How To Take a Successful Selfie

Let's face it, we all have either tried or are trying to take the perfect selfie. There are endless amounts of pictures you have to sort through in order to pick the best one of the bunch that will look best through an Instagram filter. It's takes a lot of time and practice to finally get a selfie down in one snap. I recently got asked how to be more photogenic because some people have a hard time finding the right positioning. Since I am on a kick of showing embarrassing pictures of myself in my blog, I wanted to add my selfies through the years and how I progressed in technique. It all starting back when I was I'm high school when I was taking selfies before selfies were a thing. 

It all started with the mirror selfie...

I was too cool for school when the mirror selfie was the latest trend. This first picture was the least embarrassing, believe it or not. (By the way, top left is from 2008, top right 2009, bottom left 2010, bottom right 2014) See, the problem with the first picture is the lighting. The flash coming off the corner of the mirror completely hid all the hours put into making my makeup and hair look good. Amateur. My first tip to taking a good selfie: Lighting is EVERYTHING. I was able to find lighting before my good side so my next phase of selfies were full frontal and also in my parents hallway with all of the lights on. It really does making a difference and overtime I realized that natural lighting is the best back drop for a selfie photo shoot. Soon, selfies would go from the bathroom lighted mirror to your car before you have to go to class. The University of Rhode Island sure had a lot of selfie photo shoots, if you ask me. I am so glad the kissey face faded out because it was brutally painful to see looking back into the depths of my Facebook pictures. 

Now the second picture on the top right looks a little better, don't you think? At this point in my selfie career, I was able to really understand how to control my crazy curls and even put on liquid eyeliner. I had a lot of bad makeup days until I developed into my signature 'cat eye' swoosh eye liner, as I like to call it. Progression my friends, progression. 

Now I am catching on with the third picture. With the lighting in place, I slowly started tilting the camera more left because after the hundreds of selfie fails I took, I realized that I looked best on my left side. Everyone has a good side, finding it is just the tough part. My second tip: Take a ton of pictures from different angles and see which one tickles your fancy. You'll be able to figure out eventually. I have always struggled with blemishes and an uneven skin tone but with just the right angle and  decent concealer, a selfie can still be achieved, trust me. Practice makes perfect.

Ding ding ding! We have a winner. The fourth picture is the updated Anita selfie with the perfect lighting and slightly tilted left angle. It was a chilly and sunny winter day the day after I got my ombré redone. Perfect components to a successful selfie. Another tip: be comfortable. If you aren't comfortable and genuine in your emotions it will make the selfie look plain weird. The world can read your expression so if you are fussing with your hair all day, it probably isn't a good selfie day. I learned from Tyra Banks as should you, learn how to smize. It will become your best friend.

Now that you have seen my face way to much in the last few minutes, let me leave you with this. For a successful selfie find your lighting, preferably natural light, find your good angle and be genuine with your emotions. With these tips, I think your next selfie will be a winner. Oh, by the way, I was mind blown recently when I discovered the volume buttons on the side of my iPhone worked as a button to take the picture. Who knew? This is a game changer. 

Last but certainly not least, never let anyone make you feel bad about your partake in selfie nation. I have gotten it all, from friends and family alike, but you will soon learn as I did, if taking a picture of yourself makes you feel good, do it. Who doesn't want to show the world themselves when they are having a good makeup/mood/hair day. I sure as hell don't know. Those who give you the judgey and sly 'who takes a selfie' comment are just mad because they haven't figured out how to take a good selfie themselves. 

5 Stereotypes only Reggae Concert Goers Would Understand

Now that I have finished watching the second season of Orange is The New Black, I can devote more of my time to my blog that I have ever so rudely ignored. My apologies. 

My birthday has since come and gone once again. The one day that is all about you and your happiness with never ending amounts of food and booze. Well, it's not all about me because I have a twin, but I enjoy sharing my birthday with someone else...sometimes. I had to work this year at the restaurant I work at and it sucked. This is the first time in my 24 years of life that I had to work on my birthday. Instead of waking up with Happy Birthday texts and calls and mimosas at 10 a.m., I had to prepare for my busy Saturday night shift. I found other ways to celebrate, like going to a reggae concert the day before my birthday. So in lieu of being rejected as a contributing writing to a Buzzfeed-like website, I will dedicate this blog post in a similar fashion as those kind of websites.

5 stereotypes only Reggae concert goers would understand

(to be clear, the Reggae concerts I tend to go to are more rock influenced with the addition of horns, which I love, and a heavier emphasis on drums)

1. The Rastas. These are the real deal, dread locks wearing, Jamaican accent sounding individuals who practice the Rastafarian religion. There are usually a handful of these peep towards the back of the venue rocking to their own good vibes.They are real interesting group of people and I enjoy talking to them because their perspective on life is way different than the perspective of an Italian girl from Rhode Island. 

2. The mosh-pit anticipaters. Surprisingly, mosh pits do happen every so often during these concerts. With bands like Slightly Stoopid and The Expendables, their heavy rock drum-solo songs result in a head banging, sweaty, aggressive mosh pit that guys seem can't seem to get enough of. Usually these dudes are wearing sleeveless shirts, cargo shorts and maybe even a trucker hat with the band's logo on it. Typically these guys are either super drunk or high resulting in an even more exaggerated most pit reaction. I have seen guys start pushing each other around to the most non-most pit type song. Seriously dude, chill out. I want to enjoy this song before your smelly ass starts causing fights for no reason. I always know when a mosh pit is about to happen, in fact, I can successfully move my friends and I to a secure location to avoid any punches from the drunken idiots.

3. The hipster chicks. They are usually in cut off shorts and wearing flower head bands. There are always the bandwagon jumpers who push their way to the front of the stage so inconsiderately, and trying to mootch a hit off of someone else's joint. These girls, sometimes even guys, probably don't give a shit about the bands rather just trying to get wasted with their buddies. Every concert has these people who ignorantly push their way to the front but not with me, no way. Unless they say excuse me, or are somewhat polite, I link my arms together like I am play Red Rover so none of those bitches can get through me. I have been here way to long to let someone else get a better view then me. Go back to where you came from and learn the band members name, then MAYBE I will let you get in front of me. Bitches.

Check out a video of Rebelution I took from the concert at the House of Blues in Boston (6.12.14) !

