adidas are the more popular brands, do something a little different. With an, "up and coming" kind of gift, you'll be known as the ~cool mom~.
Once you go wireless, you can't go back. I got wireless headphones as a gift last Christmas and I use them every day. One of the best gifts I have ever gotten! So I am recommending this to you all this year. It's honestly the perfect gift for anyone because who doesn't listen to music?!
A unique ornament
You can really only give an ornament once a year. And it is a really is a fun memory to take out every Christmas! Urban Outfitters has some very unique ones...Like a sushi or unicorn.
Vintage Art Poster
If you have a music lover, a poster is a great gift. Especially these vintage concert posters from this unique seller on Etsy. To really go the extra mile, frame it!
Graphic Tees are so fun and collective. You can really find something for anyone and Urban Outfitters had a very nice quality, but many other stores sell them.
Milk and Honey + The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur
Rupi Kaur has been all the talk on the street the past few months. Her two poetry books Milk and Honey and The Sun and Her Flowers are a beautiful tribute to the loss and birth of emotions, love and empowerment. However, I will say this is a gift for women over the age of about 16 because many of the poems touch upon very sensitive topics.
Fu*k, That's Delicious by Action Bronson
If you don't know who Action Bronson is or have never seen an episode of Fu*k That's Delicious, pause everything and go check it out. "This ain’t no cookbook. This ain’t no memoir. This is Action Bronson’s devotional, a book about the overwhelming power of delicious—no, f*cking amazing—food."
Cherry Bombe Cookbook
If you know anything about what's "in" you'll know that the Cherry Bombe Cookbook is a necessity to any modern cook. This is the first-ever cookbook from the team behind Cherry Bombe - the hit indie magazine about women and food. This cookbook features 100+ recipes from some of the best baking creatives on the food scene today.
FOR THE FEMINIST
Planned Parenthood Bag
This is a great gift for your feminist friend or family member. Plus, proceeds from these bags are donated to Planned Parenthood. AND over $80,000 donated so far! It's a double gift.
Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World By Ann Shen
This bad ass book is great for women of any age. An illustrated guide sheds light on the most interesting women in history. A collection of remarkable girl power.
Girl Power Tee
Every girlboss loves a good power t-shirt and this Girl Power tee on Etsy is handmade and seriously, so cute. Feminist-inspired graphic tees often walk the line of cute and tacky, but not this one.
EASY AND THOUGHTFUL DIY
Here are some cute items you can put together in a bag or mason jar as a homemade "kit" for a cute, easy and above all thoughtful gift.
New Year Pregame Kit
*This could go into a box or tied to the mini champagne!
- Mini champagne
- Confetti Popper
- Note about all of their accomplishments of this year and nice prediction for the next year.
Mistle "Toes" Spa Kit
*This could go in a mason jar!
- Mini lotion
- Nail polish
- Face mask
- Emory board
- Note that says Mistle Toes because how cute is that name...
(I'd go to Target for all this)
DIY Snow Day Cuddle
*This can just go right in the mug!
- A few tea packets (or hot coco)
- A mug
- A honey stick (or a candy cane)
- Optional: a soft blanket (check out Marshals and TJMaxx for super affordable and cute throws.)
- Cute note about relaxing on a snow day. HANDWRITTEN! Don't type anything with a DIY gift.
DIY for the yogi
*This could go in one of those reusable shopping bags!
- Zen quote
- Hanalei lip balm
DIY Homemade Jam
*This could go in a small mason jar.
Make any fruit jam by using 3/4 cup sugar for every cup of very ripe fruit. Stir on the stove for about 30 min or until there is a jam consistency. Put it in the jar and then in the fridge. That's all!
DIY Old fashioned photo album with commentary
All you need is
- Photo album (check out Marshals or TJMaxx)
- Printed out photos
- Sticky notes
Place the photos inside your photo album with little comments on sticky notes or index cards inserted into the album next to or above/below the photo. People never print out photos anymore so this will be a gift that really lives forever.
DIY Cookie Jar
- Favorite cookie recipe
- Mason Jar
Buy and measure out all of the dry ingredients to your favorite cookies. Make a note with the wet ingredients they need to add. For example, eggs and vanilla. Layer the ingredients so it looks pretty!
DIY Thoughtful Quote
- Small canvas
- Oil paints
This is a little more advanced. I started this project but WARNING! Oil paint takes a while to dry so you'll have to paint the background, wait a few days and then add on your chosen quote with a Sharpie. If you like this idea but aren't feeling crafty, you can always order one from CustomizedByCristina :)
* * *
I hope that this helps you find the perfect gift! Let me know if you end up using one (or more) of these ideas. Above all, it's the thought that counts. But giving a gift that you know someone will love is the best feeling of the holiday season!
When I became lactose intolerant 3 years ago *sigh* I realized that the worst thing about it was baked goods and just dessert overall. I've gotten used to the whole no cheese thing (once you stop you don't care anymore to be honest) and the almond/soy milk is easy. But, once the cookies and cream puffs start rolling out, especially in the holiday season, I find myself very sad or very sick. So I decided that I needed to find some dank dairy free/vegan dessert recipes that were even better than the ones with 3 sticks of butter and a cup of whole milk because we dairy free/vegan people deserve a good dessert...also half the calories.
