Taurus Season: Meet me as told by the Sun + Stars.

It’s that time of year. This Friday, April 20th, we’ll be entering Taurus Season!

Before this year, I didn’t know much about astrology, except some basics about my sign and the occasional horoscope from Refinery29 or Cosmopolitan telling me what to expect each week. I’ve never been skeptical of the powers that the moon, stars, and sun have on us, but I had never dug deep into my specific birth chart or felt a need to. Some of my closest friends are very interested in astrology however, and it’s inspired me to learn more about my sign and how it all aligns.

Here are some general Taurus basics (via Astrology & Spirituality):

  • Taurus is a feminine Earth Sign.
  • An Earth sign is known to use their senses (touch, smell, see, taste, and hear) to understand the world around them — a practical outlook, so to speak.
  • The Taurus symbol is the bull, signifying stubbornness.
  • A Taurus will generally long for love + security.
  • Taurus is ruled by Venus, the goddess of love, which makes us passionate + sensual beings.

Additionally, Taurus’ are known to be loyal, practical, and responsible. The Earth sign signifies someone who is generally grounded and has a realistic perspective. If you know me at all, you know this is right on track.

Here are some more specific tidbits on my personal birth chart, which is based on my date, time, and location of birth:

  • Rising Sun (the way others see you): Taurus
  • Sun (our core, home base): Taurus
  • Moon (emotional center): Scorpio
  • Mercury (how one communicates, and how you think + process information): Gemini
  • Venus (how you view relationships, love): Aries
  • Mars (our aggressive instincts + drive): Leo
  • Jupiter (the way to prosperity, growth): Sagittarius
  • Saturn (our responsibilities + commitments): Pisces
  • N. Node (your life purpose): Scorpio

Though for many of you, this all means nothing and I’ve only confused you, I’ll point out just a few interesting points from the list above.

The ways others see me, and at my core, I am a Taurus. My best friends (those who follow astrology closely) can vouch for this. I try to be a voice of reason when situations get rocky, I’m straight forward, organized, and very stubborn. I also love love, and find comfort in passionate and emotional relationships.

My moon, or emotional state, is very intense. “Your moods are deep, extreme and not always completely understood by yourself or by those with whom you have to deal.” True that.

My Mercury, or the way I communicate, says that “You are every restless and you get bored easily. Your mind is active, quick, and agile. You also love to travel.” Bingo. I love communicating and educating myself on things like current events and different cultures. I was a Journalism major and love traveling. A lot. 

If you know me and relationships, you know my Venus sign is on point. I am affectionate, but don’t want to be tied down. Though when my sights are set on someone, I will pursue passionately. This usually ends in heartbreak, but the heart wants what it wants.

My Mars sign, or my drive, is indicative of my strength and courageousness. “When people expect a lot of you, you respond positively and will work hard in order to maintain their respect.”

My Jupiter is described as “You are widely read and may also be widely traveled because you are sincerely interested in expanding your knowledge of the world.. you have a strong sense of ethics and morality.” I can only hope that to be true.

You can check out my detailed chart below: Screen Shot 2018-04-18 at 11.54.40 AM.png

There you have it! Just a little look into what makes me, me according to the sun and the stars. I highly recommend looking into your astrological birth chart if you never have to see yourself from a different and starry perspective. You can generate your own chart here: https://alabe.com/freechart/

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Accepting balance (+ defeat).

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m back on a semi-strict Paleo kick! Almost two weeks in, and so far so good! Besides a couple cheats since I’ve been back at it, I’ve been doing a pretty good job of eating right, staying on track, and turning down cookies at the office.

