Monday, December 28, 2009

To Add to Your Playlist: Week of 12/28/09

Music is by far one of my favorite things in the entire universe. I love listening to it, learning about it, sharing it--and that is where this blog will come in handy! These are artists and albums that I adore and that I think deserve a mention. My goal is to do an article like this every week, so feel free to give me feedback and enjoy. :)

Fun.- First of all, this is the coolest band name ever (the period is included in the name). This band certainly lives up to its name with catchy tunes and amazing vocals; they remind me of the singer Mika ("Grace Kelly", "We Are Golden"). If I had to set a scene for Fun.'s music, it would be at a party with girls wearing little black dresses and pearls and guys in suits, doing the same dance at the same time as if they were on Broadway. Fun. is fun. Listen to "All the Pretty Girls" and you'll see what I mean. (

Say Anything-Say Anything's sound has evolved ever since their first album ...Is a Real Boy, yet they're still the same honest, quirky, awesome band that everyone loves when they hear the song "Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too." These alternative rockers have songs that cover everything from loathing the world to missing a band to falling in love. Say Anything is possibly the most honest band I have ever heard; they're the type of band who have songs that you listen to and say, "I'm glad I'm not the only one." Say Anything is incredible, and if you've never listened to them before, sprint to the nearest CD store (or your iTunes) and get all three CDs.(

Passion Pit- Passion Pit is a new favorite of mine, thanks to a video that Gala Darling posted on her blog ( Passion Pit sounds like it came straight out of a dreamworld, unicorns and all. They're not the typical alternative sound most people are used to, but they're loveable all the same. And like both of the bands mentioned above, their music is great to listen to when writing or cleaning your room. :) The album cover to Manners is gorgeous, too: a night sky filled with stars. Listen to "Sleepyhead or "The Reeling" and get ready to dance. (

What are some of your favorite bands and recent discoveries? Did I talk about any of your favorites? Leave a comment. :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

When I was younger, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day did not feel like regular days. There was always that tingle in the air that let me know that Christmas was special. Santa had gone down the chimney and I went to my grandma's house for a week and I could watch the VHS tape my mom had recorded of Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, and Charlie Brown Christmas. Christmas was pure magic.

As I got older, Christmas began to feel like a regular day again. Sure, I got presents and visitied family, but that tingle in the air was missing. It felt like any normal day. Maybe it was the fact that I was getting clothes and makeup instead of actual toys, or maybe it was because I didn't believe in Santa anymore, but some of the Christmas magic was missing.

For the most part, Christmas still feels like a regular day. Sometimes I feel like Christmas snuck up on us and we don't have time to appreciate the beautiful lights and shiny wrapping paper.

But there's still the wonderful anticipation that only presents under the tree can bring. There's still the thrill you get when you opened the perfect gift and the thrill that giving the perfect gift. There's the warmth you feel with family and the cute, cozy winter clothes and the pure glee tthat you get when you see a few snowflakes.

Christmas may feel like a regular day sometimes, but even if you're "too old" for Santa Claus and toys, take a look around. Look at the freshly fallen snow on your driveway, your neighbor's Christmas lights, or the beach you went to for vacation. Look at the Christmas ornaments and children's faces when you say that you heard Santa's sleigh ring. Look at the natavity scene and the Christmas carolers and the haphazardly decorated Christmas cookies. There's still some magic left.

Merry Christmas, everyone.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Websites To Make You Smile

If it's been a rough day, chances are you went straight for the ice cream and TV shows recorded on your DVR. You curled up in a Snuggie (or just a regular blanket for those who are talented enough to use their arms while holding a blanket around themselves) and took a nap, because nothing's better than chowing down ice cream while watching your favorite show and falling asleep. That's my favorite remedy to a bad day, but sometimes nothing good is on TV or we don't have the luxury of DVR or good DVDS. The solution? The Internet!

The wonderful thing about the Internet is that there are millions of things to look at. With blogs, YouTube, social networking sites, and Urban Dictionary, it's a wonder we can make ourselves leave our computers at all--there are so many entertaining things to add to your favorites. The Internet shouldn't be your life, but there are tons of sites that are sure to make you feel a little better after a crappy day. So without further ado, here is the wonderful list of Websites To Make You Smile*:

Funny Sites A site where people share stories about their terrible lives, and readers feel nothing but joy. A site where people share stories about their normal lives, and readers feel more joy. If you were were drunk last night and texted your best friend about your latest one night stand, you may or may not be on this site. The numbers next to the text messages are zip codes. It's both hilarious and disturbing to search your own zip code. A parody of, Regretsy displays arts and crafts that people worked really, really hard on...but probably shouldn't have. Share your biggest pet peeves with others and read about what gets on everyone else's nerves. Some are things everyone can relate to; others are just ridiculous and are bound to crack you up. Okay, not everything on here is funny, but you're bound to find something awesome. Try videos under 'Watched Right Now', Fred videos, Shane Dawson, or iJustine. Or search random words until you find something you like. Riduculous slang to use on a day-to-day basis. It's also useful if your friend uses a word you don't understand; then you can just log on and look up the word without feeling stupid (but the result might shock you).

