The Freshman 15: Tips for Studying Abroad

Tips for Studying Abroad | So It Must Be True

A much-needed gelato run on a hot summer day in Rome!

Exactly three years ago, I was having the time of my life in Europe. It was the summer before my senior year of college, and I had embarked on a short-term study abroad program focused on international events and festivals in London, Paris and Rome.

Rereading that paragraph, Post-Grad Val is incredibly jealous of College Val right now.

Studying abroad was an amazing experience, and my only regret was not doing it sooner and for a longer period of time. Once you graduate from college and begin working in the real world, finding time and funds for travel can be a lot more difficult, and you’ll find yourself wishing you followed your wanderlust when you still had the time and scholarships.

If you are currently in college and have a healthy thirst for adventure, you’ve probably already added studying abroad to your university bucket list. After all, it’s a great opportunity to travel the world and immerse yourself in a culture that may be different from your own!

For those considering studying abroad in college, check out my fifteen tips for choosing the right program and making the most of your experience.

The Freshman 15: Tips for Studying Abroad

15 Tips for Studying Abroad | So It Must Be True1. Talk to friends and classmates who have already been there.
One great thing about college is that you’ll likely cross paths with people who are either: a) well-traveled, b) from another country, or c) all of the above. Because of this, if you’re interested in participating in a language immersion program in Spain this summer, it’s likely that you already know someone who has been to Spain or participated in this type of program. Talk to those people and ask them questions about what to expect and how their experiences were. Chances are, they can give you a lot of information that you won’t read in the program description or travel guide book. If you can, try to get as much information as possible from a peer’s point of view.

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2. Evaluate your needs.
Before signing on to a particular program, think about what you’re looking for. Can you commit to a semester-long program, or would you rather do something shorter term? Do you want to receive class credit? Do you need a program that will fulfill an internship requirement? Ask yourself these questions ahead of time to help pinpoint the right program for you.

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3. Consider the costs.
Your program description might include a set cost, but does that cost include airfare, lodging, travel within the country, or food? Is the program part of a university course? Will you be paying tuition as well? Factor in all of these possible expenses when deciding if the program fits your budget.

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15 Tips for Studying Abroad | So It Must Be True4. Look at other colleges and universities in your state for options.
If your university doesn’t offer a program that interests you, another one might. Check the study abroad websites for other colleges in your state to see what programs they have and if the credits can be easily transferred to your school.

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5. Seek out scholarships.
Many universities offer study abroad scholarships for those who seek them. The trouble is, many students don’t realize that these scholarships are out there! Through a little research on my own, I was able to secure a small study abroad scholarship through one of the departments on campus. All you have to do is apply… worst case, you’re no worse off than when you started!

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6. Consider a program that relates to your major or career goals.
Studying abroad is an awesome travel experience, but don’t forget that a key part of studying abroad is “studying.” This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be stuck in a classroom all day, but keep in mind that the study abroad experience should be educational. For the amount of money you’ll be shelling out, you probably want to look into programs that will either be applicable to your degree program (or grad school goals) in some way or that will make you more marketable in the workforce.

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Tips for Studying Abroad7. Research the country and its culture ahead of time.
It’s important to have some knowledge of the history and culture of the place where you will be living for the next few weeks or months. Not only will this help you to determine whether or not this program is the right choice for you, but it will also be helpful information for you once you arrive. Have a basic awareness of the country’s current events, its famous dishes and its customs.

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8. Learn the language.
Do I expect you to become fluent in French by the time you arrive at the De Gaulle airport? No. However, it’s important to learn some of the basics — hello, goodbye, please and thank you are a great place to start. My French is atrocious (I’m much more fluent in Spanish, but my French accent is only passable if I mumble), but every day, I made sure to say a cheerful “Bon jour” and “Au revoir!” to the kind staff members at the hotel where we stayed in Paris. Attempting to use the country’s native language is a sign of respect, and it makes you more of a gracious guest. Of course, some programs do require proficiency in the country’s language, so be aware of that when you compare programs.