4. The genuine band fans. I suppose I can be grouped in this bunch as I have been following a handful of these rock/reggae bands for the last few years. I follow their pages in social media and make sure not to miss a show, especially with Slightly Stoopid, my favorite band. We tend to get as close as we can, without rudely shoving our way to the front, and absorb the vibes from the band while singing along to every song. At the concert I went to before my birthday, Rebelution was head-lining and The Green, Iration and Stick Figure opened the show.. I have a new found enjoyment of these bands because they were all bad ass live. Rebelution was always a good time and the opening bands were insane, especially The Green. Those Hawaiian guys sure can sing your socks off.

5. The stoners. It wouldn't be a reggae concert without the typical burn outs. It is very common at these shows for the band to smoke joints and even pipes right on stage. For whatever reason, they can get away with it but their fans can't, but they always find some way to hide it. The stoners  I am talking about, however, get so high they get in the way. I had someone so baked they practically passed out and fell on me. Seriously guys, get a grip. Control yourselves. All of these stereotypes are stoners, by the way, I just can't group them in a bunch of burnouts who can barely function while high. Stay home if you can't hang. 

Between these five stereotypes, someone is bound to smell real bad. Like body odor stench that is so bad, I would give up my front row spot to get away. But all of it is part of the experience, ammiright? Something about the push of the crowd, the smell of body odor and marijuana, and the pounding bass tickling my ear drum, I love it all. The whole genre is about passing on good vibes and living life positively. Everyone coming together to enjoy the music and the music's message makes a good time all around.

Everything is irie, especially when you get to meet one of the lead singers of Slightly Stoopid, Kyle McDonald! I got this bad boy last year at their concert at the Klein Auditorium in Connecticut. And check out the girl who photo bombed me. Props to you sistah. 

Evolution of the Prom Dress

Like the other umpteen people, I had a wedding this Memorial Day weekend. Not just any wedding, a big Italian wedding with close to 200 guests. It was in Pittsburgh, which was even more exciting because it is a place I have never been. The city of bridges. The city of hills and valleys and great places to eat and drink. The wedding was on a boat that cruised the three rivers that lined the city. A beautiful backdrop to a beautiful wedding. Congrats Paloma and Mark! The floating party was also hosting a prom for a local high school the day before my cousins wedding. 

So first, I must divulge into my experience at the hotel, where tons of high schoolers were lining up for corny prom pictures, with an array of prom dresses that were horrendous. I mean, seriously, did I look like that when I went to prom? It was like a smorgasbord of prom dress styles from the last few decades. It ranged from the 90's style dress, either velvet or nylon, usually in a solid color and of course the draped scarf to match. Some of them looked like a bedazzler threw up on them. Then there was the new millennium dresses that were a ball gown style that bunched up like Bell from Beauty and the Beast, and usually they were in a bright color with jewels all over, maybe even a long train in the back. Then there was the 2006-2010 style dresses, which was the thing when I was in high school. They were way more riskay, with cut outs and an abnormal amount of sequins. It was either strapless or a halter, with some form of sparkle near the chest. The material was either similar to silk or chiffon-like. I had it all. In fact, I included all of the pictures I found with the many different style prom dresses I have had.

First is my senior prom dress in 2008, probably the worst choice I made. This over priced, Vegas showgirl dress had jewels everywhere, with the hip cutouts and deep V neckline. My mom hated it. It was the first dress I purchased with my hard earned tips from my part time job at Dunkin' Donuts. I thought I was the shit. And duh, I did the infamous mirror selfie, before selfies were even a thing. 

Next is my Christmas Ball in 2007, where I borrowed my older sisters senior prom dress. This was one of my favorites, because it was subtle and classy, the one thing my mom always wanted to pass down to her daughters was class. It was a gathered chiffon dress with a deep V neckline and a broach, very tasteful if you ask me. Me and my Italian Guido date stole the show (thanks Mike), especially since he is my best friend Joe's older brother. I went to a prom with a popular boy, only because I am close with his family. I thought I was SO cool. 

And finally was my Christmas Ball in 2007. This dress was very tasteful, in a neutral beige color with, you guessed it, bedazzles everywhere. This was the year that me and the homecoming queen wore the same dress. It sucked, walking into the dance with my ego through the roof because my dress was on point, come to find out the most popular girl of the senior class was wearing it too. Whatever, I wore it better. Jeez, these pictures are bringing me back. Glad I could share these goodies with you readers. Eat them up. 

The trend was to wear slimming, form fitting dresses, no more poofy dresses, no way. You couldn't be caught dead in something that you couldn't comfortably Pop Lock and Drop in. Duh.  And now there is the new style dress, a style that I will never understand. Walking into the hotel to check in after a long day of traveling, all I could see were neon colors and sparkles everywhere. It was as if all the style dresses over the years had a mutated baby that multiplied and took over all high school proms. I would have taken a picture, but I felt a little bad putting these girls on blast on my blog because years from now, they will have plenty of pictures to remind them how bad their dress decisions were. It was more than just the colors, the fabrics used where unknown to man kind. One girl looked like the swamp thing. It was the most unflattering shade of green, with seaweed looking details that just rounded out the look. Old Gregg in the building, for real. My dad pointed out a candy-apple-red ball gown with a feather boa sash...I wish I was kidding. But hey, every high school class has their thing, but unfortunately, it was the worst I have ever seen. They can come to that consensus when they are my age. 

I'm not sure if it was the age group, or the location of the prom, but these dresses were definitely one-of-a kind. I guess history does repeat itself, because these dresses were a hybrid of the last 20 plus years. Prom was the most exciting thing I did at that age, so whatever dress makes you happy, go for it. Regardless, it is an experience you will look back and laugh at, at some point in your life. For me, this is that moment. 

A Proper Introduction

A proper introduction is in order because without it, I am just another blogger in a giant haystack with thousands of super pointy needles that are in the blogosphere. How can you expect to relate to a blogger if you don't know them, but not just the surface pros and cons, I mean the embarrassing, stupid mannerisms and "Valley Girl" speech that I can't happen to kick as a habit. So where do I begin?

I've just recently gotten used to the way I was made fun of or innocently teased from my friends, and more my family, for my not-so-intelligent actions. At some point over the past year, I learned to embrace all of my imperfections, and I am not afraid to admit any of them. I am going to put myself on blast, and I am kinda excited too? Is that weird?

