Rebranding Me: A Jumpstart


So, as it turns out, I am terrible at resolutions. If you recall from my New Year’s Resolution post, I made a goal to post on Tantalizingly Tasteful every Friday. Well, I’ve gone nearly two months without a post. And that’s not the only goal I didn’t follow through on.

While I was gone, I turned 20 — which means I’m officially an adult. *gulp* I went back to school, and I’ve honestly been having a great semester. Just like last semester, I’m working on a lot of awesome things that are making me super busy. But that’s not an excuse to get lazy with taking care of myself and my blog.

 

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A picture of me from my 20th birthday celebration, taken by my beautiful best friend Lauren. Thanks to my other best friend Ian for the wonderful “20” balloons. Seriously, best birthday ever!!

 

In the last few years, I have been much more open about my health struggles, both physical and emotional, and I’d like to continue that trend. While my emotional and mental health have noticeably improved this semester, my physical health has noticeably… not. I went on an amazing vacation to Punta Cana with my entire family (21 people total!), but when I got back, I brought that “who cares” attitude home with me. Since then, I’ve been eating whatever I want without considering the impact it might have on my body. My visits to the gym have been far and few between. And I’m starting to feel the difference. My legs hurt and I’m more tired. I want to make a change, but change is hard. Why would I want to make my life any more difficult than it already is if I’m doing alright with what I’ve got?

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A photo with my entire family in Punta Cana! Yes, we planned the white shirts and blue jeans.

The fact of the matter is that I’m not alright with what I’ve got, and sometimes, you just need a jumpstart to help you realize that.

My friend Caroline sent me a really awesome blog post the other day that served as my jumpstart. Lee Tilghman, the blogger behind leefromamerica.com, recently posted a blog post about living with PCOS. I read it and, of course, shared her pain. But one thing I noticed is that Lee has done more to help her body in just a year of knowing about her disorder than I have done in eight whole years. It really opened my eyes to what I can be doing to help myself combat the symptoms of PCOS that I see and inspired me to get started.

I don’t think I would have been inspired to make a change if Caroline hadn’t sent me that text. This is why we need jumpstarts. The littlest things in our lives can inspire us to make changes, as scary as change can be. For those of you who are tired of dragging your feet through life, take this as your jumpstart. I’m challenging you to join me as I renew my desire to better myself and my life. It’s nearly Spring anyways, which means it’s time for new beginnings. So, who’s with me? Let me know, and let’s take on these challenges together!

xx,

Toni
Email: tantilizinglytasteful@gmail.com
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Rebranding Me: Learning to Love Myself


Welcome back to Tantalizingly Tasteful! Today I want to talk about something a little bit out of the ordinary for me: body image and self-confidence. Being confident in yourself and your abilities is much easier said than done, but I think the process of getting there is something that needs to be discussed. I want to share my own personal story with you. This is something I’ve been working on for about a year now, and I’m honestly still a little hesitant, but I know that so many people go through the same kind of situation and I want to open up the discussion. So, here goes.

I’ve spent my whole life being overweight. I knew in kindergarten that I was different from the other girls in the class. When I walked, my shorts would ride up my thighs (what has affectionately been known as thwedgie in my family), I couldn’t run as fast on the soccer field, and I couldn’t easily be lifted up. But as a kindergartner, you don’t really understand that having a bit more body fat than the other girls in class is going to make you stand out in a bad way.  I was also one of the only kids in class that wore glasses, and to five-year-old me, that made me “uncool.” I would play a game with my friends in which I would take my glasses off and say “cool Toni,” then put them back on and say “nerdy Toni.” How did I get the impression that a pair of glasses defined who I was?

 

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A shot from elementary school field day, complete with my classic “thwedgie.”

 

 

In elementary school, I was the first of my friends to wear a bra, and it wasn’t because I was the first to hit puberty. And yet, I still didn’t really think anything was too wrong with me. It didn’t really hit me until fourth grade, when a “popular” girl who I considered a friend nicknamed me Jell-O. I didn’t understand why she was calling me that, so I was thrilled to think that I had finally made it into the “cool girls” crowd. When I got home that night, I excitedly told my parents about my new nickname, only to have them explain to me that it wasn’t a very great nickname to have. I was incredibly hurt to think that the people that I considered friends saw me that way and, even worse, seemed to be out to make fun of me because of what I weighed. I dwell on that realization a lot.

 

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This one’s from my cousin Effie’s wedding. I was 11 and a junior bridesmaid. I had gained weight between the fitting and the actual wedding, so my dress ripped during cocktail hour. I was humiliated.

