Link Love Wednesday: David Beckham and Old Hollywood

026-ginger-rogers-and-fred-astaire-theredlistGood evening and happy Friday to all of my lovely readers! I hope everyone is having a wonderful month of November and getting excited for Thanksgiving next week. 🙂 I’m fighting a sinus infection, but I’ve still had my share of adventures lately — some community service projects, a local jazz festival, and even a couple of items crossed off of my bucket list! What have you been up to?

As always, enjoy this week’s roundup of link love, and share your own favorites in the comments below!

Things I’m Loving Lately

What links are you loving lately? Share your favorites in the comments section below!

Link Love Wednesday: Kate Spade & Mercury Retrograde

imageGood evening, readers!

For those of you who have been feeling a little off lately, you’re not alone. Mercury is in retrograde, which means that everyone is going absolutely crazy — particularly those of us who are Virgos or Geminis — and life is stranger than usual, to say the least. (According to my dad, this might have more to do with the fact that I’m not taking my vitamins than the idea that the planets control my life, but it’s fun to imagine nonetheless.) Have you noticed any changes in the last few days?

Whether you’re a big believer in all things astrology or a skeptic, enjoy today’s batch of links to get you through the week!

What links are you loving lately? Share your favorites in the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: Lessons Learned from Audrey Hepburn Characters

Five Lessons Learned from Audrey Hepburn CharactersEverything I know, I learned from Audrey Hepburn.

Okay, perhaps that’s an exaggeration, but ever since I first watched Roman Holiday back in high school, I have been in awe of the glamorous actress and her equally glamorous characters. I dressed up as Holly Golightly for my decades-themed 21st birthday party (complete with the fancy cigarette holder), and whenever I’m stressed out, I’ll often turn on one of her movies to relax. (I even somehow integrated Audrey’s film characters into a blog post about balancing health and a social life.) The actress herself was someone to aspire to – a humanitarian and devoted mother.

This weekend’s blog focuses on a few of the lessons to be learned from some of her more popular roles. Share your own favorites in the comments section below!

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1. “Oh, but Paris isn’t for changing planes, it’s… it’s for changing your outlook… for throwing open the windows and letting in… letting in la vie en rose.” – Sabrina Fairchild, Sabrina (1954)
Early in the movie, a lovesick and insecure Sabrina travels from New York to Paris to attend culinary school, and she emerges a sophisticated and confident young woman. The lesson to be learned from this? Sometimes, all you need is a change in scenery to become a different person. For Sabrina, that new backdrop is the Eiffel Tower, but in reality it can be anywhere – a new city, a new country, or even a new park across town that you’ve never visited before. Travel, no matter how far the distance, can change your perspective on the world, on people and on life in general. (And of course, when in doubt, Paris is always a good idea.)

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Five Lessons Learned from Audrey Hepburn Characters2. “There are certain shades of limelight that can wreck a girl’s complexion.” – Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Not all attention is positive attention. Holly Golightly learns this the difficult way, as she finds herself at the center of more than one scandal throughout the film. Certain shades of limelight, in fact, can lead to a negative public perception of a person. It’s okay to make mistakes from time to time, but important to strongly consider the choices you make and align them with the reputation you want to have.

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3. “When you can be fancy-free and flash a smile that folks come flocking to see, you’ll be as lovely as can be.” – Jo Stockton, Funny Face (1957)
Positivity goes a long way. Sometimes, a simple smile can make a person’s whole day that much brighter. We may worry about how well we’re dressing for our body types or when was the last time we had our roots touched up, but an even more important lesson in how to be lovely is to consider the way we make others feel and the type of energy we put out into the world.

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5 Lessons Learned from Audrey Hepburn Characters4. “You musn’t give your heart to a wild thing. The more you do, the stronger they get, until they’re strong enough to run into the woods or fly into a tree. And then to a higher tree and then to the sky.” – Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Don’t go into a relationship with the intent to change someone. If the person you fall for tells you that he or she doesn’t want to settle down, believe that person. Never idealize someone to the point that their flaws or even their differences in opinion don’t exist. Recognize people for whom they are and don’t try to pin down someone who doesn’t want to be pinned down.