  • My room is usually covered with my clothes that I tore out of my closest when  figuring out what to wear
  • I despise washing my hair, so I only do it once a week, maybe more. It looks shitty the first two days after being washed, and I don't want anymore bad hair days
  • I don't know how to loop, swoop and pull. I have always used the bunny ears method 
  • I have watched every single Real Housewives Season, for all seven cities
  • I talk in a NeNe Leakes accent most of the day...and it is becoming a problem
  • I think I look in the mirror too much, maybe because I'm fussy with my hair #curlyhairproblems
  • I am a "LoFi" habitual user on Instagram
  • I have a Justin Bieber Pandora station...that I should probably delete
  • I can sing all of the lyrics to R.Kelly's Trapped in The Closet series...all chapters
  • I still get lost in Providence, and it's a tiny city. Did I mention I've lived here my whole life?
  • I can be a hypocrite
  • I can be a super bitch, most female Italians are
  • I have a handful of people who don't like girls from my high school and old coworkers but guess who's laughing? I am starting my career I got with my degree from college and I make more money at my new job. I'm running to the bank, sweetie. I'm cashing trump checks. Whoosh. (see, way to much NeNe Leakes voice overs) 
  • I bought jeans that were already ripped
  • My twin sister is smarter than me
  • I sleep with a nightlight and stuffed animals
  • I haven't watched the Godfather movies from start to finish
  • I have an Anita Road street sign that I.....acquired
  • I hate getting interrupted
  • My head is abnormally big, in fact, I can't fit into most hats 
  • It takes me multiple tries to properly type the word "definitely" 
  • I talk in way too many random voices

I'd like to stop the list and elaborate on the random voices comment because it truly is weird. Depending on my mood, I will adopt an attitude on a specific housewife, like most recently NeNe Leakes. But she isn't the only one. Oh hell-to-the-no. I've been Teresa Guidice at a Sunday dinner table when I got super pissed at what my sister said to me. I probably tried flipping the table but I am to much of a sissy. I can be a pretentious New England-er similarly to Heather Dubrow...and do it with class. I can be gone-with-the-wind fabulous like Kenya Moore, even though she annoys the shit out of me. Plus, I like to twirl out of a room too. And I am about to say this with the most shame, I can be straight dumb like Alexis Bellino. Don't judge me. But I am not the only one, my twin sister is right there along with me as we feed into each others craziness. If anything, I speak in these voices mostly with her. I can't forget to mention all of our stuffed animal personalities and our cranky baby voice we do when we both get fussy (ask both of our boyfriends). We are way to similar sometimes. Check out this oldie (my twin is on the left and I am on the right), and how about those knit sweaters?

So there you have it. I have listed most of my quirky, not-so-flattering personality traits and flaws so maybe now you can understand my sense of humor a little more. No shame, I can own my actions, and hopefully you wonderful readers can relate to my playful perspective on life, ya heard? A little Anita will spice up any party.

New and Improved Anita

I'm a terrible person. 

I haven't posted in a few weeks and I am sorry. I know you probably read these "I'm sorry I am busy and haven't posted blog posts" but what can I say, a lot is happening in my life.

In addition to ending the Paleo diet (which I also haven't posted about like I said I would), I got a big girl job as a News Reporter for a southern Rhode Island newspaper. I did it Ma! Your daughter is an official journalist. Maybe not a highly paid one but I have to start somewhere, right? I am preparing for my cousins wedding that will be in Pittsburgh that I will be blogging about because lets face it, there is nothing worse then getting your shit together for an out-of-state wedding, well at least for your procrastinating, dysfunctional traveling average girl. 

While I am ending my internship at the local magazines in my state, I am thankful for the opportunity as without it, I probably wouldn't have landed this job. It can only get better from here and I am anxious to see where I will end up a year from now. A lot has happened for me and my career so hopefully you will see my name on the front page of The Boston Globe or maybe even on any of the Hearst Corporation publications, specifically Cosmopolitan Magazine (which is my dream).

The more I read blogs and get sucked into the blogosphere for what seems to be hours, I find inspiration from other bloggers who are doing really well, and by the looks of it, they know what the hell they are doing. Heck, I am just trying to get readers and possibly people to join my site so I can get more of a following.(::hint hint: share my blog to friends :::) Most recently, I have been getting a lot of inspiration from The Daily Tay, a really great blog with a funny and witty Chicago comedian who writes about everything from blogging tips to her birthday extravaganzas. Regardless of the content, it is always a good read and a motivational one at that. Hopefully I can get as successful as her! I would definitely check her out. 

Lets recap the last few weeks I haven't posted.
  • I am done dieting, although I am continuing to eat meals that are "Paleo influenced"
  • I got a job as a News Reporter for a southern Rhode Island newspaper
  • My career is kicking off and I'm stoked to see where it will go
  • I am trying to become a better blogger (and picture taker) so I can establish myself as a writer and maybe inspire others to create a blog, which was the best thing I could have done.
  • Find other blogs you love reading, because it will only help you succeed.
  • And lastly, share my blog to your friends and fellow bloggers. I am excited to hear from all of you!

Spread the love :)

Sunday Funday

Hallelujah! I finally have a coveted Sunday off from work, and I can now enjoy it like a true Italian. As expected, my mom cooks a feast for champions including my siblings and of course, our matriarch, Grandma Soprano. Having a grandparent with that last name, I guess you could say we are the real deal. And whoever thinks Giada De Laurentiis is a true Italian or chef, for that matter, doesn't know a thing about the culture. 'Spe-geyyhht-iii' your ass out of here. Funny enough, my brother likes to cook a Giada recipe for my mom and her reaction is priceless. Once he drops the bomb, quicker than you can say 'motzah-reyll-ah', my mom is retracting all of her compliments. It gets her every time.

How in the hell am I supposed to keep a diet when I am at a Sunday dinner table. Frig, if I don't eat pasta, my grandma thinks I am anorexic. It's an insult if I don't eat everything, and by everything I mean two helpings of each dish. Since I told most of my family about my month long Paleo diet, I feel the pressure to stick to the hellish restrictions. No old school Italian thinks dieting is healthy, in fact, my mom has been telling me all month that I look pale, when in reality my skin hasn't seen sunlight since last summer. Casper the anorexic ghost. On some real talk though, I need a tan, STAT. 