 

Fast forward to middle school, when I just continued to gain weight and started growing facial hair due to polycystic ovarian syndrome. At that point, it had become more common knowledge to me that I was the heavier friend, and while my friends really didn’t have anything to say about my “physique,” it was quite evident that I was just different and sometimes had to be left out. I could never share clothes with my friends, I could never eat as much as my friends, I struggled to keep up with them in sports. I had girls pull my bra strap and laugh at me because my bra wasn’t supportive enough for my chest. One of my best friends pointed out to the entire gym class that I was growing a beard. I started to become ashamed of my body, a feeling that I would never wish on anyone. And instead of combating my issues with an improved diet and more exercise, I comforted myself the only way I knew how: food.

 

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A photo of my mother, my youngest brother and I at a bat mitzvah. Clearly I did not know what a bra was.

 

In high school, I tried to pretend that I was more comfortable with my body. I had accepted that I was just bigger than my friends, but my weight was still a source of contention with my family. My parents have always been super supportive, and when they worried about my weight, it was always for the sake of my health and not my appearance, but it was (and still is) a sore topic for me. My grandmother was notorious for not giving me a second serving of food to keep me from gaining weight. My parents often told me that certain clothes just weren’t meant for my body type. Even my five-year-old cousin told me I was fat. For me, realizing that even my family remarked that I was overweight was heartbreaking. I felt like no one saw me for my personality or interests, but only saw me as the girl who needed to lay off the pasta and hit the gym. This realization brought on a rough time of self-doubt, self-loathing, depression, and self-harm. When I finally got myself out of that slump, I decided I was going to take ownership of who I was and focus on bettering myself and getting healthy, not necessarily skinny. I told my parents that I needed them to support me despite what I looked like or what I decided to wear. I thought this inner transformation would be good for me in so many ways.

Here’s a picture from marching band in ninth grade. I remember loving this picture because I thought my hair looked so long.

But then prom season hit, and two years in a row, no one asked me to be their date. And I couldn’t help but attribute it to the fact that nobody wanted to go with the fat girl. Of course, I was heartbroken, and debated not going to prom both years, but ultimately I went and had a great time. But the idea still remains in my head that no one wants to date me or be friends with me because of my weight.

A picture of me, alone, at senior prom. Luckily I still had a great time.

I had a similar experience at the beginning of college. Before I moved in, I was considering joining a sorority, but at the actual club fair, I noticed that no sorority sisters even considered approaching me. Instead, they were approaching the teeny tiny skinny girls, the girls who were the “populars” that would have made fun of me in elementary and middle school. It was then that I realized that my body weight can sometimes prevent me from achieving everything I would’ve liked to, and it was then that I was inspired to write this post.

This is one of my favorite selfies from freshman year. Before I found my close friends, I would go home every weekend because I felt so out of place.

That was a year ago, during my very first semester of college. I had completely different friends, completely different interests, and a completely different outlook on life. Originally, this post was supposed to be a wake-up call to me and to anyone reading, a cautionary tale that would hopefully teach people that they should keep themselves from getting heavy so they can prevent themselves from getting hurt. Now, I see things very differently.

It’s taken me a long time, but I’m finally getting to the point that I’m realizing I love the person I am. There may be things I want to change and things that I regret doing, but I’ve learned over the years (and especially the last six months) that the only person I need approval, attention, and love from is myself. The only person who can help me is myself. It also helps that the friends I have now like me the way I am, so I’m not forcing myself to be something I’m not.

I wish I could detail how I got myself to this point, but honestly, I think it was just spurred by a sudden realization that if I can’t love myself for who I am, no one else will love me for who I am. I do have some recommendations, though, that I know have helped me feel happier and more confident and empowered.

  1. Read self-help books: Yes, this is corny, but after reading even a few pages of self-help books, I always feel refreshed and inspired. One of my favorites is Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, even though I haven’t even finished it yet. I used to read it every night before bed during the spring semester of my freshman year, and it made me feel like I could take on the world just the way I am. Some more on my list of books to read are Yes Please by Amy Poehler and Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur.

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    You can get your copy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestseller for $10.96 at Barnes and Noble.
  2. Work out: I’ve been talking about this up and down for the last six months, but working out has made me feel a million times better about myself. Every time I work out, I do into beast mode, and I feel like I can accomplish anything. Find an exercise routine you love and stick to it. Not only is it good for your body, but it’s also good for your soul.
  3. Listen to pump-up music: I literally have a playlist called “I DESERVE BETTER” that’s filled with songs that make me feel better and remind me that I am worth the work and worth being treated well. It’s filled with some of my favorite songs, like Hair and Shoutout to My Ex by Little Mix, Stronger by Britney Spears, and Down in the Dumps by Walk the Moon. I highly recommend putting together a playlist that makes you feel great about yourself and helps pick you back up when you start to fall.
  4. Get motivational wallpapers: Inspirational phone backgrounds and computer wallpapers are my guilty pleasure. I like to change them every month just to get something a little different. I always find it so inspiring to turn on my phone or laptop and get some sort of pick-me-up.

