Monday, December 19, 2011

Stop that; the guys don't like it.

Recently, I "stumbled-upon" an advice column telling women what they should or should not wear. As someone  who always has one, opinions on what styles should get chucked do not bother me. This particular list featured hair extensions, bright-colored lipsticks, and too much make-up.

This is like any other issue of Cosmo or Allure, telling us women what we need to know. Now, my beef isn't with the media portraying women as airbrushed, supernatural beings (not today, anyway) -- it's actually quite the opposite. The articles have seemed to shift focus -- now bloggers are telling us, "Hey you! It's okay you don't look like a model... guys actually want realistic women!"

And that's where the problem comes in... How many times (girls) have you read about how you should not wear too much make-up because guys don't like that? Or how about how guys love curves? Don't forget to leave your hair extensions at home, because when you are with a guy, they might run their fingers through your hair and rip one out.

Give me a break. Has anyone noticed that by telling us we can be ourselves, we are still reinforcing that with "because the guys will like you anyway!" Why? Why can't we do things for ourselves?

I love Sephora; it's my guilty pleasure. Something about looking around at expensive make-up puts stars in my eyes. Not only do I love looking at it, I love buying it. Don't give me that nude-colored eye-shadow either. I like creating smoky dark eyes and spending an hour on my make-up before I go out. Here's the real shocker: I like doing this because I think it's fun. Not because guys may think I'm hot -- I'm told they don't like a lot of make-up anyway.

Aside from my Sephora addiction, I like running (when I can find the time). I do care about my figure to a certain extent. Again, it's not because I'm trying to attract males. I do it because I like to feel good about myself, and that's one of the ways I achieve that.

Ladies, let's get with it. Everything we do doesn't have to be about the guys we're going to attract. My feminist side screams at every article telling me to do or not do something simply based on what the opposite sex might think. I'm not saying I don't ever think about it, but why is our culture so obsessed with it?

Perspective: guys aren't engrossed in magazines and websites instructing them not to wear socks with sandals because 1) they know we'll like them anyway and 2) if we don't we're probably too high maintenance for them. We should learn from them (just this once...)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sandusky is a monster, not a joke

Lately, I've been overhearing people use the phrase, "Watch out, or you'll get Sanduskied" or "They'll give you the old Sandusky."

Too soon? It could be 1000 years from now and it would still be too soon. That's just sick. Too many lives have been ruined by this mess, and I'm all for comic relief, but I can find none in this situation.

The sad thing is, there's a good chance this could unfortunately catch on to describe child abuse. Anyone ever hear the phrase 'going postal'? Yeah, that come from somewhere.

Having a direct experience with Penn State and the earthquake that hit it this past month, I will never think that Sandusky should be used as any phrase but to describe a monster. People need to grow up. Children were sexually assaulted and traumatized for life.

So this is your warning: DO NOT SAY THIS AROUND ME. There is no saying what kind of monster I could turn into...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Wasn't life grand when...

The new Disney channel movie coming out on Friday would be the highlight of your week.

Littering would lead to crying Indians, and no one wanted that.

Are You Afraid of the Dark was the scariest TV show. Ever.

Summer meant swimming all day every day.


Being on drugs meant your brain was the equivalent to an egg in a frying pan.


TRL was a priority, and you couldn't wait to see the new NSYNC video they were releasing next week.

Grandma and Grandpa's house was a magical place with candy and people like parents, only better.

School dances were the equivalent to the MTV movie awards.

Snow days meant just that = playing in the snow.

Friends was a TV show you weren't allowed to watch.

Pool parties were "the bomb" - who cared what your hair looked like afterwards?

Babies came from the stork (at least that what they told us, we didn't care enough to look for the real answers)

Getting drunk was for those gross people in public service announcements

You could buy CDs with one track on them, called "singles".

Broken hearts were what they sang about in those stupid love songs

"You Got Mail" was like the sound of singing doves.

Away messages were essential, and if a sibling signed you out before you got to check your messages it was war.

Milk money meant $0.30.

Walking to school was a privilege

Ferbies were still cool, not creepy

TV Land meant ancient shows your parents watched, not TV shows from your childhood.

McDonald's was awesome, especially the playing in the jungle gym afterwards.

Lizzy McGuire meant don't bother me for the next half hour.

HitCLIPS was the latest technology, because listening to 30 seconds of a song was so much better than listening to the whole thing (wasting 3 minutes on a song was so overrated!).

Christmas shopping meant visiting your schools cafeteria to buy presents for your parents with the money they gave you.

Milk came in pouches, and the most frustrating part of the day was sticking a straw in the damn thing.

TGIF was awesome, even though you weren't allowed to stay up for the last show at 9:30.

The most badass thing you did was chew gum in class -- and by chewing, I mean sticking it to the top of your mouth and praying to the dear Lord above you didn't get caught.

You could carry a pet in your pocket, and if they died there was no need to worry -- a reset button was safely on the back of your "Tamagotchi"

Having a beeper was so cool -- never mind not being able to find a phone after you got a page

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"Sanctity of Marriage" Given Second Thought

Whether you've experienced divorce firsthand, or not, you know what it is. It is that life-changing thing that happens when there are "reconcilable differences" in a marriage. Divorce isn't a quick, clean break. Everyone who has been around it knows it is a process. There may be fighting, one person may fall out of love, and after the break happens, there is a whole load of legal crap to deal with.

But what if that process didn't happen? What if one day, after years of a happy marriage, your partner brings you to the courthouse, calmly sits you down, and the paper for you to sign is placed in front of you? Sounds crazy, right? Yeah, I thought so, too.

What's really crazy, though, is it really happened. Even more crazy, the couple is still happily together, living life the way they always did. The blog post, which I found through Psychology Today, can be found here.

It turns out, the wife wanted to divorce to prove a point about the sanctity of marriage. A legal documentation of your marriage cannot change the way you feel about each other. She wanted to prove that without that legal documentation, her relationship would be just as strong. She did it to show the world how caught up we've become in the legal rules of marriage.

To me, she's right. "My babe" however, listened carefully before saying, "That's a fun idea and all, but no." Haha, got to admire Dan's honestly.