So what's on the menu for Sunday dinners, you ask? Typically there is pasta, some type of protein (for us it is usually chicken, mostly because my family owns a poultry farm) salad and an additional veggie. If I am lucky, it is broccoli rabe. Get it quick, it always goes fast in our house. Our dinners aren't always the most traditional because my mom loves trying new recipes outside of Italian cuisine. Tonight, we had minestrone (an Italian vegetable soup usually made with rice) followed by a pork roast, mashed potatoes, roasted asparagus and locally made sausages. Part of the excitement of coming home on Sunday's is the surprise of what's being served. When my grandma isn't there, anything is fair game, because you best believe Grandma Soprano isn't eating anything outside her nationality. After dinner, espresso is a must at Italian dinners and I am always summoned as a personal barista because I worked at a coffee shop years ago. They don't even have to ask anymore, I will forever be a Dunkin' Donuts employee to them.

Food brings people together, especially Italians. It is a culture that practically revolves around a dinner table. For us, the conversation usually includes embarrassing stories from our past, like the time I screamed for a towel while I was huddled over the toilet hacking my brains out after having the flu, mind you I was about 10 years old. This story never gets old with my family. We also do a lot of catching up with everyone's lives, since most of my siblings and I have moved out of the nest. The seating assignments are usually the same, with my dad at the head of the table with my grandma and mother's seat beside him. Every week, my dad has some story on how he can't comprehend things my generation does, or why there is oil on top of Teddie Peanut Butter. Like my dad always says, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Apparently, Skippy Peanut Butter is the only real peanut butter, because that is what he grew up using. "None of this chunky stuff," he says. I always try to snag the seat next to grandma, however, 1. because I love hearing her hilarious translations from American words and 2. it is furthest from the refrigerator so I don't have to fill up the water bottle every 5 minutes. I learned, real quick.

Sunday is a day for food and family, and apparently pets too. The family cat, appropriately named Furry, is like a dinner shark that circles the table crying for anyone to give her some bait. She can be such a feline bitch, because she will meow all night, staring up at you from your seat and when you finally give her some of your precious meal, she won't touch it. It has to be one of the few things she likes and must be small enough for her to eat effortlessly because god forbid she puts some energy into something other than catnip. She can only roam free when grandma isn't there because if not, all hell will break loose. "Ehh, whatsa matta with you?! No animals insides the house, you get the bacteria and that's no good" grandma would yell. And if you ignore Furry, she will jump up into any empty seat and meow until she gets her way. We should start setting a spot just for her because this happens way to often.

No matter the occasion, have it be good or bad, Sunday is a day to unwind and enjoy your family's company, plus some slamming food and of course, vino. As the week comes to an end, nothing is better than a home cooked meal with people you enjoy being around most. Regardless of any diet, this is a day to eat your emotions, which usually means a huge bowl of my favorite, spaghetti. By the way, it's pronounced exactly how it looks, say it with me Giada, SPA-GET-TI.


Paleo Diet: Week 2 Down

Call the Paleo police. I cheated on my diet.

You know what, as far as I am concerned, I deserved the massive mound of creamy ice cream goodness with brownie chunks and hot fudge because you know what, Newport Creamery (NPC) is the way to to do it if you were to cheat. (For those of you not from Rhode Island, NPC is the hop off for ice cream and Awful Awful's- a milkshake of sorts) It's good mood food. There is nothing worse than giving into the junk food urge and come to find out it was a shitty choice of cheating material, like the lame ass frozen yogurt place near my apartment. Yes, I cheated more than once, sound the alarms! 

The month is already coming to a close and my body has finally gotten used to the Paleo diet. Looking back, the first week was terrible. My stomach was going through withdrawals from dairy and gluten and I constantly felt hungry. By adding whole grains in my daily routine, it lessened my stomach grumbles. I was told that Ezekiel bread is one of the best out there for you, because it has sprouted whole grains without any flour. It isn't as bad as it sounds. There is nothing I hate more than dry, chalky diet food. This is a great alternative. It tastes like regular wheat bread, without any chunky, hard pieces like multi-grain bread, for example. The other day, I made baked eggs with Canadian bacon and a piece of the Ezekiel bread. In a baking ramekin I bought, I layered the ingredients and it came out of the oven piping hot, with everything I love in breakfast, all in one bite. This whole dieting thing is making me a more creative cook, and Jake loves it. Martha who?

I am an avid Trader Joe's fan/shopper. The deals are insane and it has unique organic items that you can't find in other grocery stores. Checking the receipt and seeing how many items I bought is the best part of my shopping adventure. Usually, I can get about 50 items for $110 which averages to about $2.20 per item. My recent trip, I got 27 items for $95. That is more than a dollar more an item. Damn. Dieting really is an investment in yourself. Now a days, fresh produce is more expensive than a Big Mac and McDonald's. No wonder why America has an obesity issue. (I will save that rant for another blog post)

Luckily, I have gotten another job at a restaurant, making double what I had at my previous job, so it is allowing me to continue my diet habits. One thing I wont miss, is being "that person" who orders food and has to modify every item in the dish. "No butter, no dressing, sauce on side, no starch, sub veggies." I hate waiting on people like that...and now I am one. Making food at home is the best way to go, I just love going out to eat so it is hard. May is almost here! However, I do plan on continuing to eat healthy after all of this. I will definitely introduce Greek yogurt and granola back into my diet again because it is my favorite breakfast, especially when I am going to my internship. It is perfect office food, no mess and a quick meal. 

My goal is just a handful of pounds away. The official end of my diet is April 30, and I hope to lose five more pounds. I haven't weighed under 150 since high school. If i could get to 149, I will be pumped because I want to accomplish something out of all of this. Setting goals and actually reaching them is a new thing to me, and I kind of like it. Easter. A time to praise God and stuff your face with chocolate for breakfast. Easter was fair game. I couldn't give up Cadbury eggs, so I only ate one...maybe two or three? I ate without any restriction although, I did keep in mind my portions and the diets regulations. I am proud of myself, but I still gained a couple pounds since I did my weekly weigh in at my gym yesterday. That's why now, I am putting the pedal to the metal, and am in full gear to reach my goal. No more cheating for me! I must resist NPC. I will stay far, far away... until May 1st.   

The Jungle Gym

#fitness #fitlife #fitworld #eatclean #stopwithallthefitnesshashtags

If you are a habitual fitness hash tagger, I hate you. Okay, maybe not hate, more like annoy. I get it, you are on the fitness kick, good for you but please, chill out with the million fitness hash tags on all of your Instagram "I want everyone to know I am at the gym" selfies. 

