Hot Lips

Bunny Balm

bunny balm

I found an awesome chap stick and I want to rave about it! This cute little bunny is made by TONYMOLY and called Petite Bunny Gloss Bar, which pretty much explains it.  I bought the balm in Juicy Peach, number 5, and I love the lightly colored tint and shine it gives my lips while also making them feel soft.  It’s a good, small size for any purse/clutch and it’s so adorable! I purchased mine at Urban Outfitters for $8.00 and that’s the cheapest source I found, also it’s very comparable to your standard Burt’s Bees chap stick, only much cuter.  It comes in lots of different shades, and I can’t wait to buy a couple more.  Look, they even have different facial expressions.  These bunny balms make me smile.

colorful lips

Chelsea

Photos: multiple balms, pink balm

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All The Goodness of Gump

The Greatest Things About Forrest Gump

Forrest

Background and History:

“Forrest Gump” is one of my favorite movies and one of the most outstanding American classic films ever made.  It won numerous awards in 1995 including six Academy Awards.  The director, Robert Zemeckis, won the Oscar for best director, Tom Hanks was deemed best actor for his role as Forrest Gump, and the film won best picture, best film-editing, best visual effects, and best adapted screenplay.  Simply put, it was the best, and it still remains a critically acclaimed and beloved movie today, almost twenty years later.  Tom Hanks is incredible in the role of Forrest, and the movie has so many wonderful qualities and life lessons compacted into it.  It spans throughout Forrest’s life in conjunction with some of the most crucial moments of American history, often interlacing the two and comically placing Forrest in the midst of political drama.  After his success playing ping pong for the U.S. Army, he’s invited to the White House to meet President Nixon, who offers him a room in the Watergate Hotel.  Forrest notices men with flashlights in the White House and calls security to complain about it keeping him awake, unknowingly exposing the Watergate Scandal and leading to President Nixon’s resignation.  Forrest is such a sincere and friendly character who moves through life doing the best he can and using the lessons his mama taught him.  The movie is witty, moving, and universal in it’s portrayal of the human experience.  I hadn’t known it was based off of a novel of the same name by Winston Groom published in 1986, but now I intend to read it since I love the movie so much.  I also learned that Tom Hanks won the Oscar for best actor the previous year for his role in “Philedelphia,” making him the first person to win back-to-back Oscars since 1937-8.  He is amazing in my favorite romantic comedies, “Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail,” he’s epic in “Cast Away,” “Charlie Wilson’s War,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “The Green Mile,” and “Captain Phillips,” and he’s witty in some of his earlier movies like “Turner & Hooch” and “Big” as well as more recent ones like “The Terminal,” “Larry Crowne,” and “Saving Mr. Banks.” He has had a monumental impact on the film industry, not only as one of the most talented and successful actors, but also as a writer, director, and executive producer.

Since I love “Forrest Gump” so much, I decided to compile a list of everything that makes the film awesome:

1.  Humor The desegregation of Forrest’s college, the University of Alabama, was a rather serious and tense event in the South during the time period, and Forrest’s lighthearted and innocent take on the situation is pretty humorous.  Forrest asks a friend,”What’s goin’ on?”  Student: “Coons are trying to get into school.” Forrest replies, surprised, “Coons? When raccoons try to get on our back porch mama just chase ’em off with a broom.”  Forrest has an innocent and hilarious way of making conversation with people.  While saying goodbye to Jenny, he tells her, “They sendin’ me to Vietnam.  It’s this whole other country.”

A few more funny examples:

Lieutenant Dan: “Where you boys from in the world?” Bubba and Forrest simultaneously respond: “Alabama, Sir!” Lt. Dan asks, jokingly, “You twins?” They look at each other seriously thinking about it before Forrest says, “No, we are not relation sir.”  The fact that they have different colored skin and different racial backgrounds is completely lost on them and they don’t realize that Lieutenant Dan was joking.

Forrest says, while telling his story to a man on the bus bench, “Oh, yes sir, bit me directly in the buttocks.  They said it was a million dollar wound but the army must keep that money cause I still ain’t seen a nickel of that million dollars.”  In case you don’t know (I had to look it up), a “million dollar wound” is an injury that’s serious enough to get a soldier out of battle but does not cause permanent damage.  He’s so serious in contemplating that the army must keep the million dollars, but in reality it’s a funny misunderstanding of the slang on Forrest’s part.  He goes on to say, “The only good thing about being wounded in the buttocks is the ice cream.  They gave me all the ice cream I could eat.”  I mean, who wouldn’t love such a sweetheart?

