Brunette to Blonde at Home (Budget-Friendly)

I’ve always been a brunette, and over the years, I’ve pretty much explored the entire spectrum that brown hair has to offer. My hair has been dark brown, light brown, reddish brown, blackish brown, long, short, straight, curly, highlighted, ombred, balayaged, and all of the purplish, copperish, carmelish (even brassy) colors in between. The color brown had been fully expressed and well, I got bored.

So I went blonde (and I filmed it!) Here’s how I did it: Continue reading

Get More Done Without Really Trying

Sick of hearing about all of the documentaries your friends always seem to have time to watch? Trust me, so was I.

I was also irritated that they were up on important news, pop culture references, music, independent films, politics, and literature. Some even managing to do so while working full time jobs and keeping up with social engagements, without so much as chipping one of their perfectly painted nails (howdotheyalwayslooksogoodomgggg?!?!?!?!)

HOW?? How did they have time for this? How were they fitting it all in?? And more importantly, why was it so hard for me to do the same?

The answer was simple. In fact it’s a skill most of us use everyday. Multitasking. Except this is multi-tasking reimagined. It’s not about adding more to your plate–because that’s exhausting and would leave you feeling even more stressed and unable to keep up. This is about looking for pockets of time in your daily routine where you can easily be multi-tasking. Or as I like to put it: Making time for fun stuff! 

This has helped me make time for the things I want to do, while staying on top of all of things I have to do. And although it is true that some activities require your full attention, there are times throughout the day –like while cooking dinner, doing your hair, and driving to school or work, for example–when you can do one of the following three things simulateanously, thus getting more done, thus being more productive and up on what the cool kids are into.

  1. Watch documentaries (and docu-series) during breakfast

Break a documentary or show up into 10-15 minute segments while you enjoy a healthy breakfast (this one, perhaps? lol) and by the end of the week, you will have watched a full documentary. Do this every weekday and by the end of the month, you’ll have watched 4 new films. That’s a lot of interesting, mind-expanding info and it doesn’t add any additional time or stress to your daily routine.

Here are a few I’m currently loving on Netflix:

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I also love Exit Through the Gift Shop, Our America, P Star Rising, Man on Wire, After Innocence, and Oprah’s Master Class (Which is only on OWN or YouTube)

2. Listen to AM radio or interesting Podcasts.

As I mentioned in the video, time spent in the car can be used more constructively than belting out every word to the One Direction songs you pretend you don’t listen to when you’re around your friends (*cough* You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful *cough* Steal My Girl) Radical thought, I know, but it’s true. And while I love a good car-dance-singalong-sesh as much as the red blooded twenty-sometihng, I also like to use car time to learn new things and keep up with news and pop culture.

The easiest way to do this is to try listen to talk radio once in and while, particularly when you’re on your way to school or work when you need your brain to be firing on all cylinders. By the time you arrive at your destination, you will be in the know without having spent a single minute of your morning sitting in front of the morning news program or hurriedly thumbing through the “most important parts” of the morning paper. (And by thumbing, I mean clicking because seriously…who still gets a paper?)

PS. Podcasts are good too but I’m new to the world of podcasts, so please comment below if there’s one you think I should check out!

3. Use YouTube as an instant classroom 

I love listening to lectures and inspirational speeches on YouTube while cleaning, cooking, doing my hair in the morning, painting my nails, or folding laundryMy favorite channel at the moment is called The School of Life, which I mentioned in the video. I try to watch these videos whenever I find a 10 minute window of time that could be used more constructively than refreshing my Instagram feed (again!)

Here are a few speeches worth listening to.

J.K. Rowling’s Harvard Commensment Speech

Tavi Gevinson’s Ted Talk (only 13 at the time!)

Words of wisdom and inspiration from Will Smith 

Remember, there is time for everything you need to do today. There’s also time for all of the things you find fascinating, entertaining, inspiring, uplighting, and educational. It’s just about finding creative ways to break it all down into manageable chunks and arranging the pieces. Find a routine that works for you and stick with it!

