Social Media: Beyond ALS

Social media often gets criticized for it’s over usage. Teens sitting on their phones all day, constantly checking Facebook, tweeting what you’re doing, Instagramming your meal, etc etc.

As of recently, I think it’s important to shed some light on the GOOD that social media does.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge”. I heard of this challenge on August 9th, 2014 when I was sitting in RA training. My supervisor came to my RA staff and said that she had heard of this challenge and suggested we do it. Later that evening, she sent the RA staff an email describing what it was and what it was for. You can watch that video here.

We didn’t end up doing it as a staff (it was unnaturally cold that day), but very quickly I began seeing not only my RA staff but family members, celebrities, friends, and co-workers doing this ice bucket challenge.

Of course, it was only a matter of time until my RD nominated my friends Halie, Rachel, and I to participate.

So, is dumping ice on your head a little silly? Yeah, definitely. Does it get a point across? Yes.

Before this viral challenge I had never heard of ALS. ALS is Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. From what I’ve gathered, it’s when you lose the ability to control your nerves very slowly. So imagine, you’re an athlete or a musician or a painter, and everyday you get to do what you love. Then, you begin to lose control of that. As time goes on, you can no longer toss the ball, strike a chord, or pick up a paint brush. I know I would be devastated.

On the other side though, your brain is fully functioning. You know what’s going on and there is nothing you can do.

Like I said, I had never heard of ALS before this ice bucket challenge. Because three people challenge three people, and those three people challenge three people, and three people challenge three people, etc etc this thing BLOWS UP.

I can honestly say that most of my Facebook timeline has been filled with the Ice Bucket Challenge. You know what else I’ve noticed? I haven’t seen sad, depressing statuses. Sure, some people may not know every detail about ALS, and not every person may donate. It’s the spreading AWARENESS that counts.

Quite frankly, with all of the religious unrest going on in the world, it’s nice to see people coming together to support a cause. Let me say that again, people coming together.

The point of something going viral is to make it so prominent, so IN YOUR FACE, that you absolutely cannot ignore it.

And that is exactly what this challenge has done.

According to the ALS Association website (http://www.alsa.org), as of August 16th 2014, they have surpassed $10 million in donations from the Ice Bucket Challenge. They have raised $11.4 million in donations compared to last year’s $1.7 million between July 29 and August 16th. If you’d like to continue reading, you can do so here.

Also, I’d like to give a little shout out to my friend Joe. Joe takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to a new level- find a charity YOU will fight for. Check out his video here, where he challenges you to like, comment, and share to reach 100 for ALS, another 100 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the next 100 after that to the Cleveland Public Schools.

So, keep dumping ice on your head. Keep donating. Keep spreading awareness. Keep supporting causes that you feel passionate about.

Because quite frankly, no matter how you’re talking about it, you’re still talking about it.

#ALSicebucketchallenge #StrikeoutALS

Donate to the ALS Association here.

A Letter to my Ladies (and Men).

I started Brunette With A Blog as an outlet to discuss everything spanning from politics to fashion to college life. My past few entries have been dancing around those topics, but this one is going to be a little different. This is a letter to all my ladies out there.. but men, please read.

Dear Reader,

As you may have noticed, there has been much spark as of late concerning issues like Hobby Lobby, Feminism, Equal Rights, etc. If you have no idea what I am talking about, please go to Google and educate yourself. Nothing is worse than spatting opinions on social media without having done any research. It’s like turning in a research paper to your English professor where you just made the content up.

I am not here to discuss politics. I’m not here to give my political views. I’m here to talk about why I think we all just need to be a little more respectful and kind.

First, let’s define the word “feminism”.

fem·i·nism
ˈfeməˌnizəm/
noun

1. the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

So, I looked this up on Google and this is what they gave me. Okay, I’m down with that. Here’s the thing though: feminism has turned into shamming males. I am all for women empowerment, but what is empowering about putting others down?

I understand that the “norm” has been for men to be bigger, better, stronger, faster, whatever, but girl, you do you. If you’re fighting for your own female equality though, why would you put men down? How does that make anything better? It doesn’t. It’s very easy to use men as a target with social issues such as rape, legality of abortion, etc., but do we not realize that-gasp- men can be raped too. Men can be taken advantage of. These stories are not as common in the media, but they happen.

