The Weekend Five: Worst Girlfriends in History

Elizabeth_Bathory_PortraitLast year, I wrote a blog post about the worst boyfriends in history – and I’m not talking about my ex who looked like Count Chocula. From Henry VIII (who executed more than one wife and invented a religion simply so he could get a divorce) to Vlad the Impaler (who has the word “impaler” in his name!), the list tackled five male historical figures who were not only ruthless and manipulative, but who would also make horrible boyfriends. Did your boyfriend forget your anniversary? Well, he’s a saint next to Emperor Nero.

Of course, I couldn’t put together a “worst boyfriends” list without posting a list of the worst girlfriends in history as well! Because of women’s roles over the past few centuries, this was a much harder list to create. A lot of the women who were deemed “crazy” by society were actually victims of infidelity and physical/mental abuse, so there was a lot more to the story than met the eye. However, a few of history’s leading ladies still stand out as pretty bad girlfriends/wives.

Dust off those history books, kids. You’re about to get schooled.

The Weekend Five: Worst Girlfriends in History

1. Elizabeth Bathory.
Nobody wants to bring home a serial killer, and that’s exactly what this Hungarian countess was. Over the years, she tortured and brutally murdered hundreds of young servant girls. Some stories even suggest that she drank and bathed in their blood to steal their beauty and youth. Although those stories are probably just a myth, Lady Dracula was not someone you’d want to spend time alone with.

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Mary_I_of_England2. Mary I of England.
The daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, this queen burned so many people at the stake in the name of “religion” that history has nicknamed her “Bloody Mary.” Often dubbed one of the most evil women in history, she exiled and executed hundreds of Protestants simply because they were Protestant. This was one religious extremist you wouldn’t want to introduce to your parents (and believe me, I’ve dated my share of religious extremists).

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3. Elizabeth I of England.
We can’t forget Henry VIII’s other daughter, who also eventually became the Queen of England. Unlike her half-sister, Elizabeth never married, though she did entertain offers from several suitors throughout her life. It turned out that Elizabeth was in love with Robert Dudley, her friend since childhood who happened to already be married. Over the years, she considered many proposals, but ultimately turned them all down and ruled alone. She was a powerful queen whose reign ushered in a golden age. However, she would not be one of history’s best girlfriends even if she did decide to settle down, as it was clear she would always carry a torch for Robert Dudley.

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4. Mary, Queen of Scots.
Mary always reminded me of one of those girls who says “I hate drama,” but always seems to attract it. After the death of her first husband Francis, Mary was married to her first cousin Lord Darnley. However, she most likely had an affair with her private secretary, who was later murdered by Darnley and others. Soon after, Darnley was murdered – probably by James Hepburn, the Earl of Bothwell, with whom Mary conspired. As if this wasn’t soap opera enough, Mary and the Earl of Bothwell then married. Mary, Queen of Scots, is one of history’s worst girlfriends in part because of the men she was drawn to (sorry, Mary, it happens to the best of us). If you were to begin courting her, you might want to make sure there wasn’t another jealous guy out there looking to kill you.

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5. Eve.
According to some religions, Eve was the first woman on Earth, created as a companion for Adam. After listening to a trouble-making serpent who probably was getting bored in the garden, Eve ate the forbidden apple from the tree of knowledge, and soon she and Adam were evicted from Eden. The worst punishment of all? God decided to make childbirth unbearably painful. Eve ends up on the “worst girlfriends in history” list for taking advice from a serpent with legs (aren’t they creepy enough without legs?) instead of using critical thinking skills to weigh the pros and cons, and ultimately getting herself and Adam kicked out of paradise.

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Who would you consider one of the worst girlfriends in history? Sound off in the comments below.

Get Skinny Quick: A Summary of Every Diet That Has Ever Existed

cathy-image1Over the last year, I’ve opened up about my health and weight loss efforts through this blog and through social media in the hopes that I can help others in their journey to better health and overall wellness. I began my first Whole30 in February 2014, but over the years I’ve experimented with a variety of programs and even a few fad diets, so I’m familiar with what else is out there.

Longtime readers will know that I love to make fun of everything in today’s culture, but what many of you may not know is that I also love to make fun of the multi-billion dollar diet industry as well. We are overwhelmed with options for how we can lose weight and achieve our health goals, often to the point that we don’t know where to get started. Diet and exercise begin to sound too simplified; we need something with more rules, more structure. So much structure we can barely breathe.

