Friday, February 28, 2014

My Top 5 Favorite Netflix Movies (and a short rant about why I loveNetflix)

I resisted Netflix for a long time. I was a hardcore Blockbuster fan, and I stuck with them until the very end. There was nothing like taking a trip to the local Blockbuster, browsing through the endless aisles of movies and trying to pick what you'd bring home (if you only left with one movie, I judge you.) Even when Blockbuster started dwindling out, I found other ways to watch movies (a secret I am not willing to share with the internet world.) But, my main thing was t.v. shows. I binge watch them. I pick a show that sparks my interest, or that I happened to catch a re-run of while casually watching t.v. one day, and then I watch season after season. I watched the first 5 seasons of Lost in two weeks (in high school nonetheless, so eight hours of my day were wasted at school.) When I got mono over winter break my freshman year of college (lol @ college germ spreading…) I got into Supernatural and watched four or five seasons of that in less than a month.

Eventually, I realized that Netflix could be really beneficial for me. It had endless amounts of t.v. shows to watch, and all the seasons RIGHT THERE! I didn't even have to press the next button! Even better, I didn't have to find the next episode in my *secret* ways. So, I gave in and I subscribed, mostly because I was dying to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer again (I was a weird child who was into all those kinds of shows even though I was like 8.) Apparently I had forgotten all of it though so it was like watching Buffy for the first time (hell yeah.) Anyway, Buffy was my first Netflix binge watch and it was absolutely worth giving into this lazy-man's (and so much cheaper) version of Blockbuster. I went on to binge watch a couple more shows (Dawson's Creek, Pretty Little Liars, I hate myself…) Eventually I will make a top 5 list of my all-time favorite t.v. shows, but this post is about movies. I'm getting way off topic.

The point is, I mostly use Netflix for watching shows, but occasionally I do find movies that are worth watching. We all know how easy it is to get lost scrolling through the endless supply of crappy movies. I can't even tell you how many times I have sat for HOURS trying to find the movie I actually want to watch, and then I end up not watching anything. It has even caused semi-arguments between me and a friend (hi, Kylie.)

I decided to make a list of my top 5 favorite movies I've watched on Netflix (and why I enjoyed them) so that maybe you won't have to sit staring at your computer screen for the duration of an entire movie, trying to decide what on earth you should try watching (only to finally pick something and exit out after 15 minutes cause it sucks.)

(Disclaimer: There are a lot of great movies on Netflix, but a lot that people have already seen. These are movies that I first got to watch through Netflix and that might not be as "popular.")

1. Footloose (2011)


Before you say to yourself "There's no way I'm watching some cheesy ass romantic movie about dancing, blah blah blah" - stop. This movie is so feel-good and uplifting, I had to download the soundtrack and put it on a bajillion of my playlists. It's one of those movies that, yeah, it's cheesy and you kind of hate yourself for loving it, but who cares?! It's fun to watch people dancing and wishing you had those kinds of moves. Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough have amazing chemistry and they're both hot, so that alone is worth watching for. If you're ever in a mopey mood or just feeling blah, try watching this remake of Footloose and I promise you will feel at least 25% chipper once it's over. Maybe you'll even get up and wiggle your butt a little bit, too.

2. Remember the Daze (2007)


I loved this movie because it reminded me so much of my high school days. For all of us twenty-somthings, this movie perfectly portrays our "youth." Our recklessness, our naivety, our innocence, our sense of adventure, etc. But it also portrays how things don't really change. I can't really put the movie into words that will do it justice. The acting is sub-par but I think it's kind of supposed to be like that, since it gives it a more realistic vibe. It was filmed during a time when most of us were in high school and for some of you it might seem like a blast to the past. I think you'll be able to relate to a lot of the characters as well.

3. Grave Encounters (2011)

netflix 8

I got claustrophobic watching this movie. It kind of gave me that feeling of impending doom.  Also, it made me jump a few times. It's hard to find that in a scary movie for someone who is so used to the typical horror plots and tricks. It has a few cheesy moments, but it's fast-paced so it doesn't take long for the scary moments to start happening. Good scary movie to watch, especially if you're running out of options.

4. Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2011)


I'm gonna be honest, I don't remember much about this movie. BUT, what I do remember is that the ending left me and my friends pretty speechless. The majority of the movie has this weird, sad vibe to it and you even question why you're watching this movie in the first place. Stick with it till the end. It has a really nice message.

