Welcoming {2015} ♡

2015 is days away and I am welcoming it gracefully with an open heart. I never believed in the whole "new year, new me" philosophy, however, I do think the new year can symbolize a fresh start.

I say fresh start, because the transition between 2014 and 2015 isn't going to change everything within a few weeks, or even within the whole year. The new year can motiviate us, inspire us, and make us truly feel awakened from our day to day life.

It isn't about changing who you are, it's about being the best version of yourself you can be and using every inch of potential you have to live your life to the fullest. It isn't about letting go of the past, but focusing more on the present moment. You can't be disappointed if you don't lose 30 pounds right away, or even 5 pounds right away. You can't expect yourself to quit smoking over night. These things take time. 

Each and every moment welcomes you to grow. If you don't like something in your life, you can change it no matter what time of the year it is. And if you want to do something, you can do it. No matter what. When January comes around, remember that. Every single day is a fresh start.

I was trying to come up with some new years resolutions, but instead I came up with a list of thing's to keep in mind in 2015. (see below) I wish you all a new year full of bliss. XO

The Hidden Ism: Age

It's no secret that there is some prejudice in the world. People will try to label you, stereotype you, generalize you - and put you in a very small box. This tends to happen with age. Young, old, and everything in between...there are things you are expected to do and things you are expected to be at every age. I found this out at a VERY young age. I'm finding it out even more now.

I guess I just didn't understand the ever so common lifestyle of: party in your early 20s, let your crazy out then. Don't do anything serious. Just drink, experiment and have fun while you can - so when you're older you can "settle down" to a boring life of 9-5, taxes and mom jeans.

I rather be myself my entire life. I take my youth seriously while having fun. Which is what I will do when I'm older as well. I'll never have to settle down, change, or fit a mold. 

I'll be myself now and tomorrow. But I'm not gonna force myself to go crazy now. And I'm not gonna force myself to seriousness when I'm older. 

I speak about age so much in my work because I believe it's the hidden ism. There are huge social issues of racism, sexism, etc - but ageism is rarely talked about. 

In 1992 interview with Jonathan Ross, Madonna brought up the issue of ageism. She stated, "Not only do we suffer from racism and sexism, but we also suffer from ageism. And that is that once you reach a certain age, you're not allowed to be adventurous, you're not allowed to be sexual and I think that's rather hideous. I mean a lot of people have said, "Oh, that's so pathetic, I hope she's not still doing that in 10 years", I mean, Who cares? What if I am? I mean, Is there a rule? What are you just supposed to DIE when you're 40? That's basically what everybody wants people to do. I think it's stupid. Put yourself out to pasture? Why? Life is long...I don't get it."

This quote still remains prominent today. Ageism isn't talked about because people believe their accusations to be true based on their experience or statistics. Which is STILL generalization and doesn't mean everyone who is young or old is (insert adjective here). 

Do not let your age ever limit or define you. Fitting a mold will only cause regret.

The Tea Experiment / #4

Teavana is known for their rather gourmet tea. It's in almost every mall and quite expensive. (after all, it is loose leaf!) They've had partnerships with Starbucks AND Oprah, therefore, they're pretty legit. Every time I walk past, I always have to try a sample and hope one of the workers don't talk to me. Sorry, guys.

The samples that they put out are always worth a try. Every time I take a sip, I say in my head, "Wait...are you SURE this is tea..?" because it's BURSTING with flavor.

My favorite tea by Teavana is the blueberry bliss / pineapple kona pop mix. I tried it one day in the store iced, and automatically was in a state of shock because it tasted a million times better than any artificial berry drink I've ever had. That even includes blue gatorade! And I think we all know how amazing blue gatorade is.

The base is a rooibos and herbal blend that is caffeine free, which is great to hear. The flavor profile is so unique and fruity without scaring you away - I know some teas taste too herby. This is NOT that tea. If you've never really fancied hot tea before, this is a great starter.

Here are the ingredients for my health freaks: Apple pieces, green rooibos, black chokeberries, candied pineapple pieces (pineapple, sugar), raisins, black currants , rose hip peels, beetroot pieces, hibiscus flowers, natural and artificial flavoring, rose blossom leaves, blueberries, rose buds, marigold blossoms, orange blossoms.

