Callie

Archive for April, 2014|Monthly archive page

Greektown, Chicago

In Lifestyle on April 28, 2014 at 3:16 pm

Image

I have so much to say about these past 24 hours that I don’t even know where to begin. I arrived in Chicago with my mother and sister yesterday morning- I think the plane landed around 8 AM. Our first stop was Lou Mitchell’s for breakfast per the suggestion of my second cousin and let me just say this now: Best. Coffee. Ever. I am a coffeeaholic and have had a cup everyday for 7 years now. I try local coffee shops everywhere I go because I feel that it gives you a good grasp on the culture. Lou Mitchell’s coffee was perfectly bold without ANY bitterness. It felt so incredibly inviting and had the most amazing flavor that cannot be compared to any other roast. 

When you first walk in to Lou Mitchell’s, a heart-shaped basket filled with fresh doughnut holes is (kindly) shoved in your face. It is a traditional Greek gesture to offer something sweet upon arrival, and sweet it was. I definitely cheated on veganism to have a taste. The hospitality did not stop there as the staff was so sweet to us throughout our entire experience.

 

Image

View from atop the National Hellenic Museum

After a wonderfully huge breakfast we ventured into Greektown. We spent ages at the National Hellenic Museum (half of the time shopping for gifts for family members). Most of the information exhibited includes details on the lives of Greek immigrants and the wins and losses of combining Greek culture with new American life. It was intriguing to my family as we don’t know very much about our transition into America (I believe my great-grandparents immigrated in the early 1900s). At the top of the museum is a rooftop patio with a great view.

 

Image

Back at the Museum’s shop, I couldn’t stop myself from buying “The Romantic Poetry of Greece: An Anthology” that has each poem in both Greek and English. I can read Greek phonetically but so far I only know the meanings of less than 100 words. One day I do plan to learn the language, though. Something I found odd about the book was that the collection of poems is from 1880-1960, practically a century behind the British literary movement. As we speak of Romantic poets let me add that I found the best quote by Percy Bysshe Shelley at the museum- see picture below. Actually I am very biased. The quote is great to me because if there’s anything you need to know about Greeks it’s that we are full of pride and Shelley only helps reinforce our feelings. 

Image

A lunch in a tiny kaffenion in Greektown, lots of walking, and my first taste of deep dish pizza at Uno’s completed the day. So far this morning I have walked down to Starbucks for a soy latte and enjoyed the sound of rain in the hotel with a great city view. If this isn’t bliss I don’t know what is. Stay tuned for more posts on Chicago and this fabulous hotel we are staying in!

 

Image

The view from our hotel room and let’s be honest here, can it really get any better than a view of Bloomies?

 

 

xx

-C

Advertisements

Hippie at Heart

In Thoughts on April 25, 2014 at 12:02 pm

I have been meditating and doing yoga much more lately to prepare my mind for my upcoming trips. Sunday I leave for Chicago with my mom and sister and two weeks after that I leave for Study Abroad with my best friend which will begin in Paris. I have so many emotions running through me lately: excitement, anticipation, terror, wonder- really everything you could imagine that could plague your brain before your first real out of the country experience. Also, I am absolutely terrified to fly over water, but with a little help from Ativan and a lot of help from meditation, I am feeling so ready to do this.

 

The more I think about the effects of prescription drugs lately, the more I realize I want to be, for lack of a better word, clean. My goal has been to focus on raw organic foods, and with that I think comes the insight into everything else you are putting your body through. I’ve been focusing on switching all of my beauty products and makeup over to good-for-you organic products alongside my vegan focus. That I plan to post about soon because you couldn’t imagine the things I’ve learned about organic beauty products in such a short amount of time- and the horrors of chemical “normal” products as well.

 

BUT back to what I was saying. I feel very centered when I do more yoga and more at peace with my present self (Cliché I know but SO TRUE). I noticed that I have more confidence lately and I truly believe it is because I have been trying to rid my life of toxins. The toxicity of fear, of temptation to overeat and eat poor foods, the toxicity of cynicism. When you try to really become “clean,” you work wonders for not just your body, but for your mind too.