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9. Get to know your program administrator.
Contact the faculty person in charge of the program before signing up with any questions you may have. This person has likely been through the program before, and he or she will be able to help guide you through the process or help you determine if the program is right for you.

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Tips For Studying Abroad | So it Must Be True10. Figure out your mode of communication.
This was something I neglected to do prior to my study abroad program, and it was a major source of stress for me. (It was also before I had an iPhone, so I couldn’t rely on WiFi and iMessage like the rest of my friends.) Talk to your family and figure out how you’ll communicate overseas throughout the program. Through email? International SIM Card? Skype? Determine the best mode of communication for you and your family, and figure out how you’ll get in touch in case of an emergency.

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11. City dwellers: don’t forget about transportation!
During my study abroad trip, I had metro passes for each of the three major cities I visited, and this was a huge weight off my shoulders! This allowed me unlimited travel throughout those cities during a set period of time, and it was definitely worthwhile for me. If you’re staying in one city for long, consider investing in metro passes as well. It will make life a lot easier.

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12. Call your credit card company beforehand.
As a financial services professional, I’d be crazy not to mention this one. Make sure your credit card companies are aware of when you will be out of the country so that they don’t freeze your accounts while you’re away! I made the mistake of booking Versailles tickets online while I was still in the states, and found that my account was frozen almost immediately after for suspected credit card theft. Make sure your financial institutions are aware of your whereabouts to avoid any mishaps once you leave the country – it will be a lot harder to solve these problems away from home!

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15 Tips for Studying Abroad | So It Must Be True13. Have an open mind.
Study abroad is the perfect time to experience things for the first time. Order a meal you wouldn’t normally try, explore the city’s cultural centers and historical sites, and get out of your comfort zone! Immerse yourself in the culture. After all, when will you get another chance to do so?

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14. Document everything!
Whenever I travel, I cannot be found without my trusty digital camera. During my study abroad trip, as well as during a separate trip to Israel a few months prior, I took pictures of everything! At night, I used a notebook to keep track of what I had photographed, as well as to journal my experiences and feelings thus far. I also blogged a bit during my study abroad trip (see here, here and here). Remember to take tons of pictures, and feel free to blog about your experiences as well! Years later, I still enjoy looking back at those photos, journals and blog entries to relive those amazing trips.

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15. Believe in yourself.
I know this sounds cheesy, but bear with me! While I loved my study abroad experience, one of my biggest regrets in college was not taking a summer-long internship opportunity in London. The main reason I didn’t fully pursue that program was because I feared I wouldn’t be able to get around the city myself and I doubted my ability to navigate. When I finally did visit London for the first time, I learned how to use the metro very quickly, and immediately regretted my decision not to participate in an internship there. Whatever doubts are holding you back from a program, cast them aside and just go!

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What questions do you have about studying abroad? Any tips or resources? Share yours in the comments section below!

Guest Post: Using the Summer to Prepare for University

logotransparentHappy Monday! I hope all of my American readers had a very happy Fourth of July. :)

In the middle of all the excitement of packing and moving to a new apartment, I forgot to share the latest in my guest blogging adventures. For those of you in college who are looking for ways to get ahead this summer, check out my Career Camel article all about using the summer to prepare for your next year in school! Many of these tips include awesome ways to get out of your comfort zone, meet new people and make yourself more marketable when you start looking for jobs.

Click here to read the article. Be sure to comment with your own summer advice! :)

Link Love Wednesday: Futuristic Fashion, Love & Mathematics

5ClGUNklg-wk7KVyQwU50QHappy July, readers! I hope the summer is treating everyone well and that you are finding fun ways to beat the heat. Grab a cold beverage, crank up the air conditioner, and tune into this week’s batch of link love to entertain yourself on one of those days when you just can’t bear to go outside. :)

What are some of your favorite links from the last week? Share your Internet findings in the comments section below!