I prefer this tea iced. No sweetener is needed. Just put a few ice cubes (and perhaps infuse with some fruit if you're feeling fancy) and enjoy!

10:39 PM

it's much more than just dopamine
& endorphins

i've always found it fascinating
yet i sit here
watching big bang theory reruns
and drinking diet iced tea
the aspartame can't get to me anymore

and when the stars hit me through the dusty beige window?
they hit my soul and not my mind.
i don't even have a mind anymore.

so i'll dye my hair blonde again
and watch tv like usual
and not care at all
because I never did

i'll say goodbye to concrete and streets
for waves and highways
but my heart is craving my cave & essays
a metaphor, of course
for a word
i will

i will be miserable at best
and dream of west coast futures
and reckless pasts of all of us, there.
because I will always miss something that I cannot touch
(It's not mine, but I want it.)

so that must prove to me
the essence
the immortality
the faith

is all about you
and I can't type.

We stand here
as I love you
as you love me

I just want to cry for hours
You're The One Who Knows
/ / / / i will not lose you.

Holiday Outfit Inspiration

Holiday outfits are the best. You get to be festive, glitzy and cozy all at once! Check out my go to holiday outfits this year. Featuring ways to be festive, cozy and cute all at once. Never sacrifice your unique personality while choosing outfits: #1 tip! Happy holidays everyone.

Look #1: Christmas...in the professional way. (For school/work)

This outfit has been one of my favorite for years. It remains to be VERY festive while at the same time it's appropriate for any ocassion. The best part is, I made it customizable to my style! Plaid with a peter pan collar? Yes please.

Dress: Vera Wang
Tights: H&M
Turtleneck: Thrifted
Flats: H&M

Look #2: Cute & Simple

A simple forest green lace dress with tights, a statement necklace and a festive headband is all you need. An outfit like this is simple and can be made with items already in your closet.

The inspiration for this outfit is:
A basic dress (black, white, red, green or blue)
A statement necklace
A subtle headband that still pops!

And don't forget lipstick.

Dress: H&M
Necklace: Forever 21
Headband: Claires
Tights: Kohls
Flats: H&M

Look #3: Cozy get-together

Not every holiday outfit has to be over the top, which is why I love the "cozy get-together" look. Whether you're meeting some old friends for dinner, or going to a small family party - this look remains cozy AND cute. The sweater is a simple shade of gold with a glitter pocket, paired with a light, simple scarf. To make the look less casual, add lipstick and put your hair in a high pony!

Sweater: Forever 21
Leggings: Lauren Conrad
Boots: Kohls
Scarf: H&M

Look #4: New Years Glitz

Silver and gold are staples for the holiday season! Pair with a pair of mary janes, a light sweater (make sure it's one that doesn't distract from the dress/drag you down!) and you're good to go. Pictured to below is the texture of the dress - the picture didn't do it any favors but the golden glimmer of the dress caught my eye. Go for the gold this holiday season. It's worth it!

Dress: Forever 21
Shoes: Charlotte Russe

Why I Don't Settle for Minimum Wage (anymore)

I was offered a leadership position at the job I worked at in high school. The thing about that job is I would only be making 20 cents above minimum wage. A 20 cent raise? I was flattered they liked me and was considering me for a leadership position..but a 20 cent raise didn't make me feel valued
for all the work and loyalty I put into the company. So, here it goes. A post about minimum wage.

There's been a lot of controversy over the minimum wage for workers for quite some time now. While certain jobs take a lot of education and experience, one could argue that working in food service/retail/other typical minimum wage jobs really take a lot of hard work.

It's exhausting at times. LONG hours, working early mornings and late nights, working holidays (that includes black friday and sometimes even Christmas), cleaning disgusting messes, working in a fast paced environment, following orders from unqualified individuals, no sense of creativity or individuality, getting yelled at by angry customers on a daily basis and that doesn't even include the actual job. Yes, other than that, food service and retail workers actually have to do visuals, restock, work cashier, cook, serve customers, etc. This can be just as challenging as working a 9 to 5 desk job, teaching kids their ABCs, fixing cars, or editing papers. Work is work.

