Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I've Got Two Little Gems Here...

Just to make sure it's gonna be a good day...

Personally, I like the Thong Song better, it takes me back to Spring Break 2000 at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina where my sisters, er sister (V was way more into MTV than Rach :) ) would blast MTV Spring Break whenever my parents weren't in the condo (they liked to think they successfully blocked us from seeing that channel for our first 18 years of life :) sorry Dad!)  Mmm... good times :) 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Boston Drivers: You Suck.

It's so funny to take notice of all the different types of drivers around the country and see how differently people behave on the road based on what state you're in.  In the South they drive slower, in the West they are rude, and in Boston they do what they want.  I read in a travel book that Boston drivers are the worst in the nation, and apparently insurance companies concur.  I can now agree, having lived here nearly a year now, and the picture below is prime example!

This is just an everyday occurrence out here though, so no wonder every other car around town has a ding in it!  And now, mine's included!  About a month ago I was parked on the street during class (because that's all there is out here, genius city planners...) and some white car with a driver who was clearly either a Yankee (I have southern plates on my car) or a teenage boy completely swiped the left side of my car and left my side mirror dangling like the severed limb that it now is.  Anger.  Lots of anger.  Boston, your drivers suck.  Kindly tell them to start taking the T that they are so proud of so the big kids can rule the road.  Thanks! :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Summer Bodies: Get One.

So I've finally looked past my paper due dates on my calendar and noticed that, hello!!, it's almost summertime!!  Time to bare it all at the beach... oh sh**!  haha  I've felt pretty good with the 15 or so lbs I've shed from moving to Boston (it's a walking city for sure) and being in grad school (aka I'm poor and have no money for food), but I'm definitely ready to finish the job!  So, as any burnt out student who's one semester away from graduation would, I spent class Wednesday night looking up awesome workouts (while still paying attention to Professor G. :) )  I found this gem of a combo from Women's Health called the Ultimate Beach Body Workout, and, duh, since it's going to take some Ultimate work to get this body in shape, I figured I could stop my search there.

So yesterday I went to Healthworks, an all women's fitness center with locations all around Boston, and the place I'm going to be doing my marketing/advertising practicum this summer (yay!  Oh I'm so stoked!) and hit it hard.  Normally I'm just a 60 min cardio/random free weight exercises kind of worker-outer, but yesterday I had the Ultimate Beach Body Workout to do!

Here's what it looks like:

I started with 30 min of cardio on the eliptical (looove it!) and then hit the bench for the workout.  It's a killer combo where you superset (do 2 exercises back to back then take a 1 min break) 4 different pairs of exercises.  All you need for the whole routine is a bench, 2 dumbbells (I alternated between 10 and 12.5 lbs), a mat and an exercise ball.  When I started, I felt like I could do a little more, so I ended up pushing my weights up a little bit, extending some of the reps, and adding weights to the lunges.

Today, I woke up feelin it, and it makes mah happy!  I highly recommend this one if you want to feel the burn all over and if you're pressed for time.  The actual workout itself only took maybe 20 min, so I decided to do another round of cardio afterwards just to reheat my muscles for some stretchin.  Need to get limber again!  :)

Since making goals public tends to help people commit to them, I'm plannin' on trackin' my progress on here with some pics, so just as a fair warning, you might want to skip over my next few posts to make sure you don't see my squeezable love handles and my thunder thighs, as my sister called them when I was growing up (Thanks, V!!!  Ya jerk!! :)  )

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Edible April Fool's Joke

I told you in the middle video from last post that I was going to do an April fool's joke and make cupcakes that look like food for my friends Brenda and Rich's birthdays, so I thought I'd post some of the pictures for ya and let you see what they turned out like!  They got rave reviews from both the restaurant I work at, as well as everyone at the party, so you could say I was kinda proud :)  I even got asked if I was a pastry chef, haha I wish.  I might look like one cause my backend is so big, however, no, no no, I am not a pastry chef. Thanks for the nod of confidence though :)  Here's a great tutorial on this super common joke.  Enjoy!

The Makings before the Made

Blank Canvases... Ah ha ha haaa!

The goodies!   Spaghetti and Meatballs, Mashed potatoes and gravy, peas and carrots 

Me with the cupcakes before I ate them all.  

