Friday, February 28, 2014

If I Knew Then...

Looking back on my four years spent in college, I try not to have any regrets. I have had the pleasure of being friends with some of the best people I've ever met, I've gone after some great opportunities, and I've made amazing memories. It's been a hell of a ride. And while I'm glad things worked out the way they did, because it all enabled me to be the girl I am today, there are definitely some pieces of advice I would have given my pre-college self, if I knew then what I know now.

Don't Decide.
I had the opportunity to work with a group of college freshmen last semester as a peer instructor, and I loved it. But one of the things I noticed about them is that the kids whose majors were "undecided" always said it sheepishly, like there was something wrong with being undecided. Honestly, that couldn't be farther from the truth. If I could go back, I would absolutely go into college undecided and give myself more time to figure out my passion. At eighteen, I was stubbornly certain that I wanted to be an event planner. Since then, I've gone through at least four or five potential careers before finally finding my passion in writing. So be undecided! My academic life would have been a lot easier if I wasn't switching majors practically every other semester.

Remain Unattached
I spent almost three of my college years in a long-term relationship. While I absolutely loved it at the time, I now realize that you only get these four years once. I was passing up on opportunities to go out with friends in favor of staying in and watching Netflix with a guy. That's what your thirties are for, not college. These four years are sacred. I'm not saying you shouldn't date- you should, it's a natural part of college. But don't get so wrapped up in your significant other that you're picking date night over tailgates. Have those exclusively "college" experiences while you can.

Plan Ahead (but not too far ahead)
Things like study abroad (which you should definitely do) and internships take some pre-planning. So don't be like me, who realized too late that I wanted to go somewhere but couldn't because I was already so deep into major courses. Planning ahead in these scenarios will help you fit everything in, because these four years tend to fly by. But when planning, make sure you leave room for the unexpected (like a major change, a new career path, or life experiences that cause you to change direction). Don't create a five year plan so intense that a deviation from the course will crush you.

There are probably a million other pieces of advice I could give my younger self. Don't mix liquors. Don't go out on a Thursday when you have a 6 am wake-up call on a Friday (or at least don't make it a habit). Don't skip class, even when there's something more fun to do. Hint: there's always something more fun to do. Unfortunately, I can't go back and change those things. But who knows? If I hadn't done things in my own stubborn way, I probably wouldn't have found myself the way I did in these past four years. So I'm going to say stumbling along the path was worth it. In the wise words of some Pinterest quote: I love the person I've become, because I fought to become her.
Life Lessons: If it's after 2 AM, stop taking pictures and go home.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What it Means to Have a Sister

When I was in daycare at age four, there was a boy there that made fun of me a lot. I would cry every day when my mom dropped my sister and I off, both because I missed her when she left and because I knew what was to come that day. I think his name was Connor, and he was just your garden variety bully. But I had a secret weapon Connor never expected: my big sister.

From the early days of sending bullies running with explicit threats to kick them in the face Power Rangers style to now, having a big sister means protection. It means that when you're fifteen and a guy completely screws you over, she'll be there to put the fear of God in him about ever talking to you again. It means when a girl who doesn't like you calls you a slut, she's at the ready with a snide comment about how that girl sucks anyway. It's a subtle kind of protection: you never talk about it or acknowledge it, but it's always there.

Don't get me wrong, it's not all rainbows and sunshine. It means fighting, a lot. When you're little, the fighting will manifest itself in hair pulling and digging your nails into each others' arms as you fight over the armrest at the movie theater. In high school, you'll fight over territory: who are her friends and who are yours. Later, you'll stop fighting as much, because it's harder to fight with someone who lives 700 miles away (hanging up on someone just isn't as satisfying as storming out of their room).

In a lot of ways, no one will ever know me as well as my sister does. Time is on our side. When you spend twenty-two years knowing someone, you have all the same background: we grew up on the same shows, listened to the same music, lived in the same neighborhoods. My sister can text me the seemingly innocuous words "Did Nick know John Stamos?" and I will immediately be reduced to giggles without further explanation.

We talk the same. We make the same gestures. Back in the days of home phones, no one was ever sure which one of us they were talking to. We're each others doubles, in a way, but somehow also manage to be each other's opposites. She got all the practicality. I'm the theatrical one. She absolutely hates attention, I thrive on it. We both got the dry sense of humor and the love of learning. She got more athletic ability, I got more artistic. We like all the same things (Buffy, the White Sox, Star Trek movies) but our personalities are more puzzle pieces than mirrors. That's what sisters do. You pick up the slack where the other one needs it. She's responsible. I'm painstakingly blunt. I'm a dreamer, and she's the one who asks the tough questions. In the end, we even each other out.

