Looking Back on Childhood Friends and Memories

There are hundreds of relationships that one will have during their lifetime. There is the childhood friend, the high school group, the best friend, the boyfriend and the family friends. Of course, there are plenty more, and each will have different and unique experiences and memories. There will be a ton of laughter, smiles, and secrets, but also tears, fights, and second guessing. It happens with everyone, slowly, but surely, and at different times of everyone’s life. Within each relationship that you had, have and will have, there are lessons that you learn. The lessons, in turn, will be established in future friendships that you will make.

When I was little, like many, I had a childhood best friend. We did so much together, which was less of our choosing and more because our moms were close friends. Either way, we wanted to have “play dates” and play imaginary games. Personally, I believe that having a childhood best friend is important. It could be a person, imaginary friend, or a loved pet. With any of these types, we learn to play, love, interact and learn from others. I can confidently say that my childhood best friend began to teach me all of these characteristics and everyday human capabilities that would later turn into major building blocks for other friendships.

There is always a specific memory that you can tag to a person. With this friend (you know who you are), we used to play on the wooden swing in her backyard. It was the type of the swing that had a plank of wood connected to rope, you know, the ones that swung really high with just one push. We used to take turns playing on that swing for hours, screaming and smiling all at once as we quickly got higher and higher off of the ground and closer to the shining sun. This was one of my favorite things to do when I was a kid, plainly because it was just so simple but so fun.

Unfortunately for me, I have always been scared of heights and also that feeling of dropping backwards without having control of it. Therefore, I would always have fun going up, but as soon as it hit the highest part of the swing and began to go back to the ground, I would panic. I thought that I was going to run into the wooden fence that shut my friend’s yard off from weeds and sharp bushes that lived in her neighbor’s. I would shut my eyes tight, and turtle my chin into my neck, ready for impact. But it would never happen. She would always catch the swing before it would hit the fence. I would open my eyes and find myself still intact.

As silly as this sounds, these simple playtimes at the swing helped me to begin building trust for people besides my family. The fact that I never crashed into the fence because of the true dedication of my friend (think about it, two small and young girls can’t stop a fast moving swing with someone equally as heavy on top of it that easily) helped me to open up to other people rather than hide from them.

Now, with an experience that brought me so much trust to instill in my everyday surroundings and the people within them, came others that brought me back down to earth. We all have experienced friends who talked about us behind our backs, lied to us, or smirked meanly at us when we made stupid comments. Maybe you didn’t know it, but someone did. Middle school and high school, for most of us, are the grounds for bringing down our trust levels. Especially for girls. We really are mean. I mean, guys are also pretty bad. Though, in middle school, they tend to separate themselves into two categories: loud and obnoxious or quiet and shy. Girls on the other hand, well, quiet or not, we are just plain mean. If not all of the time, then a pretty good amount of it. And half the time we don’t even intend to be.

For me, I was more quiet in middle school and stuck to a smaller group of friends. But was I a perfect friend who never talked about anyone behind their backs? Absolutely not. It’s in our nature, and at a time when everything both physically and mentally is changing for us, it helps something to feel normal. This by no means excuses bullying, however emphasizes that sad fact that we as girls do eventually thrive off of some sort of drama in order to distract ourselves from our own ongoing lives.

As I thread through thousands of unfinished journal pages covered with sloppy handwriting and unidentifiable drawings, I remember those times in my life while growing into that “awkward middle school phase.” I remember times that I was mean (like when I threw a dinner roll at my aunt to stop her from telling an embarrassing story) and then times that people were mean to me. (Remember FormSpring?) If I could relive those moments now, as a 20-year-old woman rather than a ten to 13-year-old girl, I would probably change a couple of things. One, I wouldn’t throw the dinner roll, I would most likely let my aunt continue her embarrassing story and secretly plan a less harmful revenge. Two, I would probably delete my FormSpring account and never look back at it again.

Both of these instances described above, (one being cute and nostalgic, and the other more of a laughing stock), are completely different. However, both of the relationships had in them helped me to become the person I am today. As you can tell through this article, I am a big believer of “everything happens for a reason.” But thinking back onto every relationship you have ever had (which is a lot), there is some sort of happy, sad or angry ending to it that makes you more wary or trusting about others around you. If all of the relationships that we had in our lives were happy and had positive outcomes, no fights or crying, then we would never expect anything bad of anyone. We would be naive and a serious target for anything and everything horrible and evil.

Even through intimate relationships we learn. If I acted shy and uncomfortable around my current boyfriend like I did with my first boyfriend, then our relationship would not be going very far (and would possibly already be over.) If someone had never made fun of me, then I never would have built a thicker skin (and a wildly large determination to do everything to prove them wrong.) And even as I am presented with similar relationships that I dealt with in the past, I realize that it is another chance to deal with them in a better and more responsible way than how I did before.

