Friday Faves

HAPPY FRIDAY! This calls for a celebration, does it not? And what better way to celebrate the end of the workweek than with a list of some favorite things? (Ok, yes, I know that better ways to celebrate the end of the workweek generally involve happy hour, but it’s 0700 and I’m fighting off a cold. So, we shall focus on other things!) With no further ado, here are some Friday faves:

The fact that this is going to be a long weekend: Real talk,y’all: I basically live for the weekend. So when a long weekend comes along, guess who has two thumbs and is totally doing the Kermit the Frog happy dance? This girl!

 

 

Alba Botanica face cream: I’ve been on a long and arduous journey (ok, it wasn’t all that long or arduous in real life, but let’s pretend like it was) for good facial moisturizer that isn’t laden with freaky shizz like phtalates and parabens. Adding to the fun, a lot of natural products — including Aveda, which I used to love — contain wheat protein. No bueno!

It took a lot of searching around Amazon to find a gluten-, paraben- and phtalate-free facial moisturizer, but, just as I was starting to get frustrated…EUREKA! The good folks at Alba Botanica came through in a pinch! I ordered it up and have been using it vigiliantly since the day it arrived.

And I must say, this stuff is awesome. It moisturizes fabulously, smells amazing, and it doesn’t make my skin break out. This is a big deal, since my skin is a total hater and basically searches high and low for reasons to break out. (Hormones? Zit party! Hard workouts? Zit convention! Change of seasons? Zitapalooza!) So, this find is a serious keeper for yours truly.

 

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Verily Magazine: I’ve written before about how many women’s magazines, which claim to be all about empowering us, just wind up making us feel like total and utter crap.

The Photoshopping is ridiculous, and the content is often a) vapid, and b) largely about how to be both skinnier and better in the sack. This “Get thinner, have the perfect tush, and be a total sex kitten” message pushes the idea that there’s a huge gap between how you are and how you should be, and that how you are now is largely inadequate. It pisses me the hell off, and that’s putting it politely.

Enter Verily Magazine: a women’s magazine that focuses on “celebrating the best of who you are” — and that’s who you are now, not who you’ll be after undergoing one of those heinous Tracy Anderson metamorphosis things. (Have I mentioned that I really don’t like Tracy Anderson? Because sweet fancy Moses, y’all, I really don’t like her. This article, followed by this one, really sealed the deal. But I digress.)

Unlike other women’s mags, Verily never, ever airbrushes or Photoshops its models. Not only that, but it specifically chooses models who look like normal people, as opposed to the emaciated waifs you see on the runway. (Am I the only one who often feels compelled to throw food at bone-thin models as they strut down the catwalk? I’m pretty sure I’d get kicked out of a real fashion show because I’d just start throwing quinoa and asparagus at them while yelling “Eat! For the love of all that is holy, woman, EAT!”)

Adding to the awesomeness, Verily actually offers articles that are directed toward womens’ brains, not their lady-parts or their abs. There are no “How To Blow His Mind in Bed!” or “Get The Perfect Tummy in Two Weeks!” articles here, friends: instead, there are pieces on culture, lifestyle, and fashion — as well as awesome articles that focus on issues affecting women around the world, such as the rise of rape warfare in Egypt and the increasing prevalence of sex trafficking in the United States.

One of my friends here in DC interviewed the founders of Verily, and the awesome Huffington Post article that ensued can be read here. These ladies are the real deal!

 

New yoga books:  I wrote yesterday about my love of DIY, at-home yoga, and I just invested in two new books on the matter — sooooo, I might be bouncing in my chair in sheer anticipation of  getting my grubby little paws on copies of Yoga as Medicine and Insight Yoga. I’m incredibly, absurdly excited for both of these books!

I’m a big believer in using alternative medicine/holistic practices like yoga to help complement Western medicine, and I’m fascinated by the intersection of the two forms of healing. The idea that yoga can be used to complement the effects of modern medicine is awesome, so I’m chomping at the proverbial bit to dive into these books and absorb as much information as humanly possible. A total geek-out will totally ensue. I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll be hearing about it next week!

 

With that, some questions for you:

What was the highlight of your week?

Do you have plans for the weekend?