    This is the wallpaper on my laptop right now and I love turning it on and seeing this.
  5. Don’t take things so personally: I’ve always been a very sensitive person, and I always let people’s reactions to me affect the way I feel. Recently, I’ve come to the realization that you don’t always know what other people are going through, so you can’t hold things against them or let them get you down. Like I said, the only person’s validation that matters is yours, so don’t let yourself get down because of a stupid comment someone else said. When I dyed my hair purpley about a year ago, one of my best friends made a comment that if I lay down on the grass, it would look like Barney. His opinion meant a lot to me at the time, and I was upset about it for a while. Since then, I’ve realized that it’s my hair, not his, and if I like the way it looks, I don’t have to really consider his opinion.
  6. Do what you’re passionate about: Doing things that you love to do and are good at are great for a confidence boost. Plus, if you get involved with something you’re passionate about, you can find other people who are passionate about the same thing and you immediately have something to connect over. When I started writing for my school newspaper last semester (even though it was for class credit), I met so many awesome people who were also passionate about journalism. It was really inspiring and motivating for me to get pointers from them and just be surrounded by people who loved to interview people and write just as much as I do.
  7. Journal: One of the best ways to release negativity is to write it down. I find that every time I write down what’s bother me, I can better recognize what the problem is and then find an appropriate way to deal with it. Also, I can write down all the positives in my life and reread them if I start feeling down. I also love picking pretty journals that inspire me to write and work hard, like this one from Barnes and Noble.

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    Be Awesome Today Bound Lined Journal, $9.95 at Barnes and Noble
  8. Find support: The biggest thing that has helped me come to terms with the person that I am has been my religion. I was born and raised Greek Orthodox, but I didn’t really get into learning about my religion until I was 16 and went to Camp St. Paul for the first time. Since then, I’ve become more confident in myself and my abilities because I know that God made me the way I am and only sends me challenges that He knows I can handle. For those of you who are not religious, I’d recommend finding something or someone that always has your back and best interests at heart. I have a handful of really close friends that constantly cheer me on and pick me up when I fall. I’d be nowhere without them. Even my parents are there for me whenever I need them, and I can tell them absolutely anything without them judging me or putting me down. The bottom line is that it feels amazing to know you have people who love and support you all the time and can pick you up if you start doubting yourself.

I hope this post gave you a bit of a look into my life and some inspiration and motivation to start loving yourself completely and entirely. Don’t forget to keep me in the loop as you embark on your journey!!

xx,

Toni
Email: tantilizinglytasteful@gmail.com
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Thanksgiving 2016: A Note of Gratitude


In honor of today’s holiday, I’d like to say thanks. I have been incredibly blessed with so many opportunities, relationships, and circumstances that it is hard for me not to reflect on and be thankful for them.

Aside from being grateful for cute shoes, great lighting, and stylish clothes, I am so incredibly thankful for the opportunities I’ve had in my life. I am blessed to have a roof over my head, food to eat, the right to worship, and access to a college application. I am also so immensely thankful for the people in my life.

To my family:  Thank you for driving me crazy, for being too loud, for being too up in my business. My parents, my brothers, my cousins, my aunts, my uncles, my grandparents.I wouldn’t have you all any other way. My life would be incomplete without my constant companions and supporters. I love you more than words could ever explain.

 

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A photo of me, my brothers and some of our cousins, who are basically my entire world

 

To my childhood friends: Thank you for making me who I am. Our jokes and early memories are what made me into the person I am today. Even if time has passed and we have become more distant than we would like, I will always cherish our special memories.

 

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A blurry shot with my besties since babies, Anastasia and Maria

 

To my high school friends: Thank you for the years of continued laughs, tears and support. Your faces make my heart happy. I am so grateful I have you to talk to, to vent to, to catch up with. You truly are irreplaceable in my life.

 

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My beautiful, smart, and funny Post Puberty group: Dani, Emily, Torie, and Lauren

 

 

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Don’t know where I would be without these crazy kids: Dan, Lauren, and Grant

 

To my Greek friends: Thank you for giving me a group to hang with that shares my passion for my culture. I may get overwhelmed and stressed at times, but you have given me something to care about passionately and totally.

 

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Thankful that GOYA brought Faye, Stacie, Eleni, Athanasia, and Dionisia into my life

 

 

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Love my crazy friends from the Greek and Cypriot Student Association

 

To my college friends: Thank you for putting up with me 24/7 in a way that no one else has ever had to do. From class to the suite to club meetings, you have my back and best interest at heart. Thank you for knowing how to cheer me up and make me smile when I need it most.

 

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The Mad Wicked Tight Deadass Team of Toscanini: Arjun, Alyssa, Marissa, and Mike

 

 

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A blurry selfie with my best friend and biggest supporter, Ian

 

To my Camp St. Paul family: Thank you for giving me a place to belong, a place where I can return year after year. You are my solace. Thank you for teaching me the importance of being faithful in relationships and in life in general. Thank you for giving me endless amounts of hope, love, kindness, and support.