As awkward as our memories of the past may be, they can not be rewritten. And honestly, why would you ever want to?

“I’m Strong to the Finich, Because I Eats Me Spinach”

Does an apple a day really keep the doctor away?
Will eating a can of spinach a day make you instantly strong like Popeye?

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It is no secret that one should eat five servings of fruits and vegetables in order to stay at their healthiest, but how is that even possible? We have three meals everyday: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Each of these meals depends on your eating habits. Do you usually eat healthy? Unhealthy? A combination of the two?

According to MyPlate, the USDA nutrition website, the exact servings of fruit and vegetables depends on your age, physical state and gender. A girl who is 14 to 18-years-old is expected to eat 1 1/2 cups of fruit a day and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables. A boy of the same age, on the other hand, needs 2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of vegetables daily. Therefore, as a 20-year-old woman, I am expected to eat 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables a day. While this website gives a general idea of servings, be aware that the servings are based on a regular 2,000 calorie diet and a person who gets 30 minutes or less of exercise a day.

imgresBoth groups, fruits and vegetables, contain subgroups within them that help give variety in one’s diet. For fruits there are berries, melons, fruit juices and citrus. Vegetables include dark-green, starchy, red and orange and beans and peas.

Between all of these groups, it is more than possible to keep your palette colorful and interesting throughout your healthy eating adventures!images

So then what does eating fruits and vegetables do for your body? For one, they help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, but they also help to provide nutrients that assist your body in functioning on a regular basis. For example, Vitamin A is a nutrient that is present in many vegetables. By eating the vegetables that provide this specific nutrient, we are helping to keep our eyes and skin healthy against infections. Sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamin A, and are only one out of the many examples that one can make in order to fulfill those nutrients. Overall, replacing higher calorie snacks with vegetables or fruit can also help to contribute to a lower calorie intake per day, and therefore, benefit your healthy living lifestyle.

Personally, I tend to go back and forth between healthy and unhealthy. One week I’m eating a ton of fruit and vegetables throughout the day and staying thoroughly hydrated, the next I’m downing chocolate milkshakes and mozzarella sticks. In other words, I get it. It is so hard to stay permanently healthy all the time. Through this understanding, however, I have found ways to stay almost permanently healthy by sneaking in vegetables and fruits into my snacks and meals, and then of course exercising (but that part is up to you.)

On most days, I manage to get in about 3-4 servings of vegetables and fruits. On my healthiest days: 4-5 and on my worst days: 1-2. As you can see, on a regular basis I am usually getting almost all of my vegetable and fruit servings. But how? It was pretty hard, but I cancelled out most of my “junky” snacks, leaving them for special occasions or when I really just need something sweet or salty. After about a week, my cravings for the junky foods went away and were happily replaced by the natural sugars of fruit and the flavor of steamed, broiled or baked veggies.

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This is not without saying that I do not have my occasional downfalls. I am not perfect, no one is. For instance, I am currently eating dark chocolate M&M’s. Not too healthy for the body, but at the moment, they just seem perfect. The difference between eating these chocolates now, however, and before, is that I do not feel the need to give myself a second serving. One small handful does the trick and then I’m back on track (usually.)

imagesI have to say, living a healthy lifestyle comes much easier. It’s just the journey that starts out a little rocky. We are so used to living our busy, rushed lives, that our meals are usually effected by it as well. We are much less inclined to make a healthy dinner after a long exhausting day at work or go grocery shopping on a hot and humid day.

There is a saying that my yoga studio uses at the beginning of every practice. First, they congratulate us and then state that “getting onto our mats was the hardest part.” Although this applies to yoga, it can also relate to everyday life activities, especially being healthy. The hardest part about being healthy is starting and then continuing until our bodies are able to confidently do it on their own. So begin your journey and remember that just deciding to commit yourself to being healthy is the hardest part. Take risks and try new things, and then render the old eating habits that you just can’t let go of around the new healthy ones. Create a new lifestyle and help yourself become a better feeling, happier YOU.

Bad Hair Days No More

About a two weeks ago, I cut my hair short. Usually, I have brown, wavy hair that falls past my shoulders, but with the summer heating up, I just could not handle it anymore. So I went to my hairdresser, explained what I wanted, showed her a ton of pictures and then watched as she sheared off inches.

It ended up looking great! I honestly never thought I would be brave enough to cut it even the slightest bit shorter, but I did. The next problem? I had to figure out how to style what seemed like a whole new head of hair. The last time I had cut my hair short was in middle school and let’s just say that it wasn’t my greatest look. Not because of the fact that it was short, but because I did not know how to style it. This time, I obviously wanted it to be different.

