Why I Started Using a Disposable Camera

I was looking through my dad’s high school photos, and I found myself wanting to cry.

Things are a lot different now, and that’s an understatement. It’s so easy to get caught up in the digital world, and I’m one of those people who like to preserve the simplicity and genuineness of things. You can’t exactly get simplicity and genuineness in a smartphone-taken photo. And I will tell you why.

When you take a photo using a smartphone, you perhaps take a couple. Okay, more than a couple. Probably ten or so. And then what do you do? You go through it, pick the best one, and then proceed to add a gazillion filters to it. We are at an age where we crave perfection for our photos. We crave perfection in general. And why? Usually so you can post it on some type of social media, because these days we must all feel the need to “share” or have “people see it” otherwise, it seems like it never happened.

Pretty sad. Because it did happen. And the flaws shouldn’t be erased. In my dad’s high school photos, there were many flaws. The photo wasn’t centered, and he wasn’t even looking at the camera.

But there was still something about it that touched my heart, that made me feel like I was right there with him in that single moment.

See, that’s the thing. It was a single moment. One genuine, real moment. Captured in one take. There were no filters, no edits, no nothing. Everything true about the moment was encapsulated in that one photo. Ah. The beauty of a one take.

Now, of course, in this artificial world some may not care about how genuine a photo or a moment is. But I don’t think it’s so wrong to strive for the more real things in life, because all of us can get so lost in a world where we don’t even know what’s true anymore. That isn’t to say that I’m going to quit using my iPhone camera forever and carry disposables around everywhere I go. But, I do believe in a balance and this is an experiment I find worth trying. Polaroid cameras also do the trick, and I guess are even better since they’re so hyped right now. I don’t have that kind of money however, so I’m going to stick to my five dollar camera from Walgreens for now.

MOVIES: About Last Night…

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Let me start off by saying that I simply cannot stop thinking about this movie and that may or may not be a bad thing.

It’s a Sunday night, a little bit after twelve. Not in the mood to go to sleep yet, I once again was in a deep predicament as to which movie I should watch to pass the time. I wanted something…different. Something that would boost my already sullen mood. Something that would make me think. Leave an impact.

Then, I suddenly come across About Last Night (1986) on some IMBD recommendations. But the plot wasn’t what caught my eye. While reading it I was reminded of Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher’s No Strings Attached (another favorite of mine), Mila Kunis’ and Justin Timberlake’s Friends With Benefits, amongst other basic movies about one night stands turning into something more. The plot wasn’t new to me.

What was new to me, was that this movie starred none other than Rob Lowe and Demi Moore. It was odd because I’ve looked into the Brat Pack before, but upon perusing through the pictures and history of the infamous group my eyes strangely fell towards Rob and Demi in the sense that I thought they would be good together. Like a power couple, both blessed with good looks and famous names.

TL;DR: Yeah okay I admit it. I shipped them at first sight.

I kept the thought in the back of my mind however, not thinking that it would matter. But finding out that they’d done a movie together certainly sparked my interest. I couldn’t wait to watch it and see what it was all about.

And it definitely did not disappoint. As mentioned above, I cannot stop thinking about it. I was a bit tentative at the length of the movie, as it was rather long for my taste and I was afraid that I would grow bored of it, but I surprisingly was left wanting more! The dialogue, the pacing, and everything about it intrigued me. Rather young and naive, I found the ups and downs of Rob and Demi’s relationship in the movie so fascinating and, well, real. I had never watched a movie like it before. I was expecting some rom-com type thing but instead it was quite dramatic and dark. And deep. The things they said, the things they did, everything had meaning to it. It was a heartfelt movie, one where I definitely felt the raw emotions and tensions between the two characters. It makes me wonder about what my life will be like when that time comes.

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I have heard people talk about Rob and Demi’s “lack of chemistry” but I honestly beg to differ. I felt it instantly. Their superb acting also added to the fire. I love it when I can just look at an actor’s eyes and see the way he or she is expressing the emotions, whether it be hurt or pain or suffering. I have also seen many couples in movies act rather awkward around each other. I was grateful that Rob and Demi acted the romantic scenes comfortably, like a real couple in turmoil. Like I said,  I really felt the emotions with this one.

