It takes a gym girl to know one, and lately I’ve been noticing a good friend of mine looking fierce on Instagram. Yes, even more fierce than the side pony I rocked last week at Crunch, but because of a common … Continue reading
Tag Archives: Inspiration
One Year, Three Pounds, Countless New Friends
Around this time last year, I revealed to you all how much I weigh, and celebrated the fact that I was ringing in another year of life 15 pounds of muscle richer. This year I celebrated my birthday three pounds … Continue reading
My name is Brianna, and I want to do social media for the Foo Fighters.
“Go to the fucking yard sale, buy a fucking guitar, start a band with your fucking friends, get in the garage and fucking suck and work on it until you fucking make great music, and become the biggest band in the world.”
If the Foo Fighters have taught me anything, it’s that if you want something, you have to get off your butt and do something about it. So this is me doing just that.
I got out my computer, wrote a cover song, asked some friends to help me record it, and shot and edited this video.
As one of the biggest rock bands in the world, it’s very possible Foo Fighters already has a social media team in place, but the opportunity to be a part of it would be the best thing ever. I could contribute a whole lot of experience, and am fully aware of the amazing chance to learn from the pros.
For anyone reading this, all of your time, consideration, shares, likes, and retweets are very much appreciated. I know that #HireBrianna can only be successful if a bunch of people join in on the fun, so thanks for helping me make this a thing!
You guys rock.
If you decide to tweet out the video, you could just copy and paste the below tweet:
Hey, @foofighters… It’s time to hire @lil_conqueror! #HireBrianna http://bit.ly/1OMJw7x
ORRRR feel free to write your own, including:
-the video link (http://bit.ly/1OMJw7x)
A Chat with Katie Quinn AKA The Food World’s Next Star
You’ve seen epicurean extraordinaire Katie Quinn on Today Show, The Meredith Vieria Show, covering Sundance, and more, and now is your chance to get to know this amazing lady a little better.
I met Katie way back when in the NBC Page Program, and she’s gone on to strut her stuff as a seriously inspiring self-starter, covering all things food. Her passion for the food world and drool-worthy YouTube Channel had me all kinds of curious, so I caught up with Katie to pick her brain about cooking, traveling the world, and how she made the brave decision to take her career into her own hands. Bon Appetit!
After working for larger companies like the Today Show, Serious Eats, and NowThis News, how did you make the brave decision to go into business for yourself?
It was, indeed, a tough decision. A saying I kept in mind throughout the whole process was “Leap, and the net will appear.” I’ve found it to be outstandingly true. Here’s what happened for me: I was offered a staff position at a big network and going through the whole interview process, I completely intended on accepting the offer. Once the offer was made, though, I had a crisis: I did not have that feeling of excitement that you should really have when diving into a new position. I immediately knew why: I had to give myself a chance to make it on my own, for my own brand. It was a hard decision to make, but as soon as I made it, I knew it was the right thing. My heart was smiling. And it was time to hustle to make it work.
For many people, self-employment equals Netflix and sleeping in, but you post videos on your YouTube page twice a week, in addition to a ton of other amazing content. How do you stay on track, and what is your day to day workflow?
This question makes me laugh. For anyone who knows me personally, they know that I’m entirely too Type A for the pitfalls of self-employment to be much of an issue. Even in college, I was bordering on being the stereotypical obnoxious achiever. I think it’s probably just a personality thing. I’m a morning person, so I usually wake up with the sun. I do set a schedule for my days, which helps me organize the different projects I have and allows me keep my YouTube videos a priority–even though they are not the most profitable part of my work.
Where does your love of food come from? What are some of the specific meals or dishes that inspired you to work with it full time?
I love this question! My love of food is inspired by the incredible variety of dishes that exists all around the world and the fascinating characters who make them. When I worked backstage at the TODAY show, I would get as excited about Thomas Keller coming on the show as other people would get about Kim Kardashian being a guest. Every morning, I hung around the TODAY kitchen set and would interview as many chefs as I could. Their stories and their passion is what wrapped me into the food world. So my love of food is less focused on a specific dish, but rather embellished by a good story, or an interesting person behind the dish.