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5. When in doubt, break the rules and take a mental health day. – Princess Ann, Roman Holiday (1953)
This lesson isn’t a quote from Roman Holiday, but it does partially sum up the film’s premise. Princess Ann has grown weary of her press engagements during her tour of Europe, so she escapes to spend a day as a Roman tourist, making a few unlikely friends along the way. The film ends on a bittersweet note, and she ultimately returns to her duties as princess, but Ann does have the opportunity to experience Rome from a different perspective and make lasting memories of her time in the ancient city. Sometimes in life, it’s okay to take a break from your obligations and do something exciting for your own well-being. Recognize when you are being stretched too thin, and do something about it.

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What are your favorite lessons from Audrey Hepburn’s iconic movie roles? Sound off in the comments section below!

Your Health in Action: Eating Healthy While Maintaining Your Social Life

Tips for Eating Healthy While Maintaining Your Social Life

Whether you’re a seasoned paleo foodie, a chronic dieter or a newcomer to the world of clean eating, there’s a good chance that you’ve struggled at one point or another with how to stick to your program in social situations. Going out to a restaurant or a party can be pure torture (read: relatively inconvenient) for those enduring any kind of elimination diet or simply trying to eat healthier, especially when the people you go out with are ordering all the unhealthy foods you still crave.

Luckily, there are ways to make your social life a whole lot easier to maintain while still making your health a priority. Here are a few tips to get you started!

"But what will I eat at Tiffany's?" Holly asked herself, wondering if she could find a menu online.

“But what will I eat at Tiffany’s?” Holly asked herself, wondering if she could find a menu of their breakfast options  online.

Research the menus ahead of time.
Your friend calls you up and says, “We’re going to that trendy new restaurant downtown tonight. They serve cupcakes in champagne glasses for dessert so bring your appetite.” You immediately jump into a panic because: (a) Cupcakes sound amazing right now but you’re trying to kick your sugar habit. (b) You aren’t really sure what you’ll be able to eat because you’ve never been there. (c) Parking is horrible downtown, especially on a Saturday night.

Luckily, there’s an easy solution to problems A and B: go online and look up the restaurant’s menu online! As both a picky eater and someone who has completed a few rounds of Whole30, I do this all the time before going to a new restaurant. If I can make a decision before I leave the house, I am less likely to order a bucket of tater tots in a fit of hunger and panic. Knowing what you’re going to order beforehand takes away most of the pressure you may be feeling, so that instead you can focus your energy on finding the right parking garage. Planning ahead is key to your success!

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Know your staples and substitutions.
Most of the time, I know I am safest ordering a salad or some combination of grilled chicken and veggies, and I am totally fine with it! Have an idea of what works for you before perusing the menu, and don’t be afraid to make substitutions. I am constantly replacing rice with veggies or asking for the sauce/dressing on the side, and most places are ok with these changes to an extent. I even keep a running list of my favorite healthy options and substitutions at local chain restaurants that allow me to stick to my program if I go out for the night.

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Sabrina didn't have the heart to tell Linus that alcohol wasn't permitted on the Whole30.

Sabrina didn’t have the heart to tell Linus that alcohol wasn’t permitted on the Whole30.

Speak up.
If you decide to go out with friends, pick the restaurant. No more of this back-and-forth “I don’t know, where do you want to eat?” that seems to land you at the Olive Garden every time. (Mmmmm, endless breadsticks.) I have a few friends who are kind enough to ask me if I’m on Whole30 before we go out, but there are plenty of times I’ll take charge on a restaurant choice because I already know there won’t be anything compliant for me at other restaurants. Don’t be afraid to speak up and make the decision yourself!

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Bring food to the party.
I’m guilty of snacking at parties. No matter how many people are present, there always seems to be more than enough food to nosh on between conversations and awkward one-armed hugs. I have never been to a single party where healthy food outnumbered the junk food (although one can only dream of a secret paleo society that hosts monthly parties featuring sweet potato gnocchi and cauliflower poppers). To keep yourself from gravitating toward the Cheetos, bring a healthy snack that people will enjoy and fits your own program. There are about a million ways to make a fun fruit salad, or if you are on a less restrictive program, you can always opt for healthier versions of your favorite junk food (Skinny Pop Popcorn and The Better Chip spinach/kale chips are two of my favorites). Besides, bringing food to a party is the proper thing to do!

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Ann didn't want to spend her entire Roman holiday focused on food, so she and Joe hopped on a Vespa to cruise around the city instead.

Ann didn’t want to spend her entire Roman holiday focused on food, so she and Joe hopped on a Vespa to cruise around the city instead.

