Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Time for New Beginnings

Hello there, friends.

March was a rough month indeed.

For 24 years, I've been traveling along a bumpy path filled with both wonderful and odious things. About halfway through my journey thus far, I thought I conquered my toughest battle yet. Alas, it was not so. I am in the midst of the battle of my life, one which could throw me across the nation. Or even across the pond. My most terrible fear, though? Is that it's driving me into the ground--a deep, dark spiral back into the pit I crawled out of some ten years ago.

See. This little girl grew up with very low self-esteem but a rather large batch of courage (and a heap of aggression.) She struggled with body dysmorphic disorder and a side of manic depression. Her father, who loved her more than the world, scarred her with bouts of rage of inflicted fear. But she absorbed it and turned that inherited rage into confidence.

During the process of matriculating from high school to college, this tiny rosebud retracted her thorns and let people into her life like she never could before. She met a boy. He was her other half.

Instead of targeting the Big Apple or the enticing lights of Hollywood, the rosebud stayed close to home for university and kept close to the boy. He was it. The one. Her best friend.

She worked hard in school, graduated early and landed a temporary gig close to home. (But not too close. The rosebud needed to stretch her vines in the city.) From that job she landed another, one in which she still works today.

Just last year, this little girl decided it was time to better herself for the rest of her life. She started running. Further and further. And got in the shape of her life! Then just a few months into the new lifestyle, her and the boy completed their first 5k run together. It felt fantastic.

Into the fall, the rosebud reached her goal weight and said farewell to the side effects of unhealthy habits. No more migraines! The boy even introduced her to his MMA gym, where she immediately planted roots.

So many goals reached! Last year was amazing!

So much so that when it came to New Year's Eve and the ball was on it's way down, all this little girl wished for was to have another year like the last one.

Into 2013, and changes were on the horizon. Boy was accepted into police academy. The rosebud, while so proud, was sad that their time together would now be restricted. But she was determined to make it work. And did everything should could to be the best, most supportive girlfriend out there.

It had, after all, been seven years. They could do it. She knew they could.

He would finish school. Get a job. Then maybe, just maybe, it would finally be her turn to wear the ring.

But she was patient. And was willing to wait as long as it took.

Just being with him was the important part. Nothing else.

And then March came. And her world fell apart.

There goes all the adventures they had planned.

There goes the wedding they had joked of and talked about for years.

There goes their dream home.

There goes the children they'd talked about raising.

There goes half of her family. And all of her future.

There goes the man she saw growing old with.

There went her best friend.

So as you can imagine, I'm struggling with life right now. The thorns are back out and everything is upside down.

I'm grateful to have the support system I do. To be surrounded by love and care. Even if it's just from a few. But I'm starting to fear that I can no longer stay here. This town, this city has become tainted with memories that I'm just not strong enough to handle.

Now, what's really holding me back? Perhaps it's time to take the leap. Maybe now is when I throw all my insecurities, my fears and my doubts in a bag and toss it in the Schuylkill. I think now is the time to leave.

I'll miss my friends and my family. But maybe this is what I need for my health. I fear staying here will be the death of me. That I'm not strong enough to live around the ghost of a life that no longer exists.

The life of the rose bud and her boy.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Hobbit: I'm getting too old for this shit.

Yes, I'm getting too old for this shit. Not the stubbornly energetic teen I once was, this girl can't seem to swing the midnight showings anymore. What? You thought I meant the world of Middle Earth? Hell no! I will never bee too old for wizards, elves and dragons. But I may be at a point in my life where midnight flicks are no longer a good idea.

Let's rewind.

We got to the theater just after 8pm (and retrieved our tickets from the kiosk at precisely 8:19.) Up the stairs to the IMAX line, we sat down about twenty deep--about the average at the time of our arrivals.

I call this, "Geeks...In Waiting"
With 3 and a half hours to kill, boyfriend dug into his comic book while I cracked open my Hobbit issue of Entertainment Weekly. An Eagles' loss later, and we were surrounded by a geekdom of of fellow film fans ready to get our Dwarf on!

Let's play, "Where's Gandalf?"
Oddly, it wasn't as lively and friendly a crowd is these showings can typically get. And to my biggest disappointment, THERE WERE NO HOBBIT EARS! There was an oddly young Asian Gandalf, though. Once we entered the theater, I also spotted an Arwen, an adorable little Galadriel, and a couple of cloaked things. But that was it! Me? I didn't have anything handy to wear and had been too busy to properly prep, however, I did wear my best Dwarf boots:

In the theater, I'm excited as the lights dim--but not for The Hobbit. (At least, not yet.) Us geeks were fully aware that a NINE MINUTE PREVIEW of Star Trek: Into Darkness would show prior to the feature film of the night. Fun fact about me: I do my best to avoid promo saturation leading up to movie's release. Some fans grasp at any information they can get, but not me. I want as much to be a surprise when I first see a film as possible. Anyway... I was happy that this 9 minutes consisted of more than a straight scene--it was a true preview. And I can't wait! Not what we got to see last night, but here's the official teaser for Into Darkness:

Time for The Hobbit! Now, here's the thing. Remember when I said I was getting to old for this shit? I kind of, sort of nodded in and out of the entire movie... But I will gladly see it again! For two reasons: 1) I enjoyed the film. It brought me right back to the Tolken realm and I fell in love with Thorin Oakensheild. 2) I hated the HFR.

HFR (or "higher frame rate") is said to make a film look hyper-realistic. I say, it looks like I'm watching a British made-for-tv movie from the 90s on my tube television set at home. I don't like it; in fact, I would have been okay leaving the theater after two minutes of it. Made it look comical.