What are you most looking forward to over the weekend?

MIMM: One More Day

G’morning, y’all! I hope everyone had a lovely weekend — preferably one filled with R&R, laughter, and general shenanigans.

‘Round these parts, I’m counting down the days until my fibroid surgery. One more day, people! One more day, and then I’ll (knock on wood) hopefully be on the road to recovery. One more day, and I hopefully won’t have to rely on hardcore meds to keep the pain in check. One more day, and hopefully I’ll be able to go back to regular, normal life. It’ll be marvelous!

Before getting into the other marvelous things going on in honor of Healthy Diva Eats’ Marvelous in My Monday, I figure I should be honest about getting a little somethin’-somethin’ off my chest.

MiMM MIMM #56 With One Special Arrival

 

Among the various things that have been seriously craptastic about this experience is that between the hormones gone awry (side note: Provera is the devil!) and my forced exile from exercise, I’ve gained 30 pounds. My eating habits haven’t changed — but I almost wish they had, since that’d provide a straightforward explanation for this nonsense.

I know I shouldn’t be as upset by this as I am, what with all my fervor about positive body image — but in the interest of being honest here, it’s driving me mildly insane. I’ve never weighed this much in my life, and I can’t stand how I feel. In addition to the fact that I barely recognize my own body, the extra weight leaves me feeling slow, sluggish, out of shape, and totally uncoordinated.

 

 

I feel like I don’t understand my own body, simply because my body has never been like this before. I’ve always been active and athletic, and although I’ve never been particularly skinny, I’ve always felt healthy — and, in my opinion, being healthy is way more important than being skinny.

Now, though, I don’t feel even remotely healthy. All the extra weight and the forced inactivity makes me feel like my body is only capable of moving at a snail’s pace — if that snail happened to be navigating through a river of molasses. I’ve never been so sedentary in my life, and I feel like I’ve been gorging on Doritos and donuts, even though what I’ve really been eating is stuff like GF oatmeal, avocados, chicken breasts, and fruits and veggies galore. With apologies for the swearing (my Mom reads this blog, so I try to keep my language clean — but this is the only thing that sums up my feelings, soooo…apologies in advance, Mom!), this is what I feel like whenever I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror:

 

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So, between the persistent, acute abdominal pain and the ridiculous weight gain, to say that I’m incredibly eager to get back to normal life would be a gargantuan understatement. As soon as my doctor says it’s safe to exercise again, I’m going to throw myself into the loving embrace of the elliptical and the kettlebell. (What’s that, you say? Ellipticals and kettlebells, much like other inanimate objects, don’t give good hugs? Well, crap.)

In the meantime, though, I’ve been doing everything I can to perk myself up. For a nerdy-yet-girly gal like myself, this has involved three things: tea, books, and cosmetics.

Because my favorite type of tea, Celestial Seasonings, contains soy lecthin (seriously, Celestial Seasonings, I lurve you guys to the moon and back — how could you do this?! Why you gotta play me like that?), I’ve had to switch to Yogi tea. I was able to find a reasonably similar replacement for my favorite herbal tea, (Celestial Seasonings’ Bengal Spice): Yogi Tea’s India Spice. With some honey and a bit of coconut creamer, this ish is pretty darn good.

 

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I also hit up the library this weekend for some entertainment reading. When my mind isn’t occupied by a bazillion other things, I tend to go for non-fiction or historical fiction books (nerd alert!) — but when the going gets tough, I go straight for the chick lit. Jennifer Weiner has long been one my favorite fiction authors, and our library branch had two of her more recent novels that I haven’t read yet. Entertainment ensues!

 

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I also picked up some new bronzer; considering that I work in a windowless office and am naturally pale, I have the skin tone of a cadaver. To say the least, my skin needs some help in order to look like my veins aren’t filled with paste.

I also got some new nail polish, and I fully intend to go into tomorrow’s surgery with a fresh, bright pink pedicure. I specifically bought Essie polish because it’s free of some of the uber-heinous toxins — specifically formaldehyde, toulene, and dibutyl phthalate — commonly found in nail polish. (In the course of all my auto-immune research, I found that most cosmetics are filled with some seriously awful stuff. Formaldehyde, for example, is a known carcinogen, and dibutyl phthalate causes birth defects. And yet, it’s everywhere. No bueno!)