 

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Missing this moment from the first week of Camp St. Paul 2016

 

To my teachers, professors, and mentors: Thank you for believing in me and pushing me to try new things and break boundaries. I have learned so much over the last 19 years, and a lot of it has been from you. Thank you for showing me the beauty and importance of knowledge.

 

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Incredibly grateful that one of my mentors, Maria, started out as my camp counselor and is now also one of my best friends

 

To my Tasters: Thank you for joining me on this journey. My blogging has been spotty at best, but so many of you have stuck by me through it all. I am endlessly and inexpressibly grateful for your support, love, and care. I am genuinely looking forward to many more blog posts and interactions with you all. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

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Happy Thanksgiving all!

xx,

Toni

Email: tantilizinglytasteful@gmail.com

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Looking Back at Washington, D.C.


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The beautiful view from the Lincoln Memorial

I got back from Washington, D.C. on Sunday night, but honestly, it feels like forever ago already. I had been so excited for my trip beforehand, and then it went by in the blink of an eye. Here’s a look back at my weekend!

Friday, November 4

Traveling is never the fun part of traveling. On Friday afternoon, I had to get on a 1:19 train to get to Penn Station and meet my friend Demi. The train alone took just under two hours. Demi and I then walked ten minutes to Port Authority to meet our friend (and her “fousin”) Stella for a four-and-a-half-hour bus ride from New York City to Washington, D.C. The bus ride itself took up a majority of our day and was completely exhausting, but it was nice to get a chance to catch up.

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Finally getting into Union Station (which is totally beautiful, BTW!) From top top bottom: me, Demi and Stella

When we finally made it to Union Station at around 9:30, we were so tired and barely wanted to go out, but we fought through it. We took a taxi to the Renaissance Hotel in Dupont Circle, where our friend Anastacia was already waiting for us. We rushed to get ready and eventually made it out for the first event of Panhellenism Weekend 2016 by midnight.

Saturday, November 5

I guess the first party should probably go here since it was after midnight… But we walked a few blocks (and then Ubered because we got a little lost) to this super-cool four-floor club/bar called Ozio for the first event. Luckily, we didn’t wait on line to get in for more than 20 minutes, and in the meantime, I got to chat with some friends from camp I hadn’t seen since August. To me, that was better than the actual party.

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It was so great to catch up with friends this past weekend! From left to right: me, Raquel, Steph (who was one of my first camp counselors!) and Victoria

The club was totally cramped. Like, the kind of cramped where you can barely breathe. And that’s doable when you’re with your friends and know the people around you. But it’s a whole other story when the people around your are drunk strangers. Long story short, it wasn’t long before I got uncomfortable and wanted to go to sleep. I had expected a great, long night of dancing with my friends, but there wasn’t even enough room for that. I was disappointed to say the least.

We didn’t get back to the hotel room until 3AM, and didn’t really get to bed until five, but when we woke up in the morning, we were ready to take on the day… kinda. While my friends went to a brunch for alumni of Ionian Village, a Greek Orthodox sleep away camp in Greece (which needs your help, BTW!), I stayed in the hotel room and worked on my NaNoWriMo story (I am so behind now, don’t even get me started) and FaceTimed my friend Maria to catch her up on what happened the night before.

When the girls were done with the brunch, Anastacia and Stella came back to the hotel to get me and Demi hung out with her friend from Ionian Village. The girls and I walked to the Lincoln Memorial with our friend Niko. It was so warm out and the scenery was so beautiful, with leaves changing colors and fashionable people walking past us. I loved D.C., but it was definitely a little quiet for someone like me, who loves New York City.

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I couldn’t put my camera down at the Lincoln Memorial
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Had to get a shot of Abe…

We met up with some of our friends at the Lincoln Memorial and took some awesome pictures (shout out to great lighting!). I wish I had gotten to do more sightseeing though, but we had limited time and Stella had to meet up with some friends from high school.

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Anastacia and I in front of Abraham Lincoln… I guess we cut him out
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A shot of my outfit, courtesy of Stella! We took a ton of pictures in the spot because the lighting was great.
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Stel and I chilling on the steps
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Had to get a shot by the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, even if the sun was in our eyes

The three of us took a taxi to Georgetown and I was immediately in love. It was so trendy, clean, historic and photogenic. We literally stepped out of the car into a brick alley that was just begging to be photographed, so we had yet another photoshoot (shout out to Anastacia and the brick wall for giving me something to use for my photo class project).

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The love I have for these two is insane… thanks to you two (and Demi) for coming on this adventure with me
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Posing with Anastacia
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All smiles (and all black) with Stella

When Stella left us to visit her high school friends, Anastacia and I grabbed lunch at a restaurant called J. Paul. They had really yummy pretzel bread as an appetizer, and Anastacia was totally obsessed with her sandwich. I got a crab cake sandwich, figuring it was something more regional and something I was much less likely to get at home, and it was alright. When we were done, we headed to Forever 21 for some last-minute accessory shopping. I bought a pair of earrings and Anastacia got a choker. We then found Stella, the girls stopped for bubble tea (I tried a sip for the first time, still not sure what I think), and headed back to the hotel for a nap.