Thoughts?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It Gets Better... (a story about bullying)

This may be the hardest blog entry for me to write, but I want to share my story in hopes that it may help people get through hard times... such as this kid:


He inspired me to get my story out, because maybe if I do, I can potentially save a person's life that gets bullied everyday (like I used to...). He was so brave for posting that.

So here it goes.

I've gotten bullied many times in my life -- I think it has to do with my unique nature and gutsy-ness... because I've never been afraid to try new hair-dos and crazy outfits. Which to me, is a good thing -- but I didn't know that then.

In middle school I cut my hair really short. I wanted it short and spiky, like I saw on some TV shows. I was the only person in 7th grade with that haircut, so it's safe to say I was different. Within days my new nickname became "Man-ica" because people claimed I looked like a man. I spend days crying at lunch because it seemed like everyone was calling me that. To this day, even though I still like having short hair, I get worried about whether or not my hair or clothes make me look like a boy. Which is stupid because I know they don't.

Also around 6th or 7th grade a group of girls decided they didn't like me. I got an e-mail sent to me from one of the "popular girls" I never talked to before, telling me everyone hates me and I should just die. People would create fake nicknames on AIM and IM me saying the meanest things. One day I ran up to my room and my dad saw the e-mail and told me I can't let those girls bother me. Everyone who has ever been bullied knows it's not that easy.

But that's nothing compared to what happened in high school.

In high school I thought I had it all. I had nice clothes, something to do every Friday night, and I was dating someone "popular." I've always had insecurity with the "popular" people because I never thought they liked me (like I said, they had bullied me before...) but what I really should have been thinking about is the fact that I didn't like them. But nobody thinks that way in high school.

It all started senior year... My boyfriend and I broke up. I was devastated. I loved him and I thought he was my life -- but that's just the beginning. For some reason, instead of a normal break-up where you get upset and eventually move on, his friends ate up every chance to make me feel worse. I'm guessing my insecurity over them not liking me had merit after all.

My ex-boyfriend started dating a new girl within days of us breaking up -- making my heartbreak worse. Everyday I'd get to school and a different one of his friends would come up to me and say "Hey, did you see Tom & Jackie* (names are changed) together today?" "Oh Monica, it must be terrible to see them together (sarcastically)" or in most cases, just "Jackie" in this drawn out, malicious way.

Even some teacher chimed in, laughing, "Monica, I heard since you and Tom broke up all you've done is sit home and cry every night." (This incident resulted in a visit from my mom to the principal since she worked at the school.)

Things got worse.

One class, one of Tom's friends knocked my books on the floor and said, "Monica, you dropped something." Everything I said in class that day he'd turn around, ask me pointed questions and make random comments. My teacher seemed to notice, but nothing was done.

I cried to my mom after class, but I begged her not to do anything -- it would only make things worse. Out of the goodness of her heart (who likes to see their daughter in pain?) she paid another visit to the principal. I even went so far as to go to my principal and beg her not to say anything to the boys -- but as she watched me cry frantically, she said no. She also gave me the kind advice that there would be plenty of other guys better than Tom in my life and I had to realize how great of a person I was. That stuck with me forever.

Anywho, the boy in my class got called down to the office along with my ex-boyfriend. They both were threatened with getting kicked off of their extracurricular activities if they bothered me again.

For the next few weeks I was taunted with lines such as, "Hey Monica... oh wait, I better not talk to you or I'll get kicked off the team." Only, it wasn't just from that kid, it was from what seemed like EVERYONE. Even people that never played a sport in their life.

One by one, I started to lose friends. Close girlfriends were calling me a b**** behind my back. One boy  took me to a basketball game, where we were both taunted throughout the whole thing. When he dropped me off that night, he told me how he didn't know how I dealt with it every day, but he just wasn't strong enough to deal with it, too. We didn't hang out after that.

One day, I wore a sweater Tom gave me. He said it was lying around his house and I could have it since they didn't know whose it was. I'd worn it many times because I liked it. But that day, Tom decided to tell the school I stole clothes from his house and told everyone it was his brother's friends sweater. It probably was, but I didn't know that and I didn't steal it. I decided to get even and wear the sweater every day for the rest of the week.

By the end of the week, people were mad. One kid got up in front of the whole cafeteria and started talking about how much of a scumbag I was for stealing clothes and wearing the same clothes everyday. By the end of his speech, the cafeteria filled with loud "OOHHHHs" from many, and almost everyone was looking at me. I turned around to see the popular girls flipping me off. I wanted to cry, die, sink into the earth and never return. But I just waved and like Princess Di would. Because when you're in that situation, what do you do?

The rest of the year was filled with similar events, but I won't continue on... you got the gist. It's hard for me to write this now -- four years later. Many people know my story and many people don't.

For a while, I wanted to die. I thought that if I did die, it would teach those kids a lesson. I bitterly thought that they'd have to live with that for the rest of their lives, and at the time I thought that was important. More important than my life. I called friends crying hysterically at night. I had panic attacks.

I've struggled with the incident for a while. I went into college thinking there was something wrong with me and no one would like me. I developed extreme anxiety. I hated myself.

But as time goes on, I've learned to cope with things. Nothing is wrong with me, something was wrong with them. It's still painful to think about, but it DOES GET BETTER. This is something I want people to know -- especially teens going through this right now. It is not worth taking your life over. Everyone is beautiful, perfect, and has awesome qualities to contribute to the world. Bullies are bullies. But they can't take away the great things you have to offer.

I have a great life now. I have great friends, my college years were successful, and overall I finally understand that nothing is -- or ever was -- wrong with me. I'm happy with who I am and the bullying at first made me weak, then made me stronger.

If you are getting bullied, please know that things will get better. I promise. Reach out to talk to me anytime @ mnoelle89@gmail.com

**If you know someone going through this, please share my story with them. I want my experience with bullying to help another person through theirs. By doing this, it makes me feel like the hard time I went through was worth something.

P.S. Since there's been speculation of the facts of my story, I want to say that everything I write is true. I have people to attest to it. But if you don't believe me, that's okay...because I wrote this to help others, and to help the fight against bullying.

