Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Car Stuff Explained

I've learned a lot in my Craigslist browsing for a used car (a fantasy, not a reality... yet). There's a lot of vocabulary I've learned from it and I'd like to impart some of that knowledge upon you in simple, easy to understand terms. because cars are complicated :)

  1. Horsepower. This just means the amount of power an engine has.
  2. 1.3L, 4-cylinder. This refers to the ease of acceleration and stuff. I don't really know so ignore it.
  3. Fwd, rwd, and 4wd. FWD refers to front wheel drive, which is when the engine powers the front wheels so that's where the steering comes from. A common suggestion for getting up a snowy/icy hill is to drive up in reverse, which only works if your car uses fwd. RWD is rear wheel drive, and 4wd is four wheel drive (awesome for snow).
  4. Coupe, sedan, and hatchback. Coupe means a 2 door car, where there is no second row of seats or you need to fold back the front row to get in, like the Fiat 500, the Mini Cooper S, or the Scion tC. An example of a sedan is a Toyota Corolla/Camry or the most common Honda Civics and Accords; it's a compact car with a small trunk. A hatchback refers to the trunk--like the trunk in a mom minivan such as the Toyota Sienna. Smaller hatchback cars include the Toyota Prius, Yaris, and Matrix.
    Top - hatchback; bottom - sedan. Source
  5. Compact, mid-size, and full-size. Google defines compact car as a "medium-sized car," and according to Wikipedia, mid-size is defined as "equal to or greater than a compact." It also defines full-size as "larger than a mid-size car ... designed to be comfortable for six passengers and their luggage."
  6. Reliability. This is usually measured in Problems Per Vehicle, meaning non-maintenance issues such as transmission replacement, and air conditioner compressor replacement. Regular maintenance would be oil checks, tire rotation (rotating the front with rear, left with right, etc.) and replacement (tires need replacing when they wear down so the veins are flush with the tire or when you pop one), battery replacement, and break pad replacement. I like to look at J.D. Power's Vehicle Dependability charts for the model year I'm looking to buy. I find that vehicle dependability forums are unreliable because many consumers misguidedly see too many carmakers as reliable.
    source
  7. Hybrid, gas-powered, and electric. Hybrids and gas cars do not need to be charged. Gas cars run on gas. A typical sedan/hatchback gas-powered car gets somewhere from 25-32 combined (city and highway) mpg (miles per gallon).
    Hybrids run on the kinetic energy regular cars throw away when you brake down a hill. They get better gas mileage, usually somewhere in the 39-45 mpg range. Sounds like a sweet deal, right? Here's the catch: they run an average of $5k more than a gas car and need a $3-4k hybrid battery replacement somewhere after 100k miles or it can last the life of the car (as it hypothetically should). Of course, if it happens within the warranty (usually 8-10 years ish) you get a free ride. I've gotten the impression that the older generations of Priuses' hybrid batteries fail sooner than the newer generations, so keep that in mind when buying a new or used hybrid.
    Electric cars need to be charged. Whole Foods has charging stations, and charging is usually priced around $2-5/hour, taking 2-3 hours to charge. I'm not sure how many miles they can run on one charge. An example of an all-electric car is the BMW i8, the Nissan Leaf, or any model Tesla.
  8. Cars with a hybrid and gas model vs specifically hybrid cars - Specifically hybrid vehicles (Toyota Prius, Honda Insight) have a more aerodynamic shape, giving them slightly better gas mileage. For example, the 2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid gets 42/38mpg, while the 2016 Prius gets 54/50 according to Toyota.
  9. Why electric cars don't need a grill - The grill allows oxygen to enter the engine, but the engines of electric cars don't need oxygen so they don't have grills.
  10. Aftermarket parts. These are car parts that don't come from the car manufacturer. It can be a bumper you didn't get from your car manufacturer itself, or a whole new Pioneer audio system.
  11. Make vs model. The "make" of a car is like the brand - Toyota, Honda, BMW, Ford. The model is like the Corolla, Pilot, i8, or Focus.
  12. The relationship between Toyota, Scion, and Lexus, and Honda and Acura - Scion and Lexus are Toyota's luxury brands. Everything is made by Toyota, but they use the Scion or Lexus names to signify premium. So you get Toyota's reliability, but a premium vehicle. Acura is Honda's luxury brand. Another example is Smart brand, which is owned by Mercedes.
  13. Clean vs Salvage vs Rebuilt title: a clean title is on a car that has not been in any major accidents. A salvage title is given to a car that has been totaled (when the repair cost would be more than the car was worth at the time of the accident). A car with a salvage title is illegal to drive. The rebuilt title is given after the car has been repaired and inspected for stolen parts. The inspector does NOT check for safety or drivability, he only checks for stolen parts. This is why you should never buy a car with a rebuilt title.
  14. Features to look for when buying a new car. Sunroof, moon roof, automatic climate control (you set 67 degrees and the car does the rest), automatic dimming rearview mirror (versus manual, which is when you push the thingy under the mirror and it makes everything dimmer in the rearview mirror so you don't get blinded by inconsiderate drivers' high beams), heated seats, folding in side mirrors, steering wheel tilt seat raising adjustments, Bluetooth, USB ports as opposed to cigarette lighter ports. Also feel for how bumpiness and numbness/responsiveness of steering and break/gas pedals. And style of course.
  15. Manual and automatic transmissions. With a manual transmission, you use your left foot to push the clutch pedal before you gas or break or change gears (but it has to be at the perfect time. It's rough.) and use your right hand for the gear shifter (gears must be changed at certain speeds and you have to feel when to switch gears). With automatic transmissions, the car does all that for you. Stick shifts get slightly better gas mileage, but with modern advancements in technology the difference is almost negligible.
  16. Automated manual transmission? Smart cars for example use an "automated manual transmission," which is a fancy name for a shitty automatic transmission. Basically you get the ease of an automatic, with the lurching between gears of a manual.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Where to Buy Wide Shoes

As a wide-footed girl, I understand the struggle of finding cute and affordable wide shoes. Because apparently if you have a wide foot, you're only interested in kitten heels and clogs.