1317519207815_5947909Of course, we all know that losing weight usually comes down to one thing: burning more calories than we are taking in. However, we tend to disagree on where those calories should come from, whether or not we should count them, and how much we should really focus on them in the first place.

Today’s post summarizes and pokes fun at the many weight loss options we have, according to the media and the diet industry. Which one do you subscribe to? 🙂

  • Women’s Magazine Diet: As its name suggests, this type of eating plan has been popularized by women’s magazines and lifestyle websites everywhere. In order to lose weight, your diet should solely consist of Greek yogurt (topped with honey and granola), fish, quinoa, hummus, a single piece of dark chocolate every night, and enough kale to make your head spin. Also, you should have a glass of red wine every night because of the antioxidant properties. (Never mind the fact that the health benefits of red wine mainly come from the skin of red grapes, and therefore you’d be better off eating red grapes!)
  • Diet-JokeTiny Meals Diet: Eat twelve 100-calorie meals per day, because everyone knows your metabolism speeds up when you’re scrambling in the kitchen to come up with twelve tiny meals.
  • Complicate Your Life Diet: You must eat four meals per day at 300 calories each. The first meal must consist solely of simple carbs. The second meal must consist solely of protein. The third meal must consist solely of vegetables. For the fourth meal, you must incorporate all food groups, arrange your plate by color and perform the dance of the seven veils before eating. If it sounds simple enough, then you’re doing it wrong.
  • Celebrity Diet: Every female celebrity with a toned bod is asked to share her secrets for obtaining a trim waist. She will suggest the following: Eat everything you want “in moderation.” Don’t think about dieting. Eat dark chocolate every day. Be confident. Have a lot of sex (even though your current weight makes you feel less likely to find a romantic partner). Laugh a lot. Hug your children. Forget the fact that these celebrities have trainers, personal chefs and strict diet regimens. Just follow these rules and you might lose weight, or you might just fill up on dark chocolate.
  • 4580d82a39cb4994dad989276ebecf51If It Fits Your Macros Diet: Eat pizza and donuts all day in accordance with how much you exercise. If your macros don’t add up by the end of the day, grab a spoonful of peanut butter.
  • Clean Eating Lite Diet: Eat lots of vegetables, but only when prepared with parmesan cheese and panko bread crumbs. (Thanks, Pinterest!)
  • Paleo Lite Diet: Say you’re paleo, but really just eat lots of bacon and almond flour pancakes.
  • Obscure Ingredient Diet: Does the recipe call for salt? Use Himalayan sea salt instead. Why drink water when you can drink Moon Juice? Buy only organic foods, even if they don’t exist in an organic variety. You’ll be sure to lose weight, because you’ll give up on finding these ingredients in your neighborhood grocery store and wind up not eating anything.
  • tumblr_m7tvb3sIkF1qzplvlo1_1280Link-Bait Diet: This diet pulls you in with a catchy headline or video that you can relate to. “DO YOU TRY EVERY DIET OUT THERE AND STILL STRUGGLE TO LOSE WEIGHT?” they ask. Why yes, you think to yourself, that’s totally me. You click the link and get sucked into an hour-long video that promises to give you five weight-loss tools that will help you obtain the body of your dreams. But first – the narrator says, “You’re probably wondering why I’m qualified to talk about this.” No I’m not. “Well, I used to be just like you… [cue sob story about the narrator’s weight problems and how depressed he/she was].” I don’t care, just tell me the five tools! “Before I tell you the five tools, let me tell you a little more about how insecure you must be feeling.” An hour later, you have learned nothing about how to lose weight, but you have been offered a special discount if you act now and purchase these diet pills.
  • Pre-Packaged Merchandise Diet: Don’t even bother with fruits, vegetables or your own home-cooking. Instead, buy diet drinks and frozen meals that will allow you to quantify exactly how many calories or points you have accrued. These drinks and frozen meals can only be purchased if they are sold by the company whose diet you’re on.
  • Juice Cleanse Diet: Drink your calories for the next 3 days to 1 week. This will cause you to be really moody. Say snarky things to everyone around you and lose all of your friends. When the cleanse is over, no one will invite you out anymore, especially not for food-related outings. The weight will really start to come off quickly!

Have I missed any important diets? Sound off in the comments section below! 🙂

The Weekend Five: Lessons Learned From 1990s Pop Culture

Lessons Learned from 1990s Pop CultureAs someone who was born in 1990 and lived through most of that decade, I will always have a soft spot for the 90s and the music, movies and TV shows that came with it. Of course, the subject always tends to be a little overdone, but I couldn’t help but share my own feelings about that scrunchie-filled time in our history!

