Astrid*Stars: August 2013

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Day 1 in New York City: Times Square and Fifth Avenue

So as promised, here is my post on my first day in the wonderful New York City. The picture above is one I took while strolling down the famour Fifth Avenue. I became obsessed with the buildings here as you can tell by this picture LOL. But before I go into that, let's rewind back a little. Once my mom, sister and me changed out of our grossness from flying, we walked over to the subway station just 2 minutes from my new "home" and took the 7 train out to Times Square. We explored for maybe 10 minutes before we decided to look for a place to eat because we hadn't had a proper meal since earlier that morning and it was already 4 pm. So we Yelped nearby restaurants and found Carmine's.


It was honestly the best Italian food we have had in our lives! Sadly, Los Angeles has yet to step up in this regard :( Anyway, for those of you who haven't been to Carmine's, it serves family style plates, i.e. "sharing is encouraged" as stated by the hostess. Indeed, we filled up on a caesar salad and some rigatoni and broccoli and still had left overs. Honestly, if you visit NYC come here and if you want to see a Broadway show, it's right in the theater district. 

While we could have explored Times Square after our delicious meal, my sister had mentioned wanting to go to Tiffany & Co. on Fifth Avenue and so we headed north. We started walking east on Fifth Avenue instead of west though so we had to turn back, and boy was it a long way to her intended destination. However, no true complaints as we got to see some other famous stores as well as other awesome landmarks. The one I truly geeked out over? 

If you guessed, New York Public Library then you are right! Honestly being the bookworm that I am, it really shouldn't come as a surprise. Now you know where I'll be spending my time since I'm trying not to accumulate books while I'm here. The reason being, how will I bring them back to LA with me, since I probably won't stop at 5 LOL. Anyway, we also found St. Patrick's Cathedral(not pictured) which is being restored as well as other really architecturally amazing churches (pictures below) that I don't remember the names of. 



We also found Trump Towers along the way. While I'm not a fan of Donald Trump at all(I find him highly arrogant and therefore annoying), this building itself was quite the view due to how tall it is that you truly have to twist your neck a bit to take all of it in. It also wouldn't fit all in one picture.



Impressive right?! I certainly thought so. Finally though, we made it to Tiffany's. And of course my sister needed a picture to capture the memory.


We also found what I think is the coolest Apple Store, ever! Yes, I know, I'm a total geek/nerd LOL.


Well, it's getting late and tomorrow will be another day of site seeing. I will post all about Day 2 tomorrow which was mostly exploring my new neighborhood. And I'll leave you with some more pictures.

Dirtsa under a Fifth Avenue sign

Famous Yellow Taxi and Police Line(sorry for the trouble, JK)

Obsessed. 

Under scaffolds :)

Coolest Mailbox in my opinion, but then again, I love things with old school charm!

In love with the buildings/skyline here

Louis Vuitton on Fifth Avenue

In front of Tiffany's


Bergdorf Goodman (part of it anyway)

Heading Home on the 7 train.
XOXO,
Astrid



Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Move, it's Finally Here

Hey guys so last night was the night; my last night in sunny Los Angeles. I was a nervous wreck trying to pack last minute (I ended up overpacking), but that's what I get for procrastinating and overwhelming myself. I almost, almost ended things with my boyfriend Michael, but in the end we worked through our disagreement and are stronger than ever. Anyway, back to the good stuff LOL.

We made it on time to our flight, though I had to pack an overweight fee. I doesn't really surprise me, I've always been one of those people who like to overpack to be overprepared but uses like half of what she brings with her. Now I know I have maybe dropped a hint here and there about this, but in case you missed it, I'm moving to the Big Apple for the rest of 2013 as part of an exchange program at my school. I have always wanted to go to NYC, even if it was for a short visit, so this is definitely taking care of my bucket list, and then some.

