Sunday, June 29, 2014

What I'm Loving This Week

OPI Fashion Plate
I'm a big fan of anything that combines two of my favorite things–– fashion and baseball–– but all too often, they miss the mark with merchandising and overdo it on the pink baby tees and sequins. The MLB for OPI Fashion Plate collection strikes a nice balance. It appeals to the female baseball fans out there, plus there are just some really nice colors in the collection. My favorites are Umpires Come Out At Night, which is a dark blue creme, and Girls Love Diamonds, a shimmery white shade.

OITNB Season Two
I know I'm late to the party here, and half of you reading this probably finished season two ages ago. I'm preferring to drag it out a little, since I know it's going to be agonizingly long until season three. That being said, season two is amazing. I think it's moving at a much more interesting pace than season one, and the characters are all so multi-dimensional and interesting. I won't say any more for fear of spoilers, but if you aren't watching yet, you should be.

If you're not following Solange Knowles on Instagram, change that ASAP. If you're looking for beautiful, brightly colored fashion inspiration, Solange is your girl. Her photos are absolutely beautiful, and she's got a serious knack for mixing colors and prints to make some fashion masterpieces. I tend to be a black on black on black girl myself when it comes to clothes, but Solange has me on the lookout for all the brights I can get my hands on. 

Crowdsourcing my decisions
Social media is a beautiful thing, kids. I recently tweeted looking for tattoo parlor recommendation in Chicago and was met with no less than a dozen passionately tatted friends and acquaintances helping make my decisions for me. Good to have friends in internet-y places.

Friday, June 27, 2014

In Defense of Girls

Just in the past 48 hours, while perusing Facebook and Twitter, I've seen something really interesting happening.

Some big companies are hitting out against the way society raises our girls.

Verizon released their "Inspire Her Mind," ad, a powerful minute long video warning of what happens when we place the focus for young girls on being pretty rather than being smart. It includes some jarring statistics–– 66% of 4th grade girls say they like math and science, but only 18% of all engineering majors at universities are female. Clearly, there's a disconnect happening for young women as they get older.

But what's most powerful from the ad isn't the numbers–– it's everything else. It's the dejected look on the little girl's face when her dad tells her to hand over the power tools to her brother, or when her mom tells her that her solar system project has gotten out of hand. It all culminates when the voiceover tells us, "Our words can have a huge impact. Isn't it time we told her she's pretty brilliant, too?"

And then, less than a day after seeing the Verizon ad, I encountered an Always ad that some friends had been sharing on Facebook. In the three minute video, a filmmaker asks a group of men and women of all different ages to act out various tasks "like a girl." The results are as stereotypical as you'd expect–– running like a girl involves stopping to fix your hair.

But then the stereotype is turned around for us–– a group of girls around the age of ten are brought in, and when they're asked to do things "like a girl," the response is refreshing. When one little girl is asked what it means to her when she's asked to run like a girl, she says, "It means run as fast as you can."

These ads are as inspiring as they are eye opening–– anyone who claims representation isn't an issue for young girls can't ignore the switch that goes off during puberty that, as Verizon points out, has them largely abandoning STEM fields, or as Always points out, has them buying into the negative stereotypes about their own gender. As a young woman, I am much more often complimented on my outfit than I am on my intellect, and I know most of my friends and peers could say the same.

The cynical side of me questions the motives behind these ads. They are, after all, still ads at heart, and the teams at these companies created them in the hopes that they'd do exactly what they're doing, which is going viral. While that does call into question how genuine the intentions are, it doesn't change the truth behind the messages–– the truth that we need to change the way we raise our girls.

And that's exactly why these ads are going viral–– not just because the filmmaking is really aesthetically pleasing, or because Verizon and Always have big budgets that get them out there into our consciousness. Friends are sharing these ads on Facebook and Twitter because there's a need and a desire to talk about the misrepresentation of women and girls, and there are groups out there speaking up about it loudly enough that it's getting harder and harder to ignore.

So while these ads may just be one more attempt for advertising agencies to pick a popular topic and run with it to sell tampons, or cell phone plans, or whatever the case may be, there's a reason they picked this topic. There's a reason it's prime time we start talking about the way we talk to young girls, and the way we talk about women in general–– because we ask actors about their part in the film but we still ask actresses about their diet regimen.

