Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Why I Don't Online Date (anymore)

OkCupid. Tinder. Plenty of Fish. Blah, blah, blah. I've tried them all. On multiple occasions and at different times in my life. I always heard "good" things about them, so I was always willing to try, hoping I would be one of the lucky ones who actually managed to meet someone special. To be honest, it's also getting extremely difficult to meet new people once you've graduated college (one of my professors once said that if you hadn't found who you were gonna marry by the time you graduated college your chances of finding someone dropped dramatically... jeez.) Thus, many of us resort to online dating. It only makes sense in this world of technology and social media. For many people, online dating is a success for them. It's perfect for what they want, right now in their life. But it is not for everyone. As for me? I'm done with online dating. And I will explain to you why.

First, I'd like to credit my inspiration for writing this post. Someone on Facebook shared this article from Elite Daily on the hook-up culture that seems to have infiltrated twenty-somethings everywhere.  Reading through it, while I agreed with most things (but not all), I was somewhat comforted in knowing that at least I'm not alone in the struggle. Dating is hard enough as it is, but in today's world? It's getting ridiculous. Real communication is dwindling out fast. Surely the rise of technology and social media are somewhat to blame, but can we really put the entire blame on that fact alone? At some point, our culture changed. At some point, people stopped trying. People stopped putting in real effort. People decided they were better off not committing, because something better could always be just around the corner. Our generation is a weird one. We're jaded. We want it all and we want nothing all at the same time.

The first time I gave online dating a try was with OkCupid, and let me tell you, there are some freaky ass people out there. I got the weirdest messages. When I would try to talk to someone, conversations always fell short. People's profile summaries and descriptions were over the top. They were trying too hard. I may be an asshole, but I rolled my eyes at pretty much every single one. Second time around I went in with a more positive, can-do attitude. Met someone. Was going great. Until it was clear I had been played. What got to me the most was that they couldn't even be up front about it. No honesty, no communication. I'm sorry, I thought we were all adults here? Guess not.

On my third try (third time's the charm, right?) I was literally at the point where it was just whatever, let's keep using this app because I'm bored kind of thing, but I ended up meeting someone amazing. I truly felt like I was dating a friend. We dated for a couple months, and I wish I could tell you I was another one of those rare successful online dating stories - but alas, I am not. Long story short, miscommunications occurred, or minds changed, or whatever, and it was decided they were looking for something more casual and I was left with my mouth agape, wondering what on Earth it takes to actually make a lasting and meaningful connection with someone. Maybe if that is what you're looking for, like I am, online dating is not for you. 90% of people who join these online dating sites are a product of "the hook-up culture" that is spreading its way through our 20-something society. I'm also not blaming this new dating culture on why I haven't had success, or why these certain relationships didn't work out for me. I'm not trying to say I'm perfect and it's everybody else's fault, because I know I am far from that. I've just come to realize that what I'm looking for specifically in who I date, I'm most likely never going to find through one of these sites. It takes a lot of energy and a lot of trust and commitment on your own part to give someone a chance (at least for me, someone whose had her fair share of let downs) so going through the process of online dating is extremely exhausting.

I'm not trying to discourage you, or make you second guess yourself, especially if you've recently met someone through online dating and things are going well. I actually have a friend who met someone on OkCupid and right after their first date, went off to travel together and now they are in a happy relationship and living together. So who knows, you may be one of the lucky ones. It's good to be aware of what you're getting yourself into. Don't expect a fairy tale ending and always, always put yourself first.

I think part of the issue with us twenty-somethings and dating is that people have forgotten how to properly communicate. Or they're too scared to. No one wants confrontations. No one wants fights or heart breaks or whatever comes with being honest with someone. So maybe that's why a lot of us resort to just letting things "play out" or just slowly ignoring someone until they get the hint. Maybe that's why a lot of us will text and not call someone. It's easier to hide emotions through texts. It's easier to be ambiguous through texts, or emails. It's easier to hide behind technology. Of course no one wants to be the bearer of bad news, but trust me, sometimes you're doing the person a favor by just being flat out honest with them from the start. And if you find yourself in a situation in which the other person is playing games or not communicating sufficiently enough, don't be afraid to speak up. Have the courage to stand up for yourself. You deserve to be treated with respect.

