Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Greatest Holiday Movies of All Time

I'm not the biggest holiday person in the world,  I'm listening to Christmas music on the regular—and catching up on my favorite holiday movies. There's just something about watching fictional characters solve their problems by hugging it out over a slice of pecan pie that melts my cold little heart. So snuggle up under a blanket and pick one to watch—you can't go wrong with any of these holiday-movie favorites.

Home Alone
Why was it the movie for '90s kids? It might have something to do with eight-year-old Kevin McAllister (Macaulay Culkin). Sure, being left home alone is kind of scary—but truth be told, it's also every child's dream to have free rein in his home. Defeating a pair of silly burglars is just icing on the cake, of course. If you want to make a day of it, watch Home Alone 2 and Home Alone 3.

Will Ferrell could do no wrong in the eyes of America in 2003 when this silly tale of a giant man in an elf costume hit theaters. If you want to laugh for an hour and a half straight (and admire Zooey Deschanel's perfect bangs), then this is the movie for you. Bonus points if you scream out "You sit on a throne of lies!" at the same time Buddy the elf does it to a department-store Santa.

It's a Wonderful Life
If you're in the mood to ugly-cry in front of your parents, pop in this holiday classic. I've watched this movie more times than I can count, and I've cried every single time thanks to its moving, universal message about how everyone's life is valuable. And there's no better person to convey that than the quintessential everyman actor Jimmy Stewart, who makes you feel his despair and his joy when he triumphs at the end.

Bridget Jones's Diary
First of all, this movie stars not one but two of my fantasy boos (Hugh Grant and Colin Firth). Secondly, it features Renée Zellweger at her most charming. As the title character, she perfectly captures being a rough-around-the-edges and quirky singleton who has to deal with family members trying to set her up on dates—and an ill-advised relationship with her piggish boss (Grant). If you're still not convinced, you'll surely be won over by the perfect kiss a pantless Jones and Mark Darcy (Firth) share on the snowy streets of London. I'm swooning just thinking about it.

A Charlie Brown Christmas
This movie aired in 1965 and is still shown on TV every holiday season. Not many other holiday films have those bragging rights. But this movie isn't popular because of luck—it has just the right blend of melancholy (Cheer up, Charlie!), whimsicality, and a childlike sense of wonder that makes it a favorite for everyone.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
OK, so this movie takes place during Thanksgiving, but let me break the rules. Why? Because it touches my heart thanks to John Candy's complex portrayal of Del, a slightly hot mess of a man without a family. Sure, he makes Neal's (Steve Martin) trip a disaster by causing a fiery car situation and that "pillows" incident (just watch it), but it doesn't matter in the end because a lifelong friendship is forged.

The Nightmare Before Christmas
Freaky. Weird. Unexpected. That pretty much sums up this anti-holiday holiday movie from the fascinating mind of director Tim Burton. This stop-motion animated tale is probably the most original and visually stunning film on the list. There's no way you can watch this movie and not get sucked into the story of the Pumpkin King, who is bored with his job and life in Pumpkinland and takes a trip to Christmastown.

Trading Places
This movie packs in three holidays in one: It takes place during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve. It also deals with a timeless fable—money is not important—in a dark comedy way. Throw in Eddie Murphy as a con man, Dan Aykroyd as a banker, and the awesome Jamie Lee Curtis and you've got one of the funniest holiday movies around.

The Bishop's Wife
I'm taking it back with another old-school entry: the Cary Grant classic The Bishop's Wife. Grant stars as Dudley, an angel who is called upon by a bishop (David Niven), who has been praying for guidance about how to raise funds for a new cathedral. Dudley has other plans—namely getting the bishop to realize that the guidance needed is not about money. It's a sweet, magical, and feel-good-all-over movie. If only we all had Dudleys in our lives.

Bad Santa
By far the raunchiest movie on the list, Bad Santa is still heartwarming (and really funny). Billy Bob Thorton stars as a con man, who, along with his partner in crime, pose as Santa and his little helper and rob department stores on Christmas Eve. Their plan hits a snag when they befriend a kid with a troubled life. Yeah, yeah, you know how the movie is going to end, but there's enough here to keep you interested, promise.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
The Griswolds are a cursed family. No matter how many trips they take, they have never managed to have a successful vacation thanks to a series of unfortunate events. Of course, their Christmas holiday is no different. Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) is the perfect disaster (maybe your family has its own cousin Eddie?).

A Christmas Story
This movie is simply iconic. From the leg lamp to Ralphie's tongue getting stuck on a frozen pole to that BB-gun incident, A Christmas Story has left its mark on all our brains, so much so that it sometimes feels like this story is our own.

Love Actually
This year marks the 10th anniversary of this beloved modern holiday rom-com—and whether you adore it or hate it, you can't deny that this movie, which follows the ups and downs of eight very different couples, is the go-to flick for feel-good moments. Plus, if you don't adore little Sam (Thomas Sangster), then you could potentially be lacking a soul.

Monday, December 9, 2013

10 Christmas Love Songs Ranked in Terms of Their Mistletoe Potential

Although it’s not a holiday focused solely on celebrating romance (respect, Valentine’s Day), you can’t deny that Christmas is a pretty lovey-dovey time of year. There’s a reason it’s smack-dab in the middle of engagement season, and that reason is a combination of lots of sparkly mood lighting, cozy feelings of warmth, and too much egg nog.


And that means that some of the most beloved holiday songs are essentially great love songs accompanied by some jingle bells. Here, we take a closer look at 10 Christmas songs—just those that are romance-focused, rather than the other many wonderful songs about religion or Grandma's unfortunate demise by reindeer—and rate them based on what you'd be doing under the mistletoe while each song played in the romantic comedy of your life.

