Friday Five

The Weekend Five: People We Follow On Instagram

This is totally me. No shame.

This is totally me. No shame.

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

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

The Weekend Five: People We Follow On Instagram

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Weekend Five: TV Crossovers That Need to Happen

82705raven_01Because I’m a fan of so many TV shows, you’d think I would love crossover episodes. After all, wouldn’t it be awesome to see some of my favorite characters from two or more TV shows, duking it out on one set? Sadly enough, I’ve never seen a crossover episode that I really enjoyed. (I am hoping that the Family Guy/The Simpsons crossover this fall will change that!)

To remedy this horrible problem, I took it upon myself to create five brand new TV shows that involve character crossovers. These shows range from comedy to drama to reality, and will hopefully make the work a lot easier for the writers, as the episodes practically write themselves! Sit back and relax with a bowl of your most buttery popcorn as we flip through these five amazing TV show crossovers.

The Weekend Five: TV Crossovers That Need to Happen

1. That’s So Raymond (That’s So Raven + Everybody Loves Raymond).
Sports writer Ray Barone (Ray Romano on Everybody Loves Raymond) finds himself teaching journalism classes at a San Francisco high school, until one day he begins having visions of the future. His long lost cousin, Raven Baxter (That’s So Raven) teaches him how to harness his psychic powers, but the two get into plenty of costumed hijinks along the way. The show features Raymond’s nagging wife Debra, several sassy catchphrases (“That’s so Raymond!”), and Ray Romano’s glorious Muppet voice.

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1994b04a592e32d67f6d1c08f81e88d02. Boy Meets Girls (Boy Meets World + Girls).
Cory Matthews (not yet married to Topanga, with whom he is currently on a break) and the guys from Boy Meets World decide that New York is the perfect place to spend their twenties. They move into the apartment across from Hannah Horvath and Marnie Michaels (Lena Dunham and Allison Williams on Girls). Cory finds himself fascinated by the younger, fast-talking Shoshanna, while Shawn falls for troublesome Jessa, whose past may be darker than his own. Meanwhile, as part of her quarter-life crisis, Marnie hooks up with the ambitionless Eric Matthews, much to her own chagrin. The show features clever commentary on the millennial generation, Shoshanna’s bizarre hairstyles, Skype dates with Mr. Feeny, and a lot of Lena Dunham nudity.

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3. America’s Next Top Teen Mom (America’s Next Top Model + Teen Mom).
Tyra is always looking for a new spin for her competitive modeling TV show. Why not add MTV’s famous teen mothers into the mix? The young contestants are judged based on their smize, the number of weaves they can wear in one episode, their ability to text and drive, and how well they deal with their baby daddies. The show features lots of tears, a weekly discussion about the contestants’ “realness,” a screaming Tyra Banks, and Jenelle Evans’ hot lawyer.

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once-upon4. Once Upon a Grimm (Once Upon a Time + Grimm).
Once Upon a Time and Grimm, both heavily focused on fairy tales and folklore, hit the small screens around the same time. Putting them together for a spin-off TV show (or at least a crossover episode) would be a no-brainer! Nick Burkhardt, a Portland homicide investigator and Grimm (a hunter who perceives supernatural forces and can fight them), finds his way to the East Coast town of Storybrooke. He and his partner, Hank Griffin, team up with Emma Swan (the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming) to vanquish whatever villain is currently haunting Storybrooke. Meanwhile, Monroe (a blutbad, much like The Big Bad Wolf) begins an illicit affair with Ruby (Red Riding Hood/Werewolf Extraordinaire). Police Captain Sean Renard takes a liking to Evil Queen Regina (the Mayor of Storybrooke) and they bond over their shared knack for interior decorating. The show features true love’s kiss, several magical fight scenes, Nick Burkhardt’s concerned face, good triumphing over evil, and too much clever dialogue for its own good.