So my friends, the best PB cookie in the world has been born.
Seriously, I would bake off with Betty Crocker using this recipe. What I love about it is how simple the ingredients are, how easy it is and how "healthy" you can make it. If you love peanut butter as much as I do, you'll be making these almost every night...trust me.
Makes about 14...I like them to be as big as my head so I'm sure it could make more.
1 cup sugar (healthier substitute: coconut sugar)
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups Peanut Butter (healthier substitute: protein peanut butter like Teddy's)
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Baking Powder
2 eggs (VEGAN OPTION: Use 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce in place of one egg.)
* I have also cut this recipe in half very easily.
* I am not vegan so I always use the eggs.
Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. The consistency will look a lot like peanut butter. It is very sticky so use a spoon to put them on an ungreased cookie sheet in ball form about 3 inches apart.
Use a fork to lightly press down in a cross shape to give that classic peanut butter cookie look.
Pop them in the oven for about 10 minutes. Check on them though, you'll know if they aren't cooked yet. They will be golden brown on the tops when they are done.
Let me know how this goes! If you make these, tag me in an Insta story...I really want to see and hear what everyone thinks because usually anything gluten free, dairy free, vegan and so on are frowned upon...*insert eye roll here*
Tomorrow I have a holiday gift-guide post coming your way...I have been working on it for a while... it's a good one!
Tada! We have a new look. Those of you who have known me since the start of all of this know that this design change has happened about 5 times thus far. I'm still trying to find who I am and what I want to be as a blogger/person and my style is always shifting. I design all of what you see on my own, so overall these changes are the evolution of my learning experiences. As I discover what makes a blog more readable/likable/relatable, I try to apply that to my style. So, I went with this more simplistic and classic look inspired a lot of other publications.
As far as the name change...I really don't know! I've done it before so again, just trying to find what is right every day :)
So with that said, I am also trying out some new things like podcasting, having contributors and this consecutive Friday post. It will just be a quote or a poem of the day kinda thing.
#fridayfeelslike Shell Silverstein
So today I bring you one of my favorite authors, Shell Silverstein with "The Voice" from his book Falling Up.
A reminder to always stay true to who you are. Everyone is different.
I love to cook, it runs in the family. My grandfather was a restaurant owner and chef and one of my cousins is an executive chef in NYC so overall there are definitely some genes that I like to think I got. The past two years I hovered by my dad changing this and that all afternoon so this year I sad, "ya know what?! I am going to do it all." Well, not all, but most. I want to share with you all my ingredients and prep for each dish. Overall, this was way easier than I expected.
The night before
So, I have decided the key to a successful Thanksgiving dinner is spending an hour the night before prepping. It makes the next day less chaotic and keeps the kitchen clean. One of my top tips is to clean as you go. Having an overwhelming amount to clean up at once is no fun.
I was sick of and grossed out by the canned cranberry sauce that old people find weirdly nostalgic. Why are we eating this? It takes the shape of the can on the table, ridges and all. I will never understand why people continue to consume high fructose corn syrup, sugar and maybe 1 cranberry. It took me maybe 10 minutes to make this fresh and delicious cranberry sauce from scratch. And, everyone loved it. So take that ya nasty, jiggly Ocean Spray garbage!
- 1 bag of cranberries (12 oz)
- 1 orange for zesting
- 1/2 cup of honey
- Orange Juice
All you do is put the honey and orange juice in in a pot on the stove. When it starts to heat up, add all of the cranberries. Continuously stir until it looks like a jam. Lastly, add some orange zest. Zesting is simply LIGHTLY grating the orange peal over the pot. Pour the sauce into a bowl of your choosing. Something pretty if you have it. It needs to sit in the fridge for 6 hours so that is why you'll want to do it the night before. That's all, folks.
I prepped the seasoning for the turkey the night before because I figured it would taste better if all the ingredients marinated together overnight. Simple and fresh ingredients are key, don't overdo it.
- Fresh basil
- Fresh rosemary
- Garlic ( I kinda just poured a bunch in haha..)
- 1 cup Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Italian seasoning
All I did was chop this up and put it in a Tupperware to sit overnight. Probably took me 5 minutes total.
This was another quick and easy day-before prep. I just put it in a plastic bag and called it a night! Seriously, it was very easy.
- 1 tbs Dijon Mustard
- 1 tbs Honey
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbs red wine vinegar
Just put it in the fridge and that's it!
Green beans were my first "famous" thanksgiving dish. They are really easy and if you prep them the night before, which takes 5 minutes. Then the next day all you have to do is throw them in a frying pan 30 minutes on high before dinner and you have delicious green beans. But make sure you are stirring them around every now and then. I also often put a pot cover on top of the frying pan to hurry along the process. I never measure these ingredients out, but just put your beans in a gallon bag and add these ingredients.
- Olive Oil
- Diced Onion
- Red pepper flakes
Sometimes I sprinkle Parmesan cheese over them when they are done cooking.
The next morning I woke up to the turkey already having the gross giblets taken out. Thanks, Dad.