  1. Asos
    I will be the first to admit Asos can be pricey, but if you find something on sale, many cute simpler heel styles are in the $30 range. And honestly, it's hard enough to find cute wide shoes, treat yoself! Also, beware they just switched over to UK sizing, so your size will be 2 sizes down in women's from US to UK. They also include videos of a model walking in the shoes on the website so you can see exactly what you're buying!
    link
  2. Newlook
    Newlook is a supplier for Asos, so they have a lot of overlap in styles. If there's something labeled "Newlook" on Asos and they're out of your size, check here. Also in UK sizing and in British Pounds.
    link
  3. Payless
    link
  4. Torrid
    These shoes are designed for plus-sized women, and although I have never tried on any of their shoes, I'll bet they work for straight-sized women with wide feet too. Plus, I love their product descriptions.
  5. Nordstrom
    Many department stores have a surprisingly small array of wide width shoes for women. Nordstrom is not one of them. In store, I can't say, but online they have a respectable variety. Just refine your search by width. (Although again, this isn't the most affordable place to shop.)
    link
  6. Amiclubwear
    I haven't ever ordered from here, but I have heard good things. So if you do order and it never comes, don't hold me to that. They also don't have a huge selection of wide width footwear. However, what they do have is buy-one-for-every-outfit prices.
    link
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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Everything is Temporary

I think (one of) the keys to happiness is understanding that nothing lasts forever and that everything is temporary.
If you understand that, you won't be upset over change because you expect it. You won't be upset when you lose an expensive water bottle, or your favorite necklace. You won't be upset when you have a fight and lose a friend. And it's okay for that to happen, because it does, and it's meant to. I had one of the most fun summers of my life this summer, and I didn't want to let it go. I met new people, I did fun things, I took risks, and I also spent time with kids, because I love working with kids, and it was exactly as fulfilling as I expected it to be. At the end of the summer, the camper I had been working on to come out of her shell did, and she thanked me for it. She gave me a card. I spent the last three weeks of camp playing hand games with her and other kids, trying to get them to talk to her. I invited her over to play games with other campers. I found her a seat at the table she wanted to sit at during lunch. And that card was more than I ever wanted. Helping her was reward enough for me, but her card gave me even more joy. I miss another camper who gave me a hard time. She sat in my lap sometimes when she was in a good mood, and I miss that. I miss being one of two counselors who could get her to stop crying. But now I got a new job, and I can't work with kids anymore. I just need to understand that this is a new beginning in my life. The hustle and bustle of swim season is temporary, my job as a summer camp counselor was temporary, and this new job is also temporary. But that's not a bad thing. All I'm doing is living life, gaining a variety of experiences and putting myself out there. That's a key to happiness.
So live life, understanding that, and don't get attached to any one thing, one person, or one experience. These will come and go, and all you have to do is allow them to.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

How to Do a Job Interview As a Teen

I've had three job interviews so far in my life, two of which ended in getting a job. One of which ended in a scheduling conflict, but she said she would've hired me if it had worked out! Allow me to give you some tips on how to approach this situation, and some experiences I've had.

  1. Know your answers to basic interview questions. Such as...
    1. Tell me about yourself. - this is a big one, have a response prepared in advance.
    2. What experience do you have in this field?
    3. Do you have any questions for me? - always say yes! Ask something like, "how do you manage - do you text or email?"
    4. When can you start?
    5. What days of the week do you prefer to work?
    6. Why do you think you would be a good candidate for this job?
    7. Tell me more about x that I saw on your resumé.
    8. Why should we hire you?
  2. It won't be like a real, adult interview. They might ask you a few questions, but nothing should throw you off too much.
  3. Be talkative. Don't just answer the question, elaborate on it. If they say, "we don't allow cell phones here," don't smile and nod. Say, "Of course! That won't be a problem since we had the same policy at my previous job. I know a lot of teenagers are addicted to their phones."
  4. Look confident. A big part of your first impression is how you carry yourself. Do you have a firm handshake? Do you speak loudly and audibly? Do you walk with confidence? Do you smile warmly?
  5. Dress appropriately. They say, "dress for the job you want, not the job you have," but for a lot of minimum wage, teen-friendly jobs, you're not gonna walk into McDonald's decked out in orange and red complete with a chef's hat. Just dress nicely. Wear a nice pair of jeans and a blouse.
  6. Don't let your phone ring mid-interview! Set it to silent or turn it off before you walk in. Letting your potential boss know how many friends you have is a great way to let him or her know you are not committed to this interview and that you will be texting under the table at work.
  7. Be friendly and just sound like someone you'd like to be friends with. Many employers go with their gut instinct on a person, and you want their gut to say "hire this person right now!"
  8. You may or may not need a resumé. A lot of places won't ask for one because they don't expect you to have one, but they might ask for your employment history. But some places will, and it's nice to have one anyway.
Feel free to contact me if you need more tips!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

