humor

The Weekend Five: People We Follow On Instagram

This is totally me. No shame.

This is totally me. No shame.

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

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

The Weekend Five: People We Follow On Instagram

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Stray Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Things Girls Like

caa8957a12a25135_2894847831_1aa08871c7_b.preview_tallToday is my 24th birthday! I have had a feeling for a while that 24 is going to be a good year, filled with unexpected opportunities and accomplishments. Over the last few days, I have been celebrating with my family and friends (and my boyfriend, whose birthday is also today), and am so excited to ring in a brand new year. Because my birthday has been filled with the things I like — chocolate cake balls, yoga, useful gifts, free burgers, fantasy football and, of course, my loved ones — I thought it was only fitting to share this slightly more general list of things that many girls like. If you’re shopping for a 20-something girl this season or simply trying to understand one, please enjoy this comprehensive (and probably sexist) list.

Things Girls Like

  • Farmers markets. We probably don’t need all the produce we just bought, but we feel a little more environmentally aware when we buy local. We also enjoy the experience of posting pictures of ourselves at the farmers market on Facebook, even if we didn’t end up buying anything at all.
  • Brunch. Brunch is a fun activity to participate in, especially after the farmers market. However, it generally doesn’t count as a true Brunch unless you order a mimosa or, at the very least, an orange juice. (A chronic water-drinker, I tend to fail at Brunch.)
  • Mason jars. A few months ago, the Mason jar became the Regina George of Kitchenware. Girls enjoy crafting with Mason jars, drinking out of Mason jars, even layering their salads in Mason jars. Want to make your friend a delicious cookie with a twist? Throw flour, baking soda, sugar, vanilla extract, eggs and butter in a Mason jar. It won’t taste very good, but she will adore it so much that she’ll post it on Instagram with the hashtag #blessed.
  • Starbucks drinks that “feel like Fall.” Girls from Florida and other states that don’t experience real seasons are especially guilty of this. When the pumpkin spice lattes are back in stores, we know that it’s almost time for “sweater weather,” and we can finally break out those cute-but-hardly-functional infinity scarves.
  • Taking pictures with flowers. Flowers make our lives infinitely prettier, so if we photograph ourselves holding flowers or sitting in a garden full of flowers, we are guaranteed at least 50 percent more likes on social media.
  • All things DIY. Especially when those DIY projects involve Mason jars.
  • Expressing their emotions with emojis. Why use words when we can use silly iPhone faces to show our true feelings?
  • Lighting candles. Vanilla and lavender are sooooo relaxing.
  • Statement necklaces. What better to accessorize with, my dear?
  • Vision boards. They’re like a real-life version of Pinterest! Use your vision board to plan a wedding, shed excess weight or plot out revenge on all of your ex-boyfriends.

Share your own favorites in the comments section below. You know you want to!

Link Love Wednesday: Dog-Human Hybrids

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I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to your September! September is one of my favorite months because the weather starts to cool down and my birthday is almost here! This month, I also began a new exercise routine and started my fantasy football career. I defeated my boyfriend’s team in our first week of fantasy football, and look forward to facing off against my mom’s team in a few weeks! (We have a very interesting league.) :) What have you all been doing to kick off the month?

Enjoy this week’s batch of Link Love and share your own favorites in the comments section below!

What are some of your favorite links from the last week? Share them in the comments section! :)

Happy reading!

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.

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?