Friday Five

Forget Quinoa! 5 Superfoods You Should Be Eating

Forget Quinoa! 5 Superfoods You Should Be EatingFlip through any health magazine in your neighborhood supermarket, and you’ll quickly find an article about the next greatest superfood. In the past few years, every time I’ve searched for clean and healthy recipes, I’ve been immediately inundated with quinoa and kale dishes to the point of nausea. Does anyone else feel the same?

Throughout my Whole30 journey, I have tried to incorporate a lot of nutrient-dense foods into my diet, and am amazed at how much better I feel. Over time, I have not only discovered just how delicious they can be, but how many health benefits these foods have. They may not be as glam as the quinoa-kale salads that have exploded all over my home page on Pinterest, but they can still be prepared in fun and flavorful ways and deserve a little love.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact a medical professional. I am not a licensed dietician — I just happen to play one on TV.

Without further adieu…

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Forget Quinoa! 5 Superfoods You Should Be Eating1. Sweet Potato
Forget the marshmallow-filled sweet potato casseroles you grew up eating. Sweet potatoes on their own are an excellent source of Vitamin A (377% of your daily Vitamin A needs in just one cup), which is important for good vision and healthy skin, among other things. Sweet potatoes also have nearly as much potassium as bananas, but only 1/3 of the amount of sugar. Paleo foodies are already aware of the many awesome ways to prepare your sweet potatoes, but for those who need a little inspiration, check out my Pinterest page for recipes. Pop over to Lexi’s Clean Kitchen for my favorite sweet potato gnocchi recipe!

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2. Cabbage
Cabbage gets a bad rap, thanks to this scene from Austin Powers (you’re welcome), but aside from its reputation as a food for circus folks, this vegetable is actually packed with tons of health benefits. Cabbage is a good source of Vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting. Cabbage also has cancer-fighting properties and is good for your immune system, heart health and more. Not sure how to incorporate it into your diet? Try these garlicky cabbage “steaks” from Rockin Mom’s Kitchen and you won’t regret it!

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Forget Quinoa! 5 Superfoods You Should Be Eating3. Eggs
No, they will not give you heart disease. Eggs actually have the potential to improve your HDL (the good kind of cholesterol) and are a complete source of protein. They are pretty much perfect! I hard-boil several eggs early in the week as a grab-and-go healthy snack, but they can be prepared in a variety of ways. Dani Spies from Clean and Delicious has a great 101 video about how to buy, store and cook eggs. Vegetarians, this is a great protein option for you!

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4. Blueberries
As a child, I always heard that if it could stain your clothes, it was probably pretty healthy. Of course, you could easily stain your clothes with food dyes and plenty of not-so-healthy snack foods, but the rule more or less applies for fruits and veggies. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and a relatively low glycemic fruit, which means they won’t wreak havoc on your blood sugar. Eat them raw or bake them into something – the world is your oyster.

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Forget Quinoa! 5 Superfoods You Should Be Eating5. Pineapple
Not only do pineapples make excellent homes for hyperactive sea creatures (here’s looking at you, Spongebob), but they also taste awesome and have a lot of important nutrients. Pineapples contain an enzyme called bromelain, which reduces swelling, bruising and inflammation. One cup of pineapple contains more than 100% of your recommended daily Vitamin C, which is vital for the immune system. Try cooking up some pineapple chunks in coconut oil and cinnamon for a sweet but still healthy treat. If nothing else, it will make your kitchen smell fantastic!

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What are some superfoods you enjoy? Share your favorites in the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: Lessons Learned From 1990s Pop Culture

Lessons Learned from 1990s Pop CultureAs someone who was born in 1990 and lived through most of that decade, I will always have a soft spot for the 90s and the music, movies and TV shows that came with it. Of course, the subject always tends to be a little overdone, but I couldn’t help but share my own feelings about that scrunchie-filled time in our history!

There are a lot of surprising lessons we can all learn from 1990s pop culture, which we’ll discuss in this weekend’s edition of The Weekend Five. Feel free to add your own to the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: Lessons Learned From 1990s Pop Culture

1. Inanimate objects come to life as soon as you leave the room.
Thanks to movies like Toy Story and the Brave Little Toaster sequels, a part of me grew up believing that whenever I left the house, my toys and household appliances gained consciousness and had conversations with each other. (I’m still not entirely unconvinced.) Now in 2015, this is probably why I can’t find a few things in my kitchen… They simply walked off to enjoy a new life.

