Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Pro Tip: Girls Don't Dress for Guys

For some reason this is a topic that's been all over my consciousness lately, and it never fails to bug me. I've been hearing a lot of advice lately along the lines of:
"Don't wear red lipstick, guys don't like it."
"Guys don't like when you wear too much makeup."
"You're too tall, don't wear heels or you'll intimidate guys."
You get the idea. If I hear one more person tell me not to wear/do something because "guys don't like it," I'm going to hit someone. Do a quick google search for "trends guys hate" and you'll find almost every women's or fashion magazine in existence telling you what not to wear if you want positive male attention. It just so happens that like, 90% of the stuff on those lists happen to be things I kind of love, but I digress.

Here's the thing: if I like how something looks on me, or I like how bright red lipstick makes me feel, why the hell does it matter if guys like it or not?
There seems to be this attitude that if you're a single woman, everything you say/do/wear should be in the lifelong quest of nabbing yourself a good man. Even girls in relationships get this spouted at them: to keep the man in your life happy, wear what he likes you to wear, not what you like. But what we decide to wear or do or say as women shouldn't be done just to make the men around us more comfortable.

For me, fashion and beauty are those feminine things I revel in, and I'm not going to stop wearing things I think are beautiful because a guy might not like it. I love clothes, and any guy worth my time will be okay with that. He may not love peplum or floppy hats, but I do, and that's gonna have to be okay. If I'm nice, and funny, and smart, and you like having a conversation with me, should it matter if I'm wearing a bow in my hair? No.

If I'm dressing to impress anyone, it's myself, or other girls who's sense of style I admire. What you wear is an awesome, fun way to express yourself. So don't let that self-expression get watered down because you're worried a guy might not like it. Honestly, most of the guys I know would rather have someone who's happy and confident in their own skin than someone who's wearing something skintight just because they think it'll get them male attention.
 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Let's Talk.

When I went to check Twitter today, I was greeted with the trending hashtag #BellLetsTalk.

I was confused, so I did some research and found out that Bell is a charitable program based out of Canada. Their goal is to end the stigma surrounding mental illness, and today's effort involves them donating a nickel to their mental health initiatives every time someone uses the hashtag. So get tweeting!

Mental illness is an issue that's close to my heart. Since my sophomore year of college I've dealt with the effects of panic disorder, a type of anxiety disorder characterized by frequent panic attacks. And not like, "I'm so stressed out over these assignments that I'm freaking out" panic. Actual, diagnosable panic attacks can come from nowhere. Most often there's no clear reason, and you end up feeling like you're having a heart attack, and like you physically can't breathe. For over a year, I was averaging about one of those a day- it was miserable.

Up until college I had always been incredibly happy and healthy mentally, so it really scared and confused me when I started having panic attacks all the time, and I felt ashamed that I couldn't just snap out of it. I lost a lot of friends because I never wanted to go out for fear I'd panic in public and embarrass myself, which led to feeling really depressed. I wasn't sure what was going on with me, and I was nervous to talk to anyone about it. Looking back, it would have been amazing if mental illness was something more openly talked about- I wouldn't have felt so alone. 

My family had no experience with mental illness, and my parents were both brought up in a time where depression was written off as just being sad, and anxiety meant you just worried too much. They didn't have the tools to deal with my issues, and since I was away at college, I could hide just how bad things were from them. I waited much longer than I should have to admit I needed professional help.

Sometimes I look back on that year of my life and I'm sad about how much time I wasted being afraid. Not just panic-afraid, but afraid of speaking up and admitting to the people close to me just how much I was struggling. Even now, it's a little weird to write this knowing people might read it and see me differently because of the stigma that goes along with mental illness. But if more people talk about it, less people will treat it as taboo, and if that leads to one more person getting the help they need then I'll be a happy human. 

Things are mostly better now- I have really supportive people in my life, and my experience allowed me to educate my family. I still panic from time to time, but I've figured out tools to deal with it, and I haven't had a full-blown panic attack in months. It's not something that will ever entirely go away, but I'm no longer hiding myself away over it. 

When you talk about having a physical illness, no one treats you with kid gloves or tells you to just get over it. So why shouldn't it be the same with mental illness? I have Crohn's disease, and people react to that news with a lot less unease than they do to the fact that I have panic disorder. When I tell people about my anxiety, I sometimes feel like I'm burdening them, or that they think I'm telling them something way too personal. But to me, my physical and mental illnesses are the same thing, and they're just things I've learned to deal with. But to some people, it's a lot easier to swallow that some has diabetes than that someone has depression.

