July 31, 2015

July Favorites

This Dress from Forever 21--I love the casual vibes, the color, and the neckline that come along with this dress. Plus the cuts in the side are so breezy!
Barefoot Blonde, the blog! Not only do I love her blog, I'm so in love with Amber's lifestyle! She's pregnant with baby number 2, little boy Atticus already have arrived, and lives in NYC with her husband--seriously love her life!
Rent the Runway--I stumbled across this site and absolutely fell in love with it. I will say the dresses are pretty pricey, but they are designer rentals so only for special occasions--try it out for prom, weddings, anything requiring a killer outfit!
Almost French by Sarah Turnbull--I picked this up a few weeks ago and finished it in a day! I normally don't go for autobiographies but Sarah tells her story in such a way that it makes it sound more like fiction than non, highly recommend reading it!
"Unbreakable Smile" by Tori Kelly--one of my many summer jams this year, Tori's inspirational tune really pumps you up for anything. Oh and the video is a lot more minimalistic than other music videos--and I love it! Tori is rapidly becoming one of my faves.
July 30, 2015

My Favorite Movies

Favorite Drama: August Osage County
I watched this Meryl Streep & Julia Roberts showdown on a plane one time and was intrigued from beginning to end -- the entire movie is packed with this crazy family's drama including surprise incest, the most adorkable version of Benedict Cumberbatch (honestly fell a little in love with him here), and a crazy ass Meryl.

Favorite Comedy: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
This India-set British comedy, filled with icons of British culture, honestly had me giggling the entire way through. Very few movies get me that way, even comedies that I do admit are funny don't have me laughing the entire way through and this one left me with a huge grin on my face.

Favorite Historical Film: Cleopatra (1963)
My obsession with all things Cleopatra VII came to a head when I came across this four hour epic. Elizabeth Taylor (Queen of everything in my opinion) is Cleopatra and entices first Rex Harrison as Caesar and then her real-life-married-twice husband Richard Burton's Antony. The entirety of the four hours is filled with epic music, the most breathtaking sets, and, of course, Liz.

Favorite Romantic Comedy: Clueless
This film is perfect on a Friday night shut in with pizza, a sleepover with friends, a Sunday morning....literally any time. This movie is great at any. time. Alicia Silverstone stars as Cher in director Amy Heckerling's take on Jane Austen's Emma. This quintessential 90s film is full of witty humor that people of every age can appreciate--and the romance part? Just as ooey-gooey delicious as you want it to be.

Favorite "Horror" Movie: Scream
This has to be one of my favorite all-time should see the faces people give me when I tell them that. Amrita and I laughed our way through this movie, and the rest of the series of which Scream Three has to be our favorite. It's the perfect blend of scary and parody and A and I literally adore it.

Favorite (Real) Horror Movie: What Lies Beneath/The Gallows
This one is a tie because What Lies Beneath was the first horror movie that I actually loved (besides Scream) and The Gallows is the scariest scary movie I've seen and enjoyed (Insidious scared the absolute shit out of me and I didn't like it at all)

Favorite Disney Movie: Tangled
The music of this movie is absolutely phenomenal, you will find me dancing along to the soundtrack on any given day, Flynn Rider is my favorite of all the Disney princes, and Rapunzel has the spunk and the character, and the singing voice, of all the princesses together. And there's a horse that can use a sword and Rapunzel wields a frying pan!
Favorite Marilyn Monroe Movie: How To Marry A Millionaire
Once upon a sick day I sat in bed and watched this movie over and over and over again. Marilyn, the goddess that she is, stars along with Bette Grable and Lauren Bacall in this movie about three NYC models trying to land millionaire husbands. Of course, things don't go quite as expected and the end is as charming as all three ladies put together.

Favorite Movie Musical: Funny Girl
This musical, not only funny with the ingenious that is Barbra Streisand and the mustached bravado that is Omar Sharif, tugs at your heartstrings in a realistic way that you don't see coming at the start of the flick. Fanny Brice is a quiet, unsuspecting Jewish girl trying to break into show business when she meets professional gambler Nick Arnstein. The sparks, and the cash, fly as the two fall in love before hitting some speed bumps that send them reeling. (Honestly I sound like a movie trailer but this is the most theatrical way I can put it without revealing the plot!)

Favorite Classic Movie: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Another Marilyn Monroe show, in this one she plays nightclub extraordinaire Lorelei Lei who has a dorky millionaire wrapped around her little finger. When she's caught up in a diamond scandal, along with her girlfriend Jane Russell's character Dorothy Shaw, and has to work in Paris after her fiancĂ© cuts her's full of laughs, crazy adventures, love, and music!

Favorite Movie Ever: The Princess Bride
This one wins out over all the rest because it has everything: fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles. Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin....they all give fantastic performances. Honestly there aren't words to describe how much I love this movie--Cary and Robin make the love their characters share look so believable. For a bonus I just read Cary Elwes' autobiography about his time on the movie and it made me as emotional as the movie does.
July 25, 2015

Family Beach Week 2015 Days Five and Six

Thursday brought about more goodbyes and the most delicious banana cream pie! Also....a (failed) trip to the urgent care and some beach time.
July 23, 2015

Family Beach Week 2015 Days Three and Four

Day Three of Beach Week brought along the most time we've spent at the beach thus far this vacation! We also were introduced to an old friend and celebrated several birthdays, welcoming Uncle Don to the beach, before saying goodbye to part of our family here. It was definitely a busy two days!
July 21, 2015

