Literally, Real Life with Grace Valentine

Today’s topic: My Nutritionist is a Joke

No, I’m not some bougie white girl with a personal nutritionist. I’ll be candid, I’m planning on having weight loss surgery in March. One of the insurance requirements is that I meet with a nutritionist once a month for six months. Fair enough. I think it’s safe to assume that the insurance company hopes that you fail by gaining weight during the pre-operative phase, at which point the claim will be denied. Alternatively, they might actually want you to develop better eating habits. Who knows?

My first appointment with the nutritionist, she was twenty minutes late; typical of most professionals working in healthcare. From the waiting room door, she appeared; a tiny little pixie woman with blonde hair who sounded like Betty Boop. She began by weighing me then asked my reason for wanting surgery. It seemed like after my third sentence, I had almost given her too much info and she literally interrupted me and moved on to the next question. After 10 minutes of half-answered questions the appointment was over. I thought that maybe this was a fluke, she had been running late, maybe she had somewhere important to be? She knew I was doing (failing miserably) at Weight Watchers, so maybe she thought I already had a Master’s degree in nutritional science? I let it go, happy to make it home in time to watch Jeopardy.

A month later, at the next appointment, it was the same routine – weigh in, check in on the diet…but then, something miraculous and unexpected happened. There, before my very eyes was a beautiful Technicolor (clearly intended for elementary school students) sheet on PROTEINS! It was happening, she was actually going to share some nutritional wisdom with me. Finally, right?!

Wrong. I SWEAR TO THE UNIVERSE, she literally pointed to photos of farm animals and said “these are animal proteins, you should get most of your proteins from animals”. Then, the clincher, she pointed to a photo of black beans and advised me that they are a plant-based protein. She told me I could keep the sheet and that she’d see me next time. Was I missing something? Like an entire session of imperative nutritional knowledge something?  Like, no shit a bean is a plant based protein. I’m super secure in my ability to tell the difference between plants and animals.

Feeling a tad cheeky/annoyed/outraged/not super upset but kinda like WTF, I attempted to prolong the session by asking a question about portion size after surgery and daily calorie limits. Her response? Apparently, there’s another meeting with someone in my surgeon’s office who will go over all that stuff later. “All that stuff” like nutrition and shit? I politely left the appointment, as after-all, her recommendation does partially determine my eligibility for surgery. Another day when a skinny bitch triumphs over the beautiful fat girl with the dope personality…

A couple of weeks went by when I received an email about an insurance claim. I always check into these things and saw that it was for the nutritionist. Guess what they paid her…for ten minutes…to tell me that a cow is not a bean? Take a guess.

$250. TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY FUCKING DOLLARS. I wish I had known that instead of my useless degree in Sociology, I could have had a useless degree in Nutritional Science that would result in getting paid $250 for 1/6 of an hour.

I have four more visits before the big day, so I’ll maintain my courteous ways but just know, deep down, I’ll be throwing shade at her for failing miserably at helping fat people be less fat. And, to all the good nutritionists out there doing their job – I salute you. Don’t take offense to this piece. Enjoy your night and remember that this was literally, real life.

 

 

 

 

 

3 Holiday Catastrophes and How to Avoid Them

It’s the most wonderful time of year, at least according to two songwriters from the 1960s. Whether you’re Christian, Jewish, or just an agnostic shopaholic lured by seasonal sales, there’s a good chance you’ll celebrate something this year. The madness begins today with Thanksgiving, a time where we can stuff our faces with less guilt and more gusto. While you’re busy getting high off your pine scented Yankee Candles, distracted by the flickering of Christmas lights, people are falling victim left and right at the hands of others. Follow this advice to avoid these 3 man-made catastrophes.