Get Skinny Quick: A Summary of Every Diet That Has Ever Existed

cathy-image1Over the last year, I’ve opened up about my health and weight loss efforts through this blog and through social media in the hopes that I can help others in their journey to better health and overall wellness. I began my first Whole30 in February 2014, but over the years I’ve experimented with a variety of programs and even a few fad diets, so I’m familiar with what else is out there.

Longtime readers will know that I love to make fun of everything in today’s culture, but what many of you may not know is that I also love to make fun of the multi-billion dollar diet industry as well. We are overwhelmed with options for how we can lose weight and achieve our health goals, often to the point that we don’t know where to get started. Diet and exercise begin to sound too simplified; we need something with more rules, more structure. So much structure we can barely breathe.

1317519207815_5947909Of course, we all know that losing weight usually comes down to one thing: burning more calories than we are taking in. However, we tend to disagree on where those calories should come from, whether or not we should count them, and how much we should really focus on them in the first place.

Today’s post summarizes and pokes fun at the many weight loss options we have, according to the media and the diet industry. Which one do you subscribe to? :)

  • Women’s Magazine Diet: As its name suggests, this type of eating plan has been popularized by women’s magazines and lifestyle websites everywhere. In order to lose weight, your diet should solely consist of Greek yogurt (topped with honey and granola), fish, quinoa, hummus, a single piece of dark chocolate every night, and enough kale to make your head spin. Also, you should have a glass of red wine every night because of the antioxidant properties. (Never mind the fact that the health benefits of red wine mainly come from the skin of red grapes, and therefore you’d be better off eating red grapes!)
  • Diet-JokeTiny Meals Diet: Eat twelve 100-calorie meals per day, because everyone knows your metabolism speeds up when you’re scrambling in the kitchen to come up with twelve tiny meals.
  • Complicate Your Life Diet: You must eat four meals per day at 300 calories each. The first meal must consist solely of simple carbs. The second meal must consist solely of protein. The third meal must consist solely of vegetables. For the fourth meal, you must incorporate all food groups, arrange your plate by color and perform the dance of the seven veils before eating. If it sounds simple enough, then you’re doing it wrong.
  • Celebrity Diet: Every female celebrity with a toned bod is asked to share her secrets for obtaining a trim waist. She will suggest the following: Eat everything you want “in moderation.” Don’t think about dieting. Eat dark chocolate every day. Be confident. Have a lot of sex (even though your current weight makes you feel less likely to find a romantic partner). Laugh a lot. Hug your children. Forget the fact that these celebrities have trainers, personal chefs and strict diet regimens. Just follow these rules and you might lose weight, or you might just fill up on dark chocolate.
  • 4580d82a39cb4994dad989276ebecf51If It Fits Your Macros Diet: Eat pizza and donuts all day in accordance with how much you exercise. If your macros don’t add up by the end of the day, grab a spoonful of peanut butter.
  • Clean Eating Lite Diet: Eat lots of vegetables, but only when prepared with parmesan cheese and panko bread crumbs. (Thanks, Pinterest!)
  • Paleo Lite Diet: Say you’re paleo, but really just eat lots of bacon and almond flour pancakes.
  • Obscure Ingredient Diet: Does the recipe call for salt? Use Himalayan sea salt instead. Why drink water when you can drink Moon Juice? Buy only organic foods, even if they don’t exist in an organic variety. You’ll be sure to lose weight, because you’ll give up on finding these ingredients in your neighborhood grocery store and wind up not eating anything.
  • tumblr_m7tvb3sIkF1qzplvlo1_1280Link-Bait Diet: This diet pulls you in with a catchy headline or video that you can relate to. “DO YOU TRY EVERY DIET OUT THERE AND STILL STRUGGLE TO LOSE WEIGHT?” they ask. Why yes, you think to yourself, that’s totally me. You click the link and get sucked into an hour-long video that promises to give you five weight-loss tools that will help you obtain the body of your dreams. But first – the narrator says, “You’re probably wondering why I’m qualified to talk about this.” No I’m not. “Well, I used to be just like you… [cue sob story about the narrator’s weight problems and how depressed he/she was].” I don’t care, just tell me the five tools! “Before I tell you the five tools, let me tell you a little more about how insecure you must be feeling.” An hour later, you have learned nothing about how to lose weight, but you have been offered a special discount if you act now and purchase these diet pills.
  • Pre-Packaged Merchandise Diet: Don’t even bother with fruits, vegetables or your own home-cooking. Instead, buy diet drinks and frozen meals that will allow you to quantify exactly how many calories or points you have accrued. These drinks and frozen meals can only be purchased if they are sold by the company whose diet you’re on.
  • Juice Cleanse Diet: Drink your calories for the next 3 days to 1 week. This will cause you to be really moody. Say snarky things to everyone around you and lose all of your friends. When the cleanse is over, no one will invite you out anymore, especially not for food-related outings. The weight will really start to come off quickly!

