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!

Dramatic Relationships: The Musical

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Over the years, I have been astounded by the number of romantic comedies that promote dysfunctional relationships. Not only do filmmakers continue creating these movies, but we as viewers continue watching them, rooting for the couples who argue constantly in the name of passion. In these films, the romantic leads often forgo their happy, drama-free relationships in favor of something messy and often tumultuous.

However, these themes have most recently slipped their way into our music, as artists croon for their imperfect partners because of the excitement that their relationship problems bring. When Hunter Hayes sings, “I don’t want easy. I want crazy,” listeners nod, reasoning that the best relationships require struggle.

While I agree that no relationship is perfect and that every relationship, good or bad, will have its ups and downs, I have to ask: What’s wrong with easy? Does a happy relationship have to be crazy? (Tweet this!)

tumblr-kr2ib7tjuz1qa1f2go1-500In her song The Way I Loved You, Taylor Swift describes her picture perfect new boyfriend: a charming, sensible, endearing young man who is close to her mother, talks business with her father, opens doors for her and tells her she is beautiful. Nevertheless, T. Swift pines for her ex, claiming that “I miss screaming and fighting and kissing in the rain and it’s 2 a.m. and I’m cursing your name.”

In her case, an easy relationship with an “incredible” guy simply doesn’t measure up to the fits of passion/incessant arguing she faced in her previous relationship. She would prefer to act insanely out of “love” than to go through a mature adult relationship with a reliable guy who genuinely cares about her. Sadly, it seems that many young people these days feel the same way.

Throughout the various breakups in your life, it is natural to miss various aspects of those relationships. However, in my own life, I can honestly say that I have never once missed arguing with a significant other. And yet, somehow our music and pop culture glamorize the rocky relationships and discourage us from the “easy” ones. They devalue the healthy relationships that don’t constantly swing up and down, making them seem less complex and less worthwhile.

In the end, however, are you really going to be happy with a lifetime of drama?

Readers, I am not encouraging you to settle, but I do suggest looking at the successful marriages and relationships around you in your real life rather than pining for the type of love that generally only makes for a good song or film.

Link Love Wednesday: 20 Before August Edition

Millennial_mainHappy Wednesday! Can you believe it is almost August?

This feature, Link Love Wednesday, was postponed after a series of difficult Wednesdays throughout June and July. However, this week, I wanted to share a few interesting articles I found – especially pertaining to our age group of twenty-somethings!

  • This list of 21 Secrets for Your 20s is fun, practical and easy to relate to your own life. The blog post even inspired a book!
  • Thought Catalog posted a list of superpowers that 20-somethings don’t actually have. If you’re part of this age group, you will probably laugh your way through it, as many of these will apply to you or your friends.
  • Where would we be without one more article about millennials? This article talks about the things that millennials just don’t get. What are your thoughts? (Personally, I can’t stand all the negative commentary that people have about our generation – I think some of it is blown way out of proportion or incredibly misguided! I also think that a lot of this article would pertain more to someone starting out in a new job, rather than specifically to all young people.)
  • Take this quiz to find out if you can tell the difference between quotes from The Bachelorette and Taylor Swift lyrics! (I am proud to say that I earned 100 percent on this one!)
  • Check out the cast of Edward Scissorhands, then and now. The movie (one of my favorites) came out the same year I was born, so it is interesting to see how much has changed since then for many of these actors and actresses!
  • Flavorwire recounts several children’s book film series that failed to become the next Harry Potter franchise. (I was a huge fan of A Series of Unfortunate Events, by the way!)
  • There is a Twitter-themed hotel in Spain, where you can flirt and interact with other guests by tweet and hashtag. Personally, I would prefer if a guy actually walked up to me instead of just mentioning me through social media, but to each their own!

What are some of the interesting articles you came across this week?

Your Breakup Kit: 10 Songs to Ease the Pain

I will surviveAlthough Valentine’s Day is in a couple of days, some couples are not basking in the rays of relationship bliss. For those currently in the middle of breakups, mid-February is an especially difficult time to process your feelings, as the entire country glamorizes the idea of proving your worth to society based on whether anyone was willing to hold your hand in public on that day. So to help you all out, I’m bringing in a few song favorites and links – some sad, some upbeat – that could help cheer you up.

