Saturday, January 21, 2012

Book Club?

I've always wanted to be part of a book club... and now that I've beaten my funk that has kept me from enjoying books like I always have, I've been craving discussion. I'm going to see if anyone I know is interested in the idea and then maybe have it be part of this site. 

We shall see!

xo ARP

Monday, January 16, 2012


When I first started this blog, I had a vision in mind. I wanted it to be an online magazine for girls. I wanted beauty, fashion, advice... etc. and then I got bored. Fast. And as I click click click onto a few twenty something websites this evening I find myself reading the same things over and over and over. What Every Twenty Something Needs in Their Closet, How To Defeat those Winter Blues, Are Your Relationships All the Same?:Click here to find out what you're doing wrong, etc, etc,..

As much as I still want to create something one day targeted at young women, I think right now I'm just going to write what comes to me and hopefully find a direction along the way. I'm liking the fact that I have some traffic, it's really keeping my spirits up about this blog. Whenever I start something, I never continue with it and I'm really hoping this time around is different.

A special thanks to the regular readers... ;] There will be more material soon enough!

xo ARP

Monday, January 9, 2012

"Buddy the elf, whats your favorite color?"

This post has nothing to do with Buddy the elf. I'm sorry. I am deeply sorry, but you need to stop crying and pay attention to this very important/disturbing discovery.

If you knew me, you would not expect to walk into a bedroom that looks like I'm sleeping inside of Barney the dinosaur's big pinkish purplish stomach. You'd actually be pretty... shocked.

How about also noticing the pink water bottle I purchased? Or the pink wallet? Or that there are little splashes of pink everywhere you turn in this bedroom?

How would you feel about that? Well, imagine how I feel? Clearly this past year has been some kind of identity crisis struggle for me, you guys. I mean... I even started wearing pink t-shirts from Old Navy. I wore neon pink nail polish the entire summer. I'm very disappointed in my family and friends for letting this happen to me. I'm starting to think this was some kind of plot against me and my sanity. My sanity that has clearly been wasting away ever so slowly.

I know this isn't a quality blog post, but it had to be said. It can no longer be ignored. My favorite color will not be pink. I won't be. It's not.

Now excuse me while I look over the Martha Stewart Living paint samples on the Home Depot website...

What do you think Buddy's favorite color was anyway? Or what about the person who called the office phone that he answered?

xo ARP

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Hasta Luego, Mi Amigo!

Goodbyes are tough. No - actually, they’re terrible. I feel like I’m being a bit dramatic about my situation but I don’t care! It hasn’t even been two months since I’ve become friends with a former best friend again and it’s been really wonderful having him back in my life. But he is going to school about 1,200 miles away and it completely sucks. I know I’m not the only person to feel a bit heartbroken when a best friend goes away for awhile so I’m going to help my fellow abandonees sad friends out.
So here are things to remind yourself when you have to say goodbye to a friend who's going away to school, camp, jail or what have you and feel like your life is going to be super boring and dumb without them around.
  1. Think about all of the stuff you are going to send to him/her in the mail (you might not actually do this but at least you can calm yourself down with fake happy thoughts)
  2. Cell phones. You can text on them. You can also call. It’s a fantastic advancement in technology.
  3. Facebook/Twitter You can know what each others doing every moment of the day so it will almost seem as if you’re with them!
  4. Skype. Webcam hugs are fun attempts. Right?
  5. Talk about each other ALL the time so you get sick of it and you won’t even miss each other for a little while. Other people might get really annoyed, but this isn’t about them!
So, after you say your goodbye and give a drunken hug and then drunkenly cry while eating the last of the toll house cookies in your cabinet… just go to sleep, wake up and plan really obnoxious things to send your friend in snail mail. It will be okay. The semester isn’t that long anyway. You’ll be too busy freaking out over papers, readings, mid-terms and finals to even think about someone else 1200 miles away so don’t even worry about it! Am I right?! ...right?


