The Weekend Five: Small Health Changes You Can Make Today

5 Small Health Changes You Can Make Today

It’s Sunday, which is the perfect day to reevaluate our health goals and come up with a game plan for the upcoming week. After a much-needed afternoon workout and some food prep to get me through a busy work week, I’m excited to amp up my health and fitness and continue to make positive changes!

I’ve written extensively about my experiences with the Whole30, a 30-day elimination program with similar guidelines to the paleo diet, and while I totally recommend the program for anyone looking to make a change, I understand that it can be a huge transition for many people. Although I personally needed a huge change when it came to my health, I know that a lot of people benefit more from making smaller changes over time.

This week, I’d like to share five of my tips for improving your health, one small step at a time. Feel free to add your own in the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: Small Health Changes You Can Make Today

1. Drink water.
Stay away from soda, booze, juices and high-calorie/high-sugar drinks! It’s important to get enough water in your system each day — and what better way to do that than by replacing your other drinks with water? You’ll save money in restaurants, hydrate your skin, and consume fewer calories from beverages alone (just to name a few benefits). You’ll also be able to skip some of the mindless eating that so many of us fall victim to, because you won’t as easily mistake your thirst for hunger. Carry a reusable bottle with you every day to ensure you’re getting all the water you need!

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5 Small Changes You Can Make to Improve Your Health2. Purge the junk food from the pantry.
Out of sight, out of mind! If certain snacks are problem foods for you, keep them out of the house. Fill your pantry and refrigerator with nutritious foods. Having fruits and vegetables easily accessible at home makes it a lot easier to make a healthy choice, especially if eating junk food requires you to get in the car and go to the store.

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3. Add in a few minutes of light exercise every day.
Even if you don’t cut down on calories or junk food, moving around and burning calories will still be a positive improvement. As studies now deem sitting as the new smoking, counter that by working out to some capacity every day. Instead of going out to eat, see if your friends want to go for a walk in a new part of town. Go bowling or mini-golfing. Do something more active than sitting and staring at the TV, and make your social activities more active as well.

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4. Cut out one thing at a time.
If the thought of an elimination diet like the Whole30 overwhelms you, take it one ingredient at a time. Start by cutting out refined sugars for a week. The next week, add to that by cutting out the creamers in your coffee (or something else that isn’t particularly healthy). Work on each habit individually instead of tackling them all at once if you find this method to be more manageable for you!

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5. Limit the number of meals out each week.
Restaurant meals are packed with salt, calories and more hidden ingredients than you’ll know what to do with! By cooking at home, you’ll know exactly what you’re eating. You can still enjoy yourself and indulge from time to time, but by preparing more of your own meals, you can get a better nutritional bang for your buck, cut back on calories and save some money!

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What are some easy health changes you suggest?

Recipe Roundup: 50 Delicious Whole30 Recipes

50 Delicious Whole30 RecipesI learned an important lesson last year: In order to look and feel great, you have to fuel your body with nutrient-dense real foods. It sounds like such a no-brainer, but since my early teens, I stubbornly tried to fight this notion with the hope that I could lose weight by eating limitless pasta, 100-calorie snack packs and my favorite junk foods “in moderation.” And while technically these principles sometimes led to weight loss (depending on how much I was actually eating and whether or not I was exercising regularly), I was still left hungry and in a bad mood, with low energy, headaches and eczema for days.

In February 2014, I embarked on my first Whole30, eliminating gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, legumes and processed foods from my diet for 30 days. This was a challenge for me – not only because I love bread and pasta (and there is some variant of sugar in everything!), but also because I’m a picky eater and I had never really cooked before. Suddenly, I had switched to a heavily plant-based diet, which required me to experiment in the kitchen and try a lot of new things. To this day, I’m still figuring out how to balance Whole30 living with the occasional unhealthy craving, but through several rounds of the program, I’ve learned a lot about myself and I’ve greatly improved my cooking skills!