I can’t help but notice the global feel of your recipes, which are no doubt a result of all your travels. What are some of the places you’ve traveled, and which ones have inspired your cooking the most?
Yes! Travel is SO inspiring, for so many reasons, but especially when it comes to food. Peru and China have had the greatest impact on the way I look at spices, at which parts of the animal can be eating, and at the eating ritual.
A lot of people reading are city dwellers, who maybe don’t have the time or resources to make extravagant meals. What are some staples you recommend keeping on hand to avoid a steady diet of Seamless and Chinese Food?
Lentil soup or a stew where you can just use up the variety of things in your fridge. Pasta tossed with sautéed veggies (whatever kind of veggies you like or have on hand). You can swap out the pasta for rice, quinoa, or any other grain. Put a fried egg on top–and you’re golden.
In this video, you call YouTube your “metaphorical table” to gather and talk about food. If you could sit down at a real life table with three people from the food world, who would they be?
Holy moly, I love this question. I’ve never considered it before. Off the top of my head I’m going to say: Ina Garten, David Chang, Anthony Bourdain.
Meet Peter Rosch, Author of “But I Love You”
I’ve been lucky enough to be beach-bound for a good part of the summer, which means I’ve also been lucky enough to catch up on some killer books. The standout so far has been “But I Love You” by Peter Rosch. Peter burst onto the scene with his first novel “My Dead Friend Sarah“, and in his second, he dives into the dark side of Manhattan’s elite — think “Millionaire Matchmaker” meets “The Wire” — and the result is a thought-provoking page turner that you simply can’t put down.
I stole some time with Peter to get the deets on “But I Love You”, and pick his brain about how it came to be. If you like “Behind the Music”, get ready to go “Behind the Book”. Then, click here to buy a copy for yourself and all of your closest friends.
“But I Love You” is told from the point of view of a variety of characters both male and female, who come from all walks of life. How did you approach writing roles that were nothing like you, and so different from each other?
First, I’m glad that you think the characters are nothing like me. I wish that were true. More accurately, I’d say they are nothing like the person I choose to be though. The selfish behavior of these characters is likely my own, but done up on steroids. And, let’s be honest, there’s no real shortage of self-seeking subjects in the world for us to observe. I write a book to serve a selfish need to be heard, you write a blog to fill some personal need, and that’s fine. That’s what creative people should do. I guess it becomes problematic if we dwell in our own filth of at-all-cost desires for too long. So, my own despicable thoughts coupled with half a lifetime of various introductions to loathsome characters (real or imagined) was there to draw upon. I’ll admit, there were times that I left my writing room feeling disgusted with every player, and thus with myself. It was occasionally unsettling. The personal challenge I had in mind before beginning was to create realistically disturbing self-centered sociopaths that we can all relate to, and at times empathize with. Then wrap that up in a love story, because what’s more selfish than wanting to possess the attention of another human who makes us feel good about ourselves? Love (or a crush) is always a good place to go if you are looking for a true-to-life start to something that can become disturbing and violent, happens all the time.
The book dips into many worlds — S&M, mental illness, substance abuse, drug dens, and crime — all centered around a Millionaire Matchmaker-esque corporation. What kind of research did you do to portray these worlds so well?
I spent nearly two years trying to launch a single’s connection app with a friend six or so years ago, and during that time she and I (mostly she) performed an enormous amount of research on the dating world. Hooking people up with people is a lucrative business, always has been, and I met a lot of “entrepreneurs” trying to capitalize on the many quick bucks there was to be made by infusing technology into the dating equation. Truthfully, my partner was in love with love—she was in it for the idea of love. She was ahead of the curve with the idea, I’ve got to give her props on that. I’d say my interest was a bit more on the potential windfall of riches that never materialized. Even so, I’d not count myself as one of the gaggle of abhorrent folks we encountered (even if I was). The other themes… I was a bit nervous about writing a second book that included substance abuse issues, but ultimately I came to feel that addiction, alcoholism, and mental illness were integral. Both are as common as shoes in the worlds these characters inhabit. I don’t believe I’ve used them in a gimmicky fashion, or for shock value. If you were to hold a mirror to NYC, the reflections of most would at the very least include a friend, or friend of a friend, living within the construct of those crippling themes.