I knew, like most girls with wavy or curly hair, that the shorter it gets the tighter the waves and curls become. Especially in the humidity of the summer. Most importantly, I knew that brushing out these curls and waves could lead to what most call “a rat’s nest.” Gross. So I set out to buy a new brush. Let me say this now, the type of brush you use does make a difference for your hair. I am not saying you have to spend $50 on a brush that seems like it should be plated with keratin in the bristles, but spending $25 on one could save you from a million bad hair days.

With this said, it is actually really hard to find out which brush is right for you. It seems stupid and materialistic, but it is true. There are so many different types of brushes. There are ones that are thicker, thinner, small, large and even travel size. Their bristles are never alike either as brushes can come with nylon, boar and wooden bristles. To make it even more complicated, each type does different things to different types of hair.

It took me forever just to find the right brush to use for blow outs, half because I am picky, but also because I didn’t want to spend money on a brush that I would end up not using. Of course, I ended up finding the right hair appliances. But this was after reading a ton of reviews, researching, talking to an Ulta specialist and then deciphering the price factor. I ended up buying the Olivia Garden Ceramic and Ion Thermal Brush for around $20. I love it. It is super light, so it’s really easy to blow dry my hair, and always leaves it shiny. Definitely recommended by me to those who have wavy hair or just need a great round brush.

But in case you don’t, here are other recommendations that I found while doing research.

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Wavy Hair

Considering that my hair is wavy, I know what people need for this section the best. I used to use a wooden bristle square-shaped brush, but then I realized that it was beginning to tear out my hair. For wavy hair, through my experience, your best bet is to buy a wide toothed comb. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just make sure that it has space in between the teeth. I usually detangle my hair in the shower, starting from the ends and working my way up to my scalp, but it can also be used with dry or damp hair. It’s pretty versatile, as it works at those smaller tangles from your waves, but also keeps them in tact rather than messing them up.

If you like to use a round brush to blow out your hair, then I still recommend the Olivia Garden Ceramic and Ion Thermal BrushI never used to have the patience to blow dry my hair with a round brush, but after buying this one it is a breeze. The brush is really light weight and the bristles do not tangle in your hair. Because it is an ion thermal, it also leaves my hair looking extra shiny and soft after use.

As for straightening your hair, I like to use The Conair Go Straight Hairbrush.  I don’t use it alone, but rather use it when using a hot tool. It’s pretty much the problem solver to all straightening problems. Most importantly, it acts as your hand, so it keeps your fingers from getting burnt from your hair. It also, however, separates your hair into its bristles, so when you glide your straightener down your section of hair, it gets every piece rather than only the strands at the surface. I used to straighten my hair all the time and would get so frustrated about having to redo layers of my hair, but this brush truly solves all the problems. When used with a product, I recommend Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine Anti-Frizz Serumyour hair ends up looking like you just walked out of a salon.

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Curly Hair

For curly hair, I would stick to using a wide toothed comb. This keeps your hair bouncy rather than brushing it out into a rat’s nest. Also, make sure to use it in the shower or when your hair is still wet. Brushing out curly hair when it is dry almost always leads to frizz. In Style actually recommends a comb that has two sets of wide teeth.

I am a big advocate of letting your hair air dry, but I am also aware that this is not always possible, especially during the winter. So when you do blow dry your hair, at least make sure to use the right products. Make sure to use a heat protector. This goes for ALL HAIR TYPES. A lot of people think that heat protector is only for hot tools like straighteners and curling irons, but hair dryers can equally provide your lovely locks with the same heat damage if you are not careful. I recommend John Frieda’s Heat Protecting Serum. It’s not too expensive and can be bought in most convenience stores. The product does come in a smaller bottle which is purposeful since you do not need more than one to two pumps of the formula in order for it to work. Just make sure to rub it on your hands and then through all of your hair.

When blowing out your hair, it is also best to use either a concentrator or a diffuser. If you are straightening your hair through the blow out, then opt to the concentrator. If you want your curls to be the main feature, then go towards the diffuser. Most hair dryers come with the two heads, so you don’t even have to pay extra for them. Just make sure not to lose your concentrator. It’s really hard to find a replacement, especially for Hot Tools products.

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Straight Hair

For straight hair, you need a brush that will detangle your locks without pulling them out, especially if your hair is on the thinner side. Try to find a medium sized brush that contains both boar and nylon bristles. If that is too hard to find, try a brush that has either and decide based on preference. The nylon bristles will work at detangling knots, while the boar bristles will spread natural hair oils and make your hair shiny. If you have thinner hair, then definitely go towards the boar bristle brush. It’s very gentle on both your hair and scalp and even helps to promote hair growth as it spreads your natural oils that come from your scalp.

