January 29, 2014

Mary's Song (Oh My My My Life was Influenced by a Guy but Not In the Way You Think)

I'm fairly positive everyone reading this has experienced this at one time or another: your heart beats faster in sheer anticipation of seeing them, you can't remember a time where you were together and you weren't smiling, you talk/think about them often…I could go on but you already have a face in your mind don't you? However, I'm also fairly sure we're not talking about the same thing. I mean, generally we are but specifically we aren't. Generally we're talking about love. Specifically, you're thinking about your current soulmate and I'm talking about my very first best friend who, yes, I loved very dearly. But not like that. Tristan was my best friend, my brother that lived across the street. About, oh say…94% of our childhoods were spent in each others yards/houses/cars/company, we were constantly together and it was the absolute best.

See, when you're six and find someone who is willing to sing duets with you in your basement using red markers as microphones you don't read into it. You don't start worrying about those icky feeling-things, you unintentionally live in the moment and don't worry about tomorrow. This was what I knew about Tristan: his older brother Julian was drop-dead gorgeous in that punk-rock way only your best friends' older brother can be, his dad's name was Mark and he had a tire swing in the backyard that was perfect before noon during the summer, and his imagination could keep up with even my wildest fantasies. I still have vivid memories of walking to the neighborhood pool with my Polish au pair Ola, who loved him just as much as I did, or playing Pirate-Captain-Falls-In-Love-With-Ordinary-Maid on my tiny trampoline that was the perfect size for us, or swinging and sliding on my red cedar wood playground that smelled so fresh and earth-y. I can even perfectly picture the inside of his house, the always-messy (hey it was a house of 3 boys) kitchen was to your left as you walked in, the stairs to your immediate right. His room was the first on the right and always had those plastic knights and army men littered across the floor; Julian's was next door to that and I still remember the time we both burst in on him and ended up napping in his room, all three of us (picture it, two six-year-olds and a 13 year old that I was totally infatuated). Mark's was down the hall on the left next to the boys' shared bathroom. Freaky right?
"She said, I was seven and you were nine, I looked at you like the stars that shined, In the sky, the pretty lights"
Tristan always pops up in my memory at the strangest times, such as when I find an old photograph of the two of us on a random Saturday, or when I think about Ola and Alejandra (my two au pairs), or when I recall the time we lived in that white-washed house with the herb garden in front and drove around in a red, sparkly Nissan that once had a bee in it that sung me when I opened the door. I found him on Facebook once, after spending only about an hour stalking his family, but he never responded to my friend request. That meanie. He probably just didn't remember me or doesn't use Facebook ever. (I'm hoping it's the latter so I can save face, to remember all this about the two of us and he doesn't recall me at all would hurt my pride and perpetually-high self-importance meter) The reason I'm spending a whole post waxing on and on about my old best friend? I was listening to "Mary's Song" by Taylor Swift and realized how closely (the beginning anyway) the song reflects the experience I had growing up. 

And, if you know me, you know this led to more probing of my mind and I came to the realization that the most unlikely person can shape your life in ways you never even thought about. I am the person I am, partly because of Mom and Dad and Grandma yadda yadda yadda….but also because of Tristan and all my other friends that have helped make me who I am. Had I not befriended Tristan and spent a good three years (at least) exploring the realms of imagination with him, I probably wouldn't look in the mirror and feel slightly okay about myself (most of the time), would plug my nose anytime I'm around fresh mulch like the rest of the female population, and probably wouldn't be as boy crazy as I am. I definitely wouldn't look at life the same way I do now, I know that.

If you are going to take one thing away from this long post all about myself, it's this: don't forget or regret the people in your past because they helped to make you the person you are today. Who do you reckon are the people that shaped you the most?
January 22, 2014

The Down and Dirty, Clean and Juicy Lifestyle

If you've been reading this blog since the start, or are a teenager that is a functioning part of our sick society, you know the pressures of trying to look "perfect' and "hot". Two qualities that are completely overrated if you ask me. This post is not going to be another rant on the evils of societies pressures, although it may relatively related, so don't worry. Before we start, I want to make one thing abundantly clear: you should not feel the need to diet or lose weight or dye your hair or bleach your skin or whiten your teeth just because one or two assholes in your life have low self esteem issues. Change what you want about yourself because you want to, not because someone tells you to. I cannot stress this point enough.