When people hear about the Whole30, one of the first questions they ask is What can you eat? The answer: A lot! Before Whole30, I never ate zucchini, green beans, cucumbers, or cabbage. I had no idea how to prepare sweet potatoes, cauliflower, bell peppers, or any protein other than eggs. I had never heard of a spiralizer, and thought that “poaching chicken” literally meant that I had to hunt and kill my own poultry. Therefore, if could complete 30 days of this program, anyone can do it!

Today, I’m going to share 50 of the recipes I enjoyed on the Whole30. (That’s right – 50 recipes!) Some of these will require slight variations in order to remain compliant, so I’ll make note of those as they pop up. As a rule of thumb, replace soy sauce with coconut aminos, don’t use the optional sweeteners or cheese if you’re sticking to the Whole30, and be mindful of what cooking fats you use. I’ll also share which of these recipes are regular favorites of mine. : )

Enjoy the recipe roundup and be sure to share with friends!

50 Delicious Whole30 Recipes

Soups

1. Watermelon Gazpacho (Our Savory Life)

2. Chilled Cantaloupe Soup (AllRecipes.com)

3. Creamy Dairy-Free Tomato Basil Soup (Paleo Comfort Foods) 

50 Delicious Whole30 Recipes

Salads

4. Moroccan Carrot Salad (@whole30recipes Instagram guest post by @bloemingfabulous) – **FAVORITE** 

5. Cucumber “Pasta” Salad (Holistically Engineered)

6. Pineapple Cabbage Slaw (@whole30recipes Instagram guest post by @whatjennyeats)

7. Red Cabbage Salad with Apples, Walnuts and Raisins (Clean and Delicious)

50 Delicious Whole30 Recipes

Sides

8. Lemon and Thyme Potato Wedges (Olive Tree Kitchen)

9. Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Meyer Lemon Relish (Brooklyn Supper)

10. Sweet Potato Gnocchi (Lexi’s Clean Kitchen)– Tastes awesome with ghee!

11. Roasted Cauliflower Poppers (Whole Lifestyle Nutrition)– Replace butter with ghee. – **FAVORITE**

12. Shoestring Sweet Potatoes (Fit Foodie Finds)

13. Garlic Cabbage Steaks (Rockin Mom’s Kitchen)– **FAVORITE**

14. Butternut Squash Risotto (Paleo Grubs)

15. Moroccan Cauliflower Couscous (Unbageled)

16. Roasted Herby Spiralized Vegetables (Fit Foodie Finds) – **FAVORITE**

17. Creamy Dreamy Vegan Potato Salad (Max Pankow Fitness)

18. Cumin-Roasted Broccoli Spears (Daily Bites Blog)

19. Cauliflower Roasted in Dijon & Lemon Butter Sauce (Divalicious Recipes) – Replace butter with ghee. – **FAVORITE**

20. Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potato & Apple (Consider The Leaf Turned)

21. Broccoli Fritters (@whole30recipes Instagram guest post by @happywifestyle)

22. Easy & Healthy Fried Plantains (Lexi’s Clean Kitchen) 

23. Sweet Potato Tater Tots (Paleo Grubs)

24. Garlic Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes” (Nom Nom Paleo) – Replace butter with ghee.

50 Delicious Whole30 Recipes

Vegetarian Main Dishes

25. Low-Carb Cauliflower Fried Rice (Amuse Your Bouche) – Replace soy sauce with coconut aminos. – **FAVORITE**

26. Zoodles and Creamy Cauliflower Sauce (J is For Judy)

27. Indian Pineapple Cauliflower Rice (Stupid Easy Paleo)

28. Spaghetti Squash Breakfast (Whole Fork)

29. Crispy Cauliflower Carrot Fritters with Smoky Garlic Aioli (Oh My Veggies)– Replace flour with almond flour and skip the Parmesan.