So if you're struggling with mental illness, let's talk. Talk to me, talk to your mom, talk to your roommate, talk to your best friend. The only way to end the stigma is if we stop acting like "depression" or "anxiety" are things that need to be whispered in the confines of a therapist's office. And if you don't suffer from mental illness, let's talk anyway. Be the person that your friends who are struggling can come to, because they know you won't judge them. Because the numbers of college students, twentysomethings, and people in general who suffer from some sort of mental illness are staggering. Odds are, you know someone who's affected by it, even if they haven't opened up to you about it. So let's talk!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Art Makes Us Vulnerable

For a class this week, I had to write about my experiences as a writer. I talked about the different kinds of writing I do, how I started, and why I continue.

I mentioned in my essay that writing still makes me self-conscious, but I didn't think much of it when I wrote it. My professor responded, asking why if I've generally gotten positive feedback on my writing, why would it still make me self-conscious?

I think her question gets at a universal truth. It could just be me, but I think any kind of creative work lends itself to that feeling of self-consciousness. If you're an artist showing someone your drawing, you're nervous. If you're a musician playing someone your new song, you're nervous. Every time I write a blog post, or an article, or a short story, I'm nervous.

It has nothing to do with whether or not you think you're good at what it is you've chosen to do: obviously if I thought I was garbage at writing, I probably wouldn't write as much as I do. But art is an intensely personal thing, and even if it's light, fluffy, comedic writing, I still want people to like it, because it's a part of me. The words I choose are a part of my consciousness, and they're unique to me.

So as much as self-consciousness generally carries a negative connotation, I don't necessarily see it as a bad thing when it comes to my writing. In writing, or painting, or playing an instrument- whatever the case may be- you are literally creating something that wasn't there before. It's amazing, and exciting, and it's normal if the idea of other people seeing what you created makes you nervous. Just don't let it stop you from creating, and from showing people what you created. Some people will like it, some won't, and the vulnerability will be good for you. It's scary, but it's character building.
I'll probably always be self-conscious showing people what I've written. I could be a best-selling author, showrunner on my own TV show, whatever- I'm still going to want people to like what I've written. It's normal. And it's part of why I like writing so much- I like to make people laugh, and I like to make people think. So as long as I occasionally do that, the self-consciousness can stay. It keeps me on my toes.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

#SororitySaturday (On a Sunday, Oops)

So I realize this is a sorority Saturday post, and I further realize today is Sunday, but this new semester has kind of been kicking my ass already. Senioritis at its finest.

Along with stealing your motivation, senior year will make you really nostalgic. Lately, I've been just so happy and overwhelmed with how much I love all the women I've gotten to know over the past four years. So stick with me, cause this post might get a little sappy. 

Looking at sororities from an outside perspective, it's easy to wonder why girls would want to spend so much time with each other. I get that question all the time: "Isn't there a lot of drama?"

And sure, sometimes there is, like there would be with any organization or group of friends. But I can genuinely say I care about every woman in our chapter room, and I'd do anything I could to help them if they needed it. So, aside from all the stereotypes about what it means to be in a sorority, here's what having sisters by my side has meant to me in my college career.
PC 10 forever & ever
Never eating lunch alone. This sounds silly, but in college there are going to be things you want to go do, like grab Potbelly on your break from class, go try a new workout class, or go out on Thursday night because you've had a long week. Being in a sorority means always having at least a dozen good friends you can call up at any given time to do those things with. There's some post going around that says "Being in a sorority means to me... having 40 people to call at 3 AM," And it's true. From my best friends to the sisters I'm still getting to know, I know they'd be there for me if I needed them.

Always feeling safe. I know some girls who go to the bars on weekends looking for guys (which is fine, you do you!). But the truth is, especially if you live in a big city like me, it's potentially dangerous to get hot mess wasted with a bunch of guys you just met. I know when I go out with my sisters, though, that I'll always get home safe. Someone's always got your back. I would never let anything happen to them, and I know they would never let anything happen to me. No sister left behind, right?

A crazy awesome support system. This is honestly one of the best parts, and if you're someone who's thinking of rushing, this is the best reason. My sisters are so freaking supportive of one another's goals and dreams. We've done goal setting meetings together where we set goals for the next month, year, five years, etc. and I'm not sure anyone has ever made me feel as validated as my sisters have. There's something about being surrounded by strong, smart women who want to accomplish big things that makes you believe you can accomplish big things too. Whenever I have life talks with any of them I walk away feeling like I can take on the world. Nothing gives you that sense of support quite like a sorority can: they're literally my family away from home. 