So while having a sister may make you think of big concepts, like love, loyalty, or friendship, to me it's more a collection of little things. Sure, it's those big ideas too. But it's more about having someone there to speak your own weird made up language to. Or someone who will spend an entire summer with you, re-watching all seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Or someone who shares your love of tacos. Someone who rants about your parents with you. Someone who brought you to college parties with her, in spite of the fact that you were only sixteen and probably embarrassing. Someone who got teachers to love you by default, just because of who your big sister is. Someone who hand-decorated boy band concert t-shirts with you and went, unironically, when you were both well over the age where that kind of thing is acceptable. Someone who shares everything with you, and hardly ever complains.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

"Drink Wine and Suffer" or, How to Deal with Senioritis

It's so surreal that I'm a senior in college. In a matter of months I'll have successfully gotten a college degree, which is amazing and awesome, but also a little scary. In a year's time or less, I could be (and hopefully will be) off living across the country, with a big kid job and apartment to boot. It's a lot to think about.

I wanted to do a post about senioritis, because it's something that's been at the front of my consciousness lately. I've always been a hyper-motivated student when it comes to school and grades, but this semester is a different story. It's like that light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel feeling is making it that much harder to do mundane tasks like homework. Normally, I can sit down and just crank assignments out. Now I'm finding myself looking for any excuse not to do my work. I know everyone always jokes about senioritis, but at least in mine and my friends experience, it's a very real thing.
been friends with these beauties since freshman year, it's crazy to think we're all almost done
I think there's a lot that contributes to the major motivational drop-off that comes in the home stretch of high school, college, grad school, whatever. For me right now, I feel incredibly conflicted: part of me is over the whole school thing because I feel really ready to just get out there in the professional world. I find myself prioritizing writing for my portfolio when I should be doing assignments that are actually due, because I enjoy it a lot more and because I can see the tangible benefits. In my mind, I'm thinking "isn't it a better use of my time to be researching an article than to be studying for this test?" But I also know that I have to make it through these last months of school, or those professional goals won't happen because I won't have my degree. It's a constant battle between what I want to do and am passionate about, and what I know I have to do to get there.

Another factor is that ever-present fear of missing out. Senior year makes you super nostalgic, and you become acutely aware that this is it. One of my sorority sisters forwarded us an article recently about making the most of your last semester of college. One thing on the list was that since you'll never be in college again, you should take advantage of that "going four nights a week" thing while you still can. And for some reason, ever since I read that article, I find it harder and harder to say no to plans with friends in favor of schoolwork. That's the thing about senioritis- you know what you should be doing, but you can totally justify why you should go to the bar instead because it's your last semester! Soon, it definitely won't be socially acceptable (or wise for your sleep schedule) to stay out til 1 AM on a Wednesday because it's dollar beer night.
dollar beers!
So apologies to my fellow seniors that I have no words of wisdom on how to get over senioritis and get your life together- sadly, I don't. If I did, I wouldn't have taken a three hour nap yesterday in place of getting an early start on my midterm. But just know that everyone is in the same boat. When I'm procrastinating with my third consecutive hour of Netflix or a trip to the bar instead of getting shit done, it's nice to know that my roommates are doing the same thing. Maddie gave the best, most concise advice I could think to give someone suffering from senioritis: "just drink wine and suffer."

So accept your fate, enjoy yourself, and do what you've got to do to pass your classes (after all, you don't want to go through this again when you have to repeat a semester). Don't beat yourself up about it- it's a very rare senior who still feels as motivated as they did freshman year. So pour yourself a drink, have fun, and promise yourself you'll do your homework on Sunday. That's what Sundays are for, right?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

#SororitySunday: Sisters First

In my four years as a sorority woman, I've held four different positions within my chapter, all with various different duties and levels of responsibility. Transitioning between positions is naturally always a difficult time: you're in a new role, still figuring things out. So it's often during these transitions between officers that chapters run into problems.