5. Elizabethtown (2005)


If you liked Garden State (one of my favorite movies) then you'll probably like this movie, too. It has a lot of similarities but much more upbeat. Also, Orlando Bloom is a cutie, and I'm a girl so I'm allowed to take that into consideration when rating movies. It's a feel-good movie and it might be too cheesy for your taste, but like I said before - who cares. It has a great message about family and love and just life in general.

Bonus Five!

The Cabin in the Woods (2011): A must-see for horror genre fans. It's similar to Scream in the sense that it's a social commentary about the horror genre in general. It's original and one of a kind. Joss Whedon rarely disappoints.

Session 9 (2001): It's slow paced, so prepare. It has that creepy abandoned asylum setting and it has a "twist" ending, if you're into that sort of thing. I'd say it's a psychological thriller worth watching.

The Last Exorcism (2010): Can you tell I like scary movies? It's hard to find good ones, though. This one is pretty creepy and one of the few on Netflix that I actually watched the whole way through.

Mona Lisa Smile (2003): At this point, I'd assume most people have watched this. As a history buff, I love watching movies set in past eras, especially one that focuses on feminist ideas (what more could a history major and gender studies minor want?) Just remember it's not meant to be a social commentary on the fifties and all that, it's really meant for entertainment purposes.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008): This movie left me heart-broken. It was a bit too slow-paced for me at times, but by the end I was just like WHAT THE HELL. It's ironic, it's sad, it leaves you thinking once it's over- and that's something I want a movie to do.

Picking my favorite Netflix movies was a lot harder than I imagined it would be. As I sorted through them all I realized there's actually a lot. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of weeding through the bad ones to find the good ones. But, that's life. Thanks, Netflix.

Edit: Apparently these movies (Remember the Daze, Elizabethtown, Session 9 and the Last Exorcism) are no longer available to stream. Thanks, Netflix.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Hot Yoga is HOT

When I say hot yoga is hot, I mean it in two ways. First of all, it is definitely hot in there. You're in a studio that usually ramps up the heat to the 100 degree range, so you feel like you're in a sauna. A good yoga studio will keep a quality ventilation system. That way you don't get that "stuffy" feeling in there and can still practice your deep breathing without getting light headed (that's usually what happens to me when I'm in a sauna.) As in most cases, arriving early is great because it ensures you get to place your mat where you are most comfortable. My first time I stuck close to the far back wall so I felt slightly less anxious being a newbie.


The second reason I say that hot yoga is hot is because it has become all the rage in the past few years. I've heard people talk about it, read articles supporting all the benefits of it, see the crazy amounts of yoga hashtags on Instagram, etc. It's everywhere, but with good reason.  What's awesome is that it's not just a "girly" activity anymore. My class had a few men in it and they ranged from beginners to full out yogis. When I first went into the class, I was expecting something completely relaxing to sooth my nerves and make me flexible at the same time. And that did happen, but it was so much more. People have the misconception that yoga is easy peasy, but it is actually one of the most challenging things you can do for your body. With challenge comes reward, and yoga definitely provides you that.


Yoga is more than just a "sport," if that's what they even call it. It is a certain mentality and spiritual awakening. What bothers me about the gain in popularity with hot yoga is that some people go into it just because of all the hype. They want to strengthen their bodies, become more flexible, maybe even loss some weight. Sure, all of those things can happen when you practice yoga- but I think there's so much more to yoga that a lot of people aren't really embracing.

If you have ever wondered what yoga would be like, or have been meaning to get into it but haven't because maybe you feel silly (cough cough me) or you're intimidated, I say just do it. Give it a try- even just once. But go into it for all the right reasons. Open up your soul and let the light in. Don't worry if others are judging you based on your beginner skills. I found myself doing that and before I knew it I realized I wasn't getting the full relaxing atmosphere that I should have. All you need to do is let go, take deep breaths, and focus on the here and now.


There are several ways you can practice/learn yoga. Groupon has lots of amazing deals for memberships to studios (the one I got was $35 for one unlimited month of classes, originally valued at $120!) so it's a good way to see if you enjoy it and not break the bank. There are also a lot of yoga videos on YouTube and you can find them for all levels. You can easily do some yoga on your living room floor with some relaxing music on. However, I do believe the experience of practicing yoga in person with an instructor is much better, especially if you're new.

Once my month is up, I'm going to be writing a post describing all the changes I underwent- not just physically but mentally and spiritually, too. Hopefully this will encourage others to become yogis as well!


Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Personal Note: Feeling Stuck

This post is certainly a very personal one, and I almost decided to keep it to myself, but I feel I need to share. My mind has been racing for days. I feel like I fell into quick sand and I'm sinking slowly, unable to claw my way out. I feel so unhappy with where I'm at in my life right now and with no way of getting myself out. I know I have talked about being positive and remaining focused on your passions, but some days even I can't keep myself in that mindset. This past week has really hurled me into a whirlwind of emotions, but for the most part I feel numb. I feel like I'm running out of options and I'm being forced into becoming something that every inch of my body is so desperately fighting against. I don't want to become a corporate drone who lives their 9 to 5 life and comes home exhausted and brain dead. I don't want to do something that I don't have any interest or passion for just because I need the money. After months of searching, I've found myself at a dead end. I'm feeling more and more discouraged every day. I hate having a negative perspective on things and I'm always trying to change my way of thinking because I know "positivity is key." But it's so much easier said than done. I almost feel like a hypocrite now because just a few days ago I was trying to send this message out to everyone, and now here I am fighting to get the tiniest sliver of hope. I have always, always been scared of settling. Whether it was in regards to a job, relationship, anything. I never want to have to settle. I want to know that the choices I'm making are based on what I love, and not out of fear. And I guess now that's what I'm doing. Settling for something because of fear. It's so easy for us millennials to settle for something because of what is expected of us.  At what point will that change? How many people are truly happy with their life and what they are doing? Why is that such a rare thing nowadays? And why does it have to take so much courage to just go out there and do what you love, despite the consequences and risks. I have no idea what my future holds. And I have no idea how to handle everything I'm going through right now. It brings me some ease of mind, however, to know that I'm not alone in feeling this way. I just wish more people were open about it. Maybe we all wouldn't be so scared to take such risks if we knew that more people felt this way, like there was more to life than just getting by.

Valentine's Day Snapshots


Since I've been single for the majority of Valentine's Days throughout my life, I really don't find it a big deal anymore. Sometimes I do get annoyed with all the hype this made up holiday gets, but it gives me an excuse to stuff my face with chocolate and sweets, so whatever! This V day I made plans with a close friend to get dinner and catch a movie.


We headed over to Don Jose, a favorite Mexican restaurant of ours. The food is great and reasonably priced, and it's BYOB - which is great for poor post-grads like ourselves.


Usually I get the cheese enchiladas, which I LOVE. Their cheese and special sauce is to die for. This time I opted to try something a bit different, so I got their vegetable burritos. I liked the dish as well but felt it was lacking something. The vegetables were a mix of broccoli and cauliflower, but I would have preferred something more like roasted peppers and onions. Most of their dishes come with their homemade beans which are also delicious.


My friend got their plate of nachos, which I believe are listed under their appetizer menu. This dish is great as an appetizer, but I'd definitely get something with more flavor and pizazz as your main dish.

Endless Love Official Trailer #1 (2014) - Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde 

After dinner we headed over to the movie theater to see Endless Love. If you love cheesy romantic movies, you will love this. I am a hopeless romantic so of course I very much enjoyed this movie. The acting was good enough for the type of movie it is and there were some subplots that focused on more than just the love between the two main characters. The soundtrack was also great (I'm a firm believer that the music used in a movie can make or break it.)



After the movie we visited some friends who have two adorable pitbull mixes and I got PLENTY of doggie loving and kisses and even a few ear nibbles. So I got some action on Valentine's Day.


Eggplant Pizza Recipe

Overall, it was a good Valentine's Day. I woke up this morning to my baby girl Leyla snuggling on top of me. Sometimes nothing beats animal love.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Top 5 Beauty Products I Can't Live Without

1. Dry Shampoo
Dry shampoo has definitely been a life saver for me many times. I like the Tresemme brand the best because it does what it's supposed to - soak up the oil in your hair, leave your hair with a fresh scent, and also give it a bit of a boost in volume. It can also be found at most drug stores and it won't leave your wallet starving. As with most dry shampoos, you get that powdery residue in your hair when you first spray it on but once you wait a bit for it to absorb into your hair you can just gently mix it well into your hair to blend it in. Dry shampoo is sometimes really necessary for me because I can't always wash my hair every day or else it dries out. That's why I turn to dry shampoo to help me out!

 2. Moroccan Oil
This stuff has done WONDERS for my hair. Moroccan oil has gone up in popularity the past couple of years and with good reason. It helps keep your hair shiny, less split ends, less breakage, less frizz, protects from heat products, etc. I only use a small dab after every hair wash, and mostly put it on my ends. If you haven't checked it out yet, definitely go buy some.