So sorry to get mushy on you guys, but I'm just really feeling the sisterly love these days. It's great to be a senior looking back and be able to tangibly see what you and your friends have built. Here's to finishing what we started!


Friday, January 24, 2014

#CantControlMyLibido

So for those of you who haven't watched the news, some shocking news: another old white politician has made an idiotic remark about female reproductive rights.

Thursday, former Arkansas governor and unsuccessful presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee spoke at the Republican National Convention's winter meeting. His attempt to make his party look more female friendly backfired so severely it's almost laughable. Watch his comments here.

According to Huckabee: "If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it."

So once you're done fuming, let's discuss.

Anyone with a decent education and/or awareness of the world around them can see the issues with Huckabee's thought process. As critics have pointed out, many women are on birth control for medical reasons, which negates the idea that providing them access to it is somehow promoting anything other than physical health.

But here's the thing: having sex is not bad. Women should not have to justify their choice to be on birth control by proving they have an illness that necessitates it. Women can and should have access to birth control if for no other reason than that they have a healthy sex life and want to prevent pregnancy. No one, politicians or otherwise, should try to make a woman feel bad about her "uncontrollable libido." There's already enough stigma in this country about female sexuality. Women who are open about enjoying sex get negatively labelled every single day. We don't need those types of stereotypes pervading the medical and legal world as well: women's access to birth control should never be decided by conservative men who think it's insulting to assist women in securing contraception.

A silver lining, though: whenever something ridiculous like this happens, after I pick my jaw up off the floor, I look for reactions to restore my faith in humanity. One of my favorite things in life is how quickly comedy reacts when something like this happens (twitter accounts for Justin Bieber's DUI, anyone?). I found my comic relief today in the form of Cosmo's #CantControlMyLibido hashtag, aka my favorite thing ever. Here are some of the best:




Even Miley Cyrus got in on the action. So while I'm terrified that there are people out there whose minds apparently work the way Huckabee's does, at this point, the only way I can deal is by laughing at it. Now excuse me while I go pick out something tight to wear to the bars tomorrow night because #CantControlMyLibido.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Follow Your Arrow Wherever it Points

If you aren't listening to Kacey Musgraves yet, you need to go start.
The twenty-five year old Texas native won Nashville Star in 2007, but she's just starting to make a real splash on country radio. This year she's opening for Lady Antebellum on tour, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she'll be headlining her own soon. Below, just a handful of reasons her and her album are worth a listen or fifty.



Her songs give great life advice
"Silver Lining" is full of inspiration, with the chorus reminding you that "If you're ever gonna find a four leaf clover, you gotta get a little dirt on your hands." It's that positive attitude that I've come to love in my country music that makes Musgraves a great listen on a rough day- it's musical encouragement. If you want the good, you have to get through the bad.

She says what I'm thinking
Sometimes it feels like everyone around you is settling down, getting jobs, getting married, and turning into their parents, and then there's you, still figuring things out. Musgraves gets it perfectly in her hit single "Merry Go Round." She scoffs at the traditional path, letting us know that it's perfectly perfect to veer off of it. Favorite lines would have to include, "If you ain't got two kids by 21 you're probably gonna die alone, at least that's what tradition told you." It's that biting criticism of the "normal" way of doing business that makes Musgraves so likable, and different from a lot of other country artists.

She can be vulnerable
Sometimes artists can get so into the ass-kicking persona that it's hard to remember they have emotions just like the rest of us. With "I Miss You," Musgraves perfectly articulates what it's like to be perfectly happy in life but still wish you had the person you love back in it to share the experience with you. It's a reminder that it's okay to miss someone, even if you know you shouldn't be with them (a sentiment that's reiterated with "It Is What It Is"). 

She will get you through that break-up
Sometimes, a song perfectly encapsulates what you're feeling. For me, it's the sad but powerful "Keep it to Yourself." It's about that feeling after a break-up where you both may be missing each other, but you know it's for the best to be apart. It's about regaining your strength and saying no when someone wants to rekindle something you know isn't good for you.

She's just really fun to listen to 
I haven't really met a Kacey Musgraves song I don't like, but "Stupid" has to be one of my favorite on the album. Seriously, if you only have time to listen to one song, this should probably be it. It's up-tempo, fun, and empowering. And it's about a universally relatable feeling- how damn stupid we get when we're in love.

She's not here to judge your choices
Sometimes country music has a tendency to spout a lot of values that aren't quite in line with my own. Musgraves, on the other hand, seems to be pretty progressive for a country star. "Follow Your Arrow," in addition to just being a really fun song to listen to, encourages us all to do what it is we want to do, because we're the ones dealing with our decisions at the end of the day. To give you an idea of her message, here's the chorus:

Make lots of noise,
Kiss lots of boys, 
Or kiss lots of girls
If that's what you're into.
When the straight and narrow
Gets a little too straight
Roll up a joint (or don't)
Just follow your arrow wherever it points.