Truths for Mature Humans...





I got a chuckle. :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

4 Trends I wish NEVER came back (But unfortunately did...)

1. Blood Red Lipstick
Or any dark colored-standout lipstick. Trust me, you stand out. But only because I'm wondering why you are in your twenties and still playing dress-up with your grandmother's make-up. Plus, at one point throughout the night you're sure to get a lipstick stain on your tooth, and that just makes it painfully awkward for the rest of us. Lastly, if you're following Gaga's latest advice and thinking it's sexy to see your lipstick smeared on your guys face...well, you're more likely to look like Edward Cullen at the end of the last Twilight flick (anybody else wondering why he couldn't just wipe his damn face?). 

2. Anything 70s Influenced
I don't know about you, but I wish the 70s would stay tightly tucked away in the past. I'm not sure what the decade ever did to me, but to be honest, I'd be happy if we did away with the whole thing. Just wiped it clear from the timeline. Something about bell-bottoms, disco shirts, and platform shoes just cause me to shake involuntarily. Ugliness will do that to you. So, when I see bell-bottoms are once again sneaking themselves into to magazines, I want to just tell them to stop crashing the party. I mean, how many times as a culture can we bring back one trend until we realize there's a reason it went away in the first place?
3. Leather Leggings
The 80s called them leather pants, we call them leather leggings, I call them repulsive. Actually, I saw the Kardashians' new line and they went so far to mix suede and leather -- the two most beastly fabrics -- together in one pair of leggings. Make it stop, please.

4. Blunt Bangs
I have to say, some people can pull them off. Like celebrities and models. Otherwise, you look like you're two. Something about bangs just takes me back to my childhood where everyone had the straight across bangs, because face it -- they look good where they belong, on kids. Maybe I've just always held resentment because I have a giant cowlick in the front of my hair and bangs were just never an option. Either way, hate them.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Don't Say Gay!

Don't Say Gay! 

It's refreshing to see an eight grader who has more brains that most Americans.

Who Makes a Facebook for their Newborn?!

Okay, so I know when you have a baby, you want all your Facebook friends to see them sleeping and crying in their cute little bows and mini UGGs. You even want them to see the baby as a little cashew in your black, ultra-sounded tummy. I'm guilty as anyone -- usually if I find out someone is pregnant, I creep their profile more than usual just to see how cute their baby is (what, you've never done that?!) In case you don't already have a handle of this baby-on-Facebook phenomenon, how many of you have a friend that says: "Aw Jackie's new baby is so cute!" In which you think aloud: Who is Jackie?! "Oh you know, this girl I graduated high school with... her ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend's sister."

I have my own opinions about the sharing labor stories on your Facebook status. And as far the pictures of you in labor go... you know the saying, "A picture is worth 1000 words..." Yeah, I think I can come up with some.  But that's an argument for another day...

What got me going this time, is the fact that a (deleted) Facebook friend made a Facebook profile for her newborn, just a shy TWO MONTHS after the monster was born. Okay, maybe that is not nice -- no baby is a monster. But I guarantee this baby is destined for monster-ism if their mother is already making them a Facebook profile page. I'm sure they are friends by default, so when you think about it, the kid didn't even get a chance to ignore her mother's friend request (the poor thing).

Anyway, I didn't check the profile out (I have limits on my creepiness) but what do you think she wrote as the statuses? Do you think the mother of this child wrote statuses like "I finally burped! Thank you, Mommy, for not giving up on me." Or do you think she actually lets the baby on the computer and the whole page consists of updates such as, "ahufeaigrjfskfsi?"

Well if nothing else, I think I just found out the fastest way to lose some Facebook friends and to coin the term "crazy."

Someone please make the craziness stop...


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Annual What-I'm-Thankful-For Post

Since I'll be busy eating everything vegetarian at dinner tomorrow (aka starving while everyone is feasting) I figured I'll get a head start and share my thankfulness tonight :)

1. My family: My family has always been around for me. Together we've had our tough times and our good times, and that's what family is all about. I really got lucky when it comes to family. We're not perfect, but we love each other and that's what really matters in this world.

2. Daniel: My other half. We've had some hard times (being 3 hours apart at almost all times is not the easiest thing in the world, although I need to keep in mind that others have it worse.) What I love about our relationship is that we are both willing to work at it -- and to find a guy that's willing to work through the hard times, no matter how hard they might be, well that's certainly something to be thankful for.

3. Friends: The people I laugh with, the people I cry to, the people who make my life a better place. I've been fortunate enough to have the best friends in high school when I was bullied. Those same friends are still my best friends, because they stuck by my side, stood up for me, made my life a little easier. For that, they will forever be my bestfriends. I've made some new bestfriends in college as well -- most of them I met during my first week of summer session freshman year. We spent the last four years together, and what a great four years they were.

4. My Dogs: I've said it before -- if only we could drunk text our dogs, God, would life be grand. They understand everything. They are so loyal and so loving, and they are purely themselves. All animals are amazing in my book, but I don't know what I would do without my dogs to cuddle and play with.

5. The essentials: I've been fortunate enough to live a life where I've always had food, a home, and people to share it with. I've always gotten a present on my birthday and Christmas, and I don't say that to sound materialistic. I say that because I'm lucky to have had people around me that cared enough about me to provide me with those things -- not all people are that lucky, so I think it's something to be grateful for.

Well of course I can blog all day about the things I'm grateful for -- like lattes from Dunkin' Donuts and Facebook, for example -- but I think I hit all the essentials. Plus, I gotta go eat.

What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 21, 2011

I'm not a Vegetarian because I love animals, I just hate Plants...

Ha, ha. Just kidding. I really do love love love animals (I can just think of their cuteness right now). But mainly, I'm a vegetarian because I love a challenge. Life is so boring, why not make some changes once in a while?

People ask me why I'm a vegetarian all the time (I come from a big family, and we love our meat). Well, the first time it occured to me is when I watched Food, Inc. Now I know there is controversy and people who believe Food, Inc. twists the facts. I don't really know, but it was enough to get me thinking anyway.

