Biker Babe Within

December 9, 2010 Leave a comment

As of lately, I have been sporting my fall leather jacket. And let me tell you, I have been getting a lot of flack for it! So I wanted to blog about the fabulousness of leather–to shut up the non-believers. There are certain items in the fashion world that are worthy to be called timeless. A few of these constants include the little black dress, the basic black pump, and perhaps the most versatile of them all—leather. “Leather?” you ask. Yes! There are countless eye-catching ways to wear this functional fabric. That’s the beauty of it. You can’t possibly put your finger on just one trend.

Luckily, it happens to be one of the hottest upcoming trends for 2011. You’ll find anything from skinny leather pants to tight leather mini dresses, and, of course, the classic leather jacket trend is as hot as ever. Plan on seeing multiple colors from blacks to browns—even burnt red makes an appearance this season.

Remember when the word “leather” conjured up images of a tough biker chick on a Harley? Now it’s quite the contrary! The runway is on fire as women turn it up a notch with these sizzling new styles. Women in leather represent the new age, the modern woman: strong, confident, powerful, sexy, and self-sufficient. Believe me, this is only the beginning of the leather dynasty, as the fashion industry doesn’t seem to be giving up its use of this material anytime soon.

What’s more, many famous icons are known for adding their own twist of personal style to a simple leather jacket. James Dean had a cool, defiant biker look. John Travolta, as Danny Zucco, introduced the rebellious Greased Lightning image. Then Madonna rocked the punk-chic 80’s leather jacket look. Each icon brought us one step closer to where we are today. Now, jackets aren’t the only form of leather being worn; we have branched out with creativity and innovation! Throughout history, leather is one thing that has been, and always will remain, fashionable.

Keep in mind that any piece of leather clothing you buy is worth every penny because the trend is here to stay. It is simply a closet staple. Investing in something you can wear now and ten years from now is no doubt a wise decision! So the next time someone gives you crap for looking biker, don’t be afraid to tell em off! 🙂

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“Pearls Before Breakfast”

December 9, 2010 Leave a comment

Do we notice and appreciate beauty in our everyday lives?  Do we tend to get caught up in the havoc of the day that we don’t stop to acknowledge everything around us?  Yes, we are all guilty of  both.  Gene Wiengarten’s “Pearls Before breakfast” is a perfect example of what we as Americans are doing wrong.

In an experiment, renowned and talented violinist, Joshua Bell, decided to play intricate pieces such as “Chaconne” and “Ave Maria” on a random Washington street corner. He wanted to test the everyday busy person, to see if they would take a minute out of their day to stop and appreciate the music. Although bets were placed, saying his talent would surely stop a crowd of 35-40 people, and he would certainly make $100–they were wrong.

Only a few passerbys stopped and he made about $32. A man who typically makes $1000 an hour, made $32. To me, this experiment was genius. Although the humble Bell did not want the word “genius” to ever be used with his name. I thought it was so smart for him to play non-familiar music, to really see if people would stop just out of appreciation for music alone. Wiengarten said, “The musician did not play popular tunes whose familiarity alone might have
drawn interest. That was not the test.These were masterpieces that have endured for centuries on their brilliance alone, soaring music befitting the grandeur of cathedrals and concert halls.”

Throughout Bell’s street recital, only a few people, most of them being children, stopped to listen. However, a business man named Tindley said he saw him from his work window and said, “Most people, they play music; they don’t feel it,”  “well, that man was feeling it. That man was moving. Moving into the sound.” At the end of the experiment, only one person had recognized who he was. So she tossed in a $20 bill as she introduced herself–without her, he would have only made $12.

And so we see, from “Pearls Before Breakfast,”that too often we overlook the simpler, yet finer things in life.  If we continue to get caught up in our to-do lists and hectic schedules, we’ll eventually miss the opportunity to appreciate something great and something beautiful.