 

I hope with the renewal of life this spring (you may take that in a nature sense or religious- it is indeed planned to cover both) you also find a rebirth in yourself. I hope you are able to capture the exquisite feeling of a new beginning, one in which you need not carry with you the burdens of your former pains. I hope you learn to find a way to get to a clearer thinking point, one in which you can legitimately enjoy and appreciate life in the present moment in all its abstract ways.

 

xx

-C

A VEGAN Greek?!

In Lifestyle on April 22, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Image

My mother jumps at the chance to host each holiday at her house for the entire family. We have a huge Greek family so it’s chaotic from start to finish. Eastern Orthodox Easter (we use the Julian calendar) fell on the same day as the Gregorian calendar Easter this year which doesn’t happen often. With this huge holiday comes something that is customary in all Greek traditions: FOOD.

Explaining that I’ve been vegan to my Greek family went something like this:

 

I decided that I couldn’t pass up the holiday foods and became an omnivore again for the day. I ate τυρóπιτα (Tiropita), directly translated to “cheese pie,” σπανακόπιτα (Spanakopita), “spinach pie,” and even had two bites of lamb παστίτσιο (Pastitsio) which is a pasta dish similar to lasagna but with penne noodles.  And I must say it was all so delicious. 

 

But alas, I felt absolutely disgusting by the end of the day and I had to down some wine to fight off the guilt. All I wanted by the end of Sunday was Monday to come around so I could eat loads of fruit and greens and get back to feeling healthy again. It’s been 15 weeks of being vegan (a few cheats of cheese or a milk chocolate dessert sparingly) but whenever I eat dairy, something that would have been absolutely fine to my stomach before, I feel like SHIT which I guess is good seeing as those foods are terrible for you anyway.

 

I’m not going to preach to you the ways of veganism (yet) on here because I understand it is a very difficult transition to make in today’s America. I was lucky enough to have a semester off of school to simply work and focus on me. I wanted to get healthier both physically and mentally. What I will say about veganism is this: I have never felt so healthy, clean, and clear-headed before as I do now. I don’t feel like I can’t move after meals, rather I feel like I have energy to get up and go do something. There are many ways to take the easy route and be an unhealthy vegan so you must work at it constantly. (I say all the time that french fries are vegan so it’s fully possible to be an unhealthy vegan.) You must constantly educate yourself on what nutrients you need and how you plan to get them until you feel you are satisfied with the way you feel. I have changed my focus multiple times throughout this 15-week period and am currently focusing on eating a raw organic vegan diet- AKA raw fruits & veggies- except I still use unsweetened almond milk in my coffee. 🙂

 

I eat nuts and whole grains (Quinoa is my favorite) but I eat them much less than before. I don’t add any oils or extras to my vegetables- just steamed or baked like they are.  I’ve realized that nothing makes me feel better than fruit. It gives me the carb calories I need for energy and helps produce the serotonin I am constantly lacking, which makes a MUCH happier Callie. I used to calorie-obsess and I’m noticing that I don’t have to torture myself like that anymore. If I’m mainly eating raw, organic fruits & vegetables then I DON’T NEED TO WORRY. It sounds like such a difficult diet to do but to me it is so, so much easier. I no longer feel like it’s necessary to obsess over my calories because the weight will come off. How many raw, organic vegans do you know that are fat? None. So for now I am focusing on feeling healthy and having a little faith that the weight will come off eventually.

 

I hope everyone had a fabulous Easter Sunday! I’ll leave you with a picture I took of the gorgeous tulips we had as centerpieces.