Now, I'm not going to toot my own horn, because I haven't saved up enough yet to even buy the horn itself. I've only been vegetarian for two months. But what a great two months it has been!

My pledge to myself is to try out the Vegetarian lifestyle until January, and from then on out decide on whether or not I want to stick with it. Right now, I don't think I can go back to eating meat.

Truthfully, it hasn't been as big of a challenge as I would have thought. The only problem that presents itself is when chicken wings are in a ten foot radius of me... in which case I feel like the sharks in Finding Nemo -- ready to become a barbarian and eat all the wings in site. So far I've held myself back. Last night was a little rough when my family had roast beef -- one of my favorite meals. Again, I made it through. It's kind of a cool feeling when you have that kind of self control.

Other than that, I feel like I've gained so much more than I lost. The foods I've come across since this change have been delicious and for the most part, a lot healthier. As far as protein goes, I think I'm getting more protein now than I did when I wasn't a vegetarian. I've tried things I never thought I would before -- case in point, General Tso's Tofu?! And tonight, I ate my first veggie burger which I found out is DELICIOUS. I actually  found it better than a beef or turkey burger, which makes me feel good since those were two items I was not happy about giving up.

If nothing else, it makes me actually think about the foods I'm consuming, instead of just eating whatever the hell I want.

So case in point, try something new. I did, and two months later, I'm happy as a bee. :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Tiring Battle with Faith

So recently, I've put more faith in my religion. (Just to warn you, this entry is a little long)

Let's start from the beginning. When I was young, I attended a Roman Catholic church that used so much incense my allergies hated me for a month, and chanted in Arabic. To each his own, but I did not get much out of attending that service. It certainly did not strengthen my relationship with God because I did not understand what that relationship meant as the church was teaching me nothing.

After my parent's divorce, and my dad's remarriage, we started attending a nondenominational church which I grew to like. However, I still didn't feel a connection with God, whether that be because I was rebelling against my family or because I just thought there was too much sickness in this world to really be someone up there. That lead me to high school, where I self-righteously dubbed myself an "agnostic" because I wasn't sure of my beliefs. "How could anyone prove there was really a God?" Those were my philosophical years. Everyone knows when you're a teenager you know everything.

After that, I just did not invest much time and thought into my religion. For a long time, I just didn't believe in anything at all. Which is really just sad. I mean, when you have faith in nothing, life seems a lot longer, or maybe even shorter, because you have nothing to look forward to afterward. I just don't want to live my life that way.

About a month or two ago, I went through a rough patch, in which my family and friends helped me through. I would pray to God that someone would help me through the night, because I was in such a dark place that praying to someone, anyone, was worth the chance that it might work. And miraculously, it did. The most random people would send me text messages, stay up all night talking with me until I felt better, and I felt I got more support within that month than I ever did before. Maybe someone was actually answering my prayers, and my resolution was that all I had to do was ask and have faith.

Which brings me here.

I decided I would start attending church again. If God was good enough to answer my prayers, I think I can be good enough to devote an hour to him each week. I didn't know where to start, so I chose the closest church to my apartment -- a Catholic Church. I have never really agreed with the rules of the Catholic church, so I figured I'd go there once to get in my weekly session with God, and find another place after. The thing is, the church made me so happy, and made me feel safe, so I did not want to stop attending.

So I kept going, and I kept feeling great.

Now, reality is setting in. There are all these rules with the Catholic faith -- and unfortunately, I think they are stupid. They suffocate me. They mold me into the perfect Catholic girl, when I don't want to be molded and I certainly do not want to be perfect. I want to be Monica, and I want to follow my own rules.

I have a good relationship with God, so why is that not enough? I know I can just find another religion, but it is more complicated than that since my significant other is a Catholic -- and he is strict in his rule-following, and expects me to be the same.

Anyway, any other religion is going to have their own set of rules -- I'll probably just let them down, too. But religion is supposed to be liberating, not suffocating, so what do I do? I felt so liberated a month ago, and now I feel like I can never be the perfect churchgoer. However, I think God is up there shaking his head at all these stupid rules. I don't think God cares what church you go to and what rules you follow as long as you put time and dedication into your faith.

So does anyone have any suggestions for me as to where to go from here? Comments are greatly appreciated.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Why Pediatric Cancer Sucks

Yesterday I had the honest pleasure of hearing a 7 year old speak about her fight against cancer.  You may wonder why I picked the word pleasure to describe that experience, but the reason is -- she is still here to tell her story. She is now a healthy seven year old, and I'll make sure to pray that she stays healthy (any free prayers you have would be great, too.)

The experience was actually quite painful. She described the discovery of her diagnosis (very abnormal and very upsetting), the chemotherapy, her battle with steroid-induced depression, and finally her recovery. She mentioned how good it felt when she was able to go out again and enjoy herself. (How sad to think that a seven year old could make a statement so mature about depression when I would like to go back to my childhood to get away from the hassle of everyday life). Still, even with her recovery, she has to take growth hormones to make sure her body grows like a normal child's body should.

No type of cancer is good, and I think that is agreeable. However, to watch a seven-year-old calmly describe her battle with cancer, that is something I will never forget for as long as I live. It just is not fair. It is not fair how the world can pick a perfectly healthy 1, 2, 3 year old and decide that this is the one that will get sick. It is not fair that there is no cure. It is certainly not fair that so many children have lost their lives to this disease.

This is why I THON. In case you don't know, THON is a student-run philanthropy at Penn State University that raises money for pediatric cancer. Last year we raised over 9 MILLION DOLLARS! This money all went to the Four Diamonds Fund at Hershey Medical Center. This organization helps families pay for their medical bills, allows further research for the cure, and provides the families with comforts during their battle against pediatric cancer.

One father of a Four Diamonds Family talked to us, and he described how some people have criticized his parenting as too "lenient." He then stated that he was just plain happy to have his daughter around, so if they felt he was being too lenient than that was just too bad.

I felt that statement hit home. How different would our lives be if the person we were mad at, or upset with, was battling cancer? How mad would we be?