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Angelina Jolie: My definition of a badass

Angelina Jolie first caught my attention when I was about twelve the day I saw Girl, Interrupted on my television. Wild bleached hair, wide eyes, that mouth and her very expressive eyebrows. At twelve years old, her character Lisa should have been intimidating to me, but I was drawn in and not only to this untamed character, but to the person playing her. I knew even as a kid that someone strong would have to let this type of character into their minds. I asked who she was and ever since then, I have been intrigued.

"I think everybody’s a little repressd, 
everybodys gotta be just more than they are...
I think we’re all a little repressed, we’re all just held back a little. 
If we could all be a little more free.” Conan O'Brien interview (2000)

When mentioned, she gets either two reactions: adoring love or absolute loathing. Angelina Jolie has, does and will bring out a loud reaction from those within earshot. Number one on the list of reasons why she is not liked is the obvious “she stole Brad Pitt away from Jennifer Anniston. She always steals away men.” Now, I could go on about why these reasons are absolutely absurd now in 2012, but I will let you figure that out on your own. Yes, there are reasons why some may be put off by her, but I’m pretty damn sure that those reasons are about 10-15 years old now… so I think it’s time to move on. 
Instead of making what she said when she was a young actress into something so horrid and negative, why don’t people focus more on what she stands for now… or realize what she’s stood for all of this time: freedom. Angelina Jolie was a free spirit and didn’t give a fuck what anyone thought of her. Of course she had her faults but thats what makes her even more admirable to me. She is so un-perfect, she’s perfect. How many women are out there that look back on crazy things they’ve said and done only to be ashamed and embarrassed? How about having all of those things in the spotlight for millions of people around the world to witness? Instead of trying to make people forget, not talking about it or having regretted her younger self, Angelina Jolie embraces it and knows that without those “wild” times or “shocking” moments, she wouldn’t be who she is today.

"I was young, and I was bold, but I didn't have a sense of use. I didn't understand the world, and I didn't understand a sense of perspective that you gain as you get older. I started to travel, and I started to ask questions." MSNBC

Today, Angelina Jolie is Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). She spends devoted time and money to humanitarian projects around the world. “Since 2001, Jolie has been on field missions around the world and met with refugees and internally displaced persons in more than 20 countries, including Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Cambodia, Pakistan, Thailand, Ecuador, Kosovo, Kenya, Namibia, Sri Lanka, North Caucasus, Jordan, Egypt, New Delhi, Costa Rica, Chad, Syria, Iraq and Haiti, to name a few.” source Her and husband, Brad Pitt, founded the Jolie-Pitt Foundation to eradicate extreme rural poverty among other things. 

"My understanding of the world changed. I never woke up again wanting to be self-destructive, self-possessed or self-pitying in any way. I realized that it was important to wake up every day feeling grateful for your family and for your opportunities." MSNBC

I was drawn in with those spooky looking eyes almost ten years ago and have admired and adored Angelina Jolie ever since. I thought she was such a badass back then, with her tattoos, piercings and whatever other dark subjects that were rolling off of her tongue. And if you take the time to read or listen to her speak about all of the wonderful things she is involved in today to help others… you’d realize that she’s even more of a badass now than she was ten years ago. There’s no such thing as a perfect, innocent role model. It’s just not realistic. I want someone to look up to who has gone through some dark periods of her own but has matured and grown from them. Jolie has grown into someone who takes her success and puts it to good use. To this day she lives for herself and for those she loves, not paying attention to tabloids or rumors like all of us do. She lives her life the way she wants, the way she believes it should be lived without giving any thought to how anyone else thinks of it. 
You can love her, you can hate her, but you have to admit… she is somethin’ else.

xo ARP

Being a Rebel SHOULD NOT Be a Passing Phase...