Now onto my real topic of discussion: the juice detox diet. My mother and I suffer from a chronic illness that plagues many come les vacances de Noël: over-eating. And after some heavy research (which is required by the way, do NOT start any diet without doing a lot of research first, and make sure to talk to your parents before anything, get their permission and their committed support. You'll really want to keep them updated all throughout your diet….however I still recommend you don't diet at all unless you really feel the need to), my mom and I decided to detox after all the heavy eating we'd been doing. We found an organic juice detox center near our house (not exactly Jamba Juice is it?) and our detox began this past Monday. The deal is this: we drink 5 juices a day, all made of organic fruits and vegetables (with inventive titles like "green Vegan" and "Minty Berry"), water, fruits, and vegetables. And that's literally it. See how this can get out of hand and dangerous?

Do. Not. Do. This. Without. Parental. Guidance. And. Professional. Help.

But see, the detox is only half the equation equaling the figure I have in mind at the end of this semester. You've got to kick ass in the gym: your own ass that is. Not only am I actually trying relatively hard in gym class (the fact that I enjoy playing rugby might have a little something to do with it), I'm back to working out with my trainer, as well as working out on my own (running on the treadmill, swimming, etc.) You cannot expect great results with JUST diet or JUST exercise. You've got to have an equal balance of both.

The reason I'm doing this? 1) It's only Wednesday and I already feel much better from the detoxifying. 2) I really want to get control over my fitness and my figure again. They're both important reasons, but before starting any program or regimen or diet to try and change yourself, make sure you're the one that wants to do this and you have motivating factors that come from yourself, not others. (I'd also stay away from calling it a "diet", which makes it sound like a breakable fad that won't last. Try saying "lifestyle" instead, it's a personal trick that has helped me many times.) That's the most important thing: do it for the right reasons.

If you really feel like getting in shape is something you want to do, you don't need a fancy trainer or equipment. This is a really great website that I still use that have free Pilates and Yoga videos for you to watch and do alongside. This is a great reference website on what to consider before doing a juice cleanse, if you want to do it I suggest showing your parents the page along with your own reasons for doing it. This is a great motivating Tumblr blog, I also like it because it shows fit girls not just sickly skinny ones. (Oh and try these two links, you'll thank me later)

January 19, 2014

Instagram Raid

[This is the first of my 'Raid' series that will be posted on the third Sunday of each month. If you have suggestions for future Raids, leave a comment on this post or drop a note in my ask on Tumblr, or even my newest Connection,]

Posted on the 18th of June, 2012

This was my very first Instagram Instagram post! 

I was baking cake pops with my Stepmother-to-be, this is Dad's kitchen actually, and decided to document it on my new Instagram account. I'd like to think that my photography skills have grown even a smidge since this disaster.

(They were yellow cake pops with chocolate frosting just in case you were wondering)
Posted on the 3rd of January, 2014

This is my favorite "glamour" shot, making my life look more fabulous and posh then it actually is.

This was actually a sneak peek of the post on My Perfect Winter/Summer: Allure Magazine and a McDonald's bag.

I took this photo whilst riding in Dad's truck on our way to my Grandparent's house. That's my purse, one of my copies of Allure magazine, my book about Paris, and my faux-Uggs in the corner.

Posted on the 25th of June, 2013

Favorite Instagram Selfie

The lovely lady in the blue sweatshirt would be Ammie <3 This picture was taken on the hammocks at Waterside when she and Dani came down for a week to stay with me. I would say that Ammie and I spent about 70% of our entire time at the beach on those hammocks, it was phenomenal and only added to my love for them.

Posted on the 1st of January, 2014

Probably my favorite "fashion"-related shots…which says a lot about my fashion 'sense'. 

A dress I got a couple years back…I actually didn't like the look of it on the hanger (I mean cats….really?) but Mammala insisted I try it on and…voila! Here we are 2 years later.

I was sitting on one of my beds at Waterside (my grandparent's estate) when I looked down and took this, I liked the way the light hit the curves and falls of the dress.

Posted on the 19th of January, 2014

My Latest Post on Instagram

Mom and I were driving back from the detox juice bar with Aggi in the car when she started scratching my legs so I put her in the back. I looked back a few minutes later to check on her and she was smiling at me! So I snapped a photo.

The bag on the right is a mini cooler containing our detox juice bottles, there is one on the left out of frame that you can't see. Aggi is a purebred Shih Tzu that we got 2.5 years ago. She's my four legged baby. <3
Posted on the 30th of December, 2013

This is my favorite Instagram photo of all time!

This is the view off one of the back doors of Waterside. I used to have a trampoline off to the left but the two I had got blown into nearby trees during storms and besides, I 'outgrew' them. Out over the water is the dock with my grandfather's boat up on the boat lift. Those hammocks out to the left are some of my favorite places in the entire world to be. (See the view from the hammocks here)

I was standing in the kitchen/breakfast room when I took this. I really liked how clear it was and besides this is one of my favorite places in the world and I wanted to capture it.
Posted on the 27th of December, 2013

Best Technical Photo on my Instagram

This is actually a photo I have on my Beauty Box page reviewing the nail polish I'm wearing.

