Monday, March 31, 2014

Inspiration Monday: True Friends

    For this week's Inspiration Monday, I wanted to focus on friendships.


Life is rough. It's even harder when you go through it alone. That's why friendships, the real & true ones, are so vital to our lives. Sometimes we get into fights with our friends, sure. It's only natural. What counts is that at the end of the day they will be there for you, no matter what.


I have a few of those in my life and I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. We all have our quirks and when you find someone who accepts you for who you are, and loves you regardless of how crazy/annoying you may be... cherish that. All you really need in life is one true friend who you know has your back, despite any obstacles the two of you may face.


This week I want you to focus on all the friendships in your life. Make sure you are giving as much as you receive, and vice versa. Never stay in a friendship that only brings negative vibes to your life. That is not what a true friendship is about. Also realize that friends can't always be there for you 24/7. That doesn't mean they don't care, though. Friendship is all about balance.


Our true friends are the ones that inspire us to be better people, lead better lives. They want the best for you. Let your best friends know how much you appreciate them and care about them. And remember, ff you want true lifelong friends, you have to be one yourself.


Music Spotlight: Jasmine Thompson

Jasmine Thompson, emerging artist

I was listening to the Norah Jones playlist on Pandora when this song came on that I recognized as a cover of Regina Spektor's "Infidelity." At first I thought it was someone like Ellie Goulding or maybe even Lorde, but when I finally looked at who the artist was I realized I didn't recognize her name. Her cover was beautiful, I like it even more than the original. I looked into her some more and discovered she's only THIRTEEN years old! With such an amazing voice. So far she's only done covers, but there's not doubt in my mind if this girl continues down this path she will be a huge success in no time. Check out her cover of "Infidelity" below! Visit her Facebook page for some more info on her and her page to check out more covers she's done.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

T.M.I. Tag Survey

I usually don't indulge in surveys or questionnaires, but I figured it'd be a good way to let my readers know a little bit more about me. It's also a fun thing to do when you're bored on a rainy Sunday morning. I got the idea from Sydney, another fellow Her Campus Blogger! Changed the questions up a bit, but here ya go ;)


1. What are you wearing?
Yoga pants, white cami and my favorite black hood… lazy Sunday wear

2. Do you have any tattoos?
I have two, one on my wrist and another on my foot. Been itching to get my third so hopefully soon!

3. Piercings?
Just ears… I used to have my nose pierced but took it out after a year or two because the stud kept falling in :-x

4. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
It depends… for the most part I'm really quick to get ready. But then there are those days where I just can't figure out what to wear or I have to dry my hair or I'm running around like a chicken with it's head cut off.

5. How tall are you?
5'1"… or maybe it's 5'0" and three quarters but shhhhhhh

6. Zodiac sign?
Pisces… the ~sensitive soul~

7. Favorite quote?
Aw crap I have so many. I like "So it goes." by Kurt Vonnegut because it sums up life in a simple way. Another favorite is "Freedom lies in being bold." by Robert Frost.

8. What are your fears?
I think my biggest fear is not being good enough.

9. Favorite TV show?
Supernatural! Oh and Spongebob Squarepants.

10. Favorite song?
Really? This is an impossible question for me to answer. My first tattoo was dedicated to how much I love music (all genres.) I go through moments, but I have so many "favorite" songs, I can't even think of them at the moment. Off the top of my head I'll say "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd, "A Thousand Miles" by Vanessa Carlton, "Free Bird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd, "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight" by The Postal Service, "Wild Horses" by The Rolling Stones, "Eleven" and "Summer Stars" by Taking Back Sunday, "Little Wing" by Jimi Hendrix, "Mr. Brightside" by The Killers, "Ever the Same" by Rob Thomas, "What's My Age Again" by Blink 182, "Float On" by Modest Mouse", "Strawberry Swing" by Coldplay (OMG I NEED TO STOP) oh and my most recent favorite is "Not a Bad Thing" by Justin Timberlake. The end.

11. Last song you sang out loud?
That "Do you want to build a SNOWMAAAAAN" song from Frozen. In a super high pitched voice.

