Favorite Things

You’ll never in your life be the best friend that Taylor swift is

I would call myself an off and on Taylor Swift fan, but most recently, VERY much on. From what can be gathered from her Instagram videos, it appears that she managed to get Mr. Dashboard Confessional himself Chris Carrabba, to sing a song for and with her best friend Abigail (lifelong best friend Abigail) at her 25th Birthday party. Also included in said singalong – Hayley Williams from Paramore (!?)

If you follow her, Taylor has posted pictures and videos, etc from other famous friends parties that she herself has organized, but this is just out of this world. How does she do these things, and HOW DOES SHE HAVE THE TIME to be this many people’s best friend?? She’s like the nicest, most wonderful cool-girl-in-school that everyone wants to be, and wants to be friends with. And yet, can’t manage to hate because SHE’S TOO COOL AND NICE.

On a completely other note… I couldn’t be more happy that she and Calvin Harris are supposedly dating… As a fellow tall girl, I’m so happy for her finding someone she too can LOOK UP to kiss, it’s a GREAT feeling.

My Life in Jars

I have to come clean about something.

I, Christina, am obsessed with mason jars.

It’s not a new concept to store food in these cylindrical, glass beauties. In fact, if my mommom saw this she’d slap me over the head because she (as with most older, wiser people) has used mason jars in her kitchen for a century, and has also been jarring gravy for the same amount of time, in a massive collection of her own masons.

But it must have hit me when I started working, cooking, and storing food for myself just how great these are, and how the uses for them are practically innumerable. No longer do I have to worry about whether or not my soup, smoothie, coffee, dressing, sauce or any other liquid I might carry somewhere has spilled all over the inside of my bag. No longer am I thinking about the BPA seeping into my food when I microwave it later. No longer am I thinking about how quickly I have to eat what’s in there before it goes bad.

Well that last one is a little presumptuous – food can still go bad. But when its sealed that tight IN GLASS?? It definitely lasts longer than any other kind of container you might be using.

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Either way, the pack I bought at Target for $8.00 (!) have more than paid for themselves in the probably-a-year I’ve had them. Here are some of my favorite uses for maybe mankind’s greatest invention:

  • Overnight oats: the easiest = rolled oats, almond milk, blueberries, cinnamon, peanut butter… awesome and perfect breakfast! (pictured)
  • Storing my cold brew coffee (pictured)
  • Storing my favorite homemade soups for easy grabbing when making lunch (work well freezing too!)
  • Mason Jar salads (pictured) also for easy grabbing when making lunch
  • Smoothies – I’ll make a few early in the week, label the ingredients, and take them with me for breakfasts, lunches etc. The fruit and contents doesn’t go bad or taste any different!
  • Baking soda air freshners – DYI, all natural, no chemicals in the air and REALLY, HONESTLY work!
  • Vase for short, bundles of flowers I get at a farmer’s market
  • Storing and keeping fresh various grains – quinoa, farro, rice stay fresh for months in seal tight mason jars
  • Chia detox water: chia seeds purified water, fruits like frozen blueberries and strawberries, and lemons!
  • Chia pudding

The list could go on and on. What are your favorite uses for mason jars??

Thanks for reading!

– x

TIME TO TALK SERIAL

Whether you’re an avid NPR listener or not, you have to have heard about Serial in the past several weeks. If you really haven’t, read this. 

The podcast is a break off of the very popular This American Life, which as the title suggests, is a radio show that chronicles different stories from American subjects within different topics. There are hundreds of incredibly compelling episodes of TAL, and Serial has been very much the same.

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Sarah Koenig

The first “season” of Serial has been about a murder trial. In Baltimore in 1999, a 17 year old kid named Adnan was sent to jail for life for the murder of his ex girlfriend Hae Min Lee. His family, who’s been fighting for 15 years that he was wrongfully accused and the victim of an inadequate lawyer and a botched trial, contacted a reporter from This American Life to see if there was anything she could do in terms of looking into his case. Journalist Sarah Koenig did that, and then some.

Over the course of the last year, and subsequently the last 10 weeks in podcast form, she’s taken apart every bit of this story and trial, putting everyone and everything under the microscope it wasn’t under in the early 2000’s. The drama, lies, and prejudice in this case runs deep, and even as Sarah talks to the friends and people involved there’s one thing remains clear – can anyone really know what happened on one normal high school day 15 years ago?

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One thing that’s happened, which it seems like neither Sarah nor Adnan’s family expected, is the podcast has completely exploded. Likely a result of word-of-mouth (and possibly from just me specifically, because I have told every single person I know to listen to it), Serial hit 5 million downloads and broke podcast records before Sarah and her team could turn their heads, and for better or worse has one of the most intense Reddit threads known to man.

So if you’re a Serial listener at this point you might know what I’m talking about. And if you’re not, START. It’s free!

Theres a few interesting things about Serial that I wanted to discuss, but I will indicate any spoilers just in case.