 

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So, although I don’t have any grandiose designs for keeping myself going amidst the medical shenanigans and loathsome weight gain, I do find that the small things really do help. Whether it’s behaving like a total goofball with Brandon, daily phone calls with my mom, emails from Susie, the smell of clean linens (I’ve been known to bury my face in clean towels as I pull them out of the dryer, just to get a whiff of their happy scent), a pedicure, or a funny movie, focusing on the things I enjoy — the people, experiences, and things that make me happy — gives me just enough of a lift to make all this insanity feel a bit more manageable.

Those little things, and the mood-boosting benefits they bring, are quite marvelous indeed.

What do you do to lift your mood when the going gets rough?

Do you love the smell of fresh linens? (Please tell me I’m not the only one who goes bonkers for stuff like this!)

Did you do anything special this weekend?

No Mas: A Rant

Well.

I was going to write a post today about our meal plan for the week, but last night as I was working out, Brandon went to pick up the mail — and when he returned, I saw that this month’s issue of SELF Magazine had arrived.

I’ve been a subscriber for a few years now, and although I originally liked it, over time I started finding that reading it makes me feel like sh*t. So, a few months ago, I decided that I wouldn’t renew my subscription when it expires this summer.

It hasn’t expired yet, though, and the June issue arrived last night. Upon seeing the cover, it pissed right the eff off.

 

 

You see, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about weight, health, body image, and fitness. I feel like almost all fitness and health information is geared towards weight loss and the aesthetics of being thin and toned, as opposed to the noble goal of simply being healthy and strong.You don’t see magazines talking about getting strong, you see them talking about burning calories. They don’t talk about how running can enhance your cardiovascular health, they talk about how to get skinny in time for beach season.

This, in my book at least, isn’t cool.

Look, I know that skinniness sells (whereas words like “cardiovascular” make peoples’ eyes glaze over). I get it. But really, I find that the emphasis on being thin consistently makes me feel awful.

I exercise all the effing time and I eat well (boneless, skinless chicken breasts and steamed veggies are my homies), but I have curves. Lots of ’em. I don’t have a perfectly perky tush, my child-bearing hips make me look like I was built to be Michelle Duggar’s understudy, and I was genetically graced with a stomach that, despite an unending number of crunches and hours of Pilates, will never be perfectly flat.  Maybe I’m wrong here, but I suspect I’m not the only one in this boat.

Anyways, back to last night: there I was, sweating like a wildebeest after a hard workout, standing in the kitchen while quietly seething about the magazine cover, and shaking with both muscle exhaustion and fury. It was a sight to behold, I’m sure.

Just as my ragey-ness was reaching critical mass, I decided to take a Sharpie and write my rebuttals all over the magazine cover. To explain where I got this idea, for about 15 years now, my best friend Susie and I have been writing witty, funny, and occasionally caustic commentary all over magazine ads we find ridiculous (and then sending them to each other at random, because nothing perks up a crappy day like an unexpected trove of advertising snark from your bestie). So, I decided to do the same thing with the cover of this month’s SELF:

 

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Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

 

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First, I’m sick to death of celebrity fitness tips. CELEBS HAVE PERSONAL TRAINERS, PEOPLE. Their careers and very livelihoods depend on them looking fantastic, and they hire a boatload of people to help them stay that way. Trainers, cooks, dieticians — you name it, they’ve got it. And yet, there’s this ridiculous idea that they work out just as much as anybody else and lead otherwise normal, pedestrian lives. I call bullsh*t on this. Celebs can give us all the “secrets” they want about their fitness routines, but nobody talks about the fact that it usually involves hours of the moves they describe in the pages of these glossies. (And I don’t know about y’all, but I have neither the time nor the desire to work out for 2-3 hours per day. I tap out after an hour, and then I go do other things that benefit my health such as hanging out with Brandon, cooking dinner, reading, or writing.)