Blogs This blog is wonderful! You can find everything from Daily Outfit photos to letters of advice. It's fun to type words into the search bar to see what type of articles you can find. The graphics are really pretty, too. If you love makeup, fashion, and color, then this site is for you. The Doe Deere Blogazine is like the fairytale book of the blogoshere. Unicorns are mentioned regularly and being out of the box is celebrated. Be sure to check out Doe Deere's makeup line at, too. Meg Cabot is one of my favorite authors (she's the one who gave the world The Princess Diaries and All American Girl--do I need to say any more?) , and her blog is fantastic. Meg always has something funny to share on her site, and you don't have to be a fan of her books to love her blog (but her books are incredible). Vegan cookbook author Sarah Kramer has a fun blog on her site with vlogs, daily adventures, and information about upcoming events, calendars, and books. Just like her YouTube channel, Michelle Phan's blog has great information about makeup, the beauty industry, and loving yourself.

Shopping Who doesn't love to look at luxurious beauty supplies to add to their wishlist? Fred Flare is home to everything cute and colorful. Find books, clothes, and home decor that are wonderfully adorable. Another place for anything cute, Lazy Oaf has an awesome selection of quirky clothes. It's a UK based company, but when you order the currency will change to the one that matches your country. Pretty, sophisticated clothes, indie music, and classic literature. UO is the perfect store that celebrates art and culture. Fun T-shirts that are limited to 100 each, so you can feel special once you get your hands on one. ModCloth has an incredible selection of vintage clothing. Contests are held weekly and they have a really fun blog, too!

Social Networking My personal favorite. It's a great way to keep up with family and friends, and you can become a 'fan' of fun things like 'using my phone to see in the dark.' I have found out about so many awesome companies and people through Twitter. Many companies like Urban Decay also let their followers know about upcoming sales and discount codes. I don't really use MySpace to keep up with friends anymore, but I think it's a great way to get in touch with bands. MySpace Music is awesome because you can search for albums and listen to the entire thing, and looking at a band's friends is a good way to add more music to your collection.

Miscelleaneous Get ready to squeal and giggle like a little girl when you visit this site There are pictures and videos of cuddly animals galore, and it is sure to cheer anyone up with its cuteness. It's a trip down Memory Lane. Pictures of tattoos that are sure to impress you. Fashion and photography unite for one amazing website dedicated to sharing clothes with others.

*Disclaimer: These sites are not paying me or rewarding me in any way for spreading the word. These are sites I truly love and I think others would love too.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Measure in Love.

Whenever I mention the musical Rent, I usually get one of these reactions:

Reaction Number One: "I LOVE RENT! IT IS SO AMAZING!"

(This is the reaction that makes me want to do a little jig out of pure happiness.)

Reaction Number Two: "Rent is all about gay people and AIDS, it's weird and creepy!"

(This is the reaction that makes me want to punch that person in the face and never talk to them again.).

Yes, Rent focuses on people living with AIDS. Yes, some charcters are homosexual; one is a drag queen. Yes, one of them is a stripper and addicted to herion. Yes, there is sexual content, drug references, and foul language. If you're a little shocked by all of the mature content as you watch the musical or even the film version, ask yourself how real it all is.

It's very real. Rent is a story about characters with struggles that people have to battle every day; through all of those battles, they choose to celebrate life and make the most out of the time they have left. Rent is not just a story about modern Bohemians in New York City. It's about all of us.

Now, Reaction Number Two people, find yourself a Rent DVD or buy tickets to the next local show, and keep that in mind. And then if you don't like it, fine, but don't shut it out just because the thematic elements are not the same as High School Musical. Reaction Number One people, see it again, just because you know you want to. =)

"There's only us. There's only this. Forget regret, or life is yours to miss. No other road, no other way, no day but today."

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Understanding Vegetarianism and Veganism

"Okay, so we'll get a Supreme Pizza for everyone to share... and you can pick all of the meat off."

"Why won't you eat marshmallows?"

"Do you eat fish? Can you wear leather and fur? What about plants, aren't you concerned about them? If you were on a deserted island, and there was nothing there but you and a cow, what would you eat?"

If you aren't a vegetarian or a vegan yourself, chances are you don't understand why gelatin is a big fat no or why 'eating around the meat' isn't the solution. A little over a year ago, I went vegetarian and found myself answering all kinds of questions that every veggie lover is bound to hear. Even after all of thse questions are answered, there are still so many more than reamin unasked. Vegetarianism is a strange and fascinating world to anyone who munches on burgers on a regular basis--of course there are questions! I'm sure frustrated vegheads and meat lovers agree that it's time to get to the bottom of this confusion.

Vegetarian versus Vegan

The first step to understanding vegetarianism and veganism is knowing what the heck those words mean! Luckily, it's easy enough to remember.