He says a few funny things in the Vietnam War: “Now I don’t know much about anything, but I think some of America’s best young men served in this war.  There was Dallas from Phoenix, Cleveland, he was from Detroit.  And Tex…well, I don’t remember where Tex come from.”…”The good thing about Vietnam is there was always some place to go.  And there was always something to do.” He says this in the midst of explosions and checking a possibly dangerous hole.  The irony is not lost on the viewer, and Forrest’s sincerity makes it really funny.

After becoming a shrimp boat captain, he spots Lt. Dan on the docks and dives off his boat to get to him.  He says, “Lieutenant Dan! What are you doin’ here?!” Lt. Dan says, “Well, I thought I’d try out my sea legs.”  Forrest responds, “But you ain’t got no legs Lietenant Dan.”  He’s just purely, innocently funny.  The boat, then crashes into the next dock over, and he proudly announces, “That’s my boat.”

Forrest says of Lt. Dan, “He got me invested in some kind of fruit company.  And so then I got a call from them saying we didn’t have to worry about money no more, and I said, ‘That’s good.  One less thing.'” The fruit company was Apple, Inc.

2.  Life Lessons – Mama teaches Forrest about the world and he relays pieces of advice to whoever listens to his story.  My favorite is, “Mama always says that life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get.”  Mama tells him, “Well, I happen to believe you make your own destiny.  You have to do the best with what God gave you.” Forrest: “My mama always said, ‘You got to put the past behind you before you can move on.’ and I think that’s what my run was all about.” At Jenny’s grave, Forrest says, “I don’t know if we each have a destiny or if we’re all just floatin’ around accidental-like on  a breeze.  But I think maybe it’s both.  Maybe both is happening at the same time.” His honest and insightful perspective on life emanates throughout the whole movie.

3.  Famous References – Elvis Presley (Forrest is responsible for showing him hip-thrusting dance moves), the All-American football team, President JFK, the Vietnam War, the Black Panthers, President Nixon and the Watergate Scandal (tipped off by Forrest), and other funny, historical inserts.  While running, Forrest is responsible for million dollar ideas and American cultural icons such as the “Shit Happens” bumper sticker and the smiley face t-shirt.  Forrest’s life seems to tie in seamlessly with the events of the time period, and he inadvertently affects many of them.

jfk

shit happens

smiley

4.  Acceptance – I love that the overarching theme of the movie is accepting all different kinds of people.  Though Forrest is mentally disabled, he proves that he can do anything he sets his mind to.  When people put him down, his friends and family stick up for him.  His mama tells him, “Don’t ever let anybody tell you they’re better than you, Forrest. If God intended everybody to be the same, he’d have given us all braces on our legs…You’re the same as everybody else. You are no different.”  The kids on the bus won’t let Forrest sit, until Jenny says, “You can sit here if you want,” and Bubba offers the same friendship in the army.  Acceptance i

5.  Friendship – Another theme carried throughout the movie is the strength of friendship.  Jenny, Bubba, and Lieutenant Dan are Forrest’s closest friends, and he loves them with all his heart. “From that day on, we was always together. Jenny and me was like peas and carrots.” “Bubba was my best good friend.  And even I know that ain’t something you can find just around the corner.”

forrest and bubba

6.  Amazing Cast – Beside Tom Hanks were some awesome supporting actors and actresses:

Jenny - Robin Wright Penn

Jenny – Robin Wright Penn

sally field

Mama – Sally Field

lietenant dan taylor

Lietenant Dan Taylor – Gary Sinise

Bubba (Benjamin Buford Blue) - Mykelti Williamson

Bubba (Benjamin Buford Blue) – Mykelti Williamson

7.  Great Music – The movie soundtrack is comprised of many classic songs – I’ve listed some of my favorites below:

  • Hello, I Love You and Break On Through (To The Other Side)– The Doors
  • California Dreamin’ – The Mamas & The Papas
  • For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield
  • Mrs. Robinson – Simon & Garfunkel
  • Turn! Turn! Turn! – The Byrds
  • I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) – Four Tops
  • Respect – Aretha Franklin
  • Blowin’ In The Wind – Bob Dylan
  • Against The Wind – Bob Seger
  • For the full list of songs go to http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109830/soundtrack