My main goal moving into this personal challenge was to make Paleo the foundation of my everyday diet, but also not restrict myself for special occasions, or a weekly cheat if I desire. They do say that balance is everything, and they are right. Here is a peek into some of what I do to keep my eating in check:

  • The most important part of Paleo for me is the emphasis on no dairy or grains like bread, rice, and even quinoa. Personally, simply cutting out these two categories makes a tremendous difference in my health. This makes some meals difficult, but I try my best to make it work (subbing almond milk for any drink that would normally require dairy for one, and I just don’t even look at a sandwich menu — there’s no way around that).
  • Ah, the meal prep. Though I’m not an Instagram famous fitness star and meal prepping guru, I do like to use my Sundays for grocery shopping and cooking meals for the week. My go-to’s are salmon and chicken, veggies like zucchini, asparagus, broccolini, carrots, and butternut squash, and yummy stir-frys with sweet potato noodles, shredded chicken, and any vegetable you desire. I set aside ingredients like spinach, tomatoes, chicken sausage, and mushroom for egg scrambles in the mornings. The options are really endless.
  • Packing smart is crucial. Working in an office all day is detrimental to one’s health. Whether it’s sitting for hours, eating out at all the yummy shops nearby, or staring at a computer screen all day, it’s difficult to stay on track. Packing healthy snacks to eat throughout the day is a great way to keep your Paleo kick going strong. A look into my lunch bag today: salmon, zucchini, and sweet potatoes, a banana, two mandarins, and a fruit bar from Trader Joe’s (the only ingredients are literally apples and coconuts #paleo). Other go to snacks are sliced apples, carrots, or a handful of almonds.
  • Keeping a food log is probably the easiest way to hold yourself accountable. During the week, I make sure to write down everything I’m eating starting from my morning coffee, to a piece of fruit before bed. Though I don’t track calories, it’s an easy way for me to remind myself of what I’m putting into my body. I try to lay off the food log on the weekends, mostly because I’m lazy, but also as a reminder that it’s okay to treat myself.
  • And it’s okay to cheat — truly. After 6 days of Paleo, I ate taquitos at 1 am. I felt pretty gross after, but I woke up the next day, went to the gym, and carried on with my day as I regularly would. Those taquitos didn’t ruin any process I made, a simple reminder that balance is important. On Sunday, my salad had goat cheese in it. I’m still alive. Today, my boss brought cupcakes to work for his birthday. I ate one. And yet, I’m still feeling great. Writing the cupcake down in the food log isn’t fun, but it actually gave me extra motivation to eat clean for the rest of the day, and extend my workout tonight.

Accepting that balance is critical to being happy is the first step. Accepting that defeat is natural and totally okay, is the second. Completely cutting out a majority of the food around you is not easy (I miss sushi — a lot), but doing so unwillingly will lead to bingeing and an overall unhealthy relationship with food. So yes, I had a cupcake today. And I’ll probably have fries at a baseball game this weekend. I remind myself that enjoying myself is loving myself, and as long as the foundation of my diet is whole and healthy throughout the week, I don’t have to feel bad if I stray here and there.

That’s the kind of cheating I’ll get behind.

Begin again.

I lost my footing. Sometimes distractions come into your life, you find different priorities, or you just lose motivation. It was a goal of mine to blog weekly throughout the year, but I’ve been MIA for the last 6 weeks or so.

A lot has happened.

My heart’s strings were pulled, I escaped town a few times with my best friends, additional expenses popped up that created stress, I had to say a difficult goodbye. But that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

It’s okay to fall off track. It’s okay to screw up your diet and not workout as much. It’s okay to spend too much money and make mistakes. It’s okay to fall for someone, even if you know you’ll be heartbroken in the end. And one thing is for sure — everyday is a new chance to start fresh. It doesn’t have to be January 1st or your birthday to set new goals and achieve them. You can begin again.

I’ve decided to make April a fresh start: back on paleo, back to a consistent workout routine, and back to writing. I’m looking forward to doing what’s best for me, working on myself, my health, and being a boss bitch. With a little over a month until my birthday, I want to close out 22 with a bang.

I have a good feeling about the next few months… besides, Taurus season is only a few weeks away. 😈🔮💫

In the meantime, stay up to date with me on my Instagram, @kassferrante. 