And yes, most of these are very mainstream songs. Enjoy!

Sad Songs for Wallowing in Self-Pity

Sometimes it’s your party and you can cry if you want to. This list is for the people who just don’t want to get out of bed, the heartbroken ones who keep replaying “what if?” scenarios in their minds, the people who need to let themselves feel the heartbreak a little bit longer.

1. Almost Lover – A Fine Frenzy (song).
The lyrics “You sang me Spanish lullabies, the sweetest sadness in your eyes,” always stick in my head when I hear this song! The artist sings goodbye to a significant other that almost was.

2. California King Bed – Rihanna (song).
I’m not the biggest Rihanna fan, but I wish this song had gotten more airtime when it first came out. This super sad song is all about a relationship at its end, being torn apart by emotional distance.

3. The Reason Why – Rachael Yamagata (song).
This song is not really about a romantic breakup, but more about the artist’s breakup with her band and journey into working a solo act. Beautiful piano accompaniment with lyrics that you can totally apply to your own heartbreak.

4. Set Fire to the Rain – Adele (song).
To be fair, every song by Adele is a breakup song. Set Fire to the Rain in particular always resonated with me as one of the sadder ones – although I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from her soon!

5. Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley (song).
This is my favorite cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, and I think it has such a profound sadness to it. After all, Shrek and Fiona listened to it when they parted ways in the first Shrek movie, didn’t they? If it’s good enough for Shrek, it’s good enough for any of us.

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Empowering Songs for Your Inner Warrior

Sometimes, we don’t want to host our own pity parties — instead, we want to move past the heartbreak and feel the freedom of a bad relationship shed. These songs reflect the strength we might embody when we overcome a difficult situation.

1. I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor (song).
How can you not love this song and immediately start dancing when it comes on? I Will Survive is the pre-Single Ladies anthem for single ladies everywhere.

2. Picture to Burn – Taylor Swift (song).
Make as many jokes about Taylor Swift’s relationship status as you’d like, but this song – with its original country charm that many of her newer songs lack – easily gives We Are Never Getting Back Together a run for its money. Spiteful, yes, but totally fun to listen to!

3. I Look So Good – Jessie James (song).
In this song, the artist sings about all of the good things the breakup has done for her – including a boost of confidence! Definitely gives the breakup a more positive spin.

4. Miss Me – Andy Grammer (song).
I’ll admit that this one is a little sadder than the others, but the song does lean toward the sentiment that your significant other will miss you when you’re gone. For the still-sad-but-leaning-toward-empowered ones, this song provides hope of a happier tomorrow.

5. Happily Never After – Pussycat Dolls (song).
This song is all about leaving an unhealthy relationship for good and knowing what you deserve – a very uplifting way to start anew.

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What are your favorite breakup songs? What songs have helped you get through some of your toughest moments?

It All Makes Sense Now: Living So The Words Have Meaning

Taylor SwiftWhen my best friend and I were in high school and our earlier years of college, we constantly compared the boys in our lives to the boys in Taylor Swift songs. From the guys who were perfect in every way who simply didn’t notice us to the guys from whom we had drifted apart, we loved rocking out to T. Swift’s music in the car because we knew that, at any time, we could relate to at least something on her album.

Music often has the power to bring us back to a single moment in time, reminding us of the emotions — both good and bad — that came along with it. But little do we realize that those pivotal moments in our lives are exactly what give the lyrics their meaning. If we hadn’t met that one person, been in a particular place at a particular time, or experienced heartbreak, we wouldn’t truly comprehend those life events about which the songs were written in the first place.

musicAfter one break-up, I was listening to a few old favorites of mine, and one song – an older song written in some sort of extended metaphor that has been covered by probably a hundred artists since its inception – began to play. It was a song I’d always thought was beautiful, but I was never really sure why. This time, I felt an intense sadness as I meditated on a few key lyrics, as I realized, I finally know what he’s singing about. In a strange way, this simple realization made me feel that much more connected to the artist, the song and even to the world.