So there you have it. That is why I do not online date anymore. You may wonder, where can someone like me find people to date then? The answer: I'm still trying to figure that out.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What's your personality type?

I've been taking personality type quizzes/tests my whole life (well, since the internet became popular.) 99% of the time I always got the INFP personality (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Prospecting.) Here is a little snippet to sum up this personality type:

"INFP personalities are true idealists, always looking for the hint of good in even the worst of people and events, searching for ways to make things better. While they may be perceived as calm, reserved, or even shy, INFPs have an inner flame and passion that can truly shine. Comprising just 4.5% of the population, the risk of feeling misunderstood is unfortunately high for this personality type – but when they find like-minded people to spend their time with, they’ll truly feel at home."

Truthfully, I think I've had this personality type since a child and it's pretty much stuck. Recently, however, I took another personality type test for the first time in months (months in which I've gone through a complete transformation) and was surprised that this time I got the ISFP personality. What changed was now instead of Intuitive, I was getting Observant. It was almost a tie, with Observant winning by just 8%. I took the test a second time, changing my answers a bit (trying to really answer as truthfully as possible) and again, I got the ISFP personality type. Here's the quick summary of this personality type:

"ISFP personality types are true artists. This doesn’t necessarily apply in the typical sense, in which they are out painting happy little trees, though often enough they are perfectly capable of this. Rather, it’s that they use aesthetics, design and even their choices and actions to push the limits of social convention. ISFPs enjoy upsetting traditional expectations with experiments in beauty and behavior – chances are, they’ve expressed more than once the phrase “Don’t box me in!” ISFPs live in a colorful, sensual world, inspired by connections with people and ideas. But rather than take things as they are, ISFPs take joy in reinterpreting these connections, reinventing and experimenting with both themselves and with new perspectives – no other type explores and experiments with these ideas more. This process leads to an air of spontaneity, making ISFPs often seem unpredictable, even to their close friends and loved ones."

I find it so fascinating that even in the slightest bit, my first year as a post-grad has changed my personality type. Maybe some of you may think this is silly, but it's still interesting to ponder over. Certainly we are not restrained to having the same personality as we grow up and change the type of people we are. Hell, you may even find yourself going through a dozen personality changes! That might get a little chaotic, though.

If you want to find you what your personality type is, I recommend using this site. It's a really quick test and afterwards you're given a lot of information about your type. They also have this article that answers whether it's possible for your personality type to change (in short, they basically say no. I do not agree, neither do people who wrote in the comment area.)

Do you think your personality type can change, especially as you grow older and experience more in life?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Whatever happened to adventures?

Attention: It is the last Monday in July. That means there's about a month left of summer. A month left to have an awesome summer adventure. One month left to make this summer one to tell your grandchildren about (unless you've already accomplished that, then kudos to you!)

I, unfortunately, have not accomplished that yet. Sure, my summer has been interesting in many ways, but I haven't gone on any of these adventures I crave. Today I realized I have a month left. Which honestly, is plenty of time. Anything can happen within one month.

I have such a wanderlust itch that I can't get rid of and sometimes I wish I could just toss all my responsibilities out the window and just get in my car and drive, drive, drive until I don't even know where I am anymore. But, I can't. I have responsibilities. My friends have responsibilities. Long gone are the days of spontaneous adventures. But why does it have to be that way?!