This book read like a film. Are there any intentions to turn it into a screenplay?
I’ve started and stopped and started and stopped adapting But I Love You many times. A friend suggested it should actually be a movie and not a book, or a movie first and then a book. I take it as a compliment. I want to write quick, exciting reads. Both my novels were written with a film-like-read in mind. I’m pretty wordy though, even in a short story, and writing a sceenplay is a different beast altogether. That said, I’ll likely keep starting and stopping, starting and stopping until someone else raises their hand.
On a more general note, how did you stay motivated to keep writing, and what are some tools you used to keep committed to the project?
My wife motivates me. Her adoration motivates me. I’ve got to earn it. I am addicted to the rush of writing books for my wife who I believe is my biggest fan. On a more procedural tip, sadly, I often use cigarettes as a reward system to plow through pages. “Do five pages, and then you can have a smoke!” The truth is the truth. And part of that I guess is the fact that if I don’t write, tell, or act out stories in some form I’m just not a happy person. I don’t quite understand why I feel the need to torture myself in that way. It’s very rewarding, but it is also very lonely. Uglier things keep me going too. To plagiarize: “I have a competition in me. I want no one else to succeed.” That’s Daniel Plainview from There Will Be Blood. Somehow I’ve convinced myself that I’m running neck and neck with the best writers our there, and I’m certainly not going to let them get the drop on me. Ha. I’m an ass.
How did you reward yourself when it was done?
I’m not sure that I did. I think we had a big dinner out. But the biggest reward, even if it sounds totally repugnant, is that I can now focus on my third while I try to goose notoriety around But I Love You. At a certain point, finishing a book in any form is all about getting to the next story for me. Two years is a long time to craft something, even off and on, and calling it “done” at some point is probably the biggest reward.
Describe “But I Love You” in three hashtags:
#loveisasickness #peoplesuck #itcouldhappentoyou
For more, click for my talk with Peter about his first book, “My Dead Friend Sarah”.
Friday Inspiration from a “Plus Size Princess”
In this amazing essay from CeCe Olisa, the Plus Size Princess perfectly sums up the experience of having a little extra junk in your trunk, by eloquently stating what typically goes unsaid. People have implicit judgments when they see an overweight person, and it was wonderful to see them put in such frank, accessible terms by someone who has been through it. This paragraph especially stood out:
“Big girls know that we’re big, and most of us are working on our health. I started the#PSPfit online fitness community because big girls DO work out and eat healthy. If being skinny is in the future for any of us fatties, it wont happen overnight (heck, I’ve lost 55 pounds and I’m still fat). But, in the meantime, as WE figure out what’s best for OUR bodies, I think we should be allowed to have a nice day. We should be allowed to love our bodies as they are, as we work towards being our best selves. We should be allowed to smile, laugh, dance, go on dates, and break free from the body-policing many of us have been dealing with since childhood. “
Click for Cece’s full essay at Refinery29.
Maureen swears by SoulCycle, but don’t call her a “fitness enthusiast”
The holiday weekend brought sun, fun, and a steady diet of bagels, cheese, beer, and chips, so there’s no better time for some serious fitness inspiration. In this special edition of “Skinny Girl Problems, I’m getting to the bottom of SoulCycle, with fellow Conqueror Maureen Granados. She was nice enough to talk to me about the softer side of the exercise institution, and Maureen’s story of dedication, perseverance, and getting in shape will definitely have you excited for your next workout. I know her Facebook posts always get me stoked for mine.
A lot of people’s fitness/health journey starts with an “A HA!” moment. What inspired you to get in shape?