However, as excited as I was to move to NYC and embark on this adventure, it was still bittersweet to leave the city I was born and raised in, behind. Once we got on the plane and seated and shenanigans had been taken care of, it was finally time to relax and get some sleep, but did I? No! I could not sleep a wink on the first plane(we had a stop in quiet Cincinnati, Ohio). I would try to, and then I'd start thinking about how much I miss the little girl I took care of and Michael and a bunch of other thoughts that plagued my mind. My sister and mom sorta slept, so they got some rest. I however slept maybe 30 minutes towards the end and even that was barely passable as sleeping.

Then we had a luggage issue because when we went to claim a carry on that had been too big to fit overhead, we saw one of our checked in luggages, but not the other. Well turns out, neither checked in luggage should have shown up on the carousel so it was kind of a blessing we had to get our carry on or else my luggage would not have made it to where it needed to go. Then we had some breakfast that was not all that great and my mom and sister slept on the floor like bums while I, still not able to fall asleep tried to work on uploading pictures onto my computer.
Oh and our connecting flight got delayed. When we finally boarded, we boarded the smallest aircraft possible.
But alas, we made it to La Guardia Airport safely and I finally got some sleep on that plane. We got a cab and made it to where I will be living for my time in NYC. We were glad to finally be on the ground and quickly set out to explore, but I will save my first day of NYC for tomorrow's post. Talking of which, I know I've been bad at sticking with my 21 days, and I may start it all over, but my reason for failing to stick to it is well the whole moving, packing, getting things together ordeal. So with that being said, I've also decided to blog about my NYC adventures and share them with you. Hope that makes you happy, cuz believe me, NYC is a whole lot of fun :)

Kisses from the Big Apple,
Astrid

New Hair...Sorta

Hey guys, so I meant to post this up two weeks ago, but my computer had other plans. That being said, I am now writing my first blog post ever on my new Macbook Pro :) I gotta say, I do prefer this one. Now I've actually had this computer for about 2-3 weeks, but have just put it to use as of recently, concentrating instead on cleaning out my old one and also getting ready for my move to beautiful NYC (post on that coming up)!

Anyway, let's get down to business. The picture above is me on the morning of August 8th, 2013, before I went in for an overdue hair cut. Now I loved my hair this length and really liked the color, but my hair was also full of split ends and my roots were starting to show, A LOT lol. So I decided to go in for what initially was going to be a trim, but ended up just asking to cut about 2 inches to get rid of as many split ends (which I still have a lot of) as well as added layers and bangs for a little change and to add some depth to my hairstyle. Behold the after: 
It sure looks fluffier, doesn't it. Well that was right after the cut (initially, I wanted something different then the outcome, but my stylist let me know it wouldn't suit my obnoxiously petite face), but there's more. Since I was moving to NYC and well colorists are expensive, I decided to dye my hair as close to my natural shade as possible. So my sister dyed it about a week ago and here is the final outcome:
The lighter color still shows through a little, but not as much as it appears to do in this picture. I'm kinda glad to be back to a brunette though, surprisingly. So what do you guys thing? Good or bad change? Any trends you want to try or you think I should try? Can't wait to see what your comments will be. 

Locks and Tresses,
Astrid

Thursday, August 8, 2013

How I've Gotten Fit

`So I know I've dropped sprinkles of Tone It Up here and there. Well just briefly wanted to talk about my fitness journey since I've mentioned it here and there but have not truly gotten into specifics. I have always been pretty thin (think barely reaching 100 lbs) my whole life, but not very athletic.But as much as I've been blessed with a fast metabolism, once college and my boyfriend entered my life, I was not exempt from gaining some of the "Freshmand 15". I was eating out a lot due to my boyfriend (he likes burgers and pasta, A LOT) and due to being at school and work most days. I would not prep lunches or anything so that was my bad.

Well after a brief break-up with my boyfriend (no worries we are back together :) ) towards the end of last year, I decided that I needed to put some effort into loving myself a bit. I started a week before New Years' following a workout from Fitness Magazine and then went on Instagram to look for fitspo. While on the popular page, I saw a post about Tone It Up 's "Love Your Body Challenge." Now their name sounded familiar because Elle Fowler, a YouTube beauty guru had mentioned them in one of her videos I'd seen a few years back. So anyway, I decided to loo further into the challenge, found out some prizes included Victoria Secret Swag, and signed up.