Treats and Snoozin'

In case you missed the latest installment of the greatest YouTube series ever:

You're welcome :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Information Overload at PSU

I've been trying to gather my thoughts on this one, in order to write a post that may do justice to the delicate topic at hand. I have been thinking that maybe if I could write a blog post and get it out there, people may realize what it is like to be a Penn State student at this time. The problem is, it's impossible to get a grip on anything. This is not to sound dramatic, but I have been talking it over with classmates, friends, and family and the only thing we can come up with is that this situation is effecting us very negatively -- and logically, we cannot exactly pinpoint why. I mean, it's a terrible tragedy, but tragedies appear in the news all of the time, so why is this particular case rocking the nation?

If you have not yet guessed, I am referring recent incidents at Penn State -- mainly the Sandusky/Curly/Shultz allegations and the firing of Graham Spaniar and Joe Paterno.

The thing is, I'm not going to give an opinion -- not here -- because my opinion is not going to give innocence back to the children who had to lose it at such a young age. My opinion is not going to change the disappointment in heroic figures on campus, and my opinion is not going to give back the reputation that took so long build and seconds to lose. If anything, my opinion might just revoke negative emotions -- and this is not the time to add gasoline to the fire.

Right now our university is in shock, anger, and grief. How did such a great senior year turn into a time that we will remember forever? And more importantly, where do we go from here?

The hardest thing to deal with is this information overload. Twitter, Facebook, you name it, has been taking over with opinionated posts, disturbing pictures of "barbaric" students, and a general sense of anger and devastation. Half of the posts are reclaimed later as false rumors. The posts and articles are way too much for a university in shock to handle right now. It is hard to form an opinion because there are way to many opinions sprouting in every direction.

As students, no matter what your specific opinion is, we need to be strong. We cannot let our opinions tear us apart right now. It is so hard with such controversy slamming us every two days, but if we are going to move on from this, the worst thing we can do is fight with each other over the executive decisions of people we will never meet. We just need to focus on staying far away from the media and rebuilding our own image -- as students -- that we unfairly had tarnished for us.

I would like to end this by giving my regards to the victims. I urge everyone to wear blue tomorrow (11/11) as a symbol of child abuse awareness. Also, take some time away from Twitter and Facebook, and allow yourself time to really think about what you believe, instead of posting your initial reactions in anger.

"If we don't seek our knowledge to be greater men, when the rain starts falling we're gonna drown before we get our feet wet."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It seems our culture is starting to forget it's principles. We are free. When I was growing up, it was as simple as that. How many years of school did I spend learning about the "land of the free"? How many countless hours of social studies taught me the ideas behind the Declaration of Independence? Weren't we taught to be proud about our country's break away from England? Do we not celebrate the Fourth of July every year?

Yet somehow, our country has become "ban" crazy. We are banning EVERYTHING. First it was cigarettes in public places (Although, I do enjoy fresh air while eating -- but still, that was a crucial stepping stone in this never ending process.) Then, it was Four Loko. Now, the University of New Hampshire even went as far as to ban energy drinks on their campus. Come on now, really?

According to reports, the university decided this was in students' best interest after someone was sent to the hospital due to an incident involving energy drinks. Understandable, I suppose, except what happens when someone accidentally chokes in a dining hall -- are we going to ban food, too?

I understand with blogs and informational sharing as popular as it is, every university wants to keep a good image -- but let's get real. Many students who live on campus only have access to on-campus stores. I don't condone the consumption of energy drinks at all -- in fact, I never drink them -- but if someone wants to get all hyped out from them, that's their issue. If someone wants to smoke a pack a day, that's their issue, too. If an under age kid wants to drink so much Four Loko they nearly die, well, it's unfortunate... but we are free. We cannot ban one thing and expect nothing else to be banned.

Unfortunately, we allowed this awful trend to be started... the question is, are we ever going to be able to reverse it?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Two Cents on our Hook Up Culture

So I've been back and forth about writing this post. It seems today that the Daily Collegian at Penn State has allowed some poor junior to write extremely controversial article about her sex habits. The thing is, it was most obviously a publicity stunt. A newspaper does not publish an article with the by line "We are Nittany Lions, and we are mounting everyone," without hoping to get some publicity out of it.

As a public relations major, I have to say, the stunt worked. Twitter is currently blowing up with the hashtag ""Mounting Nittany". However, what is this article saying about Penn State and the Daily Collegian?

Penn State cannot be a school that claims to build itself on traditions and yet allow the trashiest article ever to be written by their newspaper. Call me old school, but as a university, we just cannot have it both ways. So which are we -- traditional or "innovative" in our thinking? And if the answer is "innovative," I'm not sure I want to be.

As a person who loves to shout my views during times of controversy, I most readily put in my two cents about how embarrassing it is for an article to talk about a person having sex on the Lion Shrine. I fully plan on taking my kids there some day and now I'm going to have to make sure I remember to pack the Clorox. After reading my comment, somebody replied, "Thanks, Mom."

I can take it. What I cannot take, though, is the way our culture so readily accepts the ideas of random hook-ups. I do not care who you are, I fully believe that everyone feels a little dirty after going too far with someone they know too little. Call me old fashioned, or call me a mom, but at least I have morals. At least I don't have to write a sex column to get a little attention in my life.

Kristina Helfer, I congratulate you on your new life and I hope you know what you got yourself into... and Daily Collegian, I congratulate you on pulling off the biggest publicity stunt you've ever seen. But rest assure, when I lay my head down to sleep tonight, I won't be worried about whether the "Nittany I just mounted" will create a trending tweet on Twitter. I also won't be concerned about whether my future employers will see my sex history online. Lastly, I won't be the trashy girl that does not get called back after a hook-up in the closet of a frat. Cheers!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Five Movies that Give Me Hope

For those of you who know me, I'm a total movie buff. I didn't even unsubscribe to Netflix when they raised the prices. So if you're looking for a really good movie to enjoy, these are my top 5 picks of movies that leave me feeling hopeful that life is going to work itself out.


Remember the Titans
Well, I have this feel-good movie listed for obvious reasons. Watching Denzel Washington and Will Patton make amazing speeches and lift up that trophy at the end gives me chills every time. Favorite parts: When Julius meets Gary's mom, when Julius and Gary talk in the hospital room, and of course when they win at the end.