We've got a long way to go beyond inspirational corporate advertising, but seeing these ads–– especially released one right after the other–– gives me hope that more people are beginning to be drawn into the conversation. There are a lot of people out there who seem blissfully unaware of the problem, so at the very least, these ads serve as an educative tool in the long road toward equality and appropriate representation for young women.

So even if it's an advertisement, I'm still down with anyone who wants to remind the world that "like a girl" shouldn't be an insult.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Lazy Girl Guide to Procrastinating Work

As a self-proclaimed Lazy Girl, one of my many talents includes procrastination. Some of my favorite college memories include me and my roommate Melanie laying on the couch, cursing the work we had to do whilst watching vines and sending snapchats to delay the inevitable. That being said, here are some tricks of the lazy trade when you don't want to do all that work you have to do.

1. Buzzfeed Quizzes
Because why study when you can find out what major city you were meant to live in, or what boybander is your soulmate? Buzzfeed quizzes are the ultimate procrastination tool, because no matter how many you do, there's always another one waiting to tell you what your favorite kind of cheese says about your personality.

2. Creepy Pasta Reddit
If you're looking to sleep at night this may not be your best bet. I'm terrified of scary movies but for some reason love reading scary things, and this reddit is the best for ghost stories, the paranormal, and literally any other creepy thing you might need to know more than you need to work on that thing your boss wants you to do.

3. Figure out the rules to True American
This is an actual thing my roommates and I have done. We then proceeded to put said rules on a poster in our apartment. Procrastination at its finest. It'll take you long enough that afterwards, you can yawn and promise you'll write your paper first thing in the morning.

4. Teach yourself the Wobble, or any choreographed dance.
This also may or may not be something that has happened in my apartment. Grab some wine and Spotify and enjoy your living room dance party, ignoring thoughts of that report you need to be working on.

5. YouTube Beauty Tutorials
Bonus points if you get so far down the procrastination rabbit hole that you decide to try them out on yourself (just don't burn any hair off).

6. "Like" everyone on Tinder
Some weirdness is definitely going to ensue. Said weirdness will burn at least a few hours of work time, and you will undoubtedly get some very funny screenshots to send your friends.

7. Download the "Closet" app
Spend the next six hours photographing and cataloging every piece of clothing you own. Live the rest of your life like it's Clueless.

8. "Where are they now?"
Ask yourself where random child celebrities from shows you used to love are now. Spend the rest of the night in an IMDB wormhole until you're on the personal Facebook page of some kid from Mighty Ducks.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Words of Wisdom from Mindy Kaling

In honor of the awesome Mindy Kaling's birthday, here's a compilation of some of her best (and funniest) words of wisdom.

On Friendship...
“One friend with whom you have a lot in common is better than three with whom you struggle to find things to talk about.”

On High School...
“I just want ambitious teenagers to know it is totally fine to be quiet, observant kids. Besides being a delight to your parents, you will find you have plenty of time later to catch up.” 

On Socializing...
“If I’m at a party where I’m not enjoying myself, I will put some cookies in my jacket pocket and leave without saying good-bye.”

On Body 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.” 

On Dating...
“I guess nothing puts a damper on a one-night stand as much as your friend pointing out all the opportunities where you might have been killed.” 

And on life in general...
“Sometimes you just have to put on lip gloss and pretend to be psyched.”

Friday, June 20, 2014

What I'm Loving This Week

Taylor Swift
When I was 14, I heard the song "Tim McGraw" for the first time. In the 8 years since, Taylor Swift's music has gotten me through some THINGS, let me tell you. Sometimes a sad fifteen year old girl needs to hear that there's better things ahead than the guy who treated her badly, and sometimes a 22 year old nears to hear that it's okay not to have it all figured out–– and for that, I've always had T Swift. But now Taylor's taking it a step further than her songs, leaving really sweet, inspirational comments on her fan's Instagram photos. Love to see successful people keeping it classy and acknowledging their supporters!

Soccer Players with Beards
This is a very important demographic that we all really need to start paying more attention to, guys. I am not above watching a sport strictly to see Shakira's hot husband.

The Second City's Incomplete Guide to Everything
If you live in or around Chicago, go see this show. Tickets are super affordable, and laughing for two straight hours is a very good way to spend an evening. There's tons of really impressive improv, a song about Tinder (because of course), a sick girl rap about loving food, and even some puppets. 