Branding Hack: EASIL

Working at a digital agency for the last 9 months has sparked my creativity and has taught me so much about the ins and outs of branding and marketing. Though my team leaves the branding to our immensely talented designers upstairs, we in the social department rely on brand books + standards to create simple, but effective graphics for our clients. Though I cherish any opportunity to learn new skills, indesign and photoshop can be super complicated for those of us without a degree in graphic design. And unfortunately, our designers don’t have the time to make several day to day graphics for us, so we try our best to create the best content we can.

A few days ago, our social team came across Easil, a site that offers thousands of graphic templates that are customizable for your brand(s). We are obsessed. The site is super easy to use, and helps us create unique graphics that are on brand, and look professionally made. It adds a variety of content to our client’s feeds, which is crucial when trying to spark engagement and grow following. Here’s a peek at some of the Instagram templates Easil has to offer:

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Digital media fiends, what do you use to make content like this for your clients? Let me know!

The Post Paleo Binge — A Comeback Story

Like many, I had set aside some goals for 2018 at the New Year. One of my goals was to take a stab at the Paleo diet through my trip to D.C. on January 26th.  For 26 days I said no to bread, cheese, sweets, and more. For those who aren’t familiar with the Paleo diet, you can find a great overview here. I tried Paleo my senior year of high school as my “lenten sacrifice” and lost weight at the time. Since then, it’s been nearly impossible. As a broke college student, Paleo isn’t feasible — it’s expensive and requires time to prep food and/or cook regularly. Luckily, I’m in a position where I can execute paleo pretty well, as long as my willpower stays intact.

The great news is I completed my goal! In those 26 days, I lost 9-10 lbs and felt a dramatic difference in my health and body.

Here’s the bad news: Obviously, upon arriving to D.C. having completed my goal, I didn’t restrict myself on eating and went 4 days without working out. I went to brunch, we drank, we had bagels, and chips, and late-night mozzarella sticks. It was a fun, drunk weekend and everyone indulged. I don’t regret a thing, because I know I deserved that one weekend to be carefree. This is what I call the “post-paleo binge”. That being said, I felt horrible once I returned back home. My stomach did not readjust well to the dairy and grains, and I was bloated for days. I hopped on the scale after the weekend and I was mortified. I was quickly motivated to get back into my paleo groove and gym routine.

After about 4-5 days of getting back into the swing of things, I started to feel better, and my weight was back down to where it was pre-D.C. — proof that one bad weekend won’t destroy you. The bloating, retained water, and trouble digesting had passed naturally. I call this the “comeback”. Unfortunately, this past weekend was another crazy one with my friend moving into town and the Super Bowl. Everyone around me was eating all day, and the bingeing was contagious (mostly the 7-layer bean dip and hint of lime Tostitos). This morning I hopped on the scale, and again, was mortified.

The important thing to remember is these few cheat days can’t undo a month’s worth of progress. There is a reason that my body feels sick after weekends like this — it’s been happy with what I’ve putting into it on paleo! Vegetables, meat, fish, and fruit are things that your body wants and needs to work at its best. I know after a few days of eating well and working out, the bloating will go down and I’ll be feeling much better and back to a good place (At least I hope so — I’m heading to Vegas in 10 days!).

That being said, moving forward I plan on continuing paleo the best that I can, without completely restricting myself. All of my groceries and cooking at home will be paleo, but if someone brings donuts to work… don’t count me out.

STAY TUNED FOR MORE UPDATES ON MY PALEO JOURNEY!

 

Bottomless + Bagels, A Weekend To Remember

I am still on a high from my trip to D.C. last weekend! I had an amazing time catching up with some of my best friends from my year abroad. Since I’ve been to D.C. a few times already, the main purpose of this trip was to hang out with my friends and make memories. And yes, that included a lot of mimosas + cocktails.

I’m not quite sure how I survived, but between the lack of sleep the night before and a redeye flight into Washington D.C., I was up for roughly 40 hours (seems appropriate, we pulled many sleepless, 48-hour weekends while we were in Europe). But with the adrenaline kicked in, some lovely people by my side, and bottomless bellini’s, I pushed through. By the end of my trip, we labeled it as the “shortest, but longest weekend ever.”