Focus your activities on something other than food.
Fun fact: Not every social activity needs to involve a meal. If you find it difficult to stick to your program while out in a restaurant (because, let’s face it, this is no easy feat), stop going out to restaurants. Invite your friends to go bowling or visit an art festival. Watch a movie in the park. Find a museum in the area that you’ve never been to before. Have fun without bonding over how much you’ll hate yourselves for ordering the mozzarella sticks.

Avoid the scale.
In general, a lot of experts suggest avoiding the scale (or cutting back on its use) regardless of your social life, but my tip in particular focuses on restaurant visits. Most restaurants will pack your food with tons of salt, so if you’re planning a weigh-in any time soon, you may want to wait.

"Do I look like I care what you think?" Jo asked, posing fabulously with the Nike of Samothrace.

“Do I look like I care what you think?” Jo asked, posing fabulously with the Nike of Samothrace.

Stop caring about what others think.
When you change your lifestyle, especially when that leads to dietary restrictions, there will be naysayers. Don’t listen to them. Remember that different food groups and chemicals affect everyone differently. I would love to lose weight while eating endless bowls of pasta and laughing in the faces of my enemies, who have gained weight eating that same pasta, I know this is not possible for me. I know how gluten affects my skin, mood and stomach, so when people comment that I should be eating “whole grains” and “in moderation,” I’ll smile, thank them for their suggestions, and keep doing what I’ve been doing. You know what works for you better than anyone else does (except your doctor, of course), so if your friends start giving you unwarranted dietary advice, ignore them or change the subject.

What are your tips for maintaining a social life while still eating healthy? Sound off in the comments section below!

Link Love Wednesday: #LoveAtFirstFlight

audrey-hepburn-style-9Some schools are back in session, which means it’s time to trade in those bathing suits for books and return to the classroom. Whether you’ve already begun opening your textbooks or still have a few weeks of summer left, allow yourself to relax with this week’s batch of Link Love!

What are some links you’ve come across in the last week? Share your great finds in the comments section below!

Love Lessons from the Movies

e9431ded-5a77-4fec-8942-d8f5b0a500dbRegular readers of my blog will know that I love to write about romantic comedies. From the gender stereotypes they perpetuate to the misconceptions they give us about love to the modern-day endings to classic rom coms, I don’t know if I’ll ever get tired of watching, swooning over and criticizing these films. 🙂

Of course, the romantic comedies we watch can actually teach us a lot about love and relationships! Below are some of the lessons I’ve taken away from these films, which will hopefully enhance your love life and bring you the happiness you seek!

  • High school is a drag, especially when it comes to dating, but if you change everything about your appearance and personality, you will finally find true love. – Grease (1978)
  • Living under the sea is a drag, especially when your only friend is a flounder, but if you sell your soul to a sea witch in order to change your appearance, you will finally find true love. – The Little Mermaid (1989)
  • Don’t fall in love with a womanizing slacker. Instead, fall in love with his workaholic brother who tried to ship you out of the country so he could complete a business deal. – Sabrina (1954)
  • When you love someone, the best way to show that love is by yelling at the other person. – Katherine Heigl movies
  • Women are most charming when singing among nature or not talking at all. – Sleeping Beauty (1959)
  • If you really want to be with someone who is otherwise engaged, you should wait to reveal your feelings until that person’s wedding day. – Various films
  • If you begin a friends-with-benefits relationship with someone, you will ultimately fall in love and end up together. – Friends With Benefits (2011), No Strings Attached (2011), various other films
  • If you’re otherwise sweet and easy to relate to, then it’s okay to steal your best friend’s fiancĂ©. – Something Borrowed (2011)
  • It’s not an inappropriate age gap if the older person in the relationship is undead and still looks like a teenager. – Twilight (2008)

Readers, what are some of the lessons you’ve taken away from the movies you’ve watched? Sound off in the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: Modern-Day Endings to Classic Romantic Comedies

fa439c081aea20a79a7d5457caf4694aHappy February! Valentine’s Day is just a few short weeks away, which means it is time to break out the chocolates and force our significant others to watch our favorite romantic comedies with us. (It also means that you’ll be seeing a lot more dating/relationship articles on my blog this month!) Of course, as I look back at some of my own favorites, I realize that the plots of many of these stories could have been radically different if they were set in 2014.

This week, let’s take a look at some of the classics, and discuss the alternative endings that would have taken place in modern day.