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5. Orange is the New Scandal (Orange is the New Black + Scandal).
Olivia Pope fixes things. But when she finds herself sentenced to a year in federal prison for the crimes she has committed, she can no longer play her role as Washington D.C.’s resident fixer. Instead, she begins helping her fellow inmates with their own issues. She gets Red back to her job in the kitchen, prepares several inmates for their appeals, puts an end to the prison race wars, and even works to improve Crazy Eyes’ image. The show features emotionally-charged prison visits from President Fitzgerald Grant, flashbacks to Olivia’s fabulous coats, a developing friendship between Olivia and fellow prisoner/hairdresser Sophia (who helps her maintain her beautiful hairstyles), and a significantly improved prison system.

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You’re welcome, TV viewers.

The Weekend Five: Tips for Road Trip Etiquette

five rules for road trip etiquetteWe are in the thick of summer, which is the best time of the year for a road trip! I’ve personally never taken a long trip in the car (I prefer flying!), but over the years I have taken several mini-road trips out to other parts of the state, and I’ve definitely picked up my share of advice and pet peeves in that time. As you gear up for your own road trips this summer, keep these five rules in mind. (Want to share? Tweet this!)

The Weekend Five: Tips for Road Trip Etiquette

1. The driver controls the music.
If you’re not the one driving, don’t touch the radio unless the driver says so. Driving can be as stressful as it is costly, so the driver should play the music or radio shows that put him or her most at ease. Of course, if you’re the driver, you should also be polite and open to suggestions from your passengers (it’s not nice to blast Megadeth when your friends are trying to avoid hearing loss, for example), but as a passenger, it’s not nice to turn off the driver’s song just because you dislike Nickelback or whatever.

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2. Keep your feet off the dashboard.
There is nothing that I hate more than when passengers want to treat my car like their dirty apartments. (Okay, that’s a little dramatic – I also hate bigots, Internet trolls and cockroaches.) You don’t live in my car, so keep your feet off the dashboard and sit up straight.

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five rules of road trips3. No backseat driving allowed!
This has always been another huge pet peeve of mine! As a passenger, you should speak up if you believe you’re in serious danger or if you see something that the driver can’t, but avoid criticizing minor aspects of the driver’s technique: a slightly crooked parking job, a turn signal that started a little too soon or a little too late, the driver’s speed being slightly faster or slower than you would drive. Again, unless it is something that could put the passengers in danger or get the driver in trouble, there is no need to comment on minor mistakes – chances are, they are one-time mistakes that the driver has already caught, and you would be making them too if you were the driver that day. Backseat driving can also put the driver on edge and make him or her very uncomfortable, which doesn’t always make for safe driving.

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4. Show your appreciation to the driver.
On a long drive, it is only fair that the passengers contribute something for the driver, whether that includes gas money or lunch. Long drives cost a lot of money (and energy), and your driver deserves contributions that make the trip easier.

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5. Don’t eat in the car without the driver/car owner’s permission.
Some car owners are cool with passengers eating whatever they want in the car, but others are not so lax. Find out what your friend will allow early on (Food? Drinks?) and if he or she does allow food in the car, try to only bring food that won’t make a huge mess or have a strong smell. An easy road trip food I like to bring is a bag of grapes – they don’t make crumbs and they won’t make your fingers sticky, either. I love hard boiled eggs, but I don’t bring them in friends’ cars because the smell can bother people. Be respectful of your driver!

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Other tips: Don’t douse yourself in perfume or cologne if you’re going to be in close proximity to people for a long period of time. (Conversely, make sure you’re clean and wearing deodorant if you’re going to be in close proximity to people for a long period of time!) Offer to help the driver navigate if he or she is lost. If you do bring clean snacks, share with the other passengers!

What are some of your tips for road trip etiquette?

The Weekend Five: TV Couples Who Should Have Ended Up Together

TV Couples Who Should Have Ended Up TogetherA pop culture junkie through and through, I can’t help but have some strong opinions about the television shows I have watched over the years. From universally hated finales to unhealthy relationship pairings, even our favorite TV shows will disappoint us from time to time.