Guess I'm just too old school.

Ah! I forgot to mention the sweet swag we snagged following the film: The Hobbit IMAX opening night movie posters. All four of them!

Awesome, no?
Alrighty then. This chick is tired. I gave my two cents. Perhaps I'll return to this post tomorrow and give it a bit more meat. For now, let me know what you thought of the The Hobbit and its 48 frames per second.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How to Survive the Holidays at Starbucks, Guilt-Free!

I love me my Starbucks. And almost as much as I obsess over the PSL do I enjoy the post-Halloween flavors. Their "Holiday" trio is made up of the Caramel Brulee Latte, the Peppermint Mocha and the Gingerbread Latte.

As always, with tasty goodness comes fatty fatness! (Can I trademark that?) Here's how to navigate the drinks this season the healthiest way possible:

Caramel Brulee
Just don't do it.

It's my favorite of the bunch, but even a Tall, Nonfat, No Whip carries a whopping 240 calories! If you really need a fix, though, go Short (with non fat milk and no whipped cream); it's only 160 calories. However, I hardly consider 8oz. even worth it.

Peppermint Mocha
This is the way to go. The Peppermint Mocha comes in a Skinny version, which boasts a meer 100 calories in its Tall version. Go Grande for 130 or Venti for just 170 calories.

Frozen: A Grande Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino Light holds just 170 calories, 110 in a Tall.

Gingerbread Latte
There's a way to enjoy this one...if you like the flavor. I expressed this odd feeling that I had to a barista recently. I said, "I want to try the Gingerbread, but I have this feeling that I've tried it with a negative result." She then told me than many folk don't jibe well with its spicy nature. Lotta nutmeg.

If that's your thing, though, here's how to do it: ask for sugar-free syrup! While they don't post a Skinny version of this caffeine cocktail, they basically carry it. A Grande Sugar-Free Nonfat No Whip is just 130 calories--same as the Peppermint Mocha. If for some reason they're not carrying the sugar-free flavoring, simply reduce the syrup content to 2 pumps in a grande. It won't be the same in caloric count, but you'll be under 200 for sure.

Outside the Trio:

Tazo Chai Eggnog Latte: Starbucks doesn't seem to list the nutrition for this item anywhere... But according to one MyFitnessPal entry, this drink is loaded with 330 calories in its Tall version. EVEN with skim milk! I'd say just steer clear of this one.

Eggnog Latte: Same thing here. A Tall, Nonfat is 350 calories. Where do they even come from?!

Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha: A Short, Nonfat, No Whip packs a mean 200. Yikes! But I imagine the sugar-free peppermint syrup can be used in this to reduce the damage.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate: A Tall, Nonfat No Whip has 240 calories (without a sugar-free syrup sub.) But ask yourself this: do you really want hot chocolate without whipped cream?... The temptation is too great for me.

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate: Short. Nonfat. No Whip. 160 calories. Or have this one just once this year, full throttle--whipped cream and all! It's delicious.

How do you beat the winter weight while enjoying seasonal flavors?

Nutrition information was gathered from the Starbucks mobile application as well as Starbucks.com. Any deviations were noted within the post.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

2012 Holiday Gift Guide

Just because it's not Thanksgiving yet, and I continue to complain about the retail industry thieving attention away from the purest holiday we have, not to mention my desperate scramble to hold on to every aspect of autumn until Dec. 21st... What was I talking about? Oh! I may not be embracing Christmas yet in the outside world, but I'm certainly planning for it! Below is my 2012 Holiday Gift Guide.

And yes. I want every single thing on this list.
christmas cookie shampoo, shower gel & bubble bath
and sweet creamy frosting body lotion 8 oz.

philosophy Holiday Gift Sets

I remember philosophy products as being some superfluous brand that everyone bought back in high school. What was I thinking? Not only do they provide great seasonal scents, but their retro packaging screams (adorable) holiday cheer! 

The Bake Shoppe gift set is my favorite of the bunch for both its look and its scent content. ($22) I like to be the season head-to-toe, don't you?

philosophy gift sets range from $1-$89.

Game of Thrones Distressed House Stark Fleece Blanket

Winter is coming. 

So help keep your GoT geek warm! This HBO exclusive features the Stark's direwolf sigil plastered across a 50x60 in. polyester blanket. ($29.99)

The product maintains a nearly 5 star rating on the site.  Looks like purchasers say it's best for cuddling with. I love cuddling.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Muse's "Madness" is Screamin' Queen

At first listen, I wasn't impressed with the new Muse track. It didn't seem quite up to par with the rest of their work. But the more I heard it, the more I realized not only how much I dug it but why I had come to love it so much.

Madness is FILLED with Queen inspiration.

I noticed it but days ago sitting in boyfriend's car while he made a quick run back into the house. When he returned to the car, I immediately accosted his ear by blurting, "I just realized why I like this song so much: it sounds like Queen!"

He looked down at the floor with stern eyes and replied, "You know, it really does!" The both of us are big Freddie fans along with longtime Muse lovers.

Don't believe me? Muse frontman, Matthew Bellamy, uses soft, smooth vocals on the Madness track very similar to that which Mercury uses in parts of 'I Want to Break Free." (Think: I can't get used to livin' without, livin' without, livin' without you... by my siiiide!) Both songs also feature synth guitar solos.

It only took me two months to realize all this of course... But be your own judge! Listen to both and let me know what you think.