Why Caring for Plants Means Caring for Yourself

Why Caring for Plants Means Caring for Yourself

The advantages of having a care in the (natural) world
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Last June, my friend Hunter gave little succulents to all his graduation party guests. Well, maybe not all of his guests. I had to leave early. Later, when he realized that I hadn't taken a plant, I assured him that "I like plants better outdoors." I wasn't feeling the succulents scene. The heavily-filtered tumblr posts that captured fields of French wildflowers attracted me, but the ones that presented a corner shelf of potted cacti seemed lackluster. This sounds like a bad case of overthinking, and for me, that's no surprise- but I truly sensed that greenery belonged in the wild, in its own ecosystem, and in no system of mine.

However, my ecosystem developed. At my Haverford College apartment, three succulents sit on my windowsill. At my family home, four claim a sun-friendly spot in the study. I love them.

My first plant was a gift from my school. One September day, the arboretum staff set up a table in the dining center and distributed "freshman plants." There were all sorts of plants, but I picked up a mantis-green succulent buddy. I named him "Orlando" so that I could tell people his name and finish the sentence with, "even if he doesn't Bloom." (Get it? Get it?) Although Freshman Plant Day might simply exist to advertise the arboretum, I feel that literally giving life to college students- or to anyone- is a beautiful thing, and here's why.

Nurturing something makes you feel really good.

I have named my three apartment succulents Orlando, Keira, and Johnny- after the leading actors in the Pirates of the Caribbean films. They are a kind of family, and I am responsible for them. They're not human, but they help me celebrate being a human, being someone who cares about community and about perpetuating life to its fullest.

When it comes to paying attention to others' needs... I fail, a lot. But I want to improve, and maintaining plants is good practice. Just like babies or dogs, plants cannot use words to tell you what they need... unless there's some freaky Little Shop of Horrors stuff happening. As a succulent owner, I have to pay attention to the signs and learn what they mean- if Johnny and Keira's tips begin turning pale brown, I can't assume that the same method will remedy both. I have to invest in learning a new language. The other day, I was fairly sure that my succulents were experiencing drainage problems, so I took them on a field trip to find pebbles; that chill, exploratory time nourished my entire day.

Green relieves stress.


Some people don't believe in color psychology, but many do. And if you have ever been in a hospital that wasn't painted white, I bet I can guess what color it was painted, at least partially. Green! Since it is the color of nature and isn't usually an overwhelming sensory experience, green can de-stress you. If you're looking for a bit of brightness, you don't necessarily have to go for the classic option, a vase of already-dead flowers. You can allow a bit of dirt into your space, because with it comes the sweet serenity of beloved, living color.

Plants get you excited about something genuinely good.

It wasn't Orlando, no. But one of my little guys bloomed. I did not watch the whole process, but when I began to notice the bud, I felt inexplicably proud of the plant... and when a flower finally opened, I could barely believe it. When I am hype for an event, it isn't the same as feeling the thrill of something as simple as this.

Therefore, forsooth, alas, etc... I present a turnaround story and a compelling idea. Before I knew the joy of having succulents in my life, I was missing out on a lot. If you want a new form of self-care, divert your attention towards one or two of these small friends; the love you give them will only grow.

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100 Of The Best Vines Of All Time

Hi, welcome to Chili's!
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Not to be dramatic, but the Vine app was the best thing to ever happen to me.

The Vine app truly understood me and my extremely odd sense of humor. When it was shut down, I felt like a part of me shut down with it. Luckily, I still have the ability to reflect on the good times that I had with Vine. Although there aren't any new Vine videos keeping my spirit alive, the Vine videos from the past are enough to keep me going.

This is way overdue, but here are the 100 best Vines to ever exist (in no particular order).

1. You better stop.

2. Come get y'all juice.

3. WTF is up Kyle.

4. That is NOT correct.

5. Mr. Postman.

6. Good evening.

7. This is your space, this is your area.

8. Honestly not sure what to title this one, but it's great so.

9. Someone help Elmo.

10. Pst...what?

11. Can I get a waffle?

12. Welcome back to Jesus Christ Hotline.

13. Oooooh, my boy going to school.

14. Lebron James.

15. #1 Dad.

16. Two bros chillin' in the hot tub.

17. Iz the fourth of July.

18. You have to say that you're fine and you're not really fine.

19. Tweaka Tweaka.

20. Hi, welcome to Chili's.

21. What up, I'm Jared.

22. If you wanna be a dog, RUFF.

23. When you think you look fresh, but your fish disagrees.

24. Rat in Walmart.

25. I'm dying... without me?

26. White ppl will turn anything into a casserole.

27. So you just gonna bring me a birthday gift on my birthday to my birthday party on my birthday with a birthday gift.

28. You want a french fry? Eat a french fry.

29. ifyoulikemakingloveatmidnight.

