Talia Joy Castenallo

15 Aug

When I was 13, I was experimenting with unblended lip liner and goopy body glitter and my biggest worry was wondering if I was going to asked to dance at the Winter Ball.


At 13, Talia Joy Castellano is not only a makeup prodigy who does a mean smokey eye, she is also light years cooler than I was at 13/will ever be. Talia is the most vibrant and upbeat specimen I have seen despite the fact that she is fighting an aggressive form of cancer called neuroblastoma.

When chemo caused her hair to fall out she experimented with wigs but wearing them made her feel like she wasn’t herself. So she ditched the wigs, embraced her bald head and made her motto: bald is beautiful.


Bald IS beautiful!

Instead, she uses makeup and beauty products to feel beautiful, although her beauty is much deeper than her flawless liquid liner.

Waah waah.

She uploads video tutorials to her YouTube channel and she has a ton of followers and supporters. I dare you to watch one video and not feel uplifted. Her energy is contagious and she refuses to let her cancer make her a Debbie Downer.

Talia is a great reminder not to sweat the small stuff and to remain positive, even when the glass appears half empty.

Watch Talia’s videos here and follow her on twitter @TaliaJoy18. Find out more about donating blood and/or blood products for those in need here and join the bone marrow registry here!

(Advice) Valentine’s Day: The Original Love/Hate Relationship

14 Feb

(Yes this is a repost from last year. It was a popular post, okay?! )

Today we present to you two opposing views on Valentine’s Day. (cue Law and Order music)

Love it.

By Megan

I love Valentine’s Day.

Love it. If it were a boy, I’d make out with it that’s how much I love this holiday.

But I don’t love it for the usual reasons. Valentine’s Day hasn’t been especially kind to me. In fact, it’s been downright cold to me. I can count the romantic Valentines days I’ve had on one hand. And by one hand, I mean like two fingers. I don’t know if this is the one day of the year I have unbearable B.O. or something, but whatever.

I will continue to love Valentine’s day whether or not it loves me back. Sort of like how a stalker unconditionally loves his stalkee.

If I could afford a therapist, she would probably tell me I love Valentines Day just to spite my ex-boyfriends.

Stereotypical Aunt/Kristen Wiig

And she would be right.

Why should I hate Valentine’s Day just  because they aren’t always fireworks and flowers? I refuse to give my power away and make Valentine’s Day only about romance, or boys, or a boyfriend who chose to spend Valentine’s Day with his aunt instead of me. True story :(.

I. Won’t. Hate. Valentine’s Day!

Isn’t that what unromantic guys want- a girl who hates Valentine’s Day? SCORE! Then they don’t have to show you any love on that day.

Boy 1: Hey Brad, you getting your girlfriend flowers for Valentine’s Day?

Boy 2 : (Excitedly) Nah, man. She hates it!

Boy 1 : @%$*^ awesome, man! Congrats! (They high five)

Brilliant, ladies! Let’s abstain from Valentine’s Day to prove the point that we should be romantic everyday………..by not doing anything romantic TODAY!

Congratulations, you make no sense.

I think people who hate Valentine’s Day are missing the point.

Point: Valentine’s Day is so cheesy.

Counterpoint: So is that romantic comedy you watch in bed every February 14. But that doesn’t stop you from hitting play. And you don’t have to be cheesy to celebrate. No one is forcing you to buy  the entire Valentine’s aisle at Rite Aid. You can get as creative or uncreative as you want.

Point: Why should we celebrate love just one day of the year, or when corporate America tells us to? We should do it all the time.

Counterpoint: But we don’t. So we should at LEAST do it once a year. One is better than none! If anything, we should have more Valentine’s days, not less. Like once a month. 12  celebrations of love instead of zero. You do the math.

Point: I’m going to celebrate love by opting out of the national celebration of it!!

Counterpoint: Well pin a red  rose on your nose. That is very original. Let me guess, you’re wearing black too? And out with your single girlfriends looking for guys? Hmm.. looks a lot like a celebration… and looking for love  if you ask me.

As I was saying, I don’t think Valentine’s Day is about whether you have a significant other or not. It’s not just about romance. It’s about love. Love for your family and your friends and the crabby old lady down the street. Love for funfetti cupcakes, and cinnamon gummy hearts and the chance to wear red and pink together and not get dirty looks. And love for candy that is half-off on February 15.

My best Valentine memories don’t involve boyfriends at all. (Sorry). My best memories are when friends and family made my day special. Like when my friend, Ryan bought each of us girls a single rose, in case we didn’t get one from anyone else. Or when my friends, Wayne and Greg took me and another friend to P.F. Chang’s because none of us had Valentine’s. Hey, pity Valentine’s are just as good as real ones.

I truly love this place.

But my favorite memory is from first grade. It was the morning of Valentine’s Day, and I ran out of platonic-sounding cards for the boys in my class. Obviously, I was devastated! Even at that age, I didn’t want boys to get the wrong idea. But my Dad saved the day. As I cried and panicked about being late to school, he wrote messages like, “You’re nice, Classmate! Happy Valentine’s Day!” which we glued on top of flirty sayings like “Be MINE, Valentine.”

