Friday, May 1, 2015

#nocaptionneeded : a review of my four years at UW-Madison

We've all had those moments, the ones we can't describe to anyone else because there's not a single way to explain it that will do it justice. Well what if that moment for me wasn't just a string of seconds, days, weeks or months, but what if it years? Four to be exact. 

I can't begin to explain how amazing my experience at UW-Madison was these past four years; I can't even wrap my head around it myself. But I'm going to try. 

I came from a small high school, with about 120 kids in my class, half of whom I knew since I was five years old. Everything was familiar. I thought I knew how life worked. But then I came to Madison and everything changed. You see, all of my life, I thought happiness was good grades, soccer game wins and mediocre weekends (and by mediocre I mean my weekends mostly consisted of me and my friends driving around town because we didn't know what to do.) 

Madison taught me that happiness is breaking free of familiarity, challenging yourself and exploring the unknown. I have met countless people, listened to many many lectures, cracked one too many champagne bottles and made unforgettable memories with even more unforgettable friends. I never could've imagined that a place could give me so much. I found my passion for journalism, learned how to sit at the terrace and just breathe, experienced two Rose Bowls and two Final Fours, laughed so hard I cried...multiple times, saw the devolution of Mifflin, and discovered the beauty of diversity for changing perspectives on our lives. 

I remember before coming to college I thought I would get at least a 3.85 GPA, get a job that I didn't really like after graduation and meet my future husband at College Library. Oh how wrong I was, but I've never been more happy to be wrong in my life. Fortunately, I found a career path that I absolutely love that I will pursue after I take a holiday in Europe for the summer, and I realized that grades and boys aren't all there is to life.

Every now and then (re: every other day) I catch myself looking at something on campus and smiling, because every day I get to live in a place where I constantly have to remind myself that it's not a dream. My four years of college have been unbelievable at the very least and although I'm sad to leave, I also know that I will find my place somewhere else, as long as I keep pushing myself and embrace change. And for that change of mindset, I am forever indebted to UW-Madison. 

On Wisconsin forever and ever. Cheers to the unknown and hopefully many more National Championships!
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Monday, September 1, 2014

And so it begins...

Three years ago, I embarked on the biggest journey of my entire life and discovered a place full of happiness, memories, friendship and laughter.  I couldn't have possibly asked for a better college experience thus far.  I've taken the most interesting classes, made the best friends, did some major soul-searching and had some of the most fun I've ever had.  From football games to sailing on Lake Mendota, I think it's safe to say that Madison is the greatest place on earth.  

Going into senior year, I'm excited for a whole year of endless memories, but I'm also terrified of moving on.  Terrified that I won't as happy and content as I am now.  Terrified that I won't love my job...or won't even have a job.  

Who knows what the future holds, but if it is anything close to the pleasant surprise of my UW experience, I think I'll be set.  

Right now, I'm just going to make the most of my senior year of college and take nothing for granted.  This might be the last time for late-night Qdoba runs and after-dark lake adventures...but I sure hope not.  

Can't wait to begin the BEST year of college yet. 
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Monday, March 24, 2014

the biggest perks of being a journalist

As journalists, we don't live the most glamorous lives.  In fact, most likely our "pockets are on a diet" as 2 Chainz would so eloquently say.  Meaning, right out of college we don't get jobs- we get internships.  Unpaid internships. In New York City, the most expensive city to live in. 

So why, you might ask, would one pursue a degree in this "dying field?" Where do I even start? 

1. You get to retweet yourself.  You can have multiple Twitter accounts for your different internships, blogs, classes, etc. and get the thrill of retweeting yourself without judgement from others because it's all part of your job. 

2. You have twice as many followers. Speaking of Twitter-and all social media for that matter- you have twice as many followers because half of them are you. The account you're in charge of for your club follows you, your multiple blog accounts follow you, your account you made for a class follows you.  No one has to know the secret to your popularity on social media. You've earned those bragging rights. 

Photo by Roger Price
3. You get to drink lots of coffee. Because coffee is a journalist's peanut butter to their jelly. A Jay-Z to their Beyonce. A Mayfair filter to their selfie. They just go together and no one can deny the magical connection. 

4. You have an excuse to talk to cool people. You aren't as creepy for asking someone for an interview if it's for an article, right? It's the perfect way to start talking to that person that everyone is secretly or not-so-secretly starstruck about. Hint: tell them your editor requested you to take lots and lots of pictures. 