It goes like this: you can read The Perks of Being a Wallflower and think that you know what it means to be “infinite,” but eventually you will end up in a situation that actually makes you feel infinite, and suddenly you have a greater appreciation and understanding of the book itself.

It is important to take that leap of faith and live so that the words have meaning. (Tweet this!) It might not turn out the way you had hoped – it might sting – but you owe it to yourself to enter relationships honestly and to remain open to unfamiliar opportunities.

The Weekend Five: Artists Not To Mess With

Breaking up is hard to do. We know this, not only because it has probably been true in each of our lives at one point or another, but also because we learned it from a song. It stands to reason, then, that breaking up with (or simply letting down) a tortured artist is even harder than breaking up with your average Joe/Jane. Therefore, if any of you are strongly considering temporarily dating a famous artist/musician, keep in mind that some of them will handle the end of the relationship better than others.

The Friday Five: Artists Not To Mess With

1. Taylor Swift.
A word to the wise: If she has an unrequited crush on you, she will write a song about it. If she has a happy relationship with you, she will write a song about it. If you break up with her during a 27-second phone call, she will certainly tell Ellen Degeneres about it on her show, but there will be a song describing the situation as well. Whether you’re John Mayer, Joe Jonas or a nameless non-celebrity boyfriend she briefly fell for, you will become infamous to all who read the tabloids and listen to the radio sometimes, and little girls everywhere will hate you (at least temporarily). Taylor Swift comes across as sweet as apple pie, but when it’s time to write new songs, the claws will come out.

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2. Carly Simon.
Everyone knows that You’re So Vain is about Warren Beatty. (Even people who don’t know who Warren Beatty is know that the song is about him!) If I were Warren, I’m not sure what I would be more upset about: the fact that people everywhere might have less respect for me because of how vain I am rumored to be, or the fact that the world would now know that I indeed own a “scarf that is apricot.”

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3. Vincent van Gogh.
Unless you want to find an ear in your mailbox, I suggest you don’t even bother with this one. Just admire Starry Night from afar.

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4. Adele.
Rumor has it (ha, Adele pun!) that Adele’s entire sophomore album was inspired by one ex-boyfriend in particular. I have yet to hear a my-life-is-a-perfect-fairy-tale-and-my-boyfriend-is-Prince-Charming love song performed by Adele, but her powerful breakup ballads are pure gold. Having said that, I’m willing to bet that there’s a certain ex-boyfriend of hers out there who furrows his brow in frustration (because seriously, what else can he do?) every time one of her songs wins another award for its ingenuity. If you date Adele, don’t expect a feel-good song about your relationship to make it onto her next album. However, if you simply want to contribute to the greater good of the music industry for the love of art, then end the relationship badly and her talent will only continue to grow.

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5. Bruno Mars.
For one thing, Bruno Mars loves you unconditionally. He thinks you are perfect in every single way and will do anything you ever ask him to do, even at his own expense. And yes, he may have his legal issues, but he won’t judge you for yours, so who are you to judge him for his? If you ever have to end things with Bruno Mars, please be gentle with him. One of his recent songs, It Will Rain, demonstrates that he definitely can’t handle a breakup right now. My sister and I discuss poor Bruno all the time in relation to this song, and we feel that he must be crying out for help here. Ladies, be nice to him… guys like Bruno Mars don’t just pop up in nature… and if he loses you, there will be neither sunlight nor clear skies, so an imminent breakup would not only be difficult for him, but it would also take a drastic toll on the state of our weather.

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What are your thoughts? Which artist do you want to steer clear of?

The Friday Five: What I’ve Learned From Blogging

On most days, I don’t write anything specific about my personal life, but today is a notable exception. Today marks a very special one-year anniversary for me — in fact, exactly one year ago, I registered for an account on WordPress and started blogging right here. 365 days and 96 posts later, I have loved every minute of the blogging experience, and have grown tremendously since the very first post I ever wrote on WordPress.

To commemorate this occasion, I would like to share some of what I’ve learned in the past year of blogging. Feel free to comment below with some of what you’ve learned as well!

