June 28, 2015

After work yesterday, my mom and I decided to go to Old Navy because apparently they were having another amazing sale where everything in the store was up to 60% off. Sometimes Old Navy does this really awesome thing were they do that. One of the many things I love about Old Navy.

Another thing I love about them is that they're a great place to stock up on basics. I got some basic shorts, a tank, and a skirt. However, I also got some non-basic sunglasses and dress. There's always great finds there.  It's helping me achieve my "normcore" look and fill my love for mom jeans, birkenstocks, and things of that nature. Here are my finds from my haul!

Tank $13.55

Shorts $8

My "normcore" shorts. They're a super light wash, and can you get more 90's relaxed than an ELASTIC WAIST?

Can't wait to rock this outfit. Something tells me it will be very soon.

Maxi Skirt - $20.96

Sunglasses - $13.56

 I was so torn between these and another pair. I went with these because of all the different details - the ombre, the chain, and the size. I think my face looks better with bigger sunglasses.

T shirt dress - $13.55

Loving this casual yet preppy dress. Something about it just makes me feel put-together yet beachy simultaneously.

All prices listed above are with the discount, not the original ones. Old Navy isn't always the cheapest, compares to places like Forever 21, so these were some GOOD deals. Everything I purchased was at least 20% off.

Did you get any good deals recently?

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June 23, 2015

I'm going to lightly call this a review, because I know it's all going to be good stuff. I can't believe I haven't done this yet! 

"Life Alive" is  a vegan-friendly, hip, clean, and most importantly zen fast-casual restaurant in Massachusetts. There are three locations: Lowell, Cambridge, and Salem. Luckily enough, there is a life alive in where I live at school (Salem), and where I live at home (Lowell). I'm not sure about the other locations, but the location in Lowell has the whole Merrimack Valley area abuzz, and has for a while. I've been regularly eating there for about four years now, and I wasn't even an innovator.

People I know from my area talk about this deliciously nutrient-rich food just as endearingly as they do about a Doritos Locos Taco or a Whopper. They crave it. What do they put in their flaxseed sprinkles? Crack?

What's great about this establishment is that they promote a healthy, green, zen lifestyle in a warm, welcoming way. Free water in mason jars, herbal supplements for sale, and a bathroom that could be confused for a mediation garden are just a few examples. It's all about the decor. They also have a community bulletin board to ensure a sense of community. They also have live, local music as well.

So, what are some examples of the delicious, nutrient-dense food they serve? They serve filling bowls, wraps, salads, smoothies, coffee, tea, and more. Bowls are based on brown rice or udon noodles and are filled with veggies, nuts, cheese, and more and can be topped with add-ons such as hummus, avocado, flax oil, goji berries, granola, etc.

I usually get "the innocent", that is brown rice, corn, carrots, broccoli, and  tamari almonds, quinoa topped with a Ginger Nama Shoyu sauce. I get it alongside the "Elvis Alive" smoothie that includes peanut butter, raw cacao, banana, coconut-based ice cream, and rice milk.

I always go to Life Alive if I want an easy to love healthful meal, and don't feel like making one. Chain restaurants make eating healthy so hard, but Life Alive makes it so easy. It's also just a great place to sit and do some work. Good vibes all around.

Have you ever eaten at a Life Alive?
What's your favorite vegan restaurant or dish?

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June 21, 2015

"What am I going to get the lovely, vivacious, fiesty, and funny Paul Vergakes for Father's Day?", I asked myself as I perused the aisles of Target like the yuccie I am. At first, I thought I would but him a little plant or something to add a little zen to his room. Then, as usual, I made a quick trip to the dollar section, which changed everything. I figured, instead of giving him zen, why not give him sugar?

While on vacation last week, my father and I had a conversation about the milk man coming to his house when he was younger. I also remembered his sweet tooth, and him taking almost 20 free "hi-chew" candies when we were at a Red Sox game last month. I thought, why not combine these two into a crafty, cheap Father's Day gift? 

So, I bought these two fruity, gummy candies for $1 each.

I bought a package of these adorable "milk bottles", $3 for the package.

So naturally, I put the candy in the milk bottles! Chews in one, gum in another.

These will be great decorations and treats for him! Happy Fathers Day, everyone!

Of course, I added, you're the sweetest inside the card. Couldn't resist a good pun.

What are your plans?
What did you get your dad? 

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June 18, 2015

In the past few days, there's been an explosion of a new term to describe the young professionals in our culture: yuccies (young urban creatives). Sure, the new preferences have become hot yoga, the dollar section at Target, kale, and music festivals, however, what about it comes to love? Young professionals are so determined on their career that some of them have become indecisive when it comes to their love life. I'm not counting myself out of this, as you could tell from my last column installment. However, I thought I'd give my take on "hookup culture."

What's Love Got To Do With It 2: Hooking Up Is Hard To Do

What exactly is hookup culture? According to the oh-so-reliable Wikipedia, it is:
  1. that accepts and encourages casual sexual encounters, including one-night stands and other related activity, which focus on physical pleasure without necessarily including emotional bonding or long-term commitment.
We can't quite call our culture a "hookup culture" because some religions and lifestyles do not accept "casual sexual encounters." However, most other lifestyles do see nothing wrong with them. They can be great for a person sometimes, and horrible for a person sometimes. Sometimes a "casual sexual encounter" can invigorate a person, or sometimes it can lead to two people "catching feelings" but "not wanting to put a label on it" and DEFINITELY NOT having a straight answer for "so, what are you guys, anyways?" Sound like I have a little bit of experience with this?

