Pink Paw Print

Friday, December 30, 2016

Your 2017 Bucket List Challenge!

IT'S HERE!!!!! No, not just the New Year, but your 2017 Bucket List Challenege! Are you as excited as I am for this year, now that it's finally begun!? Well then, let's get started -- here are 17 things I challenge you to complete throughout 2017. If you ever need motivation, just reach out and I'll be sure to give you a pep talk! We got this!!


1. Get up to Level 5 in a brand new language on Duolingo

2. Make 3 new acquaintances or friends (now depending on the kind of person you are, you may easily do this in one week, or this may take you the entire year...either is totally okay!)

3. Read 12 books, one for each month of the year (if you read more than one book a month, well... *gives you the impressed head-nod of approval*)

4. Delete Instagram and Twitter apps off of your phone for one week. Whether you delete both at the same time for the same week, or deleting only one and then deleting the other over the span of two separate weeks is totally your call!

5. Go vegetarian for three weeks.

6. Go vegan for one week.

7. Start a daily journaling practice (morning or nighttime rituals work as a good time to sneak it in!)

8. Wake up at 6:30 a.m. (!!) every morning for one month. Yes, even on Sunday fact, especially on Sunday mornings.

9. Pick one local organization you genuinely care about and volunteer (read: don't get paid for helping out) there for 12 consecutive months.

10. Make one major, drastic change to your appearance: grow your hair long or chop most of it off, lose weight or gain muscle, spice up your usual go-to picks in your wardrobe, etc.

11. Tell somebody you love how you truly feel about them, whether they "should already know" how you feel or not. +5 bonus points to you if you express these feelings in a handwritten letter.

12. Try food from a cuisine you've never had before: Ethiopian, Indian, Vietnamese...

13. Exercise 5 days a week, whether that's just taking a leisurely hour-long walk around the park (if you live in a warmer climate during these first few winter months, that is!!) or going hard at the gym, and make this a number one priority.

14. Complete one art project of your choice -- even if you think you totally suck at art, you may be pleasantly surprised.

15. Watch one classic film that "everyone" has seen but you.

16. On that note, read one classic book (it will count as part of Challenge #3, above!) that "everyone" has read but you. (I've still never read Catch 22, so that's what I'll be reading!)

17. Do that thing you've always been too scared to do, but you've always wanted to do. You know which thing I'm talking about; it's the thing that immediately came to mind when you read this!

Good luck, friends, & have a Happy New Year 2017!! Which of these are you most excited to try?
xoxo, Brooke

16 Truths That I Learned in 2016

Man, oh, man. WHAT A YEAR. I'm glad 2017 is fast-approaching to say the least, LOLOLOL. The first half was absolutely heinous, but the second half was a total change of pace. Seeing the positive aspect in every situation (and then clinging to it for dear life!!!) helped me through the bad parts, and the good parts were humbling and filled with gratitude rather than making me egotistical. Here are 16 truths that I learned in 2016!

*insert quote about learning to make lemonade out of lemons here* or should I say... pink lyme-ade, maybe!? ;)

1. Fear of being disliked or not being approved of by others is probably holding you back much more than you think.

2. Also, don't fear the journey that leads you to the destination you want to reach.

3. Your emotions cause physical sensations, too. (i.e. whenever I'm upset, my throat hurts because of the whole #FightOrFlight situation, so the good ol' the glottis opens so that more oxygen can pass through if ya gotta flight LOL, etc. etc.) I always thought I was being silly if I had a physical pain and thought it might be linked to an emotional pain but guess whaaaaaaat! It's true. As in scientifically-proven true. Who knew, lol!? Not me.... :x.

4. Almost everyone has cellulite on their body. Like lol, don't worry. It doesn't mean you're not "fit!"

5. Safety is number one when living in a city, so you're better off living on the more cautious side.

6. LISTENING TO YOUR INTUITION IS NEVER STUPID. YOU ARE NEVER "BEING SILLY" FOR FEELING SOMETHING BUT NOT BEING ABLE TO EXPLAIN WHY OR PROVE IT. IT IS 99.9999% OF THE TIME GOING TO HELP YOU OUT. Like, by this I mean that people and places and things actually do give off vibes. And your first instincts about them rarely lie.