Why is it that as we grow older we lose that sense of adventure? The spontaneity of life. The "f* it let's do it" attitude. I look around and all my friends seem to be growing up and I'm still back here flailing my arms around, not wanting to let go of my inner child. I feel like Rose at the end of Titanic when she's on that door and Jack's already dead (you could have fit both of you on that door, bitch) and the boat comes to look for survivors and she's weakly saying "come back, come back" but they can't hear her. That's actually really depressing imagery but I think you get the point.

Being a twenty-something is a weird time. I'm sure it only gets weirder from here on out. I know it's time for me to let go of certain things and move on to the next big adventure in my life. I look around the other twenty-somethings I know, and they're either already doing that, or stuck and feeling bored, but already settling with what they've got. Dude. Don't settle. Never settle. Always go after your passions, what you truly want. Now is the time to do it after all. Have that one last big adventure. One last hurrah.

And thus, I should be taking my own advice. Until now I've felt like I'm waiting for something. I never realized I was actually just waiting for myself. Waiting to let go of fears, or just embrace them, and get out there. Have an adventure. One that might completely and totally fail and blow up in my face, but hey, at least I can say I gave it a shot, right?

When I look back on my life and contemplate what to tell my grandchildren, I'm going to tell them that this summer was the one before everything changed. This was the summer I let my "childhood" go and prepared myself to set out onto the next adventure in my life.

In the meantime, I have one month left to make some long-lasting memories.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Favorite Instagram Accounts!

Lately, when I ask people what their favorite social media platform is the majority of the time I'm told "Instagram." There was a prime time for Facebook (which is fading fast...) and who could forget about MySpace?! Now, it's all about Instagram. There's just something about scrolling through endless photos people post, usually with cool filters, of cool things they are doing (or eating, the infamous food selfie.) I have this theory that our generation, or even just our current society as a whole, are so fixated on visual stimulation that we are not interested in words, simply pictures. We don't have time, or the attention span, to actually sit and read something. Thus, we like to stimulate our minds with pictures. Why do you think Pinterest is so popular? How many people who use Pinterest actually go back and do whatever crafty project they pinned or take a stab at that delicious looking recipe? Nobody's got time for that.

Anyway, I, much like everybody else, am a huge fan of Instagram. I follow a lot of people (and many of them are "Instagram famous" or just simply famous...) The other day as I scrolled through, I realized I definitely have a list of my favorite accounts, and for various reasons. So as I took a look through my Instagram feed, I jotted down which my favorites were and decided to share them with you! Maybe you'll find a new Instagram account to stalk.

aka Rachel Brathen

"It's absolutely essential to get lost once in a while. It's the only way to find out where you belong."

Rachel's Instagram is truly inspirational. She often posts long captions to go along with her stunning photos and truthfully this is what makes her my number one favorite Instagram account. Her words are inspiring. I wish I could find more adjectives to describe them, but that's really the only one that comes to mind (and trust me, that's not a bad thing.) She is just an inspirational person. She has her ups and downs and isn't afraid to share with the world when she's having a bad day. She is such a genuine person. While yes, it is a yoga account, she posts more than just yoga photos. She travels all around the world and posts pictures of her adventures. However, the thing that always keeps me coming back for more are those captions of hers. She has a way with words and a way of inspiring you to live a better life, to keep going at it, to not worry so much, etc. You just have to check it out for yourself.

aka... Nala, the cat

Come on, of course one of my favorite Instagram accounts would be of a cat. Nala is so cute and cuddly looking. She has an adorable face. She does the silliest poses. You can't help but smile when looking at her pictures. She's pretty Instagram famous, even to the point where her owner sells t-shirts and phone cases with Nala's face on them!

aka Kacie Cone

This is a fairly new find for me, but she immediately became one of my favorite accounts because I love her style. She has her own blog that focuses on her personal style, so of course a lot of her Instagram pictures are fashion-related, but she also posts pictures of her Husky (+ cats) and other cool stuff. 