Clearly, Kacey Musgraves is a new kind of country star. So do yourself a favor and get to listening to all the links I so handily posted in the descriptions. You can thank me later. 




Monday, January 20, 2014

The Skinny on Self-Image

So there's a lot I could say about body image, but it really all boils down to one point: don't put all your self-worth in being skinny.
I realize that it is an unfortunate but natural part of being a woman to occasionally wish you were thinner. I'm generally cool with how I look, but some days I see a really awesome skin tight dress with a million cutouts and wish I was Miranda Kerr. That lasts all of five minutes and then someone puts a pizza in front of me and I'm me again. But I know a lot of great women who put way too much of their time and energy into thinking about how their life would be better if they were a size 2. And here's the thing: the size of your waist absolutely and unequivocally does not correlate with your quality of life
In talking to friends, it seems to be a common belief that if they can just lose ten pounds, they'll be happy. But the problem with that is, there will always be another ten pounds. No matter how thin you get, or how good you look, or how toned your arms are, there's literally always room for improvement. So if you're placing your self-worth and happiness in that pesky ten pounds, you'll never be happy, because there will always be a couple more pounds you think you could lose. You lose ten pounds, and then it's another ten, and then it's a six pack, until you drive yourself nuts going after some crazy idea of what you're supposed to look like. You're chasing something that will continue to elude you, because the problem isn't with your body, it's with your mindset. 

I've said it before and I will continue to shout it from the rooftops until I stop seeing my beautiful friends upsetting themselves about the size of their thighs: being skinny does not mean being happy. There are skinny, beautiful people out there who I guarantee you still have problems. Everyone's got something they're self-conscious about. Looking good in a crop top is awesome, but it won't magically solve all your issues.
Think about it this way: in the grand scheme of things you want to be in life, is skinny at the top of that list? Is "skinny" the best compliment you could receive? Would you not rather be funny, intelligent, caring, successful? Try to re-prioritize what you want. Working out is good. Eating healthy is good. Obsessing over the way you look and thinking your life will only be fulfilling if you're thin is decidedly not good. Come up with goals that have more to do with your talents and what you can do, rather than just how you look. 
I'll leave you with a Mindy Kaling quote, because this girl has got great things to say about self-image. 

“If someone called me chubby, it would no longer be something that kept me up late at night. Being called fat is not like being called stupid or unfunny, which is the worst thing you could ever say to me. Do I envy Jennifer Hudson for being able to lose all that weight and look smokin’ hot? Of course, yes. Do I sometimes look at Gisele Bundchen and wonder how awesome life would be if I never had to wear Spanx? Duh, of course. That’s kind of the point of Gisele Bundchen. And maybe I will, once or twice, for a very short period of time. But on the list of things I want to do in my lifetime, that’s not near the top. I mean, it’s not near the bottom either. I’d say it’s right above 'Learn to drive a vespa,' but several notches below 'film a chase scene for a movie.'”


Saturday, January 18, 2014

#SororitySaturday: The Problem with "TSM" Culture

I've never been a big fan of TSM, but after seeing them post a piece entitled "Stop Crying Rape," I knew what I wanted to talk about for this week's Sorority Saturday post.

For the uninitiated, TSM stands for Total Sorority Move, and the site is a sister to the original Total Frat Move. A few years back, what started out as a douchey saying has evolved into a full-fledged brand, with #TSM being emblazoned on shirts and coozies. Total Frat Move even released a book last year.

At first, I thought the trend was harmless. The things on TSM aren't reflective of my sorority experience, so I wasn't worried about it. But lately I've been seeing a lot of sorority women I like and respect retweeting things from the site, and every time I do it makes me worry for the state of Greek life. Yes, some of the things TSM and TFM tweet are harmless:
"Big Hair. Big Smile. Big Personality. #TSM."
"All the doodles in your notebook being sorority-related. #TSM"
But the tweets range from harmless to downright awful, depending on the day, and the "articles" tend to be worse. At best, the site perpetuates out-of-date, negative stereotypes about sorority women, like we spend all our time shopping and hooking up with guys. At worst, the content encourages viewpoints that take women's progress back about fifty years.