Pursuit of Happyness
No, I didn't just pick this movie because I have a huge crush on Will Smith. I have to warn you, to get that good feeling you'll have to stick it out 'til the very end -- it is painfully depressing. I promise you it's worth it, though! Plus, the little kid is so gosh darn cute.

Milk 
There are tons of movies about civil rights, but this movie is extremely relevant -- and the acting is amazing. Sean Penn, James Franco, and Emile Hirsch all in a movie about fighting for gay rights? Count me in!

Pretty in Pink
I know if we were picking the movie that doesn't match the others, this would be it. But something about the outcast getting the guy just gives me hope. Plus, she has the best guy friend ever -- Duckie (Jon Cryer) and it was made in the 80s. Lastly, she is a complete individual who lives for herself and no one else. What girl doesn't like a movie like that?

He's Just Not that Into You
Single girls rejoice. This flick gives you hope that you'll find the right guy -- and if you don't, you'll actually be okay.

:)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Summers over, at least for me. On Monday I start classes and they aren't going to be easy. So while I'm sitting here soaking up my last days of freedom, I'm thinking about how amazing this summer was. I did 6 things I've never done before, some of which I never thought I'd do.

I went Para-sailing. It felt like I was flying. The coast looked like a village that sits under your Christmas tree. Being 800 ft. above the water is so relaxing, you feel like your on top of the world. It helped that I did this with great company -- Lauren Kanetski.

Watched the sunrise on the ocean. Now, to some people this might be no big deal... But to me, it was. I never saw the sunrise before, let alone over the ocean. It was so cool. I think everyone should make an appoint to get out of bed at the beach (something hard to do, I must say) and watch it. I don't know why, but it's so amazing. Special thanks to Steph, who watched it with me.

Saw at least 5 butterflies. The ladies in my family will appreciate this the most. I won't go into detail here, but butterflies have an important significance in my family.

Marveled at something naturally amazing. About a half hour from where Dan's internship is, there is a place called Watkin's Glen. Watkin's Glen has a huge natural gorge, and it's crazy to see how nature can create this work of art by itself. It was gorgeous, and I was glad I got to see it with Dan.

Met someone famous. I met Gavin DeGraw, and got to watch him and his band play a few songs for only 8 of us. I even got to see him mess up a song. After numerous attempts at trying to get it right, he asked someone with an iPhone to look it up so he could hear a recording of it. He never wound up playing it at the actual concert. Probably good idea. ;)

Spent time with amazing people. One of my favorite things about this summer was spending time with great people. I got to take weekly trips to see Dan and see him on the weekend, which being in a long distance relationship, is privilege. I had some fun times with every member of my family -- whether it was dancing like fools at the bar, drinking at the beach, eating home made muffins and drinking coffee, or going to eat at Ruby Tuesday's. Everything I did this summer was cool, but doing it with my friends and family made it better.

Started to train for a 5k. Those who know me best, and some track coaches in the past, could probably attest to the fact that I'm not much of a runner, nor have a I ever wanted to be. But the truth is, that I never thought I could be. Sometimes we get caught up in these ruts where we think we can't do something and we really have no reason to think that. So I set a goal that I was going to run a 5k, something I never thought I could do. I've never been able to run so much as a mile, and now I'm up to running 1.5 no problem. Next week I'll be starting my 2 mile runs. May not seem like much, but I never thought I could and it feels good to say I can. :) Wish me luck!

The great thing about this summer, is while I did spend money, most of the things on the list weren't that expensive, if not free. You don't have to travel around the world to see something amazing -- there's probably something amazing within 2 hours of where you live, you just have to take advantage of it!

And since I'm feeling all full of life and appreciation -- here's a little video to help you get there, too.

Well it turns out I can't embed the video, so click here.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I need a hump-day drink!

I cannot believe it only 12... Can you?

When you read about my day you won't believe it either...

Well, just an update I am currently in Corning, NY, as my other half is on his way to being the next big thing in Engineering (well, I hope!). Just a side note, did you know that Corning interns get a hotel room for the summer, making a ridiculous hourly wage, and they have a maid that does their dishes?! They also get a free membership to YMCA, free dinner 3x a week,breakfast every day and a ridiculous amount if free stuff waiting for them when they get here? It's clear I picked the wrong major...

Well any who, this morning when Dan left I was so hungry I decided to see what breakfast was like. I left everything here but my iPad and my room key... But I put the room key under my iPad cover. Bad idea, since I'm thinking the magnets in my iPad eff'd with it.

Regardless... Since I'm nit paying for the room I wanted to be as close to invisible as possible because I didn't know if breakfast was for me. Well, my card didn't work to get back in the room... So my plan failed. I went down the the front desk where two very nice clerks kindly told me that since they had no idea who the blank I was, why would they let me back in?

After calling Dan (worst girlfriend ever? His first week as in intern and I'm bothering him), in which he could not answer... They let me describe the room to them and tell them where all my stuff was to make sure I'd been in there. She wanted my ID as soon as I got in the room, which if course I could not find. Would my student ID suffice?

Later on, after a nice nap... I NEEDED COFFEE (I am an avid addict for those who did not know.) I made the coffee they had in the room and it tasted like I splenda into skim milk and decided to call it the next best thing. Which it wasn't -- it was gross. I looked up the nearest coffee places in town (a total of 2 -- no Starbucks or Dunkin within 10 miles.)

I wound up finding myself at the weirdest coffee shop with the most eccentric flavors ever. What does a girl have to do to find a normal, good cup of coffee?

I get back to the hotel, and that stupid red light comes on every time I swipe my card. By some miracle, the back door opened and I got in. Usually red means it didn't work, but maybe I was mistaken? I got to Dan's room and figured out I wasn't mistaken... Red means you don't get in your damn room.

I went back downstairs... Miserable, because now I can't find my phone, either. The cheery clerk said we're practically BFFs now so he didn't mind giving me a new key. He was funny, and he turned my mood around because he was super nice. This place gets an A+ for service.

Well I called the places I went downtown and they didn't have my phone. I went to my car, which was allll the way across the parking lot. Phone was on the front seat... Hmm, how did I miss it?

