Sunday, September 28, 2014

Big Brother All Stars 2 Dream Cast

Finally, Big Brother season 16 has come to its anticlimactic end. In light of this terribly boring season, CBS needs to pump out All Stars 2 for BB17. It's time.

This season I was very hopeful for a cast of newbies, and although there were some great personalities in there, the lack of strategic gameplay took away from the season. It seems like the only remedy to this would be to bring in the vets. I decided to make a little "dream" All Stars cast. I kept the candidates to recent seasons only and left out houseguests who have been on more than one season.

  • Kathy BB12
  • Ian BB14
  • Derrick BB16
  • Russel BB11
  • Elissa BB15
  • Ronnie BB11
  • Dominic BB13
  • Shelly BB13
  • Nicole BB16
  • Cassi BB13
  • Natalie BB11
  • Jessie BB15
  • Hayden BB12
  • Donny BB16
  • Kalia BB13
  • Zach BB16

I think this is a good mix of beloved and hated houseguests. I'm really not okay with letting vile houseguests return, which is why I omitted Andy and Amanda and Aaryn and Frankie and others that do not deserve another chance to be on TV in my opinion (no matter how well they played or how much drama they caused). 

In hindsight I would probably switch out Hayden Moss for Lane or Enzo, because having 3 male winners in a season might be a bit excessive. I just really wanted to have the Brigade represented in one way or another because I felt like the Brigade was a 15x better Bomb Squad. 

I specifically wanted to bring back Cassi and Dom from BB13 because I thought they left way too early and they had so much potential and were essentially just victims of Rachel's drama. 

Honestly it was really difficult to make this list because the best Big Brother houseguests have already played this game twice or more before. So, if I were to make my true All Stars cast, it would go like this...

  • Dan BB10/14
  • Will BB2/7
  • Derrick BB16
  • Zach BB16
  • Donny BB16
  • Hayden BB12
  • Ian BB14
  • Frank BB14
  • Dani BB8/13
  • Rachel BB11/13
  • Janelle BB6/7/14
  • Elissa BB15
  • Jordan BB11/13
  • Kalia BB13
  • Britney BB12/14
  • Nicole BB16

This list includes 7 past winners so I think it's safe to say that it would be a freakin' showdown. I also put in some personal favorites like Kalia and Elissa. Let me know who you think should be asked back for All Stars (repeats or non-repeats) :)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Essential Tools for At-Home Manicures

Hey everyone! I thought I would bring it back to beauty for today's post and address why I don't get manicures. It's not that I don't like getting them, it's just that I do a pretty good job on my own! Also, I have way too many nail polishes in my collection to justify spending money on nails haha. Here are my must-have items for at-home manicures for those who feel a little guilty getting their nails done all the time.

1) A good base coat depending on your needs. For base coats, I need something with an adhesive property to it so that the nail polish will stick & last longer. Others might need strengthening base coats or ridge fillers. My base coat of choice is Orly Bonder - it has a rubberized finish that really fuses your nail color to the nail. On days where my nails are feeling a little brittle, I'll put on OPI Nail Envy before the Orly base coat. Nail Envy is a hardener that I've found works really well. I've been using it for years.

2) A good top coat. A lot of people have touted Seche Vite as the be-all end-all top coat, but I have my issues with it. For one, I feel like it gets gloopy about half-way through the bottle, and then you need to purchase their polish thinner in order to get the consistency back to normal! I think that's ridiculous. I think the Essie Fast Drying top coat works just as well, and it really is "fast-drying". It doesn't get gloopy quite as quickly as Seche Vite.