We got ready for the night and were ready to leave around 11:30 or so. The event was at the historic Howard Theatre, which was stunning to say the least. The line was so short, which was a plus, and there was food (even though all I had was one mac and cheese bite). There was much more space to dance, but my feet were killing me from the night before and the day of walking, which was a bummer. I was able to catch up with some friends, and snagged a seat next to my cousin Dionysia to chat for a while.

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Catching up with my amazing and incredible cousin Di

Stella and I finally decided to head back to the hotel around two because we were exhausted. We stayed up a little while longer just talking, but eventually fell asleep before Demi and Anastacia had even gotten back to the room.

Sunday, November 6

I woke up the next morning in a panic. The clock next to me said 11:30 and our bus back to New York was at 2:15. We hadn’t even started packing our stuff up yet, and everyone except for Anastacia, who had gone to church and wasn’t leaving until 4, was still in bed. Then, I remembered daylight savings time was a thing and calmed down. We eventually got up, packed our things, checked out and headed to West End Bistro, a restaurant Stella’s sister had recommended for brunch.

Honestly, if you’re in D.C. and around the Dupont Circle/Ritz-Carlton Hotel area, I highly, highly recommend West End Bistro. The staff was so accommodating and friendly. The restaurant itself was stunning. The food was spectacular (even if it was a bit expensive for my taste).  I got the WEB Breakfast Burger, which had an actual burger with cheddar cheese, a sunny side egg (which I usually don’t even like), bacon, and caramelized onions on a brioche bun and French fries on the side. It was so, so amazing.

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MY AMAZING WEST END BISTRO BRUNCH

Stella, Demi and I said goodbye to Anastacia and finally made it to Union Station but, wouldn’t you know it, our bus is late. We thought we were going to miss the bus, but it didn’t leave till around three. And then we hit traffic. We were supposed to get into Port Authority by 6:35, which meant I’d be able to take a 7:18 train back to Stony Brook, but we didn’t get in until closer to seven, which gave me absolutely no time to make it back to Penn Station and grab my train. So, we grabbed dinner at Port Authority (chain pizza and pasta, anyone?) and then Demi and I left Stella to head towards Penn. I finally got back to Stony Brook around 10:40, a whole hour later than I was supposed to and eight hours after I started traveling. Like I said, traveling is exhausting.

So now you’ve (presumably) read a lot about what I did during the day, but here are my thoughts. D.C. is stunning, and I wish I could’ve spent more time enjoying the city and the sights than waiting on lines for parties I barely enjoyed and being squashed in between people. Also, next time I go, I want to go for a longer amount of time so I can better enjoy it.  And if I do go to Panhellenism Weekend 2017, likelihood is I’ll only be attending one night event (in much more comfortable shoes!)  and spending the other night taking in our country’s capital.

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Another beautiful view in Georgetown (which I think is the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal but honestly I’m not sure)

I hope this post gave you a little bit of a look into my life and my head. Let me know about any of your own experiences traveling or in Washington, D.C., or tell me about other places I should check out! Hope you’re out there loving the world!

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Kisses to you, Tasters!!

xx,

Toni

Email: tantilizinglytasteful@gmail.com

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My Love-Hate Relationship with Packing: Washington, D.C. Edition


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Decisions are hard, to say the least. I’m definitely not great at making decisions, even though I have somehow become the go-to decision maker for my friend group at school.

Style decisions, at least for me, are some of the hardest to make. I’m heading to Washington, D.C. for Panhellenic Weekend 2016, held by D.C. Greeks, and since I’m traveling by train and bus, I want to pack light. The thing is, this event is basically a giant party, including one event that is “cocktail attire optional,” so the type of clothing that I’m packing this time around is incredibly different than the type of clothing I packed for my (unsuccessful) trip to Connecticut.

Like I said in my September Haul, I recently purchased a bunch of new clothes specifically for this trip, but honestly, I might have bought too much. I mean, I’ll definitely wear all of it, but I might not actually need it all for this specific trip. Following the tips I outlined in the Connecticut post, I tried to make my decision by mixing and matching and knowing my itinerary. That actually was pretty easy, considering that I already had a preference for some outfits over others, so as far as clothing goes, I ended up packing:

The hardest fashion decision I had to make was picking which dresses I wanted to bring. I had purchased three for the occasion, but in all honestly, I may only need one. I decided that I should bring two out of the three with me, just in case I do need a second one.