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Five Lessons Learned from 1990s Pop Culture2. If you want to be someone’s lover, you have to get with their friends.
I’m assuming the Spice Girls meant that you should befriend their friends, and not literally “get with” them. In the song Wannabethe Spice Girls make a very good point — if you’re interested in someone, you need to show interest in their friends and the other important people in your boo’s life as well. They also say something about a “zig-a-zig-ah,” whose definition happens to be one of the biggest mysteries of the 1990s.

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3. “We were on a break” is never a good excuse for anything you did to upset your significant other.
Actually, never turn to Ross Geller from Friends for any kind of relationship advice. That should be the real lesson here.

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4. With the proper makeover, the nerdiest girl in school can transform into the prom queen and land the hottest guy in school.
This “lesson” eventually led to horribly unrealistic expectations for dorky girls everywhere (myself included). Sadly, my makeover didn’t come until college, at a time when nerdiness and “quirkiness” had started to become vaguely attractive traits anyway. I had to watch She’s All That many times before I realized that Freddie Prinze Jr. was never going to enroll at my school.

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Five Lessons Learned from 1990s Pop Culture5. Don’t ever talk to a girl who says she just has a friend.
In his song Just A Friend, when Biz Markie asks the girl he likes if she has a boyfriend, she responds, “No I don’t. I only have a friend.” They build a relationship, but when he goes to visit her at college, he quickly runs into her male “friend” kissing her in the dorms. The moral to the story? Don’t ever talk to a girl who says she just has a friend. Ladies: If a guy asks you if you’re seeing someone and you tell him “I only have a friend,” you sound extremely sketchy. We really do have platonic male friends, but if we feel the need to mention them when a new guy asks if you’re single, the relationship probably isn’t all that platonic.

(Side Note: I know that this song came out in 1989, but it feels so 90s to me and it officially went platinum in 1990, so I am including it in 1990s pop culture!)

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What are your favorite lessons from 1990s pop culture? Share yours in the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: Lessons Learned from Audrey Hepburn Characters

Five Lessons Learned from Audrey Hepburn CharactersEverything I know, I learned from Audrey Hepburn.

Okay, perhaps that’s an exaggeration, but ever since I first watched Roman Holiday back in high school, I have been in awe of the glamorous actress and her equally glamorous characters. I dressed up as Holly Golightly for my decades-themed 21st birthday party (complete with the fancy cigarette holder), and whenever I’m stressed out, I’ll often turn on one of her movies to relax. (I even somehow integrated Audrey’s film characters into a blog post about balancing health and a social life.) The actress herself was someone to aspire to – a humanitarian and devoted mother.

This weekend’s blog focuses on a few of the lessons to be learned from some of her more popular roles. Share your own favorites in the comments section below!

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1. “Oh, but Paris isn’t for changing planes, it’s… it’s for changing your outlook… for throwing open the windows and letting in… letting in la vie en rose.” – Sabrina Fairchild, Sabrina (1954)
Early in the movie, a lovesick and insecure Sabrina travels from New York to Paris to attend culinary school, and she emerges a sophisticated and confident young woman. The lesson to be learned from this? Sometimes, all you need is a change in scenery to become a different person. For Sabrina, that new backdrop is the Eiffel Tower, but in reality it can be anywhere – a new city, a new country, or even a new park across town that you’ve never visited before. Travel, no matter how far the distance, can change your perspective on the world, on people and on life in general. (And of course, when in doubt, Paris is always a good idea.)

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Five Lessons Learned from Audrey Hepburn Characters2. “There are certain shades of limelight that can wreck a girl’s complexion.” – Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Not all attention is positive attention. Holly Golightly learns this the difficult way, as she finds herself at the center of more than one scandal throughout the film. Certain shades of limelight, in fact, can lead to a negative public perception of a person. It’s okay to make mistakes from time to time, but important to strongly consider the choices you make and align them with the reputation you want to have.

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3. “When you can be fancy-free and flash a smile that folks come flocking to see, you’ll be as lovely as can be.” – Jo Stockton, Funny Face (1957)
Positivity goes a long way. Sometimes, a simple smile can make a person’s whole day that much brighter. We may worry about how well we’re dressing for our body types or when was the last time we had our roots touched up, but an even more important lesson in how to be lovely is to consider the way we make others feel and the type of energy we put out into the world.

