Tag Archive | longform

30 Before 30

In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”

The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.

By 30, you should have…
14. A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine, and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don’t get better after 30.

Actress, model and all-around superwoman Angie Harmon wrote this week’s response to The List, and she addresses the ever-present promise of growing older: how to look good while doing it.

I’ve paraphrased Harmon’s “10 tricks for looking fierce at any age, especially the one you are now” below and added my own commentary (of course):

1. Eat foods that are good for you…
This is plain and simple — the more fresh, natural, unprocessed foods you consume, the more your body will thank you. I finally learned this myself with my recent month-long challenge at removing caffeine, alcohol and added/artificial sugar from my diet. Do I still crave and consume pizza, fried foods and other junk? Of course. But I’m a hell of a lot more cognizant about where all of that is going to end up, even if I sweat myself silly at the gym.

2. Make friends with the elliptical machine…
Speaking of the gym, Harmon glorifies the do-it-all elliptical, of which I’ve been a longtime fan. Now, because I live in SF and boutique classes are much more “in,” I’ve tried my hand at boot camps and barre in recent years. But the good, old-fashioned elliptical certainly torches calories and works multiple muscle groups faster than most classes a gym can offer.

3. Buy swimsuits that fit.
If you’ve seen any episode of “What Not to Wear,” ever, you know fit is the most important component to fashion. You can have beautiful pieces, but if they don’t fit well, they won’t maximize your potential. Similarly, if you’re trying to squeeze into a swimsuit from summers long ago, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Forget about the number on the tag and focus on fit: You won’t regret giving your body the support, coverage, or whatever it needs to feel fabulous!

Courtesy of FLDermDoc.com

4. You need to exfoliate for young-looking skin.
This tried-and-true beauty tip is timeless for a reason: It works. Even with my sensitive skin, exfoliating a few times a week brightens and tightens my face and neck like nothing else can. I invested in a Clarisonic a few years ago (thanks, Macy’s discount!) and rotate through various face washes, depending on my needs. The satisfaction of seeing the crap that comes off your face is just a bonus.

5. Never underestimate the power of a bright lipstick.
I haven’t ever been much of a lipstick, or lipgloss fan, for that matter. Except for a few years of middle school experimentation, I tend to keep my lips bare. But I see Harmon’s point and have never failed to receive compliments the few times I bust out a bold red or pouty pink. PS, if you have a crave-worthy color I should try, let me know!

6. Sun protection is a must, always…
There’s absolutely no arguing this one — sunscreen is a vital component to everyone’s skin regimen. I personally prefer buying moisturizers and foundation with SPF for foolproof normal days, and I add on sweatproof sunblock for days I’m outside more. Even in the overcast climate of SF, there’s no better shield for your skin than slathering on this stuff.

Courtesy of OdysseyOnline.com

7. Let your moisturizer sink in…
Of all the beauty advice I’ve read over the years, I don’t recall coming across this one, but Harmon suggests letting your moisturizer sit for three minutes before moving on to your next step. I’ve tried it for all of one day, so I can’t speak to the results yet, but the quickest of Google searches shows her advice is worth taking.

8. Reconsider your beauty routine…
Just as our bodies change with time, so does our hair and skin texture and color. The curls I wanted so desperately during my stick-straight years have finally come, and the color has changed — often with help from a professional — countless times. These changes require different products, treatments and care… if we learned nothing else from “Legally Blonde,” we should all be aware of our hair (and skin) care needs.

9. Know there’s always going to be something about your body you’re not going to like…
Although our beauty standards have progressed by leaps and bounds, there’s still much work to do in self-love and care. I’ll probably never be 100% satisfied with my stomach, for example, but other women would kill for my chest. We want curly hair until we have it. We want thinner limbs but ignore the strength of our own. It’s cliché for a reason: We want what we don’t have. Accepting what we DO have, however, never gets old. Love the body you’re in. Be grateful for it. Accept the things that make you unique, because you’re perfect just the way you are.

Courtesy of Pinterest

10. There will be times when self-acceptance comes less easily…
As Harmon notes, there are going to be days when you just can’t seem to accept the things that irk you most about your body. And that’s OK, too. Spanx and concealer and baseball hats are all helpful tools in getting through a blah day. You don’t have to suck it up and smile, but it is ideal to know what your go-to is on those days so you’re not stuck falling down a rabbit hole of envying others.