I've said this before, but I think it's of the utmost importance that members be able to give constructive criticism to one another in regards to their business duties, but then turn around and go get coffee together and not have those criticisms affect their friendship. Unfortunately, a lot of people don't have the ability to view things through that lens: they take criticism of their officer position as criticism of themselves as a person, and then they resent the sister who gave the advice. This is a vicious cycle, and one that will ruin any chapter's hopes of building a real sense of sisterhood.
The last group of executive council women I had the privilege to be a part of
That's why it's so important to be sisters first, officers second. If members could remember that one simple phrase, relationships could vastly improve. If a sister has an issue with another sister, she should bring it to that person and talk it out, not spread cattiness by talking about it to everyone but that person. If members feel they can communicate openly with one another, it will foster an environment where the women feel more comfortable coming to one another with constructive criticism. As an officer, you need to make sure these girls know they can come to you with things and no personal vendettas will get involved.

I think that not taking things personally is often easier said than done, but a fresh mindset can go far in making this work in any chapter. The number one thing to remember when you feel yourself taking things personally and lashing out at someone else in your organization is to try to see things from their perspective. In sororities, but also just in general relationships in life, I think everyone would be a lot better off if we thought more about how other people are feeling, why they might have done something, or what motivates them. A lot of conflict comes as a result of misunderstanding, so it's a good rule that if you're calling someone your sister, you should always assume the best in them and doubt the worst. If you hear a rumor, assume the best until you can ask them about it and get facts straight. Not only is it not sisterly to assume the worst in people, it's a terrible basis for real relationships. So be up front, be honest, be respectful, and above all else, be kind.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Creating Female Role Models

I grew up on pop culture. TV, movies, books, and music have shaped so much of my personality, it's probably a little weird. My sister and I dominate every game of Trivial Pursuit, ever, and I could go into extensive detail about any episode of Law & Order: SVU that has ever aired. You could say pop culture is my thing. 
Luckily, the media has (for the most part) shaped me in terms of my sense of humor and awareness of the people around me. A lot of people would probably talk down how much media exposure I've gotten in my life, but I think it's actually worked to my advantage and given me a lot of the people skills I need to succeed. I'm entirely aware that parts of me subconsciously come from characters I've loved, and I'm okay with it. 
Unfortunately, though, not everyone has the great experiences I've had with television, film, etc. Looking back, I had great fictional role models to grow up with, from Buffy to Hermione to Donna from That 70's Show, all of whom were smart, independent women. Buffy taught me you can kick ass while still liking traditionally "superficial" activities like shopping. Hermione taught me that girls shouldn't dumb themselves down to be liked. Donna taught me never to cut your own dreams short because of a guy. It may seem silly to people that these lessons came from fiction, but they did, and they are lessons I have carried with me into young adulthood.
Buffy: fashionable and ass-kicking are not mutually exclusive
That's why I tend to get passionate when people discuss the issue of female characters in pop culture. Often, I hear the argument that it's not the filmmaker/writer's responsibility to create positive female characters. And while it might not be their responsibility, it would definitely be a step in the right direction toward creating a generation of intelligent, thoughtful young women.
Hermione saving the day, as usual
I remember the first time I ever watched the Twilight movies, and all I wanted was for the end of the movie to come, and for Bella's character to ditch her co-dependent relationship and decide to go to college. But of course she didn't. And in my 21 years of life, I have enough experience to know that the relationship in that movie wasn't healthy- but an eleven year old watching might not get that, and she might try to emulate that later on if she sees Bella Swan as a role model. 

I'm not saying all female characters have to kick ass and take names, or that they can't choose a relationship, I'm just saying they need to be real, and teach young girls real lessons. There's an awesome Natalie Portman quote that I'll include here because there's no way I could articulate it better myself:
"I want every version of a woman and a man to be possible. I want women and men to be able to be full-time parents or full-time working people or any combination of the two. I want both to be able to do whatever they want sexually without being called names. I want them to be allowed to be weak and strong and happy and sad — human, basically. The fallacy in Hollywood is that if you’re making a “feminist” story, the woman kicks ass and wins. That’s not feminist, that’s macho. A movie about a weak, vulnerable woman can be feminist if it shows a real person that we can empathize with."
I love this quote because she hits the nail on the head perfectly- a positive female role model doesn't have to be a superwoman who kills the bad guys and saves the day. She can be weak sometimes, and strong other times, and that would set a positive and realistic example for the audiences watching.
So it's not necessarily anyone's responsibility to create these characters. But when we're aiming TV or movies or what have you specifically at a teen or pre-teen audience, think of media's capability for shaping the mind. Showing girls ditzy stock characters doesn't necessarily mean they'll become ditzy themselves, but if we have the opportunity and the power to disseminate these characters to kids, why not create more characters that are worth looking up to?