30. Breakfast Bowl (@whole30recipes Instagram guest post by @inexactscience)

31. Curried Cauliflower and Potatoes (Hello Fresh) – Skip the peas. – **FAVORITE**

50 Delicious Whole30 Recipes

Meaty Main Dishes

32. Coconut Lime Chicken Bites (Daily Bites Blog) – **FAVORITE**

33. Sweet and Sour Chicken (Paleo Leap)– Skip the “optional” honey.

34. Zesty Chicken Bites (Lexi’s Clean Kitchen)– **FAVORITE**

35. Whole30 Approved Burrito Bowl (Katrina Runs)

36. Moroccan Grilled Chicken Kabobs (Closet Cooking)

37. Lemon and Cilantro Calamari with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce (Meatified)

38. Chicken Piccata (Elana’s Pantry)– **FAVORITE**

39. Paleo Chicken “Alfredo” Pasta (Just Jessie B)

40. Chicken Fajita Stuffed Peppers (Holistically Engineered)– **FAVORITE**

41. Stovetop Pulled Tandoori Chicken (The Big Man’s World)

42. Baked Pesto Chicken Skewers (Fit Foodie Finds)

43. Tuesday Night Chicken (Popular Paleo)

44. Paleo Curry Lime Chicken (Plaid and Paleo)

45. Paleo Sesame Chicken (Consider The Leaf Turned)

46. Garlic Butter Chicken (Life Made Full) – **FAVORITE**

47. Coconut Crusted Mini-Schnitzel (1000 Lovely Things)

48. Paleo Italian Chicken Fingers (Tastes of Lizzy T’s)

49. Almond Crusted Chicken With Strawberry Balsamic Sauce (Cooking Classy) – Skip the bread crumbs and replace canola oil with extra light olive oil. I used almond flour.

50. Green Fajita Chicken (Meatified)

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Share your favorite Whole30 recipe links in the comments section below!

Guest Post: Four Vital Skills for Landing Your Dream Internship

logotransparentHi there, readers!

My latest guest article for Career Camel is now up! This post is all about the skills you’ll need to land your dream internship. Be sure to check it out and let me know what you think!

Oh, and in case you didn’t know: I was named Writer of the Month last month by Career Camel! I love writing for this awesome online publication, and am so happy to share my latest article here.

Happy reading!

From A to Z: Everything You Need to Know For a Successful Freshman Year

From A to Z: Everything You Need to Know for a Successful Freshman YearIt’s hard to believe that just six years ago, I was packing up my childhood bedroom and moving to Orlando for college. At times, I still picture myself as that awkward 18-year-old girl who was so excited to take those first few steps toward adulthood. In many ways, mine was the traditional college experience: four years of changing majors, making friends, hosting theme parties, interning around town, cramming for finals, dating the wrong guys and joining more clubs than a sane person should. My undergraduate years still hold some of my favorite memories, and taught me more about myself than I ever cared to know.

For many of you, those first few days of freshman year are just around the corner, and you’re probably having a lot of mixed feelings. Whether you’re nervous, enthusiastic or somewhere in between, this blog will guide you through some of the most important aspects of your college experience, from A to Z.

A – Appearance
As superficial as it may sound, it’s important to put an effort into your appearance! Your university’s dress code may technically allow you to roll into your lecture hall in pajamas… but that doesn’t mean you should. The way you dress plays a big role in the first impression you give off in class, among new friends and in front of professors and potential employers.

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From A to Z: Everything You Need to Know for a Successful Freshman YearB – Books
Unless your professor requires some special edition that isn’t offered elsewhere, don’t buy your books at the school bookstore. Rent them through third-party vendors, visit local used bookstores or buy your books online. It will save you a ton of money in the long run!

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C – Choosing a Major
Don’t worry if you don’t have it figured out right now. Take some time to enjoy your general education classes and to take an introductory course that interests you. For more tips on how to choose the right major for you, click here.

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D – Dorm Life
This may be your first time sharing a bedroom or bathroom with someone, so make sure you talk to your new roommate(s) about your expectations and responsibilities. A new dorm room is also the perfect excuse to decorate, so have fun personalizing your new home!

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E – Extra Credit
If your professor offers extra credit, always do it. You might not think you need it, but when your grade is dangling at an 89 at the end of the semester and you need that extra point, you’ll thank yourself.

