Friday, February 25, 2011

The Way We Get By.

Okay, so I will admit it: I am one of those terrible, awful people who loved high school. I loved college too, probably more, but high school will always have a special place in my heart.

Since I went to a ridiculously small private school, there really wasn't this huge social divide - everyone had a place where they belonged. You also knew everything about everyone, which was the downfall of it, and trust me, we could have given Laguna Beach a run for their money drama wise. We saw each other through the awkwardness of middle school, dated each other in a Gossip Girl almost incestual way (since we all kind of shared each other - there was no sloppy seconds, it was like, sloppy tenths), and cried when we graduated.

Obviously - we swore we would all be friends forever, no matter what - and obviously, this didn't happen. We all went on our separate ways, to separate states, separate colleges, and we grew up (or at least most of us did, whomp whomp).

We became different things - college drop outs, independent, law school students, parents, teachers, sluts, actresses, husbands/wives, stoners, unemployed post grads... ADULTS - we all changed in one way or another, whether for better or for worse.

There are some people who I graduated with that I really never give a second thought to, people who I wish weren't constantly popping up on my Facebook homepage, the ones I wish I had kept in touch with, but feel that it's too awkward now to randomly write on their wall (isn't it sad that keeping in touch now is really something done primarily on Facebook? Crazy!), and then there are the ones I have kept in touch with - the ones who have grown with me, who remember me as an awkward seventh grader with bad clothes and big glasses, and yet, still love me.

My best friend Tonya and I have been through our ups and downs over the years that we first met as new students at our private school in seventh grade.

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I can totally remember in seventh grade, for whatever reason, she pissed me and the group of girls I hung out with off, and we wrote her a scathing letter telling her what a terrible person she was (awful, I'm so ashamed) -- she handed that note over to a teacher, and everyone who wrote that letter was sentenced to THREE WEEKS of Saturday detentions (no bueno, especially since they literally had us do manual labor like mopping bleachers or sweeping the buses! Lesson learned, administration).

I remember in high school (more sophomore/junior year), we were friends, but weren't close anymore, until our senior class trip to Disney reconnected us, and she joined myself and another girl in our little clique of all boys (making the ratio a much more normal 3 females to about 15 males).

Little baby Allison and Tonya as seniors in high school (on the senior trip that brought us back together as bffs).
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We've been there for each other through it all - bad breakups, good breakups, hook ups, recovering from hangovers, celebrating birthdays, weight loss and gain, fights with family members, girls nights, nights out with the guys, double dates, set ups - you name it, she and I have fought through it, or celebrated it together.

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Tonya and I came up with this (lame, immature) thing that we do whenever one of us has a breakup, or is going through a bad time - we go and try on dresses, the fancier the better.

I cannot even tell you when this started - probably eighth grade, but for some reason, it never ceases to cheer us up. We waltz into a store, try on a ton of dresses, take pictures, make stupid poses, and leave feeling one hundred percent better about ourselves.

Sometimes we end up falling in love with the dresses, and actually buy them, but it usually just results in a lot of laughs.

Plus, it's always nice to have someone besides a salesperson that you don't know to help zip you into a dress, or tell you that you need to suck it in so they can clasp it!

These pictures are literally from three + years ago - I forget which of us was going through what, but a photo lasts a lifetime.

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Since things at home have been a little difficult, and since I went through a (not so difficult) breakup recently, Tonya and I decided that acting like children and reverting back to this tradition was the best possible way to give both of us a boost, and spend time together (though now I have a conscience, and felt bad for the salespeople who helped us, so I spent WAY too much money on a blazer from Neiman Marcus to try to compensate for us wasting their time a little... Sigh, adulthood).

It's also kind of fun to capture all this on film - we've really come a long way. Both of us have grown into ourselves, are more confident and are just happier in general.

While we're both like, actually adults now - with jobs, and new cars, and responsibilities beyond homework, and her maybe getting engaged soon (ah!) - we've grown together rather than have grown apart, which to me, is such a beautiful thing. (Plus, we can still do the same stupid stuff we used to, because sometimes it's fun to act like a kid/teenager again).

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Words cannot even express how heavy this dress was - but that did not stop me from being absolutely in LOVE with it! (I know it's a little bit blurry of a picture - I guess we've lost our MySpace mirror picture skillzzz a little in our old age, bummer).