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Catastrophe #1: The Conversation Trap

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Like most Americans, I’ll be forced by family to watch the Macy’s Day Parade before eating my weight in side dishes. I’ll pop the wine cork at noon then enjoy a sloth-like afternoon on the couch, watching my boyfriend play Clash of Clans on his phone in an attempt to avoid actual conversation with my family. I’ll spend the next 3 hours recovering from dinner before I have to do it all over again with his folks. My situation isn’t unique. Most of us visit several groups of people each holiday and people can be exhausting. Unlike my boyfriend, you probably shouldn’t sit on your phone in a room full of people.

During the holidays, there is nothing that poses a greater threat than having a bad conversation. Often, we’re surrounded by family members we only see once a year – or through our Facebook feed. Sometimes, we’re visiting a new partner’s family or friends, meeting people for the first time. The worst feeling is being stuck in a conversation that is either boring, awkward or heated. Whether you’re a social butterfly or a fly on the wall, here are a few tips to ensure you don’t get caught in the conversation trap.

Tip #1: Don’t talk about politics.

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Trust me on this. I am the guiltiest when it comes to this social faux pas. As a bleeding heart liberal, I just knew everyone needed to read all the insightful articles I felt were share-worthy. Sadly, I was unable to garner any self-awareness; I posted and posted until I was practically given a social media intervention. While my Facebook rants are certainly obnoxious, face-to-face political conversations easily qualify as the most dangerous conversation trap.

This year, we’ve had a heated election. The country appears more divided than ever and people are dreading family get-togethers more than usual. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, the holiday table is NOT the place to share your views. You’re not going to convert a conservative into a liberal or vice a versa. No one wants to hear your opinion. While you may hate that your Uncle voted for a racist, misogynistic Oompa-Loompa, you need to remind yourself that your relationship is more important than being “right”. If you feel the impulse to get into a political debate, just don’t.

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Tip #2: Don’t be a bore.

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Possibly worse than a fiery political conversation is a boring one. Create a list inside your head with several topics that you can bring up at your event. Spend some time reading the news to update yourself on current events. While this may seem like its own conversation trap, do not cross the line into politics. Instead, talk about things happening in the arts or sciences, recommend a show you’ve recently finished; talk about anything that suggests you’re a human being that actually participates in reality.

Topics to consider:

  • Television / Movies / YouTube Videos (This is the grasping-for-straws-but-still-acceptable category.)
  • Books (People still read? I know, shocking.)
  • Art / Music 
  • Westworld fan theories
  • Season 7 Game of Thrones predictions

Tip #3: Avoid awkward topics.

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Something no one wants to hear about? Your job. Avoid this topic at all costs, unless you actually have a job people give a shit about – like you’re literally an astronaut or a photographer for National Geographic.

Also, don’t ask people about their jobs. This is the time of year many people get laid off, myself included. 95% of Americans loathe their job and while venting about corporate America may make them feel better, chances are you’ll regret that you ever asked.

Avoid gossip at all costs. This may seem counter-intuitive. Gossip brings us together, right? Right…and wrong. If you’re telling your best friend the latest dish, that’s one thing but during the holidays you’re typically engaging with people who aren’t in your close circle of friends. Gossiping makes you look petty and uninteresting. Do you really need to share your cousin Jane’s marital problems? It’s not necessary and it’s not nice.

Some obvious things to avoid asking/saying:

  • When are you expecting? (Your cousin Theresa may just be super into Oreos, you don’t know.)
  • When are you planning on having kids? (Believe it or not, some people don’t want kids. Some people are trying and failing. Don’t bring up something uncomfortable just because your 28-year-old cousin got married last summer.)
  • When are you getting married? (THE ABSOLUTE WORST. Some people don’t believe in marriage, some people don’t want to get married; one partner may really be waiting for a ring while the other is avoiding it at all costs. Whatever the case may be, do not inquire about marital status. It’s super awkward and really not your business.)
  • What are you going to do now that you graduated? (Recent grads are already filled with dread when it comes to life, let alone meaningless holiday conversations. Spare them the misery, ask them about their Instagram instead.)