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From A to Z: Everything You Need to Know for a Successful Freshman YearF – Friends
Open yourself up to the possibility, and you might meet your best friend in college. Get involved, talk to people in your classes and in the dorms, say yes to social outings and don’t be afraid to step out of your bubble.

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G – Greek Life
Rushing a fraternity or a sorority can be a great way to make an overwhelmingly big university a whole lot smaller. If the idea of Greek sounds interesting, talk to older friends who have gone through the process and decide if it’s right for you!

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H – Health
Above all, you must prioritize your health. Avoid the typical Freshman 15 weight gain with these helpful pointers, and remember to take care of yourself when illness strikes. Utilize the gym, health center, counseling facilities and other campus resources to maintain your physical and mental health. Because college can be a stressful time for many, staying healthy and happy is often at the bottom of our lists.

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I – Independence
If you are living in a dorm room or away from home, college is a great opportunity to test out your newfound independence. It will be fun to make more of your own decisions and to not have a curfew, but it will also teach you the importance of finding a balance.

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From A to Z: Everything You Need to Know for a Successful Freshman YearJ – Joining Clubs
Joining clubs on campus will allow you to meet likeminded people, have a good time and possibly even develop yourself professionally. It’s a great way to connect with your university and find leadership opportunities early on. Find organizations that interest you and attend the info sessions – you have nothing to lose!

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K – Kindness
This should go without saying, but remember to treat others with kindness. You’ll meet people whose lifestyles, beliefs and upbringings are radically different from yours, so it is important to be openminded and still respect others regardless of your differences.

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L – Learning For Learning’s Sake
You’ll get so wrapped up in prerequisites and major classes that you might forget that college is, among other things, a place to learn. Take a few elective classes in areas that interest you regardless of what requirements they fulfill. Enjoy the act of learning.

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M – Mentors
Find an older student, a community member or a professor who inspires you, and turn to that person as a mentor. This is a great way to start building your network, and you’ll also have someone to ask for advice on classes, internships and more. If you don’t know where to start, see if your school offers any organized mentorship programs to pair you with someone!

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From A to Z: Everything You Need to Know for a Successful Freshman YearN – Networking
I cannot stress the importance of networking enough! It may sound terrifying, but it doesn’t have to be. Get to know people every chance you get. You never know who will be able to help you out in the future — or whom you’ll be able to help. Networking helped me land a job right out of college! Read more about my experience here.

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O – Office Hours
Your professors are required to hold office hours, so attend them. They can be a great resource when the class material just isn’t clicking, and it’s always an added bonus for the professor to put a face to your name.

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P – Partying
Enjoy having a social life, but learn to do so responsibly. Remember why you came to college in the first place.

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Q – Quiet Space
Find your quiet space on campus for when you need to study or simply get away. Whether it’s the top floor of the library or a secluded corner of a campus garden, find that quiet space and use it when you need it.

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From A to Z: Everything You Need to Know for a Successful Freshman YearR – Romance
Unless you’re one of the lucky ones who meets your soulmate on the quad that first week of school, you’ll probably have your share of good and bad relationships in college, and that’s okayFrom every “failed” relationship, you’ll learn something – or at the very least, you’ll have a good story to tell. (My exes had better beware of my memoir! :) ) Enjoy the ride.

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S – School Spirit
Soak it up! Wear your university colors, attend sporting events and be proud of the institution you attend. Don’t pretend you’re “too cool” for it. The time will eventually pass and you’ll wish you’d enjoyed yourself more.

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T – Time Management
Find an organizational style that fits you, and use it. Having strong time management skills will allow you to balance classwork, extracurriculars, work and a social life. The more you hone these skills now, the better prepared you will be for the future!

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U – Unique Opportunities
In college, the world is your oyster. If an opportunity sounds too good to pass up, take it! Study abroad for a semester. Volunteer in another city for an alternative spring break. Run for student government. Take advantage of these opportunities while you’re still in school, as they might never come back around once you graduate.

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V – Values
Be true to yourself. Know what is important to you, and keep that close to your heart as you make decisions in college. Don’t let others push you into something that makes you uncomfortable or puts you in danger.