Back in early 2010, I was in the throes of an emotional upheaval that would change the course of my life forever. My mother had just become sick with the condition that would, later on the same year, claim her life. As she lay in the hospital bed, I had to find ways to entertain myself in the now eerily quiet house that we lived in together. On one such occasion, I found myself (as I always do) checking my Facebook page and hating life, when something in the corner caught my eye.

There was an ad on the side of the screen that consisted of a picture of a girl sitting in front of a fire by herself. She had a hood on over her clearly dyed, jet-black hair. There was a piercing in her eyebrow and she had on enough dark makeup to put the most “emo” individual to shame. There were no words associated with this except for a phrase right beneath her- “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. My curiosity was peaked. I decided to research and that is how I was introduced to the world of Lisbeth Salander, one of the greatest modern heroines to be committed to paper.

It took me a few days to get through the first book, less to get through the second, and I finished the third in the series on the same day I started it. Reading was one of many coping mechanisms I used to get through my mother’s death and through this rather healthier endeavor, I made a friend with the female protagonist. She was a computer hacker, which not only suggests a certain “I don’t give a shit about rules or the law” attitude, it also demonstrates a keen intelligence and concentration that is needed to even understand one machine, let alone to hack into several. She had several piercings, plenty of tattoos, she wore her hair dyed black and chopped up. She rode a motorcycle, carried weapons and guns, had a cavalier attitude about sex and most relationships in general. She was totally independent and she was real. She fought back against everyone who tried to control her and keep her down.

Lisbeth is as rebellious and tough as they come. She was a rock star in her own right. However, as much as someone like me (and countless other young females) may place her on a pedestal, we need to examine something first. What made her that way? Would she have been as edgy as she was had she not suffered years of neglect and abuse? Would she not have been that way had she had a “normal” upbringing? It made me question why I loved her so much, why so many other people love her so much. Lisbeth Salander has strength, there is no doubt about that. Instead of whining and whimpering and crying like so many other fictional (and real-life) females do, she sometimes committed horrendous acts of violence in the sake of well-deserved revenge. She was a product of her dysfunctional environment.

In a perfect world, the things that happened to this character would never happen to anybody. Even the minutest offenses I would not deign to wish on my worst enemy. So to read about them, even if they are happening to someone fictional, is almost sickening. It seemed the author had no choice but to make her as strong as she was to endure her own life. I believe this is why I related to her on such a personal level. My life was nowhere close to what LS lived through but it was no peach either. I am not wanting for personal traumatic experiences that leave one altered forever. So to read about how someone rose above it was empowering.

My issue starts to come in, however, when a commanding female presence such as this one is turned into something dismissible. Strength should not be a passing fancy. Lisbeth Salander is the “next big thing” at the moment with the release of the GWTDT movie in America. This means that after the spell has worn off, the character of Lisbeth Slander will fall by the wayside. Her 15 minutes of fame will be over. I have a serious problem with this. To take someone so compelling and diminish her significance down to a mere fad is outrageously brazen. What happened to her also happens in varying degrees to women (and sometimes men) all over the world everyday. These numbers of people finally have someone fictional to look up to and now that someone is reducible to a craze of ripped tee shirts and lip-rings.

It seems that before LS came to the big screen and made being anti-establishment cool, it wasn’t cool and now that she has, everyone will want to be some sort of a bad ass rebel. What happens now to the girl who has a real dragon tattoo and got it before the movie came out as a means of coping with being raped? What about the guy who started carrying around a concealed weapon because he became unhinged after watching his mother get beat down by his father? And the young person who turns into a cyber thief to steal money to be able to pay for the family house that is about to be foreclosed upon, forcing his/her family out into the street- what becomes of this person? Is it now acceptable to be a chick who likes motorcycles? Or a guy who chooses to live on the edge of society? To some, these are just “fads”; this is real life for others. What do you tell them, that this “phase” in their life will only go as long as people can make money off of it and that once they can’t, it’s now over?