Happy Monday, everyone!

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Live fully with curiosity, passion, hope, and enthusiasm.

Fall Oatmeal Recipe – Vegan, Healthy, and Delicious

Although I’m not a morning person, I do love my morning routine. Which is typically quiet, slow, cozy — and yes, a little grandma-ish but what can I say?  It’s my favorite way to start the day. I start by drinking two glasses of cold water while scrolling through Instagram, emails, and recently, Snapchat. Then I head into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee with unsweetened almond milk and whatever healthy breakfast I’m feeling that day–it’s usually a smoothie bowl (like this one) or oatmeal. I then crawl back into bed (suuuper important element of my routine) sip my coffee, and eat breakfast while catching up on a few of my favorite blogs and YouTube videos. Of course this doesn’t happen everyday, but I try to make this happen– even if it only lasts 20 minutes– because it makes me feel peaceful, positive, and well taken care of. And who doesn’t want to start every day feeling like that?

Lately, I’ve been making this vegan oatmeal recipe a lot because it’s quick, easy, loaded with nourishing ingredients that make me feel amazing, and most importantly, it tastes so good. Continue reading

How to Not Hate Your Thighs and other #GlobalGoals

In this week’s Mindful Monday video, titled How to Not Hate Your Thighs, I talked about what I think is the only cure for insecurity. I call it zooming out.

Youtube.com/MissVranHalen
Youtube.com/MissVranHalen

In my experience, the reason I have felt insecure or entertained feelings of self loathing, is because my focus was entirely too myopic and self-centered. Which is human I know, but I believe that humans are capable of rising above their animal tendencies with the use of reason and compassion. It may be normal to feel insecure or to hate my body from time to time, but the extent in which those insecurities affect me can be dramatically altered by zooming out. Which occurs when I realize that I’ve been focusing too much on myself– when I’m too zoomed in, if you will–and that I need to zoom out. It means I turn my focus to something more important, something big picture, something that brings me joy, gives me perspective, and most importantly, reminds me that my value has absolutely nothing to do with the way I look.

I will never deny that looking good on the outside can make you feel good on the inside, but I strongly believe that the flip side holds even more truth: If you feel good on the inside you will look good on the outside.  When you are fired up about life, living with purpose, and savoring the good parts of each day, you are the most beautiful. And believe me, there is no beauty product, exercise routine, or amount of attention that can match the way it makes you glow.

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It comes down to this: you have to really care about something in life. You have to find what matters to you and do it. Even if it’s a hobby, or as simple as enjoying quality time spent with friends. Be present and aware of the sacred moments in everyday life. Appreciate those moments and focus on cultivating more of them, instead of focusing on your thighs.

From a health stand point, I do understand wanting smaller thighs (insert whatever body part you dislike here) and in that way, I agree with focusing on them. If you could be healthier, get healthier! But not so that you can have perfect thighs–NEWS FLASH: There is no such thing as the perfect body! Aim to be healthy; to be fit and strong so you can live with the energy that your one, precious life deserves. You have to give life your all, and being healthy is a part of that.

What I am arguing is the importance of perspective. When you are busy living and loving your life, the amount in which your thighs play into your happiness is very small. A lot of things help give me that perspective, most notably is my Blog and YouTube channel. I jokingly call them my boyfriend, my child,  my best friend, etc, because I am obsessed and spend the majority of my time writing, filming, editing, sharing, and managing my videos and posts. I was lucky to learn early in life that my raison d’être is to live this life to the fullest, appreciate each moment–good, bad, and ugly–as all are precious components of life, and then share these experiences with anyone who may find them useful, entertaining, or comforting. Wether it’s sharing a kitchen gadget that squeezes SO MUCH JUICE OUT OF LEMONS AND IT’S ONLY 3 DOLLARS!! or a great book, or sharing a personal lesson that I learned the hard way, I want people to know about it and see why it’s made my life that much better so that their lives can be better too. It’s about cultivating goodness, and sharing what I’ve learned a long the way. That gets me out of bed in the morning, keeps me working all day, and gives me the motivation to continue working late into the night editing videos and plotting all of the things I want to tackle the following day. I simply do not have time to sweat the small stuff because I’m on a mission and though it can be stressful sometimes, I gotta tell you, it is the best feeling in the world. I am alive, and alive on purpose.