There are a lot of surprising lessons we can all learn from 1990s pop culture, which we’ll discuss in this weekend’s edition of The Weekend Five. Feel free to add your own to the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: Lessons Learned From 1990s Pop Culture

1. Inanimate objects come to life as soon as you leave the room.
Thanks to movies like Toy Story and the Brave Little Toaster sequels, a part of me grew up believing that whenever I left the house, my toys and household appliances gained consciousness and had conversations with each other. (I’m still not entirely unconvinced.) Now in 2015, this is probably why I can’t find a few things in my kitchen… They simply walked off to enjoy a new life.

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Five Lessons Learned from 1990s Pop Culture2. If you want to be someone’s lover, you have to get with their friends.
I’m assuming the Spice Girls meant that you should befriend their friends, and not literally “get with” them. In the song Wannabethe Spice Girls make a very good point — if you’re interested in someone, you need to show interest in their friends and the other important people in your boo’s life as well. They also say something about a “zig-a-zig-ah,” whose definition happens to be one of the biggest mysteries of the 1990s.

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3. “We were on a break” is never a good excuse for anything you did to upset your significant other.
Actually, never turn to Ross Geller from Friends for any kind of relationship advice. That should be the real lesson here.

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4. With the proper makeover, the nerdiest girl in school can transform into the prom queen and land the hottest guy in school.
This “lesson” eventually led to horribly unrealistic expectations for dorky girls everywhere (myself included). Sadly, my makeover didn’t come until college, at a time when nerdiness and “quirkiness” had started to become vaguely attractive traits anyway. I had to watch She’s All That many times before I realized that Freddie Prinze Jr. was never going to enroll at my school.

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Five Lessons Learned from 1990s Pop Culture5. Don’t ever talk to a girl who says she just has a friend.
In his song Just A Friend, when Biz Markie asks the girl he likes if she has a boyfriend, she responds, “No I don’t. I only have a friend.” They build a relationship, but when he goes to visit her at college, he quickly runs into her male “friend” kissing her in the dorms. The moral to the story? Don’t ever talk to a girl who says she just has a friend. Ladies: If a guy asks you if you’re seeing someone and you tell him “I only have a friend,” you sound extremely sketchy. We really do have platonic male friends, but if we feel the need to mention them when a new guy asks if you’re single, the relationship probably isn’t all that platonic.

(Side Note: I know that this song came out in 1989, but it feels so 90s to me and it officially went platinum in 1990, so I am including it in 1990s pop culture!)

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What are your favorite lessons from 1990s pop culture? Share yours in the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: Modern Twists to Your Favorite Disney Movies, Part II

Modern Twists to Your Favorite Disney MoviesFor many of us, Disney’s animated movies were a huge part of our childhood. Twenty years later, it can be fun to watch these movies as adults and relive that simpler time in our lives.

Of course, as we indulge in the classics, it’s fun to ask ourselves how these movies would differ if they took place in modern times! Back in March, I went through the plots of a few Disney favorites and came up with my own versions of these movies in 2015.

However, there are still plenty of popular Disney movies that I didn’t get to write about last time around! This week, I share my present-day plots for five more Disney movies. Enjoy!

The Weekend Five: Modern Twists to Your Favorite Disney Movies, Part II

1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937)
Meet Snow White, a beautiful girl who “hates drama.” Unfortunately for Snow White, drama seems to follow her everywhere, because everyone is jealous of how beautiful she is. Her own stepmother tries to ruin her life by placing a virus on Snow’s Macbook and iPhone, hoping to cut off the girl’s communication with the outside world. This backfires when Snow White meets a group of seven computer engineering students at the local college, who help fix her Apple products and ultimately invite her to move in with them. Her boyfriend isn’t thrilled about her living with multiple guys, but as she explains to him, “Girls just don’t really like me!”

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Modern Day Twists to Disney Movies2. Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Needing an escape from her boring life, Alice decides to visit a new bar in town called The Rabbit Hole. After taking a shot of something that says Drink Me, Alice finds a passageway to a secret club downstairs called Wonderland. There she is introduced to a strange underground music scene and makes a few bizarre new friends. She finds herself especially intrigued by a guy she meets, known only as The Mad Hatter, and accepts his invitation to an Unbirthday Party the next night. However, after spending more time with these new friends over the next few weeks, she realizes how weird and flaky they really are, and ultimately goes back to her regular life.