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I had to pick from these three dresses: (from left to  right) JAX Side Lace Scuba Dress, Forever 21 Contemporary Grid Print Dress, and JAX Square Neck Mixed Media Sheath Dress

I already knew that I was obsessed with the grid-patterned dress from Forever 21, so that immediately stayed in the running. Now, I had to eliminate one more dress. This was a little harder because the dresses are the same brand and kind of similar, so I followed my tips from Connecticut and tried to make my decision. I ended up making my choice based on the concept of mixing and matching. I’m very weird and particular about mixing metals, and honestly, I have a preference for silver over gold. The Mixed Media dress prominently features gold, but the bag I was planning on bringing to the events features silver accents. I’m just not comfortable with the way that would look together, and I didn’t want to pack an extra purse, so I decided to eliminate the Mixed Media dress.

 

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Both of these dresses match well with my bag (similar here), so mixing and matching is easy!

 

 

That rest of my packing was actually pretty easy, so as far as clothing goes, I ended up packing:

  • two fancy dresses
  • one casual dress
  • one jumpsuit
  • Spanx (hey, sometimes a girl needs her shape wear!)
  • one corduroy skirt
  • three sweaters
  • three pairs of heels
  • one pair of jeans
  • one pair of leggings
  • one strapless bra

I found that the real struggle, however, was in choosing what makeup I wanted to bring with me.

 

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Some of my fave beauty necessities, such as Garnier’s Micellar Water, elf’s Poreless Face Primer, and EcoTools’s Bamboo Finishing Kabuki Brush. Also, peep my super cute and colorful makeup bag (similar here)!

 

Since I was supposed to go to Connecticut for a church retreat, I packed very minimal makeup. But since I need to get completely dolled up for this shindig, my makeup decisions are much more imperative. Here are some tips for how I made my decisions.

  1. Get a good makeup bag: This is essential. I’ve had the same makeup bag for a few years now, but I love it because it’s sturdy and has plenty of compartments for me to stow my products. It even folds into a smaller package to easily fit in my luggage. Look to something with zipper or snap compartments so you can pack a lot in there but still make sure your precious makeup is safe and secure.
  2. Don’t skip steps: Don’t sacrifice priming or finishing products just to pack light. Especially for an event like Panhellenic Weekend, where I’m going to be dancing all night long, it is imperative for me to make sure I prep my face well before applying makeup so it doesn’t budge while I’m on the dancefloor. Also, finishing products like a setting spray or finishing powder make your makeup picture perfect, so don’t skip this if you know you’re gonna be snapping a ton of selfies!
  3. Pick your faves: I have a handful of beauty products that I save for very special events, either because they were too expensive for me to use on a daily basis, or because it’ll look silly if I wear them to class. This is one of those weekends where I bring those special products out to play. Not only will they make your makeup look extra special, but you’ll finally get the chance to use your products. At the same time, don’t skip out on the everyday products that you absolutely love! Your favorite eyeliner, foundation or lip gloss should still have its place in your routine.

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    These three products by one of my favorite makeup brands, NYX, are my special event go-tos. The Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator is just a touch too shiny for my everyday routine, but perfect for a night out. The NYX Wonder Stick for highlighting and contouring is a little too drastic for my school-day look, so I save it for when I know I’m going to be taking a ton of pictures. The Highlight & Contour Pro Palette gets reserved for incredibly special occasions because it is the most expensive piece of makeup I’ve ever purchased (I’m a drugstore beauty queen, what can I say?), but I love being able to finally use it!
  4. Mix and match: Just like with clothes, try to mix and match your makeup looks while traveling. You can stick to the same basics, like eyeliner, eyeshadow, and mascara, to save space and pack lightly, but pick ones that work for multiple outfits. For example, you can pick  one eyeshadow palette that can match anything you wear while away instead of bringing multiple palettes with you.
  5. Splurge: But at the same time, I understand that sometimes choosing is hard. You don’t want to limit yourself on the way you look, so choose one item that you’re going to allow yourself to pack multiple of. I am a lipstick addict, so I packed several different colors. Plus, since my outfits are going to have all different shades of purples and reds, I don’t have any one color that will really match perfectly with all my outfits. I couldn’t just limit myself to one.

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    I own more lipsticks than I care to admit, mostly by NYX, but also with some colors from elf and Revlon.
  6. Skip Supersizing: I know they say bigger is better, but that isn’t always the case when traveling. Yeah, it can be tempting to bring a big container of some beauty product on a trip with you, but only bring what you need. I use Vaseline on my lips a lot, so I keep a giant pot of it right next to my bed. But when I travel, I only need a tiny pot, because there’s no way I’m even going through that in three days. Same goes for toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo and conditioner, makeup wipes and face wash. By using the travel sized options, you’re leaving yourself room for larger must-haves that don’t come in smaller sizes, like leave-in conditioner or other hair products.
  7. Don’t Forget Removal: Just because you’re going away for a few days doesn’t mean you get to skip taking care of your skin. Make sure after your night on the town you remove all your makeup and wash your face to prevent build-up. The last thing you want is to come home and have to deal with breakouts!