 

DSCN0342

 

xx

-C

 

 

 

 

Coming Back with an Edge

In Thoughts on April 19, 2014 at 6:46 pm

My “Gossip Girl” obsession has gotten the best of me lately. Free time? Watch episode after episode of GG in a row. I’m reliving the first season because I love to see how the characters started out. Each character had changed so much towards the end of the series that it’s intriguing to go back to where it all began and remember how they all started. One in particular that has held my attention is Blair Waldorf. I think it’s safe to say that with Dan’s Inside later in the series, the show had a turning point from being all about Serena to all about Blair.

Season one is saturated with Serena scenes, but we forget to notice that Blair started out as innocent and mild-mannered in the very beginning. Ashleigh from On the Hunt reminded me with her  post “5 Life Lessons You Never Expected to Learn from Gossip Girl” this morning that Blair had a low point in this season when she lost her boyfriend, her friends, and all of her carefully pieced together plans for her life fell apart (for the first time). She was so close to running away from her problems when her biggest support system stepped in- Serena, of course.

Blair (in response to wanting to run away): Everything’s horrible. My whole life’s falling apart.

Serena: So rebuild it. You’re a Waldorf remember? People don’t tell you who you are, you tell them. Stay and fight. I’ll fight with you.

Blair: I’m so embarrassed. I’m so…

Serena: So what? Start over. It can be done. I should know. We’ll get through this together.

Blair: You promise?

Serena: Promise.

Sometimes when you feel alone, you need that one person to come forward and affirm that they will see to it that you will get to a better point in your life, no matter what. After a long talk with my sister about how depressed I’ve been last night, I can assure you that it is essential that someone comes forth to be there by your side while you rebuild your life.

Image

After this, Blair took a minimal amount of time to “mourn her former life” as she says, and then jumps quickly back into action. She comes back with risky plans to take down Jenny and regain her old friendships, and she does something else that slips by us as the audience; She opens her mind. She begins to speak to Dan as if he is an actual person. She accepts humiliation when it comes her way and then comes back brighter than ever. It’s so easy to get down on yourself when faced with defeat, so Blair’s determination should be a lesson to all of us.

If you want to rebuild your life, you will have to expand your ways of thinking. Scratch the old plans of what your life should be like and make some new ones. Try new things and get creative. If one thing doesn’t pan out the way you think it will, get up, move on, and try something new. Stop looking back and start looking forward. The best is yet to come.

 

xx

-C

Luxe Color Combos for Spring/Summer Handbags

In Fashion on April 17, 2014 at 12:43 pm

When it comes to handbags, I rarely stray from neutrals which is no exception this spring. I also refuse to compromise my style for the current trend. I get it, bucket bags and drawstring backpacks are all the rage this season, but I love my classic oversize handbag and the occasional satchel.

While I am always drawn to black, I am very surprised to say that I have been loving white and tan color block combos lately. Here are my absolute favorites for this spring/summer, click the picture for the link!

Image

This Givenchy bag is the creamiest color that I have legitimately been dreaming about for days now. (Facebook ads have also been taunting me- a clear indication that I have been spending way too much time looking at this bag online.)

Image

This Reed Krakoff bag is a much less structured one which I think contrasts so well with the sophisticated colors.

Image

This Marc Jacobs bag is very likely something that will be making its way into my closet this summer! I love the tininess of it for casual summer days when you don’t want to lug around too much crap due to the horrendous summer heat. Plus, if Fall 2014 Fashion Week taught us anything it’s that mint is not going anywhere any time soon! I love that this bag is mainly tan because paired with that pop of mint it is such a fresh yet nonchalant way of doing chic.

If you want to opt for a cheaper bag, ModCloth.com has some great looking bags with the same theme. Here’s my favorite:

Image

Lastly, when going for this look, I would say to stay away from the following types of browns (as opposed to beige or tan). It looks so drab compared to the above color combinations.

Image

Image

This is why nobody likes you, Coach.