Catastrophe #2: Shopper Blindness

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During the holidays, you may be an unsuspecting victim of Shopper Blindness. You just went to the store the night before Thanksgiving to get a pack of red Solo cups, 45 minutes later, covered in black and blues, you stumble out of the store in a fury. 23 different people have elbowed your side, walked into you,  or ran your foot over with their cart. They’re not trying to be douchebags, they’re simply suffering from Shopper Blindness.

Shopper Blindness is a mix of stress, rushing around, and shopper’s high. Picture the mom in the aisle, drooling over the newest holiday Febreeze scents. As she fantasizes over the fact that her entire house can be perfumed with sugar cookie spray, she blocks you from going down the aisle. She can barely move her cart out-of-the-way when you mutter an insincere, “EXCUSE ME”. People are overwhelmed and rushing around to prepare for the holidays. It seems unavoidable, but it isn’t.

Tips:

  • Don’t wait to go shopping until the day before a holiday. Big mistake. Seriously, if you wait until the night before, you deserve to deal with all the shopper blindness bullshit life can throw at you.
  • Utilize a service like Stop & Shop’s Peapod. Have someone shop for you and pay a small fee to have it delivered to your home. You may spend a few extra dollars but you’ll spare the headache.
  • AVOID BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPING, in the real world, at least. eCommerce is bigger than ever. Like many other basic white girls, Amazon.com is my happy place. Everything you need, you can get online. Companies know that people hate nothing more than dealing with other people, so they cater to consumers who favor the web. Black Friday is called Black Friday for a reason, it takes people to a dark place. People have literally beaten the crap out of each other over a TV set. No plastic rectangle is worth a trip to the ER.

Catastrophe #3: To Gift or Not to Gift?

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As an only child, the best part of the holidays has always been the gifts. Call me a spoiled, materialistic brat but I’m just saying what most people are thinking. Christmas morning was the only day I ever woke up without being dragged from my bed. I annoyingly begged my parents to wake up at the ass crack of dawn so that I could maniacally tear through wrapping paper. Each gift came with its own high and the icing on top was the overflowing stocking full of endless Chapsticks, candy and dumb girly bullshit. Each year, the amount of gifts dwindled and I somehow developed reasonable gift expectations upon reaching adulthood. While Christmas is no longer my own personal version of crack, I still enjoy receiving gifts. Oddly, I’ve started enjoying giving them even more. Some giftees are obvious, like your parents, spouse, or children while some require more clarification.

Grey Area Giftees: How to Decide to Gift or Not.

General criteria is, as follows:

  • Are they giving you a gift? If you know 100% that they are, you should probably consider giving one in return.
  • Do you want to give them something? If you’re just a thoughtful soul, go for it, just don’t expect everyone to reciprocate.

Individual Circumstances:

Partner’s Family: Recently dating (within 6 months-2 years)? Having THE first Christmas with your partner’s family? This situation can be a tad tricky. First, ask yourself, how close are you with their family? Do you text/email/communicate with them without your partner being involved? If you have a relationship where you’re comfortable enough to reach out on your own, you should probably get them something. A nice solution for couples is to gift something from you both; double the funds and get something your partner’s parents will enjoy, instead of just individually gifting a useless vanilla candle.

Friends: This is another tricky area. Typically, I don’t gift anything to my friends aside from my bestie. Firstly, my generation is broke and I don’t have the money to get something for everyone I love and enjoy. If you want to be festive, send a Christmas card or give something inexpensive and universal like homemade fudge. Everyone loves an edible gift and you can make enough for everyone you care about. If you know a friend is getting you something, you should reciprocate the gesture.

Co-workers: Nope.

Boss:  Only if it’s a joint gift and literally everyone else is going in on it. Also, if you actually like your boss, it can’t hurt. Some companies frown upon gift giving during the holidays and if you work for one of them, lucky you.

Exceptions: When is it okay to not give a gift when you know you’ll be receiving one?