How to Save Up for Something

Source

I've been saving up for a car this summer, and I've learned some money-saving and money-earning tips and tricks from experience and from parents.
  1. The most crucial part of saving up is the mental block of not spending money. It's hard to stop spending money when you've been in the habit of it for a while. My point is, you don't NEED to spend money. You WANT to. You have to stop wanting to.
  2. Get a job. Go to some local businesses and ask for a job application. Use phrases like, "I was wondering if there were any job openings." Or simply, "Can I have a job application/how do I apply?"
  3. Once you have a job, verify that you're getting paid what you should be. Don't blindly assume they're paying you correctly, because people are disorganized and will usually make mistakes when it's in their favor, not yours. Take a picture of your time card if that helps.
  4. If you earn under $8,000 per calendar year, make sure you file for a tax return. You shouldn't be getting income taxes.
  5. Look for used stuff. Technology and clothes in particular. Go consignment or thrift shopping. Look for used technology or furniture on Amazon, Ebay, or Craigslist. There's no reason you should be paying $60 for a Pink sweatshirt (or just don't buy the sweatshirt). Apple also has a lot of refurbished products on their website (mainly old models of computers).
  6. If you don't need it, don't buy it. Ask yourself that before making a purchase. No, you don't need a twentieth phone case or an extra large Dunkin Donuts coffee every day. Buying coffee every day for $3.50/day adds up very quickly.
  7. Take advantage of gift cards you receive, coupons, and cash back deals from your bank. But here's the catch: don't buy those things unless you were already planning on it. If you get a coupon for "buy one get one free on Diet Coke," and you go to CVS specifically to buy Diet Coke, you've been duped by the system. You just wasted your own money on that product.
  8. If you have one, use your debit card instead of cash. It's much easier to keep track of where each dollar goes, and you never find yourself asking, "where did my last $10 go?" because you can always log in to your bank account online and find out. It's a good way to figure out where you spend most, and how to minimize that.
  9. If all else fails, get your parents to pay for stuff as much as possible. This is kind of a sneaky one, but it is a good way to keep money in your bank account.
  10. Don't lend out money. You'll never get it back.
(Side note: this is my 201st post.)

Sunday, August 14, 2016

My First Job: My Experience

This summer I had my first job. I worked as a camp counselor at a local camp for 5-7 year old children. I've always loved kids, and this just happened to be the job I found. And it's been a great summer.

How I got the job.
During the last week of school before finals, I went around to some local cafes and shops asking if they had any job openings. The recreation department happened to have one, as a camp counselor. I applied and got the job. I did not have a resume at this point and they didn't expect one.

How the job turned out.
It was strange, at first, as is any new activity one partakes in. This is what I realized this summer. I momentarily considered quitting, because I felt so out of place the first week. But I'm really glad I didn't. I realized that a person always feels out of place in a new environment, but I had just as much right to be there as anyone else did. This taught me a valuable lesson about trying new things--that it might feel strange at first, but that's okay and I'll adapt. I made a friend at work, and we've hung out a few times outside of work. We bond over work issues, rude kids, and cute counselors. I was slightly lacking in the friend department, so this was pretty sweet for me. It was really nice to have someone to talk to at work, especially during the boring parts of the day. And how did I make this friend? By coming up to her and talking. I saw her sitting by herself on a field trip, and I approached her and asked her what she thought of the field trip. I guess we "clicked," and started talking more and more. I also got friendly with some other counselors which was cool too. It was nice to meet new people, especially older ones, who are more mature. In terms of campers, on my last day the kids all made cards for counselors. I got six of them. And I really did feel like they were from campers I bonded with, not just random ones who couldn't think of someone to make a card for. Another lesson I learned is that sometimes I miss out on stuff. Oftentimes my friends would be making plans in the group text and I'd miss out. That was hard for me at the beginning of the summer, but I've learned to accept it after experiencing it a few times. Which is a good life skill, if you think about it. And I've also learned not to resent waking up early! Shockingly, it makes you feel more productive! I also just feel like this was a good experience to have and great for my resume. For one week, I worked with an intellectually disabled camper, which was a very enlightening experience that taught me how people with different disabilities function and how to work with them. Another great thing about this job is money!! Although I was earning minimum wage, I worked many hours per week and made a significant sum of money. I'm now in the process of saving up for a car (even though I don't quite have my license yet). A bonus with the pay thing is that I learned how to deal with bosses and how to talk professionally! One more thing. I re-learned to love my bare face with not a trace of makeup on. I was too lazy to wear makeup to camp every day of course, so I went without. And it was great. I'll probably need to re-learn this skill after wearing makeup every day for school though. Or maybe I won't wear it to school. We'll see.
Friend who I was with is cropped out for privacy reasons!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Responses: Philosophy and How to Be Happy

Lately I've been thinking a lot about happiness vs fulfillment and how to achieve it. Allow me to link some Internet things that sparked my thoughts.
Suddenly nothing matters anymore from Psychonaut

 On the Reddit post, I spotted a very interesting response:


So as a simplified and recapitulating summary of all of these sources (I am aware, none of these are credible philosophy sources but since it's a matter of opinion, it doesn't matter), here is my formal opinion on the meaning of life and how to achieve happiness.
  • Since the universe is inherently empty, and everything we do as humans is created by society (which is the concept of nihilism as seen in the Reddit post), and time and morals are simply human creations, choose the right path for yourself. But keep in mind society's limitations, for instance you can't start a hedonistic adventure circa Jack Kerouac because society has police, and they will catch you when you start stealing cars. For many, with this information in mind, they will still choose the traditional path of education and family life.
  • Given that you may be stuck in a traditional lifestyle, make the best of it by making a conscious effort to enjoy right now. You don't have to do something different, as stated in the comment, but take joy in the things that you already do. We take a lot of things for granted, such as the outdoors and good weather, good people who surround us, our families, and smells. If you start to take notice of these small things, you will realize that life is beautiful.
  • The joys in life come from mainly interactions with other people, so learn to enjoy them but remember that the only way to be truly happy is by deriving it from yourself and not depending on anyone else for your happiness.
  • In regards to the "do we need philosophy to be happy" thing, I would say we don't need philosophy to be happy, but we do need it to be fulfilled. I have friends who have never given philosophy a second thought and are perfectly happy in their lives--that said, not exceptionally happy. But is anyone? I'm definitely not exceptionally happy. However, in my opinion, we do need philosophy to be fulfilled. I would argue that the only way to achieve fulfillment is the realization of how and the implementation of that. For example, I used philosophy to determine that not taking things for granted will make me fulfilled and happy. The implementation of this will make me happy and fulfilled. But I wouldn't have been able to determine that not taking things for granted will make me happy without the study of philosophy, and even if I did (without outside sources), that would be philosophy as philosophy is defined as "the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline."
  • (not from any of the sources) In my personal opinion, humans are inherently selfish. Even when we help others, it's only because helping others will make us feel like a good person and we will derive joy from this act of kindness. With that concept, the only reason we don't do things like drop toxic friends is because we would feel bad about it and we want to feel good. But what would be the most rewarding in the end: removing a toxic friend from your life, or keeping that friend but not having to dump them? I think the former. Therefore, we should do things with blatant self-interest rather than hidden self-interest if it will benefit us the most in the end. So basically, do what makes you happy regardless of how it will affect others. Drop those toxic friends. You don't owe them anything.
In conclusion, do whatever it takes to make yourself happy and fulfilled regardless of its effect on others, keeping in mind limitations based on society or people you care about. A tip to help you be happy is to enjoy the little things. Be selfish.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Review: ASOS Wide Fit Strappy Heels