Who else will be joining me in the black/tan/white color block bag trend this season?!

xx

-C

Travel Style: Edinburgh

In Fashion on April 16, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Travel Style: Edinburgh

I’m thinking more trendy in Edinburgh with a slight edginess (not pictured). The weather should be around 40-60 degrees F in May. I’m still on the lookout for black boots that are comfortable enough to spend everyday walking in, yet are cute enough to be paired with classic or edgy styles. So far, the Sperry Adeline boots look the most promising. Who has boots that are great for travel?! Recommendations welcome!

Travel & Overcoming Fears

In Lifestyle, Thoughts on April 15, 2014 at 3:57 pm

DSCN0266

 

“Greatness is measured by your gifts, not your possessions.”

Who else feels like everything is falling into place when your tea gives you the perfect quote to reflect your day?

In less than one month, I will be in Paris for a short Study Abroad trip with my best friend! It will be my first time traveling out of the country (you really can’t count the Bahamas on an American cruise line as going out of the U.S.) and I can’t even contain my excitement! All I can think is “what will I wear, what will I see, who will I meet?!” OH and what will I eat? Because DUH- Parisian macarons are on the to-do list! My mom brought me this mug back from when her flight had a layover in Paris- so no, she didn’t really see anything that she could tell me about. I feel like I’m venturing so far into unknown territory for me! The trip will bring us to Paris, Lourdes, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Iona (a tiny little island 3 miles by 1.5 off the coast of Scotland).

 

I’ve always been afraid to travel far because of my anxiety. Sure, I’ve wanted to go places but I couldn’t (and still am having trouble) imagining myself flying over a massive body of water. Not to mention the missing Malaysian flight 370 has certainly added to my fears. What I decided, however, when I chose to go forward with these plans last fall was that I will not allow my fears to control me. I know 100% that the rewards will outweigh the risk and all I can do is chose to be strong. Anxiety has a way of being pushed forward as the biggest priority and I get so sick of it. I choose to not let my anxiety control me on this trip. I will continue to enjoy the moment and be as fearless as I can be. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and if I don’t take it now because of my stupid fears, when will I ever? The more prepared I am, the less scared I feel when adventuring into anything new. So I have been preparing with my psychiatrist for months to find the perfect dose of Lexapro and to also find the perfect drug to knock me the fuck out for the 8 hour flight. Pills are not at all the only answer, though. I have been trying to learn as much as I can about the social norms (apparently shorts in Paris is a HUGE no) because hello I do not want to be seen as a tourist that will be an easy target.

 

I know the ins and outs of Atlanta; I know where to avoid, what to do when homeless people approach you talking nonsense (I act deaf) and what to do when homeless people approach you just wanting to simply tell their story (I always listen- and usually learn a lot). I know my city. I’ve lived in or around Atlanta my entire life and worked in the heart of downtown for almost 6 years. I’ve seen and heard the horror stories of women walking alone at night (why would you ever…) and have done my best to placate the crazies who threaten you for no reason. I understand how to be safe. I don’t know any of that about any of these cities we are going to which scares me- but I know I will be as smart as I can, and I will never leave my friend’s side. Anxiety doesn’t have to take control of your mind if you make smart decisions when trying new things.

 

So, back to my tea fortune. Common sense, intellect, and a keen instinct to always be cautious will help me enjoy the trip without allowing full-fledged anxiety to take over. Intelligence is one of my greatest gifts. I hope to achieve the level of greatness I want one day because I have this opportunity to expand my knowledge even more. Material possessions will never amount to any level of personal greatness, but your God-given gifts will and you must maximize that potential in order to become the person you wish to be.

 

xx

-C

 

Take a Bite out of This

In Fashion on April 12, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Image

Image

 

On my search for the perfect burgundy lip color at Sephora last Fall, I was directed to the Bite Beauty line for two reasons: 1) My mom wanted a lipstick that was not filled with chemicals (those Baby Boomers are so modern-day hippie) and 2) Bite is a new brand that, according to the saleswoman, has the most up-to-date burgundy that could give the bold, chic look I was aiming for. I swatched Bordeaux and was sold. The burgundy color is the perfect deep burgundy that’s more on the plum side than the dated pinky-burgundy side. PERFECTION. The last thing I wanted was my lips to look like I had an encounter with my mother’s decades-old Clinique lipstick *cringing as I type*.