12. A place to visit?
I want to road trip across the U.S.

13. Favorite color?
Teal or any mix between blue and green really

14. What instruments do you play?
I used to play the violin (about 5 years) but I probably wouldn't really know how to play it again unless I did some super brushing up on my skills. I also have a guitar that I've been trying to dabble at but I have small hands/fingers and it's hard for me… but someday! (Fun fact: I used to know how to play Stand by Me) (Another fun fact: I played Stairway to Heaven with my orchestra class in 8th grade)

15. Favorite piece of jewelry?
I have a few. My Pandora charm bracelet, an antique ring I got from a thrift store and my most recent one is the necklace I got as a birthday present from one of my best friends :)

I'm not tagging anyone for this survey, but if you want to do it and post it on your blog,
feel free to leave a comment with a link to it! I'd love to check it out.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spring Fashion Predictions

Let me start off by saying I'm not one of those girls who is super into fashion or the latest trends. I kind of dance to the beat of my own drum. 50% of the time I leave my house I'm wearing sweats, no make-up and a general "idc" attitude. BUT, I am a girl and I DO enjoy the occasional fashion binges. If I were A. less lazy, B. had more money, C. had a walk-in closet and D. had more time, I would probably be super into fashion and the latest trends and actually doing my make-up and all that jazz.

Since I'm a social media addict (as most of us are, don't deny) I'm on Pinterest and Instagram 24/7. This is how I indulge in the "girlier" side of me. I like scrolling through pictures of people's outfits, gawking at the latest Instagram post from so and so, "window" shopping on clothing websites, etc. I like to think I have a keen eye and a sixth sense, if you will, of what the upcoming trends are going to be. That's why I'm sharing with you what my fashion trend predictions are for this Spring! Some of these might be very obvious for you, but bare with me.
Spring 2014 Fashion Predictions


For the past couple of years, I've been telling my one friend (who continuously makes fun of me for it) that overalls are going to be making a huge comeback. The 90s were all about overalls. I had a pair of Minnie Mouse overalls when I was a kid and I absolutely loved them. I wanted to try and find a pair of overall shorts for myself recently, but had trouble finding any in stores. I considered buying a pair of regular overalls at a thrift store and making them cutoffs but, I'm really bad at DIY projects, so that was that. Recently, however, I have noticed a ton of celebrities wearing overall shorts. THEY'RE BACK! I haven't seen any in normal-not-super-expensive stores yet, but I'm sure they will start showing up soon enough. Maybe people will even try making their own (maybe even I will?!) Trust me, though, if you haven't seen it already, overalls are making a come back. They're cute and comfortable, so why not?

White Lace

I feel like this one is pretty much a given, and something that's been around for awhile now. Regardless of how obvious it may be, I have definitely been seeing a lot more white lace on clothing. White lace is everywhere and on everything. It's the perfect spring/summer style, in my opinion. Overall, I think white lace shorts/skirts are certainly going to be big this spring and summer. It's great to have in your wardrobe because it basically matches with anything and it's also a nice way to dress up your outfit without going too overboard.

Kimono Cardigans

These are PERFECT for spring. They're light-weight cardigans that are inspired by traditional kimonos. I've seen them in all sorts of patterns and fabrics, but my favorite are the floral pattern ones. They're light enough for spring/summer weather and they can really complete any outfit. I'm a huge fan of cardigans and I get sad when it's no longer "cardigan weather", so these types of cardigans make me so happy. I've been noticing them show up on a ton of my "window shopping" online stores.

Crazy Color Hair



A couple years back, it was the latest trend to get ombre style crazy colored hair or even highlights in colors like pink, purple, blue, etc. Lately, however, I've noticed that a lot of people (especially celebrities) are dying their entire hair some type of "abnormal" color. Although it probably damages your hair like crazy, and it's really hard to keep up with it because these types of colors fade out of your hair quickly, I still think it's a cool trend. Maybe it won't be something that everybody starts doing, because how do you explain to your boss that you decided to look like an Easter egg for awhile? It is a popular trend, though, and if you feel like doing something crazy... go dye your entire head light purple.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16

Thursday, March 27, 2014

10 things I would tell my 16 year old self

Inspired by this post over at Love & Waffles, I decided it'd be interesting to look back at who I was when I was 16 and what my life was like. I turned 16 during my Sophomore year of high school, which was one of the hardest years of my life (second hardest was my Freshman year at college.) I often find myself wishing I could go back in time and give myself advice or make different choices. But at the end of the day, living life with no regrets is the best possible thing you can do for yourself. Mistakes we make, experiences we go through, however difficult they may be, they all serve a purpose. As Alanis Morissette says, "You live, you learn."


Dear 16 year old Val:
  1. Take school a little bit more seriously. It may just be "high school" and pretty easy, but establishing good studious habits now will help you tremendously down the road - especially once you get to college.

  2. Get a hobby. Play a sport. Do some type of extracurricular activity that you can be proud of yourself for. It will also give you something to do, something to look forward to, so you don't dwell on all the negative in your life.

  3. Stop trying to impress people. Be confident in who you are. You are awesome, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

  4. Do not be reckless. Do not think you are invincible. Be smart about stupid decisions you see your fellow peers making.

  5. Ignore the bitch that is purposely trying to make your life miserable day in and day out. She's not worth the trouble.