As soon as I landed, I freshened up and met the entire crew for bottomless brunch and then a local rooftop beer garden (Oktoberfest vibes for sure). We rallied for most of the day, and it was a blast. After that, we took a short break, grabbed some food, blasted Drake, and got ready to go back out for the night (now THAT was a rally). The next morning, we got bagels (no trip to the East Coast is complete without bagels) and said goodbye to Mike & Greg as they headed back to Jersey. Emily, Michelle, and I rested almost all day, and then went out to celebrate Emily’s birthday with some of their local friends at a brewery.

On Monday morning, I said so long to Em + Michelle and had a couple hours to kill before I had to catch my flight back home. Though I’ve been to D.C. before and have seen all the monuments, I decided to take a walk around. I started at the Capitol Building and walked all the way down to Lincoln Memorial (not close), walked by the White House, and grabbed lunch at sweetgreen (okay, this exists in California, but not in San Diego and it’s a must.)

Washington D.C. has been one of my favorite cities since my first experience there in 2013. With my love of news + politics, it’s a no-brainer (it’s also gorgeous — see above). And despite the times we’re in, I find the city to be magical. The Capitol Building, Lincoln Memorial, the National Mall — these are beautiful and important places that carry so much history. I was interested to see the political climate in D.C., especially since some of my friends work in government. We have so many varied opinions within our own circle, but it was a genuine reminder that at the end of the day, our generation all wants the same thing — a happy America.

My trip was a few days shy of the State of the Union address, but there was definitely an eerie calm before the storm at the Capitol. Regardless, the state of the union may suck, but at least my trip was one for the books. Until next time, D.C.!

 

SIDE NOTE: Mike (seen above) is moving out to San Diego tomorrow! I’m so excited to have a piece of this family out in California. I’ve recruited one, now I just have 4 more. Stay tuned for the wild shenanigans to come.

BRB | D.C. Bound.

Everyone gets excited for trips to see their friends, but I’m having trouble containing my excitement for my weekend trip to Washington D.C. (*currently spazzing out at my desk at work*). I will finally be reuniting with my best friends from my trip abroad in Rome. They were my rocks for four months, and most of my greatest memories from that trip included all of them. After 2.5 years, I couldn’t be happier to reunite. (Click here for a recap on my time abroad in 2015 if you haven’t! — Shameless plug.)

My heart is so FULL that I will be seeing the other 5/6 of my crew. On top of that, I’ll be back in D.C. for the third time. I absolutely adore that city and am so excited to return. With so much happening in the nation’s capital, I know it will be a unique social climate to experience. Yet something tells me I’ll be keeping the news off this weekend (I’ll be too busy with my bottomless mimosas).

Stay tuned for a recap of my trip next week. Until then, so long!

 

Friend Of Some Pods

I’ve never been a fan of podcasts. I was never able to sit and listen to people talk without being able to jump into the conversation (I’m a talker, if you haven’t heard). I have, however, loosened up a bit. I now have a few podcasts that I am obsessed with.

The first few are from Crooked Media.

Pod Save America, Pod Save the World, and Lovett or Leave It tend to take up most of my pod-listening time. If you like politics (real, complicated politics) and you like to laugh, this is for you. The hosts, which include former Obama senior advisors and a comedian, make the content understandable, and downright funny. Sitting on the left side of things, these podcasts are great for any liberal news junkie. You’ll soon describe yourself as a Friend of the Pod and wear a cute hat to match (me, I’m talking about me).

Next: Lady Lovin’.

I accidentally came across this via Lo Bosworth’s Instagram post (I guess it wasn’t an incident — she is a host after all), but I had never noticed it before. This all-ladies podcast is a refreshing and hysterical take on life, dating, and sex. Lots of sex. I love hearing young women talk freely about their lives, share their experiences, and laugh at each other’s stories. It’s refreshing to hear these women who are a few years my senior talk about their past relationships and sex lives, because I find myself going through all of this now, asking similar questions. Plus, it makes me appreciate the girls in my life even more — we’re badasses and cool as fuck. 