Source: us.asos.com
I have a wide foot, so it's always been hard to find heels that don't hurt like a motherfucker, especially scrappy ones (the straps dig in). Wide fit shoes are hard to find, and the ones that I do find are always ugly or have a one-inch or less heel. So naturally, ASOS's good selection of cute, wide fit shoes was a blessing to me. I got the "New Look Wide Fit Strappy Heeled Sandals" for $36 down from $48.



Thoughts:

  • My feet are sort of in between regular fit and wide fit, so I was worried these would be too big on me. One strap is slightly too big (you can see it on my left foot's middle strap), but it's not a big deal. It's almost more comfortable that way.
  • The material and construction is sort of cheap feeling, but not visible unless close up. From what I can tell, they are not the highest of quality shoes. I would not pay full price if I saw it in store.
  • As a short girl with small feet (size 6), the heel height compliments my height nicely.
  • My only complaint (other than the cheap thing) is that the gold adornments can move around a bit, but they don't move too far and it's not noticeable. A forgivable trait.
  • They're pretty comfortable and flexible to walk in. More so than most other heels I've worn.

These are great shoes in general, and I'm so glad they come in wide fit! Props to ASOS for making the first cute, wide fit heels for women. I'm tired of stuffing my feet into regular fit shoes and suffering. Side note: I am aware that dress doesn't go with the shoes. I wore it solely for the purpose of the photo.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

My Experience On a Polyphasic Sleep Schedule

I've been struggling with sleep issues and insomnia (undiagnosed) for years. I've always had trouble going to bed at a normal hour, falling asleep at one or 2am, sometimes even four or five. I also felt as though sleeping was a waste of time. When I saw the Buzzfeed video, "I Cut My Sleep To 5 Hours Using This Weird Method," it was a wake-up call for me (no pun intended). It was almost a description of my regular sleep schedule. The only exception was, sometimes I didn't take an afternoon nap. Upon further inspection, I realized I was more tired on the days when I didn't nap. So I looked up "polyphasic sleeping," the method demonstrated in the video, and found Polyphasic Society. I committed to a biphasic sleep pattern.
I get 5-6 hours of sleep at night, with a 20 to 90 minute nap. (x)
Polyphasic sleeping is sleeping in naps or shorter periods of time, but more often. The total amount of sleep is usually less than it would be on a normal sleeping schedule. The purpose is to give yourself more waking hours in a day without being tired. More specifically, a biphasic sleeping schedule is sleeping in two shifts per day, with variations in timing. If you're interested in a polyphasic sleep schedule, visit Polyphasic Society to see which one is best for you.

I've been on it for three weeks (since the day the Buzzfeed experiment came out) and here's what I noticed.
  • I'm less tired now with the daily naps, and I waste less time trying to fall asleep at night, staring at the ceiling.
  • I'm more productive in the evening, and I have more time to get things done. For example, if I have an essay due tomorrow, I can just stay up later and get less sleep.
  • I take naps when I'm tired, around 3:30 pm soon after I get home from school. Usually my naps take forty minutes, on average. I get four to six hours of sleep per night. My sleep schedule isn't as extreme as classic biphasic sleeping, since I get around six to seven hours of sleep per night in total, but it does add at least one to three hours to my day.
  • On weekends or vacation breaks from school, I revert to a normal sleep schedule. This is easy to transition into (I sleep in rather than going to bed earlier), but hard to transition out of. It's hard to go from nine hours of sleep to five or six. But usually by the second week I'm back to biphasic sleeping.
  • My reflexes are slower. You know how when it's rainy out and you're kinda sleepy and maybe it's a Sunday, you just feel slow and lethargic all day? That's me pretty much all the time. I'd like to think it's just my new demeanor, but most likely it's because of the new sleep schedule.
  • I've noticed some weight gain and muscle soreness lasting longer after a workout, but that may be placebo and have different causes.
So will I continue my biphasic sleep pattern? Yes, but I will try to take shorter naps and get more sleep at night. I have not consulted a doctor regarding this sleep pattern.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

First Impressions: Thongs

I was looking for something to write a blog post about, since I haven't posted in a while. So I was thinking, how about another first impressions? And it came to me! This is something none of my friends have tried so I thought it would be helpful if I did it and shared my experience.
This one looks like mine (x)

This is the back
Day 1: I do not feel sexy. I thought thongs were supposed to make you feel sexy!!! I have a rather square butt and the thong does nothing to accentuate it. It feels like a permanent wedgie, of course. I would describe it as similar to the feeling of food stuck in your teeth, or spacers like before you get braces. I feel like the fabric is getting wrinkled back there, which just gives me a headache. The front doesn't look nice either. It looks kinda strange.