5. You can exercise your right to the freedom of speech. Look at you, being all patriotic and stuff. Such a good citizen. 

6. You get a lot of free stuff. Many times, companies will send you products to review for free, or you get to attend an exclusive event for free. Remember what I said before about internships and how they were unpaid? Yeah, free is a big deal. 

Photo by Mark J Rebilas
7. You know a lot of random information. Since your job is to report on the latest, you're one of the first to know who Selena Gomez is or is not dating, the newest cause of cancer, and how many hours of sleep a person really needs before a test. Might as well go on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? with that much knowledge. 

8. You get to inspire others. Whether you're sharing a sports team's Cinderella story or a touching article about someone starting their own non-profit, you have the power to inspire others. Some people think the news is filled with all bad. Be different and share the good. 

Why do you love doing what you do, whatever that might be?

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

15 things as uncomfortable as the Bachelor finale

In case you missed it, the final episode of the Bachelor can be summed up in one word: uncomfortable. If you don't care at all about the show, skip to the summary. If you want to relive the painfully awkward moments continue on. 

Usually it's all about love, but this time proves...unique. First, the secret Juan Pablo and Clare conversation happened, followed by the awkward encounter with JP's family who pretty much told both girls that he is anything but husband material. Then, for the final rose ceremony, Clare spills out her heart to Juan Pablo only to be denied.  And it only goes downhill from there. Nikki tells JP she loves him, in which he responds "I'm not going to propose to you even though I have the ring in my pocket. I like to a lot, though," and winks.  I honestly don't know which is worse. The fact that he didn't say he loved her even when Nikki was waiting to hear those words or the fact that he winked at her.  

Photo via E! News
There's more- it only continued to get more uncomfortable after the show.  Chris Harrison railed Juan Pablo, trying to get him to admit that he loved Nikki, all while she was wrapped in his arms claiming that they are "very happy" together despite it being four months and they have no future plans together and her BF can only say he likes her a lot even though she already dropped the L word. 

JP cut off Chris Harrison twice which multiplied the tension. Chris then decided to have the past contestants Sean and Catherine offer their opinions on the matter, which clearly didn't align with this season's contestants considering S & C tied the knot earlier this year. Meaning they like each other more than a lot. 

Summary: It was a very uncomfortable situation. 

However, uncomfortable situations are unfortunately inevitable. Here's 15 moments that are just as awkward than the final episode of the Bachelor. 

1. You accidentally "like" someone's old picture on Facebook. This applies to Twitter, Instagram, and all other forms of social media. The fact of the matter is you were creeping hard and now the other person knows.  You're basically saying Hi, I just wanted to see how you were doing slash figure out more about you because I've only met you once in my life. I somehow ended up in your high school pictures. 

2. An unknown number texts you. Do you pretend you know who it is? Do you respond, hoping they'll uncover their identity? How did you meet this person? How did they get your number? 

3. You see your classmates over the weekend but don't talk in class. Apparently being BFFs on Friday is a completely different thing come Monday morning. Looks like you're left to wonder what exactly you did or said to this person when you were having a heart-to-heart over Long Islands. 

4. You did better on a test than someone else even though you didn't study. Uhh...I forgot what I got on the test what did you get? Oh you got a B? Weird I got the same score. What they don't know can' t hurt 'em. 

5. You think someone is waving at you but they're actually waving at the person behind you. Hi, nice person I don't know!  I know, I'm popular. It's so sweet of you to wave at...the person behind me that you do know. Carry on. 

Photo by Andy Jones
6. You forget you only know something about someone else because one of your friends told you. Your friends told you all about Drew but you forget that you haven't actually met. So every time you see him, you start conversation about the things you already know about him including his hometown, major, and favorite color. 

7. Someone hits "reply all" and sucks up to the professor via email. Maybe if you were smart enough to just hit "reply" you wouldn't have to suck up to your teachers, there buddy. 

8. Locker rooms. Keep your eyes on the ground at all times. 

9. You text someone and they don't respond. It's not awkward until you see them later that day, which is bound to happen, and they claim they never got it. Double awkward if you double texted. 

10. Your hairdresser (friends/relatives) asks you why you're not dating anyone. Because I'm fabulous, okay?! 

11. ...Or they assume you're dating Nick but you're actually just friends. Thank you for turning this purely platonic relationship into one of constant fear of sending each other the wrong signals. 