I was pretty nervous about this part. A turkey can go wrong and who hasn't heard a horror story about one catching on fire? I just really didn't want it to be dry because nothing is worse. Well, besides the fire thing. I grabbed the seasoning out of the fridge and added a little more olive oil and stirred it really well. Next, and kind of a gross part, I spread the seasoning under the skin of the turkey. It wasn't too bad really. Then I put a toothpick in to hold the skin down tight. I spread the rest of the seasoning all over the turkey. Then before I put it in the oven, I put water in the base, probably 3 cups and a half stick of butter. My dad made the stuffing the night before, it is kind of his thing, so I just stuffed it in the turkey and stuck it in the oven around 11 a.m. at 325 degrees Fahrenheit with a thermometer in. You'll want to keep checking the temperature because it is done at 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, be sure to baste it a few times. This means you take the liquid from the pan and put it all over the turkey. But don't take too long and let all of the heat out of the oven! Once it reaches the internal 165 degrees Fahrenheit turn the oven off but don't open it. You'll want the turkey to sit for about an hour. I also covered it in tinfoil. In total, this 18-pound bird took about 3.5 hours.
Sweet Potato Casserole
This is a new favorite in my family. Everyone was skeptical last year when I insisted on it, but I quickly turned them into a sweet potato enthusiasts.
- 3 lbs of sweet potato chopped into pieces
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon (but I always sprinkle extra in.)
- 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup mini marshmallows (aka the best part)
First, you will want to peel and chop the sweet potatoes. Place them in a pot of water and bring them to a boil. Once they are tender and easy to mash, strain the water out and start mashing the sweet potato in the pot. Add everything but the marshmallows and make sure it is all stirred in. Next, put this mixture into an oven-safe pan. I used a rectangular Pyrex pan. Put the marshmallows on top and toss it in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 min or until the marshmallows are golden brown.
This is one of my favorite salads of all time and it's basically the Cosi signature salad. See the dressing above if you need a reminder.
- Diced Pear
- Halved Grapes
- Goat Cheese
- Mixed Greens
I used 2 pears for 8 people and it was more than enough. Just toss everything together and add the dressing right before you sit down for dinner.
Things we bought
Ok, so not everything was made by me. We have this grocery store called Crown Market in West Hartford and it is amazing. But if you live somewhere else, Whole Foods has some delicious prepared foods. I got cornbread, mashed potatoes and gravy at the Crown Market because they are just all so good.
Wait, what about dessert?
My sister Claire made an apple pie (secret family recipe, sorry) and we asked our guests to bring dessert. This is always a good thing to ask people to bring if they ask...Makes it easier on you and who doesn't love choosing a dessert? Your guests feel helpful and then you don't have to worry about baking. Win-win situation.
So there you have it! A stress-free Thanksgiving feast. If you're wondering, my dad makes the stuffing with Italian sausage, cranberries and celery...definitely the way to do it. Also, I used Pillsbury crescent rolls as the other bread choice. Maybe that's the canned cranberry sauce of my generation. Whatever, definitely not giving that up :)
Feel free to comment or message me any questions if you're making any of these dishes!
The other day I awoke to the birds chirping, the sun shining and my pup snuggling up in my bed. A seemingly beautiful morning until I started scrolling through my Twitter feed to find a photo of a gravestone that had "Teen Vogue" on it. Pause. My heart skipped a beat. I quickly clicked on this New York Times article and found to my devastation that Teen Vogue print will be discontinued by Conde Nast.
If you have been following my blog for the past year, you will know that my senior independent study project focused on Teen Vogue and their fearless pursuit to revolutionize women's pages. With the hiring of their current editor Elaine Welteroth, the magazine transformed from exclusively beauty and fashion to a #woke philosophy. People started to notice them after their article, "Donald Trump is Gaslighting America" went viral. You can read about all of this in my previous blog post.
Teen Vogue has now been about news, politics and social justice. It has featured women of all colors, shapes and sizes. Featured LGBTQ+ topics and ethnically diverse beauty tips. An overall shift to focusing on ALL women.
After school ended, my obsession with Teen Vogue grew as I started to follow them more closely and low-key stalk Elaine's social media every day, multiple times a day. I have never experienced a more brilliantly fearless, trendy and down to earth human. She embodies everything I believe women in journalism should be.
So, the news that Conde Nast was DISCONTINUING the print of Teen Vogue, aka the part Eliane is in charge of, has me SHOOK for so many reasons. Here are those reasons and questions I have surrounding them.
I am very confused why they would do this not only because of how popular the magazine has become over the past year but because of how amazing she has been at this job. It is baffling as to why they would want to stop any part of her team from producing this revolutionized magazine. Or in any way, shape or form possibly lose her and her image alongside the publication. Do they understand without her, this magazine is not as cool? This is disrespectful to her, and her team's fearless work! Another Times article reads, "Condé Nast is also considering an additional role for her." Considering?
Elaine, girl. If you ever bless me with a read, I am 100 percent down for a start-up.
IS PRINT REALLY DEAD?
We all have seen the massive shift publications are taking from print to digital, but when it comes to magazines this does not really make sense to me. I understand the shift for newspapers. I love the look of newspapers, I loved designing pages for a newspaper. But let's be honest, newspapers are very difficult and awkward to hold. Reading news does not have to be in physical print to get the point. But magazines are an entirely different beast. They are not just their content but the art and creativity that surrounds it. The look of a magazine is a huge factor in the experience of reading one. The creativity of their design is vital to their demographic and style. Print magazines are an ART.