  6. Allow yourself to step out of your comfort zone. Your heart may have been broken, but don't let that keep you from meeting new people and experiencing new things.

  7. Never dwell on the past. It happened. It's over now. Move on.

  8. It's okay to give yourself time to recuperate, but do not let it consume you. The more you let yourself sink into misery, the harder it will be to get yourself out of it.

  9. Cut ties with those who disrespect you and/or are not worth your time and energy. The sooner you let them go, the better (and easier.)

  10. You have all the love in the world to give; your heart is big and you care too much. Do not let people take advantage of that. Be strong.

To be honest, I can still use this list of advice today (and maybe you can, too.)
I have a hard time learning my lessons. I try, though, and sometimes that's all you can do.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The stages I go through with "that song" everybody loves

I'm sure you've all been there before. There's a new hit song and everybody loves it. It's on the radio all the time; it's everywhere you turn. Problem is, you hate it. You loathe it. Two things can happen at this point. Either you wait for it to fade out (which might take months...) or suddenly you find yourself actually enjoying it a bit, only to realize that you have the song on blast as you're driving and happily singing along. You are all guilty of this, do not deny it!

This happened to me a couple years ago when I was still in college and the latest song that literally everybody was singing or blasting at parties was "Call Me Maybe." When I first heard it I was like, "what the hell is this crap?!" It drove me nuts (and trust me, it's ten times more annoying when that song you hate is being sung by a bunch of drunk girls.) Eventually, I caught on. I was singing it at bars. I wasn't switching the radio station when it came on. I had fallen into the trap. Of course, now if I ever hear it my reaction is just "Stop. Bye."


Here are the stages I go through when it comes to songs like these.
The song I shall be using as an example is none other than "Happy" by Pharrell. You know, that song.

1. "This song sucks."

The moment I first heard the song, I was in a bitter mood. Who the hell is going to like a song that's all about happiness when they're in an awful mood? Whatever, I changed the station and problem solved.
2. "Why is this song everywhere I go?!

I heard this song twice while substitute teaching. At two different schools. They play it in the morning while kids are at their lockers getting ready for first period. They play it before school is over while the kids are packing up. It's here, it's there, it's everywhere.

3. "Why does everyone love this song so much?"

So I'm standing on line at the cash register and someone's phone starts ringing. It has a music ringtone. Guess what song it is. He lets it ring for a little bit, while the people around me start smiling. A woman says "I love that song." My dad says, "me too!" I just stand there. Wondering why.

4. "It's kind of catchy..."

My old high school recently did a video to the song for their spirit day and I watched it because I was curious to see what was up at WOHS and if I'd recognize anyone (which I did not since I am old.) The video is cute and upbeat, and made me miss high school (wow.) Even if it was that song in the background. I found myself suddenly not hating the song.

5. "This song ain't so bad!"

I'm driving my car, "Happy" comes on. I'm in a fairly good mood. Spring is kind of sort of in the air. I have my windows down a bit. I'm cruising down the street. I find myself putting the volume up. I don't change the station. I listen to the song the whole way through. That's when I realize. I like this song.

6. "Okay, seriously, enough already."

This hasn't happened yet, but I guarantee it will very soon. You get sick of the same song playing over and over again. We're human, it's in our nature. Enjoy the fact that you're not annoyed with it yet, because it's gonna happen.

Here is the video my old high school did for "Happy" by Pharrell.

Monday, March 24, 2014

"Breakfast Zinger" Juice Recipe

I got a juicer for Christmas (the Omega 8006 Juicer) and I've been experimenting with different juice recipes ever since. Juicing is certainly "in" right now, but buying them from the store is just too expensive for me. However, it is time consuming if you're making a big batch of juice and if it has more than just a couple ingredients. But if you're trying to live a healthier lifestyle (and not spend half your paycheck at Whole Foods), it's definitely worth it to get some type of juicer.

This time around I made a juice called the "Breakfast Zinger." It includes beets, carrots, lemons, apples and ginger. Definitely has that "zing" to it. I used this original recipe but changed it up a bit. If you hate the taste of ginger then I recommend omitting it, BUT keep in mind that ginger is great for energy and has a ton of health benefits.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Words from Other Post-Grads

I asked several people (who have all had different experiences) to give me anywhere from a few words to a paragraph about anything they want to share about their post-grad life. I wanted to give you guys a sense of how other people are feeling (not just me) and what advice they may have to give. You'll be surprised at how similar we all feel (or maybe it's not so surprising.) Some are funny, some are serious, many are inspirational. Take these words with you, whether you're already a graduate or soon-to-be graduate.


"You'll never really be ready for real life. You'll just pretend to be."