I’m really excited to head to D.C., catch up with some friends and dance the night away! Hopefully, I’ll get to share some details with you when I return. I hope you guys have some awesome trips coming up and can use these packing tricks to make your experience a little less stressful! Let me know about any cool adventures you’re taking and any packing stories, mishaps or tips you may have. Happy and safe travels, Tasters!

xx,

Toni

Email: tantilizinglytasteful@gmail.com

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Fall Fashion: Last Minute Halloween DIYs


Halloween is literally right around the corner (and if you’re in college, Halloweekend starts tonight), and even though I’m pretty sure I have no plans for Halloweekend whatsoever, I can’t stop perusing Pinterest, looking for the cutest (and easiest) costume DIYs.

DIY costumes are great because they’re unique and work double time as a conversation starter. A few years ago, I made myself a cupcake costume out of cardboard and I totally loved it. Granted, I think I was in the eighth grade and have not done anything nearly as creative for Halloween in the years since, but I can still dream.

 

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Here’s a throwback to my favorite DIY Halloween costume, featuring my mom (left) and my Aunt Niki (right). All I did to make my costume was cut two cupcake shapes out of cardboard (there’s one behind me, too), cover the bottom with tin foil where the cupcake liner would be and paint on pink frosting with leftover paint I found in my garage. Then, I cut out little cardboard sprinkles and two cherries and colored them with markers, attaching them to the cardboard with velcro (though, in retrospect, I should’ve used hot glue). I used twine to attack the two cupcake sides and put it over my shoulders.

 

For those of you who have also procrastinated your costume making, take a look at some of my favorite cheap and easy DIYs!

Wednesday Addams

This costume is not only super simple to make, but also totally cool to portray. The look is really all in the makeup and hair: sullen face, dark lips, black braids. Check out this awesome makeup tutorial by YouTube user Madeyewlook Twice, and browse her channel for even more Halloween inspo! The outfit is also simple enough that you probably have all your necessities (black dress or shirt/skirt combo and black shoes) right in your closet. Just pick up some black tights and a white collar and you’re good to go! Honestly, I think the DIY options I’ve seen online are much cuter than the store-bought ones.

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Makeup: one of my fave Wednesday looks via Pinterest

Dress: Black Peter Pan Collar Short Sleeve Shift Dress – $20.99 at SheIn

Flats: Women’s Gigi Point Flats in Black by Christian Siriano for Payless -$24.99 at Payless

Tights: Pack of Two 50 Denier Tights – $10.00 at Topshop

Gumball Machine

I am totally obsessed with this idea. I saw this in a couple of places online and it’s so fun and colorful. Basically, you attach a bunch of different colored pom poms to a tank top and pair it with a red skirt. Then, make a construction paper sign that says 25 cents and a little coin slot and voila! Super simple. Keep your makeup sweet and colorful just like your ensemble! Check out this awesome Youtube tutorial by MissRemiAshton to see how to do this (starting at 1:40) and 14 other adorable and easy costumes!

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Outfit: via Pinterest

Tank: St. John’s Bay Essential Tank Top in White – $5.99 at J.C. Penney

Skirt: Plus Size Structured Maxi Tulle Skirt in Red – $39.50 at Soho Girl

Pom Poms: Bright Multicolored Craft Pop Poms in Multi (Pack of 100) – $4.99 at Factory Direct Craft

Sneakers: Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Core Hi in Red – $54.99 at Zappos

Emoji:

Show off your personality by dressing up as your fave emoji! Even if you don’t have a shirt with heart eyes on it, you can easily get a yellow tee and use fabric markers to draw a face on it. Pair it with a yellow tutu (just like LaurDIY in this video) and you’ve got a fun and flirty outfit! Keep the look casual and simple with comfy white sneakers and easy makeup.

emoji-board

Outfit: via Pinterest and YouTube

Tee: Next Level 330L Ladies’ Perfect Tee in Vibrant Yellow – $4.29 at Shirt Space

Fabric Markers: Fine Line Fabric Markers, 10 Count – $4.99 at Crayola

Sneakers: Adidas NEO Advantage Clean VS Sneaker – Womens – $54.95 at DSW

Tutu: Adult’s Yellow Tulle Tutu – $14.97 at Oriental Trading Co.