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3. Peter Pan (1953)
Career-driven and successful Wendy Darling loves her boyfriend, Peter, but worries about the fact that he still lives in his fraternity house five years after they graduated from college. After work each day, she takes care of Peter and his frat brothers by cleaning the house and cooking them dinners, and finds herself wishing Peter would apply for a job already. In the end, she dumps him for an older guy who happens to have a job and a boat.

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Modern Twists to Your Favorite Disney Movies4. Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Aurora is placed under a sleeping curse, in which she sleeps through several world wars and significant historical events. When she finally wakes up, she must adapt to a changing world. One day, she hears a beautiful singing voice in the forest, but is saddened to discover that it is in fact Justin Bieber.

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5. Aladdin (1992)
Aladdin falls for Jasmine, an Instagram-famous lifestyle personality who lives in his hometown and has no idea that he exists. To make matters worse, her boyfriend Jafar has reached a similar level of online fame, mostly because of his flair for ironic facial hair. In a fit of desperation, Aladdin turns to local social media/PR agency Social Genie, who helps him to create popular social media profiles that transform his image. Jasmine quickly falls for Aladdin. In the end, she learns that his awesome online life was completely fake, but still decides to give him a chance.

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How do you think your favorite Disney films would have gone in 2015? Share your ideas in the comments below!

My Twitter Feed in a Nutshell

funny-twitter-acronyms-and-birdsThe year is 2015, and now, more than ever, we turn to social media to unveil our darkest emotions, our sharp wit, and our longing for relevance in an increasingly impersonal world. (We also turn to social media to look at cute puppy pictures and to cyber-stalk our friends from high school.) Of course, the more we share on social media, the more predictable our posts have become.

A few years ago, I wrote about my Facebook newsfeed and the most common posts I see there. While my 600+ Facebook friends and I are all unique, our Facebook statuses (filled with misattributed quotes, thinly veiled song lyrics and terribly misguided political opinions) are anything but. As Twitter has grown in popularity, it has suffered the same fate.

This is what my Twitter home page looks like, in a nutshell, based on the accounts that I follow (or – in some cases – have unfollowed). 🙂 Feel free to add your own favorite commonly viewed tweets to the comments section below.

  • Thoughtful comment about industry specific topic. @Publication http://LinkToRelevantContent.bit.ly/ #IUseTwitterProperly
  • Snarky observation about a casual acquaintance at the same social event I’m at. #SoMuchSnark
  • Depressing yet slightly cryptic tweet about an ex who hopefully doesn’t read my Twitter. #ActuallyIHopeHeDoes #InsideJokeOnlyWeKnew
  • Photo of animals doing adorable things or being unlikely best friends, captioned with something clever and equally cute.
  • I checked in at @TrendyBarhttp://MyLifeIsCoolerThanYours.bit.ly/
  • Funny tweet that lightly touches on a sensitive news story and gets 5K retweets. #OhToBePopular
  • Ultra-personal tweet about an area of my life that only my significant other or close friends would know. #TMI #WhoReadsThis
  • Summary of every photo I have ever posted on Instagram. #ReallyIDontPostAnythingElse
  • Headline: “Controversial Social Topic and Why We Need to Talk About It.” http://SocialCommentary.bit.ly/ 
  • My @TrendyBrand goodies arrived in the mail today and I’m obsessed! #PlzReadThis #SendMeFreeStuff

Anything I’m missing? Add your own favorites to the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: Modern Twists to Your Favorite Disney Movies

Modern Day Twists to Your Favorite Disney Movies!After a fun-filled trip to Epcot last weekend, it’s safe to say that I have Disney on the brain! A child of the 1990s, I loved picking up a new Disney movie in its colorful plastic case and playing it in our VCR (which had to be replaced, after one of our Disney movies got stuck in there). Even in my twenties, I’m quick to pop in a Disney movie whenever I’m sick or in need of a reminder from my childhood.

Of course, watching these movies as I’ve gotten older, I realize that many of them would be a lot different if they were written today. Our thoughts on marriage, beauty and women’s roles have significantly evolved in the last century, and with the ever-growing influence of technology and social media, it’s interesting to think about how our Disney favorites would differ in a modern-day setting.

This weekend, I’ve taken five Disney classics and revised the plots to take place in 2015. Let the madness begin!

The Weekend Five: Modern Twists to Your Favorite Disney Movies

Modern Day Twists to Your Favorite Disney Movies!1. Cinderella (1950)
Ella escapes the confines of her strict stepmother’s home to attend Coachella, where she meets and becomes infatuated with DJ Charming. When she flees from the festival to meet curfew, leaving behind nothing but her custom-made flower head wrap, DJ Charming launches a social media campaign (#FindElla) to find her. Meanwhile, as one of the film’s subplots, her stepmother’s cat Lucifer becomes a viral Internet meme and soon has his own line of merchandise.