 

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Next, the issue of beach bodies: I’m so. Damn. Tired. Of hearing. About. Beach. Bodies. This is where the fitness-for-aesthetics vs. the fitness-for-health issue really gains momentum: if you spend all year working out and eating well, why this emphasis on going super-uber-epic-hardcore for summer? If you can run a 5K, lift heavy things, and you’ve been known to slurp down green smoothies on a daily basis, aren’t you already in good health? Oh, but wait, that’s not what really matters, is it? What really matters, friends, is that you look good in a bathing suit.

Adding fuel to the fire is the whole “It’s June, people! No more procrastinating!” motif. Oh, you’re totally right! In addition to everything else I’m doing, I need to lose weight and get super toned, like, yesterday! Gosh, staying active and healthy throughout the year — not just for the summer — was a seriously slacker move, wasn’t it? Thanks for the reminder, y’all! I’m sure I’ll make people fall over in disgust when I roll up at the pool with my regular body; that said, I take full responsibility for the horrors that ensue as a result of my procrastination. (*Screams internally*)

 

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As for the alleged “miracle foods” that “practically lose the weight for you,” this is another area where the eat to be healthy vs. eat to be skinny issue fires up. Look, eating to be skinny just plain sucks. I’ve done it more than once. It drains all the joy out of life (or at least it did for me) when you have to weigh, measure, and account for every ounce of food that passes your lips. It makes food the enemy. And, in my mind at least, foods like steel-cut oats, chia seeds, nuts, beans, Greek yogurt, and lean protein should never be the enemy.

With that in mind, why not tell people to focus on eating whole foods for their inherent health-enhancing value instead of for their metabolism-revving properties? Why not encourage people to focus on nourishing their  bodies with foods that pack a walloping dose of nutrients, instead of eating particular foods because they “practically lose the weight for you”? Oh, that’s right: because, once again, what really matters is that you look hot.

 

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This one really got me. Of the seven cover features, five were weight-related. The two that weren’t were in a small font, with plain black & white text, which means that compared to the other large-font, color-blast headlines, these were the ones meant to garner the least attention. The eye is drawn towards the bigger letters with bright backgrounds, not towards the small b&w text. So, the two topics that genuinely relate to health rather than being skinny are fully intended to be afterthoughts. Awesome.

So, to say the least, I was mighty angry. It made me think of one of my favorite documentaries, Miss Representation (the trailer is below): if the media is both the message and the messenger, what do fitness magazines say to women? They say that it’s not enough to be healthy and strong – you have to look good in a bikini too.

 

 

Chances are, if you subscribe to a fitness magazine, you’re pretty active. You probably take good care of yourself, eat your veggies, and get your blood pumping at least few times a week. And yet, five out of seven — a whopping 71% — of the feature articles are about weight loss.

What, exactly, is this supposed to do for women’s self-confidence? While many of these feature pieces are published in the name of empowerment, I feel like what they really do is make women feel inadequate for their lack of a bikini body/Brazilian tuchus/washboard abs. This is not okay.

Suffice it to say, I’m now doubly committed to not renewing my subscription when it expires this summer. I’m saying no mas. I’m done with buying into a media message that makes me feel like crap and tells other women that they’re not good enough — that being athletic and healthy plays second fiddle to the holy grail of a tight, tiny, and toned bikini body.

There’s a phrase in Arabic, khalas, that roughly translates as “no more,” “it’s finished,” “I’ve had it,” or simply “enough.” As I Sharpied the daylights out of the magazine cover, I found that I was saying it over and over under my breath. Khalas. I’m finished. I’ve had enough.

5 Random Things That I’m Loving Lately…And Some Epiphanies

Happy Friday, y’all! TGIF! Friday, Friday, everybody’s glad it’s Friday! (Am I the only person who gets Rebecca Black stuck in her head every single week?)

As I’ve mentioned before, I tend to get really excited about random little things. New shampoo? Excited. New songs on my workout playlist? Excited. New coffee mug? Practically crawling out of my skin with excitement.

I’ve occasionally been told that I’m too easily amused, but I see it a bit differently. As far as I’m concerned, my low threshold for happy dancing makes it easy to do what so many happiness and self-help gurus keep talking about: appreciating and being grateful for the little things in life.

So, with that in mind, here are 5 random things that have induced more than a few happy dances around here.

