Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Celebrity Book Club part 2

Love, Loss, and What we Ate by Padma Lakshmi; 336 pages, 2016
Padma has been the host of the show Top Chef for 10 years. While I have never watched the show I found her book very interesting.  She was born in India and moved to the NYC as a small child and raised by a single mother. She flew back and forth between countries and thus never felt like her childhood belonged to either culture. Her family were vegetarians but her mother wanted her to eat more mainstream to be American. Then she spent most of her twenties in Europe as a model. Did you know she was in Mariah Carey's Glitter movie? lol

She's written for magazines in their food and fashion sections. She has a keen interest in spices and wrote a book on that too. She's most famous for her role on Top Chef where she says she typically gains 17 lbs after each season. I learned that she can't sit between tapings because she might wrinkle her dress. She suffers from endometriosis, which result in painful bedridden periods. She is a co-founder of The Endometriosis Foundation of America, which is a nonprofit organization focused on increasing awareness, education, research, and legislative advocacy against the disease. 

She talks about how she disliked her dark skin color. She hated moving to LA for junior high because it meant she would have to repeat her name over and over again to new people. How when a teacher comes to her name on a sheet of paper there's a long pause, then stuttering and stumbling so she went by "Angie" for awhile. The difficulties of being an Indian model when "modeling seems to her to be the domain of white girls." She was in a horrible car accident as a child and ended up with a large keloid and scar on her arm. This scar kept her out of the running for many modeling gigs. Famed photographer Helmut Newtown saw something in her and "gave everyone in Milan and Paris the courage to use her without camouflaging her scar."  Today she says she loves her scar as it's a part of her. 

She says "my choice of men could have been pulled directly from the "She Has Daddy issues handbook" because she never knew her father and dated men twice (or more) her age.  Including her ex-husband famous author Salman Rushdie.  She's had her own jewelry business and a line of frozen foods at Costco. She talks about her love of cheese which started while living in Paris. When she was 40 years old she gave birth to her first daughter which came with a lot of tabloid publicity guessing who the father was.She explains how took her 13 months to take off her pregnancy weight, she went from a size 4 to a 14. "Simply being born female in our society is to grow up being told your worth as a person is tied to how slim and attractive you are."  The book is full of rich recipes, spices and how a meal in India is not a meal without rice. "And just as it's impossible to go back to cheap balsamic after tasting the good stuff, it's hard to slip on rayon once you've worn cashmere." 

Her book inspired me to brand out in my selection of cheese at the cheese counter at Whole Foods and buy good quality balsamic vinegar, not the general one I've always gotten at Trader Joes.

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer; 336 pages, 2016

Amy got a $9 million advance for this book, while for Trainwreck she only paid $300K. Girlfriend is hustling! The book is a series of comedic essays. 

She jokes that she looks like Bruce Vilanch or Charlize Theron in Monster without make up on. lol She talks a lot about her lack of self-esteem and not thinking she was pretty or had a hot body.  She's surprised when men are interested in her, especially "men who have access to tiny models."  She considers herself to be an introvert, it doesn't mean she's shy, it just means she enjoys being alone. When people say " I don't usually like female comics" she gets really offended because It's not like anyone would so casually say, "I don't usually like black people." 

She's generous with her money by giving her sister and most of her amazing best friends six-figure checks to make their lives a little easier. She's donated the majority of her salary for the fourth season of her TV show to the crew. "I don't believe that money changes your level of happiness.But things do get easier. I still get drunk and binge-eat late at night. But now it's just on more expensive wine." Her favorite wine is Rombauer chardonnay which she said she wants served at her funeral. For $40 it was the most expensive bottle of wine I've ever bought. lol Although I don't like chardonnay, the Rombauer was really good and I could drink a whole bottle without any negative effects afterwards. lol

She talks about her dysfunctional mother, probably too honest. All of her many "justifiable" firings in life. She says that "Failing can only make you stronger. I think for anyone to become good at something, they have to fail a lot too." I could totally related to her on three things that make her insanely furious:
"Girls with their hair down at the gym. Unless you're covering horrible burn marks pull that shit up in a ponytail.People who stand too close to you while you're in line for something. Just give me six inches, but twelve would be great.Radio commercials, Every single one ever."