It’s funny – I’ve never considered myself a fitness enthusiast, and still don’t…but I guess the “A HA” moment came in February 2013, when I was knee-deep in an intense work project, eating poorly out of stress and not really exercising. It wasn’t so much an “I want to get in shape” situation as much as it was “I’d like to not completely destroy my well-being over the next two months.” I knew regular exercise would be the best medicine but I was bad at self-motivating…so I also knew I needed something that would force me to show up, led by someone who would kick my ass.
Enter my old friend Bethany Lyons, who is an instructor at SoulCycle (one of the originals, in fact), who’d been trying to get me to come to her class there since the place opened. Finally, I was ready to take her up on it…and I fell in love right away! (Seriously…her class is mind-blowingly amazing. I can’t believe I’m saying that about ANY sort of exercise, but it’s true.)
What kinds of exercise are you doing?
Besides SoulCycle, I also take yoga at Bethany’s own studio (Lyons Den Power Yoga). I find that the two exercises complement each other really well, and having grown up dancing, I’ve always done best in a group exercise setting. However…recently I’ve also sloowwwwly started incorporating running back in to my fitness regime…and am kind of liking it.
Tell us about the results! What are some of the rewards of all your hard work?
Again, I’m not a fitness junkie so I don’t weigh myself or track calories burned or anything like that. I guess the best results have been those I can’t quantitatively measure: a renewed sense of self, a completely energized outlook, boosted confidence…the list goes on.
What have you found to be the key in staying motivated and dedicated to your workouts?
I think the key was finding something (or things) that I liked. It’s easy to keep coming back when it’s fun. Also, both Soul and Lyons Den foster a strong sense of community amongst their students. While it’s implied at both studios that mostly everyone is there to keep healthy and stay in shape, really what instructors at both studios emphasize – and what I find to be the attitude of many of my fellow riders/yogis – is that everyone should show up with the intention of doing their best and inspiring others to do the same. The energy this creates in each space is incredible – I will say that I have been pushed in these classes by my fellow students as much as the instructors sometimes! And, as a result, I’ve made some phenomenal new friends who not only motivate me in class, but whose support extends far beyond the bike and the mat as well.
I’ve heard Soul Cycle can be pretty intense! What about them keeps you going back?
It’s definitely not an easy workout! I love so many things about it, but most of all I love that it’s a workout for your body, mind AND spirit all at once (as cheesy as that may sound). Through Soul, I have built not only physical strength but also emotional strength through the supportive yet challenging environment created by my fellow riders and the instructors. Speaking of which: the instructors are amazing! You’ll never experience the same class twice, and there is someone for everyone. The four with whom I regularly ride are, for me, role models on and off the bike, and all play a major role in my dedication to SoulCycle. I’m very lucky to know them!
What has been your proudest fitness moment?
I surprised myself recently – I signed up for a little 5K on Long Island just to see if I could do it. I didn’t really set any goals but was just a little hopeful I could finish in 30 minutes (I’m not a runner AT ALL, so this is a good time for me)…and I ended up running it in 28 minutes and change! It was an amazing feeling to have run faster than I ever have in my life, with seemingly less effort than when I made slower times. I guess the work is paying off! 🙂
“This was taken following one of Bethany’s recent SoulCycle classes. I’m second in from the left; Bethany is next to me to my left (wearing the bandana)… We had just had an amazing class and were, simply put, just so purely happy to know each other and be in each others’ presence that morning. This photo makes me smile every time I look at it. Oh…and hopefully no one involved minds my posting a sweaty picture of them to the internet!”
30 Going on 16: How I Got to my Lowest Weight Since High School
As promised in my last Skinny Girl Problems post, I turned 30 this weekend, and I did it at my lowest weight since I was 16. Leading up to my birthday, I was set on losing 2 pounds in the last 2 weeks of my twenties, but that didn’t happen… BECAUSE I LOST THREE! It wasn’t a fluke, or due to a visit from the magic weight loss fairy, which I wish was a real thing, but rather a few minor changes that took some hard work. Here are what I believe to be the keys to my success.