The Friday Five: What I’ve Learned From Blogging

1. You never know who is reading.
It doesn’t matter who your target audience is… you will still attract readers from other groups as well. Yes, most of my readers are college students, but I have also heard from various family members and employers who have read it as well. My readers come from all over the world and it is amazing to hear from so many perspectives when reading through comments. Blogging has allowed me to learn more about others, but it has also taught me the importance of inclusivity and not alienating any potential readers.

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2. Blogging means community.
Throughout my blogging experience, I have found that it is extremely important to keep up with other blogs in order to stay fresh and informed. In doing this, I’ve been able to meet and interact with a variety of bloggers, forming somewhat of a community through WordPress, Twitter and other social media. As a blogger, I have become acquainted with such a variety of writers, and in turn, have introduced some of my IRL friends to the world of blogging.

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3. There’s a Taylor Swift song for everything.
I used to make fun of a lot of Taylor Swift songs for their subject matter (“I like this boy but he doesn’t know I exist” “I’m in a relationship and it’s the best thing ever” “I wear a lot of dresses”) but with the release of her album Speak Now, I realized that I could relate to more of her songs than I thought. With nearly 10 percent of my blog posts pertaining to something written by T. Swift, I can’t simply disregard the fact that there will always be an artist whose work speaks to you. For the past year of my life, Taylor Swift’s music has spoken to me, and it will be interesting to see who and what I draw inspiration from in the next year.

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4. Making connections is one of the most important things you can do.
In English classes, we are taught to look for specific literary devices that don’t mean much to us personally, but as a blogger, I’ve definitely been able to pick out more prominent themes in famous works and apply them to my own life. Whether an excerpt from a novel, a scene from a movie or a line from a song, these various pieces can shed some insight on our own life experiences and observations, and help to point out a more universal truth. Blogging has taught me the power of making such connections and also enhanced my overall enjoyment of the works I read, watch and listen to.

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5. You are bound to contradict yourself.
In time, as you learn and grow from every experience, you will find that sometimes your thoughts, feelings and opinions will change. Because of this, some of your blogs might seem to contradict one another, and that’s okay. A blog doesn’t have to be perfectly static — it can change over time, just as you will. Realize that what you find in the next year may surprise you, and embrace the contradictions that you face.

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To my readers: Thank you for such a wonderful first full year of blogging. You have all been such an inspiration to me and I could not have done it without your support.

To my fellow bloggers: What have you learned from your experiences in blogging?

The Story Of Us: Just Another Transition

While listening to Taylor Swift’s more recent single The Story of Us, I couldn’t help but think about how relationships (whether platonic or romantic) tend to come in stages. In the song, Swift sings about a once-iconic relationship that ended badly. She begins with the idea that the “story of us” is this effortless love story that she and her boyfriend will be telling their grandchildren, but then reveals that she and the former love of her life are no longer on good terms. Soon, that “story of us” becomes the story of how “I was losing my mind when I saw you here,” not about how sparks flew when they first met.

The lyrics and theme of The Story of Us reminded me that our relationships are constantly in a state of transition, and so are the stories we tell about the people in our lives. The guy you met in your bio class and instantly connected with might soon become the guy who took you on the perfect date, then the boyfriend everyone envies you for having, then the boyfriend who cheated on you with that girl down the hall, and finally the ex you run into on a plane and hardly speak to. All relationships begin and end differently, but most of them will have their beginnings and endings, and your perspective will certainly differ depending on the point you are at in that relationship.

It is important to accept that things are always going to change in some way. (Tweet this!) Even if you do find the love of your life, chances are your relationship will hit some bumps or adapt to the way you start to grow up. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Everything in your life can become a learning experience, a story you share with your friends and your children in the years to come, even if the story manifests itself differently at different points in your life. One day, your life might feel like a bad teen soap opera; the next, like a page out of an introspective Sarah Dessen novel; and maybe even one day like a really poignant memoir that gets all the glowing reviews.

“The story of us” could be, as T. Swift puts it, a “tragedy.” It could also turn into a comedy a few months or years down the line, when we finally start to ask ourselves, “What was I thinking?” Maybe the lessons learned in one relationship will help us recognize when we’ve actually found our perfect match in another, and will lead us to that happily ever after. Or maybe what we take away from a failed relationship will lead us to a greater understanding of ourselves.