Why can't they cancel some other print?
Why Teen Vogue? I don't know anything about the analytics of their magazines but I feel that if you put them all on a line chart with years on the x-axis and popularity on the y-axis, Teen Vogue would look something like a plane taking off while the others would be more like a hilly bike ride. Is it because of the controversy? What is going on? Also, there are definitely magazines with far less significant content that does not need a print addition. Let's take a look at our standards here people...
A question you may have for me -- Ok Allie, so why does it really matter if the publication is still online?
It matters to me because I believe that a movement like this deserves print documentation. I love the internet as much as any other millennial, but the internet and it's content is not tangible. Anyone can post something online and people's videos, photos, blog posts and so on go viral every day. But only a select few writers have the capacity to physically print their work. I feel like things disappear on the internet. They get covered by new stories every hour. Teen Vogue has created a platform for more young people to feel like they are in the know. Teen Vogue is a publication that WE own together as a collection of people who has never had this outlet before. It's finally a place where we own the discussion and our voices are heard. A place where we know the people making the magazine want to hear us because we are smart. They encourage our questions, curiosities, empowerment and empower us. AND give us tips on glitter nail polish. All of this combined is to help us prove and show the world that we are complex and we are smart. We are boss!
A publication changing the way we all see the importance of and open discussion on women's rights, LGBTQ+, people of color and politics deserves to be printed because of the significance of its history. It deserves to be printed for us.
Take a look at the most recent Teen Vogue cover. TELL ME THIS ISN'T REVOLUTIONARY? I am framing it.
IS NOTHING SACRED?
Sometimes I read something and forget the context .5 seconds later. Partly due to it not really resonating, or it just being another piece of news that is here one day and gone from my mind the next. And sometimes, it's due to my lack of short-term memory. But, every once in a while I read something and think about it for days, in this case, weeks. I recently shared a Vogue piece published in their living section titled, How I Learned to Stop Being a "Chill Girl" and Start Being Me, and just can't get it out of my mind. So naturally, I decided to write about it.
"Somewhere along the trek between girlhood and womanhood, I went through a phase of trying excessively hard to be the most chill, fabulously blasé person ever. The problem was that I was not chill."
I feel like we can all relate to this, although we don't want to admit it. Whether we have been there or are there, it happens to everyone at some point. It's natural to want to fit in, be part of a cool crowd. But what isn't natural is being anything short of ourselves and what Martine Thompson and I have in common is that we both agree with that. But there are a few elements I feel need to be added to her mantra of chillness. Or un-chillness...Or finding self-chillness.
I wonder what being chill even means? Does this mean you always go with the flow? Does it mean you smoke weed? Does it mean you never complain about anything? I don't really know who defines being "chill" but I do know that I too have struggled with the want to be this undefined chill girl. Sometimes I feel that we go too far to look as if we don't really care, but then I wonder when not caring became cool? And what are the not cool things to care about?
Pause. None of that matters.
It took me a while to realize the only way to feel cool is to just be myself. And I still never feel cool all the time...does anyone?
Surprisingly, the hardest thing to do in life is be yourself because that means you need to find yourself. It means you have to un-become everything you aren't and start becoming everything your soul wants you to be. But that is really scary because it means exposing yourself to the possibility of people criticizing who you truly are and not just a fad that everyone is doing.
I'll let you in on a secret, those people don't matter.
I don't think I've ever felt like I have a perfect life. I've always felt that I am too uptight about this and that, and it stopped me for so long from really being me. It stopped me from writing this blog and it stopped me from sharing it. I actually started this blog, originally named New England Girl, when I was in high school. No one would ever know that because it was only until recently I stopped worrying about what "other people" would think and just worried about what I love to do.
And I think that's pretty chill while still knowing there are so many parts of me I need to find.
Here are some tips from Martine Thompson's article with my experience and love added in for extra help. If you want the full experience of this post read, How I learned to Stop Being a Chill Girl and Start Being Me, first.
"Get Comfortable Saying No"
But also, get comfortable with saying yes...
"Once a people-pleaser realizes the world won’t crumble into smithereens if she says no or changes her mind, it’s a new day. “I’m not crazy about it.” “I don’t like that.” “I don’t want to go.” “That doesn’t work for me.” “I’m uncomfortable.” “I’m not happy.” “Stop.” “I’m going to pass.” “No, thanks.” “NO.” These are all great responses to start practicing. Your friend won’t hate you for choosing a night in alone over partying. The stranger pestering you at the bar isn’t owed a dissertation or elaborate excuse as to why you won’t be giving them your number or engaging in conversation."
I agree with part of this. I think being able to say no is a good thing but I got way too comfortable with saying no at one point that I didn't know why I was saying it. There are times I made an excuse for not going somewhere because I didn't really know anyone and ended up just watching Netflix until 3 a.m. and SnapChat stories of everyone else having fun wondering why I was the one in bed. Then recently, I mean really recent, I started saying yes to going places where I didn't really know anyone. I mean, part of this is because I don't know many people in NYC but part of it is because I decided to switch this habit. I think we get too used to wanting to be comfortable, but allowing yourself to step out of your comfort zone is important. This is how we learn new things about ourselves, likes and dislikes. This is how we make new friends and experience things we never thought we would before. Stay safe, but surprise yourself every now and then.
