Friday, July 29, 2011

What If?

When I was a kid I remember asking "what if..." a million times until my mom finally said "what if you stop asking what if." Oops.

Now I still do the same, except it is all in my head. What if my life were like this or that? I don't really want to divulge into all the things I think "what if" about, but I wish I could stop sometimes.

Thinking "what if" definitely can help you move in the right direction in your life, but it can be very uncomfortable to think about. Often I wish these thoughts would just go away instead of stew in my head.

Does anyone do the same thing? What if I had saved more money? What if I never did that? What if I was doing something else?

Any tips on how to deal with this? I'd love to hear everyone's comments on this subject!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Must Love Dogs!

You've probably seen pictures of my loveable mutt and know that I love dogs. I've loved dogs as long as I can remember. When I was born, my parents had a dachshund named Nikki that I adored. She died when I was in 3rd grade and we didn't have a dog until we got Hannah when I was in the 5th grade. That year or so without a dog, all I did was bug my parents to get a new one! Now I couldn't picture myself without a dog around the house.

Even in Elementary and Middle school, my friend Tiffany and I were obsessed with dogs. We were also a bit too competitive at the time and spent hours making books of pictures of dogs, made lists of all the dogs we knew, and argued who loved them more.

Dogs are my favorite animal for many reasons. They are so smart, loving, friendly, funny, and adorable. Sure, there are mean dogs out there...but I've rarely met a dog I didn't like. I often joke that I am going to be the "crazy dog lady" who would rather have many dogs than any kids.

What animal or pet is your favorite? Do you have a soft spot for dogs like me?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Giveaway Winner!

I am pleased to announce the winner of the 50% off coupon code for textbooks is Ella!

ella said...

I need 50% of textbooks because I am unemployed, as is my mother who is my only source of financial assistance other than loans, which don't really cover books and supplies for school. I'm kind of worried about how I'm even going to cover the cost of textbooks at all next month. I would LOVE to have this!!


Thank you all for entering and best wishes Ella! Congrats! I hope this coupon code will be a small help to you as you further your education.

Monday, July 25, 2011

To Fix or Not to Fix?

Recently, I was listening to a friend talk about how a guy screwed her over and we got into thinking about what she should do. All she wanted to do was to never talk to him again, even though they had been friends for years. Of course, another part of her wanted to patch things up, even if she had to be the one to step up and start the tough conversation.

This got me thinking about relationships, specifically broken ones. People that I'm no longer friends with still get airtime in my head, especially when there was hurt involved. I often wonder if I should reconnect with them and talk about the conflicts that ruined our friendship and finally squash all of our differences once and for all. Perhaps we could be friends again! Yet then I think about all the reasons I no longer talk to them and think that it is better that they aren't in my life anymore.

So the question remains and I can't say I have any answers for it. Do you fix broken relationships or leave things be? Part of me would feel better with conflicts squashed and apologies flowing. Yet, then I wonder if things would be worse if someone was back into my life and that I should just let things be.

What do you think? I think we all have a few of these people in our lives that we consider talking to again, but don't know what to do...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Quest Post: Coping with a Long Distance Relationship

As any magazine, television show, or chick flick will demonstrate, long distance relationships are really difficult. There is just no easy way around it. Of course, as 20-somethings, long distance relationships are common occurrences. Out of state college, semesters abroad, new jobs in different cities, and family are just a few of the factors forcing young lovers to fall asleep to a telephone call rather than in their significant other's arms at night. Coping with seeing your love only once every few months takes a toll on any individual and within any relationship no matter how strong. There are several ways to manage long distance relationships that can help couples survive the distance as well as become a better duo in the future.

Understand Each Other's Expectations

The key to any relationship is communication and understanding what your partner expects from you and from your relationship together. This point can be particularly difficult to understand for individuals embarking on a long distance love excursion. Couples in long distance relationships have to develop a game plan. Sit down with your loved one and examine exactly what it is the two of you want out of your relationship and how you are going to get it. One of the most difficult aspects of a long distance relationship is seeing an end in sight. When you and your SO are discussing a game plan be sure to communicate a goal. If you are embarking on a long distance relationship, you have to come up an end point for that distance, so that the two of you have something to strive for and look forward to.