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2. The Fox and the Hound (1981)
When Tod and Copper’s owners recognize the unlikely friendship blossoming between their pets, they photograph the two animals playing together and create a blog documenting the relationship. The blog goes viral, and Tod and Copper are even featured on Ellen.

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http://www.dumpaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/the-little-mermaid-funny-font2.jpg3. The Little Mermaid (1989)
Plagued by pollution and the ongoing threat of global warming, the creatures of the sea send Ariel ashore to speak with the humans about these atrocities. There she falls in love with Eric, the son of an oil tycoon, and feels voice-less in a society still dominated by patriarchal values. In the end, Ariel saves the planet and ultimately agrees to marry Eric, but mostly because she thinks his dog is really cute.

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4. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
At the heart of Beauty and the Beast is a love triangle for the ages. Should she choose Adam “The Beast” Rose, a hairier-than-average guy whose anger management classes have proven ineffective thus far? Or should she choose Gaston, her handsome neighbor who frequents men’s rights message boards and complains about “female privilege”? In the end, Belle realizes that she’s too good for either of these men, and instead chooses the cute guy she met at the bookstore. Meanwhile, her father (a software engineer and app developer) invents Words with Friends.

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http://www.dumpaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/the-little-mermaid-funny-font2.jpg5. Mulan (1998)
Mulan joins the army without disguising her female identity. She is celebrated for her bravery, strength and creative problem-solving skills. She returns home a hero.

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If you enjoyed these modern day movie adaptations, you’ll love my modern day endings to these classic romantic comedies! Go check them out.

What are your favorite Disney films? How do you think they would play out in 2015?

2014: The Year in Review

I'm pretty sure I had one of these.

I’m pretty sure I had one of these.

Can you believe it has been 15 years since the major Y2K scare? Luckily, a lot has changed since the days of pleather pants and Ricky Martin, and I have finally grown out of those bell bottoms I wore as the clock struck midnight. Thank goodness our computers continued to function and the world didn’t end!

2014 was a landmark year of its own, with plenty of interesting pop culture events and trends to reach the masses. I’m still not entirely sure what an Iggy Azalea is or why parachute pants are making a comeback (sorry, but no one looks good in those), but I am happy to report that starting this year, So It Must Be True will begin compiling an annual Year in Review, summarizing some of the highlights of the last 365 days.

Enjoy my last article of 2014 below and have a very happy, healthy New Year! Feel free to add your own categories in the comments section below. 🙂