I remember when Amy spoke out about Glamour magazine calling her plus size, which she doesn't feel she is. Then plus size model Ashley Graham got offended and said to Amy, "You thrive on being a big girl, but when you're grouped in with us, you're not happy about it? That, to me, felt like a double standard." In the book Amy says she has never been less than 150 lbs. I think we are not used to seeing average sized women on TV.  She really comes off as a real woman in the book saying she is food-motivated and really loves to eat pasta and drink wine, in fact they are her favorite things. lol 

She notices how women in the audience at her shows always have their arms folded to cover their stomachs. 

Amy gets serious and talks about how she's prone to blackouts. 
 "Blacking out is when your mind goes to sleep but your body keep right on doing whatever your drunk-ass self thinks is a good idea. Blacking out is NOT passing out asleep in a drunken stupor. Quite the opposite. Your brain is sleeping like an innocent little baby, but your body is a rave and it keeps making decisions.it's dangerous because you might look like  a regular drunk girl, but you're actually a zombie who won't remember shit later. I want to encourage you to avoid drinking to the point where you're unsafe especially if you have this cool genetic quick and are prone to blacking out."

In conclusion she says even though she's strong and healthy, she still has to fight the urge to give up about twice a day.  Complete raw honesty.

20984861Derek Hough -  Taking the Lead: Lessons from a Life in Motion; 256 pages, 2014

I'm a big Dancing with the Stars fan so naturally I had to read Derek's book, who by the way has won the Mirror Ball trophy six times! By age 31, he's already written the first chapter of his memoir with this book. Dancing was in his blood since his  grandparents were dance teachers. He was raised Mormon in Utah as the youngest of 5 children. He had an awkward childhood not fitting in at school and was picked on a lot. When his parents divorced at a young age Derek separated from his 4 sisters and moved into his father's apt. Then to get away from everything, 11 years old Derek was sent off to live with another family (strangers to his parents) in London to pursuing dancing.

 He spent his childhood years smoking and competing in many dance competitions. This resulted in bone spurs in his neck from years of whipping his head around. He said dancers all have injuries, but never talk about them, they just get on with it. "Pain happens, but suffering is a choice." Never throw a pity party for yourself. He gives lots of self improvement advice! 

When he's not on DWTS he choreographed a ballet for Misty Copeland. For the 2014 Sochi winter Olympics he choreographed a short dance program and Meryl and Charlie  ice-skating routine for which they won a gold medal! Derek has won 2 Emmys for Outstanding Choreography on DWTS. He's also had a re-occurring role on the TV show Nashville. You can see him on GMA often, hosting one-off shows on TV and doing dancing tours.

"No one can reject you. No one can dump you. It's just a decision. If you're feeling rejected, you're looking at things all wrong, just because someone chooses another person over you, doesn't mean you're not good enough." 

Kathy Griffin's Celebrity Run-Ins: My A-Z Index; 256 pages, 2016

A-Z celebrity encounters, most about a page or two. The short chapters just don't go into dept into the stories. I loved her show  My Life on the D-List, I met her at the book signing for her last book, and have seen her comedic show live. Reading this book has changed my opinion of her.  I understand now why celebs hide from her, she can be a nightmare. Some of the things she says to the people in this book (that she just met) are on  rude side. Then she accuses people of being lame or whatever for not being able to take her shtick.  ome of the friendships she has surprises me like, for instance she's a regular at Cher's house to watch movies.  Cher told her "no matter how old you get, your boyfriends can never be older than 35."  Kathy says about Rosie O'Donnell that she " has a skill for joining people together who are likely to develop meaningful bonds". Rosie introduced her to Gloria Estefan, Cher and Rachael Ray - who gave her a key to her NYC apt to stay anytime. Suze Orman has helped her with her finances. Barbara Walters told her, " Female newscasters don't get older, they go blonder."  She ran into Billy Dee Williams once and said he walked by "like a wondrous vision of old-school dapper: perfectly coiffed, wavy hair, sporting a casual suit, and anchored by a full-on lame scarf, very sparkly and with fringe, wrapped around his neck." She claims Ellen kicked her out of a backstage dressing room at the Emmys and when Ellen read this book she called her up to chew her out! lol So Kathy said in an interview that she doesn't understand why Ellen isn't her friend, after all they are both female comedians in their 50s. 