The Mashup to End All Mashups
In case, like me, you like both 90's country and current amazing girl rap, you *need* to listen to this. I never knew I needed a Reba/Iggy mashup, but after listening, I'm not really sure how we were all living our lives without it. I've been obsessed with Iggy for a while now, and you can literally never go wrong with some old school Reba. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Campus to Conference Room: Building a Professional Wardrobe in College

As we all probably know, college is a time of transition. You're out of your safe hometown bubble, but you're not quite in the "real world" yet. This is probably one of the last times in your life it will be acceptable to wear yoga pants on a week day, so take advantage of that! But we should also be using our collegiate years to build a professional wardrobe so we're not stuck spending all the money we don't have come graduation on blazers and pencil skirts.

That's why I've taken some time to pick out versatile campus to office pieces that are casual enough to wear in college, but professional enough that they'll also work when you graduate. 

Midi Pencil Skirt, Zara, $59.90
A pencil skirt is key for the professional set, but basic black can be a little boring for a college campus. This bright blue adds some excitement to the work day uniform, and could easily be worn for a night out at school paired with a crop top.

Lace Jacket, H&M, $24.95
Even if you're still in college, every girl needs a good blazer, but there's no rule it needs to be plain. This one's still in a neutral hue, making it office-friendly, but the lace will make you stand out in the crowd.

Pleated woven pants, Forever 21, $22.80
Say goodbye to the ill-fitting dress pants of offices past. These cropped, pleated trousers emphasize your shape in a way that's still perfectly work appropriate, but could also be paired with a printed tank for class or hanging out with friends.

Harper Geometric Textured Dress, Francesca's, $68
Dresses are a great choice for building a professional wardrobe. Worn with a blazer, this shift is perfect for the workplace. Worn without, it's perfect for a school event or just brunch with friends.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Ask the Lazy Girl: The Name Game

Dear Lazy Girl,

Have you ever wanted to change your name? If so, why and what would you change it to? If not, what is it about your name that you love?


Jessica of "The Pen and the Needle"

Dear Jessica,

Thanks for your question! As a kid, I hated my name with a passion because it was so common. Literally everyone and their mom was named Samantha. There were 3 Samanthas on my softball team alone, and when I was in junior high I was one of four Sam. R's.

Literally the only cool parts of my name were one, that I was named after the TV show Bewitched, and Elizabeth Montgomery was cool as hell. And two, that there was an American Girl doll named Samantha, and she was obviously the classiest one.

But it's a good thing kids aren't allowed to pick their names, because I probably would've named myself Topanga or something. And as I've grown up, I've grown to really like my name. I think Sam fits my personality really well, and "Samantha Reid" looks nice as a byline. So I've given up on my uNiQuE~* name dreams.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The (Short) List of Reasons I'm Thankful for my Dad

1. Without him, my taxes would literally never get done correctly.

2. If it were up to my mother, I would have grown up as the world's girly-est princess. Thanks to my dad, my favorite childhood toy was a Tonka truck. I'm a much more balanced human for it.

3. He took me to my first White Sox game, and like a million since then. Thanks to him I can talk small ball with the best of 'em.

4. He spent far too many nights helping a very frustrated, crying 4th grade me learn long division.

5. He brought me up on Saturday Night Live and stand-up comedy, a huge part of my personality I'll probably never be able to appropriately thank him for.

6. He let me make my mistakes, even when he knew they were mistakes.

7. He made the World's Best Softball Coach for practically a full decade.

8. He never missed a choir concert or a solo recital, even when all the music was in Italian and he was bored out of his mind.

9. He let me stay up past my bed time every Tuesday to watch Buffy.

10. He took me on my first trip out of the country, and always encourages me to see more of the world.

11. By having Meet the Press on in the background of every Sunday morning breakfast, he forcibly taught me the importance of understanding what's happening in the world around me.

12. He always stressed the importance of intelligence and independence over the superficial stuff.

13. He never fails to be proud of a new article I post, whether it's something big or just what movies are coming out this week.

14. He let me pick all his Fantasy Football players based on whose name I liked best, which will make a six year old feel incredibly important.

15. Having him as a dad means never having to see a super hero movie or a new installment of Star Trek alone.

16. He got us our first set of golf clubs, and our first fishing poles with "Snoopy" cartoons on them.

17. He not only embraced my intense love of musicals, but joined in, taking me to see Rent for the first time.

18. He doesn't just accept my less than traditional path, he actively encourages and supports it–– and lets me babble on about it for hours at a time.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

OOTD Round-up

As my friends know (and occasionally mock me for,) I love a good outfit-of-the-day post. Unfortunately, there's nothing worse than loving an OOTD and then realizing the person who posted it has a much more serious budget than you do. Here, I've rounded up some of my recently most popular Insta-OOTD's and how to recreate them on a budget.