The Weekend Five: Modern-Day Endings to Classic Romantic Comedies

3831_11. You’ve Got Mail (1998).
In the original film, Meg Ryan (ShopGirl) and Tom Hanks (NY152) are real-life business rivals who unknowingly fall in love with one another after meeting in an AOL chat room. They exchange IMs and emails, gaining a deeper insight into one another. The idea of falling in love on the computer was very new at the time, and while still relatively modern, the film would have a few key differences in 2014. Meg Ryan would have met NY152 on Facebook, and the two would exchange messages until he revealed himself as a Catfish in the end.

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2. Pride and Prejudice (1813).
The book came out in the 1800s, but multiple film adaptations have occurred since. In modern day, celebutante Lydia Bennett (protagonist Elizabeth Bennett’s sister) would marry Mr. Wickham in Vegas, but when their marriage winds up in Star Magazine, Mr. Darcy sues the tabloid and saves the Bennett family’s reputation. Elizabeth gives up on her hatred for Darcy and decides to date him.

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romantic-scenes-never-been-kissed43. Never Been Kissed (1999).
In the film Never Been Kissed, Drew Barrymore’s character (who has never been kissed) falls in love with her very attractive English teacher. When he finds out that Barrymore is actually a 25-year-old reporter, he takes this as a personal betrayal and leaves. As her apology, she urges him (via newspaper) to kiss her at a baseball game. Of course, in that end scene, she waits for the teacher and almost gives up, as he doesn’t show up right on time. In 2014, however, he would have sent her a simple text message: “Omw, running late.” A lot of tension would have been lifted from this scene!

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4. Roman Holiday (1953).
Audrey Hepburn plays a runaway princess who spends a day with an American reporter (Gregory Peck) in Rome, who has secretly discovered her identity and plans to exploit it in the paper. In the 2014 version of this movie, however, he wouldn’t have to — local passersby would identify her on the street, snap photos for Facebook and Instagram, and the paparazzi would soon swarm. Also in this version, because we crave happy endings, Hepburn and Peck end up together.

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sleepless-in-seattle5. Sleepless in Seattle (1993).
In the modern version of Sleepless in Seattle, Tom Hanks’ son sets up an online dating profile for his father, who lost his wife a while ago. Women across the country fall madly in love with him, and the son quickly chooses Meg Ryan’s character as his father’s soul mate. Tom Hanks is apprehensive about meeting her at the Empire State Building, but when he looks her up on OkCupid and sees how pretty Meg Ryan is, he decides to give the relationship a chance. And the rest is history.

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What are some romantic comedies that could use a revamped ending? Share below in the comments section! 🙂

Link Love THURSDAY: Happy New Year!

happy-new-yearYup, you read the title correctly – today has turned into a special Link Love Thursday! (It is very possible that I fell asleep very early on Wednesday after taking antihistamines for my horrible allergies…) I hope everyone had a fabulous new year and is enjoying everything 2014 has to offer. This week, I bring you a few new year-related articles, along with some sweet links that will make you smile.

Enjoy! 🙂

Have you read any great articles lately?

Appealingly Quirky: How Much Is ‘Too Much’?

Move over, Pop Princesses: it’s time to make room for the Queens of Quirk. America has always been fascinated by its share of quirky leading ladies and heroines (think Lucille Ball, Audrey Hepburn, and Amelie), but in the past few years, eccentricity has become all the rage. Hilary Duff may be a mere tabloid figure these days, but every entertainment magazine I pick up seems to flaunt Zooey Deschanel as the new It Girl. Ladies, say hello to babydoll dresses, funky headbands and Bambi eyes.

As someone who enjoys wearing dresses, listening to The Smiths and deconstructing seemingly trashy television, I should appreciate this trend. After all, doesn’t it make room for people like me, people who sometimes stray from the beaten path and occasionally align themselves with some of the misfits? The answer to that question isn’t as simple as it may seem.

On the surface, the quirkiness craze allows us to broaden our acceptance of what’s “cool.” (Tweet this!) Young women are, in theory, valued for deviating slightly from the norm, creating their own fashion statements, and listening to music that is either (a) from a different generation; (b) not played on the radio; or (c) both of the above. Supporters of the Quirky Girl frenzy might even argue that this trend encourages us to be unique and unafraid to show our non-cookie-cutter side.

Of course, when we examine this further, we find that there are a few things wrong with our arguments. First of all, “quirky” ceases to be truly quirky when it becomes a trend. If every girl dresses like a 1950’s housewife and gets the same haircut, she is no longer “deviating from the norm,” as suggested earlier. Quirks are defined as individual peculiarities of character, and so, by definition, cannot be included as  part of a trend — they belong to the individual! However, the “Quirky Girl” trope tends to follow a few pre-defined quirks, which are not necessarily natural to the girl who displays them.