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From A to Z: Everything You Need to Know for a Successful Freshman YearW – Wallet
Learn how to budget and take care of your finances. Learn to live within your means. Your money habits now will shape the way you spend and save long after you graduate.

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X – eXams
The dreaded exams will pop up every semester at least once, so it’s important to prepare for them. For more on how to survive your final exams, check out my article on Career Camel.

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Y – You Time
Take time for yourself. College can be a very social environment, and I encourage you to take advantage of that, but it’s always good to spend some time alone without worrying about others. “Treat yo self” to a night in every now and then, or focus on putting together that DIY Pinterest project you’ve had your eye on. Making time for yourself will help you maintain your sanity when life gets stressful.

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Z – Zero Tolerance
Love yourself enough not to tolerate negative treatment. Have zero tolerance for the people or situations that make you feel lesser than. If a friendship or relationship is making you miserable, leave. If you dread being part of a certain organization, quit. Life is too short to waste on people who treat you like crap.

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Best of luck to all of those starting college this fall! Readers, what are your tips for incoming freshmen?

Link Love Wednesday: Disney Princes and Venus Retrograde

Well hello there, Prince Charming…

Happy August, readers! I graduated from college two years ago, but I still get that same lump in my throat when August rolls around… It’s almost back-to-school time! Thankfully, I won’t be juggling work and classes this time around (although next August may be another story!), but this time of the year is still a hectic one for me. I’m happy to have a few more slightly relaxing weeks before things get crazy here!

How are you spending your last few weeks of summer? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! In the meantime, check out the latest batch of Link Love, and feel free to share your own favorites. :)

What are your favorite links from the last week? Share yours in the comments section below!

Link Love Wednesday: Limited Too is Back!

enhanced-30175-1437505404-2Happy Wednesday! I can’t believe it’s almost back-to-school time… It feels like the summer just started. I think I can speak for all of us when I say that I want the month of July to drag on as long as possible!

This week has brought on a few exciting opportunities for me in my personal and professional life. I’m especially proud to share that I have been named Writer of the Month at Career Camel, where I regularly contribute guest articles with career and academic advice. I have loved writing for them in the last year, and look forward to writing more in the future. Check out my portfolio section to scope out a few of those articles!

My Hump Day could certainly use a pick-me-up, and perhaps yours could, too. Enjoy this week’s batch of Link Love, and as always, share some of your favorite findings in the comments section below! :)

What are some of your favorite links from the week? Sound off in the comments section below!

Discover Your #DormStyle: Designing the Perfect Ocean-Inspired Dorm Room

Source: Wayfair.com

Source: Wayfair.com

With the summer just flying by, many of my readers are already gearing up for the upcoming fall term. For some of you, it will be your first semester in college, and with that comes many adventures: choosing your major, meeting new people and getting involved on campus! When I was a student, one of my favorite experiences was living in the dorms and in student-affiliated housing. Not only was it a great opportunity for me to make friends and live away from home for the first time, but it also gave me the chance to decorate my brand new space!

Flash forward to two years after I graduated from college, and I still love to decorate. Earlier this month, I moved into a brand new apartment, with decorations partially inspired by Old Hollywood and partially inspired by my love for all things aquatic. (Hello, I am a Floridian!) As part of Wayfair.com‘s #DormStyle campaign, I’ll be sharing my tips for designing the perfect ocean-inspired dorm room. :) Feel free to share your favorite findings or your own personal dorm style in the comments section below!