What's In My Makeup Bag

My posts have been on the serious/self-reflective side lately, so I thought I'd lighten things up a little this week with a beauty post! Because also, I am obsessed with makeup. I've always loved the stuff, but recently I've picked up some products that have made my morning routine a lot more fun and exciting. Look good, feel good, right?
So without further ado, some of the favorites from my makeup bag. (If I showed you everything, we'd be here until the next winter olympics.)

So I'm starting off with the bag itself, because without it my life would be a mess. I like Vera Bradley's bag because the large is big enough to fit everything (and I have a lot). Good makeup bags are hard to find, especially without spending a ton of money. The main reason I really like this one, though, is that the interior is lined. You don't have to worry about makeup staining the fabric, because the clear plastic lining has you covered.


Just this past fall semester I had my come-to-Jesus moment with Givenchy cosmetics. I am obsessed. It's definitely expensive, but if you're going to splurge on anything it should probably be something you put on your face every day, right? But I digress. This is the best concealer I have ever used (and I've tried them all). I'm anemic, meaning I have some serious under eye circles. This blends them away beautifully, along with any other lines or blemishes you might have. 

e.l.f. Eye Primer and Liner Sealer, 2.99

This handy 2-in-1 tool can be purchased at any Walgreens or Target, and I really love the primer. I've only used the liner sealer a handful of times, and I'm never sure if I can see a difference. But the eye primer goes on smooth and keeps your eyeshadow in place for hours. Even if you aren't going heavy with the eye makeup, it evens out the color on your lids and hides veins.

Rimmel London Soft Kohl Kajal Eyeliner in Pure White, $4.39

White liner is the quickest way to make you look more awake than you may actually be. In the picture above, I paired e.l.f liquid liner on top to do a winged look, then added the white on the bottom, at the inner corners and on my lower waterline. It brightens your eyes and makes them pop a lot more in pictures as well.


So I have this mascara in the smaller $15 container, which I'm still hoping and praying will last me forever. The wand allows you to easily get to your lower lashes as well, and it manages to be thick without looking heavy. Since I started wearing this mascara a little over a month ago, I've had almost a dozen people genuinely ask if I was wearing fake eyelashes. That's all the push I need to keep buying this stuff.

Jenny introduced me to this lipstick (which we're both wearing here) and I am eternally grateful.
I'm new to the love of lipstick. I just started wearing it in the past year or so. So as a newbie, I was a little hesitant to take risks- I was sticking to reds and pinks. But I knew I loved MAC (my Ruby Woo goes on beautifully!), so when a friend offered to let me use hers in Media, I fell in love instantly. It's a dark maroon, almost purply color, so I was surprised that it looked good on my pale complexion and with my light hair. But I immediately went and bought my own, and I've gotten so many compliments already. The thing about wearing dark lipstick is that you just have to own it: wearing such a bold color made me feel like a badass. Just go with it.  

Monday, February 17, 2014

On Being Fearless

On occasion, life advice comes from unexpected places. In this case, RuPaul. I recently saw this tweet, and it really got me thinking.
I don't think about it too often, but it's entirely true. I can think of so many times in my life that I've passed up an opportunity, or even just not done something that could have made me happy, all because of this fear of looking uncool or stupid in the eyes of others. It's that little nagging part of high school that never really leaves us. I was hesitant to even start blogging, for fear that people would make fun of what I had to say or think it was silly to put things out there for people to see.

But when you really think about RuPaul's words of wisdom, almost anything who has accomplished anything substantial probably had that fear themselves- it's only natural.  The difference between them and normal people, though, is that they got over their fear of looking stupid and did what they wanted to do anyway. They didn't let it hold them back. 

Any time you do anything worthwhile, you're putting yourself out there, which means risking being cut down. And there are some people out there, sadly, who live to do just that. But you can't think about those people when you go after what you want. So many successful people have stories of being made fun of in school, or rejected professionally. If those people had let the fear that goes along with that rejection stop them, we wouldn't have Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling was rejected by publishing houses 12 times). And what kind of world would that be?