“Baby It’s Cold Outside”

Sample lyric: "I really can't stay. Baby, it's cold outside."
Romance factor: The melody sounds romantic and sexy, and the idea of lingering with the one you love much longer than you should is pretty familiar to anyone in a new relationship.
Ick factor: Sorry, but this is basically the "Blurred Lines" of Christmas carols. It’s so friggin’ catchy, you wish you could pretend the lyrics weren't so problematic. But the "Say, what's in this drink?" bit? Diiiiiisturbing.
Mistletoe potential: Saying "No kiss and please read this pamphlet on consensual sex instead."

“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”

Sample lyric: “I saw Mommy tickle Santa Claus underneath his beard so snowy white.”
Romance factor: I mean, there’s kissing. And sneaking around, which is kind of hot.
Ick factor: When you’re a little kid, this song is about your mom cheating on your dad. When you get a little older, it’s about your mom and your dad sucking face when they should be focusing on getting your presents under the tree. Either way, EW MOM STOP THAT IS SOOO GROSS.
Mistletoe potential: Watching your dad pat your mom's bum and wink.

“Twelve Days of Christmas”

Sample lyric: "On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…"
Romance factor: Calling someone “my true love” is so black-and-white movie swoonworthy. And 12 days of appropriately numbered gifts seems like a pretty grand gesture.
Ick factor: I can tell he put a lot of thought into these themed gifts but like, what is with the bird obsession? Birds are creepy. Also, this song is like the holiday version of "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" because it feels like it never ends.
Mistletoe potential: Exchanging a meaningful look with your man that's interrupted by your shrieking niece and nephew.

"Sleigh Ride"

Sample lyric: "We're snuggled up together like two birds of a feather would be."
Romance factor: Obviously, a cuddle sleigh ride for two is just plain adorable.
Ick factor: Not much, although it should be noted that your view on that darling sleigh ride is probably a horse's backside, and realistically, that can get kind of gross. It's a real mood-killer.
Mistletoe potential: Blushing during a kiss on the cheek from your crush.

“Let It Snow”

Sample lyric: “But if you’ll really hold me tight, all the way home I’ll be warm.”
Romance factor: Awwwww. OK, this is basically the non-frat-bro version of “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” This is how you linger with your baby: no pressure and with no suspicious drinks.
Ick factor: Ick free, unless you’re so cold your heart has frozen over.
Mistletoe potential: Getting wrapped up in a big, warm hug from your long-term boyfriend.

“Last Christmas”

Sample lyric: “Last Christmas, I gave you my heart, but the very next day, you gave it away.”
Romance factor: Well, at least this year, you’ve got plans to give your heart to someone special?
Ick factor: Spending Christmas still mourning the dude who broke your heart last year is mega-depressing, and I would know.
Mistletoe potential: Wiping away a single tear while you watch your ex-boyfriend kiss your mortal enemy from across the room.

"My Only Wish (This Year)"

Sample lyric: "Seems like everyone but me is in love, Santa can you hear me?"
Romance factor: A wishing-for-love song for single girls everywhere that's upbeat enough to keep your from weeping into your hot cocoa. Thanks, Britney Spears.
Ick factor: You might still weep into your hot cocoa. But get it together, this song is charming.
Mistletoe potential: Toasting yourself with a glass of champagne.

"Please Come Home for Christmas"

Sample lyric: "My baby's gone; I have no friends to wish me greetings once again."
Romance factor: It's a sad but very sweet wish for a lover to come home.
Ick factor: Dude, it's depressing as all get-out.
Mistletoe potential: Passing out alone in the doorway with a half-eaten roll of cookie dough in your hand.

“Santa Baby”

Sample lyric: “Santa baby, slip a sable under the tree for me.”
Romance factor: If you think diamonds are a girl’s best friend, this song is probably the most romantic thing you’ve ever heard.
Ick factor: The person singing this would definitely not agree with my rant against “Dating for Free Things.”
Mistletoe potential: Eye rolling while protesting, "Don't kiss me honey, you'll smear my carefully applied Chanel lipstick!"

“All I Want for Christmas Is You”

Sample lyric: "I just want you for my own, more than you could ever know."
Romance factor: All of it, this song is everything, go home, other Christmas carols, BYE. Mariah sends her love.
Ick factor: Nothing, duh. Although you are more likely to drunkenly scream-karaoke this song six times in a row with 14 of your closest girlfriends than you are to play it quietly while staring into the eyes of your love. But really, is that any less special?
Mistletoe potential: Getting a proposal from the man of your dreams followed by a perfect life.

The Grammy Nominations Are Here!

The fans aren't the ones who vote in the Grammys, but that's exactly who Macklemore was planning on celebrating with last night after he found out he got nominated for seven gramophones. "We'll celebrate with our fans onstage at the Jingle Ball next door!" he said backstage. Echoed Ryan Lewis: "As a musician you think, I'll never get one of those, so to be here tonight and be nominated is mind-blowing."


Melissa Etheridge admitted she wasn't at all surprised the duo was nominated for "Same Love." Her daughter introduced her to the song one day in the car and as a result, it "has an amazing place in my life. I barely got through it the first time I heard it."

Best New Artist nominee Ed Sheeran was as gracious and understanding as they come when a reporter inappropriately led off his brief Q&A session to ask about spending Thanksgiving with Jennifer Aniston. He mentioned something about sweet potatoes, before a fellow journalist finally asked him about his nomination. (For the record, most artists would have either walked off the stage or said, "Next!" and I wouldn't have blamed Ed if he did).

More Interesting Tidbits:
*Jay-Z got the most nominations with nine, while Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Pharrell, and Justin Timberlake tied for seven.
*Who knew, but there's actually a category for Best Tropical Latin Album. One of the nominees? None other than Marc Anthony for his album 3.0.
*Steve Martin is nominated for Best Americana Album with Edie Brickell for Love Has Come for You.
*Carol Burnett and Billy Crystal are both nominees for Best Spoken-Word Album. Another odd nominee? Bob Saget for Best Comedy Album.

The Grammy Nominees are...