8.  Shrimp Is Delicious – Bubba: “Shrimp is the fruit of the sea.  You can barbeque it, boil it, broil it, bake it, sauté it.  There’s, um, shrimp kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo, pan-fried, deep-fried, stir-fried.  There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich…that’s, that’s about it.”  Bubba Gump Shrimp Company was the name of Forrest’s shrimping business, after his lost friend and partner.  After the movie, a successful restaurant chain used the name and is an iconic representation of all things Forrest Gump.

bubba gump

9.  Love Knows No Bounds – It’s cheesy, but it’s true, and the movie shows, in the end, that love is the best answer.  Forrest never judges, he always chooses the path of love.  His relationships are the strongest bonds because of his openness and loving personality.  I think it’s one of the greatest messages of the movie.  When Forrest finds out that Jenny’s little boy is his son, I get teary-eyed, and the whole end of the movie forces me to keep tissues nearby.  My favorite passage at the end is when he’s taking care of Jenny: “Sometimes it would stop raining long enough for the stars to come out.  And then it was nice.  It was like just before the sun goes to bed down on the bay… There was over a million sparkles on the water.  Like that mountain lake. It was so clear, Jenny.  It looks like there were two skies, one on top of the other.  And then in the desert, when the sun comes up… I couldn’t tell where the heavens stopped and the earth began. It was so beautiful.”  She says, “I wish I could have been there with you,” and he tells her, “You were.”  He was thinking about her the entire time and carrying her in his heart.

The movie ends with him sending little Forrest off to school at the same bus stop where his mama sent him in the beginning as a little boy.  The feather that started the movie also ends it, floating away in the breeze.  A wonderful, cyclical ending with a mixture of destiny and accidental.  I absolutely adore “Forrest Gump,” and if you’ve never seen it, or if it’s been awhile, I hope you watch it and appreciate all the good things about the film.

Chelsea

Photo credits: Bubba Gump’s, Bumper Sticker, Smiley Face, Sally Field, JFK, Jenny, Bubba, Lieutenant Dan, Bubba and Forrest, Forrest Gump, Info Source

Super Seedy Sweets

Ok, I’m a dork and I love alliterations, but these seedy sweets are called “Benefit Cookies” from my Auntie Geralyn.  She hides them in her freezer, but my mom found the secret stash and the two of us try to sneak one or two whenever we’re over.  These cookies are called “super” because they are so delicious, but they are also made with super food ingredients like Chia Seeds.  They are quick and easy to make, healthy, and sure to please!

Baker’s note:

Baking is not always the smoothest process.  Difficulties in the kitchen are prone to happen; you may run out of an ingredient or realize you don’t have one altogether in the middle of preparing a recipe, you could brake a glass, or burn yourself…anything could happen.  When making this recipe, I had a personal disaster in the very beginning.  I knocked the mixer into gear while trying to pour the butter into the mixing bowl (the first step) and instantly broke the bowl, jammed my finger, and started crying.  It’s a funny scene, I know. However, it was not funny to have to start all over and clean out the bowl, dumping the butter down the drain to make sure no glass fell into the mixing bowl.  After getting upset, I put the cookies on hold and decided to retreat to my room with a good book.  When I felt relaxed and composed again, I returned to the kitchen to start over.  My advice to bakers everywhere is to let the difficulties roll right off you and to stay peaceful.  Don’t let anything ruin your experience in the kitchen: just smile, take a break if you need it, and enjoy the act of baking.  Put on music you love, music that makes you happy – I like to listen to John Mayer Radio or Tracy Chapman Radio on Pandora.  And always taste your dough, and taste the finished product.  Appreciate what you’ve created and share it with others.  Spread the sweet happiness of cookies, muffins, banana bread, cupcakes, chocolates, and everything else.