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5 Lessons Learned from Audrey Hepburn Characters4. “You musn’t give your heart to a wild thing. The more you do, the stronger they get, until they’re strong enough to run into the woods or fly into a tree. And then to a higher tree and then to the sky.” – Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Don’t go into a relationship with the intent to change someone. If the person you fall for tells you that he or she doesn’t want to settle down, believe that person. Never idealize someone to the point that their flaws or even their differences in opinion don’t exist. Recognize people for whom they are and don’t try to pin down someone who doesn’t want to be pinned down.

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5. When in doubt, break the rules and take a mental health day. – Princess Ann, Roman Holiday (1953)
This lesson isn’t a quote from Roman Holiday, but it does partially sum up the film’s premise. Princess Ann has grown weary of her press engagements during her tour of Europe, so she escapes to spend a day as a Roman tourist, making a few unlikely friends along the way. The film ends on a bittersweet note, and she ultimately returns to her duties as princess, but Ann does have the opportunity to experience Rome from a different perspective and make lasting memories of her time in the ancient city. Sometimes in life, it’s okay to take a break from your obligations and do something exciting for your own well-being. Recognize when you are being stretched too thin, and do something about it.

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What are your favorite lessons from Audrey Hepburn’s iconic movie roles? Sound off in the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: Modern Twists to Your Favorite Disney Movies, Part II

Modern Twists to Your Favorite Disney MoviesFor many of us, Disney’s animated movies were a huge part of our childhood. Twenty years later, it can be fun to watch these movies as adults and relive that simpler time in our lives.

Of course, as we indulge in the classics, it’s fun to ask ourselves how these movies would differ if they took place in modern times! Back in March, I went through the plots of a few Disney favorites and came up with my own versions of these movies in 2015.

However, there are still plenty of popular Disney movies that I didn’t get to write about last time around! This week, I share my present-day plots for five more Disney movies. Enjoy!

The Weekend Five: Modern Twists to Your Favorite Disney Movies, Part II

1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937)
Meet Snow White, a beautiful girl who “hates drama.” Unfortunately for Snow White, drama seems to follow her everywhere, because everyone is jealous of how beautiful she is. Her own stepmother tries to ruin her life by placing a virus on Snow’s Macbook and iPhone, hoping to cut off the girl’s communication with the outside world. This backfires when Snow White meets a group of seven computer engineering students at the local college, who help fix her Apple products and ultimately invite her to move in with them. Her boyfriend isn’t thrilled about her living with multiple guys, but as she explains to him, “Girls just don’t really like me!”

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Modern Day Twists to Disney Movies2. Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Needing an escape from her boring life, Alice decides to visit a new bar in town called The Rabbit Hole. After taking a shot of something that says Drink Me, Alice finds a passageway to a secret club downstairs called Wonderland. There she is introduced to a strange underground music scene and makes a few bizarre new friends. She finds herself especially intrigued by a guy she meets, known only as The Mad Hatter, and accepts his invitation to an Unbirthday Party the next night. However, after spending more time with these new friends over the next few weeks, she realizes how weird and flaky they really are, and ultimately goes back to her regular life.

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3. Peter Pan (1953)
Career-driven and successful Wendy Darling loves her boyfriend, Peter, but worries about the fact that he still lives in his fraternity house five years after they graduated from college. After work each day, she takes care of Peter and his frat brothers by cleaning the house and cooking them dinners, and finds herself wishing Peter would apply for a job already. In the end, she dumps him for an older guy who happens to have a job and a boat.

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Modern Twists to Your Favorite Disney Movies4. Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Aurora is placed under a sleeping curse, in which she sleeps through several world wars and significant historical events. When she finally wakes up, she must adapt to a changing world. One day, she hears a beautiful singing voice in the forest, but is saddened to discover that it is in fact Justin Bieber.

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5. Aladdin (1992)
Aladdin falls for Jasmine, an Instagram-famous lifestyle personality who lives in his hometown and has no idea that he exists. To make matters worse, her boyfriend Jafar has reached a similar level of online fame, mostly because of his flair for ironic facial hair. In a fit of desperation, Aladdin turns to local social media/PR agency Social Genie, who helps him to create popular social media profiles that transform his image. Jasmine quickly falls for Aladdin. In the end, she learns that his awesome online life was completely fake, but still decides to give him a chance.

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How do you think your favorite Disney films would have gone in 2015? Share your ideas in the comments below!