  • Bedding
    Your bedding will set the tone for your entire dorm room, so you’ll want to do it right! For a fabulously aquatic dorm, stick with blues, greens and white. I love this comforter set from Wayfair (pictured above), even though it isn’t explicitly nautical. The fun shapes and colors are still subtle enough to go with your other fixtures and decorations, but still exciting enough to draw the eye.
  • Wall Decorations
    Another great way to show off your dorm style is with fun wall art. Aquatic canvases are definitely in vogue, and you can find some unique pieces at your local off-price stores if you’re willing to dig through the home goods sections. Everyone who has been to one of my parties knows about my unapologetic love for seahorses (I literally hosted a “seahorse seashell party” for my 22nd birthday), so naturally I gravitate toward those art pieces that feature seahorses. These gorgeous Etsy pieces are handmade and add some texture to the mix.
  • Light Fixtures
    Depending on your dorm room setup, you might not get a whole lot of natural light in the room, so light fixtures are a must! A basic floor lamp like this one from Target can (quite literally) light up your whole room. Pick a blue that matches your bedspread or a white shade that is a little more neutral.
  • Organizers
    You’ll be limited on space when you move into the dorms, so you’ll definitely want to invest in some organizers. These bins from Kohl’s are adorable and will help you save some space. Look for bins with similar color palettes or patterns to your overall theme, while still neutral enough to keep around if you decide to switch to a new theme.
  • Miscellaneous
    When you’re shopping, consider pieces that feature anchors, ship wheels and sea creatures. Browse your favorite home goods stores, look for inspiration on Pinterest and check out Wayfair for more #DormStyle posts. Have fun when decorating your dorm room and be creative! The world is your oyster. (Get it?) :)

For more dorm room essentials, check out my list of must-haves. You won’t regret it!

The Weekend Five: Worst Girlfriends in History

Elizabeth_Bathory_PortraitLast year, I wrote a blog post about the worst boyfriends in history – and I’m not talking about my ex who looked like Count Chocula. From Henry VIII (who executed more than one wife and invented a religion simply so he could get a divorce) to Vlad the Impaler (who has the word “impaler” in his name!), the list tackled five male historical figures who were not only ruthless and manipulative, but who would also make horrible boyfriends. Did your boyfriend forget your anniversary? Well, he’s a saint next to Emperor Nero.

Of course, I couldn’t put together a “worst boyfriends” list without posting a list of the worst girlfriends in history as well! Because of women’s roles over the past few centuries, this was a much harder list to create. A lot of the women who were deemed “crazy” by society were actually victims of infidelity and physical/mental abuse, so there was a lot more to the story than met the eye. However, a few of history’s leading ladies still stand out as pretty bad girlfriends/wives.

Dust off those history books, kids. You’re about to get schooled.

The Weekend Five: Worst Girlfriends in History

1. Elizabeth Bathory.
Nobody wants to bring home a serial killer, and that’s exactly what this Hungarian countess was. Over the years, she tortured and brutally murdered hundreds of young servant girls. Some stories even suggest that she drank and bathed in their blood to steal their beauty and youth. Although those stories are probably just a myth, Lady Dracula was not someone you’d want to spend time alone with.

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Mary_I_of_England2. Mary I of England.
The daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, this queen burned so many people at the stake in the name of “religion” that history has nicknamed her “Bloody Mary.” Often dubbed one of the most evil women in history, she exiled and executed hundreds of Protestants simply because they were Protestant. This was one religious extremist you wouldn’t want to introduce to your parents (and believe me, I’ve dated my share of religious extremists).

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3. Elizabeth I of England.
We can’t forget Henry VIII’s other daughter, who also eventually became the Queen of England. Unlike her half-sister, Elizabeth never married, though she did entertain offers from several suitors throughout her life. It turned out that Elizabeth was in love with Robert Dudley, her friend since childhood who happened to already be married. Over the years, she considered many proposals, but ultimately turned them all down and ruled alone. She was a powerful queen whose reign ushered in a golden age. However, she would not be one of history’s best girlfriends even if she did decide to settle down, as it was clear she would always carry a torch for Robert Dudley.

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4. Mary, Queen of Scots.
Mary always reminded me of one of those girls who says “I hate drama,” but always seems to attract it. After the death of her first husband Francis, Mary was married to her first cousin Lord Darnley. However, she most likely had an affair with her private secretary, who was later murdered by Darnley and others. Soon after, Darnley was murdered – probably by James Hepburn, the Earl of Bothwell, with whom Mary conspired. As if this wasn’t soap opera enough, Mary and the Earl of Bothwell then married. Mary, Queen of Scots, is one of history’s worst girlfriends in part because of the men she was drawn to (sorry, Mary, it happens to the best of us). If you were to begin courting her, you might want to make sure there wasn’t another jealous guy out there looking to kill you.

