The year 2006 was a much simpler time. The eye makeup was smokier, the hair was streakier, and cell phones were, well, flippier? We didn't have Apple watches because our Tomigatchis were the most entertaining form of portable technology (besides #5, of course). We layered our "spaghetti straps" over tee shirts, wore our Chinese Laundry slippers with our Soffee shorts, and only shopped at The Big Three (Abercrombie, Aeropostale, and Hollister). Today, we would be considered complete fashion nightmares. But a decade ago, these styles would have gotten you at least 100 Facebook likes. Our generation was one that reeked of "Sweet Pea" by Bath and Body Works and "Phoenix" Axe and danced our hearts out to a soundtrack of the Jonas Brothers and uninterrupted repeats of "Fergalicious" (but I have about those little nuggets of nostalgia here). But more so, it was a time of change. And as a product of this iconic generation, it only seems fair to celebrate the 19 greatest things that the late 90's and early 2000's truly had to offer:
1. Having Mary-Kate and Ashley everything.
Without a doubt, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were the less-viral-more-identical version of today's Kendall and Kylie Jenner. From "Full House" to "New York Minute," it was our fandom that allowed these two Queens of Hollywood completely dominate the market. With countless feature films, a series of novels, television sitcoms, a clothing line, and just about everything else (but seriously, their perfumes smelled ahhhmazing), the Olsen twins were living proof that the best way to appeal to the younger generation was to actually be in the younger generation.
2. Stressing out over what your AIM profile looked like.
Before there was Instagram or Twitter, any given "tween" could be found spending countless hours polishing and perfecting their AIM profiles. We were all guilty of over-indulging the likes of glittery wall art, cheesy joke icons, and playlists with an absurd amount of Miley Cyrus on them.
3. But then Facebook came along and everyone was like:
A picture wasn't even worth posting if it wasn't edited on "Picnik". Because why wouldn't you want to color your friend's hair pink and add your signature "peaaace. lovvve. haapinessss" in neon letters to an otherwise boring picture? Get with it, people.
4. Anything you ever needed could be found through the beaded doorway of a Limited Too.
If the mall was your heaven, then the doors of Limited Too were your white pearly gates. Anyone who was anyone could be seen sporting that iconic pink blob-like flower. Whether you rocked their unbelievably fashionable "skorts", the as-badass-as-you-can-be-for-an-11-year-old denim jacket, or a sunset-print tankini in the summertime, Limited Too was a staple in your ever-changing wardrobe.
5. The joy you felt when they made a pink Nintendo DS so you didn't have to walk around with a blue or silver one.
Because clearly the pink one was reserved for the girl gamers of our generation.
6. Three words: Lizzie, Raven, Kim.
You couldn't turn on your TV in 2006 without these leading ladies filling up your screen. Between "Lizzie McGuire," "That's So Raven," and "Kim Possible," our generation of young girls had the best role models on the small screen. This has become a fiercely hot topic among millennials as to who really had the "best" Disney. Well, with Lizzie's relatability navigating through middle school, Raven's loyalty to her friends, and Kim's responsibility as a superhero and high school student, today's Disney Channel doesn't even hold a candle to the lessons we learned way back when.
7. Watching these on Saturday mornings.
There weren't many things to look forward to more than waking up on a Saturday morning, turning on ABC, and watching these gems while munching on a hearty bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Whether it was "Recess," "Pepper Ann," "The Emperor's New School," or "Filmore," this line-up of Disney's latest and greatest cartoons had you wishing it was Saturday morning, every morning.
8. Having severe PTSD from this satanic contraption.
How did we ALL have this evil piece of hair styling garbage? Well, if you aren't familiar with this little devil, it's name is the ConAir Quick Braid. You basically clamped your precious locks into the tool's three tiny death claws, pressed a button, and WOOSH your hair was tied in the smallest braid imaginable, along with 52 different knots. It worked until the batteries ran out of juice, prompting your mom to take a scissor and the Jaws of Life to release your baby hairs from its forceful grip.
9. Getting these braided into your hair on vacation because why not?
The ultimate sign of summer was getting one of these bad boys sewn into your sea-breezed and salty beach waves. Or maybe you got one at your sleep-away summer camp a la "The Parent Trap." Or quite possibly, you found a small kiosk in the mall who did them. To be fair, nobody really knows where these came from, but they're nostalgic as hell so let's celebrate that.