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Seriously, I'm well aware of how lame this might sound - but to us, it's a great way to laugh and bond and spend quality time together. (And apparently now trying on dresses leaders to the purchase of new blazers, so really, we all win! -- This was especially a win since I did not buy another cardigan).

How do you and your girlfriends bond with each other (or guy friends - I don't gender discriminate!)? Do any of you still keep in touch with high school friends?

Currently listening to: Mumford & Sons - The Cave

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Oh, The Places You'll Go.

In case you guys have missed me incessantly talking about it, I am an elementary education major. I am also apparently part hoarder, because I collect childrens books like they are going out of style. We have tubs of books for my future classroom in the storage room in our basement, and that is in addition to the three FULL (as in, they are all literally shoved in there so perfectly that they will not budge) shelves in my wardrobe.

This collecting of books is beneficial - I've been pulling them out when I tutor, and they are a huge hit when I babysit.

Lately my life - like my bookshelves filled with books - has just kind of been in a bit of disarray. While I have so many things that I am ridiculously grateful for, there has been a lot going on with my home life, that is just carrying over into all aspects of my social and work life. While BBMing a friend the other night, I said that I just feel like everything is falling apart - that I have both everything and nothing at the same time. From the outside looking in, I have it all together, when on the inside, for the past few weeks, I have been a mess, a jumble of emotions inside.

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So now for the tie-in.

The other night, while babysitting, one of the books I brought was Oh, The Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss. Now, I know this is a book for children - I know that. But when I read it (and maybe this is just my super emotional state), I felt like crying, and I felt that it is so much deeper and more powerful than your average book for children.

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I won't post the entire book here - but just in case anyone else is in the same boat as me and is just going through some tough times, or anyone who just needs a little encouragement, these are some of the advice that Seuss gives us in Oh, The Places You'll Go. I condensed it as much as I could, but it really is so good that I promise it's worthwhile to read (yes, even though it's a picture book).

*~*

"Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

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You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look’em over with care. About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.” With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down a not-so-good street.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed. You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you. You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump. And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!

Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?

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You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.

No! That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

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You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!"

*~*

I like that this book combines optimism with realism - yeah, sometimes life sucks, sometimes things don't go as planned - but by having faith in yourself and confidence in your abilities, we can all pull through our tough times. I think having an outlet - therapy, nights out with friends, long BBM conversations, TV, working out - all these things can really help us with our struggles and hardships.

I'm always here for you if you need anything.

So, when you get down, or when things are tough at home, work, with friends or relationships - just remember:

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Love you all so much - hope you're doing SO well. <3

Currently listening to: Muse - Feeling Good.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Red Carpet Inspiration: Jewel Tones.

I love fashion, and try to soak it up as much as possible - I collect Vogue and W like they're going out of style, have Style.com bookmarked on my Safari page, and die for all my wonderful Blogger friends and their amazing and tres fashionable posts (and personal style!).

However - as much as I really love clothes, I tend to play it safe. A few weeks ago, I cleaned out my closet, vowing to purge anything I hadn't worn in a year, and either donate it or sell it. I found a whole lot of gray, black, and other neutrals. There were a few pops of color here and there, but I've fallen into the comfort zone of boyfriend cardigans in basic colors with a pair of skinny jeans and boots in neutral colors.

This has become my uniform - so much so, that when I got back from Anthropologie, hands filled with bags the other day, my dad said, "Oh, did you get another new cardigan, Mr. Rogers?" (Whomp, whomp).

However - in past awards shows, I don't think I'm alone in this whole "play it safe" category. I mean, really, how many awards shows have we seen with a play off of a black dress, a one shouldered bor-ing gown, or safe pastels?

This year though, has been totally different. Jewel tones are rocking the red carpet, and I could not be happier.

All the gorgeous greens, deep ruby reds, purples, and especially (my favorite!) turquoise, is just making me squeal with happiness - and is enough to make this girl want to run out and buy as much green, red, turquoise, etc. that I can!