Kristin Cavallari - Balancing in Heels; 272 pages, 2016
I had no idea who Kristin was but she was promoting her book on the morning news show I watch so I thought I'd pick it up from the library. She's best known for being on a show called Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County but also her her own shoe line with Chinese Laundry. She wrote this book in her 20s about being a mom, eating healthy and fashion. She sweats by charcoal pills to reduce a hangover taken before you start drinking. She used magnesium to help her sleep at night. One piece of advice I really liked from her was this:

Always be on time, or even a few minutes early. People who are consistently late drive me crazy! Being late is disrespectful to the other person, implying their time ins't as valuable as yours. Stay true to your word. If you say you are going to do something, then do it. Otherwise, don't say it at all. Broken promises are another pet peeve of mine! 
Related Posts:
Celebrity Book Club
3 Must Read Memoirs
3 More Memoirs I Like
3 Fascinating Memoirs
Chelsea Handler - Uganda Be Kidding Me

Monday, January 9, 2017

2017 New Years Resolutions

Every year I make the stereotypical resolutions like lose weight that end up being too lofty and I just set myself up for failure. So why do I always do that? This year I decided to do something a little different for myself and make resolutions that are more reasonable to achieve and actually fun to do. Doing away with the unrealistic goals, I came up with little goals that are not impossible to achieve. I feel that writing them down makes a big difference because it makes it more concrete and it's something I can look back at to hold myself accountable to make sure I'm still on track. I'm excited to report that I met all of my Style Resolutions and Blog Goals from last year.

If you need ideas for your list, you could organize your gmail inbox (try UnrollMe), ditch sugar in January and practice good cell phone etiquette.  Phones don't belong on tables during meals, you're there to spend time with others, not respond to texts. Or just remembering to write 2017 instead of 2016.  It's ok to let go of negative people. Check out my 5 Things to Toss before 2017Here's a list of fun beauty resolutions you can set for yourself.

1. Make my overall happiness a top priority. Create a mood board for the coming year.  Smile more. Make a new playlist for myself for every season which I've been slacking on. Stay in and have lazy Sundays more often, I always feel refreshed afterwards like I really rested over the weekend.

2. Binge-watch shows that I've been meaning to see. I started with SATC as I had only seen episodes here or there. It's fun to watch a show filmed in NYC and listen to their dating rules. In 16 years the picture quality has really changed. I also never finished watching Sons of Anarchy.

3. Buy myself flowers more often. I've started saving photos of floral arrangements on my phone, so I can make the same mixture from Safeway flowers at a fraction of the cost.

4. Travel somewhere new. Last year I started a new job (that's a 5 minute commute) so I've been saving up my vacation days for a two week trip. Now I can go somewhere I've always wanted to visit.

5. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. I'm so lazy at work I take the elevator for one floor when our staircases are out in the open, not a closed stairwell. My chiropractor said taking the stairs would be good for my back.

6. Organize my closet which looks like a war zone. Declutter and sell more clothes on Tradesy. New year = new kicks (below) so I donated my old sneakers to Soles4Souls who will give them to people in need. Zappos will give you a free shipping label.

7. Eat healthier by meal planning dinner. Organize my recipe collection in a binder. I plan to spiralize vegetables more for dinner. I want to get more greens in my diet by making smoothies. Switch back to Trader Joe's Brown Rice & Quinoa Pasta.