Later on Day 1: I just had an epiphany. This kind of thong isn't supposed to go deep into your buttcrack. It's supposed to sit sort of on the outside of it. I looked up and it was hard to find the answer (as if it's obvious!) but that's what I gathered. I tried wearing it that way and it keeps migrating deeper into my buttcrack. This is complicated. Or maybe it is supposed to be deep inside????

(source)
Day 2: I have come to the conclusion that it is supposed to be deep inside. There's no way that thing will not migrate. I wore it all day, it was uncomfortable but nice not to have to dig out wedgies all the time. I wore yoga pants just for this occasion and it was nice not to have any panty lines! I normally don't care about panty lines anyway but it was nice to know I didn't have any. I found myself using the bathroom more often to free my butt from the floss if only for a few moments. I was a little worried about getting a yeast infection or something, I've heard you can get one from wearing thongs.

In Conclusion: No surprises here. It was what I thought it would be, and yes it was uncomfortable and no I will not be switching to wearing thongs anytime in the near future. Glad I tried it, but that thong will probably sit at the bottom of my underwear drawer gathering dust. Maybe I'll wear it if I'm wearing tight yoga pants, but probably not.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

I Grew Out My Over-Plucked Eyebrows


Before (filled in)
After (threaded and filled in)



As you can see, my eyebrows have been through quite an ordeal. I wanted to share this experience as inspiration for anyone else trying to grow out their eyebrows, as while I was growing mine out I looked for stuff like that online and came up mostly empty.
I feel like all of the potentially cute pictures of me from seventh grade to about three months ago (sophomore year) are ruined. My pencil-thin brows just ruin the whole picture! What a shame.






As I was growing out my eyebrows, I periodically took pictures of them to mark my progress, in preparation for this post. So here they are.









































I was initially hesitant to grow out my brows for fear of looking bad with a thicker brow, the hair not growing, looking gross and stubbly, stuff like that. What I've learned is:
  • Everyone looks best with a variation of their natural eyebrows. If you have naturally thick eyebrows, your face probably looks best with bold brows.
  • If you think your eyebrows won't grow back, they probably will.
  • The stubbly part was worth it in the end because I ended up with my dream eyebrows.
  • There are still parts that don't grow on my eyebrows, but that's okay. I do fill in my eyebrows so it's not a problem. When I don't fill in my brows, if I brush them a certain way, the patches are not noticeable. You  can see in the March 29 picture, there are sparse spots in the middle of my left brow and at the bottom of the tail on my right brow. I'm still hoping those will fill in.
  • I thought I was done growing out my eyebrows on March 2. But as you can see, they kept growing. Luckily I didn't go straight to the threader's from there.
  • It's okay if they're a bit asymmetrical. My eyebrows have always been asymmetrical from the day I was born, and I have always resented that. But now I care less, if at all.
  • Ignore all that bullshit about "strategically growing them out in a line." It's better to leave them alone completely to get your optimal natural shape in the end.
I will admit, I had/have a bit of an eyebrow obsession. This began way before the Internet eyebrow movement happened, so that wasn't the cause. My theory is, it all began when a friend teased me for having a "unibrow." I was maybe in late sixth or early seventh grade. I hadn't noticed it until then, but when I went home I looked in the mirror and saw it for the first time. I immediately ran to my mom and asked for a pair of tweezers. She handed them over with a warning: just pluck in the middle, not on your actual eyebrows. Needless to say, I did not take her advice. At the beginning I did, but when that same friend came to school with fully waxed eyebrows, I followed suit, tweezers in hand. The over-plucking happened gradually without my realizing it. It's easy to pluck a little bit more every day and eventually end up with no eyebrows. I wish I'd gotten my eyebrows done by a professional from the start.
My favorite part of this experience is not having to fill in my eyebrows every day if I don't want to. I now feel comfortable going out in public with no makeup on because I actually have eyebrows. There was a moment in early January when I looked in the mirror and realized I had no eyebrows. I was at CVS with no makeup on, and it took a lot for me to go out in public without my eyebrows on, and I had a realization: I have no eyebrows. Family (who see my bare face every day) noticed, but I paid no mind until then. I just thought they were being mean (which they were, but I now understand their concern).
Another great thing is that now I have a more defined shape. There had been days pre-growth when I'd spend my whole half an hour I allotted myself in the morning for makeup on my eyebrows because I couldn't get the shape right. I constantly felt self-conscious about my eyebrows, and if they didn't come out exactly how I wanted that day, I would feel like crap for the entire day. Now, my eyebrows take me five minutes max to fill in in the morning, and I never feel self-conscious about them. Also, if anyone's curious, my favorite eyebrow is the right.
Regarding how I grew them out, there's really no trick to it. Just PUT AWAY THE TWEEZERS. No plucking. Don't say "oh just three hairs!" because you don't know if those three hairs that look super far away from your eyebrow will become part of your brow later when they grow in more. I used castor oil for a while, which is supposed to help your eyebrows grow, but I felt like it was pulling out too many hairs to be worth it, and my pillow was getting all greasy and it was just kind of disgusting. I also tried coconut oil with similar results.
I hope that was inspirational for any of you embarking on your own eyebrow growth journey. Good luck. If you have no interest in your eyebrows, this post may have been a tad boring for you. I apologize.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

First Impression: Eyebrow Threading


In case you didn't know (source)
Today I got my eyebrows done for the first time, threading specifically. It was kind of spur of the moment, so I didn't have time to mentally prepare myself. A while ago, I had online and found the highest rated eyebrow threading place in my area. I had been growing out my eyebrows and they were getting a bit out of hand. I didn't want to go at it with tweezers for fear of over-plucking like I had in the past, which is what forced me to grow them out in the first place. I was not looking to go back to square one. I resolved to get them done. The reason I chose threading over waxing was because I heard it was less painful, caused less redness afterward, and was more exact (it supposedly leaves you with a cleaner line). Also I just wanted to try it and thought it would be a cool experience. Which it was and I'm glad I did!
Honestly the fifteen minutes it took for the "therapist" to thread my eyebrows was agony, wondering if they were going to turn out horrible and overplucked. The therapist had very nice, bushy eyebrows though, so that was reassuring. She knew it was my first time, so she directed me what to do more. If you haven't seen videos of other people waxing (below), they ask you to pull the skin taught so the thread can catch the hairs easier. The pain was comparable to tweezing, but it was continuous and included smaller peach fuzz hair so more was being removed at once. It was totally bearable, and my eyes didn't water.