I think it’s important to remember that while yes, it’s important to stand up for ourselves as women, it’s also important to stand up for humanity as well.

By all means, stand up for yourself. Speak your mind. Take risks. Don’t allow others to belittle you.

That being said, we, as women, need to stop putting each other down. It is so easy to go look at an instagram page and say “Oh my gosh she is so perfect. I hate her.” It’s easy to dislike the smart girl in your class that got a better grade than you. It’s easy to put down other women who are successful, out of jealousy. It’s easy to make fun of a girl because she might not wear the coolest clothes. It’s even easier to dislike the girl that your ex is talking to because “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe he’s talking to her”. Well ya know, maybe those girls aren’t all that bad. Maybe it’s us, personally, that has the issue.

It’s convenient to put others down in order to feel better about ourselves, especially if we’re going through hard times or change. These women that seem like “threats”- maybe we should befriend them. They’re probably pretty awesome… and they’re obviously doing something right if you’re green with envy. How about we take these people and we use them as inspiration? Why can’t our lady friends inspire us? Instead of competing, how about we root for each other? Inspire each other? Help each other? Doesn’t that sound better than wasting negative energy on them? I think so.

It’s important to recognize what everybody brings to the table. There is a variety of things we can learn from each other, whether that be a hobby, a lifestyle or a talent. Everyone has something to offer, but we will never know unless we actually give them a chance and respect them for who they are.

So, ladies (and gentlemen), let’s learn to love each other. Inspire each other. RESPECT each other. Because how can we expect men to respect us if we can’t even respect ourselves?

xox
forever loving you
V

Reflections & Lessons

Inhale. Breathe. Adapt.

Three things that are very important. Life has been throwing me a lot of curve balls lately, and the main thing I’ve learned is that life goes on. 

So, where do I start? Well, let me start by saying that this entry is a little more personal and a bit more reflective upon myself over the past few months. If you take anything from this entry, I’m glad that I was able to influence you in some way.

As stated before, life throws you curve balls. Sometimes you take a swing and you hit those curveballs out of the park; the crowd goes wild, fireworks shoot off and it’s a good day. Sometimes though, those curveballs are a 96 mile-per-hour hit in the face. Either way, the game keeps going.

Sometimes friendships or relationships end. Sometimes other people become part of our lives. Sometimes people let other people into their lives, and that, in turn, affects our lives. Sometimes we lose jobs, land internships. Whatever it might be life is always evolving and changing.

I’ve learned quite a bit over the past month. I am trying to find the right words to phrase this without being too open on the internet, so I’ll just say this: some people walk out of our lives.

As humans, we build relationships with people and we often lean on them for support. These become the people you want to call right after you get some good news or the people you want to call just to cry because you’ve had a really hard day. It’s not that we’re entirely dependent on these people, but we just become so used to their presence that these actions become habitual.

So what do you do when that isn’t there anymore?

You turn to yourself. (And the really awesome people around you, but mostly yourself)

I’ve learned being emotional is okay. It’s possible to avoid emotions and avoid feelings. I have done it before and I probably will do it again, but it’s not something I enjoy. Being emotional and really feeling everything in it’s entirety is what sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. It’s what makes us human. So it’s okay to feel sad, hurt, angry, happy, giddy, independent, determined, what have you. Holding emotions in is stupid and it doesn’t accomplish anything. If we all just told people how we are feeling, maybe then there would be less conflict and heartaches; we could all work through our issues together. 

I’ve learned being lonely is okay. Wanting to be alone is okay, too. Humans desire companions. We want to be next to someone and share all of life’s adventures together. You know what? That is perfectly okay. Wanting to be alone is good, too. We need solitude and we need isolation sometimes. For me, this is the time where I can gather my thoughts and really contemplate what is going on in my life. I can evaluate and assess what’s going on and think about how I can move forward.