It saddens me to think that people these days will only know about the recent About Last Night (2014) flick, but then again it of course better suits the people in this generation. It’s funnier, sassier. Less dramatic. I find it interesting that the 1986 version is so obscure despite its favorable reviews and box office success.

Even so, this movie will stay close to my heart. I’ve been meaning to check out other Brat Pack movies before my winter break officially ends. Just finished St. Elmo’s Fire and I will admit that I watched it while keeping my eyes peeled for Billy and Jules moments the entire time, but I also liked observing the amazing talents of the 80’s. It’s truly different from today.

A Letter to Parthenon

Parthenon.

That’s what I saved him as on my phone.

People come and go a little bit too easily. You can call anybody your friend, but to have them stick around and/or leave a deep impression on you is a rare occurrence to come by. Many people, you meet and forget. Out of sight, out of mind.

Then there are the other ones, the people who are deemed irreplaceable. As the years pass by and your contact list grows from inches to yards, you end up realizing that, no matter how many other people you meet, some are truly one of a kind. Just goes to show that what they say in kindergarten has at least some adequate truth to it: 1). People are special in their own unique ways, 2). No two people are alike, and 3). It really is a small, small world.

Parthenon, as I shall call him in this post, was someone I’d met for a short fall semester in my History of Architecture class. Our seats were assigned next to each others’, and I found him invisible for practically the first month of classes until I took notice of something.

As our professor would be going through the different landscapes and ancient Mediterranean sites, he’d ask the class if any of us have actually been to these places. More than a few times, the stranger next to me would raise his hand. He quickly became “the guy who has been everywhere”.

I still didn’t feel the need to talk to this stranger however, simply because I was in no real mood to, until I found out that he was easily acing the weekly quizzes that our professor gave us, while I was doing only mediocre. Competitive instincts kicked in, and before I knew it I was making conversation with the guy for the sole sake of my grade. The two of us unexpectedly made a pretty good team though, and we ended up being called “The Golden Corner” by our professor because the both of us held such top scores.

It’s funny how conversations grow. I like thinking back to first meetings, because I find them so significant. For all of the reasons in the world, you ended up talking to this person, and it is a 50/50 chance as to whether or not a conversation will turn into something more than just measly small talk. I was lucky that with Parthenon, we had plenty to talk about due to our similar interests in history, and I liked hearing his stories about his many travels while being in the military, which was the reason why he knew so many of these prehistoric sites in the first place.

Semesters are short and academically, I would be grateful. But socially, the end of a semester can also signify the end of friendships, meetings, or in my case, an unexpected alliance. Parthenon was never one to stay in one place for long. He told me that he was used to moving around a lot, and if anything he enjoyed the change in environment from time to time. I still remember the last conversation I had with him, us standing in front of the architecture building, the sky growing dim in early December. It was a goodbye, one that symbolized the end of a friendship that was so short-lived, one that had great potential to grow.

The guy who sits next to me in the summer class that I’m taking right now actually reminded me of Parthenon in small ways, but you can never truly make up for the original archetype. Parthenon was very distinct in his manner, bold and impressionable. You know someone has made quite a mark on you when you meet someone who reminds you of them, even in the smallest of ways such as age or height, maybe even the way they speak.

Sometimes, when faced with people who remind me of the friend that I had so shortly, I would wonder where he is and what he is doing now. Probably going on some type of adventure, or working his butt off to get the degree he’s always wanted. What’s hard for me to accept is that, even in a world so small, I will most likely never see him again. Even if we did somehow miraculously run into each other, it wouldn’t be the same. We’d bonded so well because of our classroom environment. What would we be without it? All I can do is hope that he is doing well.

If you were wondering, I call him Parthenon because that was his favorite monument out of all of the ones we studied. He’s even been there. I believe he did his final comparison paper on the Parthenon vs. Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple. Mine had been Gobekli Tepe vs. Stonehenge. Interesting stuff, memorable class. One that still sticks to my mind to this very day, even after a year has passed.

Talking to the moon

I know there’s no use in worrying. I know there’s no use in stressing over something that you can’t control. And after all, you could technically say that you’ve tried your best and there was nothing else you could’ve done.

But deep down inside your gut, you know you could’ve done better.