At first, I was skeptical about the sculpted brows I was left with. I've grown accustomed to having more natural, less defined brows since growing them out. But I decided I love them. I didn't want to put myself in the position of having to choose to pluck to not to pluck a certain hair, like I used to when I plucked a lot. I used to pluck every day back in middle school through freshman year. My eyebrows were pretty bad. Here's an old picture for your pleasure:
Fun fact: this was the first time I straightened my hair (using my friend's flatiron) and I whitened my teeth using PicsArt XD) - August 24, 2014
I thought this was cute at the time. Or maybe I didn't notice. Still have that purple sports bra.

Time it took: 15 mins
Price: $17.00
Pain: 1/5
Redness: 1/5
Will I do it again? Probably not, but we'll see. I'm going to try to keep up the shape with tweezers.

Advice if you're getting your eyebrows threaded for the first time:
  • Don't wear a lot of eye makeup, because you'll smudge it when your fingers are all over your eyelids
  • Don't apply makeup to the threaded areas afterwards for at least a few hours, it might clog your pores
  • If they ask you what shape you want, "just clean it up" will usually suffice
  • Don't give them the benefit of the doubt. I've heard way too many "bad thread job" stories about people who went in feeling skeptical (maybe the therapist had thin/overplucked brows herself, or the place just seemed shady). Don't do that to yourself. Save your brows.
Here's the results:
Before - sorry you can't see it that well and you only get one eyebrow. That's my good side tbh
After - Don't they look great??? Also look at my earrings, do I look hot or do I look hot

I Wore Men's Deodorant For a Week

My Dove women's deodorant just wasn't doing the trick anymore, but I wasn't willing to spend $9.99 on a "clinical strength" women's deodorant. I had heard online men's deodorant works better, so I thought why not try it? And to add a little twist on it, I bought a scented one. The purpose of this experiment was to see if anyone noticed or cared that I smelled like a man, if I smelled like a man at all, and if men's deodorant is any better or more effective than women's.

The rules
  • It must be scented - no unscented deodorants! (I also bought an unscented one for long-term use after the week is over)
  • Must be antiperspirant as well
  • Wear it every day for a week
  • Record when something noteworthy happens regarding the deodorant
  • You must not keep your arms down on purpose or wear long sleeves every day on purpose to hide it.

At the store
All the mens' deodorant smell like shit. I would probably vomit if my brother wore one of these (he wears Old Spice's "Pure Sport" which isn't as nauseating). I chose one that still smells manly but slightly less vomit-inducing. I noticed all the men's deodorants have this spicy note that I do not appreciate. Another thing I noticed is that all the men's deodorants were $3.59 and the women's were anywhere from $4.29 to $9.99. So if nothing else, I saved money!
The deodorants I chose (left to right): Speed Stick Power Unscented Antiperspirant Deodorant, Degree Men Extreme Anti-Perspirant (scented)
First Impressions
Sunday, March 6, first application. The first thing I noticed is that the scent is more prominent than I expected. The second thing I noticed is that it leaves a white residue I'm not too keen on. I feel mildly like I want to throw up. I don't know if I'm gonna make it through the whole week. The unscented (Speed Stick)  one actually does not have a scent, contrary to my Dove women's unscented deodorant, which has a clean, fresh scent rather than none at all.

Throughout the Week
The Degree brand deodorant continues to leave a white residue on my armpits. The Speed Stick did not. No one has noticed the scent, even when I pointed it out. I noticed I'm sweating a LOT less, if any. The antiperspirant really works! And I didn't smell either. My pits were noticeably less damp.

The Final Verdict
Men's deodorant > women's deodorant
Degree < Speed Stick

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Short Girl Fashion Tips

Here's some tips that will actually help you.

  1. Wear all the short shorts. I heard they're actually a no-no for short girls, but I disagree. They look proportionate on petite people, and we can get away with it because in comparison to our legs, they don't look as short on us as they would on a taller girl. Rock those daisy dukes!
  2. When tucking in shirts, especially with a high waist, wear a skinny belt. It sort of looks like a continuation of the shirt and tricks the eye.
  3. Instead of buying high waisted pants, buy mid-rise pants. Instead of hitting right under your boobs, they'll hit at your belly button, which looks more proportionate on us and is more comfortable.
  4. If a shirt is too long, knot it at the side for a casual look and in the middle for a more fitted look. Knotting doesn't work with shirts that fit in length because there's not enough fabric to use. Knot it in the back if you don't want it to be seen.
  5. (source)
  6. If the shirt is too long, another option is to tuck it in or do a half-tuck.
  7. (source)
  8. If a shirt's sleeves are too long, cuff or push them up to disguise it. This also helps you look taller.
  9. If pants are too long, cuff them, leave the wrinkles at the end, or hem them yourself.
  10. (source)
  11. Learn how to do simple alterations, like shortening pants, shirts, sleeves, and skirts.
  12. Opt for a miniskirt. They look proportionate on our bodies.
  13. Buy things that actually fit. You can rock anything if it fits your body.
  14. Buy kids' clothes and shoes--but be careful. Kids' clothes are cheaper, but often lower quality and cut differently. They often have a more boxy cut for clothes, and the shoes are often rounder at the toe.
  15. Kids' vs. women's rain boots (source)
  16. Look for a petite section, but don't be discouraged if you can't find one.
  17. Break all the "rules." Nobody can tell you what to wear. Avoiding certain outfits is a waste of your life and honestly doesn't help that much. Do whatever you want. I'm sure nobody will care either way.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Response: "All Lives Matter"