2014: The Year in Review

  • faux_outrageTheme of the Year: Faux Outrage.
    Yes, 2014 was definitely the year of Faux Outrage, expressed mainly through social media shares of popular opinion piece articles. We became especially sensitive to all issues, even those we secretly didn’t know or care much about, in the interest of portraying ourselves as Social Activists. Through Facebook and Twitter posts, we shared our outrage over very minor issues and often glossed over the much more major ones. While political correctness and kindness have always been undeniably important, 2014 was the year that we berated each other mercilessly in order to show how accepting and supportive we really were.
  • Word of the Year: “Appropriation.”
    In the interest of Faux Outrage, we often accused even the most harmless of events to perpetuate “cultural appropriation” or “misappropriation.” For many of us, this was the first time we had ever seen or heard this word, but we were excited to use it even when cultural appropriation wasn’t happening. (Note: This is a very real thing, and we should be mindful of the way we treat other people and their cultures, but 2014 often misused and overused the term when it really didn’t apply.)
  • article-swift-0607Celebrity Makeover of the Year: Taylor Swift.
    In 2014, something miraculous happened for Taylor Swift. She transformed herself from “the girl who goes from boyfriend to boyfriend and writes songs about each of them” to “the girl who values her female friendships (and probably, in secret, still has some boyfriends here and there.” T. Swift became known for her signature red lipstick, her chic sense of style, and her coterie of superstar celebrity pals. If Taylor Swift was friends with Lena Dunham and Emma Stone, then how bad could she really be? Taylor Swift also seemed to become a lot more self-aware in 2014 as she fully transitioned to the genre of pop, writing songs that poked fun at society’s perceptions of her. What will Taylor do next?
  • Most Disliked Celebrity of the Year: Justin Bieber.
    My mom has said that if Justin Bieber were her child, he would be in time-out by now for his awful behavior. Does anyone still listen to his music?
  • 532047_10151365719858869_358177475_nSuperfood of the Year: Kale.
    As we aim to #eatclean as part of our New Year’s Resolutions, we can’t forget how much kale has dominated our Pinterest boards in the last year. Other foods that run closely behind: sweet potato (the paleo community’s Superfood of the Year), quinoa, and cauliflower (which has lent itself to gluten-free rice, pizza crust, mashed faux-tatoes, and so much more!).
  • Hot Button Issue of the Year: Feminism.
    Every year, we pick a new cause to make ourselves feel particularly important and well-informed. When I first started college, that cause was environmentalism, as everyone began to concern themselves with global warming. However, as the years wore on, more and more people stopped biking to classes and bringing recyclable bags to the grocery store. In 2014, everyone became a feminist. Many of us were feminists to begin with, but now it was especially in vogue to post Jezebel articles about slut-shaming, body-shaming, and every other kind of shaming imaginable. My personal favorite articles were those that accused certain celebrities of being or not being feminists. When Shailene Woodley (mentioned later in this article) announced that she was not a feminist, the Internet nearly broke. I’d like to think that many of the feminists that emerged in 2014 will continue to defend women’s rights in 2015 and beyond, but the cynical part of me fears that feminism has become just as much of a trend for the sake of being a trend as anything else.
  • TV Show of the Year: Orange is the New Black.tumblr_mr3p0tsiSl1sdc0bvo1_250
    When Season 2 of the Netflix original came out in 2014, social media exploded with posts about the show and the binge-watching that went along with it.  This show received tons of award nominations in the months to come, and will be bringing much of its well-earned popularity with it into the year 2015.
  • Actress of the Year: Shailene Woodley.
    Oh, Shailene, you strange forest nymph/child of the moon. Shailene Woodley, who was known for a few of her roles prior to 2014, suddenly went from pretty-but-unmemorable-unwed-teen-mother-on-television to quirky-nature-loving-movie-star. The young actress had several major movie roles this year, but was even more known for her interesting interviews and homemade remedies for everything imaginable.
  • Actor of the Year: Chris Pratt.
    After getting in shape for Guardians of the Galaxy, Chris Pratt was not only the lovable goofball from Parks and Recreation, but also a total stud. His bodacious new bod, coupled with his funny quotes and infectious smile, made him 2014’s most likable heartthrob.
  • 675d8cc18205907f363667eae27740d6Clothing Trend of the Year: Crop Tops & Dresses.
    Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, girls aimed to show off their belly-buttons. Crop tops and cropped dresses have emerged in 2014 (popularized by Taylor Swift and other celebrities), this time showing off the upper ribcage but leaving the navel to the imagination. I’m not sure if this will ever be a trend I decide to follow, but if I ever do get that six-pack I pray for every year, this trend will at least help me reveal part of it to the world.

What trends and events do you think everyone will remember from 2014?

Sound off in the comments below!

The Weekend Five: People We Follow On Instagram

This is totally me. No shame.

This is totally me. No shame.

You know what they say… you are what you Instagram. Okay, so perhaps this isn’t the exact wording of the old adage, but our social media outlets certainly give friends and followers some insight into who we are and where our interests lie. My news feed on Facebook remains similar now to what it looked like two years ago when I wrote this post, but as I’ve migrated over to Instagram, I’ve found some common patterns there as well.

I’d imagine that for many of us, if we were to compare news feeds on Instagram, we would find that many of our friends post variations of the same things. This week, let’s take a look at some of the common themes that make their way onto our Instagram feeds.

The Weekend Five: People We Follow On Instagram

foodie-joke1. The Foodie.
The foodie comes in all shapes, sizes and culinary preferences. Whether your friend is a Cake Boss or a Super Strict #Paleo Health Nut, this person is constantly posting pictures of his or her meals. Whenever I open this app on my phone, I am immediately hungry from all of the beautifully staged food photos I see. (Seriously – how do you guys get your food to look so immaculate?) I am definitely guilty of posting more food pictures than any reasonable person should — to the point where many of my friends probably now hate me — but I don’t know if I’ll ever have the patience or skills required to make my food look Martha Stewart-ready.