When the Average Girl Chronicles (aka me) goes to the gym, it is quite the experience. I voluntarily put myself in a sweaty, smelly weight room jungle filled of apes grunting and pounding their chest like it's their mating call. That's just the men. The frequent women gym-goers are a site to see. They stick out like sore thumbs, whereas I like to stay under the radar when I'm working out.

The beauty queens: These ladies are wearing more makeup than a Saturday night out, with their hair perfectly done in a styled pony tail. Seriously though, when I go to the gym I look like the hot mess express leaving the dysfunction junction (giving credit for that line to Julie from season 9 of Bad Girls Club, don't judge). My hair is a huge frizz ball. These broads have more neon colored Under Armour gear than any one should, and of course, they have many sneakers to match their outfit, or mood for that matter. When I see someone with bright red sneaks, I'm getting out of their way. 

The fitness freaks: Monkey see, monkey do. Funny enough, these type of women are usually lifting weights next to their buffed up babes. They pump each other up like its a Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. These are the ones probably hash tagging the shit out of their pictures on social media. I DON'T CARE THAT IT IS LEG DAY. Just do your peace and keep it moving....moving out of my way so I can bench my puny 60 pounds, if that. Wanna know a secret of mine? I sometimes move the pin to a larger weight on the machines so the person after me doesn't think I am that much of a wimp. #sorrynotsorry 

The liars: Take a step back and look around. You will see the girls on their phones for more time than they are squatting. Every so often they will look around to see if anyone is looking at them, catching on to their laziness. I call them liars because these girls (I say girls because they are usually younger) are tagging themselves on Facebook so it SEEMS as though they are active individuals.(insert NeNe Leaks voice here), girl please, go home and go for a run or something. You look foolish.
The chatty Cathys: This group usually includes middle aged women who seek a friendly face while at the gym, hey, I don't blame them. I personally would rather workout alone because I don't want to be at the gym longer than I have too. Even if there is the juiciest gossip, talk to me in an hour when I'm leaving. A lot of these women are regulars at a Zumba class. Good for you sistah! It's a great workout, especially with a buddy. I wish more of my friends went to my gym because I am a huge fan of Zumba. It is a great alternative to working out. Anyway, most of the time these women are chatting next to each other on the treadmills about what they will cook for dinner, or the latest on celebrity gossip, with a People Magazine in front of them. At least they are actually working out, just don't talk to me. Thanks :)

The in-between: This is where I fall. I know too little about too much. Between my boyfriend giving me tips on how to work out a muscle group, to getting showed up by women who lifts that one extra set than me, this is why I dread going to the gym. Dammit, that is why I find a far corner so no one comes next to me. Catch a hint! I'm alone for a reason. To be honest, I don't know a fraction of what I should, especially since I am trying to get in better shape. Constantly, I am looking up workout routines that I can use to my benefit. I have been using machines that I would have never thought to use because of its location. Location is everything in the gym. You don't want to be a sissy and stay in the unofficially designated "women's area" but when you go where the big boys are, you look out of place and confused, well at least me. Yes, I have a cute pair of running shoes and occasionally I go to the gym with a face of makeup ONLY because it was after my days work, but at least I am trying!

Integrating the gym into your schedule is a pain in the ass but don't let that stop you, ladies! Now that I am seeing results with the help from the Paleo diet, I actually get a wee-bit excited to workout. Find your motivation people. Peer pressure is inevitable at the gym because you don't want to look clueless, so you do (or at least I do) what other people are doing. My advice, workout next to a personal trainer or a well fit person, you learn a lot of great tips. I guess monkey see, monkey do goes for more than just men. 

Paleo Diet: Week 1 Down

Jeez, did I learn a lot in a week and a half. Not only is this Paleo diet an eyeopening experience, I have learned a boat load of nutritional information that I never knew existed. So here is what I got out of it.

Apparently, your body needs about 100 grams of carbohydrates a day for your brain to function properly. Without it, you will encounter mood swings, over heating and even dizziness. I like my brain to function as properly as it can, because I am already insane. With this diet, I am not consuming any carbohydrates. None. No rice, bread or gluten, for that matter. Now, instead of burning carbohydrates for energy, my body is essentially eating itself. My body is burning protein instead. I am burning my muscle that I am working so hard to gain, slaving away at the gym with free weights, next to body builders and women who can snap me in half. It is damn intimidating working out next to these people, which is why it is infuriating learning this diet is contradicting itself, literally. My boyfriend has told me he feels like his beloved muscles are shrinking. This explains it.

With all of the negative things that I have heard about the diet, I have decided to tweek it to make it more sustainable. Now, I am eating whole grains once a day. That can be a sandwich, or a bowl of Special K cereal, with almond milk (by the way, Almond Breeze is the best out there). Sticking true to Paleo may work for other people, but from my experience, it needs some reworking.

So far, I have made the most delicious meals that I think I ever have. Thanks to Pinterest, I have learned how to make homemade chocolate. YES, chocolate. This recipe is not only genius, but I have no guilt eating a ton of it. There are so many more recipes I want to try.

3 tablespoons of Coconut Oil
3 tablespoons of Almond Butter
4 tablespoons of dark chocolate, unsweetened cocoa power
2-3 tablespoons of agave or honey (depending on how sweet you want it)
Chopped up fruit or almonds

I added chopped up strawberries, raspberries and almonds which made it only that much better. I even tried putting it on bananas and freezing it. Oh yea, all you have to do is melt all the ingredients together on the stove top then put on a cookie sheet, and freeze for at least 30 minutes. Voila! No baking necessary. It is chocolaty goodness without any added sugar. Seriously though, you need to make this regardless if you are on the diet. I sure will.

Other things I made over the past week and a half included baked cod encrusted with olive tapenade and sun-dried tomatoes. This was so easy and packed with flavor. And get this, I made cauliflower fried rice. OH EM GEE. I used this as my "starch" for my coconut milk and curry chicken stew that I made in the crock pot, which I also found on, you guessed it, Pinterest. I even made a pinning board exclusively for Paleo recipes.
(check out my Pinterest for some of the recipes I found.)