If you plan on using a curler or a wand, you should also plan on buying some really good heat protecting product. You can buy the John Frieda formula that I mentioned above, or even invest in one from a local salon. Personally, I find that the curling iron and wand damage my hair even more than the straightener, so I always either put extra formula in or splurge on a more expensive kind.

Date Ideas to Spark Up Your Summer

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The summer is a perfect time for fun dates. So many opportunities arise that couples just can’t do during the chillier months. Especially after a long year of classes and work, the summer months allow couples to reignite the spark that may have been lost during the year by going out and taking advantage of these special activities. The ability to create the most memories is important during these sweltering hot days, and there are so many adventures that can help create them, so why not spend it with the one you love?

Whether you have been in your relationship for a long time or are just starting one, here are some fun date ideas to inspire your summer spark.

1. Have A Picnic

Between our phones and computers, there seems to be hardly any time spent with your significant other or love interest without looking at a screen. Having a picnic allows you to change timgreshis. Buy some sandwiches, fruit and wine and put a blanket in your car. Either plan the picnic with your lover or surprise them! The most important part about the picnic (besides the food) is probably the location. You want to find a place that is calm and beautiful, and preferably in nature. Of course, this is “weather allowing,” so be sure to check your local weather station before you leave the house for the day. Besides the romantic scenery and having the chance to just be with your date, it also allows you to talk about the real stuff. It will most likely be a fun memory that you and your “person” will share, and will also give both of you a chance to find out more about one another no matter how long or short you have been dating.

2. Dress Up

After high school, there aren’t many times that one gets to dress up. Think about it, you have formals,
imagessoph hop, homecoming, junior prom and then senior prom. In college, you pretty much have an occasional formal, but it just doesn’t feel the same as they did in high school. Plan a date night that gives you and your boyfriend or girlfriend the chance to “clean up.” Take them to a nice dinner at a restaurant that you have both been meaning to try, or even one that neither of you had a clue about! Besides the fact that it’s always nice to see your significant other looking their absolute best, the formality of it all helps to bring back those “first date” butterflies, and makes you realize how lucky you truly are to have that other person in your life. It sounds too cliché, I know, but it’s true.

3. Berry Picking

images-1Like most dates, this one requires a bit of research. First comes first, you need to find a farm that grows berries. Secondly, you need to find one that is in a reasonable range from where you live. So what is berry picking?  It’s pretty much the summer version of apple picking in the fall. At the farm near me, you pay a set price, depending on what kind of fruit you are picking and then take a basket and go off to your berry picking adventures. Some farms will make you pay at the end, weighing the amount of fruit you have picked, so be wary. As silly as it sounds, as a date, it can be fun. It definitely mixes things up, and can be made into a really fun day. The best thing about the date is that the farm will most likely have a ton of property to roam on which is scenically beautiful. There shouldn’t be a dull moment in the day. You can even make a competition out of it with your date by seeing who can pick the most berries. I know, it sounds nerdy, but it is probably what will happen. (Don’t judge!)

4. Drive-in Movie

Drive-ins are pretty hard to find and tend to be located in more suburban or “in the middle of Elm_Road_Drive-In_Theatrenowhere” areas. The closest one to me is about an hour away (with no traffic). However, if you look hard enough, you should be able to find one. Usually, they are much cheaper than a normal modern day movie theater and also show two movies for the price of one. Most drive-ins also provide food in order to gain funds to keep the outdoor theater open. Because of this, they tend to be pretty strict about bringing in outside food, so be sure to check with the theater before bringing a whole dinner into the screening areas with you. The one downside is that you have to have a car to not only get there, but also watch the movie. Usually, the theater will have a radio station which provides the sound for your film. So it’s pretty easy if you have a car to use, but if not, you can’t really go. Overall, the drive-in is really romantic. It makes you feel more intimate with your date than if you were stuck in a crowded theater, and also allows you to cuddle up and watch the stars. Just one fair warning – don’t forget the bug spray!

My Yoga Experience

I have probably struggled with anxiety my whole life. However, I mostly noticed it in high school. Between playing two varsity sports and focusing on my studies, there was so much work to do in so little time.

My average day started at 7:30 a.m. when I would go to school until classes ended at 3 p.m. Then, I would have field hockey or softball practice until 6 p.m. Considering I lived 30 to 45 minutes away from my high school, I wouldn’t get home until right before 7 o’clock at night. This basically meant that I would have to shower, eat dinner and do homework before I went to bed at a reasonable hour.