1) On a whim earlier this week, I picked up some Goody Spin Pins from CVS. I’d run out of hair ties, and I was re-stocking when the Spin Pins caught my eye.

Image source: makeupandbeautyblog.com

 

Considering that I spend all summer abandoning all hope of doing my hair — heat and humidity turn my tresses into a hot mess, and I don’t like spending four months looking like my head was mauled by a misshapen shrubberyI rely on loose chignons and buns to get me through those oppressively hot months.

And, wouldn’t you know, that’s exactly what the Spin Pins were made for.

After using them, I can say this much: my gawd, these things are awesome. They worked like a dream, which is really saying something considering that virtually nothing works like it’s supposed to on my hair. I twisted them into the loose bun I’d pulled up, et voila:

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I must say, I’m seriously excited about these bad boys. Summer hairstyling is going to be a breeze with these things in my arsenal!

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2) Wearing my favorite pink jacket to work, DC fashion rules be damned.

Five years ago, I was shopping with my mom when a fabulous pink jacket from the Gap made me gasp audibly in delight. (I know that as an ardent feminist I’m not supposed to love pink, girly things and blah blah blah, but the fact is –as you may have discerned from the color schemes on this blog — I love pink.)

I bought the jacket as a graduation present for myself, only to never wear it upon arriving in DC. I was worried that no one would take me seriously if I rolled up in such a bright, feminine statement piece. Black pant suits are ubiquitous here, and there seems to be an unspoken rule that if you want to be respected and taken seriously, you can’t wear bright or overtly feminine clothes. And, y’know, this jacket is both bright and feminine. Trepidation ensued.

Recently, though, I’ve reached the point where I’ve just plain had it with all the unspoken rules about how to look and behave in DC. I am, by nature, goofy, funny, creative, innovative, expressive, and girly — all of which are big no-nos here.

Judy Garland I don't care

However, last few weeks I’ve found myself repeatedly thinking “F**k it. I can’t keep pretending to be someone I’m not in order to conform to cultural norms here. I can’t keep suppressing all these key elements of my personality. If I’m never taken seriously, then ok — but I’m tired of not being myself.”

When I opened up our coat closet this week, I saw my beloved pink jacket, and I knew: it’s time. Loud and proud, baby.

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3) The spate of gorgeous, spring-like weather we’ve had — and are supposed to continue having through the weekend — and the fact that the trees are now fully leaved.

Last night I was finally able to talk to my best friend (it’s tough to make our schedules work, since she’s in Seattle and thus three hours behind DC), and I decided to walk home from work in order to spend time outside while talking to her. It’s a four-mile walk along a gorgeous path, and I loved every second of it.

Some scenes from my walk:

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4) I luuuurve the new ring tone  on my phone. I was less than thrilled by the factory-setting ring tones on my iPhone, and I decided this week to see what other options are out there. I was sampling the most popular ones on iTunes when I thought “Waaaaaaaait a second. I wonder if they have Monty Python ring tones. Let’s check that out.”

A moment of context here: I love Monty Python. I come from a family of Monty Python (and British humor) devotees, and it’s to the point where we’ll all spontaneously re-enact scenes from our favorite movie, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Lo and behold, there’s a Monty Python and the Holy Grail ringtone! You’d best believe I downloaded it immediately, and now I do this whenever my phone rings:

 

5) Using egg white protein powder and almond milk in my morning smoothies, which gives me a luxuriously thick and creamy breakfast treat each morning.

This is a big deal for me for two reasons: first, I’ve been on a search for good protein powder that has, at times, felt like a scene from The Odyssey. My Greek epic novel-length quest has been frustrating, either in dealing with protein powders that taste awful or leave my stomach in a state of open rebellion — so I was profoundly happy when I found Jay Robb’s Egg White Protein Powder. This stuff is delicious, not chalky, and it hasn’t provoked any backtalk from el estomago.

Then we have the almond milk: I freaking love that stuff, but I haven’t been using it in my smoothies because, y’know, it has calories. I’d been using water instead, which — shockingly — lead to watery and decidedly meh smoothies. Just like my realization that I’m tired of conforming to DC cultural norms, I realized that I’m also tired of looking for every possible way to cut calories.