Song of the Year
“Just Give Me a Reason” by Pink
“Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars
“Roar” by Katy Perry
“Royals” by Lorde
“Same Love” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
“Get Lucky” by Daft Punk and Pharrell
“Just Give Me a Reason” by Pink and Nate Ruess
“Stay” by Rihanna with Mikkey Ekko
“Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell
“Suit and Tie” by Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z


Album of the Year
The Blessed Unrest by Sara Bareilles
Random Access Memories by Daft Punk
Good Kid, M.A.D.D. City by Kendrick Lamar
The Heist by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Red by Taylor Swift

Best Country Album
Night Train by Jason Aldean
Two Lanes of Freedom by Tim McGraw
Same Trailer, Different Park by Kacey Musgraves
Based on a True Story by Blake Shelton
Red by Taylor Swift

Best Country Solo Performance
“I Drive Your Truck” by Lee Brice
“I Want Crazy” by Hunter Hayes
“Mama’s Broken Heart” by Miranda Lambert
“Wagon Wheel” by Darius Rucker
“Mine Would Be You” by Blake Shelton

Best Country Duo/Group Performance
From This Valley by the Civil Wars
Don’t Rush by Kelly Clarkson featuring Vince Gill
Your Side of the Bed by Little Big Town
Highway Don’t Care by Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift, and Keith Urban
You Can’t Make Old Friends by Kenny Rogers with Dolly Parton

Best New Artist
Kendrick Lamar
James Blake
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Kacey Musgraves
Ed Sheeran

Record of the Year
“Get Lucky” by Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams
“Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons
“Royals” by Lorde
“Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars
“Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams


Best Pop Solo Performance
“Brave” by Sara Bareilles
“Royals” by Lorde
“When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars
“Roar” by Katy Perry
“Mirrors” by Justin Timberlake

Best Dance/Electronica Album
Random Access Memories by Daft Punk
Settle by Disclosure
18 Months by Calvin Harris
Atmosphere by Kaskade
A Color Map of the Sun by Pretty Lights

Best Rock Performance
“Always Alright” by Alabama Shakes
“The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” by David Bowie
“Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons
“Kashmir” (Live) by Led Zeppelin
“My God Is The Sun” by Queens of the Stone Age
“I’m Shakin” by Jack White

Best Rock Album
13 by Black Sabbath
The Next Day by David Bowie
Mechanical Bull by Kings of Leon
Celebration Day by Led Zeppelin
Like Clockwork by Queens of the Stone Age
Psychedelic Pill by Neil Young With Crazy Horse

Best R&B Album
R&B Divas by Faith Evans
Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys
Love in the Future by John Legend
Better by Chrisette Michele
Three Kings by TGT

Best Rap Performance
“Started from the Bottom” by Drake
“Berzerk” by Eminem
“Tom Ford” by Jay-Z
“Swimming Pools (Drank)” by Kendrick Lamar
“Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz

Best Rap/Song Collaboration
“Power Trip” by J. Cole featuring Miguel
“Part II (On the Run)” by Jay-Z featuring Beyonce
“Holy Grail” by Jay-Z featuring Justin Timberlake
“Now or Never” by Kendrick Lamar featuring Mary J. Blige
“Remember You” by Wiz Khalifa featuring the Weekend

Best Rap Album
Nothing Was the Same by Drake
Magna Carta...Holy Grail by Jay-Z
Good Kid, M.A.D.D. City by Kendrick Lamar
The Heist by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Yeezus by Kanye West

Best Dance Recording
"Need U (100%)" by Duke Dumont featuring A*M*E & MNEK
"Sweet Nothing" by Calvin Harris featuring Florence Welch
"Atmosphere" by Kaskade
"This Is What It Feels Like" by Armin Van Buuren featuring Trevor Guthrie
"Clarity" by Zedd featuring Foxes

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
Viva Duets by Tony Bennett and Various Artists
To Be Loved by Michael Buble
The Standards by Gloria Estefan
Cee Lo’s Magic Moment by Cee Lo Green
Now by Dionne Warwick

Best Music Video
“Safe and Sound” by Capital Cities
“Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film” by Jay-Z
“Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Ray Dalton
“Suit & Tie” by Justin Timberlake featuring Jay-Z
“I’m Shakin’” by Jack White

Best Comedy Album
Calm Down Gurrl by Kathy Griffin
I’m Here to Help by Craig Ferguson
A Little Unprofessional by Ron White
Live by Tig Notaro
That’s What I’m Talkin’ About by Bob Saget

Best Spoken-Word Album
Stephen Colbert for America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t
Carol Burnett for Carrie and Me
David Sedaris for Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls
Billy Crystal for Still Foolin’ ‘Em
Pete Seeger for The Storm King

Who are you rooting for come Grammy night (January 26)?

Ways to Reduce Stress (and Actually Enjoy the Holidays)

As joyous a time as the holidays can be, sometimes it gets a little difficult to stay calm with all of the family outings, gifts to buy, parties to attend, and so on. We get it. And so does Dr. Jaime Kulaga, PhD.
Dr. Kulaga shares some tips that she recommends to her stressed-out clients below. Start practicing them now, and you could be stress-free by 2014.


It's a stressful time of year...

1. Don't Focus On Others. Focus On You. If your friend just got engaged and you're still single, or if your coworker got a promotion that you wanted, don't stress out. Comparing yourself to others automatically makes you feel like the inferior one. Instead, focus your energy on you and how you can improve your life. "You are in control of you and need to take the time and energy to explore who you are," says Dr. Kulaga.

2. Stay Active. "Find ways to beef up your energy so that you can handle any stressors that come your way," says Dr. Kulaga. For example, if you know you have tons of work to do, make sure to treat yourself to a nice healthy breakfast first, or take a break to fit in a workout in the middle of a hectic week.

3. Don't Add Extra Worry. Live in the now as much as possible, because obsessing over things that might go wrong won't help prevent any of them. In fact, "If you create anxiety and tell yourself that something might go wrong, and then in fact it goes wrong, then you lived the pain twice," Dr. Kulaga says.