3. Devacurl Heaven in Hair
Okay, at this point you can tell I'm obsessed with my hair. I'm not one to spend hours on doing my hair, especially because I have so much of it and it's so thick and I have absolutely no patience when it comes to stuff like that. Normally I just blow dry my hair for 5 to 10 minutes and then put it in a bun to finish drying and give it some natural wave. BUT on those days where I don't even want to do that (or in the summer time) I use this magical stuff. It's the most expensive hair product I own (the 8 fl. oz jar costs around $25) but I'm only half way through it and I've had it for months. You only need a little bit for it to have an effect. What it does is leave your hair less frizzy but gives it beautiful waves. Sometimes all I have to do is put some in before bed, put my hair in a bun, and I wake up looking like this:

4. Aveeno Moisturizer Clear Complexion
At $16 a bottle, this is one of my more expensive drug store buys, but I've had it for months as well because I only need a little bit. It's my favorite moisturizer because it helps keep my skin from feeling dry but doesn't leave it gross and oily either. It also helps with clearing up your complexion and it smells pretty good.

5. 55+ Efficacite Exceptionnel (lightening lotion)

You're probably thinking, what the hell is this shit? It's definitely not a product I expect most people to know about. But I love it. It's a "lightening" lotion which basically means it helps with dark spots and acne scars, stuff like that. It has also really helped clear up my skin. I don't really know the science behind it, but it's worked some miracles for me in the past. If you're looking for something to not only help with break outs but also getting rid of dark spots or evening out your skin, I would definitely give this a try. It's usually less than $20 and it lasts a long time, too.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Black Bean Brownies

Before you say "ew" or "wtf" let me just tell you that you cannot taste the beans in this. They taste just like any other brownies, except maybe even more delicious because they come out a bit more dense and gooey. It's also one of the easiest recipes I have ever encountered and the clean up was AWESOME. The only ingredients you need? A box of brownie mix and a can of black beans. Yep. The total cost? $4. Double yep.


Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix (I got it on sale for $2.99, but you can pretty much use any brownie mix)
Can of black beans (make sure they're plain and don't have any seasoning…)

1. Open up your can of beans and rinse them out. I pressed some of the excess liquid out of the can first and then put the beans into a separate bowl. Rinse the beans a couple more times until they don't have much of that liquidy brown bean juice left. Then rinse out the can and pour the beans back in. Fill the can up with water.


2. At this point you want to puree the beans, leaving you with a gooey/liquid mixture of beans. You can use pretty much anything for this step, but it's obviously easier if you use something like a magic bullet or what I used, an electric mixer.


3. Now, pour your brownie mix into a larger separate bowl. Pour the bean puree in the same bowl and with a spatula mix together. Don't over mix! This step shouldn't take more than about 2 minutes, if even that.



4. Grease your pan if it's non-stick and pour the brownie mixture in, spreading evenly. Your oven should be preheated to the temperature noted on the brownie mix box (the mix I used said 325 degrees.) You're going to want to leave it in the oven for less time than what it says on the box. In my case, I cooked the brownies for about 30 minutes and they came out perfect. With brownies you usually want to take them out when they're still gooey (even if you think they're not ready) because as they cool they harden up a bit.


(note: I'm impatient, as always, and forgot to take a picture before digging in.)

That's it! Quick and easy. They're not exactly the "healthiest" brownies, but substituting beans for the oil and eggs certainly gives it a better rep. It's also added protein! Hopefully you're used to eating beans so these brownies don't give you some intense gas, haha. But seriously, watch out for that.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Inspiration Monday: Love Edition

Some pictures and quotes to start off your week. Sending positive vibes your way!

This week is love themed in honor of Valentine's Day on Friday.










Have a lovely week and always remember- there is love all around you.

Show your loved ones how you feel every day, not just for special occasions.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Weekend Snapshots

My weekend was relatively uneventful, but relaxing nonetheless. Technically it was my last weekend before starting my "big girl" job! Maybe I should have partied a little more? I'm probably going to be pooped come next week. Anyway, here are some snapshots from my weekend.


Starting my Friday morning off with a big cup of coffee.


Freezing winter = wearing my obnoxious hot pink slippers

Saw this got good reviews and it was cheap, hope it works!

This broke my heart. Someone leaves cat food out in front of CVS for the strays.

Bored = pretend I'm a model and take pictures (#noshameinselfies)

But really I should probably stop...

NEW FLATS! I'm obsessed. Perfect for work or going out. They have a bit of a heel, too.

Why yes DSW, I do have a shoe problem and you don't help.


Okay no, I'm not getting engaged. I'm light years away from that, unfortunately. But this ring is beautiful. I'm loving the rose quartz and diamond style I've been seeing a lot lately.


I  think I finally decided on the bird tattoo I want and where. Will post pics once it happens!


Tried out this messy bun tutorial I found. I kind of like it!