Love Lessons from the Movies

e9431ded-5a77-4fec-8942-d8f5b0a500dbRegular readers of my blog will know that I love to write about romantic comedies. From the gender stereotypes they perpetuate to the misconceptions they give us about love to the modern-day endings to classic rom coms, I don’t know if I’ll ever get tired of watching, swooning over and criticizing these films. :)

Of course, the romantic comedies we watch can actually teach us a lot about love and relationships! Below are some of the lessons I’ve taken away from these films, which will hopefully enhance your love life and bring you the happiness you seek!

  • High school is a drag, especially when it comes to dating, but if you change everything about your appearance and personality, you will finally find true love. – Grease (1978)
  • Living under the sea is a drag, especially when your only friend is a flounder, but if you sell your soul to a sea witch in order to change your appearance, you will finally find true love. – The Little Mermaid (1989)
  • Don’t fall in love with a womanizing slacker. Instead, fall in love with his workaholic brother who tried to ship you out of the country so he could complete a business deal. – Sabrina (1954)
  • When you love someone, the best way to show that love is by yelling at the other person. – Katherine Heigl movies
  • Women are most charming when singing among nature or not talking at all. – Sleeping Beauty (1959)
  • If you really want to be with someone who is otherwise engaged, you should wait to reveal your feelings until that person’s wedding day. – Various films
  • If you begin a friends-with-benefits relationship with someone, you will ultimately fall in love and end up together. – Friends With Benefits (2011), No Strings Attached (2011), various other films
  • If you’re otherwise sweet and easy to relate to, then it’s okay to steal your best friend’s fiancé. – Something Borrowed (2011)
  • It’s not an inappropriate age gap if the older person in the relationship is undead and still looks like a teenager. – Twilight (2008)

Readers, what are some of the lessons you’ve taken away from the movies you’ve watched? Sound off in the comments section below!

Link Love Wednesday: Boy Bands, The Sorcerer’s Stone and Romantic Comedies

harrypotterI hope this week’s Link Love finds you well! Can you believe how quickly the summer is flying by? When I was in high school, I always felt a sense of dread around mid-July, when the new school year seemed to be looming all too closely. Nowadays, I work year-round, but I will never forget the way I felt as I watched the summer slip away. For those of you who have a break from school or work this summer, hopefully you are finding ways to make the most of your days off – away from the computer!

Of course, when you do stop to check Facebook and your favorite blogs (wink, wink), be sure to enjoy some of our latest Link Love!

How are you spending your summer? Any great links you’ve come across this week? Feel free to share in the comments section below!

What My Email Inbox Reveals About Me

070103_pre-web-emailIn the past, you could learn a lot about a girl by looking through the contents of her purse. However, as we become increasingly glued to our iPhones and computers, we can learn even more about one another electronically: through social media profiles, texts, most recently used emojis and especially the inbox of your personal email account.

This week, we’ll go behind the scenes of my own collection of emails — all the empty gum packets, crumpled receipts and loose coins that metaphorically comprise my inbox. Get ready to learn a whole lot about me! :)