The challenge started January 1st, 2013. The girls would post weekly workout schedules and had mini challenges along the way and I followed their instructions, to the best of my ability. As the challenge went on I started to love running, something I use to hate with a passion. Sadly towards the end, as I was improving my endurance, my hip flexor and knee and shin on my left side began to give out so I'm still healing. While I didn't win any prizes per se, I did gain confidence and became the most active I've been since high school. What's even better is they set up a community for members and I've gotten to cross paths and be inspired by so many girls after the same goal: "to have a great body, but most importantly to be healthy".

Now it's been about 8 months since I really incorporated fitness and a healthy lifestyle into my everyday life and I will never look back. I still have a ways to go and currently I'm doing P90X (lean) along with some other girls from the community, but I am slowly starting to see some ab muscle showing through. I also feel stronger and my skin is no longer as acne prone as before. Honestly it has been one of the best decisions I've made in a long time and hope to continue it until I'm six feet under!! LOL

Working and Lovin'
Astrid

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Books...Thoughts?

Hey guys, again I know I'm behind on posts. I'm trying to catch up after choosing sleep and exercise over blogging, but since I am currently waiting for my food to settle before working out for the day, I decided it was the right time to sit down and blog a little.

Any way (I say that a lot don't I?!), I don't know about you but I LOVE books!! Ever since I was little, I couldn't get enough of them. They were my escape and I loved letting my imagination run wild with them. As I've gotten older though, I've noticed that reading often gets put on the back burner for most of the year except in the summer and winter breaks. The reason for this unfortunate fact is simply there is a lot to do in my everyday life. After having to attend classes and do schoolwork and then going to work and having to do chores and all that other stuff that fills my day, all I want to do is shut my brain off in front of the TV. Now, I know I have the option of curling up with a good book, but the TV seems so tempting because it doesn't really need much focus. I mean really how much energy and attention span is needed to plop down in front of The Real Housewives of Orange County? Not much really.

But I've finally decided to kind of shake off these excuses because I have a stack of untouched books and also because recently things have been spiced up for me in the book department. Now what does that mean exactly, I'm sure your asking. Well it means that I have been spending more time exploring GoodReads lately (I'm pretty new to it, but love it) and also joining some pretty awesome book clubs through Meetup.com as well as through the Toneitup.com community(we girls reach out on instagram/twitter and our group's managed on Facebook). The picture above is one of the rare nights I decided to go to Starbucks, grab my tea and granola, sit down by a window and read a book I'd been slowly progressing through (it's a good book FYI, just hadn't really made the time for it until then).

I love the times I can truly give myself this type of "me" time. I also often take my books to the gym if I know I'll be using the bike or just carry one around in my purse in case I'm in a situation where extreme boredom may otherwise occur. In fact, I've been having a lot more time to read now, or really making more time to read. I actually stayed up till 5 a.m. not too long ago devouring a whole book that I'd found in the iBooks store (careful, this is very dangerous for booklovers' wallets LOL). I actually reviewed this book on
GoodReads as I'm trying to be present on there. The book I read was along the lines of Fifty Shades of Gray and also started as a fanfiction, but I felt had more of a story line (from what I've heard about FSOG) and was called Beautiful Bastard.

This got me to thinking though, maybe you guys may like to read book reviews on here. I mean why not? For those of you who love to read like me, this may be helpful and for me it keeps me blogging and reading at the same time. Let me know in the comments if this is something you may want to see on here.

Books on My Mind,
Astrid


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Catching Up With Old Friends

http://pinterest.com/pin/17521886023557673/
Hey guys so already I'm being terrible at this blogging every single day, but I kinda do have a good reason. You see this post was suppose to go up on Saturday. Once again I had waited until late that day to write a post. Basically I was being lazy most of Saturday watching television and had only accomplished doing my Yoga X (I am in Phase II of P90X now). Anyway getting to the point of this post, as I was planning to get ready to start blogging and doing all my other online duties (i.e. editing vlogs, cleaning my inbox, etc) and stuff that was actually conducive to having a "Get Shit Done Day", my friend Denise called. Now, Denise and I go way back. We went to Kindergarten together and instantly became BFF's straight away. In fact, if I remember correctly, she was the one who took my hand to walk in on our first day of class (I am the shy one in this duo LOL but not as bad as when I was younger).

