A Twenty-Something Transition

Real World

laid-off

It’s no secret that job security in Los Angeles’ entertainment industry isn’t exactly fantastic. This is a very unique city with a lot of freelancers working on shows that only film seven or eight months out of the year. It’s a constant battle of trying to make it work in an ever-changing landscape and once again I’m fighting the good fight of someone searching for their next project.

It would be easy to be discouraged when something like this happens, but I prefer to look at it as a new opportunity for an adventure. There are so many things I want to do in my life, and being a twenty-something in Los Angeles gives me such an advantage. I don’t have to worry about a mortgage or paying off a car (luckily). Really my only expenses are rent, food and gas, plus the occasional shopping spree (oops). This is the perfect time to explore this wonderful city, get to know a bunch of different people and figure out what I like doing. I’m a Gemini, and those of you who follow astrology, or know me personally, will know that means I like to flit from project to project and like to experience new and different things.

Long story short twenty-somethings, if you suddenly find yourself out of work or in a situation you didn’t expect, look at it as an opportunity for something great! That attitude makes all the difference. The world is your oyster!

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A Royal Obsession: Baby Prince George

Family, Other Thoughts

Prince-George-and-the-Duchess-of-Cambridge-arrive-in-New-Zealand-red-outfit-and-hat-2014

I have a problem, and luckily it seems the rest of the world has it too…an obsession with the adorable baby Prince George. It’s not enough that the custom made baby clothes he’s seen in are selling out (just like everything worn by his motherbut there are countless articles dedicated to him, from how many teeth he now has to how he “stole” another child’s block while at a play-date in New Zealand.

Normally there is some form of obsession with celebrity babies, even leading some celeb parents to attack the paparazzi for their photos of children. But I think the Baby George phenomenon is bigger than any of the rest (sorry North West). I actually went so far as to reach out and touch his chubby adorable cheek on a magazine cover at a drug store. I’ve officially snapped, but can you really blame me?

Being an early twenty-something, having kids is something that’s not on the visible horizon for me for a long while. I’m trying to find a steady job, I’ve never taken care of a puppy or pet, I’ve never even attempted to keep a plant alive. Do I want kids? Sure. Do I want to wait another ten plus years before I have them? Absolutely. In the meantime, I have all these pictures of Baby George to fawn over.

...I also love you.

 

Easy Easter Dinner

Family, Recipes

easter-eggs

Like many twenty-somethings, I will not be with my family this Easter weekend, which means I’m missing out on family time, the hilarious egg hunt with my brother, and a delicious Easter meal. Now that we’re all making homes away from home, it’s time to start a few new traditions! I’m going to do a mini Easter dinner in California with my boyfriend and thought I’d share some easy and familiar recipes in case you other twenty-somethings want to do the same.

Honey-baked Ham:

I’m not going to pretend I know anything about buying and then cooking a ham. Here’s the only resource you need for your ham: HoneyBaked Ham’s Website. They’ve got these babies all over the country, and you can order any sized ham depending on how many people you’re celebrating with!

Green-Bean Casserole:

Isn’t it just assumed that this dish will always be around at a big holiday meal? Casseroles are a twenty-something’s best friend since it’s virtually impossible to mess them up. Essentially, just dump what you want into a dish and bake it for thirty minutes. Green Bean Casserole is great because it has less than five ingredients. Here’s a better explanation on how to make it on French’s website. If you can’t look online while cooking because you live in a wifi black hole or something, there are instructions on the side of the French’s onion container as well.

Mashed Potatoes:

Okay twenty-somethings, mashed potatoes may be the easiest thing on this list. They literally sell mashed potatoes already mashed and ready to go – all you have to do is microwave it. I repeat, you just have to use a simple machine and you can have delicious mashed potatoes. I recommend Bob Evans brand, you can usually find these in the back of the store next to the meat section near hot dogs and other random smorgasbord things.

Carrot Cake:

For those of you who love baking, or just those of you who love carrot cake here is an easy to follow recipe, complete with how-to video. This is the most “complicated” of all the choices here, but since it only takes about 20 minutes to prep and one hour to cook – that’s not saying a whole heck of a lot. If baking isn’t your scene, trust me, there are ready made cakes available in your local grocery store.

Have a great holiday weekend, twenty-somethings!