Yes, I know this schedule could have been a lot worse. I know that I could have gotten home a lot later or could have had longer practices, but for someone with anxiety, having less time can lead to the worst. Having a set timeline stresses me out. Yes, having everything planned out should probably help my anxiety, but I always feel like it’s a checklist, something to quickly get done, like a race. (And does not help that I am also extremely competitive.)

So how does this connect to yoga?

IT may seem like I am writing this solely to rant about my high school life, but I’m not. Yoga was something that meant so little during high school. I did not realize the true impact it could have made so early in my life. I always practiced yoga, but not seriously. I almost took it for granted. It was more for stretching and keeping me in shape. It wasn’t until college that I fully immersed myself into its culture and lifestyle.

With that immersion and new found love, I found a new life. Yoga can mean many different things depending on the person. To some, it is an excuse to wear high fashion workout clothing. To others, a way to get fit. But to many, an escape from the real world.

Photo Credit: Jacob Kleinman Phillips
Photo Credit: Jacob Kleinman Phillips

For me, yoga offers a sanctuary. A place that is forever and fully accepting of me, and that will support me no matter how much I change. It is amazing how having a place that fully accepts you for you, without any judgement, can affect a person. Whenever I feel anxiety creeping up or need to take a pause on life, yoga is there for me with open arms. The best part is that you know that it is always there for you because you have control over your own practice. If you are stressed out in the airport because your flight just got cancelled, all you have to do is find a spot to sit and then focus on yourself.

Photo Credit: Jacob Kleinman Phillips
Photo Credit: Jacob Kleinman Phillips

You only need a place that gives you the ability to center yourself and take a pause from the everyday bustling of life. This pause can be some sun salutations, meditation or just focusing on your breath. Personally, all of these ways have helped me to defend off anxiety, but each person has their own preference.

At the end of every practice at my studio in Philadelphia, my teacher tells us to honor the light within us and within others. When stating this, we bring our hands in the shape of a “v,” with our thumb knuckles pressed against our foreheads, and welcome in all positivity.

Within this saying, there are so many ways for interpretation. Most importantly, it reminds us to stay positive and to stop getting stressed over the little things. To realize what is the most important in our hearts and to honor it fully. Because of this mantra, and so many others that one learns by being a part of the yoga community, I have become a better person by heart. A better person for both myself and for others.

Take it from me, a life without anxiety is a much fuller and beautiful life to live by. With this being said, this article is not meant to convince you to practice yoga, but to find something, like I did, that helps you to reconnect with and love yourself again. We should all have some sort of practice, whether it be yoga or not, to live by that helps us to cut out of routine and focus on ourselves.

I found mine, so what is yours?

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A Reflection on Advanced Style: The Documentary

I have always been in love with style. In love with fashion, clothes, fabrics, patterns and colors. I was the little girl who used to dress herself in tutus and vibrantly colored sun hats. The one who would visit her grandparents and look through her grandmother’s jewelry box for hours on end, trying each piece on, and then carefully placing them back. I would drape her pearl necklace around my wrists, neck, head and fingers, smiling as the pearls coldly pressed against my hot skin.

Style is so simple as a child. There’s no judgement, and most importantly, no fear to look different from everyone else. As you grow up, however, you become more aware of your surroundings. It is no longer your world of fashion, but everyone’s. Through this realization, I can admit that I lost my own, personal, sense of style along the way. I kept fashionable, but felt less comfortable to be me. To express myself through what I was wearing.

Then, I found a gem. A piece of art by a blogger who had recently moved to New York City.

imgres-4Ari Seth Cohen moved to NYC in 2008 so that he could discover creativity. Little did he know that by moving to the Big Apple, he would not only find what he was looking for, but a whole new group of fashionable and glamorous friends who would help him create his documentary: Advanced Style. Not only would he create a documentary featuring the glamour queens of NYC: Lynn Dell Cohen, Ilona Royce Smithkin, Debra Rapoport, Tzporah Salamon, Jacquie Tajah Murdock, Joyce Carpati, and Zelda Kaplan, but also a blog to continue his documentation of Advanced Style.

In both the blog and documentary, Cohen celebrates style as a sixth sense that develops over time. He emphasizes, through the help of his new friends, that style is not something that is universal, but is created by one’s own personal senses of likes, dislikes and personality. And then, most importantly, that it is not something that grows old with age like the person it belongs to, but remains vibrant, young and forever beautiful.

The documentary, itself, follows the lives of seven gloriously stylistic women. It shows their houses, closets, family, and workplaces. All of which attain to each of their own stylistic beliefs. There are lavish parties, singing in night clubs, and most importantly, a reminder to live life to its fullest.