Not really, I saved a few for the party :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Video Blogs are here!! Muchhhh Better :)

So I said a few posts ago that I was going to post some of my video blogs on here, I've actually posted most of them on my personal blog, but decided it would be fun to upload some of them onto here.  The intro one was taken back in February when I started taking them, and the other two are just quick little tidbits from during the day.  I haven't quite figured out what I want to do with them all, but if I do I'll let you know :)  As for now, enjoy the mixup! :)  Also, my 5 Gratitudes are at the bottom for ya.  Seriously, if you haven't started this super quick, easy exercise to help raise your baseline happy, you should :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

1. My family to rely on when I am doubting myself or struggling with things in my mind
2. the strength of the awesome sisters in the relief society
3. mexican food like felipe's carnitas burrito. um, yum!
4. beautiful clothes that help me feel confident
5. the coping mechanism of aversion that i resort to when i face challenges I don't like because then i can just avoid the problem altogether!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My 5 Gratitudes for Sunday

Here's today's list, enjoy!

1. When sunday school teachers prepare for their lessons.  Makes church way less boring :)
2. cute shoes, they make me feel good!
3. Mario Brothers on the Wii.  Bringing people together since 7.30pm
4. My professor approving my research paper with nothin but goodness
5. Good food.  Fills my tummy and makes mah happy.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Be Spontaneous: It's Better Than Being Dull.

Anyone who really knows me knows I am not a very spontaneous person.  And by not very spontaneous I mean not at all.  I plan my trips to the grocery store, my weeks in advance, it's gotten to the point that I have to even plan to be social sometimes!  There's an entire group of events on my calendar just for that, so I make sure I don't forget to hang out with my friends amidst all the school and paper writing.

So when I heard about The Society of Spontaneity the other day and how they randomly dressed up and provided first class service to people on the T, I thought it was hilarious and such an inspiring idea!  I mean, I'm not gonna be doting a dress and platter of mints for anyone any time soon, but I like the concept of people getting together with their community and doing random things to brighten others' days.  Check it out here if you want to read more.

Also, can I just tell you that I found a great post with links to a ton of amazing flashmobs.  We've talked about these a bit in my Social and Behavioral Science class and I think they're so cool!  I'm definitely a fan of all things positive, and as you can tell from my last post think that people need to have more positivity in their everyday life.  How exhilarating and inspiring these groups of people are, and how brave!  After watching the Christmas flashmob on that post, I definitely don't think I'd be one of the first people get a group going.  But I'd definitely go after them!  :)

Positivity! It's Positively Better! :)

I am a perfectionist and have a really nasty habit of failing to see the silver lining on things a lot.  So I've really been trying to be more positive in my life, and as you can tell from previous blog posts here and here have really been trying to make a concerted effort towards it!  I told you in one of those posts about a little exercise I've been trying to help raise my 'baseline happiness' where I write down 5 things that I'm grateful for every day.  Um, can I just tell you it's probably my favorite thing to do right now, because it's always so fun to look for a find great things in my life to be happy for!

Today's List?
1. The sprouting of leaves signaling the start of springtime!! :)
2. That both of my huge research papers drafts are submitted for review!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
3. Chocolate cake.... mmmm
4. Sunshine :)
5. Socks to keep my toesies warm :)

As you can tell by the shear volume of :) 's and !!!! 's my day is already off to a great start :)  I honestly can't help it though, it's so gratifying recognizing the beautiful little things in life and truly saying thank you for them!  (Tell anyone who might be responsible, even if only in part, for the things on your list.  It can make their day brighter, too!)  I think I'm going to start posting them on here to really show what I'm grateful for.  And maybe it can inspire you to start a list of your own.  :)  Enjoy!

P.S. I used to be called Smiley as a kid, and by the looks of this post you might feel the urge to renew the use of that nickname.  Please fight this urge, despite all the :) 's you see on this post!  I'm a grown up now, geez!!  :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Lunch Dates: That's Better.

Don't get me wrong when I tell you I'm a lot less social than I used to be, because ya might think I'm still kind of social.  Not gonna lie, I think something inside me seriously changed after we lost my Mom, but I've recently started taking baby steps towards becoming who I once was.  It's required me to push myself out of my comfort zone and really stop thinking about myself so much.

Let me explain... When I first learned that we were seriously losing her I started to realize how much people didn't know about what was going on in my life and this huge problem that was haunting me.  Of course you don't want to bring something like that up to just anyone you talk to, so I didn't really mention that little tidbit of information to anyone except those closest to me at the time.  I've never felt something so painful, and it's a strange feeling thinking that maybe I should be asking for help or talking to someone to help get me through it.  Of course the family was all there for me, but it's different having someone in your physical presence and 2000 miles away on the phone.  I'm just not the type of person who typically relies on others for too much emotional support, so it was a strange concept and one I wasn't really adapting to very well.

