“You seem like a good fit”…and other misleading affirmations/sentiments

To quote a previous post, “holy shit you guys, it’s May already”. This sentiment has remained relevant, as April has once again eluded me. Last April I spent a week in Spain, to visit a good friend. We frolicked around … Continue reading

Chronicles of a kinda sorta adult

Hey there!

Just checking in to let you all know that I still care about this blog/website (i caved and spent $18 to own the vinoandvisas.com url). Truth is I’ve kind of been too preoccupied mentally to take time and write about my life. This may seem sort of counter intuitive for a writer, because it seems like all successful writers journal their hardships and then turn them into great pieces of work. But I guess that’s kind of my problem. I don’t really consider myself to be a real writer. This insecurity kind of doubles as a defense mechanism, because if I don’t take myself too seriously then I can easily brush off criticism or even compensate for skills that I am lacking.


Everyone knows the best way to get rid of your problems is by singing a dramatic ballad in the tub à la Mariah.

This strategy has worked really well for me. I’ve always just written for fun and shared my work, because the feedback I was getting was overwhelmingly positive and TBH it made me feel kinda good about myself. Now, what I’ve discovered is that as someone going on interviews and trying to enter a specific track in the work-world, you kind of have to take yourself seriously.

Since the likelihood of getting my dream job of writing for Food and Travel magazine like Bon Appétit right out of college is not very high, I’ve been trying to fit myself into different, more practical molds. This has translated into countless keyword job searches in San Diego and Los Angeles, such as: digital marketing jobs, social media manager jobs, copywriter jobs and editorial assistant jobs. So far, what i’ve found is that there are a lot of these jobs, which is great, BUT there’s always a catch. I’m either under qualified because I’m not a Journalism major (even though I’ve been writing for a newspaper for 3 years) or I don’t have enough technical skills such as graphic design or previous marketing experience.


I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m just frustrated. I feel happy and sad, confident but anxious, jaded yet hopeful. Maybe these conflicting emotions are a side-effect of Senioritis. Or maybe, just maybe, all these emotions that I feel ALL THE TIME are a result of me growing up into the kinda sorta adult that I can feel myself becoming. I’m experiencing the joys of adulthood, i.e. going out to drag shows and dancing the night away. Then also, the not-so-fun parts of adulthood, i.e. realizing that you have no money and can’t really afford your new-found legality, because you are indeed still a full-time student and only make $12 an hour at your part-time job.

I don’t know, man. This kinda sorta adulting is getting a little old. I’m feeling like I’m ready to escape this limbo of uncertainty and mature from a kinda sorta adult into a full-time adult. I know adulthood is definitely not as great as it’s cracked up to be…but, I think I’m ready for the responsibilities.

I’m at the point in my life where I want, need and feel like I deserve both that $6 bottle of Primitivo AND the Dark Chocolate Almond Bark at Trader Joe’s. Frankly, if I can’t afford that, I don’t really see the point of it all.

*yes, i’m aware that i’m being dramatic.

How to Be Better At Life in 2016 Without Really Trying.

Hey. Wassup. Hello. Happy 2016! I recently wrote an article for my campus newspaper about some things that I would like to work on this year. You can see the original article by clicking on the link: Here. OR you can just … Continue reading

Oh Na Na…What’s Her Name?

It’s come to my attention that my name is a mystery to Italians. First off, most of them have never heard my name before. Then to make matters worse, the pronunciation is also ridiculously hard for Italians: Shelby ends up sounding more like Shal-bee-uh or Chel-vee. Due to this unfortunate pronunciation, I’ve decided to adopt an Italian name, because perché no (why not)?