"Be prepared to feel a little let-down after you graduate. College is just such an awesome experience; you have so much fun, you work so hard, you look SO forward to graduating and the excitement of moving on! It’s this huge milestone in your life that’s really difficult to follow. So, be prepared to feel a little bummed."

"What I learned after graduation... Choose a major that will actually get you somewhere or go to graduate school if you want to pursue a career that you will actually enjoy. It's no fun dedicating 4 years of your life to hard work and not have it pay off. With this being said, do not be a communication major ha. How I felt after graduating… Bitter sweet feeling. Miss being so close to everyone and having independence. But it feels good to have accomplished graduating college in 4 years and passing math!"

"I love money- it makes me really fucking happy. I get to buy myself basically whatever I want and don't have to ask for permission. I still feel like a kid and I'm wondering when I'm going to start feeling mature and grown up. I also thought moving out on my own would make me more social but all I want to do after work is eat, drink a beer by myself and binge watch tv. I've also given myself mild anxiety attacks on how and when I'm going to pay off all my student loans while managing all my expenses and started thinking of really stupid things that won't happen for the next few years like owning a home, being responsible for a living person, etc."

"I couldn't find a job in New Jersey so I had to move to France."

"Being in your twenties plus being a post-grad is terrifying. You thought everything would fall into place, and you'd have a career/life right out of school.  Most people don't know what they will end up doing for the rest of their lives. It's okay to try out a few different jobs and gain some experience in a position you don't necessarily want to have for the rest of your life.  Live your life. You're never going to have enough money or time so be wise with your spending, but also go take those spontaneous trips, take chances, and do what you've always wanted to do.  Lastly, no one learns how to be an adult, you just realize you are an adult one day.  Take the time to learn about your taxes and insurance, setting up a 401K, how to budget your finances, how to cook, and taking care of things like bills.  It's not as hard as it looks. As my life mantra continues to be-just remember to breathe and be happy. You'll figure out who you are and what you're supposed to do (believe me, I'm still working on it!)"

"The real world sucks. But thanks to booze and Netflix I'm doing alright."

"Don't lose sight of your dreams, but also don't get your hopes up. Chances are your first job will not be your dream job. The money and the experience will be a nice change of pace, though. Also, START SAVING MONEY. Contribute to your 401K immediately. Pay off debt. I know it may be tempting to spend & travel right now, but think long-term. Wouldn't you rather have a cushy retirement and then you can travel all you want? Also, prioritize what's important to you. You will quickly find that you can't do it all. There's just not enough time in the day. Lastly... your health is important! Lead an active lifestyle, make smart choices about your food, etc."

"Working a painfully boring job, I can now (almost) truly empathize with Tyler Durden's actual ego, practically needing someone to just punch me in the face. That's usually only during office hours though. Things could be worse."

"I graduated last May and now having made the transition into the "real world" I would tell others that everything works out in the end. It is a big transition to go from college to post-grad life. Applying to jobs can be frustrating and it may seem like you will never get hired but you will! It takes time so don't give up on yourself and keep putting yourself out there. And while you have the time, try new things and pick up a new hobby. "

"My post-graduate life is graduate school so I have a really biased view on this whole transition thing. The biggest change in my life is not living in a house full of all my close friends and actually having an income (yah). Graduate school is chaos balancing teaching, research, class and having a social life. It is not what people think. You are tied down. You cannot move. You won’t get an actual job till you are 30 but I love what I do. I am currently writing a grant “Facultative Mutualism in a Parasitic Relationship” and this is my “thing.” My advice: With no obligations, now is the time to fool around with who you are (even if it involves working in a parasitology lab!)"

"Be brave. Life after college will hardly look the way you expect but be open to new experiences, new jobs, new relationships, new cities, new adventures. Be open. Be brave. You never know where a door will lead you."


"I have literally driven myself crazy trying to figure out what my life purpose is. I stressed myself out to the point where I had to seek professional help. And for what? I'm not going to get the answers I'm looking for by worrying about my future every single second of every single day. I've learned to relax and take things as they come. I have realized that the true path to success is chasing your own happiness, however you may find it. Everyone is different, so don't compare yourself to others. Don't compare your life to someone else's. We are all meant to follow our own unique paths. This life is yours so make the most of it."

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you've imagined."

"After graduation, spend the summer doing something completely new and different. I quit my college job right after graduation and worked as a summer camp counselor to de-stress after years of college. Camp was the best summer of my life. While I was left looking for a job in August (which I found a great one through CRAIGSLIST!), a year and a half later, I got rehired by the camp company to work year round! If you had asked me when I was graduating college where I thought I'd be two years after graduating with a journalism degree, I would not have said "computer lab teacher." I wouldn't have it any other way, though. So do something different with that summer - move for a few months or do a job you don't expect to like. It will help you solidify your dreams, and find your true ones."