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5. Eve.
According to some religions, Eve was the first woman on Earth, created as a companion for Adam. After listening to a trouble-making serpent who probably was getting bored in the garden, Eve ate the forbidden apple from the tree of knowledge, and soon she and Adam were evicted from Eden. The worst punishment of all? God decided to make childbirth unbearably painful. Eve ends up on the “worst girlfriends in history” list for taking advice from a serpent with legs (aren’t they creepy enough without legs?) instead of using critical thinking skills to weigh the pros and cons, and ultimately getting herself and Adam kicked out of paradise.

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Who would you consider one of the worst girlfriends in history? Sound off in the comments below.

Link Love Wednesday: Attack of the Renaissance Babies

original-29135-1435871149-3Happy Wednesday, readers! July has been an exciting month for me as I moved into a brand new apartment on my own and have been unpacking and settling into this gorgeous bachelor pad. :)

(By bachelor pad, I really mean “gorgeous apartment where I cook, clean, write and finally have access to ABC Family.” But bachelor pad sounds a lot more exciting.)

Of course, in the midst of this move, I still had time to scour the Internet for fabulous links. You’re welcome! Enjoy this latest batch of link love and share your own favorite recent links and articles in the comments section below!

What are your favorite articles, links and other finds from the week? Share yours in the comments section below! :)

The Problem with “Body Positivity” in Today’s Culture

d16388d8a9f6aee3e184b4ebe926e62cIn an age when anything on social media can and will go viral, celebrities and non-celebrities alike are turning to the Internet to share their messages of body positivity and acceptance. With all of the cyber-bullying out there, it’s great to see people using this platform for something good! However, the messages we see online (and in our media) about beauty and body image can be a little conflicting and sometimes more exclusionary than we think.

2015 has been a big year for the the makeup-free selfie craze — and truth be told, I’m not a fan. Let me clarify: I believe we should all have the right to take as many selfies as we want, with or without makeup (until, of course, our friends stop following us on social media for our liberal use of the hashtag #SelfieQueen… sorry, guys!). :) Additionally, we all have the right to choose whether or not to wear makeup when we are in class, out for dinner, or even at the gym. However, we should do it because we feel like it… not because we are trying to make a particular statement about our media’s standards on beauty.

A big reason why I don’t buy into the makeup-free selfie craze is because it can be just as superficial as anything else, and a lot of the time, our online reactions to a celebrity’s photo are very different from our in-person reactions to a makeup-free friend or coworker. When Tyra Banks recently posted a photo of herself without makeup, people applauded her for showing the world her “real” self and demonstrating true body positivity. Meanwhile, when I forget to put on eyeliner, people tell me I look exhausted. :(

b65f127c604ae9d71f6c6c03f5747923e09b934e84aa9625869487b28a215167Makeup or no makeup, the amount of cosmetics you invest in does not determine how real you are or what your value to society truly is. As women, we are often told to wear makeup, but not too much, and don’t let the guys know you’re wearing it! We should go for that natural look that 9 out of 10 men surveyed by Cosmo claim to like, and forgo the red lipstick even if we personally prefer it. Wearing “too much” makeup (as determined by your audience) means you’re only focused on the surface level and you aren’t true to yourself. It probably also means that you have little to no self esteem and that you are too worried about societal beauty standards. And God forbid you wear any makeup when you work out!

It is important to defend a woman’s decision not to wear makeup, and to instead value her for the light she brings into the world. However, it is just as important to defend a woman’s right to wear makeup, get her hair done or have cosmetic surgery without immediately dismissing her as superficial and sad. As women, we can make body positive statements by standing up for one another, treating each other with kindness, and  recognizing that our value is not determined by our looks.

Wear makeup because you want to wear makeup. Skip the makeup if it’s not your thing. Realize that everyone’s preferences on what is aesthetically pleasing can differ dramatically, so don’t hold others to your own.