 

5 Tips On Negotiating Your Salary

Budgeting, Real World

salary

After getting a new job offer or being in the workforce for a bit, any twenty-something starts to wonder…how can I advance my career? Or perhaps something on the forefront of our basically-broke minds, how can I negotiate my salary the right way? In the spirit of helping you take charge of negotiations here are five tips on how to negotiate your way to higher wages.

1. Ask!

You will not get anything if you don’t ask for it. Studies over the past few years have indicated that women are about four times less likely to ask for raises or negotiate their salary upon first accepting a job. In 2011 a typical 25-year old woman working all year earned $5,000 less than a typical 25-year old man. According to the US Census, at the age of 65 a woman will have lost $431,000 over her lifetime due to the earning gap! Societal problems aside, asking for what you deserve will get you one step closer to closing that wage gap for yourself – I could sure use that extra $5,000 a year.

2. Be Realistic

Do your research and find out what others in your field are making on average. Use Salary.com and Payscale.com for internet research. If you have a few close friends at your company who are around your age in the same position as you, don’t feel bad about asking them what they make. Money has such a weird stigma around it and I’m not saying shout your savings account numbers at the top of your lungs, but a small inquiry to a friend can’t hurt.

3. Account For Perks

It’s easy to get so focused on the dollar amount that you may forget to account for the value of all the perks your company may offer. Your company may have discounts to local restaurants, or better yet trips to Disneyland and Las Vegas! It’s also possible you may be offered some type of wellness stipend that could take care of your gym membership costs. You may be able to negotiate in a parking spot. That’s saving you easily hundreds of dollars a year. Make sure to look at the full package.

4. Pick Your Moment

If you’ve already been working somewhere for a while and feel it’s time to ask for a raise, pick your moment. Maybe you’ve stayed late the past few weeks working on an important project or your boss has started giving you more responsibility and your tasks have increased a good deal. Don’t wait for a scheduled performance review when you have the perfect opening and can give examples backed up with evidence on why you’re an invaluable asset to the team and you deserve what you’re worth.

5. Follow Up

If your request is denied with the explanation that money is too tight right now simply ask when a more appropriate time would be to check in and then make sure you check in. Perhaps see if a bonus is an option rather than a pay increase. You could also ask for a better title if your responsibilities have increased. It may not bring you more money right away but will make for a better bargaining tool in the future.

5 Ways to Welcome Summer

Friends, Real World

summer33

It seems like the warmer weather is finally here to stay. As the horrible winter most of us had (thanks California) fades away, here are five great activities that will make you feel like you’re living in eternal summer:

1. Outdoor Movie Screenings

No matter what city you live in, I’m sure you can find an outdoor venue where you can watch a movie on the big screen. If you don’t, there’s no law against setting up your own make shift drive in! Los Angeles is especially great when it comes to outdoor venue options. If you live here check out this new list for summer: http://laist.com/2014/04/09/outdoor_movie_screenings.php

2. Beachin’ It

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What better way to make it feel like summer than a trip to the beach? East coast or west coast, take a little trip and put your toes in the sand. Take a picnic and a frisbee and soak up the rays. Better yet, take a surfing lesson and hit the waves.

3. Take Me Out To The Ballgame

It’s baseball season, and everyone in LA knows what that mean…DODGER DOGS! For those of you that are there for the game and not the food, you’ll have a great time chilling out in the sun and watching America’s pasttime. For those of you like me – there is a plethora of food options at sporting events so nom away.

4. Cruise With The Windows Down

There’s something to be said for just cruising around town with your windows down. Maybe take a wrong turn somewhere and explore your city (keep your GPS close by though!) You might be surprised at what you discover – a new favorite restaurant, cool park or new area of town you’ve never been to.

5. Music Festivals

Coachella is all anyone has been talking about this week here in Los Angeles and that means summer is officially here. There’s nothing quite like sweating in a crowd full of people next to a huge speaker in a field. From Coachella to Bonnaroo there are unlimited options – even smaller festivals are a great way to get into the summer spirit.

6 Ways to Tell You’ve Got a Keeper

Relationships & Sex

Notebook

Every relationship has its high and low points, and those of us living outside fairy tales know that relationships require work. So how do you know the one you have is worth it?

1. You Can Sit In Comfortable Silence

There’s something so relaxing about just being able to sit with someone and not having to worry about filling the silence. We’ve all chattered nervously because we don’t want it to be awkward – therefore making it more awkward. When you can be in the same space with someone, but also be doing your own thing, it’s amazing. Maybe they’re online and you’re reading a book, or maybe you’re just watching TV together but don’t feel the need to fill the void with conversation just for the sake of it. So much can be said in silence and what you’re saying to your S.O. is “hey, I’m comfortable with you.”