The answer to all of the shades of grey this culture brings about is the same thing that answers all the questions in relationships: communication and honesty.

The problem with our society is that everyone wants to have their cake and eat it too, in this sense. People want the physical, and say they don't want the emotional, but end up wanting the emotional in the end. However, they don't want to lose their freedom. So, instead of casually hooking up or casually dating, they end up stringing others along and unknowingly hurting others.

Hooking up can be very enriching and refreshing if you are secure about your intentions and what you want to do. However, be flexible. If you end up catching those pesky feelings, don't ignore it. Chances are, the other person is catching those feelings, too. Some wise words a friend told me one time are: "Don't not date someone (and miss something totally awesome) just because you want to be single." I may just be speaking from experience, but it may be a lot less stressful to be monogynous with the one person you really like and give them your all, than to be stringing along many people at once.

That brings up another point. Know what kind of single you want to be. I didn't know there were many types of single until I was single for an extended amount of time and longed to be the other type. Type 1 is totally alone, focusing on YOURSELF, your work, your mental and physical health, etc. Type 2 is hooking up and having things here and there. Since you're single, you can easily break things off with your flings and focus on you, if you wanted to revert back to type 1.

Things to consider when in a hook-up situation:

1. If we stop hooking up, will it get awkward?
2.  How much do I like this person?
3. Can I see myself wanting to date this person?
4. Do we go out on "dates" to get food, or worse, got to IKEA together?
5. Can I see myself NEVER wanting to date this person?
6. Do you smile when people ask you about them?
7. Do you think about them while you can't sleep at night?

If you answered yes, or a lot, to 2,3,4,6,7 then step back, be honest with yourself, then be honest with them. Talk about where this is going and see if it can go further. If they don't want it to, break it off because you're going to end up hurt.

Long story short, don't lie to yourself. If you're emotionally attached, be honest with yourself and them. However, if you're totally fine with pure physicality, proceed, my friend. As the frat guy in every movie every would say, get ittttt. However, get it with caution of your feelings.

What's your take on hook-up culture?
Any funny/crazy/sad/ romantic stories?

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June 15, 2015

Toronto was soooo last week. This week hails Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls, to me, is the Las Vegas of Canada. This is my second time visiting the Falls. However, it's totally different this time. This time, I'm legal! I can drink and gamble. It's a bit different of an experience for a seven year old than for a nineteen year old.

It's also different this time because I just came from a purely Canadian city, Toronto, and now I'm in a tourist trap just over the border. So, things are very americanized here. Rolling out of the bar or casino and wolfing down a Denny's grand slam apparently isn't just an American tradition.

There are two main attractions: The Falls and Clifton Hill. Clifton Hill is a hilly street filled with attractions - arcades, haunted houses, wax museums, mini golfs, and more.

Day 1

We stopped at St. Lawrence Market in Toronto before we drove to Niagara Falls. I was itching to check out this hub of food and culture while we there. However, it was closed on Sundays and Mondays, the only days we were there. I was so happy to catch it Tuesday morning. There was an array of food - coffee, pastries, crepes, fresh produce, Greek food, shawarma, etc.

Cardigan: American Eagle
Crop Top: Forever 21
Shorts: Forever 21
Shoes: TopShop

A fresh breakfast - a ham and pineapple crepe, a latte, and macarons.

The first thing I did when I got to Niagara Falls was by 2 for $20 shoes. I've really been wanting a pair of these leather slip-ons.

Shoes: Siren

I changed my outfit... and perused around Clifton Hill.

Shirt: Target
Pants: Charlotte Russe
Shoes: Siren

Look.. a rainbow! This picture captivates all of the charms of the falls, a rainbow, the Maid of the Mist, and rainbow bridge. Those are the American falls with Niagara Falls, NY behind it.

Day 2

Crop Top: Forever 21
Shorts: American Eagle
Necklaces: handmade, Forever 21
Sandals: Target

THE Clifton Hill!

The view from atop the "Skylon Tower". One of the most acclaimed ways to get a 360 degree view of the falls.

Winds were 40 km/h, we had to take a windy selfie.

Not Katy Perry, but a wax figure of her!

Wax figures of The Simpsons at the Movieland Wax Museum in Clifton Hill.

Day 3

You'll never guess how this outfit came together. I may have displayed this colorful paisley romper on this blog before. It's great as a romper, however, it's also proven to be very versatile. It can double as a colorful pair of fun shorts. I've paired sweaters over it, now I've paired this scalloped blue crop top from TopShop.

Crop Top: TopShop
Romper: Forever 21

We took the "Maid of the Mist" boat today. This was my second time on it. However, as mentioned before, I'm a lot older and can retain more memories this time.

Whoever tells you you don't get that wet is wrong! However, the views are so worth it.

Day 4

The day ended with me scoring a little over $80 on a slot machine, not this one. Although American original is my machine of choice.

We spent most of the day over the border on Goat Island in Niagara Falls, NY. This picture was taken in one country, but you can see another country in the background (US and Canada). How crazy!

Just putting my selfie stick to good use here.

We ate at an Italian restaurant that had a bakery attached, called Como. I hadn't had gnocci in a while!

The view of the top of the falls from the "three sisters islands" on Goat Island. It's one of the most scenic places in Niagra Falls State Park in NY.

Most of these pictures were taken on top of the Canadian Falls. What I don't get is that the strait of land is on the American side, however they're called the Canadian falls. Who owns them?

Top: Marshalls
Joggers: Kohls
Sandals: Payless
Sunglasses: Boohoo

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