  1. Serial makes me feel like I’m consuming media in the 1930’s – every Thursday I’m glued to the radio (read: my iPhone) listening to an audio story. I feel like I’m living in the days before TV, where all you had were audio recordings and music to move a story, and Serial does it brilliantly. Well written and suspenseful, you feel like you’re watching an episode of 20-20 but only in your ears. It’s without a doubt the coolest media I’ve consumed this year, and so original for this day and age.
  2. Serial makes everyone think they’re a detective – whether you’re taking the whole thing way too seriously (i.e. conducting your own investigations, making your own podcast about the podcast) or not (just having regular debates with your friends) Serial makes you feel like you’re a detective. Time will tell whether it amounts to anything other than frustration for the family members of the people involved in the case (including the murder victim), but I can’t say it hasn’t made for some interesting conversation in the last few weeks. Which leads me to..
  3. Serial has made me realize how awful and insane our legal system is – **possible spoilers** there have been so many phone interviews with Adnan from jail, where he talks about how as a 17 year old kid, he assumed that the legal system of America had everything under control, and he thought even his being convicted would “work itself out.” Unfortunately in his case, this was not true, and I can’t help but think about the millions of other cases like this, and the hundreds of people in jail for truly being in the wrong place at the wrong time. As someone who doesn’t watch a lot of Law and Order or Cold Case or cop/legal dramas, I haven’t seen anything like this to the point where I’m desensitized to it, and my mind is blown at the (alleged) incompetence and the deviousness of the cops, detectives, lawyers, and courts involved in the case.

Finally, if you are a Serial fan and you’re not reading Rabia’s blog, START. Rabia is the family friend of Adnan who brought the case to Sarah last year, and she’s blogging about each episode and then some. She is obviously not unbiased the way the podcast tries to be, but she shares some supplemental information and documents from the case, as well as her own (oftentimes hilarious) commentary. I linked it above as well, but here it is again. 

I especially liked what she had to say about episode 7, which some of the online commentary, as well as my own friends, called boring or a filler episode. Instead of discussing new information about the criminal proceedings and drama of the story, the episode followed a real lawyer for The Innocence Project as they began to work on Adnan’s case and pour over papers and documents to form their own professional analysis. I found this incredibly interesting, eye opening, and downright necessary, and felt like it was so callous that anyone would be annoyed for the lack of entertainment value. For obvious reasons, Rabia felt the same.

If you’re listening to Serial, let me know! What do you think? How will it all end? What are your theories?

Thanks for reading!

The Best Pumpkin Seed Recipe

I love Fall and everything that comes with it. Pumpkin this, pumpkin that, literally just pour pumpkin spice sauce on everything I eat and I’ll be happy.

I especially love CARVING pumpkins, and with that, using everything in it for something delicious. First let’s talk about pumpkin seeds.

My favorite recipe is what I like to call PUMPKIN PIE PUMPKIN SEEDS. Here’s how it goes:

 

1 TBS Maple Syrup per cup of seeds

a few drizzles of olive oil

1 TSP Pumpkin Pie spice per cup of seeds

1 TSP Cinnamon Sugar per cup of seeds

a few pinches of sea salt

 

You want to wash off the seeds, try to remove all loose pumpkin from them. Rinse in a colander like so.

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Then let them dry overnight. This will allow the ingredients to stick to them better. Lay out on a baking sheet on a piece of wax paper, and cover with a paper towel.

 

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Once they’re dry the next day, you can pour them all in to a bowl, and add all of the above ingredients. If you want to add a little more of the spices to your taste, feel free! Mix around so each seed is well covered. Preheat the oven to 360.

 

 

Spread these out on a baking sheet again, making sure they’re well spread out. Let them bake for about 15 minutes, and at that point check if they look golden or toasty. Flip a few of them over, you want to try to get them toasty on both sides. Once they are you can take them out and let them cool!

IMG_4009Very good, and tasty snack for Fall!

Tracey Wigfield of GLITTERATOR fame

30 Rock and The Mindy Project are two of my favorite shows, partly because of my fandom for Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling and all they do, and partly because they are genuinely hilarious and well-written shows. One lucky woman who’s been able to be involved with both of these shows, who may or may not be my life spirit animal, is Tracey Wigfield.

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Tracey was a member of the writing staff on 30 Rock and now The Mindy Project, a feat she chronicles in her new interview in Cosmopolitan. As much as I hate Cosmo, lately, they have really been publishing some on-point and interesting features for young women, and this is no exception. I’ve been following (see: stalking via social media) Tracey since before she won that Emmy for the finale of 30 Rock, but when she did my reaction was akin to probably her mother’s. Her career path, sense of humor, and just general COOLNESS, in a sort-of male dominated profession makes me feel like anything is possible, and I hope one day I can have the kind of success she’s had.

However, one major take away from this article for me was the fact that she was in the commercial for the Glitterator. Now, if you’re of my age (which I THINK is a Millennial?) you have to remember this toy. As she describes it, it’s a machine that you put various items covered in glue into, and the Glitterator blows glitter on it, INSTANTLY transforming your super boring barrette into a beautiful, sticky, sparkly work of art. I owned one, and boy do I look back fondly on hours of Glitterating everything I could find, my clear initiation into a life of sparkly fabulousness. Unfortunately, I still remember the commercial and the jingle so clearly it’s like I was Glitterating this morning – “Glitterator with us, GLITTERATOR! Glitter it a little bit, glitter it a lot… Glitter it cool, Glitter it hot!”