Because when it comes down to it, people are going to judge you no matter what you do. And people tend to fear and mock what they don't know, so just take that judgment as a sign that you're veering off the traditional (ahem, boring) path. You might "look stupid" for a while starting out, but as long as you're proud of what you do, it doesn't matter. And hopefully one day you can look back on the people who made fun and laugh, because putting yourself out there for ridicule is what got you to your dreams. 

So do whatever it is you've been scared to do for fear of judgment. Start a blog, send in your manuscript, perform at an open mic night- whatever. Because the people who make jokes from behind their computer screens will still be doing exactly that in five years, whereas you? You'll be off chasing your dreams. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

If You Don't Like Being a Doormat, Get Off the Floor

As human beings, it's a given that we're constantly growing and changing. That's why I'm a big believer in setting goals: as we grow and change, it's natural to realize things about yourself that you'd like to do differently, or better.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I developed anxiety problems when I came to college. One of the side effects of that anxiety was something I really don't like about myself- I became, temporarily at least, a doormat. Confrontation gave me anxiety, so I decided it was much easier for my mental health to be a people pleaser. It was a band-aid on a bigger problem, at best. But it's what I've been doing for the past three years. If someone was shitty to me, I'd just brush it off and say "oh, it's okay, no worries," or something to an equally spineless effect. I forgot how to stand up for myself.

This was a serious departure from my usual self. Something I really admire about my younger self was that she wasn't afraid of confrontation. If I didn't like someone, I didn't spend my time sitting around worried if they were going to find out. I was up front about it. And even if people don't want to hear that you don't like them, they respect you for the honesty.

Somehow, that strong person had been replaced by someone whose anxiety drove her to sit around wondering what people were saying about her. I'd spend hours in my head going over whether or not I had offended someone with a joke I made, or if I would get in trouble for an offhand comment I made about an acquaintance who was rude to me.

So recently, I decided to bring the old me back. I refuse to let anxiety run my life and make me a doormat. I refuse to say things are okay if they really just aren't. And I refuse to be sorry if I don't like someone, or if I'm angry or upset or sad. I'm done discounting my emotions because they might offend someone else. I have a right to feel the way I do, and so do you.

I've seen so many people fall into the same trap I did- letting people walk over you because it's easier than telling them to back the hell off. Forgiveness is great, but in order to forgive someone, you first need to be able to confront them about what they've done. You're not doing any favors by keeping it all in: it'll just fester and make you incredibly unhappy. There's a quote from Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close that pretty much sums up the emotional doormat status: "There were things I wanted to tell him. But I knew they would hurt him. So I buried them, and let them hurt me." And that's all your doing when you keep your anger and your pain inside- hurting yourself. You'll be a much more exhilarated, confident person once you discover (or rediscover, in my case) your ability to tell people how they've made you feel.

So roll up the doormat: if a friend stabs you in the back, tell them it isn't okay. If a guy cheats on you, tell him it isn't okay. If someone hurts you, tell them it isn't okay. Sure, confrontation will probably ensue. But you can't live your whole life getting stepped on as you run away from problem after problem: it's a natural part of life. And at least you'll rest a little easier knowing you stuck up for yourself.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

22 Things I Know at 22

I turned 22 last Friday, which is crazy. I still listen to boy bands, and watch Pretty Little Liars, and all kinds of other things adult-aged people shouldn't do. My purse currently contains fun dip valentines and a One Direction notebook, for Christ's sake. But as my dad pointed out to me over the weekend, no one ever really feels like they're an adult. You just slowly learn how to do all the things "adults" do.

I still have a lot to learn about life, but I thought I'd share (with the help of some of my favorite pop culture references) twenty-two things I've learned to be true, as of my twenty-second birthday. Because as Eleanor Roosevelt said, "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself."

1. Give yourself time to sit with your big decisions. I've said this before and I'll say it again. It's really easy to get caught up in emotions and make rash choices. I do it all the time. I'm so sure something is right, or something is wrong, and a week later I'm convinced of the opposite. That's why it's so important that when you're making big decisions- whether it's about a relationship, or a career path, or whatever- to give yourself time to think about it. It'll help you from doing things you'll regret later.

2. Learn to balance business and friendships. In life, a lot of the friends you make will be through a class, or a club, or a job, which means that you might have to work with them in some capacity. A mistake I see often is people taking work criticisms personally and letting it affect a friendship. You need to learn to be able to talk work and disagree with a friend professionally, and then switch gears and talk about personal stuff without getting offended. And there needs to be an off switch, where the stuff a friend says to you as a friend doesn't leak into professional life.