This week, we’ll talk about the ones that got away – the TV couples who should have been together when the series ended. Feel free to add your own favorites in the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: TV Couples Who Should Have Ended Up Together

1. Dan and Blair (Gossip Girl)
Throughout Gossip Girl, both Dan and Blair experience their share of relationships. The Upper East Side’s Queen B begins the series in a long-term relationship with golden boy Nate Archibald, falls into an emotional on/off affair with bad boy Chuck Bass over several seasons, and even marries the Prince of Monaco. Dan, a writer and outsider from Brooklyn, falls for socialite Serena van der Woodsen (Blair’s sometimes-best friend), briefly dates Hilary Duff and begins to raise a child he soon learns is not his. Let’s face it: these characters have a lot going on.

At the start of the series, Dan and Blair come from very different worlds and have nothing but disdain for one another, but as the seasons wear on, we learn that the two actually have a lot of common interests and chemistry of their own. They form a very close friendship that eventually evolves into a brief relationship, but the writers quickly force a breakup because the two characters were never supposed to be endgame material. Blair ends up with the emotionally and physically abusive Chuck (who once traded her for a hotel), while Dan ends up with the aimless Serena. Moral of the show? Shared interests and the ability to have real conversations with another person are nothing compared to rocky relationships with emotionally unavailable people! (“Dair” was pretty great while it lasted, though, and it definitely made the show a lot more interesting.)

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2. Shawn and Angela (Boy Meets World)
Many of us grew up watching Boy Meets World and wanting the idyllic Cory/Topanga relationship, but to me, the more interesting couple was always Shawn and Angela. Shawn, Cory’s best friend, had a rough family life and difficulty staying in a relationship longer than two weeks. Angela was the first girl he really committed to, dating in high school and college, and his character grew a lot during that relationship. They part ways when she leaves for Europe to be closer to her father (which is a valid reason to leave), but the couple never really gets closure.

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TV Couples Who Should Have Ended Up Together3. Rory and Jess (Gilmore Girls)
First, let me just say that I hated Rory’s Yale boyfriend, Logan. To me, he never really came off as a fantastic boyfriend, and I was happy to see that she breaks things off at the end of the series and leaves for her dream job (a positive portrayal of a young woman who temporarily chooses career over relationship). However, if Rory was meant to be with anyone, it was always Jess, Luke’s nephew. Although a troublemaker who doesn’t always know how to be the best boyfriend, Jess grows in his relationship with Rory and (much like Dan and Blair of Gossip Girl) the two have some very real shared interests. Both experience their highs and lows over the next few seasons, but Jess ultimately grows up, achieves some of his goals and becomes a better version of himself. In some ways, he and Rory are at a much more similar point in their lives by the end of the series. I’d like to think that after Rory fulfills her dream to work with Christiane Amanpour and Jess publishes his next novel, the two settle down and live a happy, drama-free life together.

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4. Jackie and Hyde (That 70’s Show)
I know that everyone is looking back nostalgically at Jackie (Mila Kunis) and Kelso (Ashton Kutcher) because of the actors’ real life engagement/pregnancy, but I always preferred the pairing of Jackie and Hyde. Although an unlikely pair, the two characters work well together on the show and develop considerably throughout the relationship. Things go downhill when Jackie demands an engagement and Hyde marries a stripper, but with the way the show was written, it all felt like a wild misunderstanding that would eventually be resolved. However, the writers never seemed to explore the relationship again, instead bringing Jackie and Fez together in a final season that felt a lot more like fanfiction than the actual show.

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TV Couples Who Should Have Ended Up Together5. Ted and Tracy (How I Met Your Mother)
Yes, readers, I am still mourning this devastating loss! The show How I Met Your Mother, in which Future Ted tells his teenage kids about how he met their mom, opens with the story of how Ted met Robin, a woman he immediately thought was the love of his life. We quickly learn that she is not their mother. Ted and Robin date for a few seasons, but have some fundamental differences that would affect marriage and children in the future, so they eventually split. Over time, we realize that Robin truly is not The One for Ted, and he finally lets her go right before she marries his close friend, Barney. At the wedding, Ted meets the bass player, Tracy, and immediately falls for her. During their conversations, we quickly see how perfect they are for one another – their pronunciations of “Renaissance,” their dorky shared interests, the many ways they unknowingly crossed paths over the years.