Specifically, one of TSM's columnists recently wrote a piece called "Stop Crying Rape." You can read it yourself, but the point being made is that girls get drunk, have sex, regret it, and then claim they were raped. While I'm not saying this never happens (it does, and false rape accusations are serious, which is why those who make them face jail time), there's a much larger issue at stake. This TSM "article" (not sure we can call it that anyway, considering it cites no actual facts or numbers) is merely making the issue of underreporting sexual assault worse. For an in-depth analysis of the article's issues, read this.

Even more disturbing is the support TSM received for the post. That's what I find most terrifying about TSM culture: there's a contingent of college women who seem to cling to anything they think makes them seem "sratty," which usually means specific clothing or accessories. In this case, it's clinging to oppressive ideologies, which is much more harmful to Greek women, and women in general.

This kind of post is exactly why the Greek community should break ties with sites like TSM. If we're asking people to take us seriously, we need to stop adding to the problem by retweeting things that make us seem vapid, unintelligent, and snobby. We need to move our focus to accounts like Actual Sorority Move, who pride themselves on showing Greek life in a positive light. I'm not saying sorority women don't craft, or shop, or go to parties. But it definitely isn't all we do, and that's the only part being seen through websites like TSM.
My beautiful sisters with their fabric to make quilts for hospitalized kids 
So think about it next time you go to retweet a cute TSM post. By associating yourself with that brand, even if it's a seemingly harmless tweet about glitter, you are associating yourself with people who think it's okay to write off rape as just another drunken mistake. You're associating yourself, and all sorority women, with a site that perpetuates the stereotype that we're all drunks and gold diggers. And I know we're so much more than that- let the rest of the world know, too.

Friday, January 17, 2014

#FollowFriday: The Funniest Women on Twitter

As I've undoubtedly mentioned before, I am an obsessive tweeter. And aside from my own ramblings, I love having my twitter feed to read while I sit on a bus or wait for my class to start (because I'm incapable of not being at least ten minutes early to everything). So obviously I'm always on the hunt for the best accounts to follow. Without further ado, some great funny-ladies you should all follow if you like to laugh (if you don't like to laugh, kindly get out of my face).

Chrissy Teigen
All I knew about Chrissy Teigen a few months ago was that she's a super hot model. Then one day, Cosmo retweeted her (the specific tweet that drew me in may or may not have been: IS PEE STORED IN THE BALLS?) and opened my eyes to the fact that aside from being John Legend's wife, she is apparently one of the funniest humans on the planet. A sampling of some of my personal favorite tweets of hers:



Anna Kendrick
On top of being just wonderful in pretty much any movie she makes, Anna Kendrick is also incredibly on her twitter game. Whereas most celebrities in her position just post a lot of tweets thanking their fans for loving them so much and nominating them for so many awards, Kendrick's twitter manages to resemble what your funny best friend's account might look like, if she happened to be super famous. Plus, her awe at rubbing virtual elbows with other celebs is just adorable.


If you know me, you know my intense love for Mindy Kaling. Not only is she my career idol, her book is life-changingly hilarious. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that her tweets are gold. Bonus points for twitter interactions with BJ Novak, who is only omitted from this list because he sadly does not qualify as a funny woman. 



I first decided I loved Gaby Dunn when I went through a several-week long binge reading of Thought Catalog. She's arguably their best writer, and she also writes for a bunch of other publications. So naturally I hunted her down on twitter, and I'm so glad I did.



So do yourself a favor and go get some of this twitter comedy in your life. And if you're a fan of people who tweet mainly about eating, the doge meme, and Law & Order: SVU, go here



Thursday, January 16, 2014

Post-Holiday Product Review

The Christmas season was good to me this year, especially when it comes to beauty products. I'm always on the lookout for new products, but hesitant to buy them. There's nothing worse than dropping a chunk of money on a hair or skin product only to realize it doesn't actually work the magic it promises. So here, I'll give you the breakdown of the products I've been using for the past few weeks and whether or not they actually work as advertised.

Freeman Feeling Beautiful Facial Enzyme Pineapple Mask 
$3.99, available at most drugstores
With the bitter Chicago cold drying out my skin, I was excited to get a face mask as a gift that promises to "restore radiant skin." After one use I did notice that my skin looked brighter and felt softer. The directions recommend use twice a week for best and most noticeable results. And for those of you who don't love looking like a crazy person in a green or brown face mask, fear not- this one is clear. Especially considering the low price, I'd say this is worth the buy, especially if you're just looking for something quick and natural to soften your skin.