Have I missed any important diets? Sound off in the comments section below! :)

Forget Quinoa! 5 Superfoods You Should Be Eating

Forget Quinoa! 5 Superfoods You Should Be EatingFlip through any health magazine in your neighborhood supermarket, and you’ll quickly find an article about the next greatest superfood. In the past few years, every time I’ve searched for clean and healthy recipes, I’ve been immediately inundated with quinoa and kale dishes to the point of nausea. Does anyone else feel the same?

Throughout my Whole30 journey, I have tried to incorporate a lot of nutrient-dense foods into my diet, and am amazed at how much better I feel. Over time, I have not only discovered just how delicious they can be, but how many health benefits these foods have. They may not be as glam as the quinoa-kale salads that have exploded all over my home page on Pinterest, but they can still be prepared in fun and flavorful ways and deserve a little love.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact a medical professional. I am not a licensed dietician — I just happen to play one on TV.

Without further adieu…

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Forget Quinoa! 5 Superfoods You Should Be Eating1. Sweet Potato
Forget the marshmallow-filled sweet potato casseroles you grew up eating. Sweet potatoes on their own are an excellent source of Vitamin A (377% of your daily Vitamin A needs in just one cup), which is important for good vision and healthy skin, among other things. Sweet potatoes also have nearly as much potassium as bananas, but only 1/3 of the amount of sugar. Paleo foodies are already aware of the many awesome ways to prepare your sweet potatoes, but for those who need a little inspiration, check out my Pinterest page for recipes. Pop over to Lexi’s Clean Kitchen for my favorite sweet potato gnocchi recipe!

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2. Cabbage
Cabbage gets a bad rap, thanks to this scene from Austin Powers (you’re welcome), but aside from its reputation as a food for circus folks, this vegetable is actually packed with tons of health benefits. Cabbage is a good source of Vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting. Cabbage also has cancer-fighting properties and is good for your immune system, heart health and more. Not sure how to incorporate it into your diet? Try these garlicky cabbage “steaks” from Rockin Mom’s Kitchen and you won’t regret it!

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Forget Quinoa! 5 Superfoods You Should Be Eating3. Eggs
No, they will not give you heart disease. Eggs actually have the potential to improve your HDL (the good kind of cholesterol) and are a complete source of protein. They are pretty much perfect! I hard-boil several eggs early in the week as a grab-and-go healthy snack, but they can be prepared in a variety of ways. Dani Spies from Clean and Delicious has a great 101 video about how to buy, store and cook eggs. Vegetarians, this is a great protein option for you!

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4. Blueberries
As a child, I always heard that if it could stain your clothes, it was probably pretty healthy. Of course, you could easily stain your clothes with food dyes and plenty of not-so-healthy snack foods, but the rule more or less applies for fruits and veggies. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and a relatively low glycemic fruit, which means they won’t wreak havoc on your blood sugar. Eat them raw or bake them into something – the world is your oyster.

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Forget Quinoa! 5 Superfoods You Should Be Eating5. Pineapple
Not only do pineapples make excellent homes for hyperactive sea creatures (here’s looking at you, Spongebob), but they also taste awesome and have a lot of important nutrients. Pineapples contain an enzyme called bromelain, which reduces swelling, bruising and inflammation. One cup of pineapple contains more than 100% of your recommended daily Vitamin C, which is vital for the immune system. Try cooking up some pineapple chunks in coconut oil and cinnamon for a sweet but still healthy treat. If nothing else, it will make your kitchen smell fantastic!