Since then I guess I'd say I started being more self-centered and thinking about the issues in my life more than others.  After all, I was the only one who was going to deal with them, so why shouldn't they come first?  Note to self anyone reading: Don't do that.  It's lonely.

Fast forward about 3 years...

I got tired of being lonely and have decided to take a proactive step towards getting out of that comfort zone I haphazardly fell into.  In wanting to take advantage of more of the City and the amazing people in my network, I started planning lunch dates with the great people who were around me that I wanted to get to know more and can I just tell you they are amazing!!  Both the City and the people have quickly become some of my favorite things in life and surely my favorite things on my calendar!

Two recent excursions have taken me to The Squealing Pig by Harvard SPH and Aceituna Cafe in Kendall Square in Cambridge with some of the most amazing people I've met in Boston!  First of all, can I just tell you that most people are down for a lunch date, all you have to do is suggest it!  I am a hand-down full-on proponent of lunch dates now.  There are lots of reasons to not to go on them, but there are way too many reasons you should!  On top of the chance to get to try new dives to eat at, they let you have an intimate conversation with someone you want to get to know better.  Maybe I'm late to the band-wagon here, but my vote's in and I say go for it.

Here are some pictures from my outing with Makenzie P. to The Pig, and I'll add more from Aceituna after lunch today.  The Pig is a fabulous Irish pub that's definitely not even labeled outside.  I probably walked around the block twice before I finally saw a tiny sign above an inset door labeled 'Pig Country'. If you get the chance, definitely try the prosciutto, gorgonzola and fig spread sandwich with the homestyle potato salad.  It's made with whole-grain mustard and is hands down the best potato salad I've ever tried.  Be jealous of this.  Then go try it cause it's awesome.

And after your meal they give you a Ferraro Roche.  Yum!!  Makenzie said they looked like 'chocolate testicles' haha, love it.

I'm on my way to Aceituna right now for a weekly gig with Chelsea A. and Alane I. so I'll be sure to snap some shots and post 'em on here later today.  That place is one of my favorites in Boston.  It's a mediterranean place where literally everyone else but my table is Persian.  Um, baller!!  That's the true test of a good ethnic restaurant, if the natives eat there. :)  Aight, hasta hombres.

Chocolate Cake Is Better Than Punctuality

Have you ever been trying to get out the door and had something stop you?  Well, I often face this predicament and have to choose between whatever it is that's holding me up and punctuality.  Let me be the first to say I severely need to work on this, as punctuality often loses.  Case in point, today I had a talk I wanted to sit in on at the law school, butttt... this little gem that I made the other day (and by the other day I mean yesterday haha) was wayyy to persuasive with it's gooey chocolate ganache and fluff dark chocolate cake.  Mmm, gonna have to consider hittin' the stairs a few extra times today to pay for this one!  And yes, I did say 'consider' :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

100 Things You Didn't Know About Me!

A fellow blogger I follow posted 100 Things About herself on her blog and I thought it would be super fun to do the same for me on mine.  :)  So here they are:

1. I have a geographic tongue.  Not one of those creepy geographic tongues you'll see if you google image search it, but a cool one that has a small patch on my tongue that 'travels' around from day to day or week to week.  It's actually really cool.
2. I get the hiccups at least three times a day.  This has happened since high school and usually happens around when I eat.  Luckily, though, they usually only come in bouts of 1-5, so they don't last long at all.
3. I am a huge fan of Brazilian food.  I could eat it every week and be happy with life.  (although I wouldn't be happy with my waistline haha)
4. I've always hated my handwriting and wished I had the patience to really work on it.
5. I took karate for a few years in elementary school.  Yay yellow belts!
6. I also took gymnastics.  I liked the bar.
7. I used to have a cat named Snickerdoodles.  Now I hate cats.
8. I have been self-diagnosed with OCD for 11 years now.  I enjoy lists too much and feel a sense of rebellion when I mess up my room just so I can organize it again. :)
9. I hate orange and yellow candies of any kind (except for M&Ms, they don't taste orange or yellow)
10. I eat chocolate every day.  And I love it.
11. My older sister Veronica and I get real snappy when we're hungry and I think it's cute that we have that in common.
12. I am testing the idea that if you write down 5 things you're grateful for every day for 21 days straight your brain thinks in a nicer way for 6 months.  I'm on day 10 and am loving it :)
13. My Dad called be 'The Big Ham' growing up because I was such a drama queen who just wanted to be in the movies.
14. I still want to be in the movies.
15. And be a country music star.  I went to Texas in the summer of '09 and sang with a country band, living my dream job.  Most amazing feeling ever.
16. I just realized it sounded like I wanted to be Miley Cyrus growing up.  Haha, I didn't.
17. I used (aka still) to eat brownie mix mixed with water.  When I in middle school I'd take a box of brownie mix from the food storage room, eat some, and hide the box in the downstairs kitchen so my mom wouldn't get mad at me. :)  She claimed when I came home from college for the first time that she was still finding open boxes of brownie mixes in the basement kitchen :)  haha love ya, Mom
18. I'm extremely sad at knowing my kids won't know my Mom while they're alive.
19. I bond with my sisters in very different ways.  Veronica and I have very similar personalities and interests and we bond through those.  Rachel and I have very different personalities and interests and we bond through those.
20. I wish I had a killer closet.  Like awesome.
21. I love organizing my pictures but haven't familiarized myself enough with iphoto yet, and thus haven't done it in the past year. :(  I'll get to it.
22. I've loved living in Boston and want to take more advantage of the city while I'm still here.
23. I loved high school.  And college.  I dominated those schools. :)
24. I can't decide if I want to be a brunette or a blonde bride.  I'm leaning brunette just because it's always been me.
25. Between 2009 and 2010 I went through 3 Blackberry Curves, a Blackberry Pearl and some old flip phone I owned for about 2 weeks.
26. I hate taking huge physical risks but really want to skydive some day.
27. I have no desire to go bungee jumping though.
28. I love layin on the hood of my car in the summer out by the lake and the Provo airport, watchin the planes fly by.  (Especially if I'm listening to 'Watchin' Airplanes' by Gary Allen :) )
29. I loved growing up as 'the daughter of a pilot' because it introduced me to different countries of the world and made it seem just a little bit smaller and friendlier to me.
30. I HATE the smell of wet animals.  DISGUSTING.
31. Growing up I wanted to be either the first female President of the United States, a doctor or a marine biologist and train dolphins and whales.
32. I watched Free Willy a lot as a kid.  It really inspired me. :)
33. I was obsessed with whales and dolphins, stickers, singing, chocolate, and the nickname 'Smiley' as a kid
34. I taught high school for 2 years after college from '08-'10.  Best job of my life so far :)
35. I'm the only person in my immediate family with blue eyes.  And I secretly love it. :)
36. I fell like I was partly responsible for the white girl extension craze that hit Provo, UT in 2007.  I'm such a trend setter. :)
37. I like eating. and cooking. and eating.
38. I miss having reallly long hair.
39. I have changed career focuses about 5 times in the past 2 years: research scientist --> high school biology/health teacher --> epidemiologist --> health lawyer --> health marketer.  Who knows where I'll end up! :)
40. I love tart things: grapefruit juice, pinkberry, lemon tart... mmm
41. I want to start a company this summer.  No, I will not be mowing lawns.
42. I love beautiful notebooks that I can use for all sorts of purposes.  Like #43
43. I'm obsessed with lists.
44. My thumb is not as green as I would like.  Specifically, it's black.  Especially with basil.  Beware basil.
45. I only like the rain when I'm laying in bed and can hear it on the roof.
46. I recently completed my first attempt at photoshop and must admit the picture looks way better than the original.  Thank you gradiated color scales.  (For the picture, look @ my twitter profile: @sjonnel)
47. I used to make fashion books growing up following trends in clothing, hair and makeup.  These books are still under my bed at home in Louisville. :)
48. I often build my outfits around a certain piece, usually shoes or a piece of jewelry.
49. I have written a lot of my graduate capstone papers from bed.  It's much warmer than the living room where I live and I can't think in the cold.
50. Every year I get island fever around Feb.-March.  In high school it got so bad that I tore up a calendar I had of pictures from Hawaii and posted them all over my room.  Every morning after driving to school I would sit out in the school parking lot and listen to Kenny Chesney's No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem.  EVERY MORNING! :)