2. Your S.O. Asks About Your Day (and actually listens & cares about your answer)

Honestly, I can’t imagine a relationship where my boyfriend didn’t genuinely ask me “how was your day?” It blows my mind that there are some people that couldn’t give a care in the world how their partner’s day was. I’m sorry but if you don’t feel like listening to me talk about my experiences and thoughts then why the hell am I wasting my time with you? Communication is the foundation of any relationship and not asking or caring about that other person’s experiences, accomplishments, fears etc. completely cuts the relationship off at the knees.

3. You Can Laugh Together During Sex

Fairly self-explanatory and also so important. There are all different types of hookups: sultry, romantic, sweet, and just plain funny. Sometimes it seems like everything you’re doing either looks weird or isn’t really working, plus bodies make funny noises when combined. You’ve got to be the kind of couple that’s just going to laugh and roll with whatever hi-jinks end up occurring.

4. You Don’t Worry About Always Looking Perfect

Women have unrealistic beauty standards bombarded at them from every angle- TV shows, ads, photo-shopped magazine covers and even Target ads. It’s a constant battle of hair and makeup products, painting our nails, shaving our legs, hiding zits and our “problem areas” and trying to be fashionable – but you know, look “natural” at the same time. I like playing around with products and dressing up as much as the next girl but it’s a great feeling when I can spend a whole weekend in yoga pants with no make-up on and never once feel ugly or like I need to try harder in order to keep my man’s attention.

5. You Share A Sense Of Humor (for the most part)

How am I going to go through life with someone that can’t make me laugh? Answer: I’m not. We all know that life is full of less than glamorous moments. When times are hard and I need someone to be there for me, I want them to help me find the humor in the situation and make me laugh. This does not mean make light of my situation or problems, but knowing how to diffuse hard moments with (appropriate) humor is invaluable.

6. They Aren’t Threatened By Your Success

This is a big one. There was a time period when I was making more money than my boyfriend and he did not care. Now, after some job reshuffling, he makes more money and I couldn’t be prouder because he deserves it. A healthy relationship can’t thrive when jealousy and underlying tension about jobs and money exists. Someone who feels emasculated because you happen to be great at your job and reap the rewards needs to shape up real quick. If you get the vibe that your S.O. can’t handle your professional goals or success, you may need to start searching for someone who is ready to be in a relationship with a confident and goal-oriented individual like your fine self.

 

The Problem With Princesses Of The Past

Other Thoughts

Frozen

Along with probably everyone else in the world, I bought the Frozen DVD/Bluray/Digital Download package at Target this past weekend and proceeded to watch it back to back (while cleaning my apartment) that same day. Every time I watch it, I realize how necessary it was to move the typical Disney Princess trope up to fit this generation’s women. Now I love classic Disney as much as the next person, but liking something doesn’t mean you’re immune to its problems or you can’t criticize what you see.

I’ve always maintained that Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid is the actual worst. Yes, I know his eyes are so blue and his hair is so floppy, etc. etc. BUT he legitimately falls in love with someone he has never heard speak. Ariel straight up has no voice – literally – and he’s all about it. How nice, he must be thinking, to find such an agreeable, sweet-tempered lady, she’ll never argue with him…or share any of her thoughts or feelings. But who needs to hear their significant other’s thoughts and feelings amiright? Personality? Overrated. Do you adorably use a fork to comb your hair? You’ve got yourself a husband. This is such a gyp because Ariel is actually pretty cool. She wanted to explore and start a new life on land. How unfortunate that the archaic idea of a woman leaving her father’s home for her new husbands’ with no stops in between was the way that Ariel had to do it.

Compare this with Frozen, which has two sisters central to the story, one of whom becomes Queen when she comes of age following her parent’s death. There’s no mention of her having to find a husband (like Princess Diaries 2). Everyone just universally accepts the fact that she’s going to be the ruler and a guy doesn’t factor into that at all. Another spectacular twist in Frozen (spoilers!) is that the act of true love at the end is between Anna and Elsa. I’m embarrassed to admit that even in all my feminist glory, I did not see that coming, which really says more about Disney than me. Another aspect I really liked was that Kristoff actually asked if he could kiss Anna. That’s right, Disney breached the topic of consent and passed with flying colors. This may seem like a small thing and you’re probably thinking it was inconsequential, but just imagine that all the children watching this film are absorbing the message that they alone have the right to control their body. They’re learning their personal space will be respected and their voice matters. In a world of rape culture, that’s definitely a message children need to be hearing and I hope it becomes a more consistent occurrence in the media. That doesn’t sound inconsequential to me at all.