Last, but not least: Guys We F****d.

Yeah, you read that right. Krystyna Hutchinson and Corinne Fisher take listeners on a vulgar and wild ride about sex and guys and other inappropriate topics. It’s awesome. They pride themselves on creating an environment where women can be free and do whatever they want with their body, with anyone they want, and it shouldn’t be anyone else’s business. Warning: lots of expletives and you will laugh.

So if you’re anything like me (a liberal, strong woman who loves politics and hearing other women talk about their sex lives), then give these podcasts a try! I’m challenging myself to listen to new genres and find new content, so stay tuned!

Order Your Own Wine | My Thoughts On Aziz Ansari

If you read my last post, you know that I have been confused as to where I stand on the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements (at least on certain kinds of allegations). Soon after, Aziz Ansari was accused of sexual assault by a woman named Grace (a pseudonym). She shared her story with Babe.com. Read the story here, as I will be referencing details below.

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As soon as I read the article, I found myself to be, for lack of a better word, annoyed at the situation. Of course, I feel horrible for this young woman who felt uncomfortable. Being in a sexual situation that you’d rather not be in is the worst feeling. And I’ve definitely been there. However, I don’t think Ansari is a criminal, or creepy, or a pillar of toxic masculinity. Sure, he may have come across as a bit aggressive (a horny man — who knew?), but he should not be held to the responsibility of following “non verbal” cues (yeah, I don’t know what that is either). After Grace willingly performed oral sex on him, he probably, I don’t know, thought she was into everything they were doing. Wild.

SIDE NOTE: In the Babe article, she describes that Ansari ordered white wine at dinner. She prefers red, but apparently didn’t get to choose. This small detail that may be overlooked by many was included for a reason. Hints like this are somehow supposed to make us feel bad for Grace from the start, because she didn’t ask for red wine. A modern day tragedy.

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I get a lot of crap for watching The View, but their commentary on these allegations was just what I needed to hear to know that I am not alone with my confused and mixed feelings on the topic. I almost never agree with Meghan McCain, but she seems to feel the same way I do. We don’t want to shame Grace — no woman should feel uncomfortable in such a vulnerable situation — but something just isn’t quite right with this story. At the end of the day, this case is not sexual assault. Yes, Ansari probably could have taken things a little slower, but from her own account, Grace didn’t attempt to stop it outright. Consent should be a very clear, both visually and verbally, two-way street.

In my opinion, it is allegations like these that demean and are detrimental to the importance of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. Furthermore, it takes away from the tragic stories of men and women who are brutally sexually assaulted and raped. Sorry Grace, not sure if this one cuts it. (In addition, entertainer’s careers are on the line. Aziz Ansari is not Harvey Weinstein, and should be compared as such.)

Watch the segment here.

Today, CNN released an op-ed on the issue. Just like The View segment, the editorial shows that I am not alone in my view. The writer, Lucia Brawley does not question Grace’s agency, though asks that women like her use it. “If your date is being creepy, let him know, get out of Dodge, and be sure you teach your sons better one day,” she says. Grace confronted Ansari over text the next day (this happened a year ago), to which he quickly apologized, noting that it all seemed consensual. It was.

We CANNOT blame men whenever a date or sexual encounter doesn’t go our way.
We CANNOT frame ourselves as victims whenever we didn’t make the right choice.
We MUST be true to ourselves, but also to others.

Brawley says, “Let us teach our daughters that sexuality is healthy. They should be clear and safe if they want to have sex, and clear and safe if they don’t.”

It is up to us, the women of the modern world, to stand up for ourselves. Grace could have left after dinner, she could have said no to going to his apartment, she could have called an Uber and left on her terms. She could have. Now I’ll be honest, it is hard to say no. You don’t want to embarrass yourself, you don’t want to be labeled as a prude, or lame. Maybe you’re scared he’ll never talk to you again. The important thing we need to take away from this is to know yourself, know your boundaries, and learn to do what’s right for you. That includes ordering your own wine, too.

Read the article here and decide for yourself. Let me know your thoughts below!