The writers do a great job of convincing us that Tracy is Ted’s soul mate, the one who made nine seasons of heartbreak all worth it. Then, after the characters meet, Future Ted reveals that Tracy died and that he’s in love with (now divorced) Robin again. The entire episode felt like a slap in the face and like complete regression of his character (and possibly an April Fool’s joke), but the writers stuck to the ending they had planned years earlier, ultimately disappointing their fans. After all Ted has been through, he deserves his happy ending with Tracy!

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What are some TV couples you think should have ended up together? Do you agree/disagree with any of the above?

The Weekend Five: Worst Boyfriends in History

henryred2When it comes to the world of dating, times have changed. From defining the relationship to breaking up on social media, our generation has definitely evolved in the way we look at love and heartbreak. We look back on the past as a simpler, more ideal time, when people went on dates before “going steady” and then marrying young. However, when we take another look back at relationships throughout history, we soon realize that things weren’t always hunky dory. When I think about some of these relationships, I am thankful I was born when I was, because for every awkward Facebook breakup today, there was at least one horrible king who beheaded his wife and moved on to the next.

We’ve talked about the worst boyfriends on TV and in literature (as well as the worst girlfriends on TV and in literature), so today it is time to take a little trip back in time for one of the most awkward history lessons you will ever encounter on this blog. Behold – history’s worst boyfriends!

I guarantee these men are much, much worse than even your most despised ex-boyfriend, or your money back. :)

The Weekend Five: Worst Boyfriends in History

1. King Henry VIII. For those who have read The Other Boleyn Girl, you may recall that Henry Tudor left his wife (the beloved Catherine of Aragon and mother of his first child) for Anne Boleyn, whom he later executed. But did you know that the English king went through four other marriages after that? One of those wives died in childbirth, but two of those marriages were annulled, one of which ended in the woman’s execution. Henry started his own religion just so he could get a divorce. If that isn’t a commitment-phobe, I don’t know what is.

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2. Ivan the Terrible. First of all, if the word “terrible” is regularly used to describe a man, is he really someone you want to be dating? Look at your life. Look at your choices. When he grew tired of his wives, he sent them off to the convent or worse, killed them. He also murdered his son and beat his pregnant daughter-in-law (leading to a miscarriage). Aside from some of the truly terrible things he is remembered for throughout history, let’s not forget his anger problems and untreated mental illnesses.

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imagesCA42RWO63. Rasputin. Pop culture might deem him “Russia’s greatest love machine,” but faith healer/mystic Gregori Rasputin would make a pretty controlling, manipulative significant other. By treating the Tsar’s youngest child, Alexei, Rasputin gained the trust of the Tsarina and had a huge influence on governmental affairs, leading to the downfall of the Russian monarchy. In modern day, Rasputin is that scraggly guy who finally wore you down for a date and ultimately became your boyfriend for five years, until you found out he was stealing your money the entire time.

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4. Emperor Nero. This Russian ruler was another monarch with a love for executions, including matricide. Not only did he kill his own mother (with whom he had a sexual relationship…ew), but he poisoned his stepbrother and kicked his pregnant second wife, resulting in her death. He also probably started the Great Fire of Rome.

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5. Vlad the Impaler. This is another classic example of why someone’s name might be a great reason to deter you from them. If you aren’t familiar with Vlad the Impaler, then you may have heard of him by another name: Dracula. Vlad the Impaler had a bloody reign, killing many perceived “traitors,” whether or not they had actually done anything to cause suspicion, and supposedly burned beggars after he allowed them to eat free food. If you do decide to begin a relationship with someone called “The Impaler,” you should be careful not to piss that person off!

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Who would you consider some of the worst boyfriends in history? Share your own thoughts in the comments section below!

The Five Most Popular Themes of Country Music

conway twittyLast summer, I found myself listening to country music. I’d grown sick of a lot of the Top 40 songs on the radio, and decided to give a new station a try. During that time, I developed an appreciation for artists I’d never heard and a genre I’d never enjoyed until then (except for this song, which introduced me to country music in my childhood… thanks, Mom).