 

Bite Beauty is a natural lip product company that is healthy enough to eat. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had many lipsticks/glosses that had such strong chemical smells that I just knew it’d be bad news had I accidentally ingested any. Odd isn’t it, that we will put products on our lips that would be dangerous if it were to get in your mouth? Lead, cadmium, chromium, aluminum, and other metals have all been found in lipsticks and glosses- some even at toxic levels. It doesn’t matter where you look, the research is there and most beauty products today are not indifferent but actually bad for you. You can read up more about this here because I am certainly no expert; I just want to make smarter decisions and help you do the same.

 

As for Clementine- I mean, who isn’t going to be wearing a bold orange lip this Spring/Summer? I am obsessed. After having Bordeaux, I have loved the staying power but I wanted a color that was easier to apply (trust me- Bite’s cashmere lip creams will take 5 minutes minimum) and I also wanted one sans-gloss so I could, you know, actually eat while wearing it *gasp*. This color is a true orange, not red-orange and certainly not too bright and neon-y. I really think this color would look amazing on almost all skintones. Plus, the fact that it’s matte means you can manipulate it with a gloss or another lip color if you feel so inclined.

 

Image

 

Chubby hands for days! I swear to you I did not mean for my nail color to match. I almost feel silly for how well it matches. Anyway, for reference I am always the lightest of the medium shades in foundation (usually called light beige). I have neutral-warm undertones and light shades are never warm enough for my half-Greek self, although I do mix in the darkest of the light shades when I am pale as ever (like now).

 

LASTLY: neither of these colors require a lip liner. The lip cream (Bordeaux) is applied like a lip gloss, but is heavily pigmented and settles to create a bold line while also giving the creamy consistency of a lipstick. It’s one of the coolest products I have ever used. The matte cream lip crayon (Clementine) has a thick pencil applicator so you can draw and fill in lips with the super-rich color effortlessly.

 

Not sponsored by Bite, but definitely wish I was! Go check out Bite Beauty products sold exclusively at Sephora! I can’t say enough good things about this amazingly NATURAL and chic brand!!

 

xx

-C

Tips From a Makeup Artist That Every Teen and 20-Something Need to Know

In Fashion, Lifestyle on April 10, 2014 at 11:58 am

1. You need moisturizer, and you need it every day. No, it will not make your oily skin oilier. Yes, it will tremendously slow the rate at which you get wrinkles. (And they are coming sooner than you think!)

2. CLEAN. YOUR. BRUSHES. I know it takes time but I can assure you that even spot cleaning them once a week will cut back on the amount of acne you are getting. Think about it- you are essentially storing all of those germs from your acne in your brushes to cover your face in yet again each day. Lovely, isn’t it? Spot cleaning takes SECONDS per brush (if they aren’t covered in gunk from weeks) and makes your makeup look better and your face way less disgusting.

3. Never leave the house without checking that your face makeup is blended into your neck. It’s the first sign of trashy-girl makeup and I can assure you that guys will notice it.

4. If there’s one thing you should splurge on, it’s foundation. Between 60-80% of what we put on to our face is absorbed into the skin in seconds. Cheap, chemical-ridden foundations are doing much more harm than good to your appearance and your body, so please opt for an organic foundation that matches your skin color flawlessly.

5. That leads me to my next point: it is very likely that you may need to buy two foundations to blend to get your best color match. It’s so worth it, and as you get tanner in the summer you can adjust your ratio of the two foundation colors you mix.

6. Cat eyes aren’t made for every eye shape, and that’s okay.

7. A matte finishing powder makes the world of difference in photos.

8. Home remedies (i.e. frozen spoons to de-puff eyes) will hold out much longer than makeup will. Always try and get your best face before applying makeup so you will have less worry when your makeup inevitably wears off hours later.