“Benefit Cookie Recipe”

Time: 40 minutes

Serves: approximately 65-70 cookies depending on the size

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Ingredients:

1 cup plus 1 tbsp coconut oil (or 2 sticks of butter)

1 cup brown sugar (or ¾ cups of agave nectar)

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/2 cups of flour

½ cups of flax meal

1 cups of Chia Seeds

½ cups of sesame seeds (optional – I had a little over 1/4 a cup and I used it – the more seeds, the better)

1 cup of chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoons of baking soda

3 cups Oatmeal

semi-sweet chocolate chips (or mini semi-sweet choc. chips)

Directions:

1) In a large mixing bowl, beat coconut oil (or butter) and sugar (or agave nectar).

2) Add eggs and vanilla and beat into mixture.

3) In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients – flour, flax, chia seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, salt, baking soda, and oatmeal. Add this combination of dry ingredients slowly, in portions to the wet ingredients in your mixing bowl.

4) Mix in about 1/2 a cup of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (or leave this out if you want healthier, less sweet cookies).

the completed dough

the completed dough

5) Drop teaspoon sized balls onto buttered or Pam-sprayed cookie sheets. Top each little cookie with 2-4 chocolate chips by pressing the chips in.  I made my cookies bite-sized so I only pressed one or two chocolate chips into them, but I did mix mini choc. chips into the dough so that they would be deliciously sweet.  (Side-note: I used a cookie scoop tool that costs $2.68 online here and it made perfect small, round cookies, but using two small spoons or your hands works just as well)

teaspoon drops of dough before baking

teaspoon drops of dough before baking

6) Bake in the oven for about 6 or 7 minutes – the cookies will start to look brown around the edges and that is when you know they are ready and finished.  Pull them out of the oven and use a spatula to remove them from the pan and place them on a cooling rack.

7) Let the cookies cool completely.  Place them covered on a plate for your kitchen counter, or fill a Tupperware box with them and stick them in the freezer.  I love the way my aunt keeps them in the freezer and eats them for breakfast with coffee.  This is my favorite way to enjoy them, too.  Freezing guarantees freshness, so even if you leave the cookies out for a couple days, it’s smart to freeze any that are left.

final product

final product

8) Last step, bite into your yummy cookies and watch the smile form on someone’s face when they bite into one.  Savor the success of great baking.

Spread the sweetness and bon appetite,

Chelsea

 

Summer Party Playlist

Here’s a list of upbeat, party songs I love this summer – mostly modern, but also a couple of older songs:

1.  Problem – Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea (this is my current favorite!)

2.  Disclosure – Latch ft. Sam Smith

3.  Jubel – Klingande

4.  Goldie – A$AP Rocky (Explicit)

5.  Can’t Remember to Forget You – Shakira ft. Rihanna

6.  Buzzin’ – Shwayze

7.  Happy – Pharrell

8.  Not a Bad Thing – Justin Timberlake

9.  La La La – Naughty Boy ft. Sam Smith

10.  Na Na – Trey Songz (Explicit)

11.  Turn Down For What – DJ Snake and Lil Jon

12.  We Made It – Drake ft. Soulja Boy (Explicit)

13.  Did It Again – Shakira ft. Kid Cudi (Zoroaster Remix)

14.  In The Summertime – Mungo Jerry

15.  American Pie – Don McLean

16.  California Gurls – Katy Perry

17.  Loyal – Chris Brown ft. Lil Wayne and Tyga (Explicit)

18.  I Need Your Love – Calvin Harris ft. Ellie Goulding

19.  Lay Me Down – Dirty Heads ft. Rome

20.  Nobody’s Business – Rihanna ft. Chris Brown

21.  Summer – Calvin Harris

Capitalist Crusade

photo

So this post is a personal musing of my thoughts, and I will categorize such posts under the title “Musings.” How appropriate, right?  Well, I am sort of a religious shopper, mostly that of a thrift shopper, but occasionally I like to shop around the mall.  I have also been known to shop for things I don’t need, or can’t afford, but I can’t help the fact that sometimes I get drawn in by a gorgeous dress, or pair of boots, or sunglasses that I cannot leave the store without.  Tiffany sunglass, at a thrift store, still not cheap, but I couldn’t walk away without them.

Anyways, I went shopping today, and I left the house with a couple of specific errands that I planned to spend money on, as well as the intention to shop around leisurely and buy myself a little something nice for making it through college.  I think  it’s necessary to reward yourself every now and then.  Let me just say that this is not a rant.  However, I do intend to relay a message about what I noticed across the places I stopped in today.