30. Ms. Keisha.

31. Girl you're thicker than a bowl of oatmeal.

32. My cinnamon apple.

33. Two shots of vodka.

34. Whoever threw that paper.

35. Wow.

36. Do the math.

37. Rip your face off.

38. Fed up teacher.

39. You can't kill me.

40. Look at me now snake.

41. Walking a duck.

42. No matter when you pause this one, it's hilarious.

43. I don't even understand this one.

44. I dropped my hot pocket.

45. I thought you were American.

46. I can't swim.

47. I wanna be a cowboy.

48. I look like Mona Lisa.

49. Look at this graph.

50. Yungman.

51. Squidward dabbing

52. Living with Nicholas Cage.

53. If Tinder had video profiles.

54. Why you always lying.

55. Chicken wing ch-chi-chicken wing.

56. Uh my chicle.

57. Love the Nickleback version.

58. Any excuse to nae nae.

59. I want to be famous.

60. That's my opinion.

61. There she goes.

62. I have to restart my potatoes.

63. And they don't stop coming.

64. Cat horn.

65. Who is she.

66. The bob.

67. Summertime.

68. Do I look like.

69. Nice Ron.

70. Mom hearing 'Only' by Nicki Minaj for the first time.

71. Happy fourth of July.

72. I'm washing me and my clothes.

73. Nickel the creatorback.

74. Give me your money.

75. U stoopid.

76. Shrek at school.

77. Patricia honey can you be quiet.

78. No baby.

79. You've got a big storm coming.

80. Out shopping with my coven.

81. Extreme makeover home edition.

82. They were roommates.

83. White girl trying to remember the day she was born.

84. xoxo, gossip girl.

85. Big time rush.

86. Scared grandma throwing milk.

87. Suicide fairy.

88. Zoey 101 microwave.

89. When you leave your makeup on after a night out.

90. Crazy skateboarding tricks.

91. Noodle head.

92. Under all that makeup.

93. Marriage goals.

94. Boy putting on lipstick.

95. When you walk past your friend's class.

96. Clear elevator jamming.

97. #RunningManChallenge

98. T-T-T-T-Target.

99. We all have a lot of laughs.

100. High school musical.

Honestly, I still can think of 100 more of the greatest vines of all time... but I guess I should stop now.

Cover Image Credit: NY Mag

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'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' Is The Comedy Gold We Love And Need, And That Has A Lot To Do With The Characters

Every character finds his or her own chemistry with each person in the precinct, and ultimately, that's what makes "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" a big old unique family.

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For the past couple of months, I have been unapologetically binge-watching "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," mainly because it's finally available on Netflix where I live. And the more I watch this show, the more I realize its value culturally and comically.

First off, even as an avid watcher of crime shows, I know that the police procedural show has been done one too many times. There are endless tropes it has spawned, with the gruff lead detective falling in love with a snappy partner or the weirdly inventive murders that real cops would be shocked to deal with even once in their careers, let alone every week at 7 p.m. EST.

This is exactly why "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" is such a relief to watch. It's fun, it doesn't take itself too seriously and it's smart.

Starting off with the cast, Andy Samberg plays Jake Peralta, one of the best — or if you asked him, the absolute best — detectives in the precinct. The only issue with him is that he's a man-child through and through, still unable to grow up or mature in most areas of his life.

Now, I've seen this stereotype played off time and time again — the goofy and hilarious leading man who really just needs to figure himself out, but requires the rest of the cast to act as only supporting characters in his one-man journey of self-discovery.

Thankfully, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" doesn't fall into that well-trodden trap — Jake's characteristic childlike tendencies, including a passionate love for orange soda, blue flavored drinks and gummy worms, are part of his personality through and through.

But he truly cares for his friends, as seen in the humility he shows when he apologizes to Charles Boyle, his best friend on the force who reveres him, and he owns up to his mistakes whenever he hurts somebody else. He is a layered character who's still figuring himself out — which makes his antics forgivable and sweet because of his true intentions.

And speaking of well-rounded characters, the entire cast is fully developed — aside from Hitchcock and Scully, both of whom mainly stay comfortably in their boxes as the lazy, idiotic detectives. And beyond being fully developed, which is hard enough to juggle in a show of so many characters, they are diverse.

This point has been brought up again and again. The show includes people of different ethnicities, and it gives them dignity as characters that goes beyond their race. Stereotypes have no place on "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," not when you have a gay black captain and a sergeant built like a tank who braids his twin daughters' hair and is wholeheartedly dedicated to the farmer's market. There's a scary but kind Rosa, who is revealed to be bisexual, and Amy, who is a Type A personality that melts at the sight of a well-organized binder.

Essentially, all the characters in this show go beyond being entertaining. They are memorable — Gina, especially. The assistant of Captain Holt, her participation in a dance troupe called "Floorgasm," along with her stunning self-confidence, makes her one of the best characters on the show by far.

But the strongest point of this show is the relationships that are carefully crafted between the characters. Each episode has unlikely subplots involving different characters, and each relationship is built so that the show doesn't fall into monotone rhythms of characters who only have chemistry with certain other characters.

Rather, every character finds his or her own chemistry with each person in the precinct, and ultimately, that's what makes "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" a big old unique family.

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