3. There's more to life than romantic relationships. Seriously. I promise you. So much of the media aimed at teen and twenty-something women centers around guys, and finding the right one. From what we're spoon-fed from the age of Disney princesses, you'd think that's the most important thing in life. It's not. Make sure you're filling your life and your time with things that fulfill you personally, rather than waiting for a guy to come along and make you feel whole. I guarantee you, you'll be a lot happier.

4. Hating things isn't cute. So often in my life I've seen people bond over mutual hatred of something or someone. I'm definitely guilty of it too. But the older you get and the further away you distance yourself from high school behaviors, the more you'll realize it's an unhealthy habit. So many people think it makes them cool and aloof to talk about how lame something is, but all it really does is make you look like a jackass. The right people will want to hear all about the things you love, not the things you hate.

5. If you don't make time for yourself, you'll go nuts. I love being busy. I thrive on it. But I also know myself, and I know that sometimes I need to just take a Sunday to lay on the couch and binge watch New Girl. We're taught to always be moving, and most of the time, I am. But I also think it's so important to take breaks, and do things that make you happy that aren't necessarily part of your to-do list. Watch your favorite movie, do yoga, take a nap- whatever it is. Just save time for little things that relax you and put a smile on your face.

6. The harder you work, the luckier you get. So this one's actually a pinterest quote, but it's so true that it's now the background on my phone. I know so many people who want things in life but aren't doing anything to tangibly get themselves to their goals. I know that if I want to be a writer, I can't just sit around and talk and daydream about being a writer one day. I have to sit down and write, now. Things aren't just going to fall into your lap- so start taking the steps you need to and work toward something.

7. Make your decisions for you and only for you. Because to be honest, you never know what life is going to throw at you. That guy who kept you from taking an amazing job in another city because you thought you were going to marry him? He may not be there in five years. Caring about friends and boyfriends and family is great, but never let that comfort zone hold you back from life and opportunities.

8. Invest in some high quality pieces of clothing. I keep buying leggings from Forever 21. They keep ripping. This is a monthly process. I know it seems silly to pay crazy amounts of money for brand name clothes, but a lot of times, they're expensive because they last. Do your research and get some basic pieces that won't go out of style. Don't buy an expensive, trendy dress that won't be cool in six months. Buy an expensive black blazer you can wear for the next five years.

9. It's okay to be upset. I feel like we're constantly taught to keep our emotions in for fear of upsetting someone. Don't let people invalidate your emotions because they don't understand or agree with them. If someone is shitty to you, you have every right to be angry or upset. If someone hurts you, you have every right to be sad. Don't shrink yourself down because you're afraid of offending someone.

10. Make sure your friends know you appreciate them. It's in human nature to get so caught up in our own lives that we forget about the people who care about us. Don't be the friend who's constantly going to friends with your problems but never returning the favor. Don't assume your friends know how much you appreciate them- show them.

11. Educate yourself. College isn't necessarily for everyone, but that doesn't mean you can't seek out everything there is to know about whatever field you're interested in. Don't stop learning after formal school stops. There's always something new you can learn that will help you grow as a person.

12. Stop talking to people that make you sad. It's literally that simple.

13. Thank your parents. Having divorced parents and step-families and some occasional turmoil often leaves me in a place where I forget how lucky I am. But parents are only human, and in spite of the mistakes we've all made through the years, they have also done and continue to do amazing things for me. Make sure your parents know how grateful you are that they went to all your t-ball games when you were five, or sat through your long, boring, foreign-music choir concerts.

14. Accept that not everyone is going to like you. This will make doing things for yourself a lot easier.

15. Know when to let go of things. This is something I'm not great at. It's important to know when a relationship or friendship has run its course. If it's hurting you more than it's helping you, it's time to let it go.

16. Get used to rejection. Especially if you're going into a creative field. Taste is an objective thing, and not everyone is going to like what you wrote or painted or performed. It doesn't mean it isn't good. But at the same time, accept constructive criticism. It's one thing to be protective of your work, but if someone turns you down, use their reasons why as a way to do better next time.

17. Make changes. Whether it's a cross-country move or a new haircut, change is what keeps you growing.

18. "Once you have accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you." For the most part, flaws are only flaws because we perceive them that way. I once had a boyfriend who hated how dramatic I was. I would apologize for it and attempt to dull it down, until one day I realized that I love that about myself. I've been theatrical and hyperbolic basically since I could speak, and I'm not interested in changing the things I like about myself because someone else doesn't. If I stopped being loud and dramatic, I wouldn't be me. Own the parts of you that might be seen as flaws: they don't have to be.