After weighing myself at the gym, I lost 5 pounds. Damn, it is so nice seeing the weight come off. This is why I can't give up on the diet because it's working, whether I like that it or not. In words from The Little Engine That Could, "I think I can, I think I can". I won't cave in. I KNOW I can do this. A diet is what you make of it. Some things work for people so you need to design it in a way your body will accept it. For me, eating a small amount of whole grains will help my month long diet, without losing the precious muscle that I have so little of. Lets see what happens.

Until next week...

AGC Goes Paleo

I will soon be 24 and what do I have to show for it? Well, I have a college degree under my belt, I am a published writer (you can Google me), I have two monthly columns and freelance for another magazine. Not to shabby, if I say so myself. I've been told my experience on my resume is probably more than anyone my age, and after working with barely no pay, my free labor was well worth it. 

One year ago, all I knew was waiting tables. Working in a restaurant WAS my life. Here I am, another college graduate fighting for a job in the state with the highest unemployment rate. The industry I am in, I have to be willing to do whatever it takes, paid or not paid, in order to make it big. So now, as my birthday approaches, I need to make some moves, strategic moves. Not only for my career but for my own well being.

Boredom for Gemini's mixes just as well as oil and vinegar. Things need to happen quickly and effectively, of course with some sort of chaos intertwined in the process. Only drastic changes will keep my attention as well as my determination to succeed. So when the dreaded four letter word that is the bane of every women's existence comes to a forefront in their minds, somethings have to change.


D- don't
I- intentionally
E- eat
T- treats

Key word... intentionally. Not only does my clever acronym help back my argument, it shows my inability to take the word seriously. This is how I decided to do something drastic, so drastic it's almost not possible. The Paleo diet (also known as the caveman diet). It is based on a hunter-gatherer diet focusing on eating nutritious proteins, vegetables, fruits, eggs and unrefined fats. It includes avoiding any processed foods, oils, sugars, dairy, grains and legumes (types of beans). This means my beloved ice cream and sweet treats are 86'ed out of my diet for one whole month. I have known some friends who have done this diet for a month and dropped a significant amount of weight. There isn't a specific amount of weight that I want to lose, instead, I have a pair of pants I want to fit into and once I can, then I reached my goal. Scales freak me and a lot of other women out, I'm sure. I like the idea of aiming to fit into smaller clothing, or clothes that used to fit you because it give a closer sense of size. Losing 5 pounds means nothing to me but if I went from a size 10 to a size 8 or 6, I'll be thrilled. This is perfect because summer is around the corner and I already bought my bathing suit, so bring it on Paleo!

Starting April 1st, I am doing the diet for one month with my boyfriend and will stick true to the restrictions and regulations that comes along with it. Through my blog, I will document my struggles and progression with the diet with a weekly roundup. I have never done anything like this so for a girl that likes to eat...a lot, this should get real interesting. Thank God for Pinterest, because there are hundreds of Paleo recipes that look tasty and easy to make. Follow me on my journey through this insane diet and give me some pointers if you know any ! I'll need as much help as I can get.

Click this link for more information on a site I found 

A Hair Care Miracle

Lets talk hair. 

Be careful what you wish for, all you straight-haired 'wish I could have curly hair' women. Curly hair is a bitch. Variety is the only thing going for curly hair, however, perfecting all the hair styles is key. You don't want to look like there is a rats nest on your head, believe sucks. Recently, I have been getting complimented on my hair and it is because of this magical product I found that is making it picture perfect. The MoroccanOil Moisture Repair Conditioner is nothing like its cheap counterparts. In fact, this is the best damn money I have ever spent on hair products. 

My cousin, Ashley, is a seasoned hair stylist that is solely in charge of taming my 'fro. Since she has been my stylist, her advice has changed the way I think about hair. So many things I was doing wrong for so long, and finally I realized how dumb I was. The countless dollars I spent on L.A. Looks Gel which gave me the extra crunchy look that was unfortunately trending in high school (early 2000's). God, what was I thinking? (I guess everyone has these ah-ha moments looking back into their high school days and realizing how foolish they looked).  

There is a whole line of MoroccanOil products that work wonders for all hair types. This stuff can get pricey, and I'm usually the one shopping for a bargain but it is truly worth every penny. The brand has been a salon secret, and through word-of-mouth between stylists, the hair Gods have blessed women with a miracle worker...for hair. Personally, I only use the conditioner because I feel as though it gets the job done. Using both shampoo and conditioner would be fantastic, I'm sure, but I'm on a budget. I buy what I think is necessary, and using the conditioner and the MoroccanOil Treatment does just the trick. This oil is an exclusive formula of high quality argan oil, mixed with other high quality ingredients that when combined, makes this brand one of the best out there. I put this on my damp hair after washing it which will help protect when I put heat to it. I straighten and re-curl my hair basically everyday. (I know, it is ridiculous to curl already curly hair). It is way too high maintenance, although I do plan on finding the right products to wear my hair naturally because it is pretty, if done correctly. Because I wash my hair twice a week, I shampoo with a generic brand twice, to give it a good cleaning. With thick hair like mine, it takes a solid couple of days for it to look greasy. I use about a quarter-size amount of the MoroccanOil Repair Conditioner and coat my head well, focusing more on the bottom ends because I have an ombre (the ends tend to look dry and this helps it look healthier). After showering, I brush through my snarly hair then finally put the MoroccanOil Treatment on. The smell is fantastic too! 

I have decided to let you lucky readers see my curly locks, without any product in it. After I washed my hair, I put the oil treatment in, as I always do, then let it air dry. I want to show the transformation of my nappy curls to the shiny, soft hairstyle that I do almost every day. It truly is amazing. If it came down to it, I would rather buy these products than a new pair of shoes (if I had to choose). That says something. Don't believe me? Ask Ashley.  

Before & After

Hey guys, Ashley here. Here are my thoughts on these products that Anita can't stop raving about. I'm always recommending the MoroccanOil brand of hair care products to my clients, especially the original product that started it all, the MoroccanOil Treatment, which is a nourishing leave-in argan oil/serum that conditions the hair leaving a shiny, silky soft finish on even the most dry and coarse of hair. I would consider the treatment a basic staple that every women's arsenal of beauty products should have, as it's like a multivitamin that works for all hair types. Combined with the MoroccanOil shampoo and conditioner, your hair will look and feel the healthiest it has ever been. 