When I saw this post on Tumblr, it was the straw that broke the camel's back.
http://japanmalum.tumblr.com/post/140429537451/bi-privilege-simplyintuition-bi-privilege
This post brought me back to "All Lives Matter" because this is what I see: politically correct people trying to raise awareness for black lives, since black people are continuously getting killed by police officers in the United States. Then, more PC people jump in and say, "hey wait! You can't do that! You can't call out one group of people over another! Let's all just be happy and peaceful, let's not call out one specific group." The problem is, they're missing the point of "black lives matter." The whole point is to bring attention to black losses. They're just trying to be as politically correct as possible, and forgetting the point of being PC--to help people, particularly minorities.
(For future reference, I will be equating "all lives matter" with "people are great" in the Tumblr post.) I know this is not a new idea, but here's my addition to it: we all thought this whole "all lives matter" thing blew over by now, for the most part. But this same concept prevails, particularly on Tumblr. For instance, with "Bi girls are great" "People are great." It's a battle of the PCs. Who can be more PC? Does it matter? We're missing the point here. We're trying to help people who need help by being PC.
With "all lives matter," I see white people trying to metaphorically wipe some of the blood off their hands. They want to victimize themselves, so they don't look so much like the perpetrators. They don't want to accept their white privilege. White people are not the victim here. Hetero and homosexual people are not the victim here. The victim is the minority. By saying "all lives matter" and "people are great," you are belittling their suffering by comparing it to yours.
The purpose of the original poster was to raise awareness for bi girls. Bi girls suffer in a unique way, because many don't even believe one can be attracted to two genders (read: bi hate), and OP is trying to call attention to that and remind bi girls that they are awesome and their suffering hasn't gone unnoticed. By saying "people are great," you are erasing "bi" from the entire line, therefore erasing the purpose of the post. This no longer calls attention to bi girls at all, rather it's more of a casual "you're worth it" reminder, which is great too, but not the purpose of this post.
It's a minority for a reason. Don't try to include yourself in it. The majority is not the victim.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

First Impression: DivaCup

Yesterday I got it in my head that I wanted a menstrual cup. I was done with nightly period leakage and either sitting in my own blood or constantly being worried about leakage. This had gone on too long. I have heavy periods, and I needed a new solution.
I did my research, and the #1 best menstrual cup is apparently DivaCup. I went online and made sure they had some available at my local CVS. So today I trekked all the way to CVS in the snow to buy one. Cost me forty bucks I could've used on ice cream to accompany my menstrual cycle.
Model 1 DivaCup (source) (I bought mine here)

Some things you should know about me before we begin:

  • I'm 16 but pretty much done with puberty as far as I know and almost at my adult height
  • I don't routinely shove (not-tampon) things up my vagina
  • I use tampons with no problems (usually. Once in a while it's tough to get one in there.)
  • I experience leakage with tampons
  • I regularly use pads

Trial #1
It's the third day of my period and it's not a particularly heavy one. I made multiple attempts and eventually gave up and resolved to try again later. Not gonna lie, it was painful. That thing is big, and it did not want to slide up in there.

Trial #2
I waited until my next cycle so I could try again on my heaviest day. Ow. Insertion hurt. It's definitely not "the same size as a tampon when folded" as many claim. After wrestling with it for a good forty minutes, I came out sore but victorious. I turned it and everything. But then I got up and started walking. I have a vague sensation of needing to poop, and I definitely feel its presence. It feels uncomfortable, to the point of pain. The stem is touching something that I don't like. I heard some people only wear it at night if it's uncomfortable, but I'm not sure if I could even do that.
I read up on it, and the Internet suggests I push it up farther. Did that. Didn't help. They suggested I trim the stem. Did that. Had to remove and reinsert. Helped a little bit with the pain, but not the discomfort. When I move around, I feel air bubbles. It is distinctly uncomfortable and still rubs up against something bad. I have concluded that it's my anatomy and menstrual cups simply aren't for me.

Trial #3
I am now a pro at insertion (but it still hurts). I use the "punch down" fold. Trial 2 was going to be my last attempt, but I'm having a particularly heavy period and I completely soaked through an overnight pad in three hours. With periods like that, I routinely wake up with blood on my sheets, my pants, and all over my underwear. So I thought I'd try and avoid that by using the DivaCup. This time, once it was in it wasn't as painful, but I was leaking! I'm not sure if it was the leftover blood below the cup causing the leakage or what, but I was leaking significantly and this just wouldn't do. I removed it and am using an overnight pad. I also was unable to turn it, which can sometimes lead to leakage or migration of the cup because it doesn't form a proper seal in the vagina. But it just wouldn't turn! What am I supposed to do?
The entire time I was paranoid about the cup migrating upwards and suctioning to my cervix (I've heard of that happening to people), especially because I have a high cervix so it would be way up there. Whenever it was in, it was painful (rubbing against something) and insertion and removal were no picnic, although I could potentially see past that if the pros outweighed the cons. I also kept feeling air bubbles releasing inside me. It wasn't a "get it and forget it" deal. I suspect that if I tried a different brand (perhaps one with softer silicone or a less prominent ring at the top) I would find more success, but I think I'm done with menstrual cups for now. I really wanted to like it! It's a shame it didn't work out, I would have enjoyed leak-free nights.

Overall
Will I use it again? No. Not even comfortable/leakproof enough for nocturnal use.
Do I recommend it? Yeah, if you're willing to take the risk of paying the forty bucks and it being too uncomfortable to use or in some way undesirable. I suspect it would work better for other people with different anatomy, so if you're willing to take that risk, it's worth a shot.
Am I at least glad I tried it? I could've done without this experience in my life. I guess it made me familiarize myself better with my anatomy, but not much. Generally not impressed.