Letting go is okay. Let go of what may be weighing you down. It’s healthy to be upset for a few days, even weeks, about something. There comes a point though where it is time to pick your mess of a self up and move forward. I’ve had good days, I’ve had bad days. There came a day very recently where I realized that it’s stupid to waste energy focusing on things that don’t matter. It took some time, but I realized that there are people in this world that appreciate me. People that respect me. THAT is what I deserve; to be appreciated and respected, and so do you. So, don’t let anyone try to tell you otherwise. You don’t need people in your life that don’t value your presence and value your time together. Let that shit go.

Learn to love yourself. This is probably the biggest issue here. Enough of us don’t love ourselves. I bet you’re a really awesome person and there is something so incredibly unique about you that other people will love you for it. So why don’t you love yourself? If you can’t love yourself, how can you expect to love someone else? How can you expect to give them everything you want to give them if you can’t even give that to yourself? Once you learn to love your strengths, your weaknesses, your quirks, and all the really great things about you, you will become a much happier person. You will be okay with whatever is going on in your life because people or things will come and go but you always have yourself. If you can go to sleep at night and be happy with who you are, well then at least you have that.

Like I said, this entry was more of a reflection for myself. Every day is a process and a learning experience, and I am forever thankful for that. Now, I’m going to go continue living my life.

Until next time..

xox

V

 

Perception of Acceptance and Letting Go

I told myself that I would blog every week, and I failed to do that.

Life is full of little interruptions, in my case, school and work. I really should be cleaning my room right now, or working on my capital budgeting project, but blogging sounds a lot better.

I’ve learned a lot over these past few months, but mostly I have learned the importance of acceptance and letting go. We get knocked down a lot, and it’s important that we focus on getting back up. If we spend our energy feeling sorry for ourselves, we’re wasting energy  and time that we could be using to move forward.

It’s difficult to wake up every day when you have burdens. Whether it be a mistake, a failure, a loss, or a defeat, it’s important to find acceptance here. It’s hard. It definitely isn’t easy.

We could let our failures define us. We can allow these obstacles in life to control us.

But you know what? We’re humans, and we’re stronger than that.

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I advocate emotions. Emotions are what sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom and I feel it’s important to take whatever emotion it is your feeling and feel that in it’s entirety. Cry. Laugh. Love. Scream. Feel those emotions. Then accept it for what it is, turn the page, and move forward. Flip the page. Rip the rearview mirror off.

To me, that’s living. Taking every moment and soaking it into your bones. Feel it. Breathe it.  Remember it. Move forward.

If you can go to bed every night reflecting on the day and say, “I may not have been able to do everything I needed today, but I felt everything I needed to feel today.”

To me, that’s a simple way of living life to the fullest.

 

 

 

Peace Among The Chaos.

Hello world!

Well, let me be straight up; my life has been absolutely crazy the past few weeks and I had to put off blogging in order to accomplish everything I had on my plate. (If in need of a refresher about priorities, please refer to my blog Choose Two.)

I had finals, building closing, moving home, work and Christmas to tackle, along with the little interruption of my car being run into as part of the after-shock of a 28 car pile-up on Christmas Eve. Yes, that was a thing.

That being said, this blog is going to be about the holiday season.

I work in retail during the holidays and, I love my job, but it can be stressful. Some people are just so rude and in such a hurry that they don’t take time to enjoy the holidays. Now, I’m not saying that everyone is a crazed holiday shopper, but man oh man, there are some crazies.

One day on my way to work I was turning into the mall parking lot. I had a green arrow and began to turn in, so I was in the intersection. The people in front of me had stopped moving, which meant that I was in the middle of the soon-to-be oncoming traffic lane. “Okay, no big deal” I tell myself, thinking that the other drivers would be nice and not try to turn me into roadkill.

I was wrong.

Those cars got that green light and just started driving towards me! I swear my life flashed before my eyes. And then they honked. Um, okay, sir. It’s not my fault the people in front of me are not moving, so you do not need to honk at me and shine your brights in my face and continue to drive TOWARDS MY CAR.

This is the kind of ridiculousness I am talking about. People are in such a hurry to get where they need to be. Yes, I understand that life sometimes needs to be fast paced and busy- trust me I get that- but really? Almost running me into the ground? Unacceptable.