Communicate Your Feelings

Obviously, again, this tip is essential for all relationships. However, it is particularly important for individuals to clearly communicate their feelings when they are in long distance relationships. Couples committed to one another who cannot talk face to face are at the distinct disadvantage of not being able to read nonverbal cues from their SO. This means that it is essential for long distance couples to carefully and honestly explain to one another how they are truly feeling. Being passive about your feelings is a surefire path to disaster when you are battling with hundreds of miles of distance. Talk to each other. Explain to one another exactly how you are feeling. Ask questions. Long distance relationships primarily rely on verbal communication. Make sure that you are really expressing what your SO needs to hear to make your relationship work.

Enjoy Your Independence

Lastly, as with any relationship, it is important to have a certain level of autonomy from your SO. Enjoy the time that you have to yourself and in your separate lives. Go out and do things and be active in your life away from your SO. This will not only give you valuable things to talk about when you are with or talking to your lover, but will also help you understand exactly who you are and what you want for yourself and within your relationship. Many individuals in traditional relationships fall into the pattern of smothering one another with the other's presence. By doing this, each entity within the relationship can lose sight of who they are without their SO, which (for obvious reasons) can be dangerous. Distance allows you to miss your love. Let yourself miss them, so that when you are with them it is that much better.

Long distance relationships often get a bad rep in modern popular culture. All too often, television shows and pop songs speak of long distances as the kiss of death for love. This doesn't have to be the case. Things are going to be challenging and difficult at times in any relationship. Use your time apart from one another to help your relationship grow and flourish.

This guest post is contributed by Barbara Jolie, who writes for online classes. She welcomes your comments at her email Id:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Come On, Get Happy

I've mentioned in a few posts that I've been reading "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin. First of all, I'm a sucker for a lot of "self help" books, especially ones that teach you how to be happy or how to obtain happiness. I consider myself a pretty happy individual, but much like Rubin says about herself in the book, I can be pessimistic, get annoyed too easily, and just have way too many downright negative thoughts.

The thought of spending a year researching happiness and trying different methods to obtain a happier state was really interesting to me. I'm also the type of person, like many, who constantly come up with goals or resolutions and continually break them. I get on exercise or healthy eating kicks, only to give up a few weeks later.

First I must say, I couldn't put this book down. Each chapter represented a different month with new goals and the last month/chapter, December, Rubin spent perfecting all she'd learned. To be completely honest, at times I didn't really agree with Rubin's way of thinking, but for the most part the book was useful if you're trying to reach happiness and just an all-around fun read.

My favorite chapters were about boosting energy (she spent much of the month organizing - something I love doing!), buying happiness (because who doesn't love thinking that money CAN buy happiness), and working on keeping a contented heart and a positive attitude. I couldn't totally relate to chapters on marriage and children, because I'm not there yet, but some things did resonate. She talked a lot about always wanting praise from her husband and a lot of times I do that with my boyfriend. I want all this love and attention but often forget that boys share their love in different ways and it opened my eyes to being more understanding.

Rubin's tricks to keeping her resolutions were to keep a Resolution Chart that she saw every day and making up Splendid Truths. To learn more about these, check out her website. I know her book is getting a lot of buzz and I sincerely recommend you check it out. It was a relatively quick read and something that you can look at over and over when you need a happiness boost or even find some answers at how to deal with life.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway to get a chance for 50% off your college textbooks for a semester - amazing for students!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Winner of "Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot"!

We had two giveaway entries with the same amount of entries so by using a random number selector: the winner is Rasha from and this is what she said!

Love this because I just won a fabulous headband on her blog. Congrats girl! Send me your address so I can mail this out to you. :)

Don't forget to check out the new giveaway starting now - you could win 50% off all of your college textbooks for one semester! If you're not in college, tell any college friends!