As with any products that become quickly popular as the MoroccanOil Treatment has, a fair share of copycats will emerge that piggyback off the success of the original. I've had clients tell me that they use MoroccanOil at home only to discover that they've fallen into a trap to tricky marketing tactics that confuse consumers into believing they are using the original thing. Don't be fooled, you cannot buy the original MoroccanOil products anywhere except at professional salons, or online at their website, and yes, as Anita found, there is a huge difference in quality and results from the original vs copycats. 

If we haven't convinced you, try it for yourself. I promise, you won't be disappointed.

Feminine Fit: StyleWeek 2014

Denial. We all experience it. But ladies, you cannot do your body justice by wearing clothes that obviously do not fit. I know, I know, I have also had those moments when I want to trick myself into thinking my favorite jeans fit when they are really ripping at the seams. If you question it, then it's a done deal. Salvation Army is always taking donations.

Luckily for me, StyleWeek tickets were up for grabs at my internship and duh...I am obvi going to snag some (yes, I do abbrev things like most young-ins  do, although I know I am too old to do so. Whatevs). So, StyleWeek is the New England version of Fashion Week, that comes around a couple times a year. It was created in 2009 with the intent on connecting buyers and media with emerging local design talent. Some designers that were on the hit-show Project Runway showcased their collections in these fashion shows.

I was able to go to two shows, dressed to the nines, with my best friend and mother by my side. Walking into the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Providence, I felt like a celebrity, well in the media world, anyway. I got my own press name tag and everything. There was a photographer greeting you as soon as you walked in, arranged on a red carpet, of course. Looking around, I could appreciate being in a room with women who clearly put as much effort into their appearance as I do. Trust me, walking into a room as the over-dressed girl is not an easy feeling, more awkward than anything. With my chin up and four-inch heels down, I make my way to my seat, conveniently front row so I can see the models and fashions perfectly.

Carissa Lynne Designs was my favorite designer of all I saw. Overall, her collection is wearable to a variety of body types, including mine. I have a curvy figure, so wearing dresses is a struggle. Typically, the hem is higher in the back than the front, because the fabric needs to cover all of my backside. With Carissa Lynne's designs, specifically her dresses, I think they work well with curvaceous females.

Above, you can see a snippet of the show, with designer Carissa Lynne holding hands with one of her fabulous models.  Let me break down some of her fashions with pictures I took. 

Fit and Flare- These dresses are your friend. In fact, they are a go-to for me because of the flouncy design. It extenuates the smallest part of your body, your waist, and creates a flirty silhouette. This dress, in particular, has a thick strap and high, almost boat neckline, which is more conservative considering the amount of leg that is exposed. It is sexy but classy. It is a comfortable fit because it isn't a form fitting dress. You shouldn't have to worry about your goods falling out of the dress, wear-ability of the garment is important. The balance is what draws me to this style. This shade works well on olive skin tones like mine, plus this burgundy color is perfect for fall/winter. Maybe pair it with a beige or black blazer or leather jacket for a visual contrast to the whole look.

Double breasted anything- This was my favorite garment of the whole show. If I could, I would have bought it that night. Not only is the color one of my favorites to wear, the shape of this dress is adorable and timeless. The double breasted top of the dress is what makes it, hands down. It is conservative but authoritative. Even if this color of the dress were an army green, it would work. Anytime there is a design similar to this, it fits really well (and if it doesn't, I would suggest bringing it to a tailor, it is worth your time and money). Once again, the flouncy bottom works well with curvy body types. It's not only comfortable to wear, but a show stopper, for sure. You'll feel like you're Jennifer Love Hewitt walking into a college house party like the scene in Can't Hardly Wait. If dresses aren't your thing, you should consider getting a double breasted jacket, trench coat or blazer in your closet. I would pair it with black jeans or jeggings, or even a funky pair of leggings. It is a polished and trendy look that everyone, male or female, should own.    

Mix and Match- The whole concept of 'leather and lace' is something I love. With this design (sorry for the distorted picture) she paired a crop faux-leather pant with a chunky fur jacket. Perfection. These pants can be tricky however, just make sure you get the correct size. Stretch pants work well with my shape. Sometimes I may have to buy a size bigger to ensure comfort-ability. Being 5'9, finding long enough pants can be tricky, that's why I like cropped pants so much. Less work for me. With the pumps and your hair pulled back in a messy bun, it completes the look. This is great outfit for a night in the city or an upscale bar. Whenever I wear tighter pants, I make sure to wear a looser top (this is the balance concept I told you about earlier). Not only does it make me most comfortable but it lets me pick and choose what parts I want to show off. For example, if I am feeling bloated, this outfit would be perfect because it would hide any muffin topage  that may be happening. It is all about being aware of your imperfections, and working with them instead of fighting them and losing miserably. 
Geometric shapes- Push the fashion envelope a little, ladies. Recently, I have seen more and more geometric shapes in clothing, whether it be a skirt, dress or neckline of a blouse (if you don't know what I am talking about, look at any of Lady Gaga's photos, she uses this style often). This look was the last to walk the runway and was the most memorable. Everything about it would work well with my body type. The designer played with an otherwise classic straight-lined hem. By it being longer in the crotch and booty area, it makes it comfortable to wear. There is no way your cheeks are falling out of this one. It is long enough on each side so covers everything it is supposed to. I would rock this on a special occasion or event because the shimmery fabric and silk top half of the dress dubs it evening wear. The wide strap makes it appealing to women with a bigger bussom but also the 'V' neckline shows a little extra skin, making it a sexier outfit. Because the fabric is longer in certain areas, it isn't revealing too much, rather mimicking the hemline of the dress. Very clever, Carissa Lynne. 

Being honest with yourself is the only way you can achieve a great wardrobe which consists of stylish clothes that stay true to your style aesthetic and also fit you well. In the words of Stacy London, clothing tailors are your best friend, especially for bodies that are more difficult to fit. Not all sizes work for some women, but with the right state of mind and willingness to fit your body correctly, anything is possible, even a jaw dropping entrance walking into a college house party like Jennifer. Who doesn't want that?

First night of StyleWeek with my bestie Joe Catanzaro 

True Life: I sleep with stuffed animals

It's about to get real...

Since I probably won't get the opportunity to meet every one of my readers, shame isn't a factor here. This topic is rather embarrassing but is 100% me nonetheless, whether I'd like to admit it or not. 

Hello, my name is Anita Baffoni, I am 23 and I sleep with stuffed animals.