"Basically, just follow your heart."

A huge thanks to my fellow bloggers who contributed quotes! Check them out:

Friday, March 21, 2014

Five Friday: Best Online Shopping Sites

Let me start off by saying that online shopping, or even shopping at a regular store, is a rare occurrence for me (okay, not that rare but I swear I try to stay away as much as possible.) As I've grown older (and learned the true value of money) I have turned to department stores that always have sale racks, or go nuts searching for clothes that's on sale at the mall. But even that has started to become too expensive.

I love clothes, I have a ton of them. And yet I only use a third of my closet (ha ha.) In the past year or so, thrift stores have become my ultimate source of clothing. I've become an expert thrift shopper and plan to write a post about my experiences with that in the near future. Until then, I wanted to share some of my favorite online shopping sites (in no particular order!)


My style tends to be very bohemian, rustic, vintage and classy (a mix of all the good stuff, just like my brain.) I stumbled upon this site a couple weeks ago and spent hours browsing through, ready to purchase just about everything. My favorite part was the dresses. They have so many styles, but they all stay true to that vintage-y flare. They are lady-like but still cute, sexy but still modest enough to wear for a day out on the town. Most average out to be about $40, which I think is reasonable for a nice dress you can wear on more than one occasion.  Their jewelery also has a vintage flare and they have many styles that are in right now.

First of all, it's free shipping on all orders. Brownie points for you, 6PM. They have a huge variety of clothing (men's as well) and SHOES. I spent way too long looking through all their shoes. They have great discounts on their shoes. They cater to a lot of different styles and carry a huge variety of designer brands (at discounted prices.) It's one of those sites you probably have to really look through to find that special something you absolutely must have, but it's worth checking out. I'm actually in the process of purchasing a new pair of booties as I write this post.

Yup, your eyes are not deceiving you, Ebay is on my list. Why, you might ask? Because it's awesome. I've found so many cheap (by cheap I mean inexpensive, not cheap material) items that it's become dangerous for me to go on the site. I've never really purchased clothing on Ebay, but they have just about anything your heart desires. My most recent e-bay purchases included a butt ton of jewelry and I swear I spent less than $20 for a good amount of pieces. You just have to be willing to search for what you want. Always check the user's ratings for credibility. Do not go crazy with the bidding if your item is one you have to bid on (I get super competitive with this part...)

The cool thing about this site is that they have this feature where you can get paid for any clothes of yours that you no longer want (kind of like how Plato's Closet works.) This online shopping site is basically like an online consignment shop. Which is a really cool concept, the only problem is you might find something that you like but they won't carry your size, or even worse - someone beat you to it. Browsing through this site kind of gave me anxiety. I felt like I had to rush through everything before someone bought what I had my eye on. They also have these annoying pop ups that let you know whenever someone bought something, and it happens A LOT. Thanks for adding to my anxiety. Besides these cons, I still wanted to add the site to my list because I like the idea behind it and if you're lucky you really can find some fairly new/gently used designer brand item at an inexpensive price. It's also good for you if you're into adventurous, nerve wrecking shopping.


American Eagle Outfitters and Aerie are pretty awesome stores. Their jeans rock, they have simple tanks and t-shirts, Aerie has a great collection of bras and panties, and the best part is they almost always have some type of sale going on (have you caught on that I'm 100% a bargain shopper yet?) They have tremendous deals around holidays. They always have some type of free shipping deal and you can combine orders from both of their stores (American Eagle and Aerie.) I actually prefer shopping online for this store rather than going to the mall, because A. you don't have to deal with people and B. you're more likely to find your size and you have more options to choose from.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Inspiration Monday: Those Happy Moments

I felt it today. I can't remember the last time I did. Deep in my soul, in my heart. True contentment. Happiness, perhaps? It felt warm, it felt calm, it felt bright. It still feels that way, and I hope it stays for awhile longer. I know life throws us obstacles all the time, some facing more than others, but when we get those moments of true happiness from within, cherish them.


I look at what I'm doing with my life, where I'm at right now, and I'm happy about it. No, it's not perfect, because nothing never really will be. But what is "perfect" is the way I feel about it, at this given moment in time. I haven't felt this way for months. Ever since graduating (maybe even months before then), I have felt lost, alone, scared, confused, etc. It's been a rough road, a scary one, a lonely one. I found myself at a crossroad and I never thought I'd cross it, wasn't sure I even knew how. But I did.