3) Color! The draw in doing your nails at home is to have a good array of different shades and colors to choose from, like you would at the salon. It makes changing your manicure every couple days fun & something to look forward to. I'm not saying you need to have a fully stocked rack like mine.... But it helps ;)

4) A straight-edge nail clipper. Having a straight-edge nail clipper changed my life. You know how most clippers come with a curved blade? Well, they sell ones with a straight blade. Of course it depends on how you like to shape your nails (if you prefer a round shape then this is no use to you). If you like straight nails then this is amazing to have. If you're new to at-home manicures I would suggest starting with a square nail because it's the easiest to maintain and (in my opinion) the cleanest shape.

5) A cuticle pusher or clipper. I think a cuticle pusher and/or clipper is essential. Not everyone likes removing their cuticles with a clipper, but at least invest in a pusher. I don't even take care of my cuticles every time I do my nails, but every once in a while it's important to push them down. It makes for a much cleaner manicure.

6) A multi-sided nail file. This multi-sided nail file is great. It serves so many different purposes. I use the extra-coarse side to file down my nails after cutting them, and the file nail edge to dull down the sharp finish of a freshly cut nail. If you have nail ridges there's a handy "smooth ridges" side to help you out.

7) Hand cream/cuticle balm. It's important to keep your cuticles healthy by using a hand cream or cuticle balm on them every so often, especially if you tend to pick your cuticles (bad habit!) or if you have dry hands in general. It'll make your manicure look so much better.

As a final point, it's important to practice! As with anything in life, doing your nails well requires repetition. If you do them often enough, you'll become good at painting nails even with your non-dominant hand.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Handling University Without Friends

Summer's over, which means the new school year and the imminent winter months are approaching fast. That thought alone is enough to make anyone miserable. For me, the main reason why I don't look forward to school anymore is because I don't have friends to share it with. My friends and I all embarked on separate paths going into university, so school days can get quite long.

My first tip on making the school year more bearable is to find a good spot that you're comfortable in, and that you can go to during your breaks. I personally don't like secluding myself in the library because I find it a bit depressing, so I pick the atrium in my building because it gets plenty of sunlight. People cycle in and out so there's some commotion, but it never really gets too noisy. If it does, I have my trusty noise-cancelling headphones with me anyway. Sometimes I sit at a table in the atrium for hours on-end because my train schedule unfortunately does not always coincide with my school schedule, so I usually arrive early and have time to kill.

During down-times, I make sure I have plenty to do. First and foremost, I get school work done. If you're in university chances are you have plenty of class reading. Staying on top of your readings will make you more at-ease when it comes time to prep for tests and essays, and you'll be able to keep up better in class. If you have a lot of time, taking notes on readings is a good idea because it helps you digest the information better. Personally, I need near-quiet to stay focused on readings so this is when noise-cancelling headphones really come in handy.

If by chance you don't have noise-cancelling earphones, I recommend downloading some ambient music that won't distract you from your studies, but will drown out the people around you. I use an app called Songza and type "studying" into the search bar, and the first option that comes up is "Studying (no lyrics)" and "Reading". From there, you can choose from 6 different playlist options.

The easiest and most common time-killer during long breaks is browsing social media, but after you've scrolled through your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr feed, you'll need to find something else to do. I like to save social media for my train journeys to and from school because I can access it on my phone anyway. Personally, I prefer to be productive during my breaks.

What I mean by that is I like to be producing material, be it by typing up class notes, or even writing a blog post. After typing up a lengthy document I always tend to feel more accomplished. Getting organized is also a way to be productive: making to-do lists, writing due dates into your calendar, or putting together a reading schedule.

That said, I have to admit that as the semester goes on I tend to feel more lethargic. On those lazy days I equip myself with a tea or a latte, put on an audiobook, podcast, or even some music, and just relax. If you spend the majority of your school days without much social contact like I do, having an audiobook or podcast to listen to is amazing because it's like having someone tell you stories for potentially hours on-end. It's also really handy if you take public transportation trips that are more than say 20 minutes long.

That concludes my tips on handling university alone, but I should probably throw this in: make friends if you can! I can't deny that making friends is a good idea, but if you end up spending most of your time alone, try your best to make the most of it. :)