At the End of the Road

December 9, 2010 Leave a comment

Today I enjoyed my final Feature Writing class (ok, it was a potluck), but as this week progresses, I am having my “final” everything.  As a December graduate, the closing of my college life has been surreal. It truly hasn’t hit me yet that I won’t ever be returning to Creighton–the safe-haven I call home–again. The past four years have absolutely been memorable and monumental.   However, this means I have also been in a constant comfort zone.  Although this is a positive thing, I also feel it is something I need to branch out of.

As I take one step closer to the real world, I find myself ready and able to take on any challenges that come my way. Creighton as a whole, along with its fantastic faculty, have made me a strong, confident, intelligent woman ready for the world.

As far as my Feature Writing class, it has been extremely productive and enjoyable—as expected with any Carol course. I personally loved this course because I have written for a magazine before: La Vie Cherie. I felt there was so much room for interpretation within the assignments, allowing everyone’s personal creativity to shine.  As the semester continued, I began getting more and more comfortable with the ranges of my writing style.  I feel it was beneficial for me to change the pace of my writing, as Carol suggested. My feature story to Seventeen Magazine was a huge change for me. I generally write in an easy-going, sarcastic tone, but this particular assignment made me be a more versatile writer. This worked as well within my blogs, my freestyles kept my personality, but the class articles took on a serious voice. I feel like I learned and grew so much throughout the course of the semester as a student, writer and person. And I’m so fortunate to have had the experience of taking this course and being in Dr. Carol’s class. 🙂

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Add Some Flair to A Chair

December 9, 2010 Leave a comment

When the dark, dull winter season comes around, I get a little stir crazy. And let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than cabin fever. During this time, I like to think of ways to get creative and inventive. Whether it’s making a homemade mud mask, whipping up a new dinner recipe, or, in this case, transforming a simple piece of furniture into something new, my efforts always uplift my mood and update my surroundings.

I have always considered myself to be pretty resourceful. I love being able to look at something, imagine it in a different way, and re-invent it to fit my style. In this article, I will teach you how fun and easy it is to take something drab and make it fab!

The latest creation I have undergone is adding flare to a boring old chair. First things first: take an outdated chair that you can’t even bare to look at anymore, or go to a flea market and buy one that has a nice structure (despite ugly fabric or colors). Then go to a local fabric store and choose your favorite print that will compliment the chair and the room it’s going to occupy.

The next step is to change the color with furniture spray paint. I took my chair into our garage, after removing the seat and back cushions, and sprayed the arms and legs with black spray. While that dried, I took the new fabric and fit it over the old cushions. Then I stapled the fabric to the cushions with an upholstery fabric stapler. Once the chair had dried, I used the heavy-duty stapler to staple the new and improved cushions back on and…ta-da! A brand new mod chair was ready to be put on display.

To me, winter calls for change and renewal of mind, body, soul, and furniture. Keeping busy with little do-it-yourself projects like this will brighten your dreary winter spirit and enable you to learn you’re more talented than you think!

Glee an Advocate for Gay Rights

December 5, 2010 Leave a comment

When I first started watching Glee, I had merely expected some good laughs and solid entertainment by the fun, upbeat music. I had no idea the human rights activist within me would be released. Amazing actor Chris Colfer, plays Kurt Hommel on Glee, an extremely flamboyant gay boy.  However, this isn’t exactly acting for Colfer, as he is an open gay 19-year-old outside of the show. Showing Kurt’s trials and tribulations from the harsh, yet realistic prejudices he faces with bullies each day, is actually refreshing.  I say this in the sense that it is an eye-opener for the ignorant people out there who don’t realize the internal struggles gays deal with on a daily basis.

I came across a website that voices the same opinions as mine. It said that Executive Writer Ryan Murphy is an open-gay, which helped him empathize with Kurt, and therefore write outstanding material. I personally think shows like Glee are pivotal in this day in age. It’s so important to branch outside of the mainstream and embrace diversity, individuality and openness to those who are different. So I commend, and will continue to support Glee and Fox Family, for their impactful presence on my Tuesday nights.