I'm following my dream and every day I see myself getting closer and closer. I know I will have many more "dreams" to come in my life, but it's exciting to know that I am on my way, at least to my first one. This is how it feels like, to do what truly sparks a passion in you, to do what makes you happiest, to do what you have always pictured yourself doing.


Some days are still hard. Some days are discouraging. Some days are exhausting. Some days are uninspiring. But I'll take the good with the bad. I have never felt more determined. Determined and motivated to beat those bad days to the pulp and take hold of the good days with all my might, squeezing out every bit of sunshine I can.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Guest Post: An Inspiring Transformation Story

Editor's Note: This guest post is written by one of my closest friends, Jenna, whose story I hope inspires you to make any changes in your life in which you are unhappy with, whether they are about weight or whatever else. All it takes is the courage to take the first step and the motivation to keep going, even when the road gets tough.

Jenna, a 22 year old post-grad working full time in Kansas City

I hadn't noticed, but once I did, I hated myself for letting it happen. Finally, I started to see it. I saw it in the mirror, in photographs, in the look on people's faces, in the size of the fabric stretched tight around me. It took a year, but I finally saw the extra 50 pounds I had packed onto my already overweight body. It seemed the problem was that my confidence was so high and I was so comfortable in my own skin that I didn’t notice the tearing and the stretching around my waistline.


The time came in my life where I moved to a new town. I graduated college and got a full time job with a large moving stipend—every recently graduated college student’s dream. I had it. I packed my small bedroom in my mother’s house in New Jersey and let the moving company take everything I owned to Kansas City, Missouri. It was a huge change. Yes, I was scared. Yes, I was nervous. I cried the whole four hour plane ride. I was forced to leave behind my friends, my family, and those I love the absolute most in the world. In my mind I thought I had made a mistake.

I started my job and met another drama nerd who seemed to understand me a little more than the others. We got together one night for drinks and I started to vent about my feelings of leaving home and how fat I had let myself get. He got quiet, raised an eyebrow, and said, “so fucking do something about it." He was probably one of the first people who didn’t cover it up with something like “but you’re so pretty” or “everyone loves you."
That was the moment I decided to take the plunge.


I started by myself. I cut my calorie intake to 1200 calories a day and would do small 25 minute workouts in the hotel gym I was staying at. A few days in, I knew I was going to be taking this seriously so I gave in and I stepped onto the scale. Tears welled up in my eyes as I read the number. 214.8 pounds. Why did I let this happen to me? I wanted to beat myself up. I wanted to just give up, but I didn’t. I was in a new city: I had left the old behind, it was time to start a new life and build a new me.


I moved into my apartment. I joined a gym. I hired a personal trainer. I started buying all healthy alternatives to foods I had previously indulged. My cabinets and my refrigerator only had healthy options. It was easier to pack my own healthy food and feel good about myself rather than go out to eat with groups of people, only to beat myself up for the 2000 calories I had just consumed.


I took Zumba, MMA classes, yoga classes, weight lifting classes; basically anything the gym had to offer. It didn’t take long and I soon became that girl. That girl everyone in the gym knew. The one everyone was so proud of for losing so much weight and for being so motivated. I knew almost everyone by name by the third month. I lived at the gym. I started to love it. I loved the lifestyle. I loved the results I was getting. I loved putting on my old clothes and watching them fall to the floor.


I quit smoking cigarettes, drinking became a treat, stairs were my friend for the first time in my entire life. Losing the weight has been the best decision I have ever made. I feel comfortable in my own skin. My relationship with the outdoors has grown so greatly. I can outrun, out climb, and out hike my boyfriend, who I had previously held back. I feel good every single day. I’m healthy. I’m happy. I’m ready to live the rest of my life in this mindset. My spunky personality now matches the body that comes along with it.

I’m proud of myself.

I’m still in the process of changing. I now weigh 162 pounds. I started at a size 16 pants and now fit into size 6 jeans. I plan on losing more, but I understand the process will slow as my body becomes used to the amount of exercise I give it. I’m not giving up, though. I’m excited for the future.


Note from the Editor:

I've known Jenna for over ten years now and I've never been more proud of her. She was never a girl who let her weight be an issue and her personality was enough to outshine anyone else in the room. She's loyal, hard working, super friendly and most importantly—one tough bitch. I've watched her change these past few months and although she's always had that "spunky" personality as she says, I now see an extra something in her. I can tell she is happier and that makes me happy for her. She's an inspiration to anyone else who is currently on the path to losing weight, or even changing something about themselves that they are not satisfied with. What I'm most proud of, though, is that she did it the old-fashion way. She worked her ass off at the gym, ate healthy but didn't starve herself and most importantly, she realized this is a lifestyle change, not just a temporary fix.