Disclaimer: just because it didn't work for me doesn't mean it won't work for you.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Why is This Generation Depressed?

Everyone I know is depressed, anxious, or has some other mental health problem. This didn't seem to be a problem when our parents were this age. Was it because now people are more willing to admit to their mental health problems? Is it because of less stigma around mental health in this generation? Or is mental health actually more of a problem now? The article below argues not.
Studies and have shown "millennials could be the most depressed generation at work" (Kristie Eshelman, Millennials...). We get it, we're depressed and stressed and anxious. But why? I've done some research and the answer is unclear. "Why So Many People Are Stressed and Depressed" says technology is not at fault. I beg to differ. Here's a list I've compiled of why I think this generation (millennials/teens) suffers from so many mental health problems:
  1. More rigorous high schools, causing more stress at a younger age
  2. The media feeding us unrealistic beauty standards, leading to insecurity
  3. Less face-to-face talking due to technology
  4. Increasing unrest in the workplace and in school - not being satisfied with sitting at a desk all day
  5. Desire to have a fulfilling life - we work harder in school to get a better job so we can do what we want in our lives
  6. Overpopulation - more competition to get into better colleges
  7. Pressure to get a college degree
  8. Helicopter parents - kids don't learn how to think for themselves from a young age and are stranded when they go off to college and into the real world
  9. College's rising standards - kids are "groomed to be academic overachievers, but become, in reality, an emotional underachiever" (Brooke Donatone and Slate, Why are so many...)
This is my take on it from the standpoint of someone who's in the middle of it all. But what I really want you to take out of this is: Adults, you may think your child isn't suffering, but if they ask for help, give it to them. Be more attuned to depression and mental health in your children.

Source:
http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/03/04/why-are-so-many-teens-depressed/, 
https://generationopportunity.org/articles/2015/05/26/millennials-could-be-the-most-depressed-generation-at-work-but-why/,
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/why-are-so-many-millennials-depressed-a-therapist-points-the-finger-at-mom-and-dad/2014/01/06/19f4f1c4-69a1-11e3-8b5b-a77187b716a3_story.html

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Children's Rights

source
I just stumbled across this article online. A Michigan mother was upset that she had to allow her daughter to have a five-minute conversation with her doctor alone.
A while ago I did some research on this and had to dig deep to find out parents are required to leave during a doctor's appointment if the child requests it, but parents often refuse to leave and nobody bothers to argue.
In my opinion, parents aren't beneficial to have at the doctor's appointment. I understand parents are concerned for their child's safety and want to make sure nothing happens to their child (i.e., molestation, kidnapping). However that is an unlikely occurrence. For the most part, parents jump in during the questioning and answer questions for their child. This alters the responses, because it becomes what the parent THINKS the child is doing, instead of what the child is actually doing. The only way to prevent this is to make the parent leave, at least for the questioning portion of the visit.
Many doctors also put their pediatrics patients in paper gowns. These gowns don't do shit. It just makes you feel a little better about being mostly naked in front of a stranger (and your parent). Most children over the age of ten find it embarrassing to be naked in front of their parents. It should be the child's right to prevent this. A child should be able to decide who gets to see them naked.
But this often isn't the case. It technically is required by law if the child so desires, but parents can really just say "I'd rather not," and nobody will bother to argue. Isn't that fucked up? Kids have virtually NO rights with their own bodies until they turn eighteen.

For eighteen years of MY life, my parents could potentially do whatever they want with me.
I can't dye or cut my hair past my boobs, I can't get my nose pierced, I can't wear any shirt they deem as "see through" or "low-cut." I should be able to do what I want with MY body. My parents shouldn't be allowed to decide what I do with my body. They don't own me. Isn't it messed up that parents can tell a seventeen-year-old not to wear a certain shirt? Your parents' personal opinions should not dictate what you do with your body. My body, my choice. The law needs to reflect that.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Video Response: "Questions Gay People Have for Bisexuals"


My first reaction to this was immediately disgust. Allow me to link another highly biphobic video on YouTube, from the gay community.

Here's the followup video, where bisexuals respond to the video above.

As a pansexual teenager, here's what I learned from these two videos:

  • I'm greedy
  • I'm a slut
  • I'm not accepted in the LGBT+ community
  • My sexuality is not real
  • I'm "just confused"
  • No lesbian will ever want to date me
Might as well call it the LGT community. Yeah maybe I am confused. But most bisexuals aren't.
One could argue they were just asking questions in the BuzzFeed video. That would be a valid point, but the gay people phrased it extremely rudely. It would be fine if they phrased it politely and delicately. But their language was crude and offensive. They clearly did not want to learn; they wanted to express their disapproval for bisexuality.
It saddens me not only to know that bisexuals are so discriminated against, not only in general, but in the gay/LGBT community, where they have personally experienced the same discrimination, and on BuzzFeed, which is normally so accepting and politically correct.

All that being said, let us be the bigger man. The gay community is rude to us, let's take it as an opportunity to educate them. However, that's not to say the gay community is just ignorant and they need to be educated. In contrast to the description of the video below ("The LGBT community should take time to educate others and not deem ignorance as hate"), there is a difference between ignorant and hate, and in the two videos embedded above, you can tell from their body language and their personalities (from other BuzzFeed videos) that they are well educated and this is pure biphobia.
Skip to 1:20 to see the outro, where Arielle explains how we need to educate people on bisexuality.

Side note: isn't it fascinating how Arielle can make one video praising and protecting bisexuals, and a year later make another one condemning them for their sexuality? Still love you Arielle.

Now, in closing, allow me to refer you to another video if you are on the biphobic side.