Photo by mikapon 
12. You realize you forgot your credit card after the cashier rings up your groceries. Or your credit card gets declined in front of a long line of anxious customers and you're just like: heyyy, wasn't hungry anyway. Have a nice day. 

13. Your friend's outfit that she claimed was the cutest thing ever turns out to be a jean jumpsuit. Nope, not cute but you're forced to agree with her even though she can tell you're lying through your teeth.   

14. You see someone who you were matched with on Tinder. You both recognize each other and maybe even do a double-take until you both walk your separate ways and vow to never use the app again.  

15. WOS. Hello, world. Just thought I'd get an early start to the day and go for a nice scenic walk. Why yes, these are the clothes from last night, but only because my laundry machine is broken and I had no other options. 

Even if these have ever happened to you, at least your uncomfortable moments weren't on national television. 

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Monday, February 3, 2014

weekly wisdom

Earlier in the year I said that as my New Year's Resolution, I was going to write down something that I've learned every day so I thought I'd share a few of my favorites since the dawn of 2014. 

1. Pay for parking. I didn't know that this was a thing...until I got a $40 parking ticket. I mean, yeah, I knew you should pay, but I didn't think people actually checked if you did or not. It's like that 300 person lecture at 8:50 a.m. You should go but how do they expect you to actually make it to that? It's not like the professor is checking your attendance.  These types of things are made to make you feel good about doing something; you should feel good about making it to class on Friday, not ashamed that you missed it yet again. You should feel good if you remember to throw down a couple bucks to pay to use a slack of cement for a couple of hours, not obligated to pay. Apparently, that diligent parking patrolman didn't agree with this philosophy.  So pay up, ladies and gents. And go to Friday morning  after class. 

2. Asking for help is OK. My mom always told me I was a difficult child because whenever I was hurt, I refused to let anyone help me. I taught myself that independence is the most important attribute a person can possess, because in the end, people come and go- and sometimes people let you down.  I thought asking for help was a sign of weakness so instead I tried to do everything on my own. It took me 21 years to realize that asking for help is actually not weak at all- it's smart. People are meant to help each other. Embrace that. Swallow your pride and recognize that you can't do everything by yourself.  You'll be much more successful if you let others guide you. Plus you'll probably be able to accomplish much more in a shorter amount of time if you ask for help. It's a little something I like to call teamwork. 

3.  I hate the winter. With temps well below zero, I've come to the conclusion that I need to get out of the Midwest as soon as possible. I can't ski or play hockey so I'm basically a disgrace to the Midwest anyway. 

4. Real friends are...yeap you guessed it, real. Your BFFs are the ones who say it like it is. They don't sugar coat anything, unless it's your late-night froyo run, then yes they sugarcoat that with lots and lots of sprinkles, chocolate, and sugary goodness. Because you guys are so close, they aren't afraid to let you know how they feel whether it's that they hate your new haircut or they think the guy you're with is a loser. These people are the ones who will always be there for you, whether it's a crazy night in the town or a lazy night in a night gown. Make sure they're able to do both. 

5. Steam rooms are magical. If I could transform my closet into a steam room I would. I'm obsessed. It's like the feeling you get from tanning, except this is waaaaay better for your skin. First of all, you aren't destroying the s#*t out of your skin from the sun and second of all, you're giving your pores a deep clean because of the moisture-heat combo. Steam rooms are a great place to ponder deep life thoughts. Legend has it, Timon and Pumbaa came up with the saying "hakuna matata" in a steam room. Okay so that's just my theory; go with it. 

6. Be positive. This sounds like straight out of a self-help book but I've come to the realization that being positive with myself is far more beneficial than ripping myself apart. I'm a strong advocate of surrounding myself with positive people, yet I used to be so hard on myself. You're the person that you have to spend the most time with, so why not make that time enjoyable by being positive? Waking up and saying "heyyyyy baby girl" to yourself in the mirror is more fun than"oh. it's you again." I think one of my biggest pet peeves is when people yell at me. There is absolutely no benefit to that. I'm not motivated to change at all and will most likely come up with plots for revenge instead of listening to their negativity. I realized the way to get myself to reach my career/educational/life goals is through encouragement and constructive criticism.  For example: "hey QT, I know you did your best today but next time it would really help if you _____. PS the back of your head is ridiculous. Can I have your number?" 