I've seen many girls become obsessed with their bodies and their self-image, to the point that it becomes unhealthy and they make bad choices. Your weight should never be a factor for why someone likes or doesn't like you. We unfortunately live in a society that makes it so, but you should not let yourself fall into this mindset. If you want to lose weight, do it for health reasons. Do it for you. Not for anybody else. Do it to make yourself happier, but for the right reasons. And don't beat yourself up if you don't get the results you want right away. It's a long and difficult process, but it's one that is worth it. It will make you stronger, not only physically, but mentally, too.

Jenna was a beautiful woman even before the weight loss. You know what made her so special? The type of person she was on the inside. That's what truly counts. Don't ever forget that.


Friday, March 14, 2014

My Top 5 Hangover Cures

Honestly, just thinking about this post is giving me flashbacks to last weekend after my birthday party and my head starts pounding. But, I figured I'd help you guys out and let you in on a few tips to beating those nasty hangovers.


1. Coconut Water - They might as well call this unicorn piss, because it's that magical. First of all, it tastes pretty good (to me, at least.) It's also super hydrating which is exactly what you need after a night of drinking. It's full of electrolytes, similar to sports drinks, but it contains less sugar than those types of drinks so it's better for you (and your hangover.) Coconut water contains an abundance of nutrients (especially potassium, whatever that does for you) and we all know your poor weak self could use just about all the healthiness it can swallow at this point.

2. B Vitamins - You lose a lot of vitamins and nutrients when you drink, especially vitamin B. Vitamin B is good for your metabolism and also boosts your energy. Taking a good B complex vitamin can help boost your energy and mood after a night out.

3. Carbs - My favorite go-to hangover foods are bagels with cream cheese or butter (nothing beats a true Jersey bagel… MMMMM) or an entire box of mac & cheese to my face. Although you probably want to vaporize a greasy plate of hash browns, bacon and eggs- be wary of this. Sometimes too much greasy food will only lead to you feeling worse. Or, you know, that bathroom situation…

4. Alka-Seltzer Extra Strength - This medicine kills two birds with one stone. Alka-seltzer is known for relieving upset stomachs and all that, but they also sell a version that contains pain relievers, so it will help with that killer headache as well. It's better than just taking Advil or Tylenol, because sometimes that headache you have is due to your stomach being all effed up.

5. Sleep - Yep, sometimes all you can do is sleep it off.


Extra tips for the night before!

(wait, my first tip is: don't ever, ever drink this crap ^)

In order to avoid a hangover you should:

1. Drink some water throughout the night. Seriously. It might seem like a pain in the ass or silly, but it does make a difference. Staying hydrated will help you the morning after.
2. Avoid smoking cigarettes. A lot of people become social smokers after a drink or two, but studies have found that smoking can actually increase the intensity of your hangover the next day. (Also, as a general rule, just don't smoke. It's bad news bears.)
3. Don't mix the types of drinks you get. Stick with just one type of alcohol (beer, vodka, whatever.)
4. Avoid diet soda as a mixer or chaser. The fake sugar can make you even more dehydrated.
5. As we get older, our bodies can't handle "binge-drinking" the same way they did when we were 18/19. Be realistic. Not only is binge-drinking unattractive after a certain point, but it's also really bad for your health. So, don't over do it.

P.S. This is what I learned at college.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Birthday Weekend Snapshots

A few snaps from my eventful birthday weekend! Although I got a cold right on time for my big day, I still managed to have a fun weekend full of laughs and love.

Woke up to this sweetie pie on my back.


And to a bedside full of tissues and cold medicine...


Made a new friend at work.


Took the kids to Imagine That... selfie in the ballet room


Next day, celebration with friends :)





A couple of birthday presents I got!


And even though I'm still sick as a dog and haven't been sleeping at night due to this lovely cough I have going on, I can still manage to put a smile on my face. My ghastly, exhausted face.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Living at Home Again Post-College

A study done about two years ago revealed that 36% of all millennials (age 18-31) were still living at home. From the 18-24 age group, 56% were still living at home. The highest it's been in four decades. It is becoming increasingly popular to move back in with your folks after you graduate, or even after a couple years of living on your own and realizing you're up to your ass in debt. Society has mixed views on the matter, but it's becoming more acceptable and even expected at times.


Moving out doesn't necessarily have to be the marker of you entering adulthood. Sure, you become an adult once you start becoming independent (which can be done in various ways), but being an adult should also mean being responsible, goal-oriented and mature enough to handle just about any situation that comes your way.

What I'm getting at is that just because you don't live on your own yet, doesn't mean you don't have these qualities. This is a complicated and controversial topic in today's world, with many people claiming those of us who live at home are just "lazy" or too dependent on our mommies and daddies. I think everyone (no matter what side you're on) needs to open their eyes and stop being so judgmental, because each person's situation differs from the next.

