What did you want to be when you were seven years old?

That was the Friday work topic. Every Friday, towards the end of the workday, when the office is less crowded, my cubicle neighbors and I strike about conversations about random things. This week, it was all about our childhood career aspirations.

Actress, Vet, casino owner (don’t ask)–my cheesy  butt answered ‘writer’ because that’s really what I wanted to be.

I’m  lucky that I’m on the path to pursuing that goal, huh?

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'No, Thank You' to Fries and Chocolate Cake

chocolatecake1I’ve failed at more diets than I care to remember. I don’t  consider myself to be a yo-yo dieter because to be one, you must have had actually dieted. What I have done is come up with grand diet schemes and exercise plans, most of which didn’t even last a week.

But, I’m on day three of a fabulous new healthy lifestyle.I will admit, I haven’t exactly stuck to the game plan. I haven’t gone to the gym all week. I ate an ice cream sandwich one day. But, what I have done is avoided starches(bread,potatoes), got rid of my can-a-day soda habit and brought breakfast and lunch from home all day. I’ve been more successful these last few days than I’ve ever been before.

And today, I passed the ultimate test.

I went to dinner with my newly engaged friend (her wedding is in July–before mine!) and I prepared myself for what was to come. I pre-warned one of my bff’s that I was on a new diet and that even one bite would be my downfall. I forfeited my glass of Sangria after toasting our newly-engaged bff–I’m not a big drinker, but Sangria is my favorite. We ordered steamed dim sum for appetizers and I allowed myself two of the teeny-tiny ones. Out came the fries. The crispy smell of those heavenly fried potatoes wafted underneath my nostrils but I held firm. My bff’s dipped away inside delicious little bowls of ketchup, mayonnaise and some other sauces that I stayed away from. It seemed like an eternity before those fries could finish. But, finally they did.

Next, came our entrees. I allowed myself a helping of mashed potatoes with my grilled steak and boiled vegetable medly, but my friends were scarfing down delicious crabmeat burgers, swiss cheese burgers, fries and God knows what else. I concentrated on my steak and veggies and savored every morself of the mashed potatoes that I allowed myself. So far, so good.

I was hoping that no one would want dessert. But, my genetically blessed bff’s didn’t let me go that easy. They teeter tottered between the tiramisu and molten chocolate cake and I prayed that they would choose tiramisu because I hated it.They chose the route I was hoping they would but at the last minute, Bibi increased my angst.

“On second thought, I could go for some chocolate molten cake. Let’s have that.” And so it arrived.

Boy, did it look good. It was moist and had the exact amount of fudge that it required and the scoop of vanilla ice cream sat prettily on the side. The waiter set the plate down right in front of me, along with four spoons.

A clock inside my head ticked. I waited for that moment when I would be defeated; when I would tell myself that just one bite would not hurt that much; when I would lose control and that one bite would turn into half the cake and then the eating would continue into the weekend because I would allow myself yet another weekend before the new diet started on Monday. I could feel the all-you-can-eat-buffet inside my head starting to form.

I turned my eyes away from the cake and started talking to  Farah. I became engrossed in our conversation about the latest guy that she was being set up with and soon the cake was gone. The skinny heifers had scarfed it down.

I had done it! I had made it through an entire meal without putting one fattening thing in my mouth. But wait–there was one piece of chocolate cake left. Please, someone, eat it; just eat it. I stared it down, challenging it to succumb me when Misan swooped it up with her spoon and popped it into her mouth. She had saved the day!

And that how is how I passed my first major dieting challenge.

‘No, Thank You’ to Fries and Chocolate Cake

chocolatecake1I’ve failed at more diets than I care to remember. I don’t  consider myself to be a yo-yo dieter because to be one, you must have had actually dieted. What I have done is come up with grand diet schemes and exercise plans, most of which didn’t even last a week.

But, I’m on day three of a fabulous new healthy lifestyle.I will admit, I haven’t exactly stuck to the game plan. I haven’t gone to the gym all week. I ate an ice cream sandwich one day. But, what I have done is avoided starches(bread,potatoes), got rid of my can-a-day soda habit and brought breakfast and lunch from home all day. I’ve been more successful these last few days than I’ve ever been before.

And today, I passed the ultimate test.

I went to dinner with my newly engaged friend (her wedding is in July–before mine!) and I prepared myself for what was to come. I pre-warned one of my bff’s that I was on a new diet and that even one bite would be my downfall. I forfeited my glass of Sangria after toasting our newly-engaged bff–I’m not a big drinker, but Sangria is my favorite. We ordered steamed dim sum for appetizers and I allowed myself two of the teeny-tiny ones. Out came the fries. The crispy smell of those heavenly fried potatoes wafted underneath my nostrils but I held firm. My bff’s dipped away inside delicious little bowls of ketchup, mayonnaise and some other sauces that I stayed away from. It seemed like an eternity before those fries could finish. But, finally they did.

Next, came our entrees. I allowed myself a helping of mashed potatoes with my grilled steak and boiled vegetable medly, but my friends were scarfing down delicious crabmeat burgers, swiss cheese burgers, fries and God knows what else. I concentrated on my steak and veggies and savored every morself of the mashed potatoes that I allowed myself. So far, so good.