My Thoughts | Time’s Up

What a time to be a woman. We’ve all had time to soak in the #MeToo movement, allegation after allegation, and most recently, the “Time’s Up” movement which was centerstage at the 2018 Golden Globes last weekend. My conclusion? I have never been prouder to be a woman. 

Yes, at moments I thought the Golden Globes were overkill, but I reminded myself that the message was too important to ignore. In reflecting post-award show and taking in endless discussion on the topic, I realized that my attitude towards these movements is due to privilege — the privilege of not being a victim.

How so? I found the #MeToo movement to be inspiring. I know young women and men who were abused at a young age or as an adult. Though I’ve experienced cat-calling and crude comments, I’ve never considered myself a victim. Rather, I have always swept less than gentleman-like experiences under the rug because of my “boys will be boys” mentality. So as I was watching the Golden Globes with comments from women in the room such as “okay seriously, we get it”, I realized that our views on the topic are skewed because we could not understand first-hand the damage and trauma that comes with sexual abuse and harassment. We understand it, we support it, we will fight for it, and somehow, we were the lucky ones that haven’t had to experience it. 

I’ve been circling back and forth on this topic for days. At moments, I feel empowered to help make change, and other times I’m tired of the absolute demise of men (because good ones still exist). Am I insensitive to the issue? I’m still trying to figure that out. 

I am so proud to be witnessing this monumental era in history. The Time’s Up movement shows that women will resist and fight for what they deserve — whether that’s equal pay in the workplace, equal opportunity, gender equality in healthcare and voting rights, the list goes on and on. Women are urged to speak up, publicly call out harassers, and speak their truth.

Which brings me to my next point… What if “your” truth isn’t always the truth? In the last few days, there have been several allegations against James Franco after he won Best Actor in a Comedy / Musical at the Golden Globes, proudly showing off his “Time’s Up” pin. Allegations included forcing young actresses to go topless in films for $100, based on a contract they did sign, or Franco being aggressive towards a young woman in his car, urging oral sex. (DISCLAIMER: here comes the possible insensitivity). As a young woman (who is not in the entertainment industry) with particularly liberal ideals when it comes to sex, I find this accusations to be a plea of attention and demise. Let me be clear — I obviously don’t know the truth and neither do you. I’m not ruling out Franco’s actions, nor am I dismissing them. I’m not saying that these young women are lying. Yet, my thoughts can’t get past: don’t sign a contract to do a topless scene for $100 if you don’t want to. And don’t get in a car with James Franco if he makes you uncomfortable, and if he does, get out. 

Of course, this is easy for me to say, the privileged one remember? The argument is that as young actresses, these women had no other options. With no money or job opportunities on the horizon, they couldn’t simply turn their backs to Franco, a brilliant artist. Which proves male dominance in the entertainment industry and corporate world. A real thing that once again, I have not experienced for myself. I understand that it exists, I think it needs to change, I will fight for it, but I have never had to experience it. 

I’m continuing to learn about these issues, just like all of you. You can start by learning more about how to support the new legal defense fund against sexual harassment. According to Girlboss, “the fund has already received $14 million in donations”. We can all make a difference for a young woman who needs help and support.

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I am a proud woman in this movement, and at the end of the day, I will support other women in their words and actions, as we fight for a brighter and better tomorrow. Am I truly an insensitive person? I don’t think so. I have a perspective that is shaped by my own my life, my environment, and most importantly, by the men I have interacted with in my life. Some women are naturally stronger, some women have to find it deep within (trust me ladies, it’s there). Some women will speak out right away, and some are scared, needing support and encouragement. That’s okay too.

Guys, you’re not all bad. As a friendly reminder to any man reading this, we’re not out to get you. In fact, we want you on our team. I hope that all the women taking part in the Time’s Up fight remembers that too. Women, stand up for women. Let’s be kind to each other, let’s fight for each other, and let’s kick some ass.

Visit the official website of the Time’s Up Movement here: https://www.timesupnow.com/

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This is an opinion piece. Any feedback is greatly appreciated.