Now, I'm living the life in a hotel room equipped with comfy beds and air conditioning, sipping on coffee. I'm nit leaving.. Only evil can come from that.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Happy 4th of July! (April's Fools!! It's April 1st)

It's that time again -- the overzealous joshers have held back their foolish antics all year, and they are ready to release that pent up humor. Meanwhile somber people everywhere are taking cover. It's April Fool's Day. Whether you like it or not, you are bound to cross paths with some kind of prank or joke, regardless of whether it is on you, by you, or just a random part of your day.

Overall, it's all in good fun... or is it?

I'm a firm believer in the idea that we should all be able to laugh at ourselves. So if a harmless prank is played, there's no reason not to release a little of the end-of-the-semester tension right then and there. However, there's a difference between a good laugh and a twisted joke. Have fun on April's Fools, but be well aware of the Line.

For example, it's funny to tell your parents you got a tattoo of something ridiculous, and then shout "April Fool's!" However, it is not funny to tell them you are pregnant. They might croak on the spot before you can shout that famous tag line. If they do happen to live, they might just kill you. Either way, we have a death on our hands and what's so funny about that?

So what I am trying to say is -- April Fool's Day can be really funny, or so so so not funny. So I've provided a list of examples to guide you through your day.

The Good
- After talking with a friend, I got a an April Fool's joke that Jim Halpert can learn from. A group of people in their office set an alarm on the fax machine. Who even knew fax machines had alarms? That's the point! The machine was beeping and beeping, causing someone to eventually call the company the fax machine was issued from. Apparently, they spent hours trying to figure out what was wrong with it. All this chaos? Just for an alarm! Funny!

- I was informed by a friend that putting clear shampoo on a toilet seat is harmless fun. The next person to park themselves slips right off!

- Last year, I commented on how I broke my leg on my Facebook status. Both of my parents called me, my boyfriend called me, and many friends. It wasn't exacted genius, but I had a good laugh.

The Bad
- Breaking up with someone, just to shout "April Fool's!" is just not funny. It might lead to a real break-up, you stand warned.

- Pretending your dead on Facebook is NOT funny. In fact it's just depressing, who wants to fake being dead? Who thinks up this stuff?

- Buying someone a coffee, but filling the coffee cup up with vodka seems kind of funny. But the person may just choke, and die.

- Telling your boyfriend/girlfriend you have chlamydia.

- Telling your daughter who is off at college that her dog died is the most depressing April Fool's joke I've ever heard of.

All in all, what I'm trying to say is: Have fun, laugh, be merry. Just don't ruin someones day with a joke. Be foolish, don't be a fool. :)




Also, if you are feeling extra bored check out my 2 favorite commercials. The first one is hilarious and the last one just has a great message :) Enjoy!



Wednesday, February 16, 2011

10 Rules I Try to Live By

1. If you have something bad to say, think really hard before saying it. If you have something nice to say -- ALWAYS SAY IT.
It sounds cliche, but you never know what could happen tomorrow... so if you have something nice to say to someone, say it! It might make their day. Don't hold back on saying something because you worried about how the person is going to take it (unless, yanno, it's something not-so-nice). Normal people like to hear nice things.

2. Take an invite from a group you aren't close with.
We all get offers from time-to-time that we really don't want to take because we don't know the people well and we feel it might be awkward. Well, take the offer. Instead of coming up with excuses, just commit to it and get excited because you'll actually have something to do! I'm not promising that it'll be the best night of your life -- it may actually be awkward or boring -- but you never know. Some of the best nights I've had have been with people outside of my social group. That's how you meet new people and experience new things. Do something different for a change!

3. Always tell the truth, no matter how hard it is.
I'm an avid believer in telling the truth. In fact, most times I find it more difficult to lie than it is to tell the truth. When you lie, you generally feel at least a little bit of guilt, and who wants to feel that? I know it's easier to lie sometimes than tell the truth, especially when its something that could hurt someone or something that is generally not that important. Still, from my perspective, I'd rather know. If people view you as honest, than they are more likely to cut you some slack when you make a mistake, because they can trust that you're telling the truth about it.

4. Don't let school kill your curiosity.
My professor brought up a good point the other day -- we are all victims of the vicious grading system. We learn in class to get good grades, and therefore put those good grades on our resumes, and therefore get a good job. It's not our fault we want those things, we were trained to want those things since we started school. We also need those things for survival. After putting so much work into learning information for class to spit it out on the next test, at the end of the day, we're not very interested in learning anything else. We aren't curious -- we just want to spend useless time on Facebook or watching TV. Who wants to think after they spent so much time thinking about something they don't even care about?

But don't fall victim to this. Keep your curiosity alive. Wonder, think, imagine. Learn something new, something that you've never imagined yourself trying, and do it for no reason at all. When we were learning to walk, it probably sucked, but we did it anyway because we wanted to. We got no reward as we learned, in fact, most of the time we just fell. It didn't matter though, because we wanted to know what it felt like to walk. Apply that to your everyday life.

5. Raise your hand in class.
For me, it was intimidating to raise my hand in class at first. What if I asked a stupid question? I still worry about that, but not as much. As cliche as it sounds, no question really is a stupid question, but it's true. Besides, twenty minutes later the dimwit sitting next to you is going to succumb to their own stupidity and forgot you asked the question anyway. So who cares?

6. Talk to people, ask them about their lives, really listen, and CARE.
Most times when I really like a person, it's because I feel like they really like me (I know, sounds selfish). But humans are selfish a lot and it's the truth. The reason I think these people like me is because they really seem like they care. When I see them, they ask about things going on in my life, and seem like they are really listening when I speak. I think everyone can take a lesson from that. When you take an interest in someone else, you learn new things and get different perspectives than your own -- it helps you grow as person. Also, next time you see them, you won't have to sit in awkward silence thinking of something to say -- you'll actually be able to ask them about something relevant to their lives. Hello, new friends!

7. Learn something new every now and then.
A year ago, cooking was something I thought I'd never learn. But after you actually try, it gets so much easier! You can learn anything. It's fun to try something new, and it gives more options on what to do with your spare time.