Family Beach Week 2015 Days One and Two

After a grueling 7-hour drive from VA to the Outer Banks...Mom, Aunt Sharon, Amrita, and I were all too happy to see the familiar front door of my grandparent's home. We ate dinner (and a lovely s'mores ice cream dessert) before heading to our beach house and settling in for the night. A and I were just ready to head off to bed when we heard Aunt Dawn and Uncle Ed, along with E and L and their two German Shorthaired Pointers, come clambering through the door. Midnight + two girls under the age of 4? Not a great combination. Eventually they all settled down and we headed in to sleep soon after one am. 
July 10, 2015

Road Trippin'

Reunited with the bestie....finally! (#InstaPhoto)

After a long 2+ hours at the DMV (literally the 9th circle of hell) Mom and I headed to pick up Amrita....our first time to see each other since I got here! We camped out at Aunt Sharon's for one night, with her unbelievably delicious spaghetti pie that she should make everyday, before herding ourselves into the car for the first, and longest, stretch of our road trip early Tuesday morning.
July 6, 2015

My Anti-Routine Routine

Humans are creatures of habit and having a routine means we are less stressed and generally have a better ability to appreciate the time we have. The philosophy behind the anti-routine routine is flexibility in time management wherein you don't harshly enforce the times you've set for yourself, but you have a general idea of what your morning/afternoon/evening will look like, thanks to your deadlines. It's a way of getting control in a flexible way.  

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love waking up and not having to rush, or set an alarm! I love that I can watch all four hours of the Today show, including my faves Kathie Lee and Hoda, and that I can finish the things I want to get done on my own time. But I've come to realize that anti-routine routine during my relaxed summer mornings is just as comforting as being able to relax in bed all day long. Well....almost anyway.

Like most teenagers during the summer, I don't sleep until much later than normal, 12, 1, even sometimes 2 am! (When you otherwise have a grandma bedtime, that's a big deal) Of course this usually means I wake up much later than I'm used to, loving the fact that I haven't touched my 5:47 alarm since school ended. But when I do sleep considerably later than normal, I usually start feeling lost and like the day is slipping away unproductively. So I've come up with this little mini routine that doesn't focus on task time as much as deadline.

The past few days, lounging here at Auntie Sharon's house, I've been mostly following this plan: wake up, stretch, and lounge around in bed on Instagram for about 10 minutes before actually waking up and getting out of bed and stumbling to the kitchen. (Normally this 10 minute grace period means I can formulate actual words when encountering various relatives instead of my normal grunt responses until I've more completely woken up) After this I click on the Today show and check various emails, accounts, and do some writing here on my lovely blog. I try to get a workout in around the 9 am area (Maroon 5's "This Summer's Gonna Hurt" as my latest workout jam) and fit some fruit and veggies, soy milk, tea, and the occasional yogurt as grazing snacks in around all this. My day progresses from there.

Clearly this routine is very flexible and open to change....for example if I have an appointment I can change the plan to fit whatever schedule we have for the day. That's the thing I really love about this anti-routine, it has such an ability to conform to whatever my day needs. Also, a lot of people travel during the summer. When you're in a place for only one or two nights it's hard to develop a routine. But when you stay someplace for longer, a flexible routine is a great way to get the energy flowing early on in your day--it helps you to get the most of your summer!

The whole thing that makes this flexible routine work is the idea of deadlines. Instead of saying "okay I'll be up at 8 and then at 8:30 I'm on the treadmill" I'm fond of going "so I'll wake up and then eat some yogurt or a banana or something and at some point I want to go for a run and try that new breakfast bar I got yesterday and watch that recorded show" etc. Notice the difference? (Hint: no set times) Of course, with this flexibility comes the actual scheduling. If I have an appointment at noon, I know the things I want to get done in the morning have to be done by the time I need to leave. Simple as that.

I think the most important part of this whole anti-routine thing is that I don't strictly enforce it on myself. If I sleep later, cool! I just have to switch some things around and schedule. If I don't get on the treadmill until 9:15 or, god forbid, 10 am my day is not going to be off schedule. (I take the same approach with food during the summer, still trying my best to focus on good, nutritious foods that I actually enjoy eating....while still not depriving myself of that lovely apple pie)

Striking a balance between all things in life is vitally important into leading a happy one, and I think an anti-routine routine is something everyone should try when they can! Obviously if you absolutely have to be out the door by x o'clock, this routine isn't really great for your mornings. But what about at night? A night time routine is perfect for people who have to follow a rigid one in the morning. Build in flexible time for social media, talking to friends, reading a book, catching up on shows, exercising, yoga, cooking dinner etc.

This flexible schedule is not for everyone, and certainly some people do have such rigid schedules that they find they simply don't have the time to be flexible! But I find setting deadlines for myself is a lot more comfortable during the summer than strict time management scheduling. Personally I like the degree of choice I'm afforded during the summer that I don't have during the school year.

Do you think you'll be implementing the anti-routine routine in your life? Can you see it actually working? Do you like your more rigid routine so much you can't stand this more flexible one? Let me know!

July 4, 2015

The Newseum and Chinatown

None of us having anything to do the day before Independence Day, Mom, Aunt Sharon, Logan, and I decided to go downtown and walk through the Newseum before hitting up nearby Chinatown for lunch. Mom and I had been to the Newseum ages ago so it was nice to go back and revisit the old exhibits I remembered, discover the exhibits I didn't, and see their newest exhibits!