aka Aly Michalka

You might remember her from Aly & AJ, the sister duo pop singers. I'll admit, I love her Instagram because I think she is absolutely gorgeous. What I like most is that she often posts professional looking pictures (such as the one above) that are taken by her fiancĂ© and just radiate beauty. So yes, her account is a favorite of mine simply because it is aesthetically pleasing to my eyes 8-)

aka Larz

Larz is another fellow blogger who I am totally jealous of because she's basically living my dream! She lives in NYC and gets to do fun shoots around the city and Brooklyn and all the while gets to blog about it. Lucky, lucky gal. I enjoy looking at her Instagram not only because I like her style but I also get to take a look at spots around the city she goes to, and thus live vicariously through her Instagram. Le' sigh.

I have plenty of more favorite accounts, so these are just a few of them. 
What are some of your favorite Instagram accounts to stalk?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My favorite "summertime" movies as a kid

When I was a kid, I watched these movies even when it wasn't the summer and I instantly felt nostalgic for the summertime. A lot of these movies are coming of age stories (my favorite kind!) and I still enjoy watching them today. I wanted to share these and see if anyone else found themselves watching these movies as a kid (or even today!) I'm sure I have many more, but unfortunately as we grow older we tend to start forgetting things from our childhood... but maybe some of you can help me remember some other great summertime movies from when we were younger :)

Now & Then

Now and Then just might be my favorite. I think I even still have it on VHS (GASP.) This movie is a combination of all things I love: friendship, the 60s/70s, summertime, adventures, bike rides, great music, etc. I always wished I had a group of friends like this when I was younger or that I had gotten the chance to live in a town where it was safe to bike ride such a long distance and have awesome adventures with friends. The movie itself is a wonderful coming of age story that highlights the importance of friendship and growing up. 

The Goonies

"Hey, you guys!!!" Oh, Chunk. I'll admit, when I first saw this movie I was 100% creeped out by it. Mostly because of the disfigured dude who ended up being totally nice. I was still scared of him, though. I saw the movie a few more times and it started to grow on me. It's another one of those movies that represent friendship, growing up, standing up for what you believe in, etc. And most importantly... adventure! Kids + adventures = great, fun, dangerous times. Also, the 80s-ness is just oozing out of this movie - Cyndi Lauper's song for this movie, anyone?!

My Girl

Is it possible to watch this movie without crying? I don't think so. This might have been one of the first movies to make me cry so much, but I still loved it with all my heart. I loved the characters, I loved the story, I loved the era it was set in (can you tell I'm a fan of the 60s and 70s?) It's another coming of age story, but a really sad one. Despite the sadness, it will still always be one of my favorite "summertime" movies. 

Dirty Dancing

Okay, so maaaybe this wasn't the most appropriate movie for a kid to be watching, but whatever, I was a mature kid. And this was my favorite movie for a long, long time. I think it even beat out Titanic for awhile (GASP #2.) I was utterly in love with Johnny Castle and wanted to be Mrs. Castle. That's kind of embarrassing to admit... but oh well. This movie was also set in the 60s (I just realized I may potentially have a problem) and had that awesome summer feel to it, sweatiness and all ;). It's fun and romantic. A classic. And remember, nobody puts baby in the corner.

What are some of your favorite movies as a kid or teen that remind you of summertime?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Time is a funny thing

I've been thinking a lot about time lately, and how much can change (or how much doesn't change) in a set amount of time and just how funny the concept of time is. We can be living our lives normally and suddenly one day just changes it all, turns your life upside down. It can be anything, really. A tragedy or something wonderful, but regardless, your life has been changed in just that one moment. Or you look back at where you were three months ago and you say "was that really just three months ago? It feels like so much longer..." simply because so much has changed in your life, and within yourself, too. Then there are instances where you look back at your life a year ago and you find yourself almost exactly at the same spot, feeling as if nothing has changed.