4. Avoid Negative Friends. "Negativity truly is contagious and stressful," says Dr. Kulaga. And once you adopt those negative thoughts, the bad effects can stick around for a while. Pessimistic thoughts act as internal stressors on the body, says Dr. Kulaga. They activate our "fight or flight" response and can keep us agitated for long periods of time. So make plans with your positive friends instead!

5. Appreciate What You Have. Yes, not everything may be perfect in your life, but give yourself some credit—you worked hard to get to where you are. "Once you realize you earned what you have (whatever that is), your confidence goes up and [as a result] stress goes down."

Now we know this is all easier said than done, but if you might end up more relaxed and happy, we think it's worth a shot. Will you try these tips?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Watch the Amazing Spider-Man 2 Trailer, Remember That It's Been You All Along, Andrew Garfield. You're the One.

I realize, after watching this Amazing Spider-Man 2 trailer, that it's been way too long since we've had a good dose of Andrew Garfield. When I watch him as Spider-man, I'm basically just twiddling my thumbs through the scenes where he's in costume (uniform? didn't mean to emasculate superheroes at large there) so that we can get back to him being in either a t-shirt or a pea coat. His real superpower is owning those looks like nobody's biz.

Now, I do have one complaint about the trailer: NOT ENOUGH EMMA STONE. Trailer, you are trying to distract us with Andrew and his hair and... what was I saying? Oh, right. There better be more Emma in the next one. It's bad enough that Shailene Woodley got totally cut out of the movie. Don't skimp on the Stone!

Take a look, and start getting psyched for May (May 2, the release date, that is, not Aunt May—Aunt May looks pretty stressed, per usual).

Watch the Fast & Furious Team's Moving Paul Walker Tribute

When a celebrity dies, the media tries to strike a balance between acknowledgment and overkill. The last few days have been saturated with Paul Walker stories, and I'll be honest: somewhere around midday Monday I braced myself for the typical ugly turn such a big stretch of spotlight sometimes takes. I'm talking about the part where the skeletons come out, or the enemies make themselves heard.

This doesn't seem to be happening with Walker. Every story that keeps his name in the news—like this old CosmoGIRL! interview that put his sensitivity on display, or this quietly stunning tale of his financing a strapped stranger's engagement ring—reveals another lovely facet of his personality. Which just makes this tribute video from the Fast & Furious team all the more moving. It's a sweet reminder of how strangely intimate fan mourning is—though you've never met the person, they've brought joy into your life. (To me, of course, Walker will always be Caleb Mandrake—but while I dig up my old Skulls VHS, and a VCR, you gearhead-flick fans go ahead and reflect on this.)

And Now, Your Fifty Shades Movie Update

Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey have been cast, we've seen a first peek at them in character, and now, finally, Fifty Shades of Grey has begun filming. So, of course, it follows that frequent updates will be pouring in until the day we finally get to sit down and watch the dang thing. And buckle up, because this week is chock-full of brand-new Fifty Shades goodies:

First up, as I mentioned before, filming has begun!

But that's not all: Check out Jamie and Dakota in action filming what seems to be a very dramatic and sexy tea party.


Hey, tea is sexy, I promise. In other news, Rita Ora is adding a slash-actress to her pop-star status—she's been cast as Mia, Christian's adopted sister.


But even more interesting: There are rumors floating about that producers are considering releasing two versions of the movie—one rated R, of course, and one more explicit with a NC-17 status. Interesting.

So, tell me, which version would you see? The mainstream version or the racier one or both?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

12 Lies People Love to Tell You

Over the years you’ve developed a set of beliefs based on what others have told you.  The problem is, many of these people weren’t telling the truth.  They were merely repeating the little, seemingly innocent lies someone else once told them.  Now, the false beliefs they’ve ingrained in your mind are impeding your potential and holding you back from the life you’re capable of living.

Here are twelve lies you’ve likely heard and the truth that will set you free:

1.  What you need in life is comfort and safety.
If you want to make an impact, big or small, get comfortable with being uncomfortable.  All growth begins at the end of your comfort zone.  Maybe the thing you’re scared of is exactly what you should do.  Sometimes life is about risking it all for a dream no one can see but you.

2.  You have way too much to lose.
In the end, you will not regret the things you have done nearly as much as the things you have left undone.  It’s always better to be left with a few “oh wells,” than a bunch of “what ifs.”  It’s better to have a lifetime full of experiences and mistakes you learned from, rather than a heart full of regrets and empty dreams.  Someday you will want to look back at your life and say, “I can’t believe I did that!” instead of, “Gosh, I wish I would have…”

3.  Your dream is impossible.
When a dream matters enough to a person, that person will find a way to achieve what at first seemed impossible.  Let that person be YOU.  It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.  Go after your dream, no matter how unattainable others tell you it is.  What’s impossible to them may not be impossible for you.

4.  Being self-centered is always wrong.
You must choose yourself and live your life from beginning to end; no one else can do it for you.  Claiming full control over your health, dreams, and well-being are some of the areas in your life where you get to be a little selfish and not feel bad about it.  If you want to reach your goals, you have to be the center of this part of your journey.  You have to make it work for you and you alone.  It’s not selfishness, it’s self-care and self-improvement.  Anything less is a setup for failure.

5.  You need the approval of others.
People are sometimes too quick to judge, but slow to correct themselves.  Don’t be one of them.  Focus on your own growth, goals, and self-worth.  Leave people to their opinions and judgments.  Let them respect you for who you are, and not for who they want you to be…  Or let them walk away if they choose.  Either way, they can’t harm you; it’s their understanding that is faulty, not yours.

6.  The strongest, happiest people have fewer problems.
Strength doesn’t come from what you can do; it comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t do.  When you are at your lowest point, you are open to the greatest positive change.  Happiness is not the absence of problems, but the strength to deal with them.  The strongest people are the ones who feel pain, accept it, learn from it, and fight through it.  They turn their wounds into wisdom.