Now, Christina and TLC, play me out!

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Life Lessons on My Second San Franniversary

Today marks my second San Franniversary, so I thought I’d share some of the lessons I’ve learned since moving here. Bonus: It’s apparently (and arbitrarily) San Francisco Appreciation Week! If I’m missing anything, I’m sure you’ll all let me know 😉

1. Never, ever, EVER call it “San Fran.”
I realize I broke this cardinal rule in the very title of this post, but I believe a pun makes it OK. (I haven’t gotten an eye-roll yet in my empty apartment, at least.) For some reason, SF residents absolutely cannot stand calling their beloved city “San Fran.” It’s “SF” (pronounced “ess eff”) or “The City” (though I still save that for NYC). And I’m guilty of the hatred toward “Saaan Fraaan,” too. It strikes a nerve, sounds sooo country and feels like a betrayal to the Bay Area. Even worse: “Frisco.” *shudders*

Courtesy of Studentapan.se

2. There won’t be a heat wave in August.
It goes against everything you’ve ever been taught, but bring sweaters and jeans if you visit SF in August. With an average temperature this year of 58°F, you’ll thank me later. Easiest way to spot tourists here each August? They’re wearing overpriced Golden Gate Bridge sweatshirts from Fisherman’s Wharf, because they figured it’d be hot like everywhere else. On the flip side, September and October are our warmest months. I don’t make the rules; I’m just sharing them.

Courtesy of FreeToursByFoot.com

3. NorCal is very different from SoCal.
I haven’t personally experienced Southern California yet, but I’ve heard enough comparisons to feel confident in this lesson. NorCal is bourgie and techy, chilly and pretentious — while SoCal is beachy and sprawling, warm and pretentious in a different way. Also: Don’t expect me to “pop down” to San Diego or LA while you’re there on a weekday, since they’re 400+ miles away. I still love you, though 🙂

Courtesy of TheOdysseyOnline.com

4. We work smarter, not harder.
Work/life balance is a constant topic of conversation here, almost to a fault. I haven’t worked in the smallest of startups — so there is some variation — but for the most part I believe SFers find efficiencies in their work, suggest changes to organizations’ processes and don’t have to prove their worth by how many hours they work. We value getting in, getting shit done and getting out to live life away from office walls.

Courtesy of Vermints.com

5. We take our wine and our sports seriously.
This should come as no surprise, given electric playoff seasons from the Golden State Warriors, San Francisco Giants,and San Jose Sharks — plus the recent resurgence of the Oakland Raiders. Even the 49ers and A’s fans are fiercely loyal. And while wine and sports don’t necessarily go hand in hand, you can’t be just south of Wine Country and not have a strong appreciation for vino. Cheers to that.

Courtesy of TheHometownFan.com

6. Oakland is SF’s cooler cousin — and kinda too cool for me.
I haven’t explored nearly as much of Oakland as I’d like to, but what I have seen has been mostly awesome. The Fox Theater is a phenomenal concert venue, there are awesome restaurants and bars to try all over Downtown, Lake Merritt and more. Get comfortable with the BART map first, though, as I’ve gotten turned around and spent way more time on the train than is ever necessary for one human.

Courtesy of PGHMurals.com

7. Trolleys are not the same as cable cars.
This is a lesson I’m still learning, as anyone within earshot is quick to correct me when I mistakenly identify a trolley (or streetcar) as a cable car. The key difference is how they’re propelled, which is exactly why I can’t seem to keep them straight. All I really know is, both types are adorable and strangely efficient forms of transportation — provided you avoid the stops at each end of the cable car lines.

Courtesy of GeraldBrimacombe.com

8. Public transportation is laughable.
Ask me two years ago, and I’d say I would never, ever miss the MTA. But being out here, I miss the subway nearly every damn day. MUNI is inefficient, dealing with traffic and breakdowns and shitty people who refuse to follow the rules. BART is a hot mess of its own. And while I understand this city wasn’t built for the massive influx of people, it’s frustrating to feel like there aren’t any major changes in sight for affordable, efficient, reliable public transportation.