7. Social media might [[deep down]] really be hurting your self-esteem if you are particularly vulnerable to it, [[even if you don't want to admit it at first.]] Instagram selfies of glammed-up people can make you feel ugly AF, and rude/unecessary belittling political comments about your party can destroy friendships. Go ahead and delete the apps off your phone, and only use them if/when you need to, for like business purposes, etc. For me, I only have Messenger for Facebook (not Facebook, though; I deleted that off my phone, too) SNAPCHAT ( @buhhrook is my username; go follow me + I'll of course accept and follow you back -- super cool to learn more about my bloggy readers! :D ), and GoodReads.

8. Even the most perfect romantic relationship will have its ups and downs, and this is healthy and normal. For example, ups: supporting each other through what I like to call "personal growth growing pains" (see point #10 below), having video-game + board-game nights, laughing about a bunch of coupons in the newspaper and then getting them framed like artwork (don't even ask...) For example, downs: when you're tired AF and tryna sleep but bae starts snoring loudly LOL X( !!!!, when it's that oh-so-unpleasant lady-time of the month so basically everything makes you cry and bae has to reassure you x10284309583985839 times that everything is/will be okay, when competition strikes whilst playing the QuizUp app and it's a struggle because neither of you wants to lose but you also don't want bae to lose, either because <3~ It's all good. It's all fine. It's all normal. Ups and downs. They happen. The love will still be there.

9. Accepting yourself doesn't mean there aren't things about yourself you want to change; rather, it means that you understand that you, and everyone else living on this earth, have strengths and weaknesses, and that's totally okay!

10. Having a "balanced" life is relative to how each individual defines "balance" -- some people genuinely enjoy to be busy AF, and some people genuinely enjoy to never have any set plans. Or balance can be defined in terms of alone time versus people-time. For me, personally, back in August when I first got to Savannah I truly felt like I was "finding" myself, but then I got absorbed with schoolwork and focused on that (didn't have time to read for fun or blog, etc.). Then, when I found the amazing Matt (lol!! <3), I found that I was losing myself in the relationship because I was either in school-Brooke mode or girlfriend-Brooke mode...but where was Brooke-Brooke mode!? And what really even is Brooke-Brooke mode!? So I took a step back. I realized if your partner truly respects you, they will give you alone time that you need. Now obviously you don't need to ask for permission of course, but out of communication and love and kindness and respect, you ought to tell your partner that you're feeling a bit lost when it comes to your sense of self, and they need to say that it's okay for you to have more time away from the relationship to figure yourself out. Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to end a relationship just because you want more time to go figure out who you are. The right partner will understand why it's important to you to spend time doing things by yourself and give you that space. No dramatic ending needs to happen. But they do need to give you that space and be supportive and respectful about it, and not make you feel guilty about it (though this can happen unintentionally at times, so don't be too hard on them if it does.) They are allowed to be bummed or upset, too, of course, at this need of yours for more alone time, and that shows that they love you and value spending time with you, but also having that element of being supportive and understanding from them is key.

11. Before, super skinnier-than-skinny was "beautiful." Now, that's portrayed as not being a "true woman," because now apparently having a "fat ass" is "beautiful." News flash: who cares? The right partner for you will find you attractive. Whether you're skinny, fat, or neither - you will find someone who likes your body the way it is and won't want you to change it (unless it is for health reasons, of course!!!!!!) When I was younger, I was always ashamed because I thought I was really fat. Now, I'm always ashamed because I feel like my curves aren't big enough. See the absurdity of the societal expectations of beauty? They are always changing! Having "Sharpie eyebrows" would have been committing "social suicide" back when I was in middle school.....

12. It's okay to go on and on and on talking forever on your Snapchat story. Seriously. I used to feel insecure about how lengthy mine are, but then I realized that I always love when other people do long stories because it makes it feel like you're watching a more personalized YouTube video, kind of! So I know that if I enjoy it, then maybe a few other people will too. In the end, gotta please yourself, though. So if there's something you want to do but you don't know if other people will approve, do it anyway because your own approval matters most!