7.  Situations are either positive or negative.
The Chinese symbol for the word “crisis” is written using two strokes of a pen.  One stroke stands for danger, and the other for opportunity.  In other words, in a crisis, beware of the danger, but also recognize the opportunity.  Life always balances itself out.  Everything that happens is neither positive nor negative; it just depends on your perspective.

8.  Perfect relationships exist.
The love of your life isn’t perfect, you aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect.  But if you can make each other laugh once in awhile, cause each other to think twice about the sweetness of life, and both admit to being human and making mistakes, your relationship is something special.  No, you two may not always choose the most poetic words, and there will likely be inconsiderate slip-ups on occasion, but that’s what makes your bond real.  Smile when they make you happy, speak up when they make you mad, and miss them when they’re gone.  Love hard when there is love to be had.  Perfect love doesn’t exist, but true love does, and it’s worth the effort.

9.  Love is an obligation.
Love between two people comes because both people want to share their love, not because YOU want it from the other person.  Your family, friends, co-workers, partner – they all love you because they choose to, not because you want them to.  Love is meant to be felt, enjoyed and lived, not to be forced on anyone.

10.  You can’t be kind to everyone.
Kindness is not to be mistaken for weakness, nor forgiveness for acceptance.  It’s about knowing resentment is not on the path to happiness.  Having confidence and class is the ability to walk away from a bad situation with a smile on your face and forgiveness in your heart.

11.  You need more to be happy.
There are two ways of being rich: One is to have all you want, the other is to be satisfied with what you have.  Accept and appreciate things now, and you’ll find more happiness in every moment you live.  Happiness comes when you stop complaining about the troubles you have and offer thanks for all the troubles you don’t have.  And remember, you have to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of your life.

12.  It’s too late.
Anyone can run away; it’s super easy.  Facing issues and working through them makes you strong.  Focus on your dreams, not your problems.  It’s not too late.  A hundred disappointments in the past can’t equal the power of one positive action right now.  Talk is cheap; action is priceless.  Go for it!  Give yourself another chance.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Possibly the Funniest Holiday Ad Campaign This Year

This season, why not flip the holiday spirit on its head by treating yourself—and getting your friends and loved ones, uh, toothpicks? Check out British department store Harvey Nichols' hilarious new Christmas campaign, which is themed "Sorry, I Spent It On Myself," and comes with an accompanying line of gag gifts. For real—Harvey Nichols is actually selling a "Sorry, I Spent It On Myself" line of products this holiday. And, if you're more keen on looking out for number one while you're doing your gift shopping, this is the product range for you.

OK, I know you know this, but seriously, please do not buy your friends and loved ones rubber bands or toothpicks. Maybe socks, though. Socks are fine. Merry Christmas Squammy loves :)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Just What We All Need After This Very Long Week: Puppies Doing Yoga

Are we ready to clock out of this week yet? (Answer: yes!) Here's some health inspiration for the weekend...good, relaxing, restorative stretches. As performed by dogs!
Like this one who nails the leg-over-head maneuver:

And this little one who follows his routine to the letter (in Italian, no less):

Dalai Joy the Chiweenie Yogini looks like she's just falling asleep at first, but then she really does seem to follow along with the instructions on the phone!

Even if you don't have dog yoga—or dogs, or yoga!—in your future this weekend, what good-health things do you have planned?

8 Good Morning Questions that Create Happiness

8 Good Morning Questions that Create Happiness
The morning is extremely important.  It is the foundation from which the day is built.  How you choose to spend your morning can be used to predict what kind of day you’re going to have.
Do you need help focusing on what matters most? If you think happiness and success means making lots of money and buying lots of stuff, the answer to this question is yes. Dirty, wrinkled sketches of dead presidents have never made anyone happy in the long run.  And how can you expect to be successful if you’re not happy?  Money helps along the way, but only you can make yourself happy and successful from the inside out.  There isn’t any amount of money that can buy that. Real happiness and success comes from the quality of your attitude, your relationships, and the emotions you experience each day.  That’s where the questions below come in.  Ask yourself these questions every morning and I absolutely guarantee that your days will get happier and more prolific over time:

1.  What is the most important thing I can do today for my own well-being?

If you don’t take good care of yourself, then you can’t take good care of others either; which is why taking care of yourself is the best selfish thing you can do.
Every new day is a chance to change your life.  Work on making life all that you want it to be.  Work hard for what you believe, and keep your dreams big and your worries small.  Figure out how you can best serve yourself today. Remember, you never need to carry more than you can hold, just take one small step at a time.  And while you’re out there today making decisions instead of excuses, learning new things, and getting closer and closer to your goals, know that there are others out there, like me, who admire your efforts and are striving for greatness too.

2.  How can I show my love to those I love?

You don’t need to be perfect to be a perfect friend or lover, but the commitment to your relationship is a precious responsibility.  Relationships last a lifetime only when two people make a deliberate choice to keep it, fight for it, and work for it.  These acts of love don’t need to be extravagant either; they just need to be true.  And true love is always shown in deeds, not just words. Also, remember that it’s not so much about what you do for your loved ones as it is about the love you put into what you do for them.  Learn what matters most to them and make a habit of it.  

3.  How can I encourage myself and others today?

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last.  Well, neither does bathing, that’s why we recommend it daily.”  Zig Ziglar said that, and nothing could be closer to the truth.
To accomplish great things, you must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe.  Be a dreamer, a believer, and a courageous and cheerful thinker.  Be a positive motivator, a productive doer, and a go-getter who keeps her head in the clouds and her feet on the ground.  Let the spirit of passion and possibility ignite a fire within you to do something worthwhile today, and don’t forget to spread your enthusiasm to those around you.

4.  What can I do to make a positive difference in the lives around me?

Being a genuinely good person, helping others, and leaving the world better than you found it is what a truly rich life is.  Knowing deep down that you counted – that someone else’s life would not have been as well off without you in it – that’s priceless.  That’s something worth working for.
There are many small, simple actions you can make to profoundly impact your family, your community, and the world.   So do your best to leave everything you touch today a little better than you found it.

