Anatomy of a Fitness Photo: A Penny for your Thoughts on #MotivationMonday

Yesterday afternoon, I posted the photo above: me, in all my sweaty, rosy-faced glory, hanging from the ceiling, wrapped in the silks of the yoga hammock. This was the end of my Air Foundation class, which uses the suspended hammocks to stretch and strengthen the body, sometimes doing classic yoga poses three feet off the ground.

I can see what people see when they look at this photo. First of all, I’m hanging from the freaking ceiling. Trust me, I know how awesome that is. But I also look strong, agile, flexible. You can see how my arms are holding me up, seemingly with ease. With my toes pointed, you can see how toned my legs are. Maybe I’m not doing a full split, but my body reads like one practiced in the art of fitness.

But as I’ve written before, social media only shows a moment, a cleverly crafted, meticulously manicured moment. As much as I love this captured moment, I am prouder of the things that led me to this point and I want to show how much truly goes into a fitness moment like this.

Continue reading

Review: “Girlchild” by Tupelo Hassman

I, Casey Brown, am a self-proclaimed expert at finding new books to read. It feels like I, at this point, know all the places to look for book recommendations. There’s Pinterest and Buzzfeed and the “Customers who Bought This Also Bought” section on Amazon. There’s Instagram accounts, Twitter feeds and the What Should I Read Next website. But even as an expert finder, sometimes, the suggestions feel very repetitive.

Gone Girl. Where’d You Go, Bernadette. Beautiful Ruins. We Were Liars. Don’t get me wrong, I love any and all book suggestions (and I loved all the books I just mentioned), but it’s sometimes hard to find a something entirely new, one that hasn’t appeared on half-a-dozen “Must Read Books for your Book Club” lists. But it looks like Bustle has a surprise in store for me (in an article entitled “12 Books Everyone in Your Book Club Will Love”… who would have guessed?!) It was a little story called Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman.

Continue reading

Why I’m Glad I was a Teenager without Social Media

The other night, I was texting my best friend Madison. She told me about her new obsession, Project Runway Junior, and sent me screenshots of Instagram posts from one of her favorite contestants, a talented “cool girl” named Petyie (who, as Madison says, pulls off the name “without even an ounce of douchery”. Very high praise).

She sent me pictures of stylish garments Petyie designed, then one of her surfing effortlessly in bright blue water. We both lamented never being so cool in high school and thanked God we didn’t have to go through out adolescence with Instagram.

Continue reading

Review: “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins

I wish I could describe the kind of rush I feel when I walk into my library and see there, on the “Hot Books” shelf, a book I’ve been dying to read for a while. You know those books that everyone is reading and always tweet about how crazy the ending is, so you have FOMO and need to have that book right now before someone “accidentally” spoils it for you? Okay, maybe that’s a crazy reader thing that only I experience, but I, like everyone else, know what it’s like to want to be a part of the latest reading craze and have to wait until the opportune moment when the book is actually available at the exact time you’re in the library. So, to see The Girl on the Train sitting on the shelf by the front door, practically waiting for me, I would not be exaggerating to say I skipped with glee immediately to the check out.

Continue reading

A Letter to Myself When I Cheat my Healthy Eating

You did it. You caved. You were sitting in your car, a little angry and definitely hungry, and those snap peas sitting in your passenger seat were the least appetizing sight in the world. So, you drove down the street and got some fast food. You ate it happily enough, but now, you’re sitting there, wafting in the stale air where that greasy fast food smell still lingers, feeling bad about yourself.

Continue reading

Review: “Modern Romance” by Aziz Ansari

At this point, it’s easy to assume we have seen it all when it comes to celebrity-penned nonfiction. You have your traditional memoirs and your juicy tell-all’s. You have the newly popular strand, the comedian’s collection of essays. You even have a choose-your-own-adventure autobiography (Neil Patrick Harris, King of Doing Awesome Things). There really can’t be any other ways a celebrity can write a book, can there?

Unless you’re Aziz Ansari. Now, if you’ve seen Aziz’s stand-up specials (which if you haven’t, you really should; he has three on Netflix), you know that a good portion of his set revolves about dating in this modern age. He calls audience members up and reads the text messages through which people try to romantically connect. He hilariously recalls trying to simply meet up with a girl, and how what should have been a simple text exchange becomes a week long escapade of missed chances that ultimately ends in silence. So, when asked to write a book, instead of retelling his set and adding some additional anecdotes, Aziz paired up with a sociologist and decided to explore the science behind these romantic-encounters-gone-awry that seem to plague our generation.

Continue reading

My Favorite Books of 2015

Wow! It’s been a while since I’ve done this. It’s been so long, I had to reread my old posts to see how I usually start these things. But I decided since this is a new year (and I have some impressive down time at work), it was time to come back full-force, and as you can see, with a makeover.

To be brief, I’ve decided to change venues for my blog (moving from my four-year-old blogspot to a brand-new wordpress), because if I want to keep this going for the long haul, I want to do it on a platform that offers room to grow. I wanted this blog to mature as I have. Thus, welcome to my WordPress! Now, with that settled, onto today’s topic…

I may not have done a ton of blogging in 2015, but you know what I did do consistently? Read. Yes, I was an English-major and yes, I’ve always loved to read, but I reached record highs this year: 72 books this year! I haven’t read that many books since 2008 (which I know since I’ve kept track of every book I’ve read since 2005). And not only did I read a lot, but I read good books — books with interesting premises, complex characters, sentences that made me sigh with envy. If only I had thought to put those words in that order! 

As an avid reader, I find myself constantly asked for book recommendations. What have I read? What might so-and-so like? So, I have compiled a list of my favorite books I’ve read this year, with hopes that maybe you’ll find another book to add to your undoubtedly long must-read list.

Continue reading