If you’re make shit money, are out of work, or about to lose your job, sometimes you just can’t spring for that next gift. It’s totally appropriate to not give a gift if you can’t afford to. How you should handle: Go to the Dollar store, buy a pack of cards and write thoughtful notes out to each person you know will be gifting you with something this holiday. Advise them that due to your circumstances you can’t reciprocate the way you’d like to and leave them with kind words and things you appreciate about them instead. Anyone who isn’t a total tool will think this gesture is endearing and will appreciate you taking the time to write out a card. It’s the thought that counts, right?

Hopefully, this advice spares you of awkward conversations, zombie consumers, and cringe-worthy gift exchanges so that you can enjoy what the holidays are really all about…whatever that means to you.

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*All GIFs are from Giphy.

The Best & Most Painful Device in the Universe

p_beautytools_goldseries_curlerThe words “beauty is pain” have never been more true.

I squeezed the edges of my eyelids between what felt like titanium plated puppy dog teeth. Years of heating up my eyelash curler, applying unending coats of mascara, failing miserably to apply falsies all led to this moment. Like all girls my age, I’d spent hours gawking at YouTube videos of gorgeous twenty-somethings flawlessly applying winged liner and fake eyelashes as if they were cartoon characters. There was no mess, no error, no mistakes. I’d wonder, what’s wrong with me? Why can’t I seem to get the glue on the lashes? Why am I so good at getting it on my fingers?

The other day my friend needed to get something at the pharmacy and, of course, I was magnetically pulled into the makeup section. I filled my basket with several items I wasn’t looking for and didn’t need. One of them happened to be the Revlon Gold Series Titanium Coated Lash Curler. It promised a “125% more lifted lash look”. I’m a sucker for anything promising more than 100% satisfaction, so I had to have it. I promised myself it would be worth it.

Immediately upon arriving home, I had to try it out. Was this advertisement true, would I see a 125% more lifted lash look?! My first try didn’t go so well. I had to be doing something wrong. I couldn’t seem to apply the curler to my lash line without causing intense pain, as skin kept getting caught in the curler. After 10 more tries, I began to realize that this was by design and not, merely, a design flaw. After much trial and error, I found that while holding it at different angles, it hurt less and I was able to get enough lashes into it’s grasp. Once I seemed to master the grip, I was transformed. No, that is an understatement, my life was transformed.

My eyelashes have never looked so good. They literally stay curled all day. Yes, ALL DAY. I only need a couple coats of mascara. I was the girl who would curl my eyelashes, heating up the curler, holding it in place for minutes, securing the curl with layers of mascara, only minutes later for my lashes to fall flat. I was the desperate girl who invested in lash extensions only to become too broke to get refills, to watch my poor little lash line dwindle down to pokey little spikes of sad hairs. I was the girl who had the uneven falsies, only hidden by the overdone winged liner, attempting to hide my heavy hand and distaste for lash glue. The other day, my nutritionist told me I had beautiful eyes – unprompted. I was even wearing glasses.

If you can overcome the pain, it’s worth it. This is one of my favorite beauty tools even thought it pretty much sucks to use.

Thanks for reading.

Xx, Grace

Buy here.

Wet & Wild’s MegaSlicks Balm Stain

IT’S THE BALM!

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Looking for an affordable, long-lasting lip color? Try Wet & Wild’s MegaSlicks Balm Stain.  After trying other products promising all day coverage, I remained disappointed until this find. For only $2.99, it’s a steal you can’t pass up.

Pros:

  • Long-lasting:
    • Seriously, this stays on ALL day. While a touch-up might refresh your look, the pigment stains your lips until you wash it off.
  • Inexpensive
  • Wide range of pigments:
    • From names like Lady and the Vamp to Coral of the Story, there’s a shade for every occasion.

Cons: 

  • While the balm is initially glossy, it eventually settles into a semi-matte finish. If your lips are chapped, forget about this one!
  • Kissing or sipping coffee are just some of the scenarios where you’ll leave a trace of color behind. Don’t worry, your lip color will remain…but it also might show up on your coffee mug.

Tips:

  • Exfoliate lips before use!
  • DO NOT apply moisturizer/chapstick before use, as you want the pigment to cling to your lips!