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!

The Weekend Five: Modern Twists to Your Favorite Disney Movies, Part II

Modern Twists to Your Favorite Disney MoviesFor many of us, Disney’s animated movies were a huge part of our childhood. Twenty years later, it can be fun to watch these movies as adults and relive that simpler time in our lives.

Of course, as we indulge in the classics, it’s fun to ask ourselves how these movies would differ if they took place in modern times! Back in March, I went through the plots of a few Disney favorites and came up with my own versions of these movies in 2015.

However, there are still plenty of popular Disney movies that I didn’t get to write about last time around! This week, I share my present-day plots for five more Disney movies. Enjoy!

The Weekend Five: Modern Twists to Your Favorite Disney Movies, Part II

1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937)
Meet Snow White, a beautiful girl who “hates drama.” Unfortunately for Snow White, drama seems to follow her everywhere, because everyone is jealous of how beautiful she is. Her own stepmother tries to ruin her life by placing a virus on Snow’s Macbook and iPhone, hoping to cut off the girl’s communication with the outside world. This backfires when Snow White meets a group of seven computer engineering students at the local college, who help fix her Apple products and ultimately invite her to move in with them. Her boyfriend isn’t thrilled about her living with multiple guys, but as she explains to him, “Girls just don’t really like me!”

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Modern Day Twists to Disney Movies2. Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Needing an escape from her boring life, Alice decides to visit a new bar in town called The Rabbit Hole. After taking a shot of something that says Drink Me, Alice finds a passageway to a secret club downstairs called Wonderland. There she is introduced to a strange underground music scene and makes a few bizarre new friends. She finds herself especially intrigued by a guy she meets, known only as The Mad Hatter, and accepts his invitation to an Unbirthday Party the next night. However, after spending more time with these new friends over the next few weeks, she realizes how weird and flaky they really are, and ultimately goes back to her regular life.

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3. Peter Pan (1953)
Career-driven and successful Wendy Darling loves her boyfriend, Peter, but worries about the fact that he still lives in his fraternity house five years after they graduated from college. After work each day, she takes care of Peter and his frat brothers by cleaning the house and cooking them dinners, and finds herself wishing Peter would apply for a job already. In the end, she dumps him for an older guy who happens to have a job and a boat.

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Modern Twists to Your Favorite Disney Movies4. Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Aurora is placed under a sleeping curse, in which she sleeps through several world wars and significant historical events. When she finally wakes up, she must adapt to a changing world. One day, she hears a beautiful singing voice in the forest, but is saddened to discover that it is in fact Justin Bieber.

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5. Aladdin (1992)
Aladdin falls for Jasmine, an Instagram-famous lifestyle personality who lives in his hometown and has no idea that he exists. To make matters worse, her boyfriend Jafar has reached a similar level of online fame, mostly because of his flair for ironic facial hair. In a fit of desperation, Aladdin turns to local social media/PR agency Social Genie, who helps him to create popular social media profiles that transform his image. Jasmine quickly falls for Aladdin. In the end, she learns that his awesome online life was completely fake, but still decides to give him a chance.

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How do you think your favorite Disney films would have gone in 2015? Share your ideas in the comments below!

Link Love Wednesday: Happy Graduation!

Happy Wednesday, readers! I can’t believe how quickly this year is flying by. For many of you, it’s graduation season – in other words, time to bedazzle those graduation caps and change your profile picture to something nostalgic. Monday marked the two-year anniversary of my own college graduation, and while I miss that time of my life so dearly, some of it has begun to feel like a distant memory. My advice to grads: Enjoy every moment. Spend time with your friends while everyone is still in the same place. Take way too many pictures. And if you get bored, feel free to stop over here for some Link Love! :)

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

My Twitter Feed in a Nutshell

funny-twitter-acronyms-and-birdsThe year is 2015, and now, more than ever, we turn to social media to unveil our darkest emotions, our sharp wit, and our longing for relevance in an increasingly impersonal world. (We also turn to social media to look at cute puppy pictures and to cyber-stalk our friends from high school.) Of course, the more we share on social media, the more predictable our posts have become.

A few years ago, I wrote about my Facebook newsfeed and the most common posts I see there. While my 600+ Facebook friends and I are all unique, our Facebook statuses (filled with misattributed quotes, thinly veiled song lyrics and terribly misguided political opinions) are anything but. As Twitter has grown in popularity, it has suffered the same fate.

This is what my Twitter home page looks like, in a nutshell, based on the accounts that I follow (or – in some cases – have unfollowed). :) Feel free to add your own favorite commonly viewed tweets to the comments section below.

  • Thoughtful comment about industry specific topic. @Publication http://LinkToRelevantContent.bit.ly/ #IUseTwitterProperly
  • Snarky observation about a casual acquaintance at the same social event I’m at. #SoMuchSnark
  • Depressing yet slightly cryptic tweet about an ex who hopefully doesn’t read my Twitter. #ActuallyIHopeHeDoes #InsideJokeOnlyWeKnew
  • Photo of animals doing adorable things or being unlikely best friends, captioned with something clever and equally cute.
  • I checked in at @TrendyBarhttp://MyLifeIsCoolerThanYours.bit.ly/
  • Funny tweet that lightly touches on a sensitive news story and gets 5K retweets. #OhToBePopular
  • Ultra-personal tweet about an area of my life that only my significant other or close friends would know. #TMI #WhoReadsThis
  • Summary of every photo I have ever posted on Instagram. #ReallyIDontPostAnythingElse
  • Headline: “Controversial Social Topic and Why We Need to Talk About It.” http://SocialCommentary.bit.ly/ 
  • My @TrendyBrand goodies arrived in the mail today and I’m obsessed! #PlzReadThis #SendMeFreeStuff

Anything I’m missing? Add your own favorites to the comments section below!

Link Love Wednesday: Dark Lord Funk

maxresdefaultHi everyone! As always,  I hope you are having a wonderful week. :) Unfortunately for me, since last week’s Link Love, I have been a little under the weather with pharyngitis and laryngitis. When I do talk, I sound like a 13-year-old boy whose voice is finally starting to change! Thankfully, between cups of tea and bowls of hot soup, I have been relatively productive, going through some spring cleaning, publishing a few guest articles, and (of course) collecting our latest batch of Link Love. The Internet sure is a wonderful place to go when you’re not feeling well enough to do much else!

What are some of your favorite links and articles from the week? Bloggers, did you post anything you’re particularly proud of this week Share in the comments section below! :)

Guest Post: 5 Ways To Stop Sabotaging Your Health Goals

yIkFIF4rHi friends! This has been a big month for me, in terms of guest blogging opportunities. :) My latest guest blog, published on LifeStyleBody, focuses on the excuses we make during our weight loss programs and how we can stop sabotaging ourselves.

Pop on over to LifeStyleBody and check it out!

Thank you, as always, for your support!

xoxo Valerie