I have basically gone through all of the above in just a "short" amount of time, about a month I'd say. Some days I feel all of these things at once. Some days are both positive and negative for me, and I'm still trying to figure out how I'm even managing to put up with that. Because let me tell you, if you don't already know, it's exhausting trying to stay positive 100% of the time when you are constantly reminded of why everything suddenly sucks again. And yet you have to. You can't let the bad vibes win. 

Anyway, back to the concept of time. It really is a funny thing. We ourselves don't even know how much time we have on this Earth, or how much time any of us have, and yet we grasp on to this concept of "time" so tightly, believing we have all the time in the world. Maybe we should stop living by this concept of time, which seems so irrelevant. I've always been someone who seeks out the future, or stays stuck in the past, sometimes even doing both of those things at once. I have a tremendously hard time living in the present and just enjoying today for what it is. Don't get me wrong, I do manage to enjoy my present moments a lot, especially as I've grown older. Life has happened to me far too often for me to not have finally learned to enjoy the present moment, and know that in any second things can drastically change. That people (or pets) will leave, that you won't have any more of those moments, so you should enjoy them while they last. I've learned to live that way, but it can also cause you to live in a constant state of fear that something bad will happen, and then eventually it does because you believed in it so much. 

This seems to be all over the place, but here is what I'm trying to get at (and hopefully if you aren't already living your life this way, you can strive to do so):
  • Live in the present as much as possible. Don't get stuck in the past and don't worry about the future. Just let things be. You are where you are supposed to be.
  • If you are going through a rough patch, don't worry. Everything can change in just one day. Stay positive and believe that better things await you. Don't just hope for it, truly believe it.
  • If you are in a good spot in life, enjoy it 100%. Be grateful for what you have. You never know when things can change. But also don't worry about things changing. Just learn to appreciate all the good you have, before it's too late.

So basically, while I'm sure we can all agree that life is a bitch to all of us, it is also beautiful. We will all have our ups and downs, some more than others, but that's just how it is. A lot of people believe that before we are even born we choose the life we want, for whatever reason. That we are strong enough to live the life we have been given. While I myself am still trying to figure this all out and understand why things turn out the way they do, it's really important not to let yourself get stuck on the negative. Like I said before, you can't let the negative vibes win. Staying positive (as hard as it may be) in the worst moments in your life is just about the best possible thing you can do for yourself. 

If you are having a hard time, whatever the reason may be, stay strong. Stay positive. Believe with all your might that good things are coming, because they are. You just have to believe in it. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

It's almost time for back-to-school jean shopping!

This post brought to you by Hollister Co. All opinions are 100% mine.

Okay, so maybe there's still about a month left before you even consider wearing jeans again, but I'm already excited to do my usual "back to school" shopping (even though I'm no longer in school...) Part of that shopping spree always includes a new pair of jeans (or maybe two, or three..) Jean shopping has always been really hard for me. It's hard to find your perfect fit. You want your jeans to make you look and feel fabulous, of course!

I'm excited to be offering my readers this Hollister coupon for any jeans in store for $20! First of all, a pair of jeans for $20 is rare these days, especially a good pair of jeans. All of the Hollister jeans I've ever owned lasted me a long time and some of my favorite jeans have been Hollister brand. They have a wide range of options for your jean shopping needs. Not only do they have every type of wash (from super washed out light to rich dark rinses) but they also have several fits (whether you feel like being laidback with The Boyfriend fit or you want to show off those curves with the Super Skinny.)
Personally, my favorite is the Skinny fit. I like that it's still a skinny style jean but it's not too tight. It's basically my "in-between" jean. Here's an example of what my perfect "back to school" outfit would look like, including Hollister jeans!

Check out Hollister Co to take a look at all the options they have to offer!

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Make sure to Follow @HollisterCo on Twitter and Follow @HollisterCo on Instagram for the latest styles and deals!

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Inspiration Monday: Leap of Faith

What defines us is how well we rise after falling.