The Weekend Five: Ways to “Treat Yo Self”

Five Ways to "Treat Yo Self" | So It Must Be TrueHappy Valentine’s Day, readers! ‘Tis the season for beautiful flower arrangements, complaints about the commercialization of the holiday, and more trips to Godiva than usual. Whether you’ve decked out your home in reds and pinks or you have your doubts about a flying baby with a magical arrow, Valentine’s Day can serve a greater purpose than merely sending us into a panic over dinner reservations. Instead, Valentine’s Day can remind us of the most important relationship we have: the relationship we have with ourselves.

Let’s face it – while this relationship is incredibly vital to all aspects of our lives, we don’t always give it the love and attention it deserves. We speak negatively to ourselves and place undue blame for things that happened years ago. We sacrifice the quality of the relationship – sleep, nutrition, personal relaxation – in order to fulfill our obligations to others. We put less time into ourselves than necessary because we don’t believe that time to be important.

Five Ways to "Treat Yo Self" | So It Must Be TrueNot long ago, I recognized a need for improvement in this area of my life, so as one of my New Year’s Resolutions, I promised to do at least one nice thing for myself (or, as my friends on Parks and Recreation might say, “treat yo self”) every week. This doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, but it requires me to make myself a priority from time to time and to think about what I want.

Moving forward, how do you plan to make yourself a priority? Check out five ideas for ways to “treat yo self,” and sound off in the comments section below with your own personal favorites!

The Weekend Five: Ways to “Treat Yo Self”

1. Take a night to yourself.
Turn off your phone, log off of social media, and relax. From time to time, we all need a night away from the craziness of our daily lives. Instead of fishing for the latest friend drama on Facebook, stay at home and do something you enjoy. Binge-watch your favorite series on Netflix. Read that book you were dying to read that has been gathering dust on your shelf. Take a bath. Do something non-stressful and appreciate the time you have alone. For introverts like myself who have very social careers, it is extremely important to do this in order to feel refreshed and fully functional after a week of networking.

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Five Ways to "Treat Yo Self" | So It Must Be True2. Buy yourself a fun non-essential.
By this, I don’t mean “max out all your credit cards while buying things you don’t really need in the first place.” (Somehow, I feel that Blu Cantrell’s song Hit Em Up Style is applicable here.) I do mean that occasionally it can be nice to get yourself something within your means for no reason other than the fact that it will bring you joy. Recently, I stumbled into an antiques store with the intention of buying a gift for a friend, but I ended up walking out with a cute necklace for myself as well. Stay within the confines of your budget, of course, but allow yourself to splurge (within reason) and treat yourself to that product or service you really want: an accessory, a manicure, a video game, flowers, etc. (Keep in mind that if your happiness is too closely tied to the things you purchase, you may have a shopping problem.)

3. Go outside.
I’m a firm believer in the importance of soaking up the sun… even for just a few minutes. I love eating lunch outdoors when the weather permits, going for walks on my local nature trail (maybe not as often after encountering my first bear back in November), and bringing a book to the pool while I attempt to become slightly less pale. :) Even when it is raining, I have been known to read outside on the porch behind my screen enclosure. Of course, I am fortunate to live in Florida, where winter is usually pleasant and most of the above activities are possible year-round. However, when the weather is tolerable for you in whichever state you live, I urge you to get outside and enjoy the surrounding nature.

Five Ways to "Treat Yo Self" | So It Must Be True4. Visit a local landmark or free community event.
While I live just north of a very touristy city, run by a certain Mouse, I love to travel slightly off the beaten path to those nearby hidden gems. From historic towns to art museums to local festivals, I enjoy looking for (cheap) adventures that don’t require a boarding pass or precious vacation time. Visit your city’s convention and visitor bureau website for ideas on upcoming events or exhibits, or simply google “free/cheap things to do in ____.” You will be amazed at the cool things you find without breaking the bank.

5. Take on a new project.
Try out one of those DIY creations you have been eyeing on Pinterest. Attempt a recipe for something you’ve never made before. Teach yourself a new song on your instrument of choice. Start a blog! Whatever it is that you want to do, make time for it and have fun. Don’t take yourself too seriously – just enjoy yourself!

What are some ways you like to treat yourself? Share your favorites in the comments!