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What are some superfoods you enjoy? Share your favorites in the comments section below!

What I Really Mean When I Say “I’m Fine”

I-Want-Someone-To-Look-Me-In-The-Eyes-300x270We’ve all seen those Tumblr images about the girl who says she’s “fine.” You know the ones I’m talking about, the ones that say things like “When I say ‘I’m fine,’ I want someone to hold me close and tell me, ‘No you’re not.’” The ones that confess that any time we tell others we are okay, we are clearly lying, because how can we ever truly be okay?

I’ve never been a fan of these quotes because they’ve really popularized a culture of not saying what we mean. In the past, when I have told others I am “fine” after a stressful event, it genuinely meant “I’m fine” – or, at the very worst, “I’d rather not talk about it, so let’s leave it alone.” It has never meant “I am hanging on by a single thread and I am dying for you to probe for more information.” And yet, it seems that whenever I say something is “fine” or “okay,” people interpret it as a walking Tumblr meme, with the faceless girl crying into her eclectic sweater.

This extends into those viral dating articles about “what she really means when she says ____.” In today’s culture, I would expect these sweeping generalizations from a men’s magazine (no offense, guys!), but women’s magazines and lifestyle websites are just as guilty of these articles. Whenever I’ve made the mistake of using the word “fine,” guys I’ve dated have even said, “I know you’re not fine, because no girl ever actually says that and means it.” How depressing is that? Forget all of the other overanalyzing that both sexes do when it comes to decoding the other one’s text messages. (Having said that, if anyone ever types “K.” in a text message, you know that person is pissed off.)

tumblr_m954r2KFeZ1qfqg3uo1_500It’s true that all of us have a lot going on underneath the surface. There are plenty of things we don’t know about other people and their struggles, insecurities and relationships. Because of this, we should treat everyone with the kindness and understanding we would wish to receive from others. If we suspect that a friend is going through something difficult (even though she claims to be fine), we can say, “If you need to talk about anything, I’m here,” but we shouldn’t immediately jump to the conclusion that everyone who doesn’t say “I FEEL AWESOME!” is crying on the inside.

Tone is an important thing to consider when conversing with friends. Obviously, there are instances where the person sounds sarcastic or truly dejected, but please take those instances on a case-by-case basis and don’t automatically assume that everyone is feeling completely awful or that everyone wants to talk about their emotions. For once, let’s take what others say at face value, and assume they are not lying to us about their innermost feelings. Many times, they are not.

The Weekend Five: Awesome Things That Happened Last Week

funny-dinosaurUnless you were living under a rock for the last week, you probably saw the Caitlyn Jenner Vanity Fair cover reveal on social media. Caitlyn’s very public transition has been extremely educational for many who have never met someone in the transgender community before, and in turn, I feel that this will inspire more widespread kindness and acceptance in the future.

However, amidst all the latest media coverage of Caitlyn’s transition (both positive and negative), many of us have missed out on other important events in the news lately. This edition of The Weekend Five will bring you up to speed on some of the other awesome things happening in the world in the last week or so.

The Weekend Five: Awesome Things That Happened Last Week

1. A brand new dinosaur was discovered.
The “Hellboy” dinosaur, as scientists have nicknamed it, was recently discovered and is related to the triceratops we all know and love. What is especially cool about this discovery is that, according to researchers, “it’s the first example of evolutionary convergence in horned dinosaurs.” On a romantic note, one of the lead researchers actually proposed to his girlfriend in the paper he published about the dinosaur. How sweet!

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DNA Analysis.

DNA Analysis.

2. A new DNA test has been developed to determine the history of viruses in a patient.
This test, called VirScan, will tell you what viruses you have had throughout your lifetime and could lead to early detection of other medical conditions. Scientists also believe that this could give us better insight into what triggers other diseases, such as cancer.