And all of that for a mere 7.95 an hour?
No thank you.

I worked minimum wage jobs throughout high school. Literally, there wasn't a year I didn't work somewhere. And I got by fine. Maybe that was because I didn't have to pay for anything besides clothes and the occasional chipotle burrito bowl. So minimum wage for someone in high school? Sure. That sounds fair enough.

Now let's think a bit deeper. A college student that owes thousands of dollars for housing and tuition.
Maybe they have to pay off their car and pay rent. Maybe they have to pay for a phone bill. Maybe they have to buy food for themselves. Maybe they have Christmas presents to buy for their family and friends. Minimum wage seems less logical.

Now let's look even deeper. Someone who has kids. Perhaps a pet or two. Maybe an entire home to tend to. A FAMILY. They don't have a mommy and daddy to help them out anymore. They have to pay bills not only for themselves, but for everyone else that lives with them. Now minimum wage seems even LESS logical.

Some would argue we're paying some people a bit too much. But I'm not going to whine about that right now.

However, I will whine about this: there are hardworking individuals out there who do not get paid enough for all the hard work they put in. Face it. Not every adult gets a big shot 60,000 a year job. Some adults have to work off of minimum wage and should not be called lazy or uneducated. It's the best they could do. Maybe they even LOVE what they do. Without the adults in food service, you wouldn't be able to get your #6 combo at 11:30 PM on a Tuesday night. Believe it or not, high school students can't run a company on their own. We need CEOS, managers, supervisors, shift leads, treasurers, team members, cashiers, assistants, owners, etc. We need ALL of those people. And not all of those people are 16 year olds that only have to pay for a homecoming ticket.

With all of that in mind, I think it's time the minimum wage be raised. Not gradually with inflation and not by 5 cents. We need companies that compensate their workers for what they're worth.

We all know I'm not one for huge social justice posts, but this is an important issue. I don't settle for minimum wage anymore because I know I am worth more than that. I have been paid more than minimum wage and I am not planning on backtracking. There are lunch specials more expensive than an hours worth of work.

It doesn't matter how old you are or what your resume says. You know what you've accomplished. You know who you are. Show the world and maybe they will compensate you.

Maybe if we lived in a world where we were sponges that could afford living in a pineapple by working as a frycook, minimum wage would be fair. But we do not live in that world.

Craving: White Bean Kale Stew! {Recipe}

Winter is one of my favorite times for food. Because of soups and hot beverages. (I'm a sucker for summer salads and smoothies, too.)

Regardless, this recipe for a white bean kale stew basically defines winter and actually fills you up because its filled with hearty and healthy ingredients.

The four basic ingredients: white beans, kale, quinoa, and carrots. The rest is just vegetable broth and spices.

Everyone loves it when I cook dinner, but my brother is always asking, "Is it vegan?," because he assumes that means it won't be "good." However, he loved it and was actually full after eating it which I consider a major compliment because he's a 14 year old boy who loves to eat. Yay me!

Below you will find the ingredients to this white bean kale stew. Easy to make, and it only cost me 10 dollars to buy the ingredients, and I still had some ingredients leftover. This is one of my favorite stews to make now. Homemade stews & soups are always better than canned soups and this one is AMAZING.


Although I am giving you precise measurements, the stew tastes good regardless of how much of each ingredient you put in. I kept adding more carrots just when I thought I would be done. And as I was comparing my recipe to other recipes on the internet, I put way less kale and more quinoa. It really depends on what looks and taste right for you! (I also added hot sauce to it, but that's because I like everything spicy.)

What you'll need:
3 tbsp of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 10z box of kale or / one bunch of kale (chopped up)
1 32oz box of vegetable broth
3 cups of water
2 1/2 cups of chopped up carrots
3/4 cup of quinoa
2 cans of white beans
a few shakes of crushed red pepper
1 tbsp of chili powder
salt and pepper for seasoning
optional: parmesan cheese (If i were you I would add some. adds a tuscan feel to it!)