5.  How will I sincerely honor my own truth today?

You have your own way.  For you, this way of living is the absolute right way.  Honor it.
One of the most influential sources of peace is simply being comfortable with who you really are.  Not trading your reality for a role, or your truth for an act.  Not giving up your freedom of thought.  Not putting on a mask. There cannot be peace in your external life until you are at peace within yourself, being yourself.  It won’t always be easy, but no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning your inner spirit. 

6.  What is my intuition telling me about my current path?

Is it telling you to go against the grain?  Is it urging you to do something differently?  It’s okay to listen to the advice of others, but don’t forget to check in with your own intuition.  If it leads you off the well worn path today, so be it. Don’t apologize for what you feel and what you don’t feel; that’s a betrayal of your truth.  No matter how much advice people give you, sometimes you have to feel things out for yourself, make decisions on your own, experience things firsthand, and build your own conclusions from the ground up the old fashion way.

7.  What do I appreciate about my life right now?

As Socrates once said, “Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty.”
Do not waste all your happiness by overlooking everything you have for everything you wish you had.  If you do, you will never have enough.  Instead, appreciate the goodness that is already yours, and you will instantly find a lot more to smile about. Appreciate the good people and things around you, and you’ll soon find many more of them around you.  Truly appreciate your life, and you’ll find that you have more of it to live. 

8.  What would I like to remember about today?

Do something worth remembering.  Try something new.  Express your love.  Live your truth.  Share your enthusiasm.  Take action towards meaningful goals.  Walk your talk.  Embrace your gifts.  Bounce to the beat of your own drum. Do whatever it takes to make today a good memory.


Remember, asking the right questions is the answer, because the questions you ask yourself on a daily basis determine your focus, and your focus determines your end results.  So ask yourself the questions above every morning and watch as the rest of your day falls into place.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A few wise words..

On his death bed, Alexander summoned his generals and told them his three ultimate wishes:

1. The best doctors should carry his coffin

2. The wealth he has accumulated (money, gold, precious stones.) should be scattered along the procession to the cemetery.

3. His hands should be let loose, hanging outside the coffin for all to see.

One of his generals who was surprised by these unusual requests asked Alexander to explain.

Here is what Alexander the Great had to say:

1. I want the best doctors to carry my coffin to demonstrate that, in the face of death, even the best doctors in the world have no power to heal;

2. I want the road to be covered with my treasure so that everybody sees that material wealth acquired on earth, stays on earth...

3. I want my hands to swing in the wind, so that people understand that we come to this world empty handed and we leave this world empty handed. The most precious treasure of all is exhausted, and that is TIME.

4. We do not take to our grave any material wealth . TIME is our most precious treasure because it is LIMITED. We can produce more wealth, but we cannot produce more time.

5. When we give someone our time, we actually give a portion of our life that we will never take back. Our time is our life!

6. The best present that you can give to your family and friends is your TIME.

May God grant you plenty of TIME and may you have the wisdom to give it away so that you can
LIVE, LOVE and DIE in peace. :)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Watch Tina Fey Lay Down the Law in the Muppets Most Wanted Trailer

Nothing says "this day's lookin' up" like a brand-new glimpse of the Muppets, and this is a big one: The first trailer for Muppets Most Wanted just dropped. It features Ty Burrell sporting a pencil mustache and doing a delightfully vague accent, Salma Hayek looking flustered, Ricky Gervais not looking flustered, and Tina Fey looking improbably chic, considering she plays a retro-commando type. But, understandably, none of these celebs can upstage the moment where some Mupps belt out "Moves Like Jagger." Watch:

And now commit this to happy memory:


See you critters in 2014.

Cookie Monster's Spoof of Icona Pop's "I Love It" Is Actually a Useful Health Tip (and Super Cute!)

I never thought I'd tell you guys this, but here I go: Next time you're reaching for a cookie or other sweet treat, take a word of advice from Cookie Monster. No, really. Our fuzzy blue friend has a new video out spoofing Icona Pop's catchy "I Love It" with his own version about self-control and regulation, "Me Want It (but Me Wait)."

Poor grammar aside, he's one smart cookie (yep, pun intended). 

This Push-Up Bra Commercial Has an Unexpected Twist!

Ever watch a commercial for a push-up bra and wonder whether it really performs as well as looks on-screen? Well, check this out.

Lingerie company Wacoal released this commercial in Thailand for its "Mood" boost-up bra—and there's a wild twist at the end that you have to see to believe!

Spoiler: It's a guy!

Yes, Wacoal cast a guy—and decked him out in a wig, false eyelashes, and full makeup—in the commercial to drive home the point that no matter what your bosom size, their bra will work for you.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Best Mash-Ups, Parodies, and Covers of Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines"

If you haven't heard Robin Thicke's oh-so-catchy "Blurred Lines" yet, then...Oh, who am I kidding—you've all definitely heard it by now. And I'm sure you've seen or heard at least one of the many awesome parodies, mash-ups, and covers that have been springing up. I've rounded up some of the best for you, below!

Bill Clinton (with a cameo from Obama):

Alan Thicke's (a.k.a. Robin's dad!) with the Growing Pains theme:

Not a mash-up, but I'm digging Vampire Weekend's cover:

The Jimmy Kimmel + Guillermo version might be my favorite:

A stellar acoustic version from a 17-year-old with quite the voice:

And, finally, if you were wondering what a gender-swap parody would look like, this is it. But careful! I wouldn't watch this one at work or around any kiddos:

Which is your favorite? Any that aren't on here that I need to see? 

15 Things Happy People Don’t Do

15 Things Happy People Don’t Do

Happiness: something everyone hopes to achieve in his or her lifetime. Such a simple concept, yet many have trouble realizing how to obtain it. Sometimes we unintentionally create our own obstacles that prevent us from achieving this goal. It is ever so important to realize the ways we are limiting ourselves so we can fully reach happiness.