51. My phone endures about 2 severe drops/week thanks to my slipper butterfingers.
52. Butterfingers makes me think of Better-than-Sex cake.  mmm I like that.
53. But I don't like the caramel.
54. I enjoy a good khaki print.
55. I hate working from home full-time.
56. All I can think about right now is chocolate milk.
57. My current defense mechanism of choice is suppression.
58. I'm super excited to own my own baller house one day and decorate it.
59. I hate the cold.
60. I hate scary movies.
61. I crouch down and squeeze my eyes shut tight when I go to Haunted houses and there are scary things that come up to me.
62. This happens yearly whenever I go to the Nightmare on 13th in Salt Lake City.
63. I had a business in middle school making/designing/selling backpack purses.  I was awesome.
64. I recently started taking video blogs.  (Look out for some on here possibly :) )
65. I hate the smell of cigarette smoke.
66. I find population-based theories of social science fascinating.
67. I had a breast lump when I was 20.
68. I've always been too scared to try to do a black flip, whether on a trampoline or off the diving board or whatever.
69. I was a waitress at Sonic Drive-In in high school, along with working as a nanny and at Z Salon & Spa.
70. I love gardening.
71. I'm scared of never losing the weight after I get pregnant.
72. I love Tosh.0 and Archer.
73. I want to try more new things.  I believe this is called being a 'Yes, man'... er.. woman
74. I love IBC cream soda from the glass bottles.
75. I sometimes have a difficult time carrying on a conversation with people I don't really care to talk to.  So I'm not as chatty as I used to be.  Sue me.
76. I am a super fast typer.  Wanna race?  I'm down.  Test your skillz here.  I got 107.
77. When I was a little kid I went to the eye doctor and thought it would be cool to get glasses.  I thought the only way I could get glasses was to mess up on the eye exam and then get them, so I randomly chose letters on the big chart and said I couldn't tell what they were.  I went home with pink rimmed glasses.  Damn that choice because now I need them to read.  (Not the pink rimmed ones... I've updated to these, but in orchid color.)
78. I LOVE grapefruit juice.  In fact, I love it so much I'm going to do a creative writing piece on it.
79. I love picnics in the park.  Especially when I can lay out and tan afterwards. mmm summer...
80. I played field hockey in middle and high school and I loved it.
81. I want to have a library in my house with a ladder in it like Belle has in Beauty and the Beast.
82. I'm kind of entranced by the Real Housewives series on Bravo... Can't wait till Boston's starts filming and I get to know whomever they cast.  Yay!
83. I want to own three boats when I become rich: a sailboat, a speedboat and a yacht.  Yeahhh buddy.
84. I want to be a dj in another life.  One where I'm more creative.
85. I love laying in hammocks.  Had one growing up and I would just lay out in it and read during the summer.  Love it.
86. I grew up on a farm.  Yes I know how to use a tractor, back up a trailer full of hay, farm a garden, and saddle a horse.
87. I love riding horses.  Used to take lessons when I was little.
88. I don't care too much for the color orange.  Salmon, sure.  Burnt amber, sometimes.  Orange, no thanks.  Not really.
89. I don't care too much for Thai food.  And by too much I mean at all.  Makes me yack.
90. I want to have at least one little boy and one little girl.  I can have more of either, but I want at least one of each.
91. I wish I could be half as awesome as my Mom and my Grannie.  They were the most amazing people in the world.  Move over Mother Theresa, you're out!
92. I cannot grill enough in the summer to satiate my quench for grilling.  YUMMMMM!!!!  (If you haven't tried grilled corn on the cob topped with parmesan, lime and a dash of cayenne, don't come back until you have.  It's deLISHus! :)
93. I'm thoroughly surprised that you've gotten this far!  Kewl!!
94. I have morphed over time from a person with a lot of superficial friends to one who values having only a few close friends who really know me.  I love these people with all my heart!  B Sid, T., Jordan, Just, thanks for always being there for me.  You help me enjoy my life infinitely more!
95. I always lose rings.  Cross your fingers I drop this habit by the time I get engaged!
96. I was two hours away from being a foster parent last year.  I still want to do it, soon as I'm able and have a steady income again. :)
97. I used to eat rollie pollie bugs as a kid.  Ya, ya, you say 'ew' now..
98. But now I practically never get sick.  Now you say 'aw I'm jealous'. :)  #Winning
99. I want to become a pundit in my field, whatever that's going to be.  (recall #39)
100. I believe I can one day change the world. :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Better Movie Concepts: That's Better.

I've thought many times over the past 10 years how movie plots are just going down the drain as far as creativity is concerned.  I feel like every scriptwriter these days is busy either rewriting an old story or adapting a novel into a film.  It's so boring and dismal.  I've been thinking about that old dream I had when I was a little kid that I wanted to write movies when I was older, and I honestly still think I could do better than what's being put out right now.

I was reading in bed the other night and had the TV on mute in the background and looked up to see the trail for Water for Elephants.  Since the sound was off I couldn't tell what was being said, and I have to admit, the movie looked really captivating.  It reminded me of older movies like Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken and Moulin Rouge where screenplays were more dramatic and took you back in time to a new perspective from our world.  I later saw the trailer again but with the sound on and was highly disappointed about it being a typical chick flick story line about a girl in a relationship who falls in love with someone else and wants out.  Borringg.