Although I still wouldn’t call myself a diehard country music fan, I did pick up on some common themes the longer I listened to it! A few years ago, I wrote about the popular themes of pop music and rap music, so of course I had to follow up with a blog all about the popular themes of modern country music!

Disclaimer: This was all written in good fun, so I hope no country fans take offense to it! I like to poke fun at all genres. :)

The Five Most Popular Themes of Country Music

1. Nostalgia for summer, small towns and women.
Country artists are a nostalgic bunch, and many of their songs seem to be inspired by idyllic summers in small towns (which are written to be better than larger towns and cities in every way). These memory-laden songs often, though not always, reflect on first loves — whether or not those relationships are still intact. Country songs often reflect on a simpler time, when life was easier and things were done the “right” way.

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8ee9ee46742eb5b888815f5ffd8045772. Sweet, sweet revenge.
For every nostalgic country song, there is at least one revenge anthem to counteract it. In Carrie Underwood’s song Before He Cheats, she digs her key into the side of her ex’s “pretty little souped-up four wheel drive” and carves her name into his leather seats… pretty vengeful, if you ask me! Of course, Miranda Lambert’s Gunpowder and Lead is easily my favorite song in this category, even if the lyrics are actually quite terrifying. (Guys, revenge solves nothing, okay?)

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3. Pickup trucks.
Not to stereotype, but pickup trucks are a big deal in country music. These songs don’t resonate as much with me as many of the others, but there’s something to be said for how much the artists care about their vehicles!

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4. America.
Say what you will about country musicians, but they are nothing if not patriotic. :)

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5. Long-lasting love and heartbreak.
Compared to other genres of music, I’ve heard fewer country songs about one-night stands and many more about long-term relationships, marriages and deep heartbreak. Pop music may have some romantic songs that hit the charts (here’s looking at you, John Legend), but I’m not sure if any compare to the sweetness of Thompson Square’s song Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not? or Gloriana’s Kissed You Good Night. Of course, these are common themes in all genres of music, but it would be crazy not to bring it up for this one because it comes up quite often.

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What are some of the common themes you’ve picked up on in country music?

The Weekend Five: Profile Pictures That Every Guy Has Posted

funny-pictures-selfie-dog-no-filter-makeupA few months back, in honor of my social media addiction, I wrote a little piece about the five profile pictures that every girl has posted, at one point or another, on Facebook. Because I believe in equal opportunity for the genders, I felt that it was high time to poke fun at the males this week! Guys, we know you are all special and unique, but much like the ladies, you too are guilty of falling into predictable social media patterns. :)

This week, we’ll explore five of the most popular types of Facebook profile pictures that most of the guys on your friend list have uploaded.

The Weekend Five: Profile Pictures That Every Guy Has Posted

1. Group Photo With All Friends Still Intact.
Unlike the ladies, who tend to crop all of their friends out of group photos, guys are likely to post these pictures to their page as they were taken, no edits. This can prove especially confusing on mobile and online dating profiles, as visitors to those pages may wonder which guy in the picture is actually the man in question, but for Facebook, it makes sense:  guys can assume that their social media contacts will be able to distinguish which person is them!

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2. The Goofy Picture.
Again, unlike many of the young women who use social media, guys aren’t afraid to post a less-than-perfect picture of themselves that shows their sense of humor. This picture is posted without regard for angles or any other artistic properties, and is meant to make you laugh.

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meet-someone-profile-pictures-century-flirting-ecards-someecards3. The Slightly Dressier, More Grown Up Picture.
There’s always one picture of the guy in a suit, at a fancy dinner, in graduation garb or (in true throwback style) on his prom night.

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4. The Significant Other.
From my observations, guys post fewer of these pictures than girls do, but these pictures do pop up from time to time so that the subjects can prove that they are not #foreveralone.

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5. The Picture That Isn’t Him.
Usually, these are memes that fit his sense of humor, but they can also include images related to his favorite sports team or stills from a sci-fi movie or video game that he loves. For many girls, this is a waste of prime real estate, but for the majority of guys, it isn’t that big of a deal. Personally, I have to take a selfie to make up for this every time I see one of these, but that’s just me. :) (Kidding, by the way!)