After I parked I walked into the mall to begin my 5 hour shift. Ah, not too bad. Some people come into work angry that a promo has ended, some come in happy that I am willing to help them find the perfect gift. Although sometimes stressful, it is quite fun.

After achieving exhaustion, I left work and almost had to cut my way through the sea of holiday shoppers, which is one of my pet peeves. Walk, people.

And then I saw something pretty awesome.

Four people sitting in the middle of the mall meditating. MEDITATING. Now, I’m all about meditation, as a self-proclaimed yogi and all, but in the mall? I thought to myself how crazy this was. The mall was the last place I wanted to meditate. So many people and so many distractions…

Then it hit me. The mall is the PERFECT place to meditate. I found symbolism in it all- finding peace among the chaos. It made so much sense.

I wanted to go up to those genius meditating individuals and say something along the lines of “Hey, I dig this. Really.” or just something that showed I appreciated the entire moment. I know I don’t like to be bothered when I zen out so I chose to continue walking to the exit to finally reach my vehicle. (parked all the way in the back forty, mind you.)

What I’m trying to say here is to find peace within the chaos. No matter the situation; holidays, work, school, life. Come back into yourself. Come back into your soul. Come back into peace.

Until next time!

xox -V

Why I Love Tina Fey, And You Should Too.

Let me begin this blog by saying this: I had this blog written. It was beautiful. Flawless. A masterpiece, some might say. Then, in the blink of an eye, rather, in the second that my campus’s wifi decided to go down, I lost her. I lost the majesty that was my previous blog about why Tina Fey is such an awesome person. So, here I go again. Round two.

Today there aren’t that many people us “kids” can look up to. Let’s be honest, my generation is full of girls who wear yoga pants, but don’t do yoga. The world is so deceiving.

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Anyway, with people like Miley Cyrus running around, it’s hard to sit there and say we have a bunch of “celebrity role models”. And I also would like to add that people sit here and complain how the people of my generation are lazy and selfish and any other derogatory adjective you can think of, and really I can’t blame them when the people that my ten year old sister are seeing on TV are wearing two-piece outfits with galactic kittens on them.

Now, to be totally honest, I have faith in my generation and that we all have the potential to be great and successful in this world but that rant can be saved for another post.

Another person my peers apparently love to look up to is Marilyn Monroe. This bothers me. Don’t get me wrong, I think she’s beautiful and I love that she was cool with being a size marilyn-monroe-quotes-famous-shinzoo-funny_4589019000340633whatever, but let’s remember she was also a home wrecker and died of a drug overdose. Because of that previous statement, I will not be surprised if a bunch of high school girls in Uggs and Hollister t-shirts are standing outside my door holding Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes and pitchforks to attack me because I talked down on her. But remember, as she said, “Well behaved women seldom make history”. Oh, wait, that was Laurel Ulrich in 1976.

Point Vanessa.

That being said, I think Tina Fey is one of the people that women my age should be looking up to and I have a few damn good reasons for that. I also think Jennifer Lawrence is cooler than cool, but we’ll save her for another post. ;)

Let’s just cut to the chase. Here are reasons why I love Tina Fey, and you should too.

  1. She created and starred in Mean Girls. MEAN GIRLS. She made fetch happen.tina-fey-mean-girls
  2. She wrote her own book, an autobiography titled Bossypants. I’m currently reading it. You should too.fey_bossypants_custom-49b9189561f8ff85fbfaa7c243df72ef282e54b3-s6-c30
  3. She wrote for AND starred on Saturday Night Live. Enough said.Kevin Mazur
  4. Some of her friends include Jimmy Fallon, Steve Carrel, and Amy Poehler. Let’s all take a second to imagine a night out with that bunch. I imagine it’d be something like Date Night, Baby Mama, and SNL combined. Oh wait…article-2479786-093DE434000005DC-837_634x527
  5. She created 30 Rock. Now I may be biased, but the Cleveland episode was fantastic.30rocklogo
  6. She is successful in a predominately male oriented job.tina-fey-30-rock
  7. She is an actress, writer, comedian, wife, and mother. Let that sink in.tinafey
  8. She knows how to put people in their place, when appropriate. Class, my lady friends, class.tina-fey
  9. She says things that make me happy that I am not the only one with a bit of snark, such as, “Bitches get stuff done” or “Every girl is expected to have caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama and doll tits. This is why everyone is struggling.” Go Pinterest some “Tina Fey Quotes.” You won’t be disappointed.b5kHR
  10. She does a wicked Sarah Palin impersonation, and that is awesome. (side note: I dressed up senior year of high school for halloween in my mom’s red suit as Tina Fey as Sarah Palin. It was a hit.)amd-quote1-jpg
  11. She doesn’t use her sexuality to get ahead or to get popular in the entertainment industry.