Happy people and unhappy people see the world through two completely opposing views. Let’s look at the ways happy people stay happy, while the unhappy remain miserable.

1. Gossip

The only people who gossip are people whose personal lives are not fulfilling enough. If you are happy and content with your life, why do you even care what is going on in someone else’s? There is no reason to engage in this petty behavior — all it does is make you look pathetic and jealous.


2. Concern Themselves With Other People’s Problems

People who are unable to mind their own business are most likely internally miserable. They seek to find faults within others just to make themselves feel better. They tend to lead boring lives and have no excitement in their own, so they act in this manner to create something out of nothing. They seek to fill the gap in their lives by discussing the lives of others and judging them harshly, so that they can feel better about their own miserable existences.

3. Think Negatively

There are the miserable people, who are always complaining about anything and everything, while on the other side, we have the optimistic people who always look at the glass as half full and are constantly looking for more out of life. Thinking positively will directly affect your happiness since you are focusing on the good as opposed to the bad.

4. Act Jealous

There is no reason for a happy person to act jealous towards others. They recognize the good fortune they possess and relish in it. They do not compare themselves to others since they are more than likely content with themselves. Instead of acting jealous towards others, they take pleasure in their success and celebrate their accomplishments with them.


5. Seek Validation From Others

Happy people do not look to others to confirm their self-worth. They recognize their value on their own and don’t live up to anyone’s expectations. They do things for themselves that they believe will advance them in life. By not concerning themselves with the opinions of others, they can focus on personal growth.

6. Seek Revenge

There is no reason to actively seek revenge against another person. Leave that up to karma and just continue living your life accordingly. Instead of focusing on revenge, happy people try to make peace with the issue. The only way to stop revenge is to give up and to accept it. Replace the evil feelings with opposite thinking. This is the only way; rise above it and let it be.

7. Hold Onto Resentment

By holding onto resentment, all you are doing is continuing and intensifying your own sadness. Learn to let things go, especially those which are unchangeable and that are in the past. This feeling will eat at you from the inside and cause stress. There is a unique sense of freedom once you let your anger go.

8. Argue For The Sake Of Being Right

It’d be easy to voice my thoughts rationally, but quite as easy to do it condescendingly as well. Many people will have a belief and will hold onto it even when contrary facts are presented to them. If it is a topic that you know they won’t listen to with open ears, don’t open your mouth just so you can appear wiser in the eyes of those around you. You’re only boosting your ego. Do not force your opinions on others or think you know best, as everyone is coming from somewhere. State your point calmly and listen to others. At the very least, you can always agree to disagree.


9. Have Expectations

One of the biggest challenges we face in life is learning to accept people for who they truly are. Once you realize that your expectations cannot change people, the better off you will be. The problem will arise when the expectations do not materialize. Unrealistic expectations will, can, and most often do lead to disappointment. Do not expect things out of situations; just go into them with an open mind. This will allow you to fully immerse yourself without the pressure of living up to preconceived notions.

10. Avoid Personal Problems

When a problem arises, it is the unhappy people who tend to ignore it. This is an awful way to handle situations as the longer you let a problem linger, the greater it will become. You need to tackle issues head on and as soon as possible in hopes of rectifying the circumstances. The stress and anxiety of ignoring such things can and will make you miserable and consumed with worry.

11. Look For Happiness Externally

Your happiness is contingent upon your outlook and not the actual situation. You have the power to view things in certain ways, so it is crucial to try and remain positive. Look within yourself to create your own happiness. Do not look at others to fulfill you, you are more than capable on your own. No relationship or material possession can bring you true happiness until you are happy on your own, first and foremost. This is a fatal error far too many people make in their lives.

12. Over Think Things

Over thinking is what creates problems from nothing and is probably the leading cause for arguments between two people. Many people falsely believe that by over thinking certain things, they can garner a better result. There are actually little to no benefits to overanalyzing any given situation. All this will do is cause a person stress and anxiety. The more time a person analyzes a decision, the more time this person makes themselves susceptible to negative thinking. Rational decisions can become clouded when a person lingers on them for too long. The motivation and drive behind the initial idea can and will start to obscure.

13. Live In The Past

The past is the past for a reason — it has already happened. There is no reason to linger there since it cannot be changed. Happy people tend to make peace with their past and focus on the future. They actively seek out different opportunities in order to make the most out of their lives.

14. Follow The Crowd

Confidence is a crucial aspect of any happy person, just like this is a critical characteristic for a leader. Happy people tend to be secure in their values and beliefs and, as a result, have a propensity to be leaders as opposed to followers.

15. Take Things Personally

When you hear a comment that you think is directed at you, take a moment and think. Do not over analyze the situation at hand, just let the other person speak freely. Listen completely to what this person is saying – selective hearing is the cause of these misinterpretations. People tend to get caught up in petty drama, which typically occurs when one person takes something the wrong way. When it comes down to it, you’re in control of how you interpret things. Think of how much more you could achieve with a new perspective, one seen only through your eyes.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

8 Life Quotes and Tips to Make You Think

8 Thought Provoking Quotes to Help You Think Straight
I love thought-provoking quotes – seemingly simple, yet interestingly profound phrases that have the power to get our minds thinking straight.  That’s what this short post is about.  Below I have listed eight of my favorite thought-provoking quotes, along with my interpretation and outlook on each one.  I hope you enjoy thinking about them as much as I do.

1.  Dealing with Problems

“We can not solve our problems with the
same level of thinking that created them.”
―Albert Einstein
Realize that not all movement is progress.  When stress and tension and chaos surround you, pause for a moment and relax.  The best time to take a deep breath is when you don’t have time for it. Select a specific challenge, deal with it, and then move calmly and confidently to the next.  When you’re being pulled in multiple directions at once, take time to remember what you value most.  Focus on what’s most important to you and you’ll naturally direct your greatest energy to the right source. Life is filled with either problems or possibilities.  What you see is what you choose to see.  On the surface life can seem tumultuous and perplexing, yet deep inside, where it truly matters, life is what you make of it.  Choose to see beyond the problems to the possibilities that await your attention.