How to Move On & Move Forward From a Break-Up

December 3, 2010 Leave a comment

Let’s face it. Every girl has had her heart torn out, stomped on, put in a blender and cruelly poured back into the empty soul of her being. Every girl has drenched her pillowcase in tears on the jerk she once called “Mr. Right.” And certainly, every girl has eaten a tub of ice cream, entirely in the name of love. We as females, at one point or another, have unfortunately all shared in the heart-wrenching aftermath of a break up.

This regrettable commonality unites all females, regardless of race, culture or ethnic background. Without discrimination, “broken-heart syndrome” plagues even the most intelligent, confident and beautiful girls—leaving them insecure and inconsolable. So the question remains…what’s a girl to do? What should you do when you are inevitably in this dreaded position?

With help from veterans on the battlefield of love, here’s a four-step survival kit for healing the wounds after a break-up.

1. The grieving stage. You must realize that although it’s a break-up, you are not broken. The relationship is. It’s pivotal to understand that time really does heal everything. The first week is a vulnerable time and your self-esteem is bound to hinder. You will continue replaying memories in your head and questioning, “What did I do wrong?” or “What can I change to get him back?” You slowly but surely convince yourself that you are broken beyond repair—recognize now that this is false and you are not the only one feeling this way. These feelings are universal, so try to find comfort in knowing that a million other girls are blowing their noses and wiping their tears at the exact moment you are. You are not alone. So you have a free pass for the first couple of days to cry your heart and soul out. No good comes from bottling up your feelings, so lock yourself in your room and cry until you can’t anymore. However, Creighton University M.S., Counselor Catherine Brougham insists, “If you are not able to function and if intense grieving continues for more than 2 weeks without improvement, or if you are engaging in self destructive behaviors or having thoughts of suicide, it’s a good time to talk to a counselor and have that personal coach to help you process your loss and strategize how to get back on track.”

2. The co-dependent stage. There is a pivotal role in the whole drama of the break-up saga—the best friend who has been there from start to finish of your relationship. From the first butterflies when he first called you, to his hurtful break up speech. You have to turn to her for support and depend on her. She has to be the shoulder to cry on and the person you text or call whenever you have the urge to contact the ex. La Vie Cherie Magazine Columnist Chelsea Cawthon advised, “You will naturally want to contact him because it’s what you know and what you’re used to. It’s easy to fall into the trap because it’s what’s comfortable. Just resist the urge! Instead, whenever you feel like talking to him, write it down. Just get out whatever it is you need to say, and then move on.” The key is to make sure this friend is reliable. He/she has to be willing to be on call at all hours of the day, ready and prepared for a pep talk. Brougham said, “Don’t isolate yourself, be around others who like you and affirm you. Avoid others who blame you or put you down (including your ex).” The best friend is essential to your recovery because contacting your ex right after a break-up is an unhealthy setback. The quicker you can accept and adjust to your new life—without him in it—the quicker you will heal.

3. The selfish stage. During romantic relationships, no matter how healthy it is, women tend to lose a piece of themselves. Naturally, women go full throttle into relationships and give their boyfriend everything they can possibly offer. From nurturing, to thoughtfulness, when a woman is in love…that consumes her. Because of this, when the relationship is over, we have to relearn how to be independent. Without someone constantly reassuring us with compliments and “I love you’s,” we have to re-center our lives and discover security and confidence from within. So this is the time to be completely and utterly selfish. Brougham similarly suggests, “After a break up, it is time to build the relationship with oneself. Nurture and even pamper yourself as you would a beloved. Reconnect with friends and try new things. Indulge and comfort yourself. Take some time to be alone and be celibate, you can’t afford other rejections right now. Only you know how much time feels right. Remember who you were before this relationship. Think of things you put aside, the shirt you didn’t wear as much cause he didn’t like it, the music he didn’t like, the food he didn’t enjoy. Enjoy those things especially.”