It sucks because it’s been over a year and you’re still pondering and wrestling over the same dang thing: there’s more to life than just this, isn’t there? More than just endlessly stressing over grades, over the unknown, the uncertainty that kills you every time? Perhaps it’s the impatience, the fact that you can’t stand taking it slow and just waiting for this to unfold. Or maybe it’s your longtime fear of rejection.

Or it could, possibly, just be that you’re not good at this. Realistically, you never have been a math or science person and you’re clearly deluding yourself into thinking that you enjoy things such as derivatives and integrals and the lame enthalpy of heat or whatever.

But you’re interested in your major. It practically correlates with everything you’ve been interested since childhood and it’s a great field to get into. You genuinely like it. Maybe these measly little GE classes are just trying to delude you from the real goal: that major. I mean, they can be manipulative like that.

Just focus on doing the best you can. That’s all you can do at this point, and whatever school you end up at, you’ll know that it happened for a reason. Push through these classes, because you know that once you get to your core classes that things will be so much more different, so much more better.

And remember to enjoy your youth while you still have it. Slow down, take a breath, don’t stress, forget about it, and have fun.

If you miss Christmas, like me

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My dear followers, how has everyone been? Good? Great. That’s nice to hear. I like hearing that people are doing well.

Well I am back here, once again, to post about the thoughts that just cannot seem to leave my mind. I have been meaning to do for quite some time now, not wanting to label this blog as “abandoned” per se, but I would always quit my post mid-sentence and it inevitably turns into a mere draft. Perhaps I will finish those posts and publish them. Someday. This post was actually one of them, and I am deciding to post it now because I absolutely loathe the hot weather here right now (more of a winter person) and I miss Christmastime and wearing my big, thick coats dearly.

Looking through my archive for the past few months, I find that the theme of my posts have been making a gradual transition from quirky teen obsessions (cough jfk cough) to, for lack of a better word, expressive text posts. I mean of course I still obsess over things, true to my scorpio nature, but my emotions have been taking a toll lately. In the past couple of months, I have been starting life as a college student and it has sure stirred some new feelings within me, although I’m not sure if they’re good or bad. I like college, I do. To an extent. The stress gets to me one too many times. It’s like junior year in abundance.

However, I would like to get back to posting about my current obsessions because I like to use this blog as documentation and it’s fun to go back and see what I used to like throughout the months/years. Also, Christmas has got to be one if not THE most favorite time of the year for me. The lights, the music, the decorations, everything is so warm and cozy all around (not to mention aesthetically pleasing), and the thought of giving really brings you down to your roots. I like to make the most of this season, because it always seems so short! I’ve compiled some of my favorite Christmas themed music, movies, etc. to get the spirit flowing. There’s probably much more where this came from, but I’ve narrowed it down to my favorite few. So without further ado, here it goes:

Music:

  • Idina Menzel & Michael Buble’s “Baby It’s Cold”: such cute little kids. Michael Buble’s whole Christmas album in general is great during cold winter dinners.

  • Ariana Grande’s “Santa Tell Me”: I have a soft spot for modern pop.

  • Wham’s “Last Christmas”: classic and timeless. Can never go wrong with this song.

  • Justin Bieber’s “Mistletoe”: because the music video is cute as heck.

  • Nsync’s “I Never Knew the Meaning of Christmas”: their whole Christmas album is awesome, but this is personally my favorite song from that album.

  • Mariah Carey’s “Al I Want for Christmas is You”: instant classic.


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Movies/TV Shows:

  • I’ll Be Home for Christmas: most underrated Christmas movie EVER! Cracks me up every time I watch it!
  • Elf: a hilarious classic that never gets old. Although, Will Ferrell in that Elf costume kind of disturbs me.
  • Just Friends: If you’re sick of Love Actually, like me, then this Christmas-themed rom com will surely satisfy you. Not to mention Ryan Reynolds is in it.
  • Pretty Little Liars Xmas Special (5×14): enjoyed it more than I thought I would, and the ending scene is so picturesque that it is now included on my bucket list.