Lea Michele in Catherine Malandrino.
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My girl Betty White (who is forever Rose Nylund in my book!) KILLS it, rocking a turquoise dress and blinged out jacket - two hot trends at once, you go, girl!
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Natalie Portman in Lanvin.
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Diane Kruger's citrine colored Jason Wu gown is so stunning, especially with the red lip!
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Confession: I am not a Jessica Alba fan at all - so it is a really big deal that I am so in love with her gorgeous look with this stunning Versace dress and perfect jewelry.
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Anna Kendrick in Alberta Ferretti (the color of this dress is an A+, the fit is a C).
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Angelina Jolie in Atelier Versace -- I know a lot of people didn't love this, but I thought it was absolute perfection. I hope emerald green never goes away.
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Blake Lively in Marchesa.
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Rachel Bilson rocks the trend with a jade bag - the perfect jewel-toned accent! (With Matthew Williamson, who is maybe the best accessory out there).
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Mariska Hargitay in Isaac Mizrahi (who knocks it out with a gorgeous sapphire colored dress AND turquoise earrings!).
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But, that's not to say that there haven't been jewel tone misses.

We get it, Katy Perry - you have enormous boobs. I promise I don't need to almost see your nipples to realize that..
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Never has there been someone I want to punch in the mouth as much as Scott Disick. Point and case with his dumb turquoise shirt and mismatched short shorts.
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January Jones as a high class prostitute in Versace.
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And let's not forget about the boys who are loving jewel tones (especially ruby red!)..

Ignore B.o.B.'s stupid ass scarf that has no place there - I'm LOVING his ruby red blazer.
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Chuck Bass has been rocking jewel tones for-ev-er. Swoon.
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And of course, Kanye.
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And since we all probably won't be rocking a Marchesa mini dress anytime soon - there are some affordable and chic ways to incorporate this gorgeous trend into your every day look!
(All these pieces are from Forever 21 - aka, they are all under $10!).

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What do you think of jewel tones as a trend? (Also, any ideas for where I can find some fun and affordable colored blazers?).

I hope you all are having an absolutely beautiful Valentine's Day! Love you all (and am currently planning a favorite things giveaway to show you all just how much!). xox

Currently listening to: Muse - Feeling Good

P.S. I successfully rapped EVERY SINGLE WORD to Super Bass. I am now $100 richer - not too shabby! My mom said to me, "I've never been prouder." (I think she said that maybe when I said the line about panties coming off? Probably a cause for pride for any parent...).

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Love and Literature.

I'm feeling a bit torn about writing a Valentine's Day post - on one hand, the single girl that I now am wants to say, "Eff Valentine's Day, it's nothing but a holiday made by Hallmark and Godiva," but really, the romantic in me loves Valentine's Day (I think it also helps that I have never been happier since the breakup - so I am neither miserable or bitter - phew!).

Plus, so many of you, my dear friends, are so happy in your relationships/marriages, that it is just impossible for me to be bitter towards the idea of love, because I've seen firsthand that it is definitely not just a thing of fairy tales.

From the time we're young, we hear stories of Cinderella and Prince Charming, of Beauty and the Beast, and how love changed them -- for me, this fascination of love in reading (and a love for reading - I mean, I am a teacher after all!), was something that just continued to grow. I feel like I was one of the few in my Lit classes in high school that actually read the books and didn't rely on SparkNotes for all my answers (except Frankenstein because I hated that book with a passion).

My love for reading completely unrelated to Valentine's Day and just proving that I am a massive nerd? I think not (minus the nerd part, because really, I can't help who I am).

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I remember reading about Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, sucking in my breath, waiting for the moment when they realize they're in love with each other; I gasped in horror when I found out that Rochester was married, and poor Jane Eyre had her heart broken; and I was thrilled when Ron and Hermione finally admitted that they were in love.

I've learned a lot of lessons about love from the books I've read - and for now, I'm perfectly content to curl up with a glass of red wine, and live vicariously through the love in the lives of my favorite literary characters.

Through the years and the books, I've learned quite a lot about love and relationships - though I still blame Jane Austen for the fact that I really want my own Mr. Darcy because he is just the epitome of perfection.


Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen

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Elizabeth Bennet is a character way ahead of her time - she refuses to marry for money or social status, and insists that she will wait for love, which was an entirely new concept for her day and age.

Enter, Mr. Darcy, who is rude, stubborn, and unrelenting - and yet, so perfect because he is basically the male version of Ms. Bennet. The entire book, you just wait for the two of them to freaking realize that they're in love!

This is seriously one of the greatest love stories of all times - and if you haven't read it yet, I INSIST that you do (I'll even send you a copy of the book because I literally found ten copies while cleaning my room).

(Plus, Colin Firth makes a REALLY yummy Mr. Darcy).

"In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you."


Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

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I read this book my senior year of high school in AP Literature, and thought that I had never read a more touching book. Once you get the dialogue down, which is a little hard to get through at first until you get used to it, you get to the heart of Janie Crawford, a woman who grows and learns from each relationship she is in.

Basically, this book taught me that love changes us - and that each relationship we get in, even a friendship - changes the way that we love. In the words of Janie, "love is like the sea."

"Love is lak de sea. It’s uh movin’ thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from de shore it meets, and it’s different with every shore...”


Bergdorf Blondes, Plum Sykes

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This book is chick-lit at it's best, but I just adore it. I reread this book every year (along with Catcher in the Rye, Of Mice & Men, and On the Road - I feel like it's a literary sin to group these together with a chick-lit book?), but it just makes me happy because it is absolutely adorable.

This book has taught me that sometimes love comes unexpectedly - and that it's more important to have someone that really, truly cares about you than to have the most perfect closet in the world. In other words, yeah, it's great to have someone there when you're looking and feeling fabulous, but it's the person who is there when you're sick and moody and feeling awful who still loves and cares for you who is the most special.


The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Unrequited love. I think a lot of us have been there before - you love someone, they don't feel the same way back. Or, in Gatsby's case, they're married to a total jerk, but won't leave that jerk, even though they love you back.

Basically what I've learned through this book, is that, like Gatsby, you can have anything in the world - money, nice clothes, cars, whatever - but love is what makes it all worth it (even unrequited love that makes you crazy and totally sucks). Another lesson, is that sometimes love takes sacrifice (though I hope I never have to make a sacrifice like the one that Gatsby made for Daisy).

He hadn’t once ceased looking at Daisy, and I think he revalued everything in his house according to the measure of response it drew from her well-loved eyes. Sometimes, too, he stared around at his possessions in a dazed way, as though in her actual and astounding presence none of it was any longer real. Once he nearly toppled down a flight of stairs...”


Harry Potter (I-VII), J.K. Rowling

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Judge me for loving Harry Potter - I do not even care. :)

Harry Potter has shown me that the ability to love is the greatest gift that we could ever possess, but love is not easy because it requires trust, and trust isn't an easy thing to give out, especially when things are hard. The love Harry's mother has for him saves his life, the love Dumbledore has for Harry molds him into the person he becomes, and love becomes the very thing that saves everyone in the end.

No matter how difficult things get, if you have love, you're one up on all the people who are living without it - consumed with other things. Dumbledore says it best in the final book -

"Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love."


Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

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Charlotte Bronte could have written soap operas - for real. The girl had an active imagination. This was another book I read for pre-AP Lit my junior year, and I devoured this book.

Premise of the book is simple - two lonely people (one an orphan girl, the other her super rich employer), find that they can cure the loneliness they both suffer. Love breaks the ice of the crabby and rigid Rochester, and he and Jane continue to grow closer. Unfortunately, his timing sucks, because he forgets to tell Jane about his ridiculously crazy wife who lives in the house, hidden away.

While the premise (and very condensed) summary might sound depressing, I promise that it is actually a beautiful story - and it shows that love can break the toughest of exteriors, and cure the loneliest of people. To me, that is a message worth believing in.


The Wedding, Nicholas Sparks

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Okay - Nicholas Sparks's wife is seriously the luckiest woman in the world (aside from Colin Firth's wife - that's two Colin Firth references in one post, not too shabby!).

I'm not going to say too much about this book, because if you haven't read it, I BEG you to. It is ridiuclously beautiful - and has a twist ending that you just will not see coming at all. Plus, it references The Notebook, another Sparks novel, since Noah Calhoun is a character in The Wedding, and is just as romantic as ever, even as an old man.

Read this book, and send me roses when you finish it, because you will melt inside.


The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein

Okay, I haven't lost my mind, I promise. I know that this book isn't a typical for "romance," and I don't consider it to be. However, this is a story about unconditional love, and a love that is so deep, it is self sacrificing to the fullest extent.

Can I put this book on level with the relationship of Darcy and Elizabeth? No - but in it's own way, it is just as beautiful of a love story as any other.

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Who are some of your favorite literary couples?

I hope that you all have a beautiful Valentine's Day - whether you're single, dating, engaged, married - you're all beautiful people and deserve the very, very best.

Currently listening to: Nicki Minaj - Super Bass
(My mom said she will pay me $100 if I can successfully rap every single word to the song by Sunday. It's been on repeat since she laid the challenge down, and I won't lie - my flow is sick and I've got it almost all down).