8. Don't give advice unless someone asks for it.
I think this one is a biggie. If people want to hear your opinion, they will ask for it. Sometimes even if they ask for it, they might not want to hear it. Sometimes a person just wants to talk things over, so if they are coming to you with a problem, it doesn't always mean they want your two cents.

9. If someone says something bad about another person to you, keep quiet.
The last thing I want to hear in life is that someone said something bad behind my back. I'm not in denial, everyone talks about each other... but do I really want to hear what they are saying? No. That's the reason they are talking BEHIND my back. Everyone talks. So when I hear that someone is talking behind my back, I get really angry. But if I were to knock every person out of my life that has said something bad about me, I'd probably have no one left. Same for everyone. So if someone says something bad, just keep it to yourself -- telling the person about it will just make them feel bad and will definitely lead to bigger problems.

10. Loving someone doesn't mean you have to be perfect.
Relationships are hard sometimes. You want to do your best to be perfect to the person, but since we aren't perfect, it does not always work that way. So just because you make mistakes doesn't mean you love the person any less. Keep that in mind when a person makes mistakes around you. Just because they made a mistake doesn't mean you should take it personally. Unless all they do is make mistakes, well, that's a different story.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

One of those days...

Did you ever just have one of those days? Yeah, you know the days I'm talking about. The days when all you want to do is just sit down and have a beer, or get lost in a movie featuring John Cusack holding up a radio. (Okay, maybe that last part is just me) But anyway.

Today, is one of those days. My morning started with me waking up with no covers on. I woke up not from my alarm, but because I was freezing my bejesus off. So I grabbed the covers and realized that the covers themselves were freezing, so what did it matter anyway.

Procrastinating on getting out of bed, I hoped for one thing, and one thing only. "Please let it be -3 degrees out." Yes, I'm serious. Well, to my dismay, weatherchannel.com told me it was 30 degrees and snowing. So did the next three weather sources I checked, which is the beauty of the internet. If you don't believe one source you have five more right at your finger tips. I checked Twitter anyways (my professor tweets if class is canceled, which it wasn't, because it wasn't below zero.) Whatev.

So I finally got out of bed, and what do you know but... no heat in my apartment!! (I guess there's an upside to it not being -3 degrees out.) I froze my bejesus off for another half hour and made the dreaded walk across campus.

The rest of the day's events were pretty normal until about 1:45. I went to cash in coins at PNC for THON. I put my coins in and half of them processed, but then there was this awful crunching noise that I'm almost positive the machine wasn't supposed to make. Being Monica, I panicked and kinda just hit it, which solved nothing. The guy sitting next to the machine just kinda of looked at me. I looked back and said, "Ummm, I don't know if it's supposed to be making that sound!" He kind of just looked at me. Whatev. The coins finished counting themselves anyway so who cares.

I got to the cashier or teller or whatever you are supposed to call bank people and set my nice skinny caramel machiatto down on the desk (mmm, my new favorite drink). The teller says, "That smells good." Trying to be nice I said, "Aw, I should have brought you one!" She said, "Um, no, you shouldn't. I'm old and caffeine effects my body in different ways." Ohhhh, okay. On that note...

Let me pause to say, I forgot my cellphone. Damn.

Get to class, sit down for nice reading of the CDT, still enjoying my half-full machiatto (notice how I still am referring to it as half-full). Well not for long. In comes the annoying couple. I'm calling them the annoying couple because that's what they are. Who schedules classes with their hubbies anyway? Back to the point. The XY-chromosome-bearing individual carelessly walks by my desk, knocking over my beautiful skinny caramel macchiato. Ugh. He proceeded to clean it by throwing a newspaper over it. No he did not offer me 4 dollars to compensate. Whatev.

Here we are. Let's just pray I make it til tomorrow.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Why it isn't okay to post that your pregnant on Facebook (I mean, unless your really are pregnant)

For the longest time I've wanted to try just one social experiment: Post the following status, "I guess it's time I've informed the Facebook world that I'm expecting."

This is something I've wanted to do for more than 9 months, which should tell you that no, I am not pregnant and have never been. That being said, I don't plan on getting pregnant either (not anytime soon, anyway).

So you may be wondering why exactly I would want to do this... Well the truth is, Facebook fascinates me because of all of the drama it creates. Therefore, for my own amusement, I would love to see people freak out if I announced that. I would be receiving text messages out the wazoo, so would my family, and I can pretty much bet my boyfriend would as well. For me, it would be generally amusing to see how many people would react so seriously to a stupid post on Facebook. To others this may just seem like a way to generate attention, which is understandable, but really I my only purpose would to see how seriously people really take Facebook.

But, I can't/would never do that and there are a few reasons why.

Whether I like it or not (and I don't really) Facebook is taken so seriously. People really believe the stuff posted on Facebook, to a point that it even causes stress. Just think, 10 years ago Facebook didn't even exist, and now it runs our lives.

Being pregnant is obviously not something to joke about, anyway. When I told my mom I was going to do that just for sh*ts and giggles she got this terrified look on her face and quietly said, "Monica, please don't do that." My sister said, "I know someone that did that once and honestly, it is NOT worth it."

Obviously, I understand why. I wouldn't be writing this if I didn't. I just find it so fascinating how seriously a post can be taken on Facebook. So many people in our culture claim "they don't trust anyone", but if that's the case, than why do Facebook statuses provide complete truth?

So in the midst of everyone's panic about Zodiac signs last night, I posted that I was worried about my Sagittarius tattoo and what I would do about it now. This is a false statement. I hate tattoos. Even so, people so close to me (one being my boyfriend) contacted me to see if I really had a tattoo that I wasn't telling anyone about. WHAT?! lol, half of these people know me better than anyone!

So it just raises some questions... Why is Facebook taken so literally? Why do we get so serious about it?

All I know is that in my own hindsight, I would probably cause a lot of chaos and turmoil, maybe even pain, by posting I'm pregnant... So I guess I better stick to my favorite policy -- even on Facebook -- the truth. I guess my only advice is to not post you are pregnant on Facebook, unless, of course, you really are -- then it's okay :)