Personally, I knew at age 13 I wanted a tattoo. I told my mother and she said “wait until you are 18, then you can legally do whatever you want.” Months after hitting 18, I got my first one. I’m now up to 5 and have every intention of getting at least 3 more. But don’t worry, Hollywood says that right now tats are cool. I’ve always loved motorcycles and the freedom that comes with riding one. I’ve been taught how to shoot handguns. I personally thought the one used in the movie Sucker Punch with the charm dangling at the end was sexy. I want some new piercings. I can look at math puzzles (I couldn’t do this in high school) and now solve them in my head. Hollywood says this is cool. Oh great, now I don’t have to feel like a freak for systematically dyeing my hair black since I was a senior in high school or wearing black eyeliner and black clothes.

I mean really, what the fuck? This was who I was before movie execs turned it into their latest cash crop. So now, all the girls who are going to be sure to request the “Lisbeth Salander” at their next hair appointment, are going to walk around feeling cool for falling for the Hollywood okay-doke once again. Basically, being yourself shouldn’t be a fad. It should be a reality, something that is practiced everyday. And you damn well shouldn’t be ashamed of it. Otherwise, you don’t deserve to call yourself a fan of someone like Lisbeth. Indeed, she never let anyone dictate who she was in life. And as someone who admires this particular character, I have no intention of doing it either.

<3 IMP </3

*PS- I loved the movie and thought Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara did a fantastic job.
This was in no way, shape, or form aimed at the actors.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

3 New Year Resolutions that I've heard about the most this week...

  1. “I want to lose weight.” This is probably the most popular resolution out there. The only problem with this is that people don’t realize that a year is kind of long. You’re not going to lose weight in the first month of this year and then be a skinnier version of yourself for the next 11 months. People get discouraged when they don’t see the number go down on their scale after a week or they feel sore when they wake up in the morning due to a workout the day before. By mid-year, those resolutions are out the window and you’re back doing the same thing you were before… promising yourself that you’ll do it next year. How about you switch that resolution from “I want to lose weight” to “I want to be healthier.” Losing weight isn’t something that makes you feel better, it’s all up to your mind. You can starve yourself and workout and be skinnier in a few weeks. You look thinner, but you feel terrible… and before you know it, the pounds are back on and you’re hating yourself for it. My resolution is to be healthier. Instead of focusing on the number on the scale, I want to focus on how I feel when I walk up a flight of stairs or how long it takes to run a mile. Not only will I look thinner after some hard work, I will feel better in body and mind. You won’t find me throwing my money to a gym this year, you’ll find me using Wii Fit in my living room and walking around the block. I’ll be punching the bag I have in my basement and lifting the 8 pound medicine ball I bought at Job Lot for 10 bucks. I don’t want to lose weight just to be skinny. I want to build strength in my back and feel like I have a lot longer to live. Throw away the scale… the only thing you should be weighing this year is how you feel. 
  2. “I want to be more organized.” Uh, how about I need to be more organized or I’m going to fail out of college. That’s enough motivation for me. Buy a full year planner, highlighters, post-its and whatever else you think you might need and don’t leave the house without them. 
  3. Quit Smoking. Here’s some motivation for that… you will die if you don’t quit smoking. Die. You will be dead. And if you don’t die sooner than later, your tongue’s taste buds will diminish and you won’t be able to taste any of the awesome food next Thanksgiving. How about that? I mean, I could list all the reasons why you should stop , but you know them already. It’s not up to me to push you. It’s up to you to spend the money you would have spent on cigarettes on some damn nicotine gum or patches. Get it together. Its a new year. You wanna enjoy it without yellow teeth and lung cancer, dontchya?
I could write a chapter out of a self-help book here on this blog to help myself or you readers out, but honestly, you know all of the consequences if you don’t keep these resolutions. I’m not going to give you step by step instructions on how to keep them because there are NO step by step instructions. It depends on how bad you want this. Get off the couch, chew some gum and make a to-do list.
Happy New Year… now go kick some ass.