8. Practice kindness and gratitude everyday. As I reflect on 2016, so much happened in the last year that I’m grateful for positive growth and change and my family.

9. Learn Photoshop Elements. I bought a new computer and had to also get a new photo editing software. The one I had been using for many many years is no longer available so I upgraded to Photoshop Elements which was on sale at the end of Dec. I took an online training course to learn its features but need to start practicing using it and getting comfortable with it. I made the top graphic with it.

10. Use instagram to grow my blog. Since Instagram is the #1 social media tool, I need to learn how to use it as a tool for my blog by organically increasing my followers. I plan to do this by working on the aesthetic of my pictures, using more hashtags and engaging more with others.

11. Re-energize my workout goals. I'm at my one year anniversary of working out at Orangetheory.
I remember during my first classes I couldn't power walk at a high incline without holding on and my back would hurt from being on the rower too long. Fast forward a year and I'm still going on a regular basis and getting stronger. Having a membership pushes me to show up every week and work harder each time. I've increased my splat points, if that doesn't mean anything to you, its the number of minutes I spend in the orange zone as the entire workout is built around heart rate zone based interval training. I'm still working on burning 500 calories a workout, not quite there yet. I want to add some Flywheel classes to the mix and get back to having a regular yoga practice. My goal is to feel comfortable and happy wearing the types of dresses I want to wear, not necessarily a number on the scale.

12. Last year I read 46 books, so my goal for this year is to read 50 books. I've finally allowed myself to not finish books I don't like. I need to organize my goodreads account and remove all the books I never intend to read at all. You can see some of my favorite books from last year here, here, and here.

Related Posts:
2016 New Years Resolutions
2016 Blog Goals
2016 Style Resolutions
2015 New Years Resolutions
2014 Year of New Possibilities

Thursday, January 5, 2017

How to wear a Faux Fur vest

Faux fur is a chic statement piece for the winter as it will make any outfit look glamorous. Since it's the star of your outfit,  what you wear underneath it should be understated to not compete with the fur.  It pairs well with a long sleeved knee length dress, or a  maxi skirt, sweater dress, leather pants, a button down white shirt, or just a blouse and jeans. You can wear it with your most dressed up outfits or casual day looks. Perfect for days that aren't too cold but you still get a little cozy warmth from the vest. Don't worry you're not going to look silly in it. You don't have to be a celebrity jumping out a limo to wear a fur vest. It goes great with casual weekend styles.

This multi-colored vest was inspired by my mother who asked me to find her a multicolored fur. When I found this one I had to keep it for myself. I get so many looks when I wear it. It's one of the season's biggest trends and it's a perfect transition piece between seasons. 

The only time I wouldn't recommend a fur vest is if it's heart shaped. This $15,500 massive Saint Laurent fox fur coat has been worn by a handful of celebs. This is a definite no.

If you're scared to go full on fur, you could just stick with a fur scarf which I see popping up in a lot of stores.

However, if after reading this you're decided you're ready to go bold, this navy fur coat from Zara is a must have! This was another inspiration from my mother. She said she was also looking for a blue fur coat and I said "what do you want to look like cookie monster?" lol I saw this coat in Zara and loved it and immediately called her at home and told her to rush to the store to see it because they were having a one day Black Friday sale. I think the color is more Grover. The coat is absolutely stunning! Last week I saw a man on the subway wearing it, I recognized it immediately.

It's called a short fur which reminded me of this black coat North West wore.

Fur has no age limit, check out badass Baddie Winkle, I love her style!

Do you wear faux fur? 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Athletic Outfit Inspiration

Happy New Year!  I enjoyed having Monday off and went to Flywheel in the rain to kick off my resolution of no missed workouts. When I got home I made myself a delicious low carb lunch.
I bet your fitness resolutions are in the works! Do you need some inspiration to hit the gym more often? These clothes will help you keep your new years resolutions. Consider it an investment in kicking off your fitness goals.