  • I’m connected to Nigerian royalty.
    I know what you’re about to say. “But Val, that’s impossible! Nigeria is a presidential republic, not a monarchy!” That’s where you’re wrong. For years, I’ve received emails from Nigerian princes, begging me for my banking information so they can finally send me their fortune. I must have done something really philanthropic in a previous life, because my e-benefactors keep promising to give back in a big way. (I also have quite a few contacts in India who have offered me large sums of money in return for minor personal details, like my address and social security number.)
  • I have an extreme and very eclectic shopping addiction.
    This is the only explanation I have for the countless emails I receive from local and national retailers: clothing stores, home goods stores, chocolatiers, wine supermarkets, even Israeli cell phone carriers. In fact, my personal account receives more emails from these companies than from friends and relatives. What can I tell you? I’m addicted to the discounts!
  • Someone is looking at my profile on an Indian dating site.
    Never mind that I’m not Indian and I already have a boyfriend. I’m assuming my wealthy friends overseas (the ones who want to give me money; see above) set up the profile for me as a token of their gratitude. Very sweet of them!
  • Someone has just commented on my blog.
    It might just be a spam bot diet pill company like last time, but hey – it’s the thought that counts!
  • All the clubs I joined in college are still active.
    I never unsubscribed from their email lists, so the fun never ends.
  • When I was in middle school, I wrote fanfiction.
    Really, really bad fanfiction. Apparently, ten years later, people are still reading it.
  • I have severely offended a “nutritional supplement” company.
    Or rather, they believe they have offended me. Every few months, I receive the same exact email with the subject line “I’m SORRY” followed by a whole lot of groveling because I still haven’t clicked through their website to make a purchase. I’m not sure how I keep winding up on their list, but I have to admire their sketchy persistence.
  • My mom sends me really funny articles and videos.
    Unfortunately, they get buried in my inbox underneath all these junk emails!

Am I leaving anything out? What does your email inbox say about you?

Link Love Thursday: Don’t Call Me “Bae”

Batman-Dick-GraysonHope everyone is having a fantastic week! Summer officially begins on Saturday, so I’m excited to log some more days by the pool on the rare occurrence that it’s not raining in Florida. How are you spending your summer? You can start with a peek at this week’s Link Love, and post your own favorite findings in the comments section below!

What are some of your favorite articles from the last few weeks?

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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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

Link Love THURSDAY: Terrible Real Estate, Frozen and Social Media Pre-Nups

6097da4d58773b2814cef7fea44965eeGood evening, readers, and happy June! How have you decided to start your month? I kicked off June with my third Whole 30 (because I am clearly insane!) and by participating in the 100 Happy Days challenge. For the next 100 days, I will photograph something that makes me happy – and I encourage you to do the same! If you’d like to see my progress (I’m on Day 4 so far), feel free to follow my Instagram!

Plenty of interesting/strange news has also come with the new month, so allow me to share this week’s batch of link love with you!

What links have you come across this week?

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.


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?)


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!


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


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.


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

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.

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?

Predictions for the Season 10 Premiere of ‘The Bachelorette’

andiAfter 12 years on the air, The Bachelor franchise has definitely perfected its charade of attractive young people finding love (and getting a Neil Lane ring out of it) on national television. The show returns on May 19 with assistant district attorney Andi Dorfman at the helm, but she does not come without her own controversy after walking out on Juan Pablo Galavis (a.k.a. America’s Most Hated Bachelor) after their night in the Fantasy Suite.

Because of the formulaic nature of the show, I’d like to make a few predictions about what will undoubtedly happen on Andi’s upcoming season premiere. (Please keep in mind that I have not read any spoilers or conducted any research on this season’s contestants – this is entirely for fun!) Feel free to add your own predictions in the comments section below.

  • Opening scenes will include footage of Atlanta (Andi’s hometown), Andi in a courtroom and Andi outside doing something that will make her seem fun and adorable to viewers.
  • Andi will talk about all of the wonderful things she has in her life, but how much better her life would be if only she had someone to share it with. This will serve as a voiceover as Andi either skips rocks across the water, sits pensively in a meadow, stares out a window or walks through the busy streets (surrounded by people but still feeling very alone, of course).
  • Andi will “prepare” for her time on the show with a popular former cast member, either the previous Bachelorette (Des) or perhaps a few memorable contestants she befriended last season.
  • At least once throughout the episode, Andi or host Chris Harrison will use a law-related metaphor to describe Andi’s search for love.
  • At least one of the contestants will be an attorney.
  • At least one of the contestants will impersonate Juan Pablo upon exiting the limo, most likely by inserting his phrase “Ees okay.”
  • Several of the contestants will sit in the house and discuss everything Juan Pablo did wrong on his season of The Bachelor, and how they are all much better people than he is. They will also rave about how Andi is even prettier in person.
  • Tension will arise between at least two of the men on the house on that very first night.
  • One man will make a positive entrance that sets him apart from the rest of the men, who will talk about him negatively for the rest of the night. If he makes it past this episode, he will likely be established as the season’s Resident Villain (who is there for All The Wrong Reasons).
  • Andi will announce at some point in the evening, either to the cameras or to the men as a whole, that she thinks her future husband might be in the room.
  • During or after the rose ceremony, Andi will make a speech about being open to love and excited to share the journey with each of these contestants.
  • Andi will eliminate at least two memorable contestants, likely the ones with the most bizarre entrances.
  • Several of the eliminated men will cry or at least tear up, even though they have only known Andi for an hour or two, and will lament that this was their only chance at finding love.