Our moms consequently also became good friends and so we continued our friendship until the 5th grade when her parents divorced and her mom got remarried and they moved away from the town we grew up in. Now myspace was a pretty new thing back then (does anyone remember those dark days? LOL jk) so not everyone had one, especially not most kids our age. I was pretty heartbroken not knowing how to reach her since we had gone through a lot together. Well a few years back, in High School, we reconnected again on Myspace (LOL before Facebook took over for world domination HAHAHA JK but close enough) and exchanged phone numbers. We clicked again instantly and it was wonderful to have her back in my life and my mom was pretty happy too. But then about 2 or 3 years later, we lost contact again. Partially it was due to an issue the occurred because my friend made a bad choice and partially because there were some hard times going on with her family that didn't help the situation. Well a year after that fallout (no hard feelings occurred really, just she needed to focus on herself and her family and deal with that) she added me on Facebook, but we had very little contact because well my friend is one of those oddballs that is not interested in being online much. If it wasn't for her mom, who is active on Facebook, I would have probably known nothing about whether that account was still relevant.

Well, about a week ago, her mom messaged me on Facebook and gave me Denise's number. I was surprised because it had been about 4 years since we had really talked on the phone. But I called and well, we ended up talking on the phone for 3 HOURS!!!! Now you know that's the real deal when you haven't talked to someone for years but seem to get back in the saddle immediately. We have continued talking a lot since then and since her mom's birthday was this past weekend, I ended up going clubbing with them and her mom's friend Saturday night. I was going to blog while I waited for them to come get me, but they got to where I am staying sooner than I thought.  So here are some pictures from that night (still need to upload the rest):
Her mom ordered this for the 4 of us

Denise (right) and me
The moral of the story is, if you come across an opportunity to rekindle and old friendship or come across an old friend, seize the opportunity. You never know, you could end up dancing, having some drink called an Iguana and having a good time :)

XO,
Astrid

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Day 2, Being an Adult

Hey guys, so as I write this I am watching one of my all time favorite movies, Juno (I seriously can pretty much recite every line). It's just past midnight, but don't think I forgot to blog or threw my commitment out the door. Honestly, I was just thinking of what I should write, plus I got a bit distracted watching movies today lol, but certainly blogging was on my mind. I did have one post in mind, but since I waited until now to sit down and write, I will leave that one for tomorrow. The other topic that was on my mind today though was about the signs life gives you that tell you that you are now very much an adult. I mean there is the obvious big signs such as turning 18 and 21 when you can be tried as an adult and when you can finally go get liquored up--legally. Bills also can make you feel very adult like, but then there are the more subtle yet truly more significant signs that you are no longer a kid (I wish I still was, maybe that's why I try to act like one and like looking after them). One of these signs or realizations I guess happened to me today.Since I am currently staying at my boss's house looking after her pets, I kind of have to fend for myself, i.e. feed myself and stocking up on food in order to do so. After my dentist appointment and grabbing some things at home and my dutiful Starbucks stop (I was so hungry after that appointment), I stopped at Trader Joe's, probably my favorite grocery store, which says a lot about me since as a kid I hated being dragged to the grocery store.

Anyway, as I shopped around for food to survive this week since my boss had limited food options at home, mostly food for her kid, I had the epiphany that once you start buying groceries for yourself, not because your parents assigned you this chore, it really hits you and represents the fact that you've truly become an adult. I don't know, just all of a sudden I realized, wow this feels very grown up. I mean I'm sure there are a million other signs that make you think "Wow, I am a full blown adult now" such as having your own place or getting your first "real" job that will build the rest of your career or jury duty, but something as simple and underrated as grocery shopping somehow seemed more significant to me. I guess it's because it's something that goes over our heads and is not something we think of as making us more adult, but somehow it made me stop and think wow, I'm really not a kid anymore.