Vegetarians won't eat any part of a dead animal--no meat, poultry or fish (chicken and fish are both animals, people!) or ingredients like gelatin (which is made out of crushed up animal bones) are consumed. These vegetarians are called lacto-ovo vegetarians.

Some vegetarians don't consume dairy products but eat eggs (ovo-vegetarians), and some eat eggs but not dairy products (lacto-vegetarians). Vegetarianism is often considered to be a way to convert to veganism.

Vegans won't eat dead animals or anything that comes from an animal (eggs, honey, and dairy products). Vegans also avoid animal products in their cosmetics, clothing, and other household products and don't use products that are tested on animals. There are also many vegetarians who avoid products like leather in their lifestyle.

Why can't you just take the meat out/eat around it/eat something that touched meat/etc.?

This is one of the things that isn't a 'rule' of vegetarianism or veganism. Everything is crystal clear: no leather, no meat, no dairy. While eating a fry that just touched a big steak on a plate or taking the pepperoni off of a pizza is technically not eating meat, many vegetarians have problems with this. I can't tell you everyone's opinion on this, because it varies from not caring at all to requesting using a different fryer for their food at a resaturant, but for me it is a matter of annoyance and discomfort.

When I'm at a restaurant, I want to be able to enjoy my food just like everyone else. I don't want to have to share a meaty meal with you and and have to make sure every bit off meat is off of my share. When I was first thinking about becoming a vegetarian, my family ordered a supreme pizza, and since I was determined to not eat any meat that day, I made sure I took every bit of sausage was off of my plate. It worked for the moment when I wasn't an official vegetarian, but it's not something I am willing to do now. It's a pain. So, no, I'm not going to order a chicken salad and eat around it (because that would be defeating the purpose of being a vegetarian, first of all), I'm going to request it without chicken. I'm not going to share your beefy nachos with you, either--I can get my own animal-free food that I don't have to pick at for an hour and a half.

My problem with meat touching food is that it's uncomfortable. I'm not going to freak out if it happens at a restaurant (some things you can't help, and ordering a vegetarian meal is still saving an animal whether it touches meat or not), but if I'm at my house, I'm going to use a different spoon to get my bowl of vegetarian chili. It's just weird for me; if there was a food you didn't like or didn't want to eat, you wouldn't want it touching your food either. Like I said earlier, people's opinions vary on this subject, but if you kindly ask for an explanation I'm sure they'd be more than happy to answer.

Sneaky Ingredients

There are many foods that are 'vegetarian'--that is, they contain no meat--but use ingredients like gelatin, chicken stock, or rennet. I hate to break it to you, but these foods are not vegetarian (or vegan). Gelatin is made out of crushed up animal bones and tendons, rennet is taken from cows' stomachs, and chicken stock is made out of dead chickens. These ingredients are all taken from animals and are not vegetarian. Nobody is trying to hurt your feelings if they refuse to roast a marshmallow (gleatin) or eat vegetable soup you made with chicken stock. Vegans also hav little ingredients they have to avoid. Vegans avoid any animal product in their diet. For example, any snack containing honey or whey is off limits. It may seem minor to you, but these ingredients are not part of the vegan or vegetarian lifestyles. It's not so we can be rude or act like we're better than you--we just want to make sure no animals or animal products are consumed.

Hypothetical Questions and The Plant Issue

For the love of all that is holy, do not ask a vegan or a vegetarian if they would eat a burger for a million dollars, if they would eat a cow if they were on a deserted island, or if they would be okay if everyone became a cannibal, thus making animals and people equal (I HAVE been asked that before, and it does not make any sense whatsoever). It's annoying, and demanding answers for hypothetical questions is not proving anything about vegetarianism or eating meat.

No, I would NOT eat a burger for a million dollars. First of all, that would never happen. Secondly, it's against my beliefs. I went vegetarian for ethica reasons. I believe the way animals are treated before they reach someone's plate is terrible, and I wouldn't eat that bruger, nor would I do anything else against my beleifs for a million dollars. Would you murder a person for a million dollars?

I didn't think so.

As for the deserted island thing?

When asked what he would do if stranded on a deserted island with nothing but a cow in sight; "I would find out what the cow was eating and join him."

(If anyone knows who said this, PLEASE let me know! I can't find it anywhere.)

There you go.

Don't you miss meat and dairy?

The only person who has ever asked me this was my father, and he said it very carefully. "I'm not saying this to be mean, it's an actual question that I've been you ever miss eating a cheeseburger or anything?"

He's the only one who has ever asked me this, but I feel like this is the question everyone wants to know.

Here is my answer: No. I don't.

I don't miss cheeseburgers or chicken wings or bacon because I don't want them anymore. After I learned about the horrors of factory farming (which is the main reason I went vegetarian and may go vegan in the future), eating meat made me uncomfortable. You can't miss what you don't want anymore.

Vegetarianism and veganism may still seem like an overwhelming and confusing world to any omnivore--and it was for any vegetarian at one point, too. With an open mind and kind, positive attitudes (from both vegetarians and meat eaters), vegetarians might not seem like the infuriating, annoying hippies you thought they all were. =)