1. Add olive oil, garlic and chopped up kale to large pot. Sautee for 5 minutes. 
2. Add chopped up carrots, vegetable broth and water on medium heat.
3. After carrots are somewhat softened, add the rest of the ingredients BESIDES the quinoa. Keep it on medium heat for 5 minutes.
4. Lastly, add quinoa and keep on low/medium heat for 15 minutes. Serve!


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YOUNG MONEY: Nicki, Wayne & Drake / 10 Best Collabs

In honor of the 'Only' music video coming out in a few hours, 'The Pink Print' coming out in a few days, and 'Tha Carter V' being delayed...I felt this post was appropriate. There are a lot of rap and hip hop legends, and we could all argue who they are. However, Nicki, Wayne & Drake are up there. Here are their ten best collabs together.

Best I Ever Had (Remix): Nicki & Drake - Although this version of the song was never officially released, it's one of my favorite Nicki verses. Any song with both Drake and Nicki is always good, but this song is such a classic bop and Nicki just makes it slay harder. I love when Nicki gets all cute barbie and actually sings. And then she sings Drakes part from a female perspective. Gosh Nicki, you're so cute. Listen to it here.

High School: Nicki & Wayne - Nicki and Wayne's compatibility has always been A+. I mean, he basically discovered her. In the video, you can see their compatibility and honestly, they both look so beautiful. The song itself is an absolute JAM and literally has been stuck in my head for days. Me and my crew we could slide throuuugh...

Only: Nicki & Wayne & Drake (And Chris Brown) - HONORABLE MENTION, yes. The first few seconds of the song, you know it's about to go down. Nicki goes too hard...but in the best way. The epitome of the nail emoji. (Fuck with them real $%^^&@%/ who don't tell !#$%^& what they up to) Drake is too real here. "But I was still staring at those @#$@#$ thougghhhhh!" Okay. Now. Wayne literally makes me melt in this song. Probably one of my favorite Wayne verses to be honest. Effortlessly slaying while still saying so relaxed. Only is a HIP HOP ANTHEM.

Knockout: Nicki & Wayne - Okay, what even is this song? It's like a grungy, middle-school-esque rock song. With Nicki and Wayne in it? Whatever, I love it. You think Hilary Duff is about to sing or something then all the sudden you hear "hey barbie!" Not complaining. He can get that knockout.

EveryGirl in the World: Wayne & Drake - When I first heard this song, I fell in love with it. It's ridiculous. But lessssbeehonest only Wayne and Drake could pull it off. "And I don't think you're beautiful, I think you're beyond it." ICONIC LYRIC, am I right? There's actually a video of Andrew and I rapping/dancing to this in 7th grade. Basically, this is a timeless rap song.

Make Me Proud: Nicki & Drake - Damn. Drizzy and Onika are at it again. Why do they gotta do this to me? Although I know they never had a romantic relationship (or so they say), they do consider each other family. SO THIS IS SO REAL. Plus they both rap and sing here. "You bad as !@#$ and you know you are. I'm so, I'm so, I'm so, I'm so, I'm so proud of you." GUYS, stop. Y'all are killing me. The best part is Drake is acting so sentimental and sweet towards Nicki and she's just like "Yeah, I know."

Romans Revenge: Nicki & Wayne - Romans Revenge is one of the BEST Nicki songs because she incorporates her accents and "alter egos." She goes crazy and I LOVE Nicki when she just loses it. Normally, Eminem is featured on this song. And it's not bad..it's just a bit too angry and intense. I feel like Wayne's has so much more passion and character to it which perfectly compliments Nicki in this song. RAH RAAAAH *faints*

Successful: Wayne & Drake - This song is the anthem of us strugglers and hustlers dreaming of the money, the cars, the clothes, and the hoes, I suppose? (he says it like that. "I suppose....?") Let's just say this is an inspiring one for us American dreamers. It's always gonna be a classic.

Truffle Butter: Nicki & Wayne & Drake - Should I be talking about this considering it leaked? Well, I'm going to anyways. At this point, if these three are in a song together, I know it's gonna be A+. Even if they don't even try. It's not on all versions of 'The Pink Print,' but it should be. Because who really cares about Ariana Grande at this point? More young money, please. Oops.