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Depending on the guy, you may find other types of profile pictures: action shots playing sports, flexing photos at the gym, artsy pictures with crazy Instagram filters… the list goes on. What are your favorite categories?

The Weekend Five: Lessons Learned on The Whole 30

keep-calm-whole30-pinterestHappy Sunday, friends! As some of you may know (especially if you follow me on social media), last week marked the end of my second Whole 30. For those unfamiliar with the Whole 30, it is a 30-day program designed to improve your health by eliminating some of the major problem foods: sugar/sweeteners, grains, dairy, legumes and various others.

I don’t claim to be an expert in nutrition, and in the past I have avoided discussing my journey to better health on this blog. However, in the past few months since I began experimenting with cleaner eating, I have had dramatic improvements in my skin, energy levels and mood that I never thought possible through diet alone. (I also managed to lose a lot of weight!) Because of my positive experiences with the program, friends have approached me with questions, so I decided to devote an entire Weekend Five to it!

Below are some of the lessons I’ve learned after completing the Whole 30 program twice. (I plan to do it again in June, if anyone is interested in joining me!)

The Weekend Five: Lessons Learned On The Whole 30

Jersey-Shore-Five-Snooki-Pickles1. Read the ingredients.
When I started really reading the labels on my food, I was amazed at all of the hidden ingredients I found! For example, every jar of pickles in my local grocery store either contained corn syrup, yellow food dye or both. To fulfill my random pickle craving without compromising my diet with unnecessary ingredients, I drove out to a nearby health food store. They tasted just as good as any other pickles, except they wouldn’t make my skin break out the way that food dye does, and they wouldn’t give me a headache the way sugars often do. You’d be shocked at how easily the manufacturers sneak sweeteners into places we wouldn’t expect: sauces, chicken broth, etc. If you aren’t keeping a close eye on what is in your food, then you could be sabotaging your diet in the process! The fewer the ingredients, the better, because it generally means that your food is closer to the original source.

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2. Do things the RIGHT way, not the quick way.
When I look back at some of the ridiculous ways I tried to lose weight in high school and early in college, I have to laugh. There are a lot of fad diets out there, and we’ve all tested them out. But as much as we like to complicate things, it’s really quite simple: cut out the junk food, eat healthier foods, watch your portions and exercise. Doing it the right way will lead to better habits and weight loss that sticks! Slow and steady wins the race.

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veemoze snacks3. Find ways to beat the excuses.
For the past few years, I wanted to lose weight through cleaner eating, but I always had my excuses: I can’t cook. I’m too busy to prepare meals. When I’m tired, I need my food to be quick to make.However, out of necessity during my Whole 30, I discovered snacks that were easy to make ahead of time, meals that didn’t require much preparation and pre-packaged foods like Lara Bars that were a better alternative to any other “nutrition” bar in the aisle. (Seriously, read the ingredients!) I also learned that washing some fruit or cracking open a hard boiled egg really didn’t add much time to my daily routine, and that my excuses were actually invalid. Figure out your excuses now and then figure out how you are going to beat them in the long run, so that they don’t beat you!

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4. Weigh the pros and cons.
The next time you are having a craving, ask yourself: “Do I want 30 seconds of gratification, or do I want a lifetime of good health?” The program is only 30 days – to give into temptations early on is to cheat yourself! In the long run, you should allow yourself indulgences every once in a while, but remind yourself that there is a trade-off. Do I miss certain foods? Yes. I have even brought them in as an occasional treat now that my program is over. But I also know that, while delicious, some tempting foods will ultimately make me tired and grumpy, and will make my skin break out. Do I want to eat unlimited amounts of junk food, or do I want glowing skin and a body I’m proud of? The answer to that one is quite simple!

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0b32ed3e28a98cf77dbc847abf7697c05. There are seven days in the week. Someday isn’t one of them.
Every day, there will be reasons not to start. Maybe you’re stressed out at work, or you’re afraid of what others might think. Forget those reasons. Give yourself a reasonable amount of time to prepare (read, research, shop, gather ingredients) and then press play. Once I finally took action instead of making up excuses, I started to see success. Stop resolving to start “someday” and take your first steps today. (Tweet this!)