9. You have a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips with the amount of beauty gurus on YouTube. Use them. (Warning: it’s easy to get hooked on the videos so try not to spend too many hours watching them!)

TIP: Try and find a beauty guru with similar coloring as you (skin, eyes, hair) so you can learn what colors work best for you!

10. Don’t let the salespeople from a department store EVER trick you into buying products that you aren’t sure about. I used to work in Lancome and Clinique at Macy’s and let me tell you- it’s all about numbers. Yes, I sincerely tried to find the best products but I also had to meet my sales goal everyday (which was dependent on just how much you spent).

11. Always do your research before buying a product. I KNOW, I know, this is seriously the hardest thing to do sometimes. I can’t tell you the high I experience from finding new products at Sephora that I want to get that very second BUT I try my damnedest to only buy what I have already researched online. It makes the world of difference because A) you can look at everyone’s reviews and learn how the product will wear, the shelf life (vital for liquid liner), and really any other detail you could imagine and B) you can compare it to other products in which you might just find a way better product for half the price. Lastly, if you do your research and can be confident buying a product, you waste so much less money on products that you bought from getting sucked into the packaging allure or the salesperson gimmicks. Ever since I started doing my research on my products before buying, I don’t think there’s a single one that I was unsatisfied with for reasons I didn’t expect (which were clearly not enough of a problem to stop me from buying it in the first place).

12. Never wear red lipstick on a daily basis. Why are you trying so hard?

 

 

Hope this helped and please add any tips you’d like to share in the comments!

xx

-C

Anxiety in Teenagers and Young Adults: You’re Not Alone

In Lifestyle, Thoughts on April 8, 2014 at 12:54 pm

“Roughly 40 million people have an anxiety disorder in the United States, and the disorder usually manifests by the age of 22. People with anxiety disorders frequently suffer from depression as well.”

Sane Magazine

That’s (approximately) 12.6% of the population, which is a pretty decent amount of people. To the teenagers and young 20-somethings out there suffering: you are not alone. Don’t forget that. Anxiety can be so difficult to talk about because talking about having a mental illness is an added stressor in itself. Mental illness is rampant. You are not a freak, and it is okay to talk openly about your struggles. Please take that to heart.

 

I can still vividly remember my first panic attack. I was 14 and it was the second week of high school, I woke up in the middle of the night feeling sick and all around terrified that I was going to die. My mom helped me through it telling me to envision “green meadows” which surprisingly helped. After what seemed like a lifetime of panic I fell back asleep. Needless to say I woke up the next morning rattled and decided to skip school that day. One of my teachers took me aside the next day and told me that I shouldn’t be missing school so early on in the school year, which only added to my growing anxiety because I loathed falling behind in school. From there it slowly spiraled out of control. At age 17 I was dealing with an eating disorder that only one friend knew the depths of and to say that caused anxiety would be an understatement. I had gotten to a point where I was constantly on edge and was having panic attacks almost once a day. I luckily was able to gain back control over my life and my food without any professional help but I am still scarred by the terror I had over eating 30 calories too many in a day and the panic I felt after getting full from a few bites of lima beans.

 

I could go on, but I’ll stop here. My high school years were plagued with anxiety for every situation you could think of: speaking in front of the class, eating at the lunch table, learning new skills at practice. To say anxiety controlled my everyday life would be an understatement; it controlled my every thought, every second. But things got better. Age (even just 3 years) gives you wisdom about situations that you never knew you could have. Experience opens your mind, allows you to realize that it is okay to be open about having anxiety without feeling vulnerable. So open up, talk about your struggles to good friends and family, remember it is okay, and you are hardly the weirdest person out there- hell, you belong to 12% of the population.

 

It is a mature thing to be honest about your problems. Always remember this when opening up:

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

-Eleanor Roosevelt

I hope to help others that have dealt with the issues I have dealt with for over 6 years now. I plan to post much more on this matter but please comment below if you have anything to add or share.

xx

-C