Image Courtesy of Google

9. Uber, Lyft and Chariot are godsends… mostly.
It’s no wonder, then, we freaking love rideshare and shuttle services. Since Uber and Lyft were founded here, we’re often a test market for new features (and promos!) before they’re rolled out nationwide. I relied heavily on UberPool with my last job, since my 2.5-mile commute would take more than 50 minutes on MUNI. I’m now blessed with transportation reimbursement from my employer, so a shuttle service like Chariot (also founded in SF) makes commuting and getting around SF a breeze.

Courtesy of DerekWWyatt.com

10. SF is a fantastic place to live.
There are plenty of challenges living in a big city with rich history and recent gentrification. It’s easy to take it for granted, but it’s truly become my favorite home. Whether making jokes about Karl the Fog; braving tourists on Golden Gate Bridge; or enjoying the quirky, eclectic local vibes, SF will always have a special place in my heart.

Courtesy of VividScreen.info

 

#IAmMoreThan: Kardash with a Kause

I follow mostly friends and dogs on Instagram, with a few celebrities thrown in for good measure. Recently, I saw posts on my feed tagged with #IAmMoreThan, accompanied with an inspirational story and beautiful photo. Turns out, this campaign was started by none other than the Insta-queen herself, Kylie Jenner.

Jenner has more than 35 million followers (as of today’s writing) and is using that social-media power for good: She began this anti-bullying campaign to showcase people who’ve overcome bullying and can prove they’re “more than” what they’ve been teased for.

Image Courtesy of Instagram

From plus-size women to those suffering from rare genetic diseases, there’s a relatable story for every person who’s felt shamed for something, often out of their own control.

Personally, I applaud Jenner for shining a spotlight on the strength it takes to persevere beyond your tormentors. I’ve been on both sides of the bullying coin, and it’s taken years for me to face each path.

I developed physically in 3rd grade (well before most of my female peers) and was teased endlessly through the years because of my body, reddish hair, dark freckles, fair skin, huge glasses, awkward braces … you name it.

My parents had differing suggestions: Dad took the “toughen up, soldier” approach, while mom encouraged quick comebacks and a sharp wit. I took the latter route to the extreme, becoming a bully myself while I used humor as a defense mechanism. If I could hurt them before they hurt me, I thought, I won’t be so miserable.

This led to me being quite the mean girl all the way through high school — often friendly enough with various groups but never dare letting anyone get close enough to see the real, genuine me.

The vulnerable girl who hated her large chest and freckled skin.
The funny girl who overdeveloped a sharp tongue and tough exterior.
The sad girl who contemplated how easy it’d be to just end the pain.

I’m not saying adolescence is a walk in the park for anyone — and Lord knows, I’m thankful every day that I went through my most awkward years without social media or the Internet to document it all. Kids today who struggle with cyberbullies have seemingly no escape from the ridicule, the nasty names, the constant cattiness.

It’s my hope that with campaigns like #IAmMoreThan, people of all ages will feel more comfortable in their own skin and proud of their “flaws.” I wouldn’t expect it from a Kardsahian clan member, but I’m sure glad she’s using her soapbox for good.

Image Courtesy of Magz ArchivesNow, I can laugh with this girl and not at her.

How-To: Suck Less at Tinder

After much hemming and hawing, I finally joined the “social networking,” AKA laziest dating app ever, Tinder.

And since I’ve been on it for about 48 hours, I’m basically an expert. Check out this fancy infograph and get ready for some harsh truthbombs.

So, I’m like Cameran from “Southern Charm” (and “Real World: San Diego,” but that’s another story): I’ve been sent from the heavens to help all you turds.

Courtesy of Bravo.comSee? We’re basically twins.

Before we begin, I insist — for the first time in my life — that you listen to Kesha & Pitbull.

Step 1: Set up your profile properly.
You can add up to six photos from your Facebook account, so choose wisely.

The first/default picture should be a clear, well-lit shot of just you. If you’re in a group of guys, I have no idea which one you are. If you’re with kids, I don’t know if they’re yours or someone else’s. If you’re pixelated, I can’t tell if your face is blurry or it’s just your shit phone.

Your other photos can include those things, but keep in mind: This is a shallow service and we’re going off first impressions. Many girls will not swipe through to see more if they’re scratching their heads on photo #1.