 

Top 5 Shows You Should Be Watching

Other Thoughts

I am absolutely a TV junkie; Netflix is probably the best invention ever as far as I’m concerned. Sliced bread? No thanks, I’ll just take TV. I don’t spend all my time marathoning shows of years past. Here are five shows airing now that I absolutely love. These shows, along with being amazingly entertaining, have some of the most badass, complex female characters. These are all women I would love to have in my corner.

#1 Reign

Okay, I watched this pilot because I was curious, watched the next couple episodes as a bit of a joke, and then got really, really into this show. This series follows the early years of Mary, Queen of Scots in sixteenth century France. This is like the CW’s version of Game of Thrones plus Anthropologie clothing. If brothers at odds are your thing, look no further than the CW as it seems to be a theme (see The Originals below). In addition to the eye candy, this show has a great lead in breakout star Adelaide Kane. She insists on doing what is best for her country and often puts her own feelings aside for the good of her nation. It’s great to see a woman handling intense political matters at so young an age. Speaking of political women, The Queen on this show is probably my favorite character. She’s adept at poison, cunning and savagely protects her son, she just does not quit.

#2 The Originals

The CW’s highest rated new drama, The Originals, is a spin-off of The Vampire Diaries following the Original Family – Klaus, Elijah and Rebecca – as they return to New Orleans and attempt to take control of the city that was once theirs. This show is essentially a mob drama and it’s easy to get caught up in the scenes between Klaus and Elijah (warring brothers are just so compelling!) However, Rebecca is just as fierce as her brothers and really is just a woman looking for love while trying to remain loyal to her family. Her struggle between the two is compelling to watch and you can’t help but wish for her happiness. The most badass character award definitely goes to Devina. She’s the most powerful witch in the French Quarter and is constantly trying to forge her own path and not be controlled by those that just want to use her for her power.

#3 Bob’s Burgers

Now for a foray into comedy…Bob’s Burgers. I’ve recently started watching this show and blasted through the first two seasons on Netflix. My favorite character is Linda. She reminds us that you can still be yourself, put on dinner theater, experience road rage and get a little tipsy, all while running a family, a business and being a Mom (plus she has the best one-liners in the show).

#4 Bones

Bones has been on air since 2005 and is one of FOX’s tentpole shows. This show has everything, murder, romance and three very strong ladies putting the bad guys away. Cam, the head of the lab was a coroner in New York before landing her job at the Jeffersonian and she’s the beacon of professionalism always. Angela, a free-spirited artist, who creates amazing technology, gives faces to the missing and the dead and is the heart of the show. She’s the only one consistently grossed out by all the gore in the lab and for that she’s super relatable. Of course it wouldn’t be a show without Dr. Temperance Brennan aka Bones. Although she’s hyper rational and can come off cold and emotionless at times, Bones has grown so much as a character throughout the ten seasons on air. She’s very brazen about sex and money and the fact that she’s an atheist. She knows she’s the best in her field and proves it over and over again.

#5 Game of Thrones

Mother of Dragons, need I say more? Game of Thrones has been lauded for having a plethora of female characters (a lot of characters in general, really) and has been examined as a very feminist show. I mean when you have Daenerys Targaryen starting as essentially a slave to her own brother and transforming into a woman with her own army, eyes set on the Iron Throne, you can’t help but root for her. Another fan favorite, Brienne of Tarth, proves herself to be loyal, understanding and one hell of a fighter.

PaleyFest 2014: TVD and The Originals

Other Thoughts

As those of you who have seen my overly obvious cover photo on Facebook know, I attended the PaleyFest panel for The Vampire Diaries and The Originals this past Saturday. PaleyFest is described as the ultimate TV fan festival and is produced by The Paley Center for Media. The panels were located at the Dolby Theatre, maybe you know it as the place Ellen handed out pizza to celebrities and the wickedly talented Adele Dazeem performed.