The Motto: Wayne & Drake - Yes, the song where Drake coined the term "YOLO." I remember listening to this on late night drives home and just thinking "This is real." It really is a listening-to-in-the-car song, isn't it? You don't need to invest your entire mind, body and soul into this song while listening because it really is that chill.

Eating in NYC: #3

Welcome to my third installment of my 'Eating in NYC' series. I had a lot of fun discovering new restaurants and forming opinions on them, sure. But I also had even more fun eating. I hope you enjoyed the journey, and I hope that maybe if you are ever near NYC, this post will help you.

Big Daddy's: The aesthetic of this place is a good enough reason to eat here. The walls are filled with nostalgia: lunch boxes, posters, license plates, photos, etc. The music is a mix of 1950's soothing ballads, to 70's rock, to 90's pop jams. I went around Christmas time so the music was festive. No matter the music, it's sure to get you in the mood. Yet the food isn't bad either! Who can go wrong with options such as cookie dough pancakes, bottled root beer and a coffee shop grilled cheese? Their menu is full of sweet treats, all day breakfast and quality american food. Big Daddy's has three locations in NYC and each and every one of them is worth going to.

Burrito Box: Burrito Box is better than Chipotle. There, I said it. The food is actually authentic but doesn't loose the quality or variety. It's worth the the trip. No matter what your order is, they include a small side of chips and a BUNCH of sauces. (which is awesome because my favorite part about Mexican food is the sauce.) Their guacamole is beyond words...just like their burritos. You get to customize your order without dealing with the same old burrito every time. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Cafe Gigante: Known for their avocado toast, I had to see what all the hype was about. As an avocado toast activist (haha), I wasn't impressed. They put an excessive amount of olive oil on the avocado mash which made the toast way too soggy. Plus it's located on the corner of the lower west side inside of a hotel, so it's quite a trip. There's not a lot of options and the service is terrible. Save yourself a Sunday afternoon and go make your own avocado toast.

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf: Most coffee shops flavor their drinks using syrups. And syrups are prone to just sit at the bottom of the cup, even if you mix it around. (I've been a barista, I know this well.) At The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, they use powder and a whisk to flavor their coffee and it tastes beyond decadent. Each latte is made with talent and I've never had a latte that turned out anything less than delicious. The staff has always been friendly and they offer a much wider variety of coffees and teas than your average place. Forget Starbucks, let's go here instead.

Crumbs Bake Shop: Any shop with a variety of cupcakes never truly fails, however, business for Crumbs Bake Shop hasn't been too sweet. The cupcakes aren't bad. I mean, really, they aren't. If you put a Crumbs in a midwestern suburb? Business would be amazing. There's just so many shops that specialize in cupcakes in NYC. Magnolia Bakery, Sprinkles, Georgetown Cupcake, etc. Then you have even more "sweet treat" shops such as Laduree and Baked by Melissa. Basically, they're everywhere. But this doesn't mean you should pass up Crumbs. They have a variety of cupcakes with super gooey centers. Plus, you'll never have to worry about waiting in line.

Ess-A-Bagel: If you want a "signature NYC bagel," this is the place. With a variety of authentic bagels and cream cheeses in a fast paced environment, this couldn't be more New York. You choose your bagel and then they put a months worth of your choice of cream cheese on it. While the environment is very "grab and go," they have plenty of seating available. It's located in the center of Midtown Manhattan, so you can't miss it.

Gigi's Cafe: Gigi's Cafe is THE place for business men and women who are in a rush for an affordable breakfast before work. The employees are really friendly and make everything (omelettes, sandwiches, etc) right on the spot. Usually, when you ask for an egg-based breakfast item, it takes quite some time for the employees to make. HOWEVER, that is not the case at Gigi's. That's why it's great for those in a rush. Gigi's is delicious and one of my favorite on-the-go breakfast spots.

Just Salad: Some people like salads, some people don't. Yet at Just Salad, you can really take salad to a whole new level. You get to choose and it has SO many possibilities. My favorite part is the variety of dressing! I love Just Salad because you can eat healthy without sacrificing flavor. You'll never have to deal with a basic salad ever again. You're lucky if you live close by to one, because they deliver, too!