I am sure there are a million other reasons why Tina Fey is so fetch and I just can’t think of them, so feel free to add some in the comments and I can add them!

Overall, Tina is just a badass. She is successful in the media without swinging naked on a wrecking ball. Ah, sorry I told myself no more Miley digs. It’s just so easy. I really do think her music is catchy.

So, go out and YouTube some Tina Fey SNL sketches, watch some 30 Rock on Netflix, go watch Mean Girls (’cause we allllll know you have it), and go read her book, Bossypants. I promise you will fall in love with her.

Choose Two.

College.

That period in a person’s life in which they leave the monotonous routine of high school for the exciting life of all-nighters, community showers, prank wars and melodramatics.

Ah, I love my college. Honestly. Let me give you a bit of backstory:

I did not want to come to Lake Erie College at all; my mom was an alum, she worked for the school at the time, and we also lived fifteen minutes down the road. This, of course, lead to the total resentment of all things Lake Erie and I was NOT applying.

Well, I lost that battle and ended up applying just a few short days before I had to declare with my high school where I would be attending higher education in the fall. I had no choice, but my mom and I made a deal: I would go to Lake Erie for one year and if I hated it, I could transfer.

Fast forward a few months and by the end of the first weekend at Lake Erie, I fell in love. I knew this was my home. I was surrounded by my friends and supportive staff and faculty. Little did I know I would be fighting to stay at Lake Erie, but yet here I am, junior year, and still in attendance. Things are working out. :)

End backstory.

I’m sure many of you have seen a little diagram that looks like this:

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Good grades. Social life. Enough sleep. Choose two.

The first time I saw this, I laughed and said to myself ha. So true. 

It wasn’t until recently I realized I was so wrong. If you say you cannot achieve all three during college, I am calling BS.

Hey, you! Yeah, you. I’m calling you out. I have realized that there is no reason to do badly in class if one applies themself. This basic concept is something people just don’t seem to understand and that grinds my gears. If you pay attention in class, take notes, do your homework, get help when needed and study there is no reason you should do too, too terribly. Unless you’re in Organic Chemistry. I’ve heard enough horror stories to know that OChem is basically hell in class form.

Anyway, here is an example for you. Business stats class, we were allowed to take our exam with notes. The professor showed us the test the class before and TOLD US THE ANSWERS. We also had two days to complete it. Oh, and did I mention we get extra credit for going to the tutor? I got a 100 on my exam, and some students asked me, “Oh my gosh, how did you get an A?!”

Wut?

No further explanation needed. So, fellow college-aged students, I promise you that if you kind of try, you will be able to have decent grades even if you are taking one or two really difficult classes. A lot of times common sense is what get’s ‘em.

Still with me?

Now, I don’t know about you, but I do not want to look back on my college career and say I486551_10152658809695006_1555796114_n never had a social life. Seriously, what fun is sitting in your room every weekend studying? Prioritizing is a very important concept to grasp during one’s college career, but sometimes we all need to relax and not stress out so damn much. It’s okay to take a day or two off. I promise that paper due in two weeks will still be there Sunday afternoon. And, let’s be honest, you’ll probably end up using Friday and Saturday to surf facebook and twitter instead of writing a seven page case analysis, anyway. (Not saying that I know what that is like…)

Social lives are good, people. Humans are social by nature. We need human interaction. So go to the program put on by your RA, go to a 1150288_4690340675937_394863694_ncampus club meeting, go out and explore the world while you still can. Make friends, lose friends, fall in love, whatever. Just have a social life. I promise it’s possible. I am a business major, double language minor, beginning my MBA, am a member of many student organizations, currently working an internship, and in total have three on campus jobs, one seasonal job, and a boyfriend. It’s doable.