Popcorn

Here’s another look I’m totally obsessed with. I love that it’s quirky and fun, but also classy and sort of old fashioned. All you really need is a red and white skirt/dress (or a red or white skirt you can paint the opposite color on), some computer paper, a yellow marker and a hot glue gun. Take a look at Studio DIY’s cool and easy step-by-step tutorial for this costume, and don’t forget to rock a classic red lip!

popcorn-board

Outfit: via Delish and Studio DIY

Crop Top: Express One Eleven Abbreviated V-Neck Halter – $5.99 at Express

Flats: Candy Color Patent Leather Pointed Toe Slip On Flat Ballet Shoe in Yellow – $8.43 at New Chic

Glue Gun: Craft Smart Mini Glue Gun, High Temp – $2.99 at Michael’s

Dress: Modern Twirl Dress – $34.99 at Modcloth

I hope that these DIY ideas have inspired you to make your own last minute costume this weekend! Let me know if you test out one of the ideas, and Tweet me pictures of your costumes! Have a happy and safe Halloweekend, everyone!

xx,

Toni

Email: tantalizinglytasteful@gmail.com

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Fall Fashion: September Haul


As some of you may know, I am going to Washington, D.C. in November for Pan-Hellenism Weekend, which is basically just a giant convention of Greeks. I’m super pumped, not only because I’m going to see friends from camp and go to a new place, but also because I had to get some new clothes for the occasion!

I am a self-proclaimed shopaholic. Once I start, it’s very, very hard to get me to stop. I recently bought a decent amount of clothes from Target, Century 21 and Forever 21, so I figured I’d share them with you Tasters. Everything is styled with NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in Vintage (here). Also, a major shout out to my mom for buying most of these clothes and my brother Nicholas who came shopping with us and spent two hours taking pictures of me. Hope you all enjoy!

Target

Gold Mossimo Sweater: 

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I love the long length and the color of this sweater. Plus, it’s super comfy!!

Sweater: Mossimo {Similar here}

Jeans: Old Navy {Similar here}

Booties: Lucky Brand {Similar here}

Necklace: From a friend {Similar here}

Headband: Forever 21 {Similar here}

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Neutral colors like this gold are great for pairing with gemstone necklaces. They let the natural colors of the stones take center stage.

Charcoal Mossimo Sweater Dress: 

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I think the hemline of this dress is so unique and fun, perfect for my wardrobe!

Dress: Mossimo

Booties: Rampage {Similar here}

Necklace: From my aunt {Similar here}

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I love that this dress is a neutral color because even though it’s got some cool details, it’s still effortlessly cool and not overly demanding.

Black and White Sweatshirt and Gray Beanie

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Lately, I’ve been wearing casual outfits a lot more frequently, and this sweatshirt was definitely the perfect addition to my closet! It’s so cozy and I totally adore the asymmetrical neckline and the thumb holes.

Sweatshirt: Mossimo Supply Co.

Pants: Old Navy Active {Similar here}

Sneakers: Nike {Similar here}

Beanie: Accesory Depot {Similar here}

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I love beanies for the fall and winter, and gray is a perfect neutral to match with most of my wardrobe!

Gray Turtleneck

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My mom has been begging me to wear turtlenecks for ages, but I always refused, so I think she was floored when I asked her to buy me one! I love this color so so much and the silhouette is really versatile!

Turtleneck: Mossimo Supply Co.

Skirt: Mossimo {Similar here}

Necklace: Full Tilt {Similar here}

Shoes: Steve Madden {Similar here}

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The beauty of buying plain shirts is that I can easily pair them with eye-grabbing printed bottoms.

Maroon Button-Front Skirt

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Button-front skirts have been super trendy right now, so I had to get one in one of my absolute fave colors!

Skirt: Mossimo Supply Co.

Tank: Target

Jacket: Xhilaration {Similar here}

Booties: GC Shoes

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I love wearing graphic tees and tanks because they let you show your personality. Star Wars is one of my favorite movie franchises, and I grew up watching those films.

Plaid Blanket Scarf

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I love the colors of this scarf, they’re perfect for fall!

Tunic: Notations Woman (thrifted) {Similar here}

Leggings: Old Navy {Similar here}

Scarf: Accesory Depot {Similar here}

Booties: GC Shoes

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My scarf obsession is definitely showing! I love that this scarf can be worn in so many ways and can be used as a blanket. Cute and practical!

Century 21

Square Neck Mixed Media Sheath Dress

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The high-contrast colors on this dress make it eye-catching, but the silhouette is still classy and sleek. Pefect for my upcoming trip to DC!

Dress: JAX

Pumps: Fioni {Simiar here}

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You caught me! Way too in love with my shoes… Love that these pumps go with basically everything in my closet.

JAX Side Lace Scuba Dress

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I’m totally obsessed with the color of this dress. Pretty sure my hair used to match it almost perfectly…

Dress: JAX

Pumps: Fioni {Simiar here}

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This dress is so sleek and sophisticated, but the color and lace still help it to stand out.

Forever 21

Contemporary Grid Print Dress

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The graphic print of this dress it totally eye-catching. Plus, it’s super comfy and flowy, not restricting at all!

Dress: Forever 21

Booties: Steve Madden {Similar here}

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Love that little keyhole detail in the back of the dress, and the fact that I finally get to break my fave shoes out of retirement for this ensemble! It’s the little things in life…

Hope you all saw some pieces that you like or picked up some style tips. Don’t forget to let me know what you thinks!

xx,

Toni

Email: tantalizinglytasteful@gmail.com

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