MY FITNESS PAL
The first thing most nutritionists and personal trainers will tell you is to write down every thing you eat. They want you to account for every bite, every morsel, every drop of food you put in your body, so that they (and you) can see the reality of what’s going on. Back in the day, I was a HUGE advocate for the Livestrong App. It was the first thing I downloaded when I switched over to using an iPhone, but I eventually got frustrated with Livestrong’s limited capabilities (and not to mention lazy) and ultimately clicked “uninstall”.
At the suggestion of my spin teacher, who I’ll talk more about in a minute, I decided I should start logging my food again, and all signs pointed to My Fitness Pal. It had the most positive reviews, seemed to be the most user friendly, and was totally free.
After two weeks of inputting all my food, drinks, and exercise, my weight loss has been kickstarted. Turns out the little I thought I was eating turned out to be a whole lot more. Seeing the numbers in front of me has caused a decrease in my snacking, and an increase in my effort to maintain a more balanced diet. Which leads me to my next topic…
PROTEIN, PROTEIN, PROTEIN
For a whole bunch of reasons, I am a vegetarian. And because I am a vegetarian, protein is at a premium. I’ve been eating cheese all along… because, duh, it’s delicious, but few months ago, I decided to start eating eggs, greek yogurt, and milk again, especially after working out. The second I did that, my muscles started looking more like Britney at the VMA’s in 2001, and less like Britney at the VMA’s in 2007.
Aside from feeling more cut, protein has helped me feel more full and satisfied after meals. That said, getting enough of the all-powerful protein is a constant struggle. Something about the synthetic stuff rubs me the wrong way, so I’m constantly trying to sneak it into every meal through greens, beans, and nuts. But if any of you have any suggestions of foods I could be eating, please please PLEASE leave them in the comments section!
My one year Crunch-iversary is only a few days away, and is what got this whole thing started. If you’re going to join a gym, join this one. It’s affordable, memberships are month to month, the classes are out of control good, every machine is top of the line, they have Bliss products in the locker room, and it’s SO CLEAN!
Crunch is full of helpful, friendly rock stars who make the whole experience of the gym a great one, but I have to give a shout out to the people that have been clutch in my time there. First off, Liz Barkan might just be the best spin teacher in New York City. She’s so good that I wake my butt up every Saturday morning for her 9:15am class. Second, Angel Ortiz is a miracle worker. His cardio tai box class, which incorporates high intensity interval training, makes you feel like a badass and has helped me go down a size. Finally, I start most of my workouts with a high five from Wesley, who works at the front desk at the 38th street location. He is possibly the most friendly and helpful person I’ve ever met, and saying hi to him has become one of the highlights of my workout.
BATHING SUIT SEASON
I’ll be spending most of July at the beach, and being able to rock these new purchases has been a huge source of inspiration.
Victoria’s Secret // H&M // Old Navy
I still have ten more pounds I’d like to lose, and would love to hear about YOUR weight loss journey! Can’t wait to read your comments below!
Ed Sheeran on Green Day
Ed Sheeran talks about his first time at Wembley back in 2002. Who knew he was a closet Green Day fan?!
Taken from MTV’s “Nine Days and Nine Nights of Ed Sheeran”. Here’s another funny bit that came along with that special:
Katie Fisher Day
Something REALLY special is happening next week, and I urge each and every one of you to take part!
Comedian, actor, and all-around awesome dude Matt Fisher lost his sister last year, and has coined MARCH 12th as KATIE FISHER DAY in her honor. All Matt wants people to do, as stated on the official KATIE FISHER DAY WEBSITE, is:
Step 1: Pick someone you love.
Step 2: Bake them cookies.
Step 3: Send those cookies.
It is that simple.
I 100% plan on participating and hope you all will too! And if you do, feel free to tweet pics at me and def share them on the official KATIE FISHER DAY WEBSITE at THIS LINK.