Bottom line: Change can be good. Without it, we wouldn’t survive. The stories we tell about our life experiences will constantly be in a state of transition, because we ourselves are in that same state of transition, and we have to be prepared for the curveballs life will throw at us. Taylor Swift’s love story with so-and-so might be over, but that doesn’t mean that you have to look at your own ended relationships as tragedies. Look at them as transitions, and embrace the change as the catalyst that will lead to better things.

Getting Stuck in December

As I listen to my latest mix CD for the road (which perhaps breaks a few of these rules), I find myself listening to Track #4 quite often. It’s Taylor Swift’s latest single, Back to December, one of the first songs I’ve heard from her that really wasn’t all sunshine and “boy in the corner, please notice me.” (I’m not a hater, trust me… I have a soft spot for those songs too!) Of course, my friends make fun of me for this — “It’s the most depressing song on the album!” they laugh, insisting we play Better than Revenge or Mine instead — but I still love the song nonetheless.

For those of you who live under a rock and haven’t heard it on all the pop radio stations in the past few months, Back to December is a song about heartbreak and regret — probably, more specifically, about her ex-boyfriend Taylor Lautner. She sings about how she wishes she hadn’t treated him the way she had, and that if she could go back to December and change her actions, she would.

Anyone who has made a decision they regretted could easily find the appeal in this song. Swift expresses those feelings in such a relatable way, and it is easy to apply them to many situations one has been in. However, the more I think about this, the more I wonder how helpful this song really is.

On the one hand, careful consideration of the decisions we have made in the past allows us to make better choices in the future. On the other hand, the more we think about our mistakes, the harder it can be to move forward. Instead of simply changing our ways, we sit around and dwell on the fact that we didn’t change our ways when it really “mattered.” We find ourselves looking at the past as a black-and-white photograph, one without blemishes, and forget the beauty of where we are today.

While listening to this song, I realized that every time Swift and I went back to December, we both got stuck there. With a new year ahead of me, I don’t want that to ever let that happen again. Instead, I want to begin each month — each day! — anew.

What’s Hot/What’s Not: December 2010

With the temperatures dropping lower and covers of Wham! playing in every storefront, we recognize that December and the holiday season are here. Digging our coats out of the back of our closets, we run out to do our last-minute shopping, keeping in mind all of the many ups and downs of the past month. Let’s take a look at December’s edition of What’s Hot/What’s Not!

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What’s HOT
The fun winter fashions we get to try out now that it isn’t 90 degrees out every day.

What’s NOT
The weather itself. (Ha! I couldn’t resist.)

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What’s HOT
Getting in the holiday spirit with festive decorations and celebrations.

What’s NOT
The shunning of Santa Claus in favor of a certain Internet meme that has already started to grow old.

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What’s HOT
Cosmo‘s list of the Hottest Male Celebrities of 2010. (You’re welcome.)

What’s NOT
The many celebrity fashion faux pas that came with 2010 as well.

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What’s HOT
The recent lunar eclipse that took place earlier this week.

What’s NOT
Finding less desirable fortunes in the stars for you.

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What’s HOT
The unfolding of the season-long mystery in the December finale of Gossip Girl.

What’s NOT
The allegedly “pathetic diva” behavior that may have led to Taylor Momsen’s indefinite departure from her role as Jenny ‘Little J’ Humphrey.

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What’s HOT
The now applicable release of Taylor Swift’s Back to December, since we are now in the middle of December. 🙂

What’s NOT
The heartbreaking lyrics behind the song, catchy as they may be.

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What’s HOT
The prevalence of social media in the world around us.

What’s NOT
Social media games taken to the extreme.

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What’s HOT
Getting your New Year’s resolutions in order for 2011.

What’s NOT
Breaking the bank in order to achieve those resolutions.

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What’s HOT
The idea of unconditional love that appears quite frequently in Bruno Mars songs.

What’s NOT
Receiving unwarranted love advice from John Mayer.

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This December, what was hot/not for you?