Now that’s love.

..In a platonic way ONLY!

In conclusion, I think everyone needs to get over getting over Valentine’s Day. If you don’t have a date, it’s probably the best day of the year to get one. My friends threw a party on Valentine’s Day one year and you would have thought we were giving away free NFL tickets. It was Boy City!

If you go out on Valentine’s Day, guys are extremely friendly because they know you are single.  Or that you have a boyfriend who is out of town, which is basically the same thing.  Am I right?!

Just kidding. But really, you should go out on Valentine’s Day if you’re looking for love.

And if you aren’t, Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to mope and not be judged for it. Or to spend time with your aunt.

Hate it.

By Tricia

First of all, let me say I am a sucker for romance. I am always down for a cheesy romantic comedy and I love hearing stories of how people got engaged/fell in love. I have seen The Notebook more times than I can count…don’t judge me.

Yet strangely enough, I detest Valentine’s Day. With a passion. I am not bitter. I am not a creepy cat lady (no offense to cat lovers, creepy or not). I just don’t understand it.

Who says we have to show our affection on February 14th? I want random romance. Not obligatory romance because the calendar says so! Crowded restaurants, overpriced food, naked cherub decorations, cheesy mainstream gifts…it is so predictable. You can show your love any damn day of the year. Why romance because Hallmark says so?

Hallmark rep.

I’m all about more romance, but how about you get creative and romance on a random unexpected day? OoOhhh aaHhhhh.

The holiday has become so commercialized. It takes away from the real purpose, the genuine romance. Right after businesses put away their Christmas stuff, out comes all the Valentine’s Day goods. Red and pink decorations everywhere you look. Conversation hearts on every display. Red roses in full force. Despite being unable to escape the commerciality lurking in every store window, we will all wait until the last minute to make any plans, thus guaranteeing a night of stress and predictability.

“To stress and predictability!”

Guy- Hey, let’s get dressed up, drive to an expensive overcrowded restaurant where we won’t be able to find parking so I’ll end up shelling out some cash to the valet. Then we will wait for an hour and a half for a table even though we made reservations three weeks in advance. We’ll order small portioned overly priced food and I’ll order an expensive bottle of champagne from our rude and sarcastic waitress who is taking out her anger of being scheduled to work Valentine’s night out on the patrons.

We’ll wait another 45 minutes for our mediocre food and then order chocolate covered strawberries for dessert while we wait another 30 minutes for our bill and I’ll shell out some more cash, which will put me into debt for the next month. Oh wait, I got you a dozen red roses and a heart shaped box of chocolates. Love you!

Girl- Awww. You’re so sweet! Red roses and heart shaped chocolate? How’d you know?!

Guys don’t need to spend a lot of money to show they care. By all means they should save their cash and get creative. It’s the little things that matter most to me. And, if a guy is going to go the predictable mainstream route, he should at least try to mix it up. Please, spare me the diabetes ridden chocolate sampler. And if you’re going to get me flowers, find out what kind of flowers I like. Don’t show up on my door with a dozen red roses. I mean, it’s a nice gesture but I know you can do better! There’s no element of surprise with red roses and a heart shaped box of chocolates.

My dad only gives my mom flowers on her birthday, Valentine’s Day and on their anniversary. Never on a random day of the year. Never just for fun. Never just for romance. Granted, my dad isn’t Rico Suave, but he tries. I give him credit for always remembering and being prepared for those occasions, but guys should also go the extra mile and catch you off guard once in a while. Genuine romance/love isn’t something that can be forced or planned. It should come naturally and guys should want to romance you!

No, I couldn’t do a Valentine’s Day post without inserting a picture from The Notebook

I know not all guys are big on foo foo girly romance, but if a guy really likes you he will do what he has to if whether that involves foo foo girly romance or not. If he’s not doing things to show you he cares, he probably doesn’t.  And I don’t mean to put all the pressure on guys. We girls need to go the extra mile and show we care too. Sharing is caring and it’s a two way street.

Valentine’s Day reminds me of high school Spirit Week. The week starts out as being about class and school unity and ends up being a big competition and rivalry between the classes. By the end of the week no one remembers what the week’s purpose is and each class ends up hating the others, but they’ll all be back to do it again next year as scheduled! Yay! That’s the spirit!

Girl 1: Yeah my boyfriend took me to Outback for Valentine’s Day. The steak was so good!

Girl 2: Oh, really? My boyfriend took me to Paris. You know, like Paris, France? Anyway, sounds like you had fun!

Girl 1: Oh. Yeah…..

In conclusion…

What’s your take- Do you love Valentine’s Day or hate it? Let us know below!

(RECOMMENDATION) (PLEA) (COMMAND) Save Kyle’s Life and Join the Bone Marrow Registry! Especially if you are half Asian, half Caucasian. It’s free, it’s painless and it takes two minutes!