"Push Through Imposter Syndrome"
Take a second to compliment yourself.
"Ever feel like a complete fraud who’s weaseled her way into opportunities she’s undeserving of? And it’s only a matter of time before your contemporaries discover you aren’t supposed to be there? Yeah, that bitchy little nuisance is known as imposter syndrome. It shrouds you in self-doubt and whispers, “You don’t belong,” while undermining your talents. It’s that worrisome feeling of, Okay, but really, do I suck?...While in the midst of the chill girl routine, it’s easy to put on a brave face and avoid interrogating the root of your doubts. Unpack it! Push through while giving yourself as many positive affirmations as you need, and know this too shall pass. Those hiccups along the way aren’t proof you’re a fraud; they’re confirmation you’re human. Keep going."
I think everyone has moments of self-doubt. It is so easy to think about what you aren't good at and what other people are better at. I think I've felt this most when looking for a job. I question my abilities, wonder why I didn't do more when I could, think about the other people who probably went to a better school or had better grades. But none of that is very productive in becoming your best "cool" self. Someone will always be smarter than you, someone will always be prettier than you but no one will ever or can ever be you.
And don't forget it.
"Get to Know Yourself"
"Funnily enough, once I vowed to live in my truth (whatever that happens to be at the moment) and to invest time in figuring out who the heck I am, doing so in turn made me genuinely more chill. Think of it this way: The same way you’re at ease when lounging at home in sweats or whatever your go-to comfy clothes are is the same internal result when you’re your authentic self. You breathe a bit easier and navigate a bit smoother, which translates into everything."
To know oneself is a life-long pursuit. Realizing what you truly like and don't just like because everyone else does is a challenge. It really is. The honest truth is that no matter what you do in life, you'll probably be judged by someone so you might as well be yourself. Your quirks are what people will remember and the ones who love them are the ones who should be in your life. Anyone else is so irrelevant, you just can't let them bother you. Easier said than done but, practicing that mindset is so important to reaching full self-chillness potential.
"Don’t Apologize for Your Quirks, Embrace Them"
"Despite the allure of chill tricking us into thinking otherwise, we don’t have to morph into something disingenuous for the sake of appeasing others. Stop giving apologies you don’t owe. Rightfully take up space. Know you have something of value to add to the conversation. Know when to shush and just listen. Rustle feathers. Do more things that make you nervous."
There is NOTHING wrong with agreeing to disagree with people, even friends, and even best friends. Never apologize for your inner beliefs and say them out loud. And don't forget that your opinion can change and evolve. So many of my ideas have shifted over time from just talking about them with my friends. New people bring new perspectives and can only make your thoughts stronger and more defined.
"Breathe It Out"
...and let that shit gooooo.
"Stop. Take a breath. Life as you know it has likely ended and restarted your fair share of times, and you’re still standing. It’s hurled unimaginable detours, and yet here you are, still breathing, still pushing, still going... You’ll learn to reckon with a lack of closure and unanswered questions simply being a part of this peculiar, wondrous journey called life. And none of these curveballs will ever require the utmost poise or chill-ness."
Sometimes we just need to let things go. There are times where we can't control what bothers us and there is nothing we can do to make it stop. Just let it go. It's so hard to let things go. Have a quick rant to a friend or write it all down and then stop. Being a salt shaker will never make you feel the chillness we crave.
No blog (like mine) or person (like me) can ever tell you the exact secret to feeling self-worth. It is something we must all find ourselves and come to the realization of on our own time and through our own experiences.
Accept who you are and embrace it. Let go of what was and have faith in everything that will be you...And already is whether you know it yet or not.
So I took a short hiatus from my weekly açai expedition but I am back. I ventured into Brooklyn after doing some research on the best of the best and stumbled upon Little Choc Apothecary in Williamsburg. After looking at the website and location tag photos on Insta, I knew that I needed to adventure to this spot. I haven't spent much time in Williamsburg, but I have only heard good things. Partly from friends but mostly from Gossip Girl because Williamsburg is where the Humphry family loft is and who could forget that. I am actually here right now and just finished eating the bowl, so all of the details are fresh in my mouth...Literally.
Name: Little Choco Apothecary
Their claim to fame is that they are NYC's 1st fully vegan creperie.
Location: 141 Havemeyer St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Ok, I have to say the base definitely isn't the best I've had. It wasn't very thick and it melted really quickly. To their defense, it isn't specifically an açai bowl place. I was really tempted to just ditch the whole açai thing and get a crêpe because they look really good and I can rarely get them because they always have dairy. So I will be coming back to get one, but for the sake of journalism consistency, I got the bowl. Although, it is taking all my strength to sit here right now and not order one.
I got the pb&J which was described as açai, peanut butter, homemade chia jam, banana, date, coconut milk, Anita's yogurt, homemade buckwheat granola. I hate to say I was a little disappointed because the bowl was so incredibly beautiful, but I'm not here to write an advertisement. I was a little disappointed because I thought it would taste like a pb&j but it really didn't. I wish it had a glob of PB and way more jam because I couldn't really taste it. Don't get me wrong it was good but I think a few adjustments could make it way better.