The message is this: we are no longer in a recession, people are buying, and wanting to buy, but the problem is the art of selling.  I studied to receive a degree in business for two years before I changed my major to English, and I learned that even for an interview, the most important skill is selling – to sell yourself.  Any job requires you to believe in the company you work for and to promote the product or service it offers to customers.  An employee’s first and foremost responsibility is to be passionate about that product/service and to try to promote it to as many customers as possible.  I think this is the key to selling.

So today…I experienced inconvenience in finding what I wanted to buy, and did not receive help or guidance.  At Apple, there seemed to be employees teeming everywhere, but I was shuffled in and told to look for “the guy with the red iPad case” for help because the employee I was speaking to was “busy directing traffic” within the store.  No joke.  I finally did receive help, but the product I was looking for was not for sale.  This was not the only instance.  In Sephora, I was greeted very nicely and offered assistance.  I explained what I was looking for and was showed a product, which was not exactly what I had in mind, but when I tried to rephrase and ask for more help, I was promptly abandoned.  As a buyer, I was shocked, and I thought, “Maybe she isn’t willing to deal with helping me if she doesn’t get a commission off of what I buy.”  In reality, I don’t know for sure why she walked away while I was asking questions.  However, someone who looked like a manager saw me looking around, confused, and came to my rescue, helping me find the perfect products to ring up to a total of $63.87.

My experience as a shopper today troubled me because I recently graduated from college and am desperately seeking to find employment.  Not only do I really want to work, but I want to make money and I also want to spend money.  I am a born shopper.  It was to Sephora’s detriment that the first saleswoman refused to help me, because it deterred me from buying more.  I could have been convinced to buy unnecessary things if only someone explained the value and quality of these items to me.  That’s the thing – many consumers are easy to push over when it comes to buying, at least up to a certain price point, but especially within the impulse buy zone (which for me is up to $20, although under $15 is perfect).  Even after saying no, a majority of those resistant consumers can still be heckled into buying or convinced that they really do need the product.  And if a salesperson does get through to a customer, it is most likely that that person will go on selling the product to their friends, doing the salesperson’s job for them.  I rave about all my favorite purchases and talk about the products that impress and please me the most (Birchbox).  Word of mouth marketing is far from dead.

As a former business student, I was baffled by the poor business practices that I witnessed in terms of selling.  The upswing is that, for anyone seeking jobs, competent, passionate, and driven sellers are in high demand.  I was actually recruited by Express while I was shopping.  Here’s what happened:

I walked in and the girl working at Express said, “Oh, hi there, you look so cute!” I felt confused, again, and looked behind me over my shoulder and said, “Uh, are you talking to me?” Luckily, she laughed and asked if she could help me find anything.  Great service, thumbs up to Express.  There was no specific purpose except that I wanted to see if I could find anything good on the sale rack, so I stuttered, “Um, tank tops.” She asked if I meant the casual type of tank tops and I said yes, and she directed me to the right.  Then she started asking me personal questions while I was trying to fake shop through the tank tops and ignore her hovering, while secretly trying to scan around the store for that sale rack.  She said, “So are you on a break?” I looked confused. She said, “I mean do you work at the mall?” I said no.  She asked, “Are you in school?” I said no, and I think I may have started to look hostile, worrying that she might mistake me for a high-schooler, as I often am mistaken for someone much younger, offered kids’ menus, and given the child price for movie tickets (it’s not all bad).  She picked up on this and said, “Did you just graduate?”  The questions continued until I explained that yes, I just graduated from college and am currently looking for employment.  She then told me that she thought I looked stylish and they were hiring at Express so she thought she would try to recruit me.  The jobs are out there! Companies need people to believe in what they’re selling! Money is in the hands and pockets of people who want to spend it, and businesses rely on their employees to sell to the best of their abilities.  If there is something out there that you love, you can most likely get a job selling it, just by talking about it.  I can tell you right now, the things I am best at selling are FOOD and Hemingway novels.

My message is that the market needs passionate people.  The opportunity exists.  The graduates of 2014 do not need to fear.  Businesses are looking for strong candidates to sell their image and products or services.  The economy is forward moving and fastpaced…it demands that we match it.

Chelsea

graduate