Pershing Square: Located right by Grand Central, Pershing Square is full of classiness and New York charm. Known for their brunch, this place will not fail you. The menus change frequently, yet the setting of the place is so cozy. I love going to Pershing Square on a Sunday afternoon for brunch - that's when it feels extra homey.

Potatopia: This place is everything I want in life. Endless forms of potatoes with your choice of sauce, cheese, veggies, protein, etc! Too good for words. I got the baked potato (which was the size of my head) and Andrew got shoestring fries. They have a sauce there called chipotle ketchup which I might just get an entire bottle of. If you're like me, you love potatoes, in every shape and form. One day, I hope Potatopia expands to more places...because I want there to be one where ever I go.

Ramen Burger: Was this hyped up or what? When I first saw pictures of the ramen burger, I instantly thought, "What a good idea." But the moment I tasted it at the Brooklyn Flea, I thought "What a terrible idea." In theory it sounds great, but the spices and sauces added to it made it taste less like a burger with ramen noodles used as the bun, and more as an exotic dish full of soy sauce. Not to mention, I got the veggie burger. On their website, it's described as a "tofu patty." On the menu, it was described as a "seasonal veggie patty." Yet....it was LITERALLY just mushrooms. Not kidding. There was no patty. I don't even like mushrooms! My experience with Ramen Burger wasn't the best...but can you blame me? It was 10 dollars for mushrooms on ramen noodles.

Terri Restaurant: Terri Restaurant is the ideal restaurant for the vegan/vegetarian that doesn't like to settle for raw vegetables and kale smoothies. (Although Terri Restaurant does offer that.) It's almost like a fast food restaurant in the sense you don't have to sit down and wait 20 minutes for you food. You don't have to tip 20% of the bill. There's nothing over the top or fancy about it. Except it's REALLY good for you, vegan/vegetarian and delicious! I love their meatball sub for lunch. At the moment, they're offering a vegan hot chocolate and a vegan dessert of your choice for 5 dollars. Love this place, and it's perfect for any vegan wandering around Chelsea or the Financial district.

Wafels and Dinges: There are a lot of food trucks in New York City. And a waffle food truck doesn't seem like it would be the best...but it is. I'll admit it: I'm not a huge waffle fan. More of a pancake girl. However, Wafels and Dinges is delicious. Waffles with melted nutella, powdered sugar, whipped cream, bananas, yes...yes indeed. Wafels and Dinges is the perfect place for when you're having a random craving at night for something sweet.

Building My Empire

Starting my "building my empire" journal...full of artistic endeavors, business decisions, projects, random ramblings, ideas & plans. Always need inspiration to keep my going & I'm ready to get to work. It's hard to "make it" without a lot of money, a bunch of connections and a college degree...but you know what? Nothing's ever stopped me before and I'm not going to let anything stop me now. No matter the outcome or the odds: I'm always happy, full of strength and independence, confident in my decisions and ready for my next move. Let's do this.

B.A.R.E. Soaps / A Workshop with Le Pain Quotidien

B.A.R.E. Soaps and Le Pain Quotidien (LPQ)  hosted a workshop called "Bubbles & Soap Making" on Wednesday, December 3rd at the Union Square location.

It was full of delicious treats provided by LPQ: from tartines, sparkling wine + lemonade, to espresso walnut brûlée and brownie bites. Although the event itself was quite glamorous; I got a lot from it.

What is B.A.R.E. Soaps? What makes it so different from any other soap, or product? I was surprised at how passionate the creators, Clare and Jessie, were about their product. They were clearly well educated on the process of soap making and made sure every bar was made with love and purpose. B.A.R.E actually stands for bringing antiseptic resources to everyone.

While talking to them throughout the night, I realized this: B.A.R.E. soaps isn't about making profit. Did you know that 20% of the proceeds from each individual purchase goes to those in need (in places such as Uganda): providing them vitamins, vaccines, soaps - and teaching them a trade.

On their instagram they stated, "The Ugandan culture is very hands on. Food is eaten with hands and children play with their hands. That's why sanitation is so important."