The Weekend Five: Travel Essentials for the New Year

Friday-Friendly-Funny-Dave-Blazek-Friendly-Planet-Travel-Airline-Seat2015 is here, which means it’s time to dust off those New Years Resolution travel goals and make our vacation dreams a reality! I was especially spoiled to take two trips out of the country during my junior year of college, visiting both the Middle East and Europe (see my posts on London, Paris and Rome!), but my love for travel has taken a backseat since I graduated from college almost two years ago. This year, I hope to go on a few more adventures to reawaken my wanderlust and explore something new!

As part of RelayRides‘ travel essentials campaign, I’ll be sharing five must-haves for your next trip. Keep these on your list as you plan out your own 2015 adventures, and keep RelayRides in mind for future airport car rentals, which you can access at airports all over the country! :)

The Weekend Five: Travel Essentials

camera_funny_never1. Camera.
I’ll never forget the joy I felt as a child when my parents bought me disposable cameras before we went on vacation. In fact, on one trip, I went through three disposable cameras throughout the course of a week, snapping photos all over New York City. Bringing your camera is an important (if not slightly obvious) way to capture each moment of your trip. Whenever I go on vacation, I always bring an extra memory card in case I get a little photo-crazy. Make sure you bring something you don’t mind carrying around!

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2. Lip balm and moisturizers.
Chances are, if you’re traveling anywhere that has even a slightly different climate from where you live, the new environment will have an impact on your skin. If you’re flying to your destination, your lips are sure to chap on the airplane, so make sure you pack your favorite lip balm (guys included) and a moisturizer for your face. After spending 10 days in the desert and then flying home, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked in the mirror in the airport bathroom. I will never again travel without sufficient moisturizer and a consistent regimen!

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travel essentials for the new year3. Itinerary.
I am a firm believer in the value of a good itinerary. Planning what you want to see and do ahead of your trip is essential for making the most out of your vacation! Allow room for spontaneity – you never know what you’ll stumble into along the way! – but have a basic schedule for where you want to go and what you want to see.

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4. Chargers.
Make sure you pack chargers for all devices that you plan to use on your trip. If your camera dies on Day 2 out of 5, you don’t want those photos to be your last! A phone charger is also important, especially if you’re traveling within the country and will be using your phone to regularly communicate. Pro tip: To avoid leaving your charger at the hotel, leave a note for yourself to remember your charger, and keep that note by the door. My dad, a pilot, taught me that before my first overnight trip without my family, and I will never forget it!

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travel must haves5. Journal.
On my past few trips, I decided to bring a journal for a few reasons. One: it allowed me to create a chronological list of the attractions I’d photographed throughout the trip (so I wouldn’t forget what they were a few days later when I returned home). Two: it was a great way for me to record my personal observations and experiences throughout the trip, in a way that was private but still meaningful. I kept my journals from my most recent trips to Israel and Europe, and two years later, I still enjoy reading them on occasion and remembering some of the nuances of the trips.

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What are your travel essentials? Share your must-haves in the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: People We Follow On Instagram

This is totally me. No shame.

This is totally me. No shame.

You know what they say… you are what you Instagram. Okay, so perhaps this isn’t the exact wording of the old adage, but our social media outlets certainly give friends and followers some insight into who we are and where our interests lie. My news feed on Facebook remains similar now to what it looked like two years ago when I wrote this post, but as I’ve migrated over to Instagram, I’ve found some common patterns there as well.

I’d imagine that for many of us, if we were to compare news feeds on Instagram, we would find that many of our friends post variations of the same things. This week, let’s take a look at some of the common themes that make their way onto our Instagram feeds.

The Weekend Five: People We Follow On Instagram

foodie-joke1. The Foodie.
The foodie comes in all shapes, sizes and culinary preferences. Whether your friend is a Cake Boss or a Super Strict #Paleo Health Nut, this person is constantly posting pictures of his or her meals. Whenever I open this app on my phone, I am immediately hungry from all of the beautifully staged food photos I see. (Seriously – how do you guys get your food to look so immaculate?) I am definitely guilty of posting more food pictures than any reasonable person should — to the point where many of my friends probably now hate me — but I don’t know if I’ll ever have the patience or skills required to make my food look Martha Stewart-ready.