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3. Guam became the first U.S. territory to legalize gay marriage.
I honestly don’t understand why this isn’t legal everywhere, but this is still an important step toward equality.

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4. Orange County, NY signed an animal abuse registry into law.
What this means is that convicted animal abusers will be logged into an animal abuse registry, which will prevent them from being able to own animals. As an animal lover and member of a dog-rescuing family, I think this needs to happen everywhere! The law is very tough, especially on two-time offenders, and hopefully will protect a lot of animals from abuse and neglect in the future.

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5. Researchers were able to restore lost memories in mice.
This is a huge breakthrough because it could ultimately help to treat patients with amnesia. Researchers are hopeful that this treatment could restore memories for patients with early stage Alzheimer’s, head trauma and other brain disorders.

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What are some awesome news stories you picked up throughout the week? Share your favorites in the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: Lessons Learned From 1990s Pop Culture

Lessons Learned from 1990s Pop CultureAs someone who was born in 1990 and lived through most of that decade, I will always have a soft spot for the 90s and the music, movies and TV shows that came with it. Of course, the subject always tends to be a little overdone, but I couldn’t help but share my own feelings about that scrunchie-filled time in our history!

There are a lot of surprising lessons we can all learn from 1990s pop culture, which we’ll discuss in this weekend’s edition of The Weekend Five. Feel free to add your own to the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: Lessons Learned From 1990s Pop Culture

1. Inanimate objects come to life as soon as you leave the room.
Thanks to movies like Toy Story and the Brave Little Toaster sequels, a part of me grew up believing that whenever I left the house, my toys and household appliances gained consciousness and had conversations with each other. (I’m still not entirely unconvinced.) Now in 2015, this is probably why I can’t find a few things in my kitchen… They simply walked off to enjoy a new life.

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Five Lessons Learned from 1990s Pop Culture2. If you want to be someone’s lover, you have to get with their friends.
I’m assuming the Spice Girls meant that you should befriend their friends, and not literally “get with” them. In the song Wannabethe Spice Girls make a very good point — if you’re interested in someone, you need to show interest in their friends and the other important people in your boo’s life as well. They also say something about a “zig-a-zig-ah,” whose definition happens to be one of the biggest mysteries of the 1990s.

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3. “We were on a break” is never a good excuse for anything you did to upset your significant other.
Actually, never turn to Ross Geller from Friends for any kind of relationship advice. That should be the real lesson here.

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4. With the proper makeover, the nerdiest girl in school can transform into the prom queen and land the hottest guy in school.
This “lesson” eventually led to horribly unrealistic expectations for dorky girls everywhere (myself included). Sadly, my makeover didn’t come until college, at a time when nerdiness and “quirkiness” had started to become vaguely attractive traits anyway. I had to watch She’s All That many times before I realized that Freddie Prinze Jr. was never going to enroll at my school.

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Five Lessons Learned from 1990s Pop Culture5. Don’t ever talk to a girl who says she just has a friend.
In his song Just A Friend, when Biz Markie asks the girl he likes if she has a boyfriend, she responds, “No I don’t. I only have a friend.” They build a relationship, but when he goes to visit her at college, he quickly runs into her male “friend” kissing her in the dorms. The moral to the story? Don’t ever talk to a girl who says she just has a friend. Ladies: If a guy asks you if you’re seeing someone and you tell him “I only have a friend,” you sound extremely sketchy. We really do have platonic male friends, but if we feel the need to mention them when a new guy asks if you’re single, the relationship probably isn’t all that platonic.

(Side Note: I know that this song came out in 1989, but it feels so 90s to me and it officially went platinum in 1990, so I am including it in 1990s pop culture!)

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What are your favorite lessons from 1990s pop culture? Share yours in the comments section below!

Link Love Wednesday: Kate Spade & Mercury Retrograde

imageGood evening, readers!