Now, sleep. Sleep is like a mystical creature that, when encountered, just makes you all 382773_2799867919115_2009207040_nhappy inside. I’ve taught myself to stay up later at night, but I will be honest, I am known to fall asleep wherever I am between the hours of 9 and 11pm. Watching a movie? I wouldn’t know. I fell asleep before the title even flashed across the screen. It all brings us back to making priorities.

Didn’t sleep enough last night? Make a point to nap at some point during the day. I don’t mean a 4 hour nap, I mean an hour nap. You’d be surprised how awesome you feel after a quick snoozer.

Don’t have time for a nap? Go to bed early. It’s all about making things a priority! Don’t torture yourself on no sleep because you waited until the last minute to finish your 50 problems of calculus.

The key is making time for everything. I promise if you do this, your college experience will be nothing short of amazing.

Get good grades, have a social life, and get some sleep.

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A new beginning.

IMG_0192Musician. Scientist. Lawyer. Historian. Yoga Teacher. Businesswoman. Marketer. Actress. Journalist. President.

These are just a few of the professions I have wanted (and some, still want) to be “when I grow up.”  In no particular order, of course. :)

New beginnings have always been fun for me; I always learn something. I love to learn. Yes. I’m a nerd. But not the average sit-in-class-and-get-lectured learning, but the going-out-and-discovering-life learning.

Being twenty, I must say that I’ve learned a lot thus far, but I realize I have a lot left to discover. Being in your twenties is like this weird time where you know everything but nothing at the same time. Weird, right? Yeah, I thought so too.

So here I am, sitting behind my MacBook in my room at college, hair in a pony tail, putting off all the other things I probably should be doing, thinking about what Starbucks drink I’d like to have but can’t because I’m on a budget, blogging about new beginnings. Why new beginnings? Because new beginnings are misunderstood.

Misunderstood? Yes. You read correctly. New beginnings are misunderstood. The phrase “new beginnings” sounds happy, right? Well sometimes new beginnings aren’t so happy. Sometimes new beginnings really, really suck. But what I’ve discovered is that with every new beginning comes something greater than what was had before.

Now I’ve had my fair share of struggles and “new beginnings”. A few marriages* here, a couple divorces* there, a couple new schools etc. etc. And each time, while sure, the situation was kind of sucky, I always found my way through. I always learned. I always grew.

A lot of people close to me, mainly friends, are going through said “new beginnings”. Whether it’s a break-up, a friendship severed, a change of major, or a change of passion, these all have to potential to make you grow and learn.

Everything happens for a reason, and I  promise that whatever you’re going through, there are better things coming. Take this “new beginning” as an opportunity to be selfish. When I say selfish, I don’t mean keep the 64 pack of crayola crayons hidden so no one can use your sharpener. I mean be selfish to yourself. Do what’s good for you in this moment. Do what you need to do to be happy. When you learn that sometimes you need to put yourself first, the results are nothing but satisfying.

As previously stated, I’ve had my share of new beginnings. These can come in different forms, though. Eleven months ago, my new beginning was ending a friendship/relationship that I just did not want to be in. I wasn’t happy and that person wasn’t adding to my life. Don’t get me wrong, said person didn’t do anything badly, they just weren’t for me. So with a little help from a friend I got the courage to be selfish and do what I needed to do.

Little did I know, shortly after something better would come along. Someone who makes me laugh and someone who not only adds to my life, but pushes me do to better with my life.

That’s just one example of many, but nonetheless, my favorite “new beginning”. :)

New beginnings also come in the form of passion. Drive. What pushes you each day? What do you want to do for the rest of your life? What would you be happy waking up doing every single day?

I have recently found that my “new beginning” is in the form of journalism. Don’t get me wrong, I love studying marketing and business and promotions through social media, but lately I want to talk about anything and everything. Politics, world affairs, fashion, college, yoga. Whatever sparks my interest.

This is my new beginning.

*disclaimer: I have never been married, nor have I been divorced.