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what-if-cats-have-their-own-internet-and-its-full-of-pictures-of-us2. The Technologically Savvy Animal.
Thanks to these people, cats have been ruling the Internet for the past several years. The Animal Lover posts tons of adorable pictures of his or her pet (usually a cat or dog), gathering so many other Animal Lover followers that their pets now have their own hashtags and companies invite them to do product giveaways on their social media. Personally, I follow more German Shepherds, Chihuahuas and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels on Instagram than is socially acceptable. My dog, Charlie, has his own Instagram page run by my sister — and he has more followers than I do! When you’re feeling sad or upset, these Instagram pages are a great place to turn. A few cute pet pics will brighten almost any day!

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bear_fitness-php13. The #TurntUp One.
I still barely understand what it means to turn up or turn down, but I’ll be damned if I don’t see at least one person on my Instagram each week with that very hashtag. While many of these posts used to be party- and bar-related, the #turntup factor has since been amplified by the EDM/house music scene. We all have at least one of these friends. I don’t know if I’ll ever be cool enough to post any of these pictures without some degree of irony, but the good news is that I’ll still be functional enough to “turn up” to work the next day. :)

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20120828-1128084. The Whimsical One.
This person uses very few hashtags, writes quirky-cute captions, and manages to get at least 50 likes per photo. Whether she’s strategically photographed dancing in some meadow, taking a selfie with a cat in a bow-tie, or doing something creative with a Mason jar, her pictures always come out flawlessly and are insanely popular on social media. As you plot your own social media domination, you can’t help but envy her for her seemingly effortless photos and style.

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sophisticated_owl_by_adlovett-d6nu84t5. The Cosmopolitan.
Like The Whimsical One, The Cosmopolitan usually receives a lot of likes/follows without having to spam everyone with hashtags. The Cosmopolitan is a little better than you in every way, posting meals that you can’t pronounce from trendy restaurants you can’t afford (usually involving some sort of “balsamic reduction” or something truffle-related), visits to museums/the theatre, cool photos taken on European travels and an occasional, well-polished outfit of the day. The Cosmopolitan is not always as worldly as The Whimsical One, but typically more reliable.

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Who do you follow on Instagram? Anybody who didn’t make the cut? Share your favorites in the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: Facebook Friends We Wish We Didn’t Have

bad_facebook_friend_tshirt-r9e77664892704bb584c6af29b37fa0bd_804gs_512In the age of social media, we find ourselves rubbing virtual shoulders with people we like and people we don’t like. Despite the fact that we choose the “friends” we follow, we still run into a few bad apples who slipped through our newsfeeds or timelines (which, sadly, look mostly like this).

Comb through your social media profiles, and I guarantee you will find at least one (if not all) of the five friends/followers that we all sort of want to de-friend.

The Weekend Five: Facebook Friends We Wish We Didn’t Have

1. The Rabid Politician.
Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a little biased… for me, this definitely applies more toward the opposing political party than my own. It’s natural for a lot of us to feel exceptionally annoyed toward those who are vocal about something we disagree with. However, there are many times when even my fellow members of the Whig Party start to get on my nerves, when the only thing they post about is their political outrage. I don’t mind a few political posts now and then (I’m guilty of a few myself!), and I obviously think it’s important to care about your country’s affairs. But when your timeline reads like a political attack ad, it’s time to put down the (probably partisan) newspaper and go enjoy some fresh air.

esc_010WiestFerrell2. The Salesman.
No, I do not want to buy your makeup product or nutritional** cure-all pill, thank you very much! I have become much more jaded thanks to people like this, so whenever I receive a message from someone “out of the blue,” I am instantly suspicious. These relationships are often one-sided and unless you are offering something I truly need, I don’t want our first conversation since kindergarten to boil down to you asking me for money.

3. The Purge Enthusiast.
This is the girl who threatens to purge all of her contacts except for her “true friends.” (Let’s face it, in my experience, this has always been a girl.) Every few weeks, she complains that “no one is reading this” and that she will be deleting everyone who hasn’t “been there” for her. Sometimes she even provides a call-to-action (“if you still want to be my friend, message me” or “comment with three things you like about me” or “go to the farthest mountain and bring back the final ingredient to the potion I am brewing”), which – more often than not – I refuse to participate in. Sometimes I am unaware of the purge that has taken place, only to wake up to a status that says something along the lines of: “If you’re reading this, you fulfilled the unrealistic requirements I have been imposing on my casual acquaintances.” Sometimes I do not pass this test, but instead receive a friend request from the person under a new name a few weeks later. And the cycle continues.