All About Life-Saving Operation Smile + Textbook Coupon Code GIVEAWAY!

What if you were unable to smile, eat, or talk? More than 200,000 children a year have a severe cleft condition that hinders their abilities to do normal things other kids do.

I found out about a great charity called Operation Smile that helps kids get back their basic rights to eat, talk, smile, and socialize and give them the surgeries they desperately need but can't get otherwise.

Operation Smile adheres to six principles in their work to save kids all around the world: "we reach the unreachable, we work from the heart, we apply Global Standards of Care, we build self-sufficiency worldwide, we lead the way, and we continually educate and train".

If this is a cause you care about, you can donate today. Any amount helps kids get better and Operation Smile lead the way! Most cleft surgeries cost $240.00, so if you'd like to get a kid a surgery, aim for that amount.

If you have any more questions about cleft conditions/surgeries or Operation Smile, check out their FAQ's.

Now for a giveaway!

Operation Smile is partnered with Campus Book Rentals, who is offering a giveaway to my wonderful readers! This one is for college kids - the winner will receive a coupon code to receive 50% off their textbooks for one semester from Campus Book Rentals! This is an amazing win for college students, so tell your friends what they could win.

To enter to win:

1 entry: Comment on this post and tell me why you need to win 50% off your college textbooks!

Another entry: Follow me on Twitter! @lrstewar. Leave a comment here saying you follow me now and I will check it out.

Another entry: Follow me on Facebook! Again leave a comment and I will check to see if you're a new fan.

Yet another entry: If you don't already follow me, follow me on RSS or Blogger and let me know. If you are already a follower and want another entry - have a friend follow me and have them comment and say YOU sent them! Every new friend gets you another entry!!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Demetri Martin: Funny Guy

Saturday night I went to see Demetri Martin. If you've never heard of him, he's a comedian, had a show on Comedy Central called "Important Things with Demetri Martin" and even has a book now.

He is hilarious! Someone's phone went off near the stage and he kept joking around about it and even called this lady's son who kept calling and left him a long voicemail. How amazing would that be to check your voicemail and have a message from a comedian?!

Anyway, here's a video of some of his old standup and his famous "large pad". Enjoy and have a laugh!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Mysterious Metabolic Test

Remember when I won a metabolic test at my first wine tasting? When I won this prize, I had no idea what a metabolic test even was. Now I've experienced one!

For most twenty somethings that read my blog, you've probably never heard of this mysterious metabolic test either. It sounds like a science experiment, but if you think about it, you can probably connect the dots to thinking about your metabolism.

Metabolism is a crazy thing. We don't often think about it, but it affects the way we live. If your metabolism is fast, you're lucky. You can pretty much eat what you want and not gain any weight. This isn't a great plan for staying healthy, but it works out when you're young. Unfortunately, some people have a slow metabolism which makes weight a tricky issue.

I found out that your metabolism has a few different rates: when you're at rest, when you're doing general things like walking, sitting, shopping, and when you're full on exercising.

During a metabolic test, you must not eat at least five hours beforehand, no exercise, no caffeine, basically no stimulants. The test is pretty fast: ten minutes plus results. You must sit or lay in a relaxed position while you have your nose plugged and breathe into a tube connected to a machine for ten minutes. An interesting task. Luckily I was able to relax and control my breathing and not, um, hyperventilate due to the weird flow of oxygen.

My results were much like I anticipated: my metabolism is in the normal range, but faster than normal. If I were lying in bed all day, I have to eat 1,512 calories to maintain my weight and of course eat more if I do normal tasks or exercise. Unfortunately, I don't really keep track of my calorie intake or how much I burn when I exercise. It got me thinking about eating healthier calories than just eating whatever is in the house.

But I think if you're interested in gaining or losing weight, the metabolism is a factor we often forget about. A metabolic test is a very cool way to take a peek at how your amazing body runs and can give you a unique look into your health goals.