And let’s face it — most guys who say they’re attracted to “quirky girls” are not actually attracted to them in the Dictionary.com sense of the word. They’re attracted to quirky girls in the same way that many girls are attracted to nerdy guys (a.k.a. good-looking guys who happen to wear glasses and admit to occasionally reading for fun). Guys who claim they’re into the quirky girls are mostly just looking for pretty girls who use Instagram too much, own a vintage bathing suit and occasionally trip over things. The truly quirky girls who don’t fit the (ironic) stereotype aren’t in as high of demand as the Zooey Deschanels of the world.

I’m not trying to say that one lifestyle is better than another — I think that as long as you’re not hurting anyone, you should do whatever makes you comfortable! (I will admit that I was listening to a mix of Regina Spektor and Perry Como as I wrote this, thus fulfilling the pseudo-quirky role I wrote about earlier.) However, I urge you to choose your clothes, music and interests because you like them, not because of the pressure to like them. If some of your likes aren’t particularly offbeat, it’s not the end of the world.

The Weekend Five: Literary Characters I’d Invite to Dinner

As an avid reader and semi-lit nerd (I say “semi” because I don’t want to offend any English majors who read like it’s nobody’s business), I constantly find myself drawn to new characters. In fact, characterization is one of my favorite parts of reading and writing — I love watching new personalities come to life on the page!

Recently, when an essay question asked me to write about a person (dead or alive) who I would want to eat dinner with, my mind reverted back to the piles of books I’d read throughout the past sixteen years or so, and I couldn’t help but ask myself which fictional characters I would want to have dinner with. While I ultimately did not write about those characters in my essay, I did realize that I would be unable to narrow it down to one character. I would have to host an entire dinner party! 🙂

The Friday Five: Literary Characters I’d Invite to Dinner

1. Elizabeth Bennett (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)
Lizzy’s story may have taken place in the early 1800s, but everyone who has read Pride and Prejudice will recognize that she’s really a modern girl at heart. One of the most intellectual female characters in any book I’ve ever read, Elizabeth Bennett would likely contribute a spirited commentary on a particular social convention from her time. (Remind you of anyone? 😉 Maybe I should stop trying to flatter myself!) It would be interesting to hear her thoughts on women’s roles in society and the institution of marriage, especially compared to what we see in the world today.

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2. Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)
Having been a crazy Harry Potter fanatic since third grade, I couldn’t have a party and not invite Hogwarts’ greatest Headmaster of all time. “Call me Al,” he’d instruct us, before either bestowing upon us some great wisdom or comparing the main course to an earwax-coated Bertie Bott Every Flavour Bean. Dumbledore would bring some much-needed eccentricity to the table, and perhaps when the meal was over, he would try to teach us all a few spells!

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3. Lord Henry Wotton (The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde)
No fancy dinner party is complete without its resident troublemaker. Lord Henry Wotton — the same man who more or less convinced Dorian Gray to sell his soul for eternal youth, beauty, and gluttony — would indulge us with the cattiest of gossip and witty one-liners like “The one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties,” and “It is only the intellectually lost who never argue,” and “To be popular one must be a mediocrity.” He and I might not see eye to eye on everything, but he’d certainly be entertaining to listen to!

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4. Holly Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote)
First, I would ask her where she bought her outfit, because she would clearly be the most fashionable person in the room (possibly excluding Dumbledore, depending on what robes he decided to wear). Then, after recognizing that I would be unable to afford the little black Givenchy dress or Tiffany’s jewelry, I would let Holly do the talking. One of my favorite literary characters portrayed by one of my favorite actresses, Holly would have countless socialite adventures to share, regaling us with stories of her visits to Sing Sing jail, her former farm life as Lula Mae, and more.

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5. Katniss Everdeen (Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins)
Of course I would have to invite Katniss Everdeen, in honor of the release of the first Hunger Games film! Not only does Katniss have to compete in a televised fight-to-the-death with other teenagers, but she also has to compete against this guy she’s kind of falling for. She might not feel comfortable talking about the Hunger Games because they were a painful experience for her and her loved ones, but at the very least, she could enjoy a warm meal.

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If you enjoyed this post, tune in next week to find out who wasn’t on the invite list for this dinner party! Comment below to share YOUR favorite literary characters.