10. Watching "old" MTV shows like Made, Cribs, Parental Control, and My Super Sweet 16.
Nothing was more entertaining than turning on your TV to see rich, entitled teenagers scream bloody murder at their parents for buying the wrong centerpieces. Or watching a total tomboy get transformed into the Homecoming Queen. Basically, old MTV was the best MTV. And even though we have gems like "Catfish" and "Are You The One?" today, it was still awesome to see what Lil' Romeo's pool looked like or to watch a girl's parents set her up on blind dates of their choosing.
11. An iPod Nano with all of the hits on it.
Your nano had all of the best jams on it. From Kanye before he was "Famous" and country-girl Taylor Swift, your playlist was by far the best. This was especially important at those super awkward middle school basement parties, where Flo Rida's poetic melody "Low" seemed to be the only thing that integrated the guys side and girls side. Ah, the magic of music.
12. Wanting the big-bangs-thin-ends cut.
AKA the signature style for the pop-punk-emo crowd. The greatness about this cut was that you could part it however you liked and it was still super edgy and nonconformist. Pair this look with some black eyeliner and an arm-length of Silly Bands and BOOM you've got yourself the middle school graduating Class of 2011.
13. The overly-contoured Bratz Dolls.
The Bratz were the true inventors of the Kylie Jenner lips. For those girls who were way too sassy for the typical Barbie doll, the Bratz were a viable alternative. With their high heels, perfect pouts, and "passion for fashion", Bratz dolls were much more than your average toy.
14. Rolling on layer upon layer of body glitter in every color of the rainbow.
These body glitters came in just about every color, scent, size, and whatever else you can distinguish glitter with. If it was liquid and it sparkled, teenage girls of the 2000's needed to douse themselves with it in excess.
15. Wearing ties with any outfit because Avril Lavigne inspired your punk-rock, sk8r boi phase.
Avril Lavigne's fashion was the epitome of all things grunge and we loved every single second of it. Her chunky bracelets, winged eyeliner, band tees, and that iconic neck tie were the sole inspiration of all alternative girls everywhere.
16. Lindsay Lohan was our It Girl.
She could act. She could dance. She could sing. She basically was Wonder Woman. Lindsay Lohan seemed to have it all in the eyes of late 90's and 2000's girls. With her signature strawberry blonde hair that we mere mortals could only dream of having, Lohan became the voice and face of our generation. That is, until her complete meltdown in 2007, in which she never really picked things back up. But you know, details details.
17. Heading over to the local Blockbuster to pick up one of these 2004 classics.
As far as our generation of ladies was concerned, these were the three movies that you had to see. They were funny, romantic, featured the typical 2000's heartthrobs (enter Mark Ruffalo in "13 Going on 30"), and were absolutely mandatory at sleepovers with your girl squad. Heck, they still are mandatory. Sorry, I don't make the rules.
18. Speaking of movies, you and your friends had to delegate who was the Lena, Bridget, Tibby, and Carmen.
But why did everybody want to be Bridget? (That is a trick question. Everyone wanted to be Bridget because she was also Serena Van Der Woodsen and who would not want to be Serena Van Der Woodsen?). Anyway, it was just natural for all girl friend groups to have a sporty Bridget, shy Lena, artsy Tibby, and outspoken Carmen. Bottom line: this movie was incredible and there are legitimate rumors about a 3rd installment in the works so late 90's babies rejoice!
19. Having Lip Smackers in every variety.
Let's get something straight here: you didn't just own the basic flavors like Cotton Candy and Watermelon. You had the Skittles flavors, Soda Pop line, and just about every other variety on the shelves. In fact, I'm almost positive that there is some sort of underground collector's Black Market for these things because there was no possible way to have all of them at one time.
20. Polly Pocket was Barbie's cooler replacement.
She was smaller, blonder, and much cuter than Barbie. She had everything: the perfect home, the newest car, a handsome boyfriend, and more friends than one could count. That's right, I'm talking about the one and only Polly Pocket. Basically, Polly did everything a Barbie could do, but had better, easier-to-change clothes and better computer games. Hey, somebody had to say it.