I got both pants pictured here, I love love the design on them! I also got those sleek looking purple sneakers from Nike. The Nike Air Zoom Strong has a sock-like fit with flywire cables lock down the forefoot, stability for side-to-side movement, and has an internal ankle wrap that adds support. I have been wearing my running shoes for my Hiit training workouts and decided I needed a different kind of shoe for that. You laces can't become loose because of the outer band. It's an amazing product and on sale!

Target released a new limited edition line by Anna Kaiser. I was eagerly awaiting this collection but was disappointed that all the shirts have sheer mesh backs! The sWEat by WhitneyPort collection has lots of pretty colors, but also lots of mesh and they are already out of many sizes. JCrew and New Balance did a collaboration for a very preppy line of athletic wear. Nike announced they have added a plus size line.

Check out my previous posts on active wear: Nike Purple Shade and Graphic Workout Tanks. If you're looking for a great at home workout series, check out my review of Chalean Extreme.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Most Liked Instagrams

Wow I was really surprised by this list, expected to see some others make the top 9 list. I've really worked on my aesthetic for photography an amped up my fashion style. This list includes some of my favorite looks.

1.  Halloween I love that my most liked photo is from my favorite holiday. Last summer my guy friends took me to a movie I hadn't even heard of - Suicide Squad so I sat down and had no expectations. Never would have guessed that would be my costume inspiration and the most popular costume this year - Harley Quinn, comic book villain.  I didn't like the pre-made costumes from popular stores so I bought everything individually off ebay from sellers in Asia. Even got the blue and pink hair tips to complete the costume.

2. Pumpkin Patch visit A group of local bloggers rented a bus and spent the day at a pumpkin patch and winery. Fun day!

3. Great Gatsby Party Another fun dress up event held on the grass of the National Cathedral was like stepping back in time returning to the era of flapper dresses and music of the 1920s with the Prosecco flowing. There was a live band, lawn games, prohibition cocktails, and people doing their best swing dancing.

4. New York City trip

5. Canoeing in Georgetown

6. Winery Visit and Apple Orchard

7. & 8. How to Wear Distressed Jeans

9. I've been to Starbucks exactly 4 times this year. I loved their summer refreshers and when I heard about the off the menu pink drink, had to try that too.

You can see my most popular blog posts of 2016 here.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Most Popular Posts of 2016

I've rounded up my 12 most popular posts of the year. I went through my stats to see which posts had the most clicks and brought the most eyes to my blog. Here's what people came here to see most this year! I always think it's fun and interesting to see what makes this list. One of my blogging goals for myself this year was to increase my readership and I'm happy to report I have. If you enjoy reading my blog make sure you follow me (and all your other favorite blogs) on bloglovin where you get a daily email in your inbox with a round up of new posts.

My number one read post this year was 6 Easy Ways to Declutter Your Home. This is a great post to read if you've set tidying up your home as a News Years Resolution for yourself. It's based on tips I learned from Marie Kondo's second book "Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up"

Fashion Posts
I jumped on the Capsule Wardrobe challenge with my Fall Capsule Wardrobe which came in very handy for me and made getting dressed easier in the morning.

 How to Wear Distressed Jeans

Beauty Posts
Skincare and makeup are really important to me and I shared some of my favorites. The first post is one of top viewed post of all time! I was really amazed at the alarmingly high numbers of views! This was my favorite post that I wrote this year.
Do you want to transform your skin?

February Beauty Favorites

Bronze Summer Glow

Must Haves for Healthy Blonde Hair

Yellow Salad

Need some movies to watch over the holidays - check out - What's New on Netflix

Great Gatsby Party - This was a fun dress up party!

DIY tips for clearing a clogged drain

Christmas in Cancun

I'd love to know from you  what was your favorite post from The Blondissima this year?

Related posts:
2013 Year In Review
2014 Year in Review
2015 Year In Review

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