There are hundreds of reasons why moving back home after you graduate is not only OKAY but also very smart. If you are lucky enough to have parents who allow you to move back in with them, be very grateful. Some of my favorite reasons for living at home are:

1. You get to save money. What percent of your paycheck goes towards rent and utilities? Rent and such greatly varies depending on your location, but let's say the average is about $500 to $1000 a month. Instead of wasting that money on rent (even if you have the means to do so) by living at home you can put that money aside each month and start saving up. Within 3 years (assuming by the time you turn 25 and most of us decide it's time to finally move out, ha) you can have saved anywhere from $18,000 to $36,000. That can be a down payment for a car or even a house. Or you can just have money saved up, which is always, always a good thing.

2. You can start paying off your loans. While some of us are lucky enough to have had school paid for us, many of us post-grads are probably eternally suffering the ridiculous amount of money we now owe due to school loans. By living at home, you can start paying off your loans right away instead of using that money towards rent and other expenses that come with living on your own. Figure out a plan for how you're going to pay back the loans—right away! Pretend you really are paying rent per month, set a (realistic) price, and pay that amount every month towards your loans. No exceptions.

3. Free food/meals. Sometimes. Honestly, nothing beats coming home from a long, exhausting day at work to a home-cooked meal, all ready to be devoured and cherished. For the most part, I usually cook my own meals and buy my own groceries, but it's nice to always have back up food. At least you know that when money's tight or you don't even have time to breathe let alone cook, you don't have to rely on ramen noodles. I think it's safe to say we are all sick of ramen noodles by this point.

While yes, you are living back home again, you have to keep in mind that you are no longer a kid. Just because you moved back doesn't mean things are going to be the same (aka you do not have free room service.) You are an adult now, so act like it. There are plenty of ways to not only establish your independence but also help your parents out, such as:

  • Do your own laundry

  • Clean your own room

  • Help out with chores (vacuuming, taking out the trash, washing dishes, etc.)

  • Buy your own groceries

  • Cook your own meals (at least a few times per week)

You may have already been used to doing this while living away at college, or even when you were still in high school, but it's easy to get back into the habit of having someone else do all of these things for you. Don't fall into that trap. It will only turn you into the lazy twenty-something stereotype we are so desperately trying to avoid, remember?

If anything, living at home will help you get into the habit of doing all of these things, because you will probably have someone nagging you to do them (they mean well, I promise.)

Unfortunately, there is one issue that seems practically inevitable for the majority of us. Clashing with your parents (or siblings.) You're back home but you also want your own privacy and sense of independence. Sometimes that doesn't happen. Of course, it depends on your particular situation and the type of relationship you have with your family, but here is some of my own advice after months of dealing with such issues:


1. Be prepared to have mature conversations with your parents. You are no longer a teenager, so stop with the dramatics—the yelling, the door slamming, the eye rolling, etc. You should be able to sit down with them and have a calm, civilized conversation, explaining the way you feel and the reasons why. It might take a bit of practice (and you guys may never get the full hang of it, cause let's face it—family is family.) However, it's doable. Be as patient as you possibly can.

2. Dealing with curfews, overprotection, etc. Although I feel like an adult (most of the time…), I think my parents (especially my dad) will always view me as their little girl. That's why moving back home caused a couple of issues at first. I never really had a curfew, but you may be dealing with one. Try to reason with your parents and show them that you are responsible enough to handle yourself. The key here is to prove to them that they can trust you. Once again, it takes time, but it's doable. They may pull that "you're living under my roof, so you follow my rules" card, and that can drive just about anyone nuts—but don't pack your bags up just yet. Most of the time when parents act like this it's because they care about you and your safety, so try to understand where they're coming from. Let them know where you're going (even if it's a pain in the butt to do) and the general time that you will be home.

3. Do your part. As I mentioned before, even though you're living at home again, it doesn't mean it should be a free ride for you. You should still offer to do chores, run errands, cook meals, etc. Getting yourself into the habit of doing these things often will help avoid the most common clashes that occur. Consider yourself a roommate, rather than just their kid living back at home. Be a respectful and clean roommate.

So there you have it. It might not be your first choice, but having to move back home is not as bad as people make it out to be. It is really up to you what kind of attitude you assume and how you approach the situation. Try to keep in mind that this may also be the last time to really spend time with your parents (cue cheesy Full House music) before you head off on your own and maybe start your own family. Take this time to form a better relationship with them and appreciate the moments you have left together. You won't be "stuck home" forever. Make a plan, set goals for yourself, and take each day as it comes.
P.S. Thanks Mom & Dad