Laugh all you want. I bet that someone reading this post is in bed with their laptop and their stuffed animal(s) nestled next to them. I get it. I legitimately sleep with mine, every single night.   Here is my justification on why I think it is okay for a young adult to cuddle with fuzzy and plump little creatures, regardless of age.

Growing up, I didn't have any pets. Well, my family had a cat named Meesh (every Italian family calls any cat, for that matter, Meesh, its a cultural thing... I guess) but I was too young to have a deep connection with her. She died when I was little so I can barely remember 'our relationship'. Instead, my mom bought us stuffed animals that would be our bedside companions for basically our whole lives. She would  give names to all the animals and even go as far as having different personalities for each. For me, I love dogs. My twin sister, on the other hand, cats are her thing. It wasn't only us though, my brother (don't hate me bro) and older sister both had their fair share of cuddly characters. Till' this day, my siblings and I will always connect with any stuffed animal that crosses our path, either some gifted to our younger cousins or a lone ranger standing tall in a shelf of Valentine's Day gifts at CVS. 

Believe it or not, I still have my initial three stuffed animals (all dogs). You can walk into my old bedroom at my parent's and find all three laying on my bed. One of them was given to me shortly after birth, so yeah, it's a normal thing to have a friend-stuffed animal, to me.  I can confidently say that not one member from my immediate family would/could throw/give away any of our stuffed animals. They are a piece of us, at this point. Fast forward 20-plus years and nothing has changed. Instead, my boyfriend bought me a Valentine's Day gift that turned into a hearty investment, without him even realizing it. 

Over the past four years, a handful of stuffed animals have been purchased for gifts by my boyfriend, Jake. The first being Doodie, the over-protective, lovable puppy who thinks he is 10 feet tall when really he is a mere 10 inches. Second came Pickles, the loud and sassy Hello Kitty look-a-like who thinks she is a royal princess, that all of China happens to obsess over. Finally came Jingle and Jangle, a reindeer pair I purchased from a Build-A-Bear Workshop, as "slippers" for Doodie. Although the over sized pair barely fit my priceless pup, we embraced them as their own beings. They both always act like a bunch of wild hooligans, ALWAYS getting lost within sheets and pillows. Between the four of us, all of our relationships brought Jake and I closer together. Back at home, I can admire my family's love for their own stuffed animals. Even all of our significant others know of our hidden secret (it's not much of a secret anymore) and play along. I can honestly say I am blessed to have a loving family who can relate to my stuffed animal-loving personality.   

So what's the point of this post? Ladies, and even gentlemen, I understand your connection with stuffed animals. The thought of something being there with you through the thickest of waters means the most. Through the roughest of nights and happiest moments, my fuzzy companions will continue to keep me company and make me smile. Call me weird or childish, I'll take it. If that means I go to sleep happy at night, weird is nothing less than a compliment.

Tip Your Servers !

I've had a lot of jobs. A Dunkin' Donuts barista at three different locations, a babysitter,  a supermarket cashier/bagger/cart gatherer (which was so terrible on so many levels) and finally a waitress. For over five years now, I serve the best and worst of Rhode Island, most recently Providence. From the cheap, disrespectful, over entitled, verbal tipper-type customers, it never ceases to amaze me how rude people are. I could go on for hours about my love-hate relationship with the restaurant business so let me break down for you the basics in proper restaurant edict...

Here are the appropriate essentials while dining at a restaurant:
1.READ THE MENU. I know, ridiculous right? I have been caught up at tables while my section is slammed because customers are asking me what the difference between the burgers are. JUST READ!!!
2.Treat your server the way you would like to be treated. Like most college students, including myself, serving tables is inevitable.  The last thing we want to do is wait on a cranky, condescending customer after studying for finals. Screw off.
3.Tip your servers 20%. I can't say this for all countries, but in America, 20% tips are highly appreciated. Regardless of how bad the food is at a restaurant, I will never reflect it on the tip because it isn't the servers fault if the food tastes bad. We are taught to never question a tip but COME ON.... it is common sense people. Just double the first digit(s) and move the decimal over. Voila!

The fast-cash lifestyle is what intrigues people to the restaurant industry. When a large party gets seated in your section, CHACHING, you know the check will be large which would result, in a perfect world, with a 20% tip. Adding an automatic gratuity would ensure at least a minimum of 18%, but the option to leave more money was also available if the table was feeling generous. This is being changed now, starting the beginning of this year. Gratuity will now be factoring into the waitstaff's check, which means it will be taxed. For those of you who didn't know, servers make $2.89 an hour. This is the standard at most restaurants. Our checks are always/mostly voided because the taxed credit card tips doesn't cover the tax amount they expect from us. Waitstaff are "obligated" to claim their cash tips at the end of their shift for tax purposes but it doesn't always happen. So now, this new tactic through taxing gratuity will mean restaurants won't add it automatically to checks. So people, whip out your calculators on your smart phones and make sure you are tipping accordingly. DON'T FORGET, tips will no longer be included. I hope this rant helps the end of forgotten tips on a big table's check. An article was written to uncover the details of the new law.  Click this link to explain it further.  (The picture above is from the article)

Anyway, I love what I do. You have too because your life becomes engulfed in the lifestyle. Serving can be considered a way of life. You start thinking like a server while dining at other restaurants. I find myself stacking plates at the end of my meal because I know it makes it easier for the waitstaff.  Pay it forward. Or I will get the terrible "in the weeds" dream (any server knows what I am talking about). I am paying my own college education because I did not come from an extremely privileged family. Coming from the now diminishing middle class, we were fortunate growing up, however, I would never expect my parents to pay for a $50,000 college education. Not only would they be paying for me but for my twin sister, older sister and older brother. (Here's a picture of the family at my twin and I's URI graduation, including my incredible grandmother who is 92!)

To bypass the stresses of the industry, you have to love your job and your fellow employees. I believe by having a good relationship with your colleagues, it will make your shift pleasurable. Of course, you are bound to dislike or have disagreements with some co-workers but make the best of it. During my restaurant's busiest season, I organized a Harlem Shake video with the whole front of house staff and managers at the end of a staff meeting. Check out the video that I posted below, it is rather amusing. (I am to the right with the green tutu). The moral of the story, be respectful and courteous because after all, we are serving your food. Not all servers are the best at their job but if you like your service overall, please tip accordingly.

*end rant