For those of you who have been feeling a little off lately, you’re not alone. Mercury is in retrograde, which means that everyone is going absolutely crazy — particularly those of us who are Virgos or Geminis — and life is stranger than usual, to say the least. (According to my dad, this might have more to do with the fact that I’m not taking my vitamins than the idea that the planets control my life, but it’s fun to imagine nonetheless.) Have you noticed any changes in the last few days?

Whether you’re a big believer in all things astrology or a skeptic, enjoy today’s batch of links to get you through the week!

What links are you loving lately? Share your favorites in the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: Lessons Learned from Audrey Hepburn Characters

Five Lessons Learned from Audrey Hepburn CharactersEverything I know, I learned from Audrey Hepburn.

Okay, perhaps that’s an exaggeration, but ever since I first watched Roman Holiday back in high school, I have been in awe of the glamorous actress and her equally glamorous characters. I dressed up as Holly Golightly for my decades-themed 21st birthday party (complete with the fancy cigarette holder), and whenever I’m stressed out, I’ll often turn on one of her movies to relax. (I even somehow integrated Audrey’s film characters into a blog post about balancing health and a social life.) The actress herself was someone to aspire to – a humanitarian and devoted mother.

This weekend’s blog focuses on a few of the lessons to be learned from some of her more popular roles. Share your own favorites in the comments section below!

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1. “Oh, but Paris isn’t for changing planes, it’s… it’s for changing your outlook… for throwing open the windows and letting in… letting in la vie en rose.” – Sabrina Fairchild, Sabrina (1954)
Early in the movie, a lovesick and insecure Sabrina travels from New York to Paris to attend culinary school, and she emerges a sophisticated and confident young woman. The lesson to be learned from this? Sometimes, all you need is a change in scenery to become a different person. For Sabrina, that new backdrop is the Eiffel Tower, but in reality it can be anywhere – a new city, a new country, or even a new park across town that you’ve never visited before. Travel, no matter how far the distance, can change your perspective on the world, on people and on life in general. (And of course, when in doubt, Paris is always a good idea.)

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Five Lessons Learned from Audrey Hepburn Characters2. “There are certain shades of limelight that can wreck a girl’s complexion.” – Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Not all attention is positive attention. Holly Golightly learns this the difficult way, as she finds herself at the center of more than one scandal throughout the film. Certain shades of limelight, in fact, can lead to a negative public perception of a person. It’s okay to make mistakes from time to time, but important to strongly consider the choices you make and align them with the reputation you want to have.

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3. “When you can be fancy-free and flash a smile that folks come flocking to see, you’ll be as lovely as can be.” – Jo Stockton, Funny Face (1957)
Positivity goes a long way. Sometimes, a simple smile can make a person’s whole day that much brighter. We may worry about how well we’re dressing for our body types or when was the last time we had our roots touched up, but an even more important lesson in how to be lovely is to consider the way we make others feel and the type of energy we put out into the world.

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5 Lessons Learned from Audrey Hepburn Characters4. “You musn’t give your heart to a wild thing. The more you do, the stronger they get, until they’re strong enough to run into the woods or fly into a tree. And then to a higher tree and then to the sky.” – Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Don’t go into a relationship with the intent to change someone. If the person you fall for tells you that he or she doesn’t want to settle down, believe that person. Never idealize someone to the point that their flaws or even their differences in opinion don’t exist. Recognize people for whom they are and don’t try to pin down someone who doesn’t want to be pinned down.

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5. When in doubt, break the rules and take a mental health day. – Princess Ann, Roman Holiday (1953)
This lesson isn’t a quote from Roman Holiday, but it does partially sum up the film’s premise. Princess Ann has grown weary of her press engagements during her tour of Europe, so she escapes to spend a day as a Roman tourist, making a few unlikely friends along the way. The film ends on a bittersweet note, and she ultimately returns to her duties as princess, but Ann does have the opportunity to experience Rome from a different perspective and make lasting memories of her time in the ancient city. Sometimes in life, it’s okay to take a break from your obligations and do something exciting for your own well-being. Recognize when you are being stretched too thin, and do something about it.

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What are your favorite lessons from Audrey Hepburn’s iconic movie roles? Sound off in the comments section below!