I was hoping that no one would want dessert. But, my genetically blessed bff’s didn’t let me go that easy. They teeter tottered between the tiramisu and molten chocolate cake and I prayed that they would choose tiramisu because I hated it.They chose the route I was hoping they would but at the last minute, Bibi increased my angst.

“On second thought, I could go for some chocolate molten cake. Let’s have that.” And so it arrived.

Boy, did it look good. It was moist and had the exact amount of fudge that it required and the scoop of vanilla ice cream sat prettily on the side. The waiter set the plate down right in front of me, along with four spoons.

A clock inside my head ticked. I waited for that moment when I would be defeated; when I would tell myself that just one bite would not hurt that much; when I would lose control and that one bite would turn into half the cake and then the eating would continue into the weekend because I would allow myself yet another weekend before the new diet started on Monday. I could feel the all-you-can-eat-buffet inside my head starting to form.

I turned my eyes away from the cake and started talking to  Farah. I became engrossed in our conversation about the latest guy that she was being set up with and soon the cake was gone. The skinny heifers had scarfed it down.

I had done it! I had made it through an entire meal without putting one fattening thing in my mouth. But wait–there was one piece of chocolate cake left. Please, someone, eat it; just eat it. I stared it down, challenging it to succumb me when Misan swooped it up with her spoon and popped it into her mouth. She had saved the day!

And that how is how I passed my first major dieting challenge.

Finding My Writing Niche

I’m finally saying it out loud–I no longer fawn over the fashion and beauty spreads in my beloved fashion magazines.

I grew up, imitating as much as I could, monthly fashion and beauty looks  from Glamour, Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan and looked forward to the shopping pages to make amends and additions to my wardrobe. But that has changed quite a bit.  I now enjoy reading the middle-of-book or ‘well’ stories as well as the front-of-book stories that aren’t necessarily fashion-related, more.

That’s definitely not to say, I don’t still enjoy fashion. In college, I thought I wanted to become a fashion editor but when I started working as a magazine journalist, I realized that styling was really not my ‘thing’–I hated spending time in the fashion closet. I definitely consider myself a fashionista (a roomful of Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Oscar De La Renta and Dior is still my coveted fantasy), but I just happen to like words more.

I will say that I love color, therefore I love beauty. I wrote my own beauty blog for a whole year and quite enjoyed it and I’m trying to revive it. But, my surprising discovery was that that I love writing about love, sex and relationships more. I wrote a weekly sex column at a popular online magazine last summer and really, really loved it. It’s where I was my wittiest and my most knowledgeable.While I still want to be a women’s magazine ‘all-rounder’ writer and develop my expertise in beauty, health and sex/love, it’s good for me to know where my strengths are.

Wondering what your niche subject is? Here’s a few questions I asked myself while deciding;

1. What sort of articles or topics do you find the most interesting to read?

2. What comes the most natural to you?

3. What subject can you easily find ideas for?
Venturing into an unfamiliar subject territory is something I definitely recommend, but it never hurts to know what your strong points are.

Moving up the pay scale

I’ve just gotten my first assignment for a magazine at $.50 a word and boy, am I excited! 

I’ve been writing for really low pay until now. A national magazine website pays me $50 per article but I did it to enhance my portfolio. So, $.50 per word for a 1500-2000 word article sounds like heaven to me right about now!

I’ve been pitching higher paying magazines for a while now, without getting any responses. The two national magazines that did take my pitches were through editors that I’ve networked with in the past. I still want to have faith in cold e-mailing and blind pitching but I haven’t had much success with these methods so far. 

How long did it take most of you to move up the pay scale?

Hello, Mon Amout


Guess who’s going to Paris in mid-May? That is right–moi!

My best friend, N. and I have always talked about visiting the most romantic city in the world together after we graduated from college, but it just never happened. But, we recently realized that when I get ‘officially married’ and move to Atlanta at the end of the year, the chances of us taking a trip together will be very small.

So, we’ve decided to heed President Obama’s advice, 

‘Yes we ARE going to Paris!’

Our particular fascination with Paris stems from the fact that Nafiz grew up in Montreal and speaks fluent French. She also majored in French in college and works as a translator, yet she’s never been to France! I went in 2003 with my parents and while it was the best three days of my entire traveling life, I’ve been itching to go back and experience it in a different way and who better to go with than my Frenchie bestie?

My best friend from high school is busy planning my bachelorette weekend in the U.S. but this will be a special trip for Nafiz and I. I would’ve loved for my sister to be able to join us, but with school and her financial situation; it’s just not feasible. I wish I could pay for her but I can’t! 

The website I work for has finally launched and I’ve been able to breathe at work for the past few days and so I’ve been planning away! My favorite part of any vacation is the planning bit; I love creating itineraries. I’ve managed to book our hotel in a central location in Paris at a reasonable rate and have figured out flight details for both N. and I which was hard because she lives in Toronto and I live in NYC and we really want to travel together. Luckily, I found connecting flights that will allow us to do that.

Traveling with a friend can either be the best experience or the worst but I know that N. and I won’t have any issues. She is the most easygoing person I know and in our 12 years of friendship, we’ve already figured out how to handle each other.

One of the things I really want to do is get pissed drunk underneath the Eiffel Tower at night, which is something I couldn’t do with my parents in ’03. And of course, shop! I’ll have to remind myself to be careful about that since I do have a wedding to partly pay for, but I can certainly indulge in at at least one piece of French couture.

Eiffel Tower, here we come!