ColorProof Crazy Smooth Extreme Shine Treatment Oil
$34.99 for 3.4 oz., SleekHair.com
 This one little bottle boasts a lot of benefit for your hair: It's a 2012 American Salon Professional's Choice Winner (among others), it's 100% Vegan and sulfate-free for the environmentally conscious, and it claims to instantly defrizz hair. I've been inundated left and right lately about how good oil is for your locks, but I wasn't exactly sure how to use it. My friend/hair stylist told me to apply it just to my ends, while hair is damp. After doing so, I literally could not stop touching my hair. It was so soft and shiny I almost couldn't believe it. So yes, it's definitely a pricier hair product, but if you have especially especially difficult to tame frizz, it's probably worth a try. 

Tigi Bed Head Totally Baked Hair Meringue
$15.95, Target
This product is billed as "volumizing and prepping hair meringue," so it works similarly to mousse. It's a good drying agent, and I see a lift in my roots when I use it. Word to the wise- don't use too much, or it will make your hair look greasy. Depending on the amount of hair you have, a small pump or two should be plenty. By far the selling point on this product, though, is the "totally baked" part. It literally makes your hair smell like cake. Sometimes mousse has a chemically, hair product smell, but this one doesn't have that issue at all, instead leaving your hair smelling sweet all day.

It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In for Blondes
$22.95, JC Penney Salons as well as Select Drugstores
Of all the products I got this holiday season, this might be my favorite. The product claims to do 10 things instantly, from toning your color to serving as a heat and UV protectant. My favorite thing about it is that along with all of those other benefits, it also detangles, something I desperately need for my thick, long hair. It's a bit expensive for a bottle that's not huge, but you don't need a lot of product when you use it, so I expect it to last quite a while. 



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Break-ups are undoubtedly one of the hardest things to go through.
Even if things end on good terms, you're still left with a lot of feelings, and probably a lot of your former significant other's stuff. When my almost three-year relationship ended, I had no idea what to do, and I looked for advice and reassurance everywhere. I just wanted to get back to feeling like myself, something a part of me thought would never happen.
Obviously, everyone's experience with a break-up is unique. There are a million factors to consider, like how long you were together, why things ended, who broke up with who, etc. But as I slowly healed, I talked to a lot of friends who had gone through their own break-ups, messy or otherwise, and noticed some trends.

At first, you might panic.
Immediately after the breaking has been done, you'll probably feel like you're no longer sure how to function. Especially after a particularly long-term or co-dependent relationship, you might freak out, feeling like you don't know how to go about daily life. And that's normal, because your daily life that once consisted of texts back and forth and date nights and spooning is now entirely different. There's no getting back to your normal life. You have to rebuild a new daily routine that works for you. The best things you can do in that case are try to keep really busy, and enjoy all the time you now have to just have fun with friends. Try to see the positives, like the fact that you now get to be completely selfish when deciding what to eat for dinner or what movie to watch. It's the little things.
So know that it's okay to panic and wonder What the hell am I going to do now? Just don't let the panic drive you to any rash decisions.

Shoutout to my best friends who saw me through all these crazy phases. This is us on Halloween, 2 months post break-up (we were Pretty Little Liars)
You will go through a "rose colored glasses" phase. 
Once the initial panic fades, you will probably go through a period of time where you decide that breaking up was a huge mistake. You'll forget all of the logical, sound reasons for the break-up and instead choose only to remember all the happy parts of the relationship, even if there aren't all that many to reminisce about. Even if it was entirely the other person's fault (i.e. they cheated on you, killed your cat, etc.) you will blame yourself, telling yourself that they only did those things because you were emotionally unavailable/too clingy/whatever other bullshit you choose to feed yourself. You'll chastise yourself for not cutting them more slack, for not working harder to fix things.
Again, it's normal to have these thoughts. But what's most important in this phase of post-break-up-dom is time and space. I know a lot of people who have ended relationships for all the right reasons, only to misguidedly get back together two weeks later because they let the rose colored glasses cloud their formerly clear vision. So, when you have these thoughts, do not- I REPEAT, DO NOT CALL HIM. Do not text him. Do not tell him you want him back. Your future self will thank you for this, believe me.

You will tell yourself it's okay to talk/hang out with him because you're "just friends."
This is a particularly un-fun part of the post break-up roller coaster. At some point, you may end up talking to them a lot. Whether it's about your past relationship, the weather, your dog- whatever the case may be- it's probably not a good idea.
When you're fresh out a relationship, this isn't what you want to hear. You want to believe you're both well-adjusted enough that you can instantly be friends again with no weirdness. Plenty of well-meaning friends will tell you to take time away, to not talk to them, but you do it anyway. Because you guys are cool, and you're just friends, so what's the big deal, right?
Wrong. The old wounds can't heal if you keep ripping off the band-aid with Oh hey this reminded me of you, lol! texts to your ex. It's nice to be civil if you see each other, and being friends down the road isn't out of the question. But if you're using the friend card to defend the fact that you just miss talking to him, stop talking to him.