If you live in the Michigan area like me, check out Gail Posner Healthy Ways Nutrition Counseling, where I got my metabolic test done. It was free for me because I won it but it is normally $90. Gail is extremely nice and is also involved with

Friday, July 15, 2011

Be Lauren (Or Whoever You Are)

Every time I'm around someone very outgoing with a bubbly personality, I always kick myself. Why can't I be like her? Even when I think I'm being outgoing, I'm still too quiet. Those are the times I have to stop and say: I like who I am.

Let's face it. I can try all I want to be crazy, outgoing, insanely popular...but that's just not who I am. With friends and family, I can be a jokester. I can be fun and outgoing. But around most people, I am more reserved, introspective, and that's just me. Always has been, always will be!

Being true to who you are is a constant battle. I don't know about you, but I'm always wishing I had someone else's hair, was more outgoing, could write better, didn't worry so much, etc. etc. We should always strive to be our best, but some things just aren't going to change no matter how much we force them. It is just best to be the best version of ourselves and to own it!

Focus on your shining qualities and forget about the things you always wish you could be. Think about all the people that love you for exactly who you are and wouldn't want you to change. Make a vow to yourself when you start thinking, "Oh I wish I could be more like __. She is the life of the party and is so spontaneous and I'm not like that." Instead think of all your great qualities: how kind you are, your singing talent, the way you never forget a friend's birthday. Love yourself for who you are...not who you'd like to be. As cliche as it sounds, you only get one life and you are the way you are for a reason. Own it!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Guys & Girls

While I don't truly believe this since I have a lot of guy friends and I don't go around falling for all of them...I did fall for the best one. :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot Book Review & GIVEAWAY!

For someone who loves movies, getting the chance to review a book about a filmmaker's behind the scenes journey of Hollywood was a real treat.

In the memoir, Kiss Me Quick, Before I Shoot, it follows Guy Magar's journey from moving to the United States as an Egyptian immigrant, attending film school, and becoming a film director with a fair share of hilarious pursuits and Hollywood secrets. All leading into the journey of healing the love of his life, his wife Jacqui, as she battles leukemia.

This unique blend of the story of Jacqui's battle with cancer and how Magar became her caregiver, loving her along this tough time and the behind the scenes look at the making of Hollywood movies is touching, hilarious, and a great read.

Magar is a fantastic storyteller and doesn't hold back in sharing the cold truths of the industry as well as accounts that probably have never been told outside of Hollywood. Readers get a real chance to see what they will never see about their favorite movies.

Today one lucky reader will get a copy of Magar's book: Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot!

To enter to win:

1 entry: Comment on this post and tell me why you'd want to read this book!

Another entry: Follow me on Twitter! @lrstewar. Leave a comment here saying you follow me now and I will check it out.

Another entry: Follow me on Facebook! Again leave a comment and I will check to see if you're a new fan.

Yet another entry: If you don't already follow me, follow me on RSS or Blogger and let me know. If you are already a follower and want another entry - have a friend follow me and have them comment and say YOU sent them! Every new friend gets you another entry!!!

If I had the choice...

Scrubs + love quote = my favorite.

P.S. Happy 7-11...go get yourself a free slurpee!

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Dreaded Textbook Problem

I started this blog when I was in college and I bet a lot of my readers are still chugging along with their school work. Honestly one of the most frustrating things about college were the dreaded textbooks. They cost a ton of money, were heavy, often I barely used them, and then I didn't get any money back for them!

Waiting in that line to have the college buy back your books and having them say they no longer use that edition and "Oh, we can give you $1.00 for this book you paid $50 for!" Ugh!

Luckily there are websites like Valorebooks, that sell used books for a good price and offer rentals and sell back programs. Click here to buy used college textbooks (or better yet - rent 'em!)

Now tell me, what is the most frustrating part of college? Do you agree with the textbook problem? How do you buy or rent your textbooks?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Need a Backpack? Look No Further!