2.  Happiness and Personal Growth

“You cannot protect yourself from sadness
without protecting yourself from happiness.”
―Jonathan Safran Foer
Live every day of your life in full.  Experience the highs and the lows, the positives and the negatives, and all the moods present between the various extremes.  Don’t focus on simply being happy.  Focus on living a well-rounded, seasoned life.  Focus on achieving completeness.  Yes, happiness is part of this completeness, but so is sadness, difficulty, frustration, and failure.  And overcoming these latter points supports your personal growth far more than constant happiness. The feelings of happiness and fulfillment are nice when they happen, and they are needed, but they don’t strengthen you.  Instead of asking, “Is this making me happy?” ask, “Is this contributing to my completeness?”  If you’re struggling and making progress, the answer is “yes.”  

3.  Inner Peace

“We don’t realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme self who is eternally at peace.”
―Elizabeth Gilbert
Inner peace does not depend on external conditions; it’s what remains when you’ve surrendered your ego and your worries.  Peace can happen within you at any place and at any time.  It’s always there, patiently waiting for you to turn your attention toward it. Peace of mind arrives the moment you come to peace with what’s on your mind.  It happens when you let go of the need to be anywhere but where you are, physically and emotionally.  This acceptance of the way things are creates the foundation for inner harmony.  The need for something to be different in this moment is nothing more than a worry, and worries simply lead you in circles.  Acceptance will bring you back to your peaceful, productive center. Remember, the same part of you that longs for peace is the part of you that experiences peace.  It is not complicated to achieve and is as close as your next thought.

4.  Appreciating What You Have

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
Don’t pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, simple, and yet not-so-small gifts in your life.  It may seem strange to feel thankful for those events in your life which appear to be ordinary, yet it’s precisely by being thankful that you can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.  You may not see the value in spending time and effort acknowledging all the little, seemingly insignificant things in your life, yet without the little things there would be no big things. Don’t let what was once a miracle become common to you.  Don’t get so accustomed to life’s goodness that you overlook it.  Let your enthusiasm rise from the doldrums by being thankful for what you have.  Seize every opportunity to be appreciative.  Make genuine gratitude a constant companion to who you are, in all that you do.  

5.  Replacing Excuses with Action

“The only thing standing between you and your goal is the BS story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.”
Instead of making a lot of excuses, make a little progress.  Instead of looking back with regret, step forward with enthusiasm.  Choose to view your life based on the best of what is possible.  Choose to define yourself based on the person you know you are capable of becoming.  If you believe it, you can do it. All the negativity from the past can be erased in the moment with a single positive action.  Go ahead and make it happen.  The best way to disconnect from a troubled past is to trust and connect with possibilities of the present moment.  When you embrace the power of now, the future belongs to you.

6.  Knowledge and Education

“When you know better you do better.”
―Maya Angelou
Your education is the most powerful weapon you possess.  It has the power to change the world.  Keep it thriving.  Do not confuse your schooling with your education.  The classes at school end; your education is a continuous lifelong process. Keep your mind open to new ideas.  Challenge your beliefs when you’re given a chance.  The greatest advancements in your education will be based on your willingness to absorb fresh information without resistance and without losing your temper or your poise.

7.  The Importance of Asking Questions

“The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, she’s the one who asks the right questions.”
―Claude Lévi-Strauss
There is profound power in asking questions.  In fact, the most successful people are rarely the ones who have all the answers, they’re the ones who ask the right questions.  Don’t be afraid to ask.  Ask when you don’t understand.  Ask for what you want.  Ask how to make things happen.  It’s the reason children are always asking so many questions, because they know they’ll never get anywhere if they don’t ask.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Bottom line:  Growth is more about asking than telling.  The way forward is yours for the taking – the way forward is yours for the asking.  

8.  Endings and Beginnings

“In every end, there is also a beginning.”
―Libba Bray
Everything in life has to come to an end sometime.  It’s important to acknowledge and accept the end of an era – to walk away sensibly when something has reached its conclusion.
Closing the door, turning the page, moving on, etc.  It doesn’t matter what you call it; what matters is that you leave the past where it belongs so you can enjoy the life that’s still available to be lived.  This ending is not THE END, it’s just your life beginning again in a new way.  It’s a point in your story where one chapter fades into the next.  Take a look at the first page of this new chapter; it’s a beautiful one.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What kind of coffee are you?

I'm definitely a Cafe Americano by drink and by description, how about you?

The 10 Most Underrated Beauty Habits

1. Applying plain-old coconut oil as body lotion.  Apply generously all over and then just pat dry. You can reapply to very dry areas and even put socks on after applying to heels and feet.

2. Exfoliating regularly and thoroughly. Exfoliating is key, otherwise you are putting creams and lotion on dead skin and it cant do its job.

3. Exfoliating your lips too.

4. Using humble, cheapie petroleum jelly. 

5. Braiding your hair before bed for easy waves.

6. Keeping your feet to the grindstone. You have to pumice your feet like daily. Sandals and crusty feet are never cute. 

7. Fighting frizz with an old tee. Drying your hair with a T-shirt versus a towel helps lessen frizz and define curls.

8. Indulging in lavender-laced beauty sleep. Bath & Body Works has a great-smelling lavender vanilla aromatherapy lotion called Sleep. 

9. Practically swimming in body lotion daily.

10. Chilling the heck out. I think taking 20 minutes for yourself each day is the most underrated one. I have to make myself do this and when I skip it I eat more and feel not so focused. I'm trying to fit it in, but with a new puppy and a job with longer hours, it's so tough! The best is taking that 20 minutes with my awesome new headphones! Bliss!