Each individual woman featured in this documentary is special. They are not your average human being and definitely not the stereotypical older woman that American society has carved out over generations of people.

Ilona Royce Smithkin dyes her hair a fiery red and swipes on a vivid emerald green eye shadow. Did I mention she was 90-years-old at the time that the documentary was filmed? She also makes false eyelashes every morning out of her own locks in order to complete her creative and colorful outfit.

Lynn Dell Cohen
Lynn Dell Cohen

The late Lynn Dell Cohen owned a clothing store called Off The Broadway Boutique: a space so decorative and colorful that you want to jump into your computer screen and buy everything.

Joyce Carpati has a collection of beautiful handbags, which she plans to hand down to her granddaughter once she is ready. She was also an opera singer in Europe, and then became the advertising manager of the beauty department of Cosmopolitan at the age of 40. Featured in an article for the Today: Beauty, she is an image of glamour, elegance, and inspiration in the fashion world.

Debra Rapoport enjoys refurbishing recycled materials to add onto her fashionable outfits. During the documentary, she presents the audience with beautifully designed bracelets made from cardboard toilet paper rolls. She also struts around with pink-tip dyed hair. After Advanced Style, Rapoport was also interviewed by another blog named Recycled Fashionin which she gives fashion and style advice.

Tzporah Salamon grew up as the fashionista of Natanya, Israel. According to her website, Salamon’s “struggle is every woman’s struggle – how to navigate life’s currents and arrive safely at one’s own port while looking fabulous and unruffled throughout the journey.”

Ilona Royce Smithkin
Ilona Royce Smithkin

Jacquie Tajah Murdock, 82 at the time of filming, was chosen to be a model for Lanvin Paris in 2012 for her beautiful features and fashion choices. When she was 17, Murdock danced for the Apollo Theater in New York, New York.

The late Zelda Kaplan created her own clothing with a collection of fabrics that she bought when traveling. After taking them to a seamstress, she would strut the streets like a catwalk looking cultured and very much high fashion. Kaplan loved to attend fashion shows and most gracefully exited this world at the time of filming during the 2012 Joanna Mastroianni fashion show.

The documentary, overall, is an inspiration for both young and old as it reminds us what it really means to be stylish. As the younger generation, an inspiration to continue to express yourself through clothing despite rapidly changing fashion trends. To the older, a reminder that just because you are “older,” it does not mean you have to dress that way. Then, most importantly, to express yourself, to be yourself, and to not let anyone get in the way of it.

You can watch the trailer for Advanced Style here.

“People will stare. Make it worth their while.”

– Harry Winston

How to Keep a Very Healthy Summer

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In high school all I did was diet. I restricted myself to a very specific diet until my senior year, despite the fact that I played two varsity sports all four years. I only ate one helping of food per meal. No seconds, no matter how delicious, and by no means whatsoever was I allowed to eat sugar. The fattiest thing that I ever allowed myself to eat was mozzarella sticks at lunch. Anytime that I would slip, I would quickly go to the gym and run for thirty or more minutes on the treadmill and then do twenty minutes of abs. I was obsessed and definitely not healthy. Skinny, yes, but not healthy.

By my senior year, I was pretty much over the whole dieting idea. I wanted to eat whatever I wanted, when I wanted, and without any reason. For the first time in forever, I was actually confident in myself, in my body, and in what I ate. In this confidence, and a sudden need to be healthy for the first time in my life, I did research. And through the research, I found different ways and methods to be healthy and stay my normal weight without excessive dieting.

Because of my past experience, I am not the biggest fan of strict diets. Maybe small ones that focus on eliminating one thing from your diet, but large strict ones that are being done specifically for weight loss I do not believe in. This is not saying that I do not believe that there are ways to lose weight before the summer. Trust me, I’ve been there, done that. It’s just that there are so many more ways to stay healthy than torturing yourself, and your body through routine diets planned out by a corporate company.

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Yoga. PC Jacob Kleinman Phillips


Exercise. 
As an athlete, the first thing that I did to stay healthy was exercise. In high school, exercising was a normal part of my day every fall and spring season. In college, this changed. Sure, I still played softball, but there was a full two months where I had to account for exercising on a regular basis by myself. In this new routine, I decided that as long as I did something everyday, I could remain healthy and happy. Besides lifting for softball, and playing during the regular season, I made sure to run at least a mile a day or go on the elliptical. Of course, you have to mix up your exercise. Sometimes I would run outside to the Charles, while other times I would be in the gym. Even more frequently, I became completely obsessed with yoga. I had always practiced it, but during college it became a part of my regular routine. I loved the way it made me feel and look. To this day, I regularly go to the gym and practice yoga. Occasionally, I add in something new and fun like bike riding or rock climbing.