Dress (similar)- Forever 21, $12.80
Jacket- Kohl's, $27.99
Shoes (similar)- Amazon, $33

Crop top- Forever 21, $12.80
Skirt- Peter Pilotto for Target, $14.80
Shoes (similar)- Charlotte Russe, $42.50

Dress (similar)- Francesca's, $44
Blazer- Target, $34.99
Necklace- Ebay, $6.99
Tights- American Apparel, $25
Loafers (similar)- Steve Madden, $40

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

9 signs you definitely should not date him

It's hard out there for a single girl–– with Tinder, OkCupid, and whatever new dating app will undoubtedly be out within the month, there are seemingly more guys to choose from than ever. But with all the fish in the sea at your fingertips, it's more important than ever to remember that quality is more important than quantity. What's 500 matches if they're all super-douches?

There's no real science to knowing whether a guy is worthwhile or not, but here are 9 *almost* foolproof warning signs that you should run the other way:

1. He tweets about lifting and/or leg day.
Or crossfit, or green drinks, or protein powder.

2. He puts "lol" at the end of every text message.
Stop laughing at your own jokes, dude.

3. He's referred to an ex as "crazy."
Unless your goal in life is to one day be his next "crazy" ex after you text him twice in a row.

4. He owns any piece of clothing with a marijuana leaf on it.
Unless you're down to periodically loan him money.

5. He has his own name tattooed on his body. 
You know, in case he forgets.

6. He has ever made a joke along the lines of "go make me a sandwich."
He is not a seventh grader, and this shit is not acceptable.

7. He doesn't like dogs.
There has never been a quicker way to tell someone doesn't have a soul.

8. He wears mandals.
This is probably a personal preference, but just trust me.

9. He really likes the movie "The Expendables."
Run away faster if he likes "The Expendables 2." Not even Sylvester Stallone likes "The Expendables 2."

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Lazy Girl Guide to Wedding Attire

As comes summer, so comes wedding season. If you're in your twenties, you probably have your fair share of nuptial events to attend, and between country club casual, black tie, etc. it can be hard to keep up with what's appropriate to wear. That's where me and Rent the Runway come in.

The best way to wow at any wedding is to go the (affordable) designer route. Forever 21 and department stores are great, but they're so popular you could end up in the same dress as other guests if you aren't careful. The best way to stand out from the crowd is to pick a frock that's unique, but we obviously can't afford to buy our own designer dresses for each occasion. The beauty of RTR is you can rent dresses that would usually run you hundreds for under 30 dollars, and you get $25 off your first rental.

Here, see my picks for every different dress code:

When the invite says "casual"
You probably won't go to many "casual" weddings, but just in case, sundresses are acceptable here.
Matthew Williamson Raj Sheath, $45 rental
Parker Floral Ruffle Getaway Maxi, $50 rental
Tibi Hampton Harbor Dress, $50 rental

When the invite says "semiformal"

Your choices for this kind of depend on time of day. You'll want to go with something "dressy casual," in a light color for daytime or darker and slightly more formal at night.
Vivienne Westwood Anglomania, $40 rental 
Badgley Mischka Fifth Avenue Showstopper Dress, $35 rental
Moschino Little Red Dress, $30 rental

When the invite says "formal"

Also known as "black tie optional," for this type of event you should go for a dark colored cocktail dress or a long gown. 
Mark & James by Badgley Mischka, $85 rental
Milly Doris Day Tiered Dress, $35 rental
Robert Rodriguez Black Label, $40 rental

When the invite says "black tie"
Think slightly fancier than formal, and try to go to a long gown (cocktail is okay if it's truly formal). 
ML Monique Lhuillier, $80 rental
Nicole Miller Tempted by You Gown, $70 rental
Badgley Mischka Ruby Red Gala Gown, $70 rental

When the invite says "white tie"
Unless you live on the Upper East Side, white tie events probably won't be a very common occurrence. But just in case: white tie is the most formal of all events. For white tie, ball gowns are expected.
Temperley London Be Romanced Dress, $70 rental
Halston Heritage Ballet Slipper Gown, $125 rental
Reem Acra Florence Gown, $70 rental