Ok, I didn't even finish it because it was so big and I was full! It was served in a beautiful bowl that sat on a dish and it looked like a work of art. However, I was thinking it better be huge considering the price...
Like...Woah. That's pretty pricey. The granola was really good and there were a lot of homemade elements so I understand but that's a bit crazy if you ask me.
I could sit here for hours because it is so beautiful. Downstairs where you walk in is a counter where you can order to-go but then upstairs (where I am right now) is like a little restaurant cafe with wood floors and a brick wall. All along the wall are shelves with glass jars of different herbs and tea blends. The tables are wooden with little yellow wooden chairs and the natural light is beautiful. The people I have interacted with who work here are very sweet and hip. Overall it's a great vibe and a great place to come with friends or to do a few hours of work.
Overall Tastiness: 3
So, it wasn't the best açai bowl I've had but it wasn't bad. I'm trying to be more critical with my reviews of food and I am always bad at being mean, but I wouldn't consider this to be "mean" per say. I just think that there are way better options here and they specialize in crêpes so if you come by, which I do highly recommend, I'd go with that instead.
So there you have it, my first açai of Brooklyn. I'll be back for crepes soon.
Let me start by saying I'm no "expert" in fashion. I've never worked in fashion, never studied it in school. But, I like to think that I have an above average sense of fashion. My friends like borrowing my clothes and my sisters steal them so I'd say that's a good telltale. Recently, New York Fashion Week hit the streets and I followed the new styles and shows via Snapchat, Instagram stories and of course, Vogue's photo slideshows. Vogue has an index with clickable links to photos of each designer's show. It is very helpful when one is deprived of a ticket, as most of us common folk are.
I wouldn't consider myself a fashionista because that seems very professional, I've come up with my own term, fashion-ish-ta. Seems more fitting. Before I get to my runway review...Story time.
I did have one fashion week experience of my own and I must say I was feeling pretty glamorous. One my favorite bloggers, Amber Fillerup Clark, was walking in the Rebecca Minkoff show and posted that she would be having a meet and greet after she hit the runway (ugh, the life.) So I thought, "umm amazing I'll go and meet Amber and my life will be close to complete... this is awesome." I was struttin' myself down to 96 Greene Street, trying to feel confident in my Free People skirt and $3 Charlotte Russe crop top as I passed a man in a full Gucci jumpsuit, when I approached a very long line outside of the Rebecca Minkoff store.
I approached a security guard outside the Rebecca Minkoff store. "Umm hi, is this the line to see Amber?" He looked very confused and replied, "this is the line for the Rebecca Minkoff after party."
I paused thinking my dreams of meeting Amber were crushed. But, I figured I'd ask to go inside anyway...And he said yes. To be fair, I think anyone could go in but small details like that aren't important.
So there I stood, inside the Rebecca Minkoff after party holding a glass of champagne.
And there she was in all her glory...Amber! I definitely cut the line to meet her but I wasn't taking any chances and one must be assertive when meeting a celebrity. Luckily it seemed quite organic because the girl talking to her asked me to take their photo. Hopefully, I didn't act too weird or awkward as I low key...Ok, high key fangirled over her to her. But I told her about my blog and how I love her style and how she is an inspiration and she was just so sweet. I even tweeted at her later and she responded so that's when you know you've made it. I thought all the excitement was over and I was still shaking a little from talking to her when a photographer approached me and asked if I wanted a photo with Rebecca. I embarrassingly said, "Rebecca Minkoff?" as if there was another Rebecca to take a photo with. So in one day, I met two amazing people and I feel that this is a true fashion week accomplishment.
Now to the runway, back to the fashion-ish-ta take. I have picked my favorite and not-so-favorite looks of 2017 New York Fashion Week for you all and again, not an expert but who doesn't love playing fashion police every now and then? Sorry if I offend ~fashion~ but let's be honest, some of these "designs" are quite unsightly.
* All photos are from Vogue and AOL...I have linked the photo slideshows to each.
Best Trend: Sparkle and Shine
So I was into that whole matte trend for .5 seconds but I've always been a glitter kind of girl. I mean seriously who doesn't love a little shine in their life? I've noticed a lot of shimmer and glittery looks in many shows and I am very excited about it.
Worst Trend: The Way oversized
OKAY WHAT IS WITH THE OVERSIZED BAGGY LOOK? Like seriously I don't get what is appealing about an outfit that looks 50 sizes too big. I get form fitting and not skin tight but the whole, "I'm wearing my dad's Sunday best" thing is not cute and it never will be.
Oh, please no trend: Orange is the new black
I'm just not a fan of orange and I see quite a lot of it on the runway...Please fashion gods, please no.
Best: Rebecca Minkoff
Let's start with Rebecca Minkoff because I kinda-sorta know her.
First off, here is the jacket I tried on which I absolutely LOVE but was upwards of $500. By the way, the back says "feminista" and the lettering artist, Brian Kaspr, was at the party with a booth painting anything anyone wanted on the back which was one of the most creative and seriously impressive things I've ever seen. Check out his website because I'm now obsessed with him. Inside the store, there were really cute t-shirts also but I don't see them on the website or in the show. Overall, her clothing and accessories are super wearable. It's not anything insane that only a celebrity could wear, which I think is very appealing. Floral for spring is really nothing new but I love a good floral rocker-chic look. (I also think I need one of those fuzz jackets...thoughts?)