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what-if-cats-have-their-own-internet-and-its-full-of-pictures-of-us2. The Technologically Savvy Animal.
Thanks to these people, cats have been ruling the Internet for the past several years. The Animal Lover posts tons of adorable pictures of his or her pet (usually a cat or dog), gathering so many other Animal Lover followers that their pets now have their own hashtags and companies invite them to do product giveaways on their social media. Personally, I follow more German Shepherds, Chihuahuas and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels on Instagram than is socially acceptable. My dog, Charlie, has his own Instagram page run by my sister — and he has more followers than I do! When you’re feeling sad or upset, these Instagram pages are a great place to turn. A few cute pet pics will brighten almost any day!

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bear_fitness-php13. The #TurntUp One.
I still barely understand what it means to turn up or turn down, but I’ll be damned if I don’t see at least one person on my Instagram each week with that very hashtag. While many of these posts used to be party- and bar-related, the #turntup factor has since been amplified by the EDM/house music scene. We all have at least one of these friends. I don’t know if I’ll ever be cool enough to post any of these pictures without some degree of irony, but the good news is that I’ll still be functional enough to “turn up” to work the next day. 🙂

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20120828-1128084. The Whimsical One.
This person uses very few hashtags, writes quirky-cute captions, and manages to get at least 50 likes per photo. Whether she’s strategically photographed dancing in some meadow, taking a selfie with a cat in a bow-tie, or doing something creative with a Mason jar, her pictures always come out flawlessly and are insanely popular on social media. As you plot your own social media domination, you can’t help but envy her for her seemingly effortless photos and style.

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sophisticated_owl_by_adlovett-d6nu84t5. The Cosmopolitan.
Like The Whimsical One, The Cosmopolitan usually receives a lot of likes/follows without having to spam everyone with hashtags. The Cosmopolitan is a little better than you in every way, posting meals that you can’t pronounce from trendy restaurants you can’t afford (usually involving some sort of “balsamic reduction” or something truffle-related), visits to museums/the theatre, cool photos taken on European travels and an occasional, well-polished outfit of the day. The Cosmopolitan is not always as worldly as The Whimsical One, but typically more reliable.

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Who do you follow on Instagram? Anybody who didn’t make the cut? Share your favorites in the comments section below!

OMG, You’re Jewish? Well-Meaning But Common Reactions

celebrating-jewish-new-year-rosh-hashanah-ecard-someecardsI usually like to avoid discussing religion on this blog, because I think the topic is completely irrelevant to my usual content. Readers come here for college tips and ridiculous lists, not for a play-by-play of my thoughts on life, death and the possibility of a higher power.

However, today I’d like to share (from a relatively secular perspective) some of the reactions I get and misconceptions I hear when I tell people that I am Jewish. Some of these have made me laugh over the years, but I thought it would be fun to share these with my Jewish and non-Jewish readers alike! For the non-Jewish readers, I hope this gives you a little insight into what your Jewish friends are thinking when they hear certain questions and comments. For my Jewish readers, I’d love to hear your own experiences in the comments section below! 🙂

OMG, You’re Jewish? Well-Meaning But Common Responses

  • But you don’t look Jewish!
    Oh, so I don’t look like the very small representation of the Jewish population that you’ve seen on TV? Most of the time, when people say this, they are referring to very specific features that have been exemplified through years of offensive caricatures. Not all Jews look alike – just Google Jewish celebrities for some examples! I have Jewish friends of many nationalities and backgrounds – friends who are black, South American, Central American, European and Middle-Eastern – and (surprise, surprise!) they don’t look alike.
  • You LOOK Jewish!
    See above. To this day, I’m still not sure if I look Jewish or not, and I don’t really care!
  • Do you know Danny Goldstein? He’s Jewish, too!
    Seriously? The fact that I’m Jewish doesn’t mean that I know every other Jewish person out there! There might not be many of us, but we don’t all know each other. It’s crazy you would even… Oh wait, Danny Goldstein? We went to Hebrew School together…
  • But how can you NOT celebrate Christmas?
    Contrary to popular belief, Christmas is not the only holiday that brings family and friends together in merriment. In fact, we have eight nights of Hanukkah! Interestingly enough, many Jews live full and happy lives without ever once celebrating Christmas. (Luckily for me, I get to celebrate both – so I have twice the fun!)
  • Are you related to Moses?
    Why yes, Moses is my grandfather. (I think this question stems more from my admittedly awesome last name than anything else, but I digress. Growing up, a lot of my non-Jewish friends were convinced that Moses was the focal point of Judaism and that we worshipped him in the same way that Christians worship Jesus.)
  • I find so many good bargains. I’d make such a good Jew!
    No, you’re just financially savvy. If Judaism taught us extreme-couponing and how to pinch every penny, then I wouldn’t constantly overspend at the grocery store and troll the Kate Spade site.

