My Top 5 Favorite Motivational YouTube Videos

Blogging can be tough. I’ll admit, when I started this, I was hyped up on all six seasons of Sex in the City and the movie Julie and Julia. I had these cute little images in my mind of sitting down at my computer and writing about whatever popped into my head over a coffee, or a glass of wine, and that I’d magically have people reading my blog, sending me stuff, and then before I knew it, I’d have a book deal and a movie out on how I made it all happen!…. I had no idea, how much effort it takes to actually do a blog well or exactly how many hats I’d be wearing.

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Penna Alla Vodka to make You Look like a Pro

My husband and I got a book called “The Gourmet Cookbook” by Ruth Reichl. We got it mostly for the really interesting (and expensive) recipes, because, well it’s fun to read about how to cook escargot.

In the pasta section, there was an affordable gem that Amin and I now make regularly. It’s called Penne Alla Vodka and I swear you’ll never go back to eating jarred pasta again once to see how crazy easy it is to make and how absolutely pro chef it tastes. Below, not only will I walk you through it, but I’ll give you a video to watch to see how it’s done first hand!

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My Self-Love for Valentines

Valentines can be tough. There’s a huge focus on Love and being in a relationship. In my personal opinion, if you live in America it’s just another holiday that’s been ruined by companies pressuring you to buy stuff to be happy. I think we’ve really lost sight of love. To be honest, it’s so hard and so “Not Special” going to a restaurant on Valentines, that my husband and I have actually moved the date to the first weekend after.

I was not taught a lot about self-care or self-love…In fact, I’d venture to say that I haven’t really started learning about “myself” until very recently, and learning about yourself is different than loving yourself. You can learn about yourself and hate who you are.

Love is something that is cultivated over time, and I’d like to preface this post with saying that no matter how many bubble baths you take, no matter how many times you do your nails or have facials, it’s not going to matter unless you cultivate a real heart love for yourself and that will take time. That said, as you do these activities, remember to remind yourself over and over that you are deserving of these things, and that you are being kind to yourself because you deserve it!

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6 Dinner Ideas for Your Valentine!

February may be a cold month (at least for this ex-southerner) but it’s got a heartwarming holiday to look forward to! While a box of chocolates and a rose are great classic ideas, I’ve sifted through the internet to find some really special meals that are a little more out of the box. Hopefully, this inspires you to try something a little different for that special someone! If you do something cool that isn’t listed and you’d like me to check it out, please tell me about it in the comments!

There is nothing wrong with taking your sweetie out for something sweet to eat, but there’s something special about having your S/O cook for you. I usually cook at home, but when Amin cooks for me, especially if it’s something he knew I would like (seafood or pasta instead of chicken) it’s an easy way to make me swoon. I get to chill out and relax or just talk to him and watch him run around the kitchen (extra points if he cleans up the kitchen after). P.S. It doesn’t have to be valentines for this to happen…just sayn’ but if you’re low on ideas, here are some valentines themed recipes that look as good as they taste!

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My TOP Valentine Manicure Ideas!

I love to do my own nails which you probably already know if you’ve seen my “End of Summer Nails” and my “How to do a Manicure at Home” posts. I really try to make it a self-care ritual, by buffing, letting them soak, doing my own hand massage with some nice lotion and giving them a nice fresh coat of paint. Within the last year though, I have started investing in some nail stamps by a company called Mo-You London. Their stamps seem to work really well, and they’re reusable and can work with your own polish so long as it’s heavily pigmented like OPI’s stuff.

There are so many options for Valentines nails, but for me personally, I love how pink looks and considering how cold it is up here in Massachusetts during February I wanted to use the MoYou London Nail Stamp Called “Festive #06”. It has two really cure heart stamps that look like they should be on a sweater!

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How I Survive New England Winters

8 years ago my husband and I (with our two cats) all jammed into our car and made the long drive from Tampa Florida to Boston Massachusetts to start a new life. We arrived a week before Christmas and our Christmas tree was one of the first things we unpacked. Several days later we experienced our first Blizzard (the first of four that came by in a row). We were not very well prepared. I can remember shoveling our car in jeans and sneakers. I had grown up in Florida from the age of two and anything under 50 degrees seemed unbearably cold, so that first winter really put the fear of winter in me.

So, how am I doing 8 years later? Better. Much better. Here is what I do to Survive the New England Winters.

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Why Art and Fear Should Be Required Reading for All Artists!

I am a self-taught artist. My parents were both artists, but that doesn’t mean they were supportive. To be honest, they were only supportive if I was helping out my dad finish his commissions. While I’ve been drawing all my life, I didn’t really see it as anything to be invested in until I moved here to Massachusetts. I’ve come a long way since my first bottle of Acrylic craft paint from my local craft store. I’ve learned about perspective, lighting, and color theory, but there was something that isn’t really taught.

Being an artist is a highly emotional endeavor and if all you’ve been told over and over is “it’s not a real job” or that you’re going to be the proverbial “starving artist” then you’re going to feel fear despite enjoying your passion. I am no different.

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Bird Box and the Missing Hero

It seemed every time I got online I would see images of a blindfolded woman in the woods and the name of Bird Box popping up over and over. So I had to check it out…after all, that’s how I learned about Stranger Things and that was an awesome show, so I decided to watch it. What started off as watching a simple movie, turned into a much deeper lesson in how our culture views what being a hero is, and I think that on its own is pretty disturbing.

I guess this is a good time to say ***There may be spoilers in this post so proceed at your own risk***

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To Parents with Nerdy Kids: Four Things You Need to Know

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Dear Parents of Nerdy Kids,

What I’m about to write to you, is what I wish I had been able to write to my family as a kid. This is not a letter to bash, or be mean, but hopefully to shed some light on how I felt, and possibly how your kid might feel being considered a nerd. I’m writing this with the perspective that you as parents want the best for your child as I think my mother wanted for me, but perhaps you may not “get” or understand them all the time, and they may not even know how to explain to you how or why they are nerdy. Hopefully, this letter will give you some relief in understanding the awesome kid you have. Read more