Worst: Jeremy Scott
I don't want to shit on Jeremy too much because I do like some of his looks. That being said, I really don't understand this one trend he used for 3 of his designs. It kind of reminds me of the gems I would use to decorate journals and picture frames when I was 8? Do you feel me on that? It's like those gems were magnified x20 and then glued on black outfits. I just honestly think it looks tacky. I feel like the only reason someone would think this is fashion is the fact it was made by Jeremy Scott. If you saw this in a thrift shop or even TJMaxx wouldn't you send it via Snapchat to all of your friends with the caption "wtf" because I would. Also, do we like the monster thing? Because I could see it being a big thing just not on me.
Gucci wore a tracksuit with loafers, so I wore a tracksuit with loafers. I mean seriously, could there be any better news than tracksuits being back? Should I have saved my Juicy velour sets circa 2008? Mmmm, ok maybe I should not get too ahead of myself. I feel like it's cliche to like the Gucci line but I am also slightly surprised because I expected something insane. Matter of fact, although these pieces are very high fashion, to the right occasion, like when I get invited to a magical ball, I would ask my fairy godmother to put me in that gown. Maybe minus the purple crystal swim cap.
Hahaha haha ha ok sorry what? What's cookin' good lookin? (Sorry, had to.) I really just don't understand how people who design clothes like this get a show in Fashion Week. Honestly, if I was at this show I would have laughed out loud when the lady with the giant floral bow ?shirt? start walking down the runway. Clearly a re-gift. This takes the whole baggy trend to a new level. That dress shirt is legitimately for a giant. And the giant bathrobe? Okay, maybe that is comfortable but seriously wut? The half khaki half black pants would have gone great in the notorious Norfeldt Elementary School Opposite Day. This is a day in kindergarten where people wear things like one sneaker and one sandal. I remember the creative parents taking two pairs of pants and sewing them just like that. So, Norfeldt saw it first, nice try Vaquera. Please send me a list of what buyers said yes to this collection. Please send me the phone number or email of anyone who purchases these clothes because I would really love to understand the appeal. Also, going through this slideshow is scary because many of the model's facial expressions are terrifying! I would start by laughing but then stop right away in fear of being turned into a zombie.
Best: Alice + Olivia
I already like Alice + Olivia, not that I own anything, but in general, this designer Stacey Bendet has always stood out to me as having really cute looks and I am very pleased with the use of embroidery. I have been loving the embroidery look for a while and I am so pumped that it is starting to pop up everywhere. I mean these jeans are killer. I have to admit, my sister Erin was way ahead of the whole bell bottoms thing because she asked for them for Christmas in 2011. I found it questionable then, but the 60s and 70s styles are definitely coming back...and I am not mad about it. Also, check out the second look in the slideshow below. How amazing is that dress? That jacket? And the boots? Everything! Dead. 11/10, Stacey.
Worst: Marc Jacobs
I really wanted to love the Marc Jacobs looks. My first designer purchase was from a Marc by Marc Jacobs store in Providence Town, Cape Cod and I always love his stuff. I was honestly going to look at his show to put it in as a best but then wow was I surprised. These patterns remind me of the 60s disco dress I wore in a High School Pops n' Jazz show that was from a Party City costume set. Also, Marc, why are you on that baggy trend? What has the world come to where women's fashion is an oversized men's collared shirt? What is the Horton Hears A Who Sally O'Malley collar vibe going on? Let's leave that look to the Dr. Seuss character...She wore it better.
That's about all I have for my fashion takes. If you saw any worst or best looks you believe are worthy of sharing, let me know. I can start an ongoing gallery of contributing fashion-ish-ta thoughts because there will never be enough.
It always fascinates me to hear about people's first memories. How do we remember certain experiences from such a young age? My very first memory is from age 3 or 4, I was putting on a puppet show for my mom while she was in the kitchen. In this brief snapshot, there is chair between the entrance of the kitchen opening and living room right by the stairs up to the main level, we lived in a raised ranch at this point, and I had pigtails. But that's all I can remember. Another very early memory I have is of visiting New York City when I was 6 years old. I remember being on the Staten Island Ferry and then on some steps dancing around with my sister Erin by the bay. I remember the skyline because my parents were sure to make a point of the Statue of Liberty and the famous "twin towers." Although we do have photos from this trip, I still remember these two small snapshots. I think sometimes we mix up true memories with photographs or home videos of memories, so it is important to clarify the difference to oneself. But I also think photos can bring back details of memories we have.
In the very first episode of the podcast Serial, Sarah Koenig discusses the reason why we remember certain events and why we also often forget events from only a few days prior. I've often found myself pondering this opening sequence, although it has been about 2 years since I listened to Serial. She opens episode 1 discussing how it is very hard to account for your time. Mundane daily tasks such as, "how you got to work on Monday" and what the weather was, who did you talk to and did you go to a store? If so, did you buy anything? Trying to account for a day is difficult, let alone a day that was 16 years ago. With social media, phone photo archives and text messages, this has become easier because we can look back to spark memories. Only a few photographs document this trip I took to New York in August of 2001, but I am positive that I have a vivid memory of the skyline with the towers.