1344315965956_40575544. The Perpetual Smart-Ass.
This person does not have one nice thing to say. Instead, he (occasionally a she, but usually a he) copes with his insecurities by trolling our social media profiles. Did you just post the most beautiful profile picture you’ve ever posted in your life? Well, The Perpetual Smart-Ass will be sure to comment… not to compliment you for how you look in the photo, but to poke fun at something very miniscule in the background. Did you write a particularly clever status? The Perpetual Smart-Ass will attempt to one-up you with something they believe to be even wittier. I’ve even had my grammar incorrectly corrected by this person! In fact, there are a few people whose notifications I dread receiving, because nothing they write is genuine and everything is underscored by their secret longing to be the smartest, most interesting person in the room. (This is the same person who regularly quotes Internet memes in real life conversations.)

5. Who’s That?
I can’t remember where we met or how we know each other. I’m sorry, are you a mutual friend of So & So? Did we do a group project together in middle school? I want to know who you are but I became too embarrassed to ask after you Facebook-poked me the other day. I’m not sure if this is related to some inside joke we had, or if you’re just creepy. Actually, I’m not sure if we know each other at all! It looks like we have no mutual friends, your profile pictures are all images of Jim Carrey in his various movie roles, and all of the comments on your wall say something along the lines of, “Who is this?”

Who are some of your most dreaded social media contacts? Any you’d like to add to the list?

** – Not approved by the FDA. May cause horrific disfigurement. Use with caution.

The Weekend Five: TV Crossovers That Need to Happen

82705raven_01Because I’m a fan of so many TV shows, you’d think I would love crossover episodes. After all, wouldn’t it be awesome to see some of my favorite characters from two or more TV shows, duking it out on one set? Sadly enough, I’ve never seen a crossover episode that I really enjoyed. (I am hoping that the Family Guy/The Simpsons crossover this fall will change that!)

To remedy this horrible problem, I took it upon myself to create five brand new TV shows that involve character crossovers. These shows range from comedy to drama to reality, and will hopefully make the work a lot easier for the writers, as the episodes practically write themselves! Sit back and relax with a bowl of your most buttery popcorn as we flip through these five amazing TV show crossovers.

The Weekend Five: TV Crossovers That Need to Happen

1. That’s So Raymond (That’s So Raven + Everybody Loves Raymond).
Sports writer Ray Barone (Ray Romano on Everybody Loves Raymond) finds himself teaching journalism classes at a San Francisco high school, until one day he begins having visions of the future. His long lost cousin, Raven Baxter (That’s So Raven) teaches him how to harness his psychic powers, but the two get into plenty of costumed hijinks along the way. The show features Raymond’s nagging wife Debra, several sassy catchphrases (“That’s so Raymond!”), and Ray Romano’s glorious Muppet voice.

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1994b04a592e32d67f6d1c08f81e88d02. Boy Meets Girls (Boy Meets World + Girls).
Cory Matthews (not yet married to Topanga, with whom he is currently on a break) and the guys from Boy Meets World decide that New York is the perfect place to spend their twenties. They move into the apartment across from Hannah Horvath and Marnie Michaels (Lena Dunham and Allison Williams on Girls). Cory finds himself fascinated by the younger, fast-talking Shoshanna, while Shawn falls for troublesome Jessa, whose past may be darker than his own. Meanwhile, as part of her quarter-life crisis, Marnie hooks up with the ambitionless Eric Matthews, much to her own chagrin. The show features clever commentary on the millennial generation, Shoshanna’s bizarre hairstyles, Skype dates with Mr. Feeny, and a lot of Lena Dunham nudity.

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3. America’s Next Top Teen Mom (America’s Next Top Model + Teen Mom).
Tyra is always looking for a new spin for her competitive modeling TV show. Why not add MTV’s famous teen mothers into the mix? The young contestants are judged based on their smize, the number of weaves they can wear in one episode, their ability to text and drive, and how well they deal with their baby daddies. The show features lots of tears, a weekly discussion about the contestants’ “realness,” a screaming Tyra Banks, and Jenelle Evans’ hot lawyer.