Honestly, a great perk of being a blogger is that people actually want your opinion on products. One of my favorite things on this blog is a product review, whether it is something new I found at a store or I get something free to review. When I get emails from PR people wanting to give me a new book to review, it makes me feel, well, like a legit blogger.

Today's review is not a book though, but a Samsonite backpack! Definitely something new and different. I'm glad I have the chance to share it with you because we all need backpacks at one point in our lives. For most of us, we lug them around as students, packing as many books as we possibly can in it. Some of us go for style (and let me tell you, that wasn't always a good idea as those usually break) and some of us go for strength.

I got the Samsonite Tectonic large backpack in black - super sturdy with tons of room for everything. The second it came in the mail, my Dad has been bugging me that he "really likes it" and could "use a new backpack if I don't want it" (hint, hint). It's pretty big with a huge zippered pocket for a laptop - think fuzzy, padded space for your electronic BFF. Then it has another large zippered pocket with other pockets inside - great for books, clothes, whatever you lug around. The outside has a bunch of smaller and medium-sized pockets and spaces for water bottles and whatever else you carry.

The best part for me is the way the back is super padded. I have back problems, so I used to get horrible backaches from carrying around a backpack in school and would resort to carrying books. This one seems so comfortable, for about a second I missed school.

All in all, super sturdy, held my things and I won't be giving it up to my Dad anytime soon. If you want to check it out or anything else from Samsonite, click that link. This bag is currently on sale! Tell me what you think of it!

Birthday Weekend Recap!

Friday, I got to head to a local town for a Stars and Stripes festival with my boyfriend's family. We ate at a great restaurant and discovered all about feather bowling, which is now on my list of things to try. Definitely still confused since I didn't see any feathers. :P I got an airbrush tattoo with Kev's cousins and we all rode on the Ferris Wheel (second time in my life...I should probably get out more, ha!). His cousin got very upset that he couldn't win a Jamaican banana toy. We saw monkeys riding dogs - banana racing as they call it. Weird, weird, weird.

Then, I had a great 22nd birthday! I have the tendency to focus on the negative at times and get upset that friends couldn't come to my party, the selfish notion I didn't get the presents I wished for, or any other stupid and petty thought that comes to my head. But lately I've been reading "The Happiness Project" and while I don't really agree with everything the author writes, a lot of it puts life in perspective.

So I'm trying to be more positive and ignore those nagging, pessimistic thoughts that often creep their way into my brain. Easier said than done (especially when I live with my parents because unfortunately that's where I get my sensitivity and pessimism from at times).

So being more positive definitely made my birthday 100x better. I focused on all the wonderful friends that came out to celebrate my birthday with me. On the fact that my family comes together and still gives me presents at 22-years-old. That I am happy and healthy and have time to swim all weekend.

My amazing boyfriend got me tickets for a Tiger's game (for me and a lovely date... I teased him by saying "Oh who should I bring?" but of course I want to go with him!) and I now have way too much candy stashed in my desk from various people. On my actual birthday, I got a free cupcake (I ate two that day... oops!) and went out that night to a local bar/restaurant to celebrate with friends - lots of fun!!!

Sunday, my family came over for a nice BBQ...burgers, hot dogs, cake, sparklers, and all! The perfect topping off to the weekend was tanning and swimming two days in a row.

I hope you all had a lovely 4th of July - don't forget to thank your military that keeps our country free!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me!

Tomorrow is my 22nd birthday! Here's hoping it is better than last year's!

I must say the most exciting part of my birthday right now is all the free offers I keep getting in the mail/e-mail! I can get a free drink from Starbucks, free meal from Noodles, have a surprise offer at Panera, $10 off any purchase at Victoria Secret, etc.

Tomorrow I am going out with my friends and will see my family at some point this weekend. Unfortunately, the worst part of having a birthday on July 2nd means most people go away for the July 4th weekend. But, oh well!

Next week, I start a babysitting job which will get me some extra money and allow me to keep doing my freelance jobs, so I am very excited. Definitely a great birthday gift! ;)