Other Stray Comments

  • We do not all sound like Woody Allen. Yes, he is funny and his movies are charming, but the whole “neurotic Jew” stereotype definitely seems to stem from him and his characters.
  • People can be Jewish and German. I’ve seen friends act shocked to meet someone of Jewish and German descent, but it does happen, just as there are Ethiopian Jews and Brazilian Jews and Jews from practically every other country in the world.
  • One time, I said “Oy Vey!” and a friend responded, “Wow! I had no idea you could speak French!”
  • We really do have some of the best food. If you haven’t had kugel yet, you really need to get on that.

Friends, what are some of the well-meaning but silly reactions or comments you’ve received over the years?

The Weekend Five: Facebook Friends We Wish We Didn’t Have

bad_facebook_friend_tshirt-r9e77664892704bb584c6af29b37fa0bd_804gs_512In the age of social media, we find ourselves rubbing virtual shoulders with people we like and people we don’t like. Despite the fact that we choose the “friends” we follow, we still run into a few bad apples who slipped through our newsfeeds or timelines (which, sadly, look mostly like this).

Comb through your social media profiles, and I guarantee you will find at least one (if not all) of the five friends/followers that we all sort of want to de-friend.

The Weekend Five: Facebook Friends We Wish We Didn’t Have

1. The Rabid Politician.
Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a little biased… for me, this definitely applies more toward the opposing political party than my own. It’s natural for a lot of us to feel exceptionally annoyed toward those who are vocal about something we disagree with. However, there are many times when even my fellow members of the Whig Party start to get on my nerves, when the only thing they post about is their political outrage. I don’t mind a few political posts now and then (I’m guilty of a few myself!), and I obviously think it’s important to care about your country’s affairs. But when your timeline reads like a political attack ad, it’s time to put down the (probably partisan) newspaper and go enjoy some fresh air.

esc_010WiestFerrell2. The Salesman.
No, I do not want to buy your makeup product or nutritional** cure-all pill, thank you very much! I have become much more jaded thanks to people like this, so whenever I receive a message from someone “out of the blue,” I am instantly suspicious. These relationships are often one-sided and unless you are offering something I truly need, I don’t want our first conversation since kindergarten to boil down to you asking me for money.

3. The Purge Enthusiast.
This is the girl who threatens to purge all of her contacts except for her “true friends.” (Let’s face it, in my experience, this has always been a girl.) Every few weeks, she complains that “no one is reading this” and that she will be deleting everyone who hasn’t “been there” for her. Sometimes she even provides a call-to-action (“if you still want to be my friend, message me” or “comment with three things you like about me” or “go to the farthest mountain and bring back the final ingredient to the potion I am brewing”), which – more often than not – I refuse to participate in. Sometimes I am unaware of the purge that has taken place, only to wake up to a status that says something along the lines of: “If you’re reading this, you fulfilled the unrealistic requirements I have been imposing on my casual acquaintances.” Sometimes I do not pass this test, but instead receive a friend request from the person under a new name a few weeks later. And the cycle continues.

1344315965956_40575544. The Perpetual Smart-Ass.
This person does not have one nice thing to say. Instead, he (occasionally a she, but usually a he) copes with his insecurities by trolling our social media profiles. Did you just post the most beautiful profile picture you’ve ever posted in your life? Well, The Perpetual Smart-Ass will be sure to comment… not to compliment you for how you look in the photo, but to poke fun at something very miniscule in the background. Did you write a particularly clever status? The Perpetual Smart-Ass will attempt to one-up you with something they believe to be even wittier. I’ve even had my grammar incorrectly corrected by this person! In fact, there are a few people whose notifications I dread receiving, because nothing they write is genuine and everything is underscored by their secret longing to be the smartest, most interesting person in the room. (This is the same person who regularly quotes Internet memes in real life conversations.)

5. Who’s That?
I can’t remember where we met or how we know each other. I’m sorry, are you a mutual friend of So & So? Did we do a group project together in middle school? I want to know who you are but I became too embarrassed to ask after you Facebook-poked me the other day. I’m not sure if this is related to some inside joke we had, or if you’re just creepy. Actually, I’m not sure if we know each other at all! It looks like we have no mutual friends, your profile pictures are all images of Jim Carrey in his various movie roles, and all of the comments on your wall say something along the lines of, “Who is this?”

Who are some of your most dreaded social media contacts? Any you’d like to add to the list?

** – Not approved by the FDA. May cause horrific disfigurement. Use with caution.