Me when I’m trying to explain how to pronounce my name to Italians

My Italian name is Antonella Valente; it’s not as arbitrary as it sounds, lo giuro (I swear). Prima cosa (first thing), Antonella is much easier for Italians to say, it just rolls off the tongue so beautifully. Also, my middle name is Ann, as is my grandmother’s and my Italian great-grandma’s first name is Antoinette or Ann, for short. As you can see, the name “Ann” has roots that run deep throughout my family history, so I just took part of my name and Italianized it to the name that either me or someone in my family would’ve had if we actually lived in the part of Italy where our family is from in the South, more specifically, Trani in the Puglia region. Also, one my Italian family’s last names is Valente, (which means valiant and also is the name of a former Roman emperor) so I just used that to complete my new Italian identity.

It’s actually really liberating having an alias, especially when you go out to bars or clubs and some creepy guys try and find you on Facebook. It’s so great, because they can’t find me, because I technically don’t exist. Ha, I win!

Rihanna-Whats-My-Name-GIFHowever, having two identities is not all rainbows and lollipops. Sometimes it’s hard to remember who I am that night. Also, it’s difficult explaining to the whole fake identity story to people, once they find out that my name isn’t actually what I said it was. I actually think that at one point I’m just going to add Antonella to my name on Facebook, so people that I actually like can find me.

It’s also kind of sad not being able to use the fun nick-names that go along with Shelby, like Shelbs, Shelbster or even just Shel. Luckily, my American friends here still can say my name without butchering it, so that’s nice. I’m not the only one who has had to Italianize their name, my friend Payton changes her name to Patrizia, because Payton is even harder for Italians to say than Shelby is. It’s also just kind of fun to have an Italian alias, so a few of my other friends here have adopted Italian names, just for kicks.

Another really weird thing that I never really thought about before I came here is, that I’m kind of ethnically ambiguous.

tumblr_inline_mqopy6mX3k1qz4rgpIn Italy, people generally just assume I’m Italian until I open my mouth and they can tell that I’m not a native speaker. More recently, I’ve been getting Spanish, multiple times actually, which is strange, because I have so many ethnic origins in Europe, because I’m a mut, but Spanish is probably not one of them. Unless I have some traces of Spanish from my Filipino family, because the Philippines were conquered by the Spanish for some insane number of years, like 500 or something…

So basically all you need to know is that I’m a mystery. I have an alias and an ethnically ambiguous facade. All I need now is some super cool ability like mind-reading, so I can get my own TV show.

Ciao for now ❤

Survival of the Fittest

I’m only semi-fit. I can’t run 3 miles straight — it’s more like I have a mix of jog-walking. I’ve never really been that good at sports or coordinated choreography. Basically, I’m not an athlete, nor do I have the desire to be one. But, I do think there is some value to being fit enough to survive on your own.

As my year-long study abroad trip approaches, it has become more and more apparent to me that I am on my own. I will have to take public transportation alone, carry my own bags and possibly deal with encountering shady characters solo. Being alone doesn’t scare me; I actually really like being alone, but I’d hardly say I’m used to being entirely self-sufficient. So, here are somethings I think are important to work on now to prepare for traveling alone.

1. Having a bit of arm strength.

I am not a big fan of lifting weights and have no interest in being a gym rat, but I do however believe that I need to have enough arm strength to carry all my bags without having my arms metaphorically fall off. My compromise is to incorporate some arm/back strengthening exercises into my routine (or there lack of).


2 sets of 20 girl push-ups

3 reps of 10 tricep push-ups (keep your arms in close to your body, instead of wide)

1-2 1 min. planks (depends on how I am feeling)

30 sec. side plank (on each side)

Here’s a great video for reference and/or more ideas on arm exercises from the Tone It Up girls, Karena and Katrina

2. Being able to hold a squat over a gross toilet.

This doesn’t really apply to guys, but girls this is ESSENTIAL. Gross toilets exist all over the world; which means you need to be strong enough to squat over them. Let’s face it toilet seat-covers are a luxury that don’t exist in most public restrooms. So, it is vital that your legs are strong enough to hold a 30 second squat, so you can go about your business without fear of catching disease from some shady toilet.