You will eventually hit a point where you are HAPPY. Actually happy.
Break-ups suck. When people say you'll eventually get over it, they aren't trying to be pricks. But that's what it feels like when you're knee deep in wallowing and some friend with good intentions is like "Oh don't worry, you'll be fine in a few months!" That's great for you in a few months, but right now it just sucks.
I'm about to be hypocritical and tell you exactly what all your friends are telling you, so don't hate me. But sometimes a cliche is a cliche because it's true. You will hit a point where you don't have to try not to think about them, where you don't have to give your best friend your phone when you're drunk so you don't call him. If you have a good support system and truly give yourself time, you can even come out the other side of a break-up happier than before. After all, there were reasons you broke up. Reasons that made you unhappy. Now that you don't have that drama dragging you down, you have more time to focus on things that actually make you happy, not just what you were comfortable with and dependent on. Maybe that's a hobby that fell by the wayside, or meeting a new guy who treats you how you should be treated. Whatever it may be, you'll feel happier, more fulfilled, and so glad you didn't end up getting back together with your ex.
Repeat after Taylor.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Good, The Bad, and the Funny: Golden Globes Edition

With the People's Choice Awards last week and the Golden Globes last night, it's safe to say awards season is in full swing. I love award shows: pretty dresses, attractive guys with beards, and all my favorite celebrities in one room interacting with each other (I'm looking at you, Jennifer Lawrence and Taylor Swift). So if you didn't have time to watch, or if you watched with friends and spent more time talking about Leonardo DiCaprio than actually watching, here's a recap.

Red Carpet Fashion
So I had to Google Lupita Nyong'o, but the 12 Years A Slave star was without a doubt the best dressed for the entire show. Her red, caped Ralph Lauren dress was stunning and simple, and for the rest of the night I looked but no one else quite matched up.

Some of my favorite hair choices were on Sandra Bullock, who went with a low side pony, and Modern Family star Sarah Hyland, who opted for Heidi-esque braids. Taylor Swift went with an Old Hollywood reminiscent look that she's done before, but she looked gorgeous doing it.

Zooey Deschanel's two-piece Oscar de la Renta combination reminded me of Larisa Oleynik's prom outfit in 10 Things I Hate About You, aka, best left in the 90's. She was also wearing a trend I noticed a lot last night and don't particularly love: hi-lo hemlines that hit just at the ankle, showing off the shoes. Everyone from Aubrey Plaza to Elizabeth Moss was doing it, but I think Michelle Dockery was the only one who might have actually pulled it off.
 
Not loving the two separate pieces look
It kills me to say this, because I am an unabashed Jennifer Lawrence lover, but her dress was a miss with the double belt situation. I'll let it slide though, because she self-confessedly knows nothing about fashion and lets her stylists choose everything for her.

Amber Heard went the safe route but was gorgeous nonetheless, as usual. Paula Patton's choice in dress confuses me almost as much as her choice in men. Golden Globe winner Amy Adams was channeling her American Hustle character Sydney Prosser, and her cleavage took center stage just as it did through the whole movie.
An unconventional favorite came from Emma Watson, who wore pants under an open-backed dress. The reviews are mixed, but I loved that she took a risk and did something out of the ordinary.


The Show Itself
There's nothing I can say about Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's opening monologue other than "it was amazing." Seriously, if you missed the show, watch it here. My favorite joke of the night had to be the funny dig at George Clooney's love of younger women.
Jennifer Lawrence made up for her odd dress choice with her adorably flustered acceptance speech, which by now is nothing new. My favorite part would have to be when she admitted that even she doesn't watch all of the movies nominated. She also brought on-again off-again boyfriend Nicholas Hoult as her date, so apparently they're on again? The X-Men fan in me is happy.
Margot Robbie of Wolf of Wall Street was endearing as well, admitting nerves as she presented for the first time ever alongside Award Show veteran Jonah Hill.
By far the best part of the show would have to be Emma Thompson, presenting an award while holding her heels in one hand and a drink in the other, like the badass that she is.
Also, apparently we should all start watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

For a full list of winners, check out USA Today.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Hair & Makeup: Tricks to Get Rid of Your Baby-Face

I have been cursed with an eternal baby-face.

I'm 21, and last week I got carded going to see an R-rated movie. A few months ago when I was traveling back from DC, a flight attendant asked to see my ID because I went to sit in the emergency exit row- she thought I was under fifteen. This is just a taste of what life is like when your face makes you look much younger than you are. And if you're like me, you do everything you can to combat it.