19. Don't spend all your time worrying about how you look. There are way more important adjectives than "pretty" or "thin."

20. Retire the term "guilty pleasure." Like what you like. If people have a problem with it, they can go to hell. There is nothing inherently better about someone who likes indie music as opposed to someone who likes Selena Gomez. Nothing.

21. Treat Yo Self (Sometimes). Part of being young is being broke. I'm constantly flustered about the money I need to save. So save that money, but also don't beat yourself up if you have a bad day and really want to drop five bucks on a milkshake or go buy the MAC lipstick you want.

22. Stop trying to pin yourself down. You don't have to fit in a box. You don't have to be the nice girl, or the smart girl, or the dancer, or the serious one. You can be all those things and fifty more in any given day. Once you stop trying to live your life in an attempt to fit in a character type and just do the things that make you happy, you'll feel a million times lighter and more authentic.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

What to Wear: Valentine's Day Edition

I love holidays. Valentine's Day isn't necessarily at the top of my list of favorites, but it's still a fun excuse to buy all my friends those little valentine cards you used to hand out in grade school and wear my holiday heart socks (what can I say? I'm festive). My only real reservation is that, like New Year's Eve, people have built up expectations that often get let down. Restaurants start with their expensive prix fixe menus, and everything fun sells out weeks in advance. Honestly, my best Valentine's Day ever involved a movie, a heart shaped pizza, and my best friend Natalie. I like to keep it simple.

But I also relish in the ability to pick out cute clothes for literally any occasion, and holidays are an excellent excuse to look nice and try something new. So that's why I've spent the greater part of today procrastinating homework by putting together outfit inspirations for all of your Valentine's Day activities.

Fancy Date Night
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Night out with Friends
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Casual Movie Date
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Night In
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Monday, February 10, 2014

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Sunday, February 9, 2014

#SororitySaturday: Why Rush?

My chapter's bid day was yesterday (which is why this post comes on a Sunday again. Maybe I should just switch to #sororitysunday?), and as always, it was so much fun. It's always great to spend the day with my sisters, and it's even better when we're welcoming new members into our little family.

Recruitment is one of my favorite times of year, because I get to meet new people and share my sorority experience with them, which is something I'm incredibly passionate about. I love seeing new women come into our sisterhood because I know they have great things to look forward to, and if they're lucky, they'll have as much fun as I've had the past four years.
Throwin what I know at the Capitol
But I also know that from the perspective of a potential new member, recruitment is a scary time. You're meeting a bunch of girls for the first time and trying to decide if they're a good fit for you, all while trying to be impressive and interesting. It's stressful, for sure. But one of the things I always try to make sure of when I'm talking to a PNM is simple but so important: are you rushing for the right reasons?

There are a lot of reasons a girl might come to recruitment. For myself, it was my older sister. She was president of her sorority, and I knew how much she loved it, so I wanted that kind of sisterhood, too. Other people are drawn in by networking, or leadership, or the idea of instant friendships.

A lot of times, though, the ideas girls have about sororities are out of date or just not true. Some girls come because they buy into the stereotype that all sorority girls do is party, and they want to meet frat guys. Some girls come because all their friends joined and they don't want to be left out. Some girls come because they want the status and the cute t-shirts.

What I'd tell those girls is to really reflect on why they want this. A sorority is amazing and crazy and wonderful, but it's also work. It's a lifelong commitment. It's giving your all to an organization in order to help it grow and thrive. Sometimes it's trying, and sometimes it feels like a lot. And if the only reason you're here is so you can wear a hoodie with Greek letters on it, you're going to have a tough time sticking it out when things get hard. I've known plenty of girls who join for the wrong reasons and end up dropping out before they initiate because they wanted sorority life to be something it wasn't.
Some of the ladies I've been lucky enough to spend the past four years with
Being in my chapter has been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. I've held multiple positions, planned some awesome events, and developed friendships with women I love and respect beyond belief. So if that's what you're looking for, I definitely recommend checking out a recruitment event at your school. If you give it your all, it'll give back to you in spades. Just make sure your reasons are the right ones before you make the decision: its a commitment, but its one I promise you won't regret.