Other tips for selecting photos:

  • Don’t have pics with a bunch of seemingly random girls; you’re trying to DATE someone new and we don’t know them or your history
  • Include a full-body shot and don’t get pissy about it — this is a two-way street
  • Vary the content, unless you wear a polo and have a drink in hand at all times … we’d like to think you’re a little more complex than that
  • Animals are featured often — nothing wrong with it, but don’t be that guy who “shows off” his dog to make a girl swoon

Courtesy of BuzzFeed.comI just want to be her best friend.

Step 2: Don’t ruin those carefully selected photos with an awful “About” section.
I write for a living, so just shut up and listen.

Most people don’t read (I’m set for life, clearly). So don’t use 500 characters as an open invitation to tell your life story or hate on “why women swipe Yes but don’t message” you.

Bottom line: Forget writing a novel, throwing shade or misquoting an outdated movie. If I read one more “My apartment smells of rich mahogany lol,” I will lose it.

I’ve seen a lot of guys link to their other social accounts — namely Instagram — and who list their height. I’m not necessarily against either, but keep that username in mind when sharing with a potential lady friend. Read: bang_gang69 is not attractive.

Courtesy of 5Why.comOooh. This should be fun.

Step 3: You’re matched! Don’t be an idiot.
Congratulations! You’ve picked decent photos and didn’t scare her off … yet. Now, don’t screw it up.

I’m not super-old school, but I do think guys should feel confident within this app to send the first message after matching. It shows self-assuredness and a willingness to be the first man she’s met who isn’t scared to approach her.

Make an observation about one of her pictures … not her boobs, but ask what’s in the drink she’s holding or what song she was dancing to.

Ask how her day is going, or what she would be doing on a normal [insert day] if she weren’t on Tinder.

Anything but “Hey,” “What’s up?” or something wildly offensive should work.

The beauty of Tinder is how non-committal it is. You swipe and swipe and swipe, and hopefully your battery dies before you seriously embarrass yourself or kill your chances.

Despite my self-proclaimed expert status, I need to know: Am I missing any tips? Let me know in the comments — and happy hunting!

Throwback Thursday

Inspired by the #tbt trend on Instagram, this new series will revisit an old favorite from years past on a (hopefully) weekly basis. You’re welcome.

This week’s throwback is a straight-up repost from a (now defunct) blog I kept during my high school and early college years.

I wrote this eight years ago, and I remember crying my eyes out as I tapped away in the library.  It’s eerie looking back at my writing style and most personal thoughts, but I hope it’ll give you some insight to my childhood — and how Dad’s cancer diagnosis this year made our family even stronger:

Courtesy of Magz's Archives

Have you ever had something change the rest of your life forever? I mean, it honestly affected every single day for the rest of your life?

I have.

My dad’s stroke happened exactly 10 years ago today.The consequences from such a traumatic event have weighed me down since that morning, and I think I’m finally ready to let go. Just once and for all, let go.

I’ve got to stop blaming him for his memory loss, for never throwing a ball with me or shooting hoops. I’ve got to forgive him for not knowing who I was when Adam and I visited him every afternoon in the hospital. I’ve got to let go of the fact that he will never be the daddy I once knew, the one that smiled a lot and even joked back with us.

It’s not his fault that it happened. It’s not God’s fault either. It’s time for me to grow up already, and forget about pushing the blame on someone or something.

No one could have predicted that my mom would roll over one morning and find him, lifeless and forever changed. No one could have accounted for causing him to walk with a limp, to be paralyzed on one side, and to have a bitter, pessimistic outlook on life.

Ten years of blaming, hating and accusing has gotten us nowhere. I feel selfish for assuming that he would have recovered, no problem. He shouldn’t be broken. He should be better. But it’s out of our control and he needs me to know [sic] that I accept him.

I can’t believe how long it’s taken me to come to this realization. And yet, I already feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of my heart and my mind.

Appreciate your loved ones, for you never know — one day, they may disappear forever

2013 update: My dad remains one of the most resilient men I’ve ever met. His strength is awe-inspiring, and I’m thankful every day for how much our relationship has grown in the past few years.

My parents spent their 33rd anniversary at the hospital this June. Dad’s receiving treatments at a rehab center on this, the 18th anniversary of his stroke. I love you, Slick Rick … keep fighting the good fight!