I love my almond milk, it’s good for you (all that calcium!), and I’m just plain tired of cutting myself off from foods I love — foods that are nutrient dense and actually really good for you — simply because they might be calorically dense as well. I want my granola, I want my pistachios, I want my GF bread with flax seeds, and dang it, I want  almond milk in my smoothies.

So, for the second time in recent weeks, I said “F**k it! I’m doing what I want in spite of all the nutritional advice to just use water and save calories. Almond milk it is!” Not surprisingly, using almond milk has turned my daily green smoothie into a thing of delicious glory. It’s thick, smooth, creamy, and generally mouthwatering.

All in all, I’m amazed by how good I feel after both the pink jacket and almond milk epiphanies. Deciding to dispose of generally ridiculous DC fashion rules and less-than-helpful nutritional advice made me feel like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. After trying so hard to be the round peg who contorts herself in an effort to fit into the square hole, calling it like it is made me feel really effing awesome.

So, with that in mind, I hope everyone has an awesome Friday! Here’s to the weekend being within reach, y’all. 🙂 Some questions for you:

What do you like to use in your smoothies?

Do you have favorite movies that you quote, like, all the effing time?

Have you ever tried to ignore or suppress parts of your personality in order to fit in?

Article Round-Up: April 21-27

Good morning, everyone, and happy Saturday!

I slept in until 8:15 this morning, which is basically unheard of for me — true to my grandma status ways, I usually wake up on my own at 7. I get this trait from my dad, who’s also an “early to bed, early to rise” sort of dude; I’m pretty sure my own tendency towards such things is hard-wired and inherited from mi padre.

My sleep habits used to really irritate me when I was in high school (“Why can’t I be a normal teenager who sleeps in until 10 or 11 on the weekends? What am I, a teenage mutant ninja turtle honors student?”), but now I really like it. It gives me quiet time to myself in the mornings, and I use that time to get stuff done. By the time other people are waking up, I’ve checked things off my to-do list and thus feel no guilt about getting some R&R and spending quality time with the people I love. Win!

Anywho, on to this week’s article round-up — grab yourself a beverage, sit back, and read away.

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There, now doesn’t that make you feel all relaxed and filled with Saturday morning serenity?

Health & Fitness:

NYT: Do We Have to Cool Down After Exercise?

NPR: Recalls of Diet Supplements Highlight Mystery Ingredients

Mind, Body, Green: The 6 Best Fruits and Veggies to Buy for Spring

NYT: Long Runs or Sprints?

HuffPost: Vitamin P: The Secret to Health and Longevity

 

Stress Relief & Life Management:

Huffington Post: Easy Stress Relief: 5 Ways to Decompress in 5 Minutes

Mind, Body, Green: My All-Time Favorite Tips for Dealing With Stress

Huffington Post: Want Less Stress and More Happiness? Get ‘FAT’

 

Gender Issues:

Fast Company Infographic: How Barbie Stacks Up Against An Average, Real Woman 

Atlantic: ‘Messages of Shame Are Organized Around Gender

Slate: How Not To Be an Overt Sexist

Atlantic: Even Candy Land Isn’t Safe from Sexy

NoGym: We All Have Body Dysmorphic Disorder 

 

Humor & Warm Fuzzies:

Buzzfeed: 21 Photos That Will Turn Your Heart Into Goo

Funny or Die: The Childhood Drawings of Kim Jong Un

 NPR: Masterpiece in a Mug: Japanese Latte Art Will Perk You Up

Buzzfeed: Can You Make It Through This Video Without Happy-Crying?

Buzzfeed: 29 Ways Your Life Could Be A Million Times Worse

 

 

Short and Sweet: Yea or Nay

Good morning, y’all!

I’m going to keep things on the shorter side this morning, since it’s going to be a busy day and I feel like I have approximately seven bajillion things to do. This picture was spreading like wildfire on my Facebook newsfeed yesterday, and it just about sums up the way my brain rolls these days:

Uh huh ;)

So today, I’ll go with some of the topics that occupy those 2,857 tabs — but divide them into ye olde fashioned categories of Yea or Nay (not so ye olde fashioned translation: likes and dislikes).