You can be too, just explore. Open your eyes, learn, read, watch, go, do, reflect, and repeat until you find something that you care more about than the insignificant, superficial, ephemeral problems in your head.

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In the video I mentioned an organization that may ignite similar feelings of passion and purpose in your soul and that is getting involved with the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. In four days, 193 world leaders will meet in New York City for a three-day conference where they will commit to work together to make these 17 goals a reality within the next 15 years. You can get involved by picking a number that correlates with the goal you feel is the most important to you. Then tell your friends about it, take a picture of your number on your hand and post it to social media with the hashtag #GlobalGoals like Kate Winslet, Kristen Bell, and I did. The idea is that you spread awareness about these issues and help motivate others to learn about them.

a1What does this have to do with your thighs? Everything. Sometimes what we need is to care about something more than we care about ourselves. We live in a very self-centered world, and it’s important to realize that there is so much more to life that the moment and feelings we are currently experiencing. Right now, all over the world, waterfalls are rushing down the sides of magnificent, sun-kissed mountain sides. Babies are being born, movies are being made, policies are being written, someone just got engaged, and another just got their first big business deal. Imagine the world as montage of moments, with clips from all parts of the world, all skin tones, all landscapes, all cuisines, all modes of transportations–like one big movie trailer of life. And then take a moment to fully grasp that it is all actually happening. Right now. And now, and now, and…. now. It’s amazing. And it’s a quick way of reminding yourself that the traffic you’re stuck in is not that big of a deal. In a month from now you won’t even remember that you were in traffic, let alone in 5 years from now. Big picture perspective is everything and getting involved with this Global Goals campaign can provide that much needed perspective.

The number I chose to be a “self-proclaimed spokesperson” for is 4, with 2 as a close second. I think education has a ripple effect that can help fix a lot of the issues above such as poverty, hunger, health care, promoting tolerance, and using sustainable energy. It boils down to information and quality education. To paraphrase Maya Angelou, when you know better, you do better.  I think, the more information you have, the more deliberately and compassionately you live, and that can change everything.

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Quality education is so important. Not only to us in America, where education is necessary by law and to one day have a career, but also to children around the world. In some parts of the world, parents have to choose between feeding their families or sending their kids to school. They know choosing the prior means their children will mostly likely have no way to live a better life and will end up continuing the cycle of poverty. It’s devastating and unnecessary. Education is something everyone–rich, poor, male, female, everyone– should have.

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I also feel very strongly about number 2, Zero Hunger. Watch the documentary Living On One Dollar and tell me you don’t appreciate every single bite of food you eat ever after. In the film, young children were licking salt off of their plates because they didn’t have any other food. They had no energy to play outside. They were severely malnourished and had to rest for most of the day until they could eat again–whenever that may be. It was horrifying, and again so unnecessary. We have the resources to feed the world. There is no excuse for hunger.

This also makes it hard to hate your body or feel bad about your fat thighs. Some people don’t have the privilege of gorging themselves on junk food until their thighs get fat. You begin to realize that hating your body is a luxury. Zoom out.

I’d like to know what your number is and why so please comment below. If it’s not one of these 17 goals then tell me, what is your raison d’être, or purpose for living? What excites you? What helps you zoom out? And while you’re sharing, what is something you LOVE about yourself or your life?

Comment below or find me on Twitter (here) and Instagram (here.)