13. Pain ends. But it can return. But it will go away again, too. No matter how much something hurts -- emotionally, physically, etc. -- it will pass. Even if it comes back for a short while, for a long while, what have you... it. will. pass. We've all been there. We've all survived, somehow, someway. You will find a coping mechanism that works for you during the hard times. You will make it through, and you will be able to see beauty much more easily when you make it through.

14. It is possible to go from loathing cats to absolutely loving them more than most humans. *meows in agreement*

15. Forget that saying that people don't change. They often do. Many do not. But many do. And then it's up to both you and them to decide whether or not you think they've changed for the better or worse, and then act accordingly!

16. It's okay to be scared to make 2017 a great year, but you can do it, anyway. That's what courage is all about.

BONUS!!!! 17. Moving to a brand new place (for me, it was the South) can be the greatest, healthiest decision you will ever make. GO FOR IT!!! Have you been waiting for a sign to make a move? Now you've gotten it. This is your sign!!!!!! Do it.

What lessons did you learn in 2016?
xoxo, Brooke

Saturday, December 17, 2016

On My Music Playlist

Here's what I've been listening to lately...your Spotify account will thank you ;) !!

1  "Bad Intentions" by Niykee Heaton, Migos, OG Parker

"Sexual" by NEIKED

3 "I Feel It Coming" by The Weeknd, Daft Punk

"11 Blocks" by Wrabel

"Call On Me - Ryan Riback Remix" by Starley, Ryan Riback

 "Come First" by Terror Jr

"Phone" by Lizzo

 "Queen Elizabeth" by Cheat Codes

 "The Mack" by Nevada, Mark Morrison

10  "Solo Dance" by Martin Jensen

11  "Magic" by Thomas Gold, Jillian Edwards

12 "Lost" by Kontinuum, Savoi

13  "Santa Baby" by Michael Buble (and basically just all of Michael Buble's Christmas album, tbh!)

14 "Stay With Me" by Angus & Julia Stone

15 "Water Under the Bridge" by Adele

What songs have you been listening to lately? I always love discovering new music!!
xoxo, Brooke

Friday, December 16, 2016

Trip to South Florida, NUTELLA DONUTS, Latest Beauty Picks, & Books To-Read!


So there's a lot I wanted to fill you guys in on (kind of like my "Currently Trending" series, except more emphasis on life updates!) and this post is basically going to be a mash-up of the various things I wanted to tell y'allz about!<3

ONE // Trip to South Florida
Originally, Matt and I were going to just drive the 2.5 hours to visit the Jacksonville Zoo (in the northern region of Florida) BUTTTTT then my grandma and I were discussing the trip and she asked if we'd be willing to come visit her, since we'd already be in Florida! Now, I hadn't seen my grandma in like, 4 whole years, so I wasn't about to say no! We tacked on an. extra. 4. whole. hours. So the entire trip wound up taking about 7 hours, mainly because of foodie breaks or having to pee (LOLZ, GUILTY. *raises hand*) In case you've never been, you should know that Boca Raton is absolutely beautiful. There are so many different types of palm trees, and the other plant life (and animals, like the BIRDS, omg!!) are absolutely stunnnnn-niiiiing. The food there is fantastic, too (in case you haven't seen the picture of the chocolate mousse cheesecake at Junior's that Matt and I shared, click here. Y'allz are welcome...) - there aren't exactly many places in Savannah to get some matzo ball soup or a bagel with nova lox, so being surrounded by the food of my people/people who share a similar religious + "ethnic" culture to me was an exciting change of pace. In all, it was a really amazing time, both catching up with my family members and exploring the beautiful, tropical city, and I was thinking how great it would be to live down there in a few years... we'll see! ;) PS - THE SHOPPING IS TO DIE FOR. THAT IS ALL.