Nay:

  • This magazine cover. I’m not one of Gwyneth Paltrow’s biggest fans, but my bigger issue is how fitness magazines fawn over her for allegedly having the perfect body. I see this all over the place, and it’s monumentally irritating. She works out for hours and hours each day and follows an incredibly restrictive diet regimen — and somehow that’s supposed to make her a role model? (Although really, fitness mags don’t ever get into the reality of what she has to do in order to look like that; instead, they cover small fractions of her routine and act like you can also have 4% body fat if you just follow her super-doable tips and tricks. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, ladies! Obvi!) However, I call bulls**t on this. Not only is it wildly unrealistic, it’s unhealthy as all get-out. Color me peeved, my friends. Colossally peeved.
SELF magazine Gwyneth Paltrow
Source: mamasarollingstone.com
  • The persistent homesickness. I’m working hard to focus on the positive and make the best out of life in DC, but I find that the homesickness creeps right back in as soon as I let my guard down. I’ve been here for four years, and I keep thinking that the homesickness will get better with time — but it’s not, so I just have to make the best of it. Le sigh.
Homesick
Source: memegenerator.net
  • With apologies to any dudes who might read my blog: I have a raging case of PMS, and it’s driving me batty. I feel like someone injected saline into my skin — and although I don’t weigh myself, I must’ve gained a lot of water weight because my pants quite literally stopped fitting overnight. I’m increasing my intake of magnesium and potassium (and cutting waaaaaaaay back on the sodium) in an effort to shed some of the water retention, but UGH. No likey.

Yea:

  • One of my girlfriends recently went on a business trip to Israel, and I asked her to stock up on one of my favorite Israeli exports for me: Ahava skincare products. I love, love, love this stuff, but it’s obnoxiously expensive on this side of the pond. (Side note: ahava is actually Hebrew for love, so one could say that I have much ahava for Ahava. I’M SO PUNNY.) Since it’s so much cheaper there, I gave her some cash, asked her to go to town, and was able to get far more bang for my buck. This mineral hand cream is like a dream come true for me:

Ahava cream

  • I’m finally getting back into my workout routine after the two-week Breaking Bad-induced hiatus. I really missed exercise, and I really missed how good I feel — both physically and emotionally — after a good sweat session. I will say, though, that I had a substantial epiphany during this two-week hiatus. It was a big one, and I’ll write about it when I have a bit more time — but for now, let’s just say that I’m seeing exercise, health, and weight in a very different light these days.

Exercise = my natural high

  • I kind of love the fact that there’s a truly obscene number of rom-coms on my Amazon watch list. Using my time at the gym to watch movies that Brandon would never watch (I refer to this magical time as rom-coms and cardio) is quite possibly the awesomest multi-tasking I’ve ever done. Brandon would sooner cover himself in raw steak and go hang out with a pack of hungry wolves than sit through a crappy rom-com, but gawd, I love those movies. Much like celeb gossip, I fully realize that they’re horrible — but I don’t care. Cue Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” replace Kevin Costner with celeb gossip and rom-coms, replace the beautiful, impeccably dressed Whitney with a sweaty, yoga pants and t-shirt clad me (but keep Whitney’s voice, because she was amazing), and you have the perfect image of my feelings on this matter.
Rom coms
This is an alarmingly accurate representation of my Amazon watch list. Source: http://www.ommster.com
  • The toasted almond-amaretto coffee I bought at Target this weekend is effing sublime. It smells amazing, and it tastes even better. My long, arduous, and often frustrating search for good almond-flavored coffee was 100% worth it, my friends, because it led me to this wondrous stuff. The sheer deliciousness of this coffee has only reinforced my feeling that Target can do no wrong; while this is great for Target, it’s probably bad for my bank account. (I shouldn’t be let into Target without a chaperone, because left to my own devices I’ll gladly BUY ALL THE THINGS.) Target addiction aside, though, this coffee is a serious winner. My mornings have become considerably easier due to its heavenly qualities.

Coffee

And now, I’m off to prep dinner, write an article, get ready for work, and try to keep my ducks in a row — thank God for the coffee, my friends. 🙂 Hope everyone has an awesome Tuesday!