Hydration. Drinking water does a lot more than just hydrate. According to Top 10 Home Remedies, drinking water can relieve fatigue, treat headaches, help with digestion, aid weight loss and flush out toxins. In other words, staying hydrated can make your day a lot better than it might be now. On average, a person is supposed to drink 8-10 glasses of water a day. Of course, life gets busy, so 8-10 can sometimes seem like a lot. On days that I am busy at work, I make sure to drink water every chance I get, but by no means do I get to 8-10 glasses. Because of this, on days that I have off, I make sure to carry a water bottle with me everywhere so that I can drink the average recommendation, and make up for the days that I do not meet the expectation. When I played field hockey, coaches used to warn us that “the first sign of dehydration is thirst.” Therefore, you should not wait until you are thirsty to drink water. You should just drink it. At first, it is hard to get used to, but after awhile it just becomes a regular part of your day.

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Drinking water throughout your day can help get rid of cravings. If you really want a piece of chocolate, taking a bite and then chugging water actually helps to satisfy the craving. This way, you do not eat the whole chocolate bar and also become happier. I like to think of this as tricking my brain. By drinking the water, I am tricking my brain into thinking that I ate so much more than just a couple of bites. In the long run, more water can equal less candy and less candy equals less fat. Drinking water also helps suppress hunger, which helps you to eat smaller meals. So rather than eating two large helpings at dinner, it might make you only hungry enough to eat one helping. This does not mean that you can’t snack later, but it can help you to stay in your average daily intake for calories and food categories.

Eating what I want, but being aware of it. This leads me to one of my larger points. Making a commitment to stay healthy means that you are also committing to food awareness. You don’t need to keep a food journal unless you feel inclined to, but I usually don’t recommend it because it gets a bit obsessive. Just be conscious of what you are eating. For instance, if I eat a cinnamon roll for breakfast, then I make the conscious note to try and eat healthier throughout the day. I am aware that I need to eat more vegetables, protein, and fruit during the rest of the day rather than stuffing up on carbs and sugars. In other words, I am being conscious and knowledgeable about all food groups and what they do to help my body stay happy and healthy. If you are unaware of the food groups and their responsibilities, sign up for Choose My Plate.  There are different tabs and categories that help you to see what and why these certain foods need to go into your body. There is even a page on your profile that allows you to keep track of what you eat for three days. It is very specific, but is nice for people who are beginning to eat healthier as it measures how much of what food category you eat over the three days. This way you can see what your lacking and what you are over consuming. Like I said, I’m not a huge fan of food journaling, but if you feel off track, this is a good way to see where you are missing nutrients.

Juicing. In 8736255816_713aef3689_omy opinion, juicing is a pretty controversial topic. It can be expensive if bought through a company and also may be prolonged for too much time. Personally, I only do juice cleanses for up to five days. Even then, I do not solely drink the juice, but also consume healthy solids. A lot of companies enforce this idea of only drinking a juice filled with fruits and vegetables, and sometimes protein, for five days and up. This may work for some people, but for me, I prefer to juice cleanse with solid foods. It makes me feel safer, as I am very active and would never be able to just survive on juice while at the gym. For me, it’s unrealistic. For others, it may work. It really depends on what you are the most comfortable with.

I pretty much do juice cleanses everyday since I eat solid foods along with it. I enjoy a fresh, homemade, fruit smoothie in the morning with or for my breakfast, and then sometimes make one at night. I have never bought a juice cleanse from a company. I always make my own. Honestly, you can use a blender, but the NutriBullet and NutriNinja were the best products I ever invested in. Ever. They are super easy to use, and make great, fast smoothies. All you have to do is put the desired fruit and vegetables in the cup and put it on the blade and then blend it. Done. The company home websites even have recipes to try, which are actually pretty good. Juicing will, overall, help you to get more nutrients by providing another way to get in an extra serving of fruits and veggies during your day. As I’ve found through my experience, eating more fruits and vegetables also help to get rid of sugar cravings because of the natural sugars found in the fruits that make your smoothies sweet. In all, a great and easy way to stay healthy during the summer.

How to Make Cash Fast This Summer

                   Money During the school year, students are faced with homework, extracurricular activities, everyday jobs and parties. So once that is all over and summer comes along, what happens? Going home is always beneficial, as it allows you to escape the grueling dining hall food, but what about making money? Often times, summer jobs fail to pay as much as we need in order to survive the upcoming year.

The amount in our bank accounts would only rise if we saved every cent of our paycheck; however, it is the season of fun and relaxation, of no worries. So in order to save the money from our summer jobs, we have to have a way of making extra pocket cash for times during the summer that we will spend money frivolously. There are numerous ways in which one can creatively and effectively make money when working another job, or even without one.