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once-upon4. Once Upon a Grimm (Once Upon a Time + Grimm).
Once Upon a Time and Grimm, both heavily focused on fairy tales and folklore, hit the small screens around the same time. Putting them together for a spin-off TV show (or at least a crossover episode) would be a no-brainer! Nick Burkhardt, a Portland homicide investigator and Grimm (a hunter who perceives supernatural forces and can fight them), finds his way to the East Coast town of Storybrooke. He and his partner, Hank Griffin, team up with Emma Swan (the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming) to vanquish whatever villain is currently haunting Storybrooke. Meanwhile, Monroe (a blutbad, much like The Big Bad Wolf) begins an illicit affair with Ruby (Red Riding Hood/Werewolf Extraordinaire). Police Captain Sean Renard takes a liking to Evil Queen Regina (the Mayor of Storybrooke) and they bond over their shared knack for interior decorating. The show features true love’s kiss, several magical fight scenes, Nick Burkhardt’s concerned face, good triumphing over evil, and too much clever dialogue for its own good.

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5. Orange is the New Scandal (Orange is the New Black + Scandal).
Olivia Pope fixes things. But when she finds herself sentenced to a year in federal prison for the crimes she has committed, she can no longer play her role as Washington D.C.’s resident fixer. Instead, she begins helping her fellow inmates with their own issues. She gets Red back to her job in the kitchen, prepares several inmates for their appeals, puts an end to the prison race wars, and even works to improve Crazy Eyes’ image. The show features emotionally-charged prison visits from President Fitzgerald Grant, flashbacks to Olivia’s fabulous coats, a developing friendship between Olivia and fellow prisoner/hairdresser Sophia (who helps her maintain her beautiful hairstyles), and a significantly improved prison system.

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You’re welcome, TV viewers.

The Weekend Five: Tips for Road Trip Etiquette

five rules for road trip etiquetteWe are in the thick of summer, which is the best time of the year for a road trip! I’ve personally never taken a long trip in the car (I prefer flying!), but over the years I have taken several mini-road trips out to other parts of the state, and I’ve definitely picked up my share of advice and pet peeves in that time. As you gear up for your own road trips this summer, keep these five rules in mind. (Want to share? Tweet this!)

The Weekend Five: Tips for Road Trip Etiquette

1. The driver controls the music.
If you’re not the one driving, don’t touch the radio unless the driver says so. Driving can be as stressful as it is costly, so the driver should play the music or radio shows that put him or her most at ease. Of course, if you’re the driver, you should also be polite and open to suggestions from your passengers (it’s not nice to blast Megadeth when your friends are trying to avoid hearing loss, for example), but as a passenger, it’s not nice to turn off the driver’s song just because you dislike Nickelback or whatever.

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2. Keep your feet off the dashboard.
There is nothing that I hate more than when passengers want to treat my car like their dirty apartments. (Okay, that’s a little dramatic – I also hate bigots, Internet trolls and cockroaches.) You don’t live in my car, so keep your feet off the dashboard and sit up straight.

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five rules of road trips3. No backseat driving allowed!
This has always been another huge pet peeve of mine! As a passenger, you should speak up if you believe you’re in serious danger or if you see something that the driver can’t, but avoid criticizing minor aspects of the driver’s technique: a slightly crooked parking job, a turn signal that started a little too soon or a little too late, the driver’s speed being slightly faster or slower than you would drive. Again, unless it is something that could put the passengers in danger or get the driver in trouble, there is no need to comment on minor mistakes – chances are, they are one-time mistakes that the driver has already caught, and you would be making them too if you were the driver that day. Backseat driving can also put the driver on edge and make him or her very uncomfortable, which doesn’t always make for safe driving.

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4. Show your appreciation to the driver.
On a long drive, it is only fair that the passengers contribute something for the driver, whether that includes gas money or lunch. Long drives cost a lot of money (and energy), and your driver deserves contributions that make the trip easier.

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5. Don’t eat in the car without the driver/car owner’s permission.
Some car owners are cool with passengers eating whatever they want in the car, but others are not so lax. Find out what your friend will allow early on (Food? Drinks?) and if he or she does allow food in the car, try to only bring food that won’t make a huge mess or have a strong smell. An easy road trip food I like to bring is a bag of grapes – they don’t make crumbs and they won’t make your fingers sticky, either. I love hard boiled eggs, but I don’t bring them in friends’ cars because the smell can bother people. Be respectful of your driver!

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Other tips: Don’t douse yourself in perfume or cologne if you’re going to be in close proximity to people for a long period of time. (Conversely, make sure you’re clean and wearing deodorant if you’re going to be in close proximity to people for a long period of time!) Offer to help the driver navigate if he or she is lost. If you do bring clean snacks, share with the other passengers!

What are some of your tips for road trip etiquette?