FIRST: make sure you are doing a proper squat and that your knees aren’t going over your toes. (Watch gif)


4 -30 second wall sits (this is when you prop your back against a wall and squat. Spoiler: this burns like a mo-fo, but it’s extremely effective. You’re going to want to take 10-15 sec rests in between sets)

Lunges (I lunge across the length of the hallway of my apartment a couple times and call it even, instead of counting.)

Jump Squats (Pretty self explanatory: Squat and then jump up)

Sumo Squat with Calf Raise (Watch the Gif)


3. Out-run the bad guys.

Imagine a chase scene in a movie, the hero(ine) is running for their life — this could be you. What if this happens? Will you be prepared? Realistically, I probably wouldn’t. The bad guys would get me, because I’m kind of slow and am easily winded going up several flights of stairs. To me, this seems like kind of a safety hazard. I need to have more stamina and/or be able to run fast enough to escape the bad guys.


1 min. Intervals on the elliptical/treadmill (run for a minute at hyper speed, then walk for 3o seconds. Do it for like 10-15 min then just jog)

Speed walking/Jogging (just enough to get your heart rate going)

Running up and down stairs (Pretend like elevators were never invented; take the stairs all the time. And run up and down them when you have the time)

Here's a guide for the treadmill from cardioandcocktails.com

Here’s a guide for the treadmill from cardioandcocktails.com

4. Have enough core strength to not fall over when the subway/bus comes to an abrupt stop.

If you’ve ever stood up on the subway or bus, you know that you need to brace yourself for landing. It can actually be quite embarassing when you bump into other people, because you can’t hold your own and it totally makes you stand out as a novice. An easy solution is to work on your core strength.


Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to ab workouts, but I feel like the Tone It Up Girls Ab Circuit is really great and totally doable.

5. Know how to give a good bitch-stare.

This isn’t really work-out related at all, but it’s nonetheless important. If you look like you don’t want to be messed with, people probably won’t mess with you. Draw inspiration from Aubrey Plaza, the queen of bitch-stares (FYI- i’m obsessed with her; she’s awesome).

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There you go, my definitive guide to surviving the wild. Thanks for reading ❤


WebMd thinks I have cancer, cat scratch fever or a psychotic disorder.

Since this past Sunday, my eating habits have been off — in that I haven’t been hungry. Which is odd, because usually I can’t get enough food.

What’s even weirder is that I can’t drink coffee regularly without feeling nauseated. THIS NEVER HAPPENS TO ME. I drink coffee two times a day or more and now in addition to my weird eating habits I feel fatigued, because I’m going through some severe caffeine withdrawals.

These weird eating habits may not alarm the average everyday person, but for me I’m like WOAH, what is wrong with me?!?2ce47a00-6760-0131-2d52-62385cb3dc9b

Naturally, I turn to WebMd, which according to my search keywords pulled up the following list of possible illnesses:

Addison’s Disease, Alcoholism, Amyloidosis, Anorexia, Bone Cancer, Connective Tissue DiseaseCOPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), Dementia, Depression, Diabetes, Hypertension, or Tuberculosis

So my question is, am I terminally ill or I’m I just going through a slight and totally normal loss appetite? The real question is why am I WebMd-ing this?

I am probably 100% healthy, actually I know that I am 100% healthy, because I just got my blood tests back and they came back completely normal. So why am I feeling this way?

IT’S ALL IN MY HEAD. I swear my psyche is seriously warped. I think it’s mainly because I have this overwhelming feeling that my life is moving so fast and I’m not taking advantage of everything. This feeling comes about somewhat irrationally, when I just start to think about how fast my college years are going, what am I even doing, and I miss my family. All I want to do is sit around and watch Parks and Rec and sulk about my inability to eat. As you can probably tell, I’m kind of ridiculous, but I’m normal, I PROMISE!

I think I’m still just really stunned that I don’t feel the need to eat. Plus my senses are dulled and I’m going a bit crazy, because I walked around for the majority of the morning with a giant hole in the crotch of my jeans that I didn’t know about. Oh well…