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Readers, have you ever completed the Whole 30 or another clean eating program? What would you suggest to others considering it? What did you learn during the program?

Are you considering a program like this? What questions do you have about getting started?

The Post-Weekend Five: Over-Done Story Topics to Get Readers Talking

DvCfT7average-millennial-attention-praise-new-birthday-ecards-someecardsEvery day, I come across some fascinating stories across the Internet. Of course, sprinkled in between these articles and how-to guides are a few not-so-original pieces, ones that I’m convinced I’ve read elsewhere with slightly different wording. Somehow, even though these articles are basically repurposed versions of other articles, certain topics still manage to grab the attention of many readers and strike up a lively debate.

Now, most writers are guilty of falling into this pattern once in a while without realizing it, but some stories just won’t go away. This week, we’ll go into some of the latest of those over-done story topics that will nevertheless get your readers talking, whether the articles reveal any new information or not! (Keep in mind, this was all written in good fun. :) )

The Post-Weekend Five: Over-Done Story Topics to Get Readers Talking

how-to-annoy-millennial1. Millennials and everything they have ever done wrong.
For about five years now, I have been reading articles about the millennial generation (mainly people in their teens, twenties and early thirties, depending on your preferred generational cut-off) and their sense of entitlement, lack of work ethic and inability to become functioning, well-adjusted adults. Many of these articles throw in the argument that, while growing up, millennials were rewarded for “participation” and not achievement, and that this has had a profoundly negative effect on their overall development. The articles also discuss the fact that many of these millennials were also encouraged that, with hard work, they could achieve their dreams, no matter how far-reaching. I have a lot of opinions about both the internal and external factors that have shaped my generation, but nothing that hasn’t been said before. Somehow, people (especially those older than the millennials) still love to harp on this topic, so it comes up frequently online and in publications, usually stating the same thing as the last article.

2. Selfie culture.
This often goes hand-in-hand with the millennial stories, but people not of the younger generation are fascinated by the concept of selfies. I never noticed this before until people began to question me (a 23-year-old who is embarrassingly guilty of taking these pictures) about the trend and genuinely wanted to know about it. Articles pop up all the time about plastic surgeons who have perfected surgeries for the optimal selfie, step-by-step lists on how to take the right selfie for Instagram, how selfies represent the decline of the younger generations and everything wrong with American culture as a whole… Okay, I may be exaggerating there, but you get the point! At the rate we are going, there will soon be more selfie-related articles than actual selfies. (Just give it a few years for this fad to wear out.)

large3. Jennifer Lawrence.
Jennifer Lawrence is a talented actress with a bright future ahead of her, but most Jennifer Lawrence-related articles have nothing to do with the actress’ projects and everything to do with how “relatable” and “down-to-earth” she is. In the past few years, Jennifer Lawrence memes have gone viral across the web, mainly consisting of the Hunger Games star making silly faces or saying inappropriate things. (As a public relations professional, I truly believe that many of J. Law’s red carpet blunders and crazy quotes are just as encouraged by her handlers as the next perfectly-curated celebrity… but I digress.) While I admire Jennifer Lawrence’s skills and success in Hollywood, I also think we have seen enough “look at this adorable thing Jennifer Lawrence did” articles to last a lifetime.

I+LOVE+THE+90S+T+SHIRT+WHITE4. The 90s.
Don’t get me wrong, the 90s were great! I was born in 1990, so of course the thoughts of Tamogatchi, butterfly clips and Hey Arnold! bring me plenty of nostalgia. I am certainly a child of the 90s and proud of it. But I also see the same 90s pop culture articles several times each month, commemorating the same exact mementos of that time period. I have never seen a decade more adored on the Internet. (Perhaps this has something to do with those dang millennials!) Instead of constantly posting lists that mourn our childhood, let’s look to the future!

5. Ryan Gosling.
Just kidding. There can never be enough Ryan Gosling.

What topics do you think have been overdone?