Sometimes we find ourselves stumbling over obstacles we face today but always see the big picture and keep moving forward. Have faith - someday you will get to where you were meant to be and you will be strong enough to weather any storm.
— Tom Krause

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Weekend Snapshots: a little bit of Brooklyn

A little late, but here are some snaps from my 4th of July weekend!

Reptar! A (girl) dog I met on the 4th.


my 4th of July date :)

(in the midst of rocking out to One Direction in the car, feeling 17 again)

Of course, gotta get that model shot in

By Smorgasburg, a type of (huge) food festival that happens every Saturday in Williamsburg (Brooklyn)

waiting for our "brunch" (at 3 in the afternoon)

huevos rancheros ;)

apparently boozy brunches are big in the city

Brooklyn Brewery

Brooklyn Bowl, next to the brewery

"Beer makes you feel the way you ought to feel without beer."

the one thing we got at Smorgasburg. They were good... 
but not as fabulous as their reputation make them out to be :(

some high rises in Brooklyn
things are a'changin...

Subway rides 0:-)

Sunday pool day!

a heart cloud.

Hope everyone had a fun 4th of July weekend :)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Book Review: She's Come Undone

She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb (1992)

Just like I believe some people come into our lives at certain times for important reasons, I also believe that some books come into our lives in that same manner. For me, She's Come Undone was one of those books. So just from that, it should be no surprise that I really enjoyed this book and it left me with that "after feeling" that great books so often do.

To start, this book took me weeks to really get into it. I don't even remember what month I checked it out. It had always been on my to-read list on GoodReads, but when I finally got my hands on it and started reading, for whatever reason I just couldn't delve into the characters and the world the book was creating for me. Now I think the reason for that was because I was meant to finish it this weekend, after a couple weeks of hard times. Or maybe it just really does have a hard to get into beginning. You be the judge of that. Regardless, if you start reading it, please make sure you finish it. It's totally worth it, I promise.

I think part of the reason I had such a hard time getting into it was because I couldn't sympathize with the main character, Dolores. She was always so negative and mopey, also kind of just a bitch. Bad things happened to her, sure, but her attitude was a huge turn off for me and it made it hard for me to read, maybe because at the time I just couldn't relate. I tend to be one of those people who likes to relate to book characters, so sometimes that's a deal breaker for me.

I kept reading, though. Slowly, very slowly. Which is so rare for me. Usually I get into a book and finish it within just a few days. This book took me weeks to finish. Whenever I find myself attempting to read a book for over a week, I usually just give up on it. For whatever reason, I did not give up on this book and I'm so glad I didn't.

To sum it up without giving anything away (which will be hard to do) She's Come Undone follows Dolores throughout her life. From her childhood all the way to her mid-30s. The book, essentially, is a story about a transformation. A wonderful, not always pleasant, transformation. One that takes almost an entire lifetime to make. In that sense I think it's more realistic than other books that are also transformation stories. Realistically, we are transforming ourselves our entire lives and we don't always get things right the first time around. To me this book was a more realistic capture of what it's like to face your battles and constantly be changing, taking the long and hard journey life offers us in order to have that so called "happy" ending. The last third of the book you start to see how Dolores' life comes complete circle, and she is back where she began, but now in a different sense, with a different perspective. It's a story about growing up. It's a story about realizing how different people have different meaning in your life, but how each one plays an important role. It's a story about how life is always surprising you, sometimes in a bad way and sometimes in a good way.

One of my favorite quotes from the book, that won't give anything away, is this one found towards the very end:
"I thought about how love was always the thing that did that—smashed into you, left you raw. The deeper you loved, the deeper it hurt." 

This book has so many themes, that I'm sure everyone will find something they can relate to. I have a lot of feelings towards this book, but I can't really express them here without giving any spoilers away. It's definitely a book I would recommend.

If you've read it before, please share in the comments what you loved most about it (or didn't love!) because I love discussing these kinds of things with people!