Now this isn't the first time I've done this. I've house sat a couple of other times and had to buy groceries for myself, but today it just hit me. It actually made me feel proud of myself in a really dorky way LOL. What made it an even bigger realization? The fact that I've estimated that $60 can buy me a week of groceries (actually a little more than that)! Seriously from the three times I've had to be a responsible self sufficient adult (just to clarify, I don't completely live off my parents, I am just lucky and blessed they don't charge me rent and they usually buy the bigger bulk of the food, I however pay my own bills and don't bother them much for money) it always comes out to just under or just above $60 and it actually buys me a lot! This time around I didn't need to buy any drinks as I was well stocked there, I did buy chicken and berries and plucots and vodka sauce and cheese and yogurt and veggies and even ice cream sandwiches. So yea I am set lol. Anyway, I should get to bed because the dogs wake me up pretty early to go out for their business and because I'm sure I've made my point of my realization of my adulthood. I will still try to hold on to being a kid as long as I can though and be a kid at heart, but being an adult is pretty cool too I guess. Also I want to get this book I saw called Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown, seems apropos.

Your Seemingly Adult Blogger,
Astrid

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Finally Committing: 21 Days of Blogging

So I know I am probably the world's worst blogger. Lately however, I have really thought about finally giving my blog some love. It's not that I don't have things to write about it or that I find it a chore. In fact there are times I get so sad that another day has passed by that I haven't written something. Lately it is something that I really feel is missing from my day and so many ideas pop into my head, but somehow other things require my attention and then by the time I am able to sit down to type in my ideas, I am ready to hit the hay. Well a few days ago, I was going through some old Elle magazines (I hoard magazines btw) trying to clean out my collection again and came across an article focusing on 21 days of trying different makeup looks and hairstyles. That article got me thinking that maybe I should start a 21 day project of my own. Why 21? Well I'm sure you have heard the saying that it takes 21 days to form a habit and to an extent it is something that I follow. I do feel 21 days works to get you into the habit of doing something. When I started working out this year I made a habit of working out everyday and after the first 21 days, I do feel I had gotten into the habit and I also felt I didn't have to push myself as much because it now felt so natural to me to do it practically everyday (I did take rest days after the 21 days). Now I mentioned some of my reasons as to why I've been such a lousy blogger, but the other part is I never made it a point to form a habit of it, not a set plan anyway, just always the thought of "Oh well maybe I could write a post once a week or make a series of posts like Fashion Fridays or Tasty Tuesdays" but then I'd get so overwhelmed trying to get me on a "schedule" when it was something still so new to me. Once I saw the article and yesterday thinking of the new month to start, I decided ok Astrid, hop to it, form the habit.

Well enough of that strict talk lol, on to actually talking about August :) August is really an exciting month for me. For starters, I will be moving to another coast halfway through the month. That's right, I will finally be living my dream of living in NYC :)  It is something I've always wanted to do so I'm so excited that I will be there for a whole semester, but at the same time, in typical Astrid fashion, I am freaking the eff out LOL I feel there is still so much to get done, but I know I'm also probably just overthinking and need to chill out. One of the things on my list is to get all my vlogs on my YouTube channel up to date. I am so far behind on them and have been bummed that some videos seemed to have disappeared, but I'll figure it out. Also I just signed up for a motivational mail thing put together by some of the girls from the Toneitup.com community, which if I haven't mentioned it before, is what started my whole fitness/clean eats journey. I love receiving fun mail as opposed to bills. Another thing coming up is I'm getting a new computer because the one I have is literally falling apart. Let's see what else, oh well I'm in my second month of P90X and I just got new glasses so yea. I don't know it just feels August is going to be a great month. Anyways, off to bed. Lot's of good posts coming up these next 21 days (well 20 I guess since this is post #1).

Stay Tuned,
Astrid