Now I’ve been to a couple Days of Our Lives charity events where the stars of the show attend and mingle with the crowd, doing silent auctions and karaoke nights, so I was fairly sure that I wasn’t going to see any obsessive fan behavior I hadn’t seen before. There it’s usually older women asking the soap stars if their could touch their biceps and then giggling. Here it was a woman asking if she could touch Daniel Gillies “hero hair” during her audience question and then giggling. The one thing I was surprised about was how the novelty of the attractiveness of Joseph Morgan and Daniel Gillies never quite wore off to the crowd. I’m all for a few high pitched squeals when they first entered the stage – I may have even fanned myself and forgotten how to breathe at one point – but once the initial excitement about seeing them in person wore off I was mainly excited about what they had to say about the show’s future.

So here’s the scoop:

Origianls

The Originals

Claire Holt’s Departure

Claire Holt has left the show – temporarily. She was asked about her character’s departure and she said she was happy with the way it played out. She said that Rebecca finally got what she’s been wanting her whole life, the freedom from Klaus and her family to finally live. She mentioned she fulfilled her contractual obligation and wasn’t fired or leaving the show on bad terms at all (sorry gossip mongers). She did also mention that there is a pretty sexy quarterback hanging around in Mystic Falls and she wouldn’t mind at all visiting that show in the future. Essentially she views this as a hiatus for her character but she has no intention of leaving Rebecca for good.

Klaroline (or as I prefer – Caralous)

When Joseph Morgan was asked if he supported the idea of Klaroline he gave a very thoughtful answer. Essentially he mentioned that he was very interested in the relationship at the beginning because he felt Caroline really challenged Klaus and brought out some deeper layers in him. But now, with the characters on different shows, he said it wouldn’t really work, what with Klaus trying to control New Orleans and oh yeah – being about to become a father. He also asked: “Why would you want to do something like that to the character of Caroline Forbes?” Cue the audience swooning. I was very impressed with how much thought he put into the relationship between their two characters and he seems to work very hard trying to understand the character of Klaus. Don’t worry though, he did say he loved the culminating moment (aka hot against-a-tree sex) between the two in Mystic Falls a few weeks back.

TVD

The Vampire Diaries

Katherine Is Really Dead (probably)

One of the big questions for executive producers Julie Plec and Caroline Dries was whether or not Katherine Pierce was really, actually dead. TVD is a show where basically everyone has died and come back to life so it’s understandable that fans look at deaths with a very skeptical eye. Julie and Caroline seemed very adamant that they wanted to give Katherine the most epic death possible and really do justice to this complex character. They did say “never say never” when it came to her returning, but at the same time were resolved that this was Katherine’s one true death.

Big questions and great answers! The Originals resumes April 15th and The Vampire Diaries is on Thursday, March 27th and then breaks until April 10th.

 

 

Dear Prudence: You’re Amazing

Real World

As long as I can remember I’ve always loved reading advice columns. In magazines, newspapers, online, even on the radio (Loveline and Ryan’s Roses anyone?) they’re all great to me. There’s something sensational about reading “Traumarama” in 17 Magazine or the relationship questions in Cosmo, because the stories are, most of the time, outrageous. I’m excited to announce that I have found my new advice obsession and her name is Emily Yoffe aka “Dear Prudence” who writes for Slate.

She manages to get such a wide array of letters that there is something for everyone. Don’t want to read about two fraternal gay twins that ended up falling in love and are wondering if they should tell their family? That’s fine, just check out Prudence’s advice for the girl who’s boyfriend keeps insisting she lose weight. Perhaps infidelity stores are more your style? There’s more letters in here about illegitimate children and affairs than can be found in all the daytime soap operas.

Although the letters are insane, and half the time I find my jaw dropping during my read-through, what I really love is Prudence’s advice. She does not pull any punches and says the kinds of things you only wish you could say to your friends about their problems. Most of the time she suggests therapy and more than often, divorce – justifiably so.

There’s something refreshing about her brazen honesty. Too often I find people have a hard time giving their true opinion, after all, no one wants to be mean to their friends. It’s also hard to know when someone truly wants your advice or is just asking you to confirm what they want to hear. In our early twenties, we are all just floating along trying to figure out this insane thing called “real life” and it’s hard to know what to do or how to act, what to expect at work, what kind of relationships are worth our time and really just how to survive and thrive. My advice to you? Read Dear Prudence. You’ll be able to put your problems in perspective or maybe you’ll be able to relate and try out some of Prudie’s sage wisdom.