You should do at least two things that will make you happy: one physical change and one lifestyle change. Go out and treat yourself; get a new hair cut and color or a manicure, splurge on some expensive makeup, or even buy a gym membership. However, these are only instant gratifications, so you have to make a lifestyle change as well to make a permanent difference. Try to revive yourself by learning something new, whether it’s baking a recipe from scratch or even trying a pottery class. Enriching your life with something innovative and challenging will help provide a clean slate for the bright future ahead of you. This is your time to focus only on you, not on your past relationship. Remember, happiness can be found within you—not through another person.

4. The letting-go stage. Although it’s easier said than done, letting go is the most beneficial thing you can do after a tough break-up. The fourth stage sometimes takes much longer than anticipated, but once it has happened, absolute freedom and clarity of mind is yours. The previous stages are baby steps to get to this final hurdle. The best way to let go and fully move on is to be brutally honest with yourself. Get a journal or notebook and write down every single time your ex hurt you, made you doubt yourself or made you cry. Often times after a break up, you start reminiscing upon all the good times and begin to question why you broke up in the first place. Doing this is harmful, as it confuses your emotions and develops false hope deep within your sub conscious. Remember, if you aren’t together, you aren’t for a reason. If he could so easily say good-bye to you once, he will easily do it again. So every time your judgment gets clouded because of recurring happy memories—look back in your journal at all the things he said and did that hurt you. Although the old wounds have turned into scars, you will recall the pain you felt from those bad memories and therefore be able to resist the longings. Cawthon said, “We all cope with things differently, especially break ups. No matter what happens, though, just remember that it’s his loss! Breaking up isn’t the end of the world, even though it may feel like it at the time. It’s a learning experience, an opportunity for growth, and—most importantly—a chance for new beginnings.”

Again, the regrettable commonality of heartbreak, bonds all females together. We slowly but surely learn that a boyfriend does not define us, or our happiness. Although it’s painful learning how to survive a break up, in the end, it’s the most beneficial thing we can do. It helps us grow as strong, independent and empowered women. And just as one door closes, another will always open—but we will walk through that door with our heads held high, our wounds healed over and our hearts aware of the risk to love again.

“The Final Salute”- A Salute To Great Journalism

December 1, 2010 Leave a comment

“It is a job he never asked for and one for which he received no training. There are no set rules, only impersonal guidelines. It is a mission without weapons.” This description, written by Jim Sheeler of the Rocky Mountain News, in The Final Salute, best sums up the traumatzing and grave task a casualty assistance calls officer (CACO) has at hand. The article takes the reader deep into the heart and mind of CACO Steven Beck. From the descriptive wording, to the heartfelt details of the process..the reader personally feels like he/she is delivering the mesage that no one wants to receive.

I was so impressed with Sheeler’s writing style, that I was completely drawn into the story. The details truly paint a picture of the dramatic setting and the high emotions felt by all. One paragraph in particular stands out, “Once I get to the porch, I stand there and take a deep breath. At that point, you can wait 10 seconds, wait 30 seconds, wait an hour – it’s not going to go away,” he said. “There’s no option. There’s no fork in the road. You just stare down that straight path. You step up because there is no fork. I pick myself up, gather my thoughts and ring the bell.”  You can literally feel the pain, regret, guilt and sadness this man is going through, from simply having to do his job. Sheeler even displays the versatility of each person’s point of view; from Beck’s, to the other officers, to the families who scream at him to get away when they see him at the door. There’s even a brief section about Beck’s past and facing the harsh realities of the world at an early age…still not making his job any easier. From watching his 3 year-old brother die to his last words to his father–nothing could have prepared him for this job.

The article closed most sentimentally. Leaving me moved with a newfound appreciation for all the veterans and deceased soldiers out there, who fought for a common cause. Freedom. Scheeler best summed it up by explaining the impact each and every soldier has on this country. “You think about the field of cotton somewhere in Mississippi, and out of all of it comes this thread that becomes this flag that covers our brave. Think about it. I had a cotton field right behind the house when I was going to command and staff college. Imagine being that farmer who owned the cotton field. Imagine if one of these parents was able to take a flag back to him and say, ‘That flag came out of your field and escorted my son home.'” These kinds of thoughts make each taken life, seem so much more meaningful and significant toward the cause.