Hope you’re ready for this Jelly

Now that I know this information, where my professional hero and favorite childhood toy come together, I’m not sure my life will ever come anymore full circle than this.

SNL 40 Premiere, and Sasheer Zamata in 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target??

Last night’s season premiere SNL was awesome, in particular for Chris Pratt, Michael Che, and the newest featured player Pete Davidson (who was so funny, and adorable and 20 YEARS OLD??).

I wasn’t so sure about Michael Che at first because I didn’t think he had done that well on the Daily Show over the summer – he didn’t really seem to have the voice for political satire. But I was totally wrong, he was great in his new gig as Weekend Update co-anchor, and Pete Davidson (who I’d only seen before on Carly Aquilino’s Instagram) was REALLY funny in his bit on Update, and his parts in skits. Even Ariana Grande had two solid performances, and I was so surprised to learn that she could actually sing, and wasn’t just a ponytail in high boots with mixing board.

HOWEVER, to anyone who watched or follow’s the SNL Instagram, was Sasheer Zamata wearing a top which looks like it’s from the 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target?? Anyone recognize this, because I do not remember it from the collection. But she looks beyond adorable, and I want that outfit, SNL costume people, where you at??

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Also Chris Pratt is the biggest thing going right now (which is so funny for someone like myself who remembers him SO CLEARLY as Bright from Everwood ), but maybe my favorite part of the episode was his reuniting with wife and two-time SNL host Anna Faris during the credits. How CUTE are they??

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When Chocolate Attacks

Despite my love and adoration for the wondrous and delicious substance that is chocolate (of the dark or milk variety, I’ll take it basically however I can get it), I have to admit, to the world and to myself, it really doesn’t love me. My relationship with chocolate is much like that of an immature or borderline abusive boyfriend, in that he keeps screwing me up, and I still keep taking him back when I’m at my weakest (dark, I know, but it’s the truth!!).

Of course I’m referring to the effects of chocolate on my skin. I don’t know what happened in the last few years, but suddenly, I can’t enjoy half a Snickers bar (who the am I kidding, I mean a whole, king size Snickers) without some kind of blemish, breakout, or single zit right in the middle of my forehead within 24 hours. I keep blaming my hormonal breakouts on the fact that I am at “baby making age” and my body is a little out of wack. But in reality it probably has more to do with what I’m putting in my body, like when I can’t resist bingeing on my secret stash of stress-chocolate in my desk at work.

Sometimes the things we love, hurt us. I’ve learned this the hard way, and I’ve been searching for the products to remedy this as best I can for my sensitive/combination skin, and this time from the outside (for the inside, see my mention of the lovely book “Eat Pretty,” in a previous post). Here are some of my favorite items that have helped me keep my chocolate abuse off my face.

1. Boots No. 7 – Beautiful Skin, Rapid Spot Rescue

I bought this stuff completely on whim because it was on clearance at Target one day, and I’ve been using it almost nightly, since. Usually I don’t believe that any “spot treatments” really work, but this one has proved me completely wrong .When using at night I’ve seen a very visible difference in the morning, and it’s an awesome feeling to have something that I know will work in my arsenal.

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2. Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel pads

I know what you’re thinking – “those are a lot of intimidating words for one product name.” You’re not wrong, ALPHA BETA PEEL? My skin is red, blotchy and dry just hearing those words. But trust me, they are just words, and a “peel” does not mean your skin will be sliding off of your face. I have the most sensitive skin you can ever find, EVERYTHING makes me break out, but not these. The first pad has helped smooth, refine pores, and clear up my skin, and the second pad helps moisturize. I even have mild rosecea from time to time and this has help calm that, not enhance it in any way. They do smell chemical-y, so trust me I’m as surprised as you are about how gentle they really are. I use one or two a week when I’m looking less glow-y and dull than I should! If you don’t believe me, read the reviews for these at the Sephora link above. They’re expensive, but boy are they worth it.

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3. Josie Maran Argan Milk – Moisturizer

After all the drying up of skin and pimples using the aforementioned products, I usually need a bit of moisture. I was given a small sample bottle of this, and really wanted to hate it so that I wasn’t compelled to buy the full size. But I have to say – it does everything it says it will for my skin. I’ve seen Josie talk about her products on QVC a few times and she’s very convincing, but I have not had nearly the success with the actual Argan oils, as I have with this product and the whipped Argan oil lotions. Both are hydrating, healing, and create the exact dewy effect they promise. The Argan Milk has minimized my pores, helped clear break outs and helped fade scars, in just a few days I’ve seen such a nominal difference. The Whipped lotion has done the same for the rest of my body but especially calmed a patch of eczema on my thigh. For someone like me, who breaks out from EVERYTHING, these have both been a real godsend.

What products do are you swearing by right now?? Let me know, I’ll probably want to try that too!

Thanks for reading!