1. MindSumo

MindSumo is a website that pays people for writing ideas and concepts for different companies. When you first sign up, they automatically give you $25. After this, there are various ways including inviting friends, sending an idea in to your first company, and signing up with a referral number that will automatically give you some more cash! The first cash out, which is to PayPal, has to be $100. After this, however, you can cash out every $25.

The website presents different challenges every day. These can vary from sending an idea into a food company for a new product to a new marketing strategy for a major company. After submitting your first challenge, you will receive $15. Once you finish your first challenge, however, you can only get money from the challenges by winning them. At the bottom of each challenge it tells how much money can be earned and how many days are left in it. Overall, this is a cool and fun way to make cash over the summer and keep your critical thinking going after school is over.

My referral code (which will give you extra cash) is AN141D2C.

2. Care.com

Care.comCare.com has come a long way from when they first debuted their first commercials a couple of years ago. Their community has grown tremendously, which benefits you as the employee. Signing up for Care.com is pretty easy, no credit cards are necessary, and you have the option of a free account. The free account is still just as beneficial as the paid account, the only main difference that would effect you being hired is that the employees cannot send you a message first. In other words, you have to reach out to them through the job posts and listings on the website. This is still very easy, as most of the employers ask for applications.

There are multiple jobs that one can be experienced in to be a part of Care.com. Under childcare, there are tutoring, nannying, special needs and babysitting jobs. Some of these are part time positions and the others are full time. There are also jobs in senior, pet, home and military family categories.

3. Etsy

Etsy is a go-to online retail store for many of us. It is filled with fun, new, vintage and creative products that come from small businesses. Personally, I have bought many things from Etsy just because of the quality. There are, of course, frauds just like there are on any website, but looking at the product reviews given by other customers can give you a pretty good idea of who you are dealing with. So how could you make money through Etsy? Be creative, make a good product that you think will sell. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated or intricate. You can make hair ribbons, headbands, and jewelry. You could even set up a retail store that sells all of the clothes that you no longer wear. I don’t have an Etsy account myself, but mostly because I haven’t gotten around to it; however, its a simple way to make some fast money, especially if your crafty or have a lot of things to get rid of in your house that are still in relatively good shape.

4. SwagBucks

SwagBucks (SB) is similar to MindSumo, in that it rewards you with money for doing certain challenges. In this case, it requires a lot less brain energy. Much like with MindSumo, you can earn a lot of startup cash just by signing up. For example, you already have six swagbucks when you create your username and password.  In order to gain swagbucks, there are games, surveys, and even a search engine that can be used.

Of course, making basically free money online is not always easy. This will take time, and you have to earn a cSwagBucks onsiderable amount of swagbucks in order to cash out for rewards. For example, a $5 Walmart giftcard reward costs 420 SB. While this does seem like a lot to earn, the good news is that there is no wait or timeline for you to gain your SB. You can complete as many surveys and games as you like. The only downfall is the amount of time you might have to complete them. Another con about this website is that a lot of the largely rewarding games and surveys that you can complete request a sign up for their website. This can be okay for an organized person, but if it is only a free trial for a week and then makes you pay afterwards, and you forget to cancel the membership, your losing a lot of money.

Overall, SwagBucks is a very time consuming website. However, if your dedicated enough and participate in it for about an hour a day, you could come out with a couple of pretty nice awards.

Help me make money by using my referral code during sign up!

5. Plato’s Closet

Plato’s Closet has been around for awhile. They always have commercials on radios bragging about how great their thrift stores are. If you haven’t heard of it, the store is a huge thrift shop that bases itself around teenage and adolescent gently used clothing. It’s almost like a teenage version of T.J Maxx. There are multiple locations of the store, but they do tend to be a little out of the way for daily life. For example, I live in Philadelphia. You would think that there would be a Plato’s Closet in the city, but the closest one is 30 to 45 minutes away. In other words, don’t expect this to be a short trip.

Not only can you buy clothes at a cheaper cost, but you can also sell them. So when cleaning out your closet, take a second to realize the brand names on your clothes and how much you wore them. Whichever ones look relatively new and are well known brand names can be taken to the store. Unfortunately, I have heard that store clerks tend to be picky about what they accept and decline in the clothes pile that you bring, but if you have a lot of good looking pieces, you could be welcoming some well-desired cash in your wallet. The “buyers,” as themselves call them on their website, also look at the style and current stock levels in the store. So if you are trying to give them an skirt from Abercrombie that you bought three years ago, it might not make the cut.

Do you know of other ways to make cash fast this summer? Feel free to share them in the comments!