You don't know what love is until you've tried the Mocha Hazelnut Frappucino! #MyFave

I was soo000ooooOOoo pumped, yayyy!

The Korean Cauliflower at The Cheesecake Factory is literally givin' me life...

Two little muffins in their natural habitat XD lololol!

When Bae voluntarily orders the food of your people>>>>

Sometimes I think I'd like to live my life as a Floridian snail, tbh~

Gorgeous shopping center (bring your wallets, though! $$$$$$$$)

Potato latkes done right, I must say!! #onehunnit

More of Mizner Park!

Matt embracing my "preppy lifestyle" roots :p !! Peep dat Vineyard Vines thoooo!


Not going to lie, their " #EasiestSellEver " hashtag about the new Nutella donut is pretty gross. Honestly, Matt didn't even want to give them our money to try it, because of how condescending it is to their consumer. It's pretty off-putting. But, of course, I still wanted to try both the Nutella "Nutty Ring" and the Nutella with hazelnut creme-filled options, so off we went to the local Krispy Kreme this morning. They were okay! I think I prefer the Nutty Ring (the option without the creme filling), because there was a serious lack of that creme filling in the hazelnut-filled one that I tried so I was quite grumpy mildly bitter about that; however, the Nutty Ring donut, itself, was a tad stale somehow! Overall, I still think that I like the chocolate iced ones best though (which, trust me, I'm as shocked by this news as you are LOLOL.) because the amount of Nutella that's on top of each donut could be increased, for sure. But still! I'm really glad I tried it -- are these donuts really worth the hype!? Not sure...I'd give them like a 7.5 out of 10 (I hate giving numbered rankings, though!) Let me know if you like them or not! I'd love to hear your input~

THREE // Latest Beauty Picks
YOU GUYS I have turned into the biggest beauty buff/makeup lover everrrrrr. Honestly. Sephora and Ulta are my happy places, legit. I was actually even sent free makeup from Maybelline to review for you guys -- how cool is that!? That post will be up on the blog super soon, so keep an eye out! Anyway, I'd been meaning to do a huge TPL Fall Beauty Awards post but alas~ the fall came and went so quickly that I didn't have a chance to finish editing/take pics/etc. SO! I'll be doing a 2016 Fall Beauty Awards post soon featuring my favorite makeup picks that I discovered this past year (note: a lot of the products have definitely been around for over a year, like for sure. However, I'm just rounding up what I personally have loved the past year; hope that makes more sense!) Keep an eye out for this as well! Although right now, I'm super hyped about the Too Faced Sweet Peach Eyeshadow Palette. I've heard mixed reviews about it, though! Some people have said that color payoff is not good at all, and that the product is really chalky. But other people swear that it's a really "useable" palette and that the pigmentation is amazing... talk about conflicting reviews, amiright!? So I might just have to splurge and see for myself... Have you tried it? What do you think about it if you have!? Worth the money or nah?

FOUR // Books To-Read! (or To-Read list of books, but "Books To-Read" rolls off the tongue better, I feel, ahaha! :D )
I'm pretty convinced that bookstores will never close because I buy enough books to keep the industry of book selling alive, tbh. I am the princess of book-buying. If Barnes & Noble emails me a 30% off coupon, I'm gonna go buy a book with it, ya feel me? So right now I'm reading this book called Positive Energy by Judith Orloff, M.D. and it's highly thought-provoking. Positivity is key to living a healthy life (negativity can actually lead to physical aches and pains, like nervous tummy aches or tension headaches, so it makes a lot of sense, I'd say!) and I love the spiritual element that pervades the ideas in the text, about the chakras (bodily energy centers like the head, the heart, etc.) Fascinating stuff, even if you don't really believe in that sort of thing -- seriously, I'd give this book a chance, regardless. After I finish this book, I'm really looking forward to a few of the new ones I bought: Ringworld by Larry Niven (Matt's favorite, but I've never read it!), You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero, and Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Calahan.