11 Jan

How to Donate

You don’t even have to donate blood or bone marrow if you’re not a match. You just have to swab your cheek to get in the bone marrow registry. That’s it.  Have a free kit mailed to you by clicking here: Be the Match. 

And if you match someone that needs help, you can make a simple donation that can save their life! You could save Kyle’s life.

Look at this face!

How’s that for a great way to kick off 2012?

Life Saver: What’d you do today Jane?

Jane: Oh did the dishes, watched Zoolander. What did you do?

Life Saver: Oh, saved this adorable little kid’s life. You know, same old. Anyway, it was great catching up! See ya around!

Kyle’s Story

My dad saw Kyle and his family on the news in Northern California and it just broke our hearts.

Kyle is 4 years old and has aplastic anemia and he urgently needs a donor. He is half Chinese and half Caucasian and they really need half Asian, half Caucasian donors NOW.

I’m half Asian and half Caucasian so obviously that spoke to me. All I needed to do was go to Be the Match and have a test kit mailed to me for FREE.  I just did it. It took 2 minutes.

Did I mention Kyle is completely adorable?

What a muffin. (And that’s his adorable little sister.)

Please, please, please this family needs your help. I cannot imagine if it was someone in my family. Hopefully, you’ll never have to. But if you ever did, you’d want everyone possible in the registry.

It is easy to do, it is FREE and you can save Kyle or someone else’s life.

When I feel passionately about something, I will not shut up about it. Let’s save this kid’s life. Especially you, Half Asians! Get a test kit mailed to you today. Or you won’t stop hearing from me. And I can be incredibly annoying.

Important Links

Get a test kit mailed to you here: Be the Match

Learn about Kyle here: http://www.kyleneedsyou.org/

Watch their news story here:Kyle’s Story

Follow Kyle on twitter here and retweet his story here: https://twitter.com/#!/KyleNeedsYou

Like Kyle on Facebook and share his story here: http://www.facebook.com/KyleNeedsYou

Donate to help Kyle’s family cover his medical costs here: Donate to Kyle’s Family

If you live in Northern California you can go to a drive here:

Upcoming Marrow Drive for Kyle Crawford

Friday, January 13, 2012
Skyline High School
12250 Skyline Boulevard, Oakland
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Saturday, January 14, 2012
Haight Ashbury Free Clinics
558 Clayton Street, San Francisco
12 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Now join the registry and spread the word on Twitter, Facebook, tell your date from Match.com, whatever. Just help. Thanks!

(Motivation) Why you SHOULD make New Years Resolutions!

3 Jan

I resolve to kiss the mayor of NYC! (P.S. How did I miss this?)

I am amazed by how many people say you shouldn’t make New Years Resolutions. I’ve been hearing it everywhere.


That’s like saying,

Why make goals? You’ll just fail!

Why floss? You’ll just get gum disease!

Why start that project? You’ll just fall on your face! And I’ll just laugh!

But you don’t hear people say those things. I guess for some people, there is something about making goals on New Year’s that is just stupid. That’s fine. Then make them on January 2. Make them today. Make them on December 31st or July 16th for all I care.

Call them something else, like a goal. Call them Bob. Call them Jane. Whatever you have to do to trick your brain into not immediately associating a New Years Resolution with failure, do that. Just don’t give up dammit!

I watched “The Pursuit of Happyness” recently and it is a really inspiring movie.  My favorite part is when Will Smith plays basketball with his son. His son says he wants to be a basketball player and Will Smith tells him not to make dreams like that. And his son agrees with him.

Then Will says,

Will: Hey. Don’t ever let somebody tell you… You can’t do something. Not even me. All right?

Will Jr.: All right.

Will: You got a dream… You gotta protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, go get it. Period.

It’s some of the best advice I’ve ever heard.

Don’t let someone tell you you can’t because they couldn’t.

Don’t let someone tell you not to make New Years Resolutions, goals, Bobs or Janes because they always fail at theirs.

I love New Years Resolutions. Have I failed at some years and years in a row? Yes. Have I also gotten better at some of those things after years of trying? Yes.

The best advice I’ve ever read on overcoming bad habits is in this article called “The Motivational One-Two Punch for Overcoming Bad Habits,” from Psychology Today. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-science-success/201003/the-motivational-one-two-punch-overcoming-bad-habits

The author talks about making an if-then plan. I took it as whatever bad habit you are trying to kick, you think of when or what situation you are most likely to do it and you do the good habit instead.

I do this if-then thing on all my bad habits that I’m trying to kick. You  know when you are in a situation where you normally do x when you want to do y. And everytime is an opportunity to stop doing x and start doing y.

So I say make some New Years Resolutions. And don’t let anyone tell you not to because they fail at theirs.

Go 2012.

(Recommendation) Awesome Video: $h!t Girls Say

16 Dec

If you haven’t seen this video, prepare for a good laugh. If you have already seen it, prepare for another laugh. It never gets old!