I was sitting in one of the arm chairs framing the fireplace in Waterside's family room when I spotted the opportunity for a photo. I'm quite pleased with the way it turned out, I like how the sparkles of the nail polish pop in the natural lamp light + the filter.

January 15, 2014

Definitive Lines

"Society's obsession with visible collarbones and hipbones and thigh gaps is quite ridiculous. The only person that should see that much of your bone structure should be your orthopedist." 
As I was taking my makeup off the other day, I studied my reflection in the mirror and thought "Well there goes my confidence." And then I literally stopped what I was doing and thought about what I had just said to myself and where that statement even came from. What is society and the world doing to girls that we think makeup should equal confidence? So I did a little digging in my brain, observed some of my peers, and formulated a few theories.

In the first place….makeup products are being marketed at younger and younger groups of girls. Soon enough babies will emerge from the womb wearing makeup. Okay, maybe not that young. But these new "Barbie" and "Bratz"-endorsed makeup products are teaching young girls that their looks are the most important thing. That little girl in the screenshot from a makeup tutorial on YouTube? Yeah, she's six years old and already finds herself qualified enough to post a how-to-apply-makeup video on the internet. When I was six I had crayons, a coloring book, and my playground outdoors. I didn't even know what YouTube was! The mere fact that she knows how to apply makeup correctly is a perfect demonstration of my point.

Then, we always seem to come back to this don't we?, there are the airbrushed pictures of faux-'perfection' that are, quite literally, everywhere. My second point is an old sentiment: beauty is in the eye of  the beholder. Let me put this another way….if you find Zac Efron really super hot, like the hottest person on the face of the Earth, good for you! But if your friend doesn't….that's alright too, isn't it? It's the same with how beautiful girls consider themselves. If they look at themselves and see a realistic picture of what they think beauty looks like, they're sure to have confidence that shines from the inside and makes them 2x as beautiful as the fakers. If you can recognize your own beauty, you'll have the confidence that grabs other people's attention and lets them know you're beautiful, even though their opinion shouldn't matter anyway.

But it's not just print media….I wasn't lying when I said the pressure to look 'perfect' is everywhere. Even music is taking this own, most evident in music videos of late, and even more prominent in songs such as "Pretty Girl Rock" by Keri Hilson. Now, I actually like this song because I interpret it as an anthem celebrating the way every girl is pretty. However, I also recognize that lots of other girls don't see it this way, seeing it as more pressure to look Hollywood-ready. Listen to the song and make your own judgements, this is just one example of the thousands of songs out there pressuring young girls to look "perfect" and "hot". (*cough* "Work B*tch* by Britney Spears would be a good place for you to start *cough*)

I also am questioning the motives as to why looking this one way is considered "beautiful" by our sick society. It hit me when the two boys sitting next to me on the bus today decided to watch the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. Now, understand that this is not an attack on VS or any of their affiliates, I proudly wear VS products and really like the fact that their models are on their way to looking and acting normal, as opposed to the anorexic, skinny robots that "high fashion" employs. However, it was while watching the boys so entranced by these long-legged Angels that it hit me: women and girls are coached to be hot, and gorgeous, and skinny, and have thigh gaps for one reason: primal instinct.

Let me explain….it's a concept that was explained to me by my well-meaning yet mis-guided step-mother Laura (aka Jenny). We were in the car one day and she started lecturing me about why I am supposedly attracted to guys in Porsches more than guys in minivans, how I will be more inclined to love someone with bulging muscles instead of a shrimpy exterior, forget the interior. It was all I could do to keep from bursting out into a mixture of tears, laughter, and starting to lecture her myself. According to our "genetic structure", women are more attracted to hot, wealthy guys because subconsciously it tells us that they can better care for our children. Um….I don't know about you, but I find myself falling for a mind and a personality way more often than just an empty shell of a body. But that may be just me.
"I'm not interested in being the skinniest girl around. I have a big personality, a twig body just couldn't handle that." 
My whole, entire point? Change what you want about yourself because you want to, not because society tells you to. AND….Perfection comes only with the realization that you are, in fact, beautiful on your own. And yes, I mean at all times. Not just when you're all dolled up and ready to go out. You are so incredibly beautiful when you are sitting cross-legged on your bed in old sweats, hair in a messy bun, no makeup, gorging on peanut butter M&M's. You are beautiful when you're laughing with your friends at lunch, not caring about who might be staring. You. Are. Beautiful. Without makeup, without the latest skin product or straight-hair gimmick. And please, don't forget it.