Monday, January 13, 2014

the best looks of the Golden Globes & where to get them for less

Yesterday evening, our favorite stars strutted down the Red Carpet at the Golden Globes in the hottest trends of the season.  Check out my favorite looks as well as where to get them- so you'll shine like the stars even without their paychecks.  

The Black Dress

There were so many hot black dresses this year, but the one that really caught my eye was Sophia Vegara's.  Pair this dress from Tobi with a bold statement necklace to complete the look and turn it from Red Carpet to after-party-ready for only $58.  

The Pink Bodycon
 Turn heads like Maria Menounos in a hot pink dress. Make it a bodycon, cut the length and voila- you've also cut the price.  The curvilenar accents in both dresses give off a fun and daring vibe.  Find this dress at Tobi for only $39.
The Red A-Line
Channel your inner-cupid like many of our Hollywood sweethearts, including Taylor Swift by choosing an A-Line dress that'll be sure to give you an elegant look right in time for Valentine's Day. Find this dress at House of Fraser for $50.

The Foil Dress
Illuminate the room in a foil dress like Olivia Wilde. If she can pull it off while pregnant you can rock this look too. But then is Olivia Wilde and she can pretty much pull off anything. BUT SO CAN YOU- YOU GO GIRL. Find this dress at Charlotte Russe for only $28.99.

The Deep-V
Unleash the vixen inside of you by snagging a dress with a deep v-neck like Kate Mara. I love this look because it's the perfect mix of sexy and classy, giving you the freedom to wear it to any occasion.  Find this dress at Tobi for $60. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

happy birthday :)

It's hard to believe that beauty & a blog is now officially ONE years old!!! I was feeling pretty nostalgic on New Year's because last year I had the opportunity to go to the Rose Bowl.  Not only was I warm in California (like WHAT are these negative 50 degree temperatures?!) but I also got to watch my beloved Bagders in the biggest game of the season.  

Naturally, I traced back my very first blog post to help me reminisce of the days of Santa Monica Beach and trying to navigate West Hollywood in 5 inch heels.  

It was titled "We're Doin' It Live" in honor of our adventures in Cali.  We had absolutely no plans.  We just went for it.  And we had the time of our lives.  

Our only goals were to not get lost and to not die.  Miraculously, we managed to pull both of those off.  Maybe it was because of the couple's advice we shared our taxi from the airport with- "don't ever agree to leave with a producer who promises to put you on TV and wants to bring you back to party at his mansion in the Hills because 1) he's not a producer and 2) his house is most definitely not in the Hills."  

Let's just say my dreams were crushed right then and there, but hey they probably saved my life.  

As I finished reading my post, the last paragraph really stuck out to me. It read: 

Sometimes, I get so caught up in making plans that I forget to just enjoy life. Other times, I pass up experiences because I'm too busy or don't have enough money or whatever. In this new year, I plan to take myself less seriously and let go while also remembering what's important. There are times when it's necessary to just go for it. There will always be excuses, but will there always be these opportunities? No. Whatever 2013 brings, go with it. I promise you won't regret it. 

Wow, when did I get so smart?  After reading this, I realized that I didn't really carry this throughout all of 2013.  Up until summer, I was a little happy-go-lucky girl who was ready to do everything and anything- no questions asked.  I wanted to make the most out of every moment.  I traveled to Florida/Boston/NYC/Iowa, ran a marathon, started a blog, got into the J-school, got a sports writing position, made the Dean's List, and still found time to have fun with friends.  OMG how annoying was I?! I was one of those people who actually had their life together. But this semester, I kinda forgot what it was like to live.  I mean really live though. Obviously I still have great memories (helloooo 21st birthday!!) but often times I was so stressed out with school and my future that I forgot how to let go and "do it live."  I never went into anything without a plan and when I did, I felt guilty for not doing something productive.
So this is just another reason why this year I'm going to write down what I learn every day in a binder so I can look back and remember how wise I am. (okay maybe that's a little bit of a stretch. I wouldn't exactly consider myself all.) 

I can't wait to start off this new year with a new perspective...or should I say old because I already had this perspective once before..?  Regardless, let's make 2014- and every other year- a one of "doin' it live" because why not?! 

So travel somewhere you've never been before, learn to do something random, take a class just because, drive, laugh, wink at a cutie across the room, apply for your dream job...and most importantly, look back in a year and be happy for all that you've accomplished!