Sanitation IS important, no matter where you come from. It's apart of health. And even for us lucky ones who have easy access to soap, we may not realize what that soap is really made of! B.A.R.E. soap is made of all natural ingredients: ALL vegan oils: olive oil, soy oil, palm oil and coconut oil. Depending on the soap you get: it will be filled with ingredients such as grapefruit oil, coffee grounds, rose clay, sea salt, etc. Regardless, it's all natural. Believe me! I got to actually make my own soaps at the event.

Soap isn't exactly a complicated process, however - you need to really pay attention to it and tend to each soap. It takes time to make. I wouldn't consider myself a soap expert. However, I know how to make soap now thanks to the awesome ladies at B.A.R.E. soaps with the help of LPQ!

It really means a lot to me when a company has a mission full of intense passion and dedication and that's what Clare and Jessie at B.A.R.E. soaps have. They make an honest, natural product that helps those in need. And they love what they do. Could it get any better than that? When you purchase a soap from B.A.R.E. soaps, you're not just purchasing soap. You're purchasing soap that smells heavenly and makes your skin feel amazing. And most importantly, you're helping out those in need.

The holiday season is here and B.A.R.E. soaps is the perfect yet affordable gift for your loved ones. To purchase soap and find out more about what they stand for, click here.

A Response to Sex, Lies and Video Games by Ian Daly

There's something about holding a magazine in your hand.
There's also something about actually reading a magazine. Articles are all over the internet and can be read for free. (even magazines have websites now in which you can read the articles on) Yet somehow, we continue to buy and read magazines for the irreplaceable affect it has on us.

This is how I felt when I went to a corner shop on 56th and 3rd at 7 AM to get the December / January 2015 issue of Maxim featuring Lana Del Rey. Lana is one of my favorite artists, so I thought it would be an interesting read.

It happens all the time. A really down to earth, interesting individual is on the cover of the magazine. It draws you in. You wonder what they have to say. Then when you actually get to the article, all they talk about is what they were wearing when they came to the interview.

In this specific article, "Sex, Lies and Video Games," by Ian Daly - you can tell that Daly did not have much prior knowledge about Del Rey considering all he brings to the table is his apprehensive opinions, outdated facts, quotes from 5-year-old interviews and "controversies" that don't matter anymore. (and quite frankly, never really were a big deal.)

The timeless and stunning photographs featured are taken by photographer Neil Krug, but do not seem to correlate well with article. According to the first sentence of the entire article, Lana Del Rey is "America's most controversial rock star." Ah, yes, let's talk about all the controversies she has been involved in. We can't forget her "admittedly strange Saturday Night Live performance in 2012 in which she seemed to be channeling a heavily medicated Marlene Dietrich. Music bloggers went on the attack." Oh no! Music bloggers did not like a specific performance, therefore, Lana Del Rey is THE most controversial rock star alive!

The fact that this specific incident was even brought up shows that this article is going no where. Del Rey has been questioned about this performance several times and there's not much to say. Move on to another subject, please.

In the article, Daly often speaks for Del Rey although the few quotes that are actually there seem to contradict everything he says. For an entire paragraph Daly talks about the transformation between Lizzy Grant to Lana Del Rey and how all of her work throughout the years is so different. Yet Lana backfires with this, "For me, there really wasn't reinvention. That is more of other people's reinterpretation. I feel so much continuity between all my music and all the videos."

Journalism isn't about poetic language and pretentious words gracefully laced together into a sentence. People want to know what the interviewee has to say. Get to the questions and answers. Don't talk about things everyone knows. These are the hidden rules of an interesting article!

Everyone reads magazine articles - of all different ages, races, genders, and vocabulary levels. No one needs to know that Del Rey's songs are like "dioramas with insular words." Save that for a poetry journal or something.

We want to know what her song lyrics mean, about her family and her boyfriend, her beliefs and philosophies, her feelings, her future in music, even her favorite lunch meat. Because it's better than hearing old news.

Artists don't deserve to be misrepresented through bad interviews. Lana Del Rey is not defined by genre or pretentious adjectives. She is not controversial.

She is an artist. A unique soul of depth. A poet. The American dream in human form. A cinematic gem.
She's Lana Del Rey.

That's all you need to know.