Who knows? Maybe there will be more predictions as the season wears on! :) In the meantime, add your own to the comments section below and feel free to use this blog as a checklist when the episode airs.

Happy viewing!

The Weekend Five: Phrases We Need to Stop Saying

tyleroakley-cantevenThe more I read through my news feeds on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the more I need to consult Urban Dictionary to find out what people are actually trying to say. I’m only 23 years old, and yet I’m constantly struggling to figure out what “the kids these days” are talking about!

Last week, I read this fabulous post on Thought Catalog about the five phrases and words that we need to stop saying, but I felt like adding a few of my own conversational pet peeves to the mix. (For similar rants that make me sound way older and crankier than I am in real life, visit my grammar tips here and here.)

The Weekend Five: Phrases We Need to Stop Saying

1. “I can’t even.
You can’t even? You can’t even what? First of all, what a piss poor attitude to have. You should be saying “I can, and I will!” Variations of this phrase include, but are not limited to, “I can’t,” “I literally can’t” and “I just can’t,” and are rarely followed by a verb that actually describes what the person can or cannot do. Second of all, “I can’t even” rarely contributes anything to the discussion; instead, it is a conversational filler. What are you actually trying to say? Usually, the person follows up with the claim that he or she “can’t even” by claiming, “I’m dying” or “I’m literally dying.” Young people of America, “even” is not, nor will ever be, a verb (at least not in the way you mean it to be) — and when you tell others that “I’m literally dying” because of Beyonce’s recent performance, you are clearly a hypochondriac and need to calm down.


au5244a3052. Replacing words like “feelings” with “feels” or “all the feels.”
This is grammatically incorrect and makes you sound like an infant. Does it really take that much more effort to say “feelings” instead of quoting some version of an Internet meme?


3. Using “TL;DR” in real life.
“TL;DR” (“too long; didn’t read”) is bad enough in writing because it only encourages our short attention spans to remain short, but in the actual spoken language, it is even worse. If you really want to sum up your story, a simple “in conclusion” or beloved cliché “to make a long story short” will do. This is real life, not Reddit. We don’t need to talk like we are on a message board.


433070794. “Turn down for what?”
Whether you’ve elected to “turn up,” “turn down for what” or “#turnup,” you should be ashamed of yourself. This phrase is a classic example of something I had to look up on Urban Dictionary. Being “turnt up” is not an attractive quality to brag about regardless, but for some reason, the words “turnt up” only make the situation trashier. Do what you want in your spare time, but please don’t scream “turn down for what” all over your social media pages.


5. “That WOULD happen to you.”
This is often used to describe an awkward or humiliating situation that you’ve found yourself in… and it’s actually sort of insulting. After you tell friend about that time you stuck your foot in your mouth at work, she laughs and replies, “That WOULD happen to you,” even if such things don’t typically happen. People constantly say this about unflattering stories you tell about yourself, even if you have never told another unflattering story about yourself before, and it implies that you are prone to such situations. Whenever someone says this to me, I always want to ask, “Why? Why would this isolated situation describe my life as a whole?”


What are some of the phrases you would like to see disappear from our daily conversations?