Sarah Koenig asks teenagers about a day weeks back, and they struggle to remember certain days. She separately asks her nephew Sam and his friends about one day and they all recall it differently. One friend remembers being at a movie with her nephew but he recalls working that night. However, one friend remembers the day clearly because it was the last day of state testing and he had saved up to go to a nightclub. She concludes that if a significant event happens, you remember that plus events that happened throughout the day much better. When nothing significant happens you are not likely to remember.
5 weeks after this visit to New York City, terrorists attacked the World Trade Center. I think people underestimate how much children pick up on because I very clearly remember my mother calling my family frantically. She was so worried because my uncle was in New York City that day. I never got the full story, so I called him yesterday to ask what really happened and what it was like to be there. I have heard versions of the story, but never asked myself.
"Part of the reason everyone was freaking out, is because they couldn't reach me and part of the reason they couldn't reach me is that they were all talking to each other and I couldn't get through. I called a million times but everyone's phone was busy. No one had a mobile phone."
I remember everyone freaking out, and I remember my mom being on the phone the entire time, so that memory checks out.
He was on what is called a "road show" which apparently is when you take a company and list them on a stock exchange before they are owned by multiple institutions. So when you are in this process you travel around the world and tell the company story. The week of 9/11/2001 was the week they happened to be on their New York stop.
This road show was actually the trip he met his wife on. She was a flight attendant and he gave her his card, how cute is that.
Back to the story.
They got to New York the company he was meeting with had an office in the World Trade Center. Now, he can't remember what time or what floor the meeting was on exactly but he does know it was in the morning. So that was the original plan, morning meeting in the World Trade Center on 9/11. At the last second, there was another meeting scheduled for a location in Midtown and since the first company had an office in Midtown as well, they switched the location.
"We had the meeting in the Midtown office and when we walked out of that meeting to go to the next I could see the Twin Towers, even from Midtown, looking down and I was like, 'look there's a fire at the top of the Twin Tower' it was only one tower at this point, but I was like, 'that Tower is on fire.' No one knew what was the cause of the fire. Then we went into the second meeting and it was on a trading floor so there were all glass walls and while the CEO was making the presentation, I could see through the walls that everyone was crowded around a TV. I went over and figured out what was going on so we stopped the meeting and all left."
As they were walking outside, the second plane hit.
"What I remember most was the smell, it smelled so powerfully of burning plastic. It was much more than just the visual of the towers on fire."
Everyone was trying to figure out what to do but he knew they had to get back to the hotel and re-book the rooms since they had already checked out with plans to fly to the next location later in the day. He knew that was not going to happen anymore. Luckily they got the rooms back. At that point, everyone was just trying to figure out what to do. No one had any idea what was really going on.
Once the visuals of the planes came through they were sure it was terrorists but it was terrifying because everything was just so unclear. Everything in New York City was closed and they couldn't leave for two days. The only way to get out of the city was walking because the subways were shut down. They were able to leave two days later because the company had a private jet and flew out in the 45 minute period the sky was open again.
"I was lucky...I'm pretty sure we were going to be halfway up. I don't think we were going to be at the top... But I'm glad I never had to know."
When I asked what was going on my parents told me what happened. My dad also showed me the footage of the planes a few days later. Everyone was talking about it so there was really no hiding this from a kid who clearly knew something was going on. I remember thinking this was an accident and I was confused when I started to figure out it was on purpose. Of course, my parents didn't go into detail about what terrorism was but for the first time, I knew that there are bad people in the world. I always consider this a loss of innocence moment in my life.
On September 11, 2017, I visited the memorial. I wanted to talk to people, ask them why they were there, use their quotes in this post, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. This is one element of journalism I struggle with the most, the compassion for people's emotions. I just didn't want to ruin the day or moment for anyone even though I just want to share a story for the sake of storytelling. As I walked up to the memorial I felt an overwhelming wave of emotion. The kind you feel in the back of your eyes before you tear up. But once I looked over the edge and heard the water and saw the flowers placed out all around the memorial, I felt differently. I could feel the sense of unity and community, it was very special and unique to feel that everyone was there for different reasons, yet all the same to show a pride and respect for the country and the people who not only lost their lives but the people who lost their loved ones.
I feel very fortunate to have this memory of the skyline with the towers, and in a way, I feel that this has always given me a special connection with the City. I imagine that being only 6 years old, I am one of the last generations and age groups to possibly be able to remember the day. Although September 11, 2001, it is a blur of traumatic snapshots, it has also engraved the skyline into my memory. I feel that the reason I have wanted to move here for so long is that I have held onto this compassion for New York my entire life.
So in trying to wrap up all of these thoughts and stories into one, I suppose I'll just leave you with this:
We rarely ever think anything is the last time, we always think there will be more. We think we have forever, but we don't. We never know the significance of a moment in our lives until it becomes a memory. Life is beautiful, then it's ugly, then it's spectacular once again. It can be mundane and routine and then it can shine brighter than every moment before it. But at any moment, whether it be sparkling or seemingly just another day, it is important to remember that just the significance of it existing another second in the universe is a reason to feel blessed to breathe in life itself.