PS - Totally unrelated, but! If I do an "apartment tour" for you guys, would you rather it be a YouTube video with narration and commentary, or a blog post featuring images and text!? Just let me know -- Matt recently invested in a new camera for us, and he's amazeballs at using it so I'd be down to film an actual video with it! Definitely trying to branch out into the world of YouTube.
xoxo, Brooke

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Part-Time Grad School!? (What I'm Going To Be Doing This Winter)


^unrelated stock photo that I found on Google that looks super cute but has absolutely not much to do with this post other than the fact that these cookies seem to have a ~*winter vibe*~ about them. XD

But! I'm baaaaa-aaaaaaack!!! *throws arms around dramatically*

So, for those of you who I'm Facebook friends with, you've already seen my status that this past quarter I received a 4.0 GPA while taking the maximum possible course-load for the Master of Fine Arts graduate program in Writing at SCAD. This is a huge accomplishment to me, for many personal reasons. I'll keep it short, as many of you have already read the status so just to be brief: Back in my first two years of high school, I was told some highly discouraging comments by teachers about my writing. However, this is a real "touche" to their rudeness, and I'm so glad that I didn't give up on my passions, merely because a few people were unable to see what I had to offer.

NOW, I want to fill you guys in on what I'm going to be up to next quarter!

Next quarter, I will only be attending grad school part-time which means taking only one course. "Writing For Fashion" is the one I picked! *cue sassy hand flip* So what else will I be doing to occupy this extra time!? (Besides blogging again, ayyyyy! ;) )

Well, as you may have guessed, I had absolutely no time to study for the Certified Personal Trainer exam that I'm going to be taking sometime in 2017, most likely this spring (lol.) Because of this, I'll be taking this quarter to study for this CPT exam. It really is a ton of material... There's a lot of anatomy, science, memorization...but I totally got this! *cue "Eye of the Tiger" playing in the background* "Nothing great ever comes easy," as they say, amiright!?

Although my grades came out wonderfully, I was neglecting my physical health by the end of the quarter. I stopped cooking for myself a few weeks in, in favor of relatively unhealthy take-out options, and even though I've been working with my own personal trainer to be able to more "look the part" and learn firsthand about what works and what doesn't work when working with clients/ creating fitness plans + schedules for people, my schedule got to a point where I wasn't really able to hit the gym as much as I'd like to. Running errands, feeling physically exhausted, emotional stress, nourishing my romantic relationship, being social, completing schoolwork assignments, completing household chores, etc. just seemed to keep taking priority over the gym, and that's about to change -- for good.

We only get one body in this lifetime and it's our duty to keep it healthy (and healthy can taste -#veggiewraps- and feel -#energizerbunny-  and look -#croptopcity- really really good!) This quarter is going to be all about the "Writing About Fashion" grad school class, studying for the Certified Personal Trainer exam, getting into really great physical shape myself, BLOGGING (AND FINALLY LEARNING HOW TO VLOG BECAUSE WHAT IS A CAMERA TBH LOL also how does everyone make those little graphics with the channel name in their videos like what the heck I need those in my life for realz), learning to cook healthy meals that still taste amazeballs, aaaaand I'm planning on doing some volunteer work with the community...but I'm keeping that a surprise for now! More to come on that later! :D

Oh and, of course, continuing to grow together with Matt in our relationship is numero uno!!!!! Let me just give this total sweetheart-bae a shoutout right now. He dedicated a song he wrote to me in honor of how I did so well in school, and he wrote an accompanying Facebook post that was an incredibly sweet, heartfelt message of encouragement. Literally I'm #shook by him every day and I just need to say that he's so supportive and fantastic and he's such an amazing person with the biggest, kindest heart. You can check out the song out here (his work is mainly instrumental, which makes it really great to chill out to), and see the rest of his music, too: !

Alsoooo, Matt has some really cool guest posts about some ~*dank*~ vegetarian food (when a guy goes vegetarian for you, you know it's true love, tbh~ LOL.), so keep your eyes peeled for that headed your way in the future! And naturally, videos on my new YouTube channel in which he will be making a cameo appearance are both most inevitable and most welcome.

Get excited for what's to come, friends!!
xoxo, Brooke