So here, I share a few tips I've gotten from fellow baby-faced friends, stylists, and makeup artists on how to make your round, youthful face look a bit more mature.

Hair
Just about every time I get my hair done, I ask my friend/stylist for ways to frame my face and make it look less rounded. I'm eternally self-conscious about my chubby cheeks. Luckily, there are a few cuts and styles that help lessen the cherub-effect.

Tease
One common suggestion is to tease hair at the crown, providing extra volume in the back and at the top, lengthening the face and drawing attention away from the circular shape. Regardless of if you wear it straight or curly, some teasing up top will help.
Lowlights
As a blonde, I'm always hesitant to go darker. But according to many stylists, highlights around the face can actually make it appear even more round. Think about it: dark colored clothing is slimming, so why not apply the same principle to your hair color?
Ponytail
According to the experts at MSN glo, positioning a ponytail at the right point on your head can make all the difference for your face shape. Rather than going super high or low at the nape of the neck, line your pony up with your cheekbones, giving the allusion of a more defined shape for your face.


Makeup
I absolutely adore makeup, and I'm a big proponent of experimenting with new looks. So my mom and I recently took a life-changing trip to the Sephora at Water Tower Place in Chicago, and one of their expert makeup artists helped me slim down my face.

Contour
We've all heard about facial contouring, and seen pictures of it being done really well. I watched some really great youtube video how-to's (there are a bunch out there, but this one is really detailed), but I was going about it all wrong by using a dark bronzer on my fair skin. The contour should be subtle, which is why the team at Sephora recommended a matte face powder that's only a shade or so darker than your natural skin color. 
I splurged on the Givenchy Le Prisme Visage Mat Soft Compact Face Powder ($46), but most matte powder palettes will do the trick
Cat-eye
Eyeliner can be your secret weapon in elongating the top of your face, therefore giving it more of a definite shape. A cat-eye is an old standby, and my personal favorite method is using liquid liner. Cosmo gives a great step-by-step for creating your own cat-eye at home. Paired with eye-shadow it works perfectly for a night out, but it can also work alone for daytime makeup.
Thick Brows
Thin eyebrows can contribute to a generally round, young looking face. But luckily for baby-faces, thick, full, brows are really popular at the moment. Either on your own or with the help of a salon, create a slightly angular shape for your brows, using the pictures below for inspiration. Then you can use a brow pencil or darker powder to fill them in, adding to the full effect. 
Cara Delevingne and Lily Collins have the right idea

So now that you're armed with tips from the experts, get to work on making your face match your age. Hopefully we can finally put an end to well-meaning strangers asking "When do you graduate high school?"

Saturday, January 11, 2014

#SororitySaturday: On Hazing

I've been a proud sorority woman for almost four full years now, but I still remember my New Member period like it was yesterday.

I was a young, nervous college freshmen. My older sister was in a sorority too, but even so, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect after I got my bid. The media inundates us with horrific stories about hazing: pledges eating goldfish, being forced to break the law or face public humiliation. I was nervous, but I wasn't worried: I knew if anything like that happened, I'd be out of there faster than you can say deactivate.
But here's a story that people don't talk about, because it doesn't draw as many eye-catching headlines: Like thousands of other sorority women across the nation, I was not hazed. 
You heard me correctly. Not one bit. As a matter of fact, what I experienced was pretty much the polar opposite of hazing. I was assigned my Big, who served as a mentor and friend, and even showered me with cute gifts. My New Member period was spent building me up and making me feel incredibly welcomed. I had found my home away from home in a group of strong and smart women.
Me with my Big on my 20th birthday
This is why it's so frustrating for me to see constant, one-sided reporting on fraternity and sorority issues. News outlets love to talk about specific incidents where something horrible happened and then portray it as if that's what all of Greek life is like. I can't speak for everyone, but I know that at least to my experience, that is not what my sisters and I stand for. Every time someone asks if I was hazed and I say that I wasn't, I'm met with resistance. I get a lot of, "Oh, okay, *wink-wink*, of course you didn't." It's hard to explain to people that I'm not attempting to cover up any dirty little secrets. The much less-scandalous truth is that I really wasn't a victim of hazing.
So I'm writing this as one sister's small attempt to level out the playing field. For every story we have about one bad example chapter, we need to be telling another story about a chapter who has done something wonderful, like raised thousands of dollars for their philanthropy. Hazing is a horrible issue that happens across a wide variety of organizations, from Greek life to athletics, and it's important that we all do our part to put a stop to it, and to the negative views that it perpetuates.
Me and one of my own Littles!