Foodies:

Hot Chocolate. It’s a given. Also, check out these recipes:

In my younger years, I remember resenting Christmas because of personal reasons. But strangely enough, it was Bethany Mota who showed me that Christmas isn’t just awkward family dinners and painstaking conversations about “how’s school” and “you should lose weight”, but it is about spending time with people you truly love and care about, the wonderful essence of gift giving, and that Christmas is a holiday to cherish. Behind the commercialization of Christmas, lies a fun time filled with festivities and snuggling up with a cup of hot chocolate, wearing beanies and scarves, and catching snowflakes on your tongue. So, my friends, may Christmas of 2015 await. Because I am sure that it will come much sooner than we think.

Got any other Christmas-related things to share? Don’t be afraid to comment below! Until next time, my dear readers. Time to get back to the fun that is Calculus homework /sarcasm

The Cure (?) for Loneliness

For years mental health professionals taught people that they could be psychologically healthy without social support, that “unless you love yourself, no one else will love you.” The truth is, you cannot love yourself unless you have been loved and are loved. The capacity to love cannot be built in isolation. —Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D. — “The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog”

I remember one time during English class my teacher asked: how do you cure loneliness? What can you do to not feel lonely? To my dismay, it remained vaguely unanswered.

Loneliness is quite a dangerous thing. I feel like when one is left to his/her own thoughts too often, without anyone to turn to or anyone to provide an extra ear or shadow of comfort, it can really have an effect on one’s mind. You think too much. Your thoughts go from one thing to another. You end up having a constant battle in your mind and you wish that you can just talk to someone without having them completely blow you off. Just someone who would listen.

The problem is, not many people listen nowadays. I don’t know how many times I’ve vented to someone and have them end up ignoring me completely while they start telling me about their problems. I’d taken the risk of telling you something so, so personal about me, just to have you fail to listen. How amazing is that? Sarcasm intended.

So what is the cure for loneliness? I used to think that loneliness could be solved with just a simple movie or a trip to the mall. But you see, my favorite romcoms and chick flicks can only do so much. What do you do when the movie ends? Watch another one? And the mall. Damn. You can still feel so lonely even in a sea of people.

If you know a cure, or at least some type of antidote, please let me know via comment. I would love to hear it.

They Always Tell You to “Be Yourself”

Jackie Kennedy, known for her grace and…”

“Audrey Heprburn, a timeless fashion icon who exhibited elegance and sophistication…”

“Marilyn let men chase after her, and it was seldom ever the…”

Her big brown eyes looked sadly over at the television screen. She was nursing a twisted ankle, the results of her efforts in trying to help her mother clean the floors.

“Blossom, are you alright?” her mother had asked her earlier. She was lying on the floor, wet from the soapy water, and was mentally scolding herself for being, yet again, so careless. “Just go to your room.”

As Blossom headed to her room, she could hear her mother’s faint mumbling. “…this girl can’t do anything right.”

And she knew it was true: she couldn’t do anything right. Not even simple house chores.

The documentary on TV about the most admired and beautiful women in history began to wane out, now just a simple slideshow of the women’s achievements with some sentimental background music. Blossom looked at the clock: 7:58 PM. It was almost ending anyways.

She leaned against her bed, her eyes still on the television screen. She wanted, so desperately, to be that elegant, that classy and sophisticated. She recalled a girl who her mother had pointed at school, who she’d labeled as “pretty, natural, classy”.

That girl who her mother had pointed out had actually been one of the most popular girls in school. Not for her looks or her chest size or whatever. It was her intelligence that did it, the way she interacted with people, and the way she presented herself. Beauty is only skin deep, after all. Blossom would observe her, taking note of how she acted, in the hopes that she, too, could become that well composed and intriguing.

Because Blossom was none of the things that she wanted to be. She wasn’t graceful like Jackie, instead being a complete klutz and was falling and tripping left and right, hardly ever taking notice of precautions or consequences or any of that stuff.

She was far from Audrey’s elegance. Blossom’s idea of a comfortable outfit literally consisted of shorts and a loose T-shirt. She loved her worn-out sneakers and secretly loathed getting dressed up and wearing makeup. She hated heels. She even hated ballet flats.

And don’t get her started on her dating life. “Let the boys chase you”? Please. She loved the chase. She loved being the one to go after what she wanted, thinking of ways she could win him over. She wasn’t patient or coy enough to have it be the other way around. Why wait for something that you could make happen yourself? She would think.

Blossom was an interesting girl. She liked laughing loud and showing emotions. She enjoyed being 30% tomboy and acting like a kid. She loved getting overly excited about the smallest things in life. That’s who she is.

But the thing is, she doesn’t like who she is. That’s not who she wants to be. She wished that she could be less clumsy, more apt, smarter, and that she could actually strut in ballet flats without looking like a duck waddling at the park.

All throughout elementary school, all throughout those awkward teenage years, they always tell you to “be yourself”. But what if you don’t like who “yourself” is?

 

The Role Model Appeal

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Many times too often, we are left feeling lost and abandoned, confused and wondering which way to turn or which route to take. Throughout high school I remember feeling extremely puzzled as to how I should act, what I should wear, the person that I should be. Whenever teachers ask me to define my personality I wouldn’t even have a clue where to start because I had so many personalities, how can I just choose one? And which one is the most appealing?

That is where role models come in. I’ve heard this word all the time, ever since I was young. But I wouldn’t fully comprehend its importance until years, years later. They give you a platform to strive to be the person you want to be, setting examples and giving advice. For a lot of my high school career I’d considered many times to perhaps take the “trashy” road, because I hated how my baby face made me seem so vulnerable and weak. My mother, of course, was against this at all costs.

Then I became interested in Ms. Audrey Hepburn and the rest is history. Her grace, elegance, and class were all the things I loved in her, and she’s influenced me in ways that I could’ve never imagined.

When you’re feeling lost or confused, look for someone to admire. Or better yet, a friend once told me, become a role model yourself. Set great examples for the younger generations to follow. What I’ve been learning recently also is that a bit of kindness goes a long way. Strive to become a better person without negativity or hate and you’ll see the world in a completely different light.

So today I want to share four women who I consider as my greatest influences to this date:

1. Audrey Hepburn: kindness

OBVIOUSLY, Ms. Hepburn must be on the list! One of the greatest things I love about her is her true beauty inside and out. She never found herself particularly beautiful (even though she was stunning) and believed that love could fix anything. Her son described her as “his best friend”, and she never followed the trends during her time either. Instead, she set her own trends. Being a mother was so important to her (the reason why she wouldn’t marry William Holden, since he couldn’t bear children) that she had even taken time to move out of her fame and popularity to become a full-time mother. Her status of kindness is one that I can never reach but hey, a girl can dream.

2. Natalie Portman: smartness

What surprised me most about Mrs. Portman is that she’d graduated from HARVARD! She’d once stated that she’d rather be smart than a movie star, and her intelligence greatly helps me strive to achieve much knowledge myself. She has such a smart look to her, yet she can also portray herself as sexy and scandalous, proving how well she can act. Not to mention she’s vegan and has stuck to such morals since her teenage years. She also acted as a doctor in No Strings Attached, one of my favorite movies. Natalie, may I be as smart and talented as you?

3. Lauren Conrad: stylishness

I liked her a lot after The Hills, but even during the show I found her to be of the chic, next-door-type gal, a style that I absolutely love. Now she has a super cool instagram and website, a place that I visit regularly for pretty pictures and outfit ideas, as well as etiquette. She writes books and even has her own clothing line at Kohl’s! Her style is so well put together and I love the soft colors and prints. Her artistic style is what I would like to achieve in my lifetime.

4. Jacqueline Kennedy: fierceness

JFK’s uber beautiful wife may seem frail and delicate on the outside, but she was one of the strongest women I have ever read about. It always amazes me how she’d handled her husband’s assassination situation, how from then on she vowed that her life would be solely to take care of her children, how she didn’t want her husband’s image to be tainted. She raised her children so well to become their own independent person. Her poise and strength amazes me every time I read about her.

Who are some other great people to look up to? Tell me in the comments below!

Getting Old Feels Weird

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There’s always so much controversy nowadays about the new generation of kids. They’re often looked down upon and are even dubbed as “failures”. I wouldn’t blame them I mean I have little cousins myself and it always appalls me how much time they spend on their iPad playing games. They’re always engaging so little in anything else that it frustrates me. “When I was your age,” I would say, “we had video cassettes and no iPods and used this thing called MySpace.” And then I realized how old and just plain bitter I sounded. Who am I to criticize what kids are doing and acting like nowadays? It’s what they’ll be growing up in until a new generation of kids pop up.

I was born in 1996. I had to use the Walkman, using CDs that I actually bought from Walmart. I watched Blue’s Clues via video cassette and I still have one of those rewinders that go with it. I remember having super slow internet, using up all my hours on MySpace and pondering about who I should put on my top friends list. And remember when Disney Channel had good shows? LOL jk. Not really.

The point is, I know I’ve had my own share of experiences that are considered iconic, before this whole “technology splurge” happened and now everyone is tweeting and hash-tagging and yadda yadda. But should we really be criticizing the future generations for just simply going along with what their generation is supposed to be all about? Selfies and Flappy Bird? I mean I personally don’t like how my younger cousins are walking around with an iPhone 5 and whatnot. But it’s their generation, isn’t it? They were born into this madness. I was just lucky enough to be born in an earlier year.

We are so used to the norm, to being grounded and living the old fashioned way that it shocks us when we see younger kids so spoiled. They’re living with everything at the touch of a button, and this lack of effort can have serious effects. What will happen to hand-clocks? The postal system? It scares me to think that one day, I won’t be able to send letters anymore. Not to mention the GPS system. My dad seems to be one of the very few people still using a map book.

But maybe this is the way things are supposed to progress. The world is changing whether we like it or not. The question is: how do we deal with this change?

I honestly don’t know myself.

I’ll be graduating this year, and reading this article really got me thinking about how the change is happening. Does it make me feel old? Heck yeah.

What do you think about the generation shift?

“Whose death would you be really sad about?”

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“Not including family members.”

She was my childhood idol. Whereas my other friends would be jabbering about Hilary Duff (I didn’t have cable back then so I actually had no idea who she was), I would be the one quietly admiring not the Lizzie McGuire starlet, but instead the girl that acted as a pair of twins, the girl who’d switched bodies with her mother on a freaky Friday, the girl who’d won Spring Fling queen: Lindsay Lohan.

In the fourth grade, I remember wanting to watch and own every single movie that she starred in. I loved the characters she played, and there was just something about her that made me idolize her. As a young child, I had little to look up to. When asked who my role model was, I would always take time to ponder about it, confused. Who did I consider as my role model? I was so blind to the question back then. Only now have I realized that my role model back then had been, undeniably, Lindsay.

Of course I drifted away from her as I grew older. I distinctly remember how I’d stopped watching her movies around her Just My Luck era. I also remember seeing a poster of Georgia Rule at the mall and thinking that I should watch it, but I never did. Around my middle school years was when she started getting in trouble with the paparazzi, the law, with drugs. It was the start of everything that would make up the “trashy and drug-addict” image of Lindsay that everyone sees today. In middle school and halfway through high school I’d always assumed that I’d run into her again, unconsciously waiting for her next blockbuster film. She’ll get over this phase soon, I hope, I’d thought. Meanwhile, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, and Demi Lovato had taken over the television screens. For a long while, I forgot about Lindsay. That is, until her interview with Oprah.

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I watched every single minute of it, holding my breath the entire time. She looked so thin, so fragile and vulnerable. I took notice of how mature she looks now, although her signature smile, red hair, and freckles were all still there. “I want you to win,” Oprah said to her. I want you to win too, Lindsay, I thought to myself.

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I am still waiting for her, waiting for her to win. I want to see her name in all the glitz and glamour, for her to have theatrical releases all around. I think about drug-related celebrity deaths like Brittany Murphy and Amy Winehouse and pray to dear God that the same doesn’t happen to her.

Every now and then, I would put on a movie of hers and would take notice of how diverse her acting skills are, how hopefully, all the talent is still there. A friend had once asked me, “Whose death would you be really sad about? Not including family members.” I thought about the question, because if not my family members of course then I would pick my friends. However, I figured that was too obvious. “Lindsay Lohan,” I answered. And that is one of the smartest answers I’ve ever given.

Want to give